Main Article Content



The modern philosophical doctrine usually termed “human exceptionalism,” which holds that human beings, because of their perceived intellectual superiority over other animal species, have a moral value that cannot be claimed by other species which entitles humans to use other animals to serve their needs, has its philosophical roots in Greek philosophy, especially in the works of Aristotle and in the Stoic doctrine of oikeiōsis, which holds that human beings share a kinship with other humans but not with other species of inferior intellectual endowments. The doctrine of “human exceptionalism” is used in the twenty-first century to justify the wholesale slaughter worldwide of non-human animals for food, clothing, medical and entertainment purposes. The claims of “human exceptionalism” are countered in the present day by animal rights philosophers and by animal welfarists of various types who argue either that non-human species have a sufficient degree of reason to entitle them to inclusion in the sphere of human moral concern, or that the possession of reason is itself an irrelevant criterion for moral consideration, and that animal suffering must be taken into account in human interactions with other animal species.

Article Details

How to Cite
T. NEWMYER, S. (2024). “HUMAN EXCEPTIONALISM”: THE GREEK ORIGINS OF A MODERN CONCEPTAND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE LIVES OF ANIMALS. Arhe, 19(38), 183–206. https://doi.org/10.19090/arhe.2022.38.183-206


Balme, D. M. and Allan Gotthelf, eds., Aristotle: History of Animals VII-X (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1991).

Bekoff, Marc, The Emotional Lives of Animals (Novato: New World Library, 2007).

Boddice, Bob, “The End of Anthropocentrism,” in Rob Boddice, ed., Anthropocentrism: Humans, Animals, Environments (Leiden and Boston, 2011), pp. 1-18.

Brennan, Tad, The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties and Fate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005).

Dombrowski, Daniel A., Babies and Beasts: The Argument from Marginal Cases (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997).

Engberg-Pedersen, Troels, The Stoic Theory of Oikeiosis: Moral Development and Social Interaction in Early Stoic Philosophy (Aarhus: University of Aarhus Press, 1990).

Guldberg, Helene, Just Another Ape? (Charlottesville: Societas, 2010).

Machan, Tibor R., Putting Humans First: Why We Are Nature’s Favorite (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004).

Hauser, Marc D., Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think (New York: Henry Holt, 2000).

Newmyer, Stephen T., The Animal and the Human in Ancient and Modern Thought: The ‘Man Alone of Animals’ Concept (London and New York: Routledge, 2017).

Pembroke, S. G., “Oikeiōsis,” in A. A. Long, ed., Problems in Stoicism (London, Athlone Press, 1971), pp. 114-149.

Rachels, James, Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).

Reydam-Schils, Gretchen, “Human Bonding and Oikeiōsis in Roman Stoicism,” OSAPh 22 (2002) 221-251.

Ryder, Richard D., Animal Revolution: Changing Attitudes towards Speciesism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989).

Singer, Peter, Animal Liberation (New York: Avon Books, 1990; revised edition).

Smith, Wesley J., A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement (New York: Encounter Books, 2010).

Smith, Wesley J., The War on Humans (Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2014).

Sorabji, Richard, Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993).

Steiner, Gary, Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.

Steiner, Gary, Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005).

Striker, Gisela, “The Role of Oikeiōsis in Stoic Ethics,” OSAPh 1 (1983), pp. 145-167.

Taylor, Jeremy, Not a Chimp: The Hunt to Find Genes That Make Us Human (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

deWaal, Frans, Are We smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (New York and London: Norton, 2016).

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.