First Advisor

Howe, Jonathan

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Basham, Mark


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

76 pages


Generally, we humans believe human life is superior to all other animal life. Humans are the most intelligent, most capable, most feeling, and thus most valuable creatures on the planet, and thus they are distinct from all other animal species. This concept is pervasive in western philosophy, laws, religions, uses of language, and general society. Yet in the 1979 movie Alien, we see a human risk her life to save a cat, going against both the instinct to survive and the implications of the human/animal distinction. The idea that human life always holds precedence over other animal life is largely based in false assumptions and pretenses, pretenses which cannot hold up in light of many non-human animal abilities, and the fact of animal evolution. Yes, there is worth to be seen in the animal kingdom, but worth based not in simplistic species-based distinctions, but in a spectrum of animal ability and degrees of personhood - and humans, as highly intelligent, capable, and feeling animals, are indeed morally obligated to some non-human animals, as Ripley was obligated to Jones.

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.