Degree Type

Honors Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences


Philosophy and Religious Studies

Degree Name

Honors in the Major

First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Matheson

Second Advisor

Dr. Sarah Vincent

Third Advisor

Dr. Curtis Phills


We each are presented with a choice; do we remain in the cave of ignorance or embark on the philosopher’s journey. Your choice will determine the way in which you interpret this paper. However, I will confidently make the assumption that you, like myself, desire to embrace an existence guided by the light of wisdom. This thesis is one of many chapters in the philosopher’s journey, dealing with animals and (cutting through the jargon) kindness. I have found that a lot of scholarship on animal ethics acknowledges a truth, but does not acknowledge that the application of such a truth is pragmatic and dependent on an individual’s circumstances in life. This thesis is an attempt to dispel shadows and guide one outside the cave in a pragmatic manner. This journey is not siloed or an immediate sprint toward wisdom. Each step in the direction of truth will guide us toward the exit of the cave. There is a reason the philosopher’s journey is lifelong; the radiance of wisdom may blind us if we do not exam our surroundings and then eventually face the sun. This paper will guide us up the stairs by challenging speciest lines of reasoning, acknowledging a failing of moral duty, ushering in non-human animals as moral patients within the moral community, and providing an examination of a possible intervention model to reduce speciest attitudes.