Animalism (philosophy)

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In the philosophical sub-discipline of ontology, animalism is a theory according to which human persons are animals.[1] The concept of animalism is advocated by philosophers Eric T. Olson, Paul Snowdon, Stephan Blatti, and David Wiggins.[2][3][4] The view stands in contrast to positions such as Locke's psychological criterion for personal identity. Note that whilst the animalist is committed to something like the claim that human persons are essentially animals, the animalist is quite content to allow non-human persons - e.g. sufficiently advanced robots, aliens, or other animals.

Use of term in ethics[edit]

A less common, but perhaps increasing, use of the term 'animalism' is to refer to the ethical view that all or most animals are worthy of moral consideration.[5] It is similar to sentientism.


  1. ^ Eric T. Olson (2007) What are we?: a study in personal ontology, Oxford University Press, section 2.1.
  2. ^ Brian Garrett, Personal Identity and Self-Consciousness. Routledge, 1998. 137 pages. ISBN 0-415-16573-3
  3. ^ Blatti, Stephan and Snowdon, Paul (eds.) Animalism: New Essays on Persons, Animals, & Identity, Oxford University Press, 2016.
  4. ^ Snowdon, Paul Persons, Animals, Ourselves, Oxford University Press, 2017.
  5. ^ Animalist, The. "What is animalism?". Medium. Retrieved 29 March 2019.


  • Baker, Lynne Rudder. 'When Does a Person Begin?', in Ellen Frankel Paul, Fred Dycus Miller, and Jeffrey Paul (eds.), Personal Identity, Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • Blatti, Stephan, "[1]”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.
  • Olson, Eric T. What are we?: a study in personal ontology, Oxford University Press, 2007.