The Open Society and Its Animals

J. Vink

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisThesis 3: defended at external organisation, OU employee


The Open Society and Its Animals is an interdisciplinary study centred on the political and legal position of animals in liberal democracies. With due concern for both animals and the sustainability of liberal democracies, The Open Society and Its Animals seeks to redefine animals’ political-legal position in the most successful political model of our time: the liberal democracy.

There is reason to reconsider the relationship between the open society and the animals in it. Whereas animals used to be regarded as objects without consciousness and feeling, modern science points out that many animals are sentient and that, like humans, they have certain elementary interests. Since interests play a crucial role in the political and legal theories that form the foundation of liberal democracies, it seems only natural that the revised perception of animals has consequences for the liberal democratic institutional framework too. The Open Society and Its Animals argues that the modern perception of animals as individuals with interests compels us to reconsider the political and legal position of animals in liberal democracies, and for two reasons: to do justice to the animals themselves and to improve the credibility and sustainability of the open society.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Leiden University
  • Cliteur, P.B., Supervisor, External person
  • Kwak, A.J., Co-supervisor, External person
Award date10 Oct 2019
Place of PublicationLeiden
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'The Open Society and Its Animals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this