In this paper we will argue that generality is a virtue of Haybron’s account of welfare. Indeed, reflecting on the applicability of his theory to nonhuman animals will give us a better understanding of its applicability to humans. We will first focus on self-fulfillment and suggest an interpretation of Haybron’s account according to which the self-fulfillment of an individual consists in the fulfillment of the aspects of the self that are applicable to that particular individual. This makes Haybron’s account of welfare applicable to all sentient beings. Then we will focus on sub-personal nature-fulfillment and argue that the same interpretation leads to the conclusion that Haybron’s account of welfare recognizes even nonsentient beings as welfare subjects. We suggest a way of avoiding this latter conclusion.
Visak, T., & Balcombe, J. (2013). The applicability of the self-fulfillment account of welfare to nonhuman animals, babies, and mentally disabled humans. Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly, 31(2), 27-34.