Volume 91, 2017
Philosophy, Faith, and Modernity
Frontiers of Analogous Justice
A Thomistic Approach to Martha Nussbaum’s Justice for Animals
In this paper I argue for a Thomistic alternative to Martha Nussbaum’s justice for animals as outlined in Frontiers of Justice (2007). I argue that an account of analogous justice between humans and animals can generate real and robust obligations towards animals. I first show how Aquinas’s treatment of nonhuman animals in the questions on law evince a wider, shared community between humans and animals by which we see animals and humans as equally under divine providence. I then argue that while Aquinas’s definition of justice excludes animals in its proper sense, his treatment of animals (or irrational creatures) in questions such as those on theft and charity prove that there is room to understand at least an analogous or metaphorical sense by which we can see them as recipients of justice. Finally, I examine Nussbaum’s own account and illustrate key similarities between her view and that of Aquinas.