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If Natural Entities Have Intrinsic Value, Should We Then Abstain from Helping Animals Who Are Victims of Natural Processes?

Luciano Carlos Cunha


The idyllic view of nature is false: natural processes, given the prevalence of the reproductive strategy known as “r-selection”, tend to maximize the suffering of animals in nature. For the animals subjected to natural processes, disvalue overwhelmingly prevails over value. Any normative theory that directly considers sentient beings must recognize strong reasons to minimize such disvalue. Here, I will respond to a possible objection to this conclusion: that if non-sentient natural entities have intrinsic value, then our axiological evaluation of the situation of animals in nature must imply either that helping animals in nature is prohibited or that our reasons for helping them are considerably weak.


wild animal suffering; intrinsic value; speciesism; sentience; environmentalism; intervention in nature; natural disvalue; idyllic view of nature; conflicting values; anthropocentric speciesism

Full Text:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2015-001-cunh

Copyright (©) 2018 Luciano Carlos Cunha – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Francesco Allegri
Associate Editor: Matteo Andreozzi 
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board:
Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Vilma Baricalla - Luisella Battaglia - Rod Bennison - Matthew R. Calarco - Piergiorgio Donatelli - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Luigi Lombardi Vallauri - Christoph Lumer - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Alma Massaro - Serpil Oppermann - Simone Pollo - Paola Sobbrio - Kim Stallwood - Sabrina Tonutti - Jessica Ullrich - Federico Zuolo

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