PHILOS 1B03 Lecture Notes - Special Relationship, Presupposition

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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
preferences
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
consideration
- 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
action
- 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
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Document Summary

Singer: a utilitarian defence of animal liberation . 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 preferences. Respect for preferences is not compatible with discrimination. Opposition to discrimination is a key to defence of animal liberation. Preference utilitarian believe that everyone"s interests should be given equal consideration. Everything, which is capable of suffering, has interests and preferences. If a being suffers, there is no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into account. Animal"s ability to suffer indicates they have interests, which can be affected by action. 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. What do we do when preferences of animals conflict with preferences of human. Practices which singer condemns, could be permitted.

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