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PHILOS 1B03 Lecture Notes - Special Relationship, Presupposition

Course Code
Stefan Rodde

of 2
February 4, 2013
Philosophy, Law and Society
- Should philosophical discussions about society, ethics and law consider animals
and future generations?
Animal Welfare
- Singer: “A Utilitarian Defence of Animal Liberation”
Preference Utilitarianism
- PU: Utility is identified with the satisfaction of preferences
- An action is right if it results in the greatest net satisfaction of preferences
(in both quantity and intensity) or the smallest net dissatisfaction of
Preference and Discrimination
- Respect for preferences is not compatible with discrimination
- Opposition to discrimination is a key to defence of animal liberation
Equal Consideration of Interests
- Preference Utilitarian believe that everyone’s interests should be given equal
- But what is the basis for this belief?
- Because people actually are equal?
- No: As a factual claim
Principle of Equality
- POE is a fundamental normative presupposition
- Everyone (except ethical egoists) accepts it
- Are there any problems with POE?
-Special duties/relationships
Principle of Suffering
- Everything, which is capable of suffering, has interests and preferences
- They prefer not to suffer
- If a being suffers, there is no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering
into account
Ethics and Animals
- Animal’s ability to suffer indicates they have interests, which can be affected by
- POS: No moral basis for refusing to take animal’s suffering into account
- POE: We ought to treat the interests of everyone capable of suffering equally
Value of Lives
- What do we do when preferences of animals conflict with preferences of human
- Preference calculus
- Practices which Singer condemns, could be permitted
Singer - Problems?
- Special relationship problems
- Practical problems
- Practices which Singer condemns, could be permitted