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Animal%20Spectrum

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Title: Animal%20Spectrum


1
HUMANS ANDNON-HUMANS
A Spectrum
2
Western paradigm emphasizes gulf between humans
and animals
Religious traditions humans as the crown of
creation, e.g. Judaism, Christianity, Islam.
Secular traditions humans as unique autonomous,
rational, moral. technological language users
e.g. Aristotle, Kant. Evolutionary ethics
humans as the crown of evolution, e.g. Huxley
(but not Darwin!)
3
Ecological perspective fate of humans is bound
up with fate of the rest of nature.
Midgley natural human affinity towards other
animals. Norton scientific perspective
implies harmony with nature. Traditional
societies e.g. Maaori all living things are
related, as descendents of Tane.
4
Animal liberation we have duties to all
animals, and their interests are (nearly) always
equal to those of Humans. (Singer) Biocentric
egalitarianism we have duties to all living
things. (Taylor) Nonanthropocentric
environmental ethics we ought to pursue
environmental justice because all species are
equal. (Sterba)
5
  • We have duties to at least some environmental
  • objects (Stone).
  • We have (largely unspecified) duties to the
  • land. (Callicott, Leopold)
  • We have duties to inanimate objects e.g.
  • buildings, works of art.

6
Anthropocentrism
  • Concept
  • All and only human beings have moral standing
    or, the appropriate criterion of moral standing
    is membership in Homo sapiens.

7
Applications
We have duties concerning animals (as we do
concerning works of art or cars) but not to
animals. ?We may treat animals as we wish,
except where the interests of others are
affected, eg dog owners, recreational hunters,
bird watchers (Baxter) ? We ought not to
mistreat animals because if we do we are likely
to become the kind of person who mistreats humans
(Aquinas, Kant).
8
Weak anthropocentrism - the human interest
requires a respect for natural systems
(Norton). ?Sustainability - obligations to
future generations. ? Personal spiritual
development - Buddhist monks, Jains, Ghandi.
9
Sentience Based Ethics
Concept All and only sentient beings have
moral standing. ?Sentience ability to have
sensations, to experience pleasure and pain.
10
Key Philosophical Issues
What counts as having a sensation? ? How do
we know that an animal is having a
sensation? ? Is sensation talk just an
inference from behaviour? Can we talk about
anything except behaviour? ?Is there anything
except behaviour?
11
Applications
  • Descartes (and/or his followers) animals are
    non-sentient machines and so have no moral
    standing.
  • ?Bentham, Singer most animals are sentient, and
    it is wrong to cause them to suffer except where
    that would be the only way to create the best
    outcome.

12
UTILITARIANISM Singer
  • Utilitarianism requires that all interests (or
    preferences) be taken equally into account.
  • ?Speciesism - ignoring the interests of a
    being just because it belongs to another species
    - is wrong, just like racism and sexism.

13
  • All sentient beings have an equal interest in
  • avoiding suffering, e.g. farming of animals
  • inflicts suffering and also denies food to
  • starving people.
  • ?We do not need (e.g.) to eat animal products.
  • ? So we ought (e.g.) to become vegetarians.

14
  • Similar argument against painful use of
  • animals, e.g.
  • ? research
  • ? product testing
  • ? sport and entertainment.

15
  • Is the analogy with racism and sexism valid?
  • Are the consequences the ONLY thing that
  • matters, morally?
  • How do we know that animals suffer?
  • Isn't sentientism just as bad a form of
    discrimination as speciesism?

16
  • Would PAINLESS farming and killing of animals be
  • wrong?
  • What difference will MY actions make to animals
  • - or to starving people?
  • Is moral atomism adequate to deal with
  • environmental issues?

17
Sentience Based Ethics
  • Concept
  • All and only beings with specific properties
    have moral standing.

18
Applications
  • Regan subjects of a life.
  • MA Warren, Tooley self-concept.
  • Huxley language.

19
RIGHTS
  • Regan
  • All beings with certain properties are PERSONS,
  • regardless of race, sex or species.
  • Many non-humans are persons e.g. gods, aliens
  • (ET?), some animals - and e.g. irreversibly
  • comatose humans are not.
  • All persons have inherent value and not mere
  • instrumental value.

20
  • All inherently valuable beings have rights
  • ? independently of consequences
  • ? regardless of how many people recognize their
    rights.

21
  • Rights may not be violated in order to
  • bring about good consequences.
  • ? (e.g.) Killing animals for food violates
    their rights.
  • So we ought (e.g.) to become vegetarians
  • (etc.).

22
SOME QUESTIONS FOR REGAN
  • Is the analogy with racism and sexism
  • valid?
  • Isn't personism just as bad a form of
  • discrimination as speciesism?
  • Why should we accept Regan's account of
  • personhood?

23
  • How do we know that animals have the
  • properties of persons?
  • Is moral atomism adequate to deal with
  • environmental issues?

24
RIGHTS FOR WHAT?
  • Humans?
  • Selected sentient beings?
  • All sentient beings?
  • All living beings?
  • Individual natural objects?
  • Places?
  • Works of art?
  • Corporations?
  • Cultures, peoples, nations?
  • Species?
  • Planets?
  • The universe?
  • Everything?
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