The Harvard Review of Philosophy

Volume 25, 2018

Animals: Ethics, Agency, Culture

Nicolas Delon
Pages 127-146

Animal Agency, Captivity, and Meaning

Can animals be agents? Do they want to be free? Can they have meaningful lives? If so, should we change the way we treat them? This paper offers an account of animal agency and of two continuums: between human and nonhuman agency, and between wildness and captivity. It describes how human activities impede on animals’ freedom and argues that, in doing so, we deprive many animals of opportunities to exercise their agency in ways that can give meaning to their lives.