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Animal Rights and Green Politics

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Animal Rights and Green Politics Overview Animal Rights (Singer) Ecology: The Scope of the Crisis The Greening of Political Theory Liberal Environmentalism ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Animal Rights and Green Politics


1
Animal Rights and Green Politics
2
Overview
  • Animal Rights (Singer)
  • Ecology The Scope of the Crisis
  • The Greening of Political Theory
  • Liberal Environmentalism
  • Conservative Environmentalism
  • Deep Ecology Earth First!

3
Animal Rights
  • Peter Singer (1946- )
  • Australian philosopher, currently at Princeton
    University

4
Animal Rights
  • Arguments made to extend rights to other human
    groups historically excluded from liberal rights
    dialogue have all initially appeared outrageous
  • For example womens rights, black rights

5
Animal Rights
  • Yet in retrospect, it is the counterarguments
    against those rights claims that now appear
    outrageous and wrong-headed

6
Animal Rights
  • What is the basis of human rights?
  • Why should we respect rights?
  • Recall the Utilitarian argument we discussed way
    back in spring

7
The Problem of Rights
Agent Preference
Patient Preference
Wants to do something
Preferences of those affected by the act
8
The Problem of Rights
  • The difficulty with rights talk is that we have
    no real way of distinguishing the merit of
    separate and conflicting rights claim
  • For example, lets look at religious right
    freedom of conscience
  • Suppose my religious practice disgusts everyone
    else in the surrounding community. Should I
    continue to practice?

9
The Problem of Rights
  • Isnt that making me in effect a dictator in
    that the social decision is what I say it should
    be, no matter how many votes to the contrary
  • We need to develop a higher order
    principle/theory to decide the tough questions
  • Utilitarianism is that theory

10
Utilitarianism
  • Utilitarianism has 2 basic premises
  • Actions are right in proportion as they tend to
    promote happiness, wrong as they tend produce the
    reverse of happiness
  • Greatest Happiness Principle
  • As Mill notes, it is an idea deeply rooted in the
    Western tradition, going back at least to
    Epicurus (341 270 B.C.E.)

11
Utilitarianism
  • As an ethical theory, it attempts to provide a
    rational rather than a religious basis for
    morality
  • Which means we will be able to sanction and judge
    acts as good or bad on something other than
    religious grounds.
  • This is crucial since common sense morality
    requires a religious premise

12
Utilitarianism
  • Once we reject that religious premise, the
    morality no longer has any hold over us
  • That is, if were not worried about getting
    nailed in the afterlife, why bother being moral?
  • Why should I care about how my actions affect
    other people?

13
Utilitarianism
  • Benthams original version rested on notion of
    psychological hedonism
  • An act is good which sets off all the pleasure
    pods in my head
  • As a social theory, then, Utilitarianism
    distinguishes the morality between alternative
    states of affairs by examining the amount of
    pleasure and pain it produces
  • That act which produces the most pleasure is the
    one to be preferred

14
Utilitarianism
  • We shouldnt count our own preferences for more
    than we count others (since if we did so wed be
    dictating the social outcome)
  • Question that arises, then, is how do we achieve
    utilitarian objectivity?
  • In rights based accounts, it is the notion of
    moral sympathy I wouldnt want my rights
    violated so I shouldnt violate others rights

15
Utilitarianism
  • If we are going to have to decide between
    different social states, how can we make sure the
    decision on which state to adopt is an impartial
    (objective) one?
  • How do we become impartial?
  • Bentham formula
  • Everyone to count for one, no one to count for
    more than one

16
Utilitarianism
  • Two points to note
  • Democracy is integral to utilitarianism
  • The way we determine what to do is to take a
    vote, and whatever the majority wants wins
  • It doesnt matter where goods/bads happen to
    fall, so long as en toto more pleasure is
    produced than pain.

17
Utilitarianism
  • Doesnt matter, morally speaking, who is having
    wants, just as long as we satisfy as many wants
    as possible
  • Singer adds the corollary that we can extend the
    argument to non human animals.
  • The idea is to act so as to produce the greatest
    happiness for the greatest number
  • For our moral calculations, we need to view
    beings as vessels of utility satisfaction

18
Utilitarianism
  • What we most want is to experience things in a
    certain way (i.e., pleasure over pain)
  • For Bentham, a want is a want is a want
  • No difference between wanting to stay home and
    watch Smackdown and reading War and Peace
  • For Singer, no difference between human and
    animal wants in pleasure/pain calculus

19
Animal Rights
  • If a being suffers, there can be no moral
    justification for refusing to take that suffering
    into consideration. No matter what the nature of
    the being, the principle of equality requires
    that its suffering be counted equally with the
    like suffering--insofar as rough comparisons can
    be made-- of any other being

20
Animal Rights
  • If a being is not capable of suffering, or of
    experiencing enjoyment or happiness, there is
    nothing to be taken into account. This is why
    the limit of sentience (using the terms as a
    convenient, if not strictly accurate, shorthand
    for the capacity to suffer or experience
    enjoyment or happiness) is the only defensible
    boundary of the interests of others

21
Animal Rights
  • To mark this boundary by some characteristic
    like intelligence or rationality would be to mark
    it in an arbitrary way. Why not choose some
    other characteristic, like skin color?

-- Peter Singer
22
The Crisis
23
The Crisis
24
The Crisis
25
The Crisis
26
The Crisis
27
The Crisis
  • Consequences of rapid human population growth
  • Energy demands
  • Food production demands
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Environmental Stress

28
The Crisis
29
Water Pollution
  • On 22 June 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire
    in Cleveland
  • Fire lasted 30 minutes

30
Water Pollution
  • Some River! Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling
    with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than
    flows. Anyone who falls into the Cuyahoga does
    not drown, Cleveland's citizens joke grimly. He
    decays. . . The Federal Water Pollution Control
    Administration dryly notes The lower Cuyahoga
    has no visible signs of life, not even low forms
    such as leeches and sludge worms that usually
    thrive on wastes." It is also -- literally -- a
    fire hazard.
  • -- Time magazine, 1 August 1969

31
Signs along the River
32
Water Pollution
  • In the late 1960s, Lake Erie, was officially
    declared dead
  • Too many chemicals, particularly nitrates from
    fertilizer and phosphates from soap and
    cleansers, led to huge algae blooms that killed
    off the fish and other plant species.

33
Water Pollution
  • On2/25/76 New York DEC made it illegal to fish
    in the upper Hudson from the Ft. Edward Dam to
    the federal dam at Albany
  • Closed Hudson River commercial
    fisheries, and warned people about dangers of
    eating Hudson River fish.

General Electric dumped Between 209,000 and 1.3
million pounds of PCBsdirectly into Hudson
34
Water Pollution
  • Since that time, the spread of PCBs throughout
    the river and its food chain has created an
    extensive toxic waste problem.
  • About 200 miles of the river is designated as a
    Superfund site.

35
Water Pollution
  • In August 1995, the Upper Hudson was re-opened to
    fishing, but only on a catch and release basis.
  • NY and NJ agencies recommend that people eat no
    striped bass or blue crabs from the Newark Bay
    area, and no more than one meal a week from other
    areas in the New York Harbor estuary.
  • EPA guidelines recommend no consumption.

36
New York City
2005 smog
1963 smog
37
Aldo Leopold
  • Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)
  • Born in Iowa, along the Mississippi River
  • Gets degree in forestry from Yale
  • After graduation he takes gig with US Forestry
    Service in Arizona
  • Transferred to US Forest Products Laboratory in
    Wisconsin

38
Aldo Leopold
  • In 1933 he published Game Management, a
    groundbreaking study on managing and restoring
    wildlife populations

39
Aldo Leopold
  • In 1949, he published A Sand County Almanac, a
    work that is viewed as the beginning of the
    modern land conservation movement

40
Land Use
41
Land Use
  • Conservation is a state of harmony between men
    and land
  • -- Aldo Leopold

42
Land Use
  • Conservation entails recognizing that human
    beings do not have sufficient understanding of
    the complexities of nature to govern or
    conquer nature
  • Rather, we need to work with nature

43
Land Use
  • Leopold introduces the idea of the pyramid
    instead of the balance
  • The balance of nature implies that human and
    natural worlds are distinct and separate entities
  • The pyramid is meant to convey the
    interrelationships between the various parts of
    creation

44
Soil
45
Plants
Soil
46
Insects
Plants
Soil
47
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Plants
Soil
48
Rodents and small mammals
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Plants
Soil
49
Large mammalian carnivores
Rodents and small mammals
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Plants
Soil
50
Human beings
Large mammalian carnivores
Rodents and small mammals
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Plants
Soil
51
Land Use
  • Land, then, is not merely soil it is a
    fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of
    soils, plants, and animals. Food chains are the
    living channels which conduct energy upward
    death and decay return it to the soil.

52
Human beings
Large mammalian carnivores
Rodents and small mammals
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Plants
Soil
53
Land Use
  • This interdependence between the complex
    structure of the land and its smooth functioning
    as an energy unit is one of its basic
    attributesWhen a change occurs in one part of
    the circuit, many other parts must adjust
    themselves to it.

54
Land Use
  • Change does not necessarily obstruct or divert
    the flow of energy evolution is a long series of
    self-induced changes, the net result of which has
    been to elaborate the flow mechanism and to
    lengthen the circuit.

55
Soil
56
Plants
Soil
57
Insects
Plants
Soil
58
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Plants
Soil
59
Rodents and small mammals
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Plants
Soil
60
Large mammalian carnivores
Rodents and small mammals
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Plants
Soil
61
Human beings
Large mammalian carnivores
Rodents and small mammals
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Evolution providesa mechanism by which new life
formsemerge and adaptto environmentalconditions

Plants
Soil
62
Human beings
Large mammalian carnivores
Rodents and small mammals
Birds and Reptiles
Insects
Evolution providesa mechanism by which new life
formsemerge and adaptto environmental
conditions which
Plants
in turn shape and change the environmental
conditions
Soil
63
Land Use
  • However, human activities have greatly altered
    the pace by which environments change and thereby
    have impacted species beyond anything found in
    nonhuman natural conditions, with the possible
    exception of catastrophic events (meteor strikes,
    volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, etc.)

64
Deep Ecology
  • Deep Ecology, a term coined by Arne Naess
    (1910- ) to describe a view of human
    relationships with nature that emphasizes a
    complete equality between human and nonhuman
    species.

65
Deep Ecology
  • Dave Foreman (1946 - )

Co-founder, in 1976, of Earth First! a radical
environmental group
66
Deep Ecology
  • Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
  • Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

67
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68
Deep Ecology
  • The roots of both EarthFirst! and the ELF are in
    Edward Abbeys The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975) a
    novel describing a group of environmentalist
    activists who sabotage and destroy various
    machines that they believe are enabling the
    destruction of the American southwest

69
Deep Ecology
  • Foreman and friends realized that mainstream
    environmental groups (e.g., Sierra Club) were
    unlikely to succeed and prevent environmental
    degradation in time to save endangered plants,
    animals, and landscapes.

70
Deep Ecology Basic Tenets
  • Human beings are not and should not be the
    measure of all things
  • Human beings are no more nor less than another
    animal species.
  • All living creatures and communities have value
    intrinsic to their own being, not based on
    contributions or liabilities to human beings

71
Deep Ecology Basic Tenets
  1. Wilderness preservation is essential
  2. Human populations are too large and thereby
    threaten the existence of other species
  3. Questions about our understanding and definition
    of Progress and Technology

72
Deep Ecology Basic Tenets
  • Expand beyond traditional ideological constraints
    and defend the earth as a whole
  • Actions are more importantthan philosophy
  • Monkey-wrenching is legitimate political
    activity
  • Begin with changes inpersonal lifestyle choices
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