Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 October 2019
Not every creature has reason to live so as to fulfil its purpose in life. Just ask a battery hen. Her purpose in life is to produce as many eggs at as little cost as possible, then be turned into a raw material of the fast-food industry. The resultant misery and distress to the hen is just a corollary of her living according to her purpose, her telos – as a frank egg-farmer might admit. From the battery hen’s own point of view, there is no reason at all for her to live this way. As she would see it (if she had a chance to consider the question), she would be better off doing almost anything other than fulfilling her telos. Her telos and her flourishing are not the same thing. Almost all of the time, they do not even coincide.