Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Ariel Zylberman

Committee Member

Kristen Hessler


In this thesis, I intend on solving a puzzle. How can animals be wronged, but rights are not attributed to them, even though wrongs presuppose rights? I will first lay out a paradigm case of animal wrongdoing. Next, I will examine two potential solutions in the Will Theory and Interest Theory, but, as I will draw out, each have attributes—that have been noted in the literature on rights before—that make animals unable to have rights or question whether the right is truly valuable for them. Although it seems animals might be stuck from the first two possibilities, either they can be wronged with no rights or, even worse, they cannot be wronged at all, from the presupposition, we can free animals from these concerns as a result of another theory. I will argue that that theory is the Independence Theory of Rights, crafted by Ariel Zylberman. Once the discovery about the Will and Interest Theories has been made, I will describe the features of the Independence Theory. Then, I will argue how it can be applied to animal rights in general, defending that against potential objections. Finally, I will compare the Independence Theory with the Will Theory and Interest Theory, arguing how it is able to retain many of these theories’ respective positive attributes, and how it is able to rid itself of many of those theories’ objections that have been raised before.

Available for download on Wednesday, December 01, 2021

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