In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier
Thomas I. White, Ph.D.
This book explores two questions:
- What kind of beings are dolphins? That is, what does scientific research reveal about their cognitive and affective abilities, and what are the philosophical implications of these findings?
- In light of the kind of beings they are, is the current state of human/dolphin interaction ethically acceptable? This book argues that dolphins have intellectual and emotional abilities sophisticated enough to grant them “moral standing”; they should be regarded at least as “nonhuman persons”; and the current state of human/dolphin interaction (characterized by the deaths and injuries of dolphins in connection with the human fishing industry and the use of captive dolphins by the entertainment industry for therapeutic purposes and by the military) is ethically indefensible. Accordingly, this book lays the foundation for the claim that the current relationship between humans and dolphins is, in effect, equivalent to the relationship between whites and Black slaves two centuries ago.