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PHIL111 13/14 WEEK 13.docx

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Queen's University
PHIL 111
Jon Miller

January 7, 2014 The Question - Is it okay to experiment on non-human animals? o No  Life is intrinsically valuable  Animals don’t have a choice o Yes  Products need testing January 8, 2014 - - The ghost in our machine The Question - Is it okay to experiment on non-human animals? o There are many ways to sharpen the question  Is it morally permissible to experiment on animals?  Is it okay to experiment on non-human animals for the sake of testing cosmetics?  Is it okay to experiment on non-human animals for the sake of testing drugs?  Is it okay to experiment on lower animals?  Is it okay to experiment on primates? o We’ll look at the case for thinking it is Descartes’ Dualism - Descartes held there are two kinds of substances: o Thinking substance  Responsible for all mental life • Thoughts, wishes, pains, pleasures, emotions, feelings, etc. o Extended substance  Inert matter; things that take up space; material things - Humans are unique in that we instantiate both substances. We have bodies and we have minds. o Because humans have bodies and minds, we can and do experience pain and pleasure o By contrast, because all other animals are only made of matter, they do not experience real pain or pleasure  When a dog with a broken paw whimpers, it is not really in pain. It cannot be, because it does not have a mind • Instead, its physiology is leading it to mimic the behaviour of one in pain o Because animals don’t experience real pain or pleasure, it’s okay to experiment on them Descartes’ Letter to More (I) - In Descartes’ letter to More, he offers several arguments in support of his claim that non- human animals are fundamentally different from humans. Here’s one: 1. Motion can be caused by either mechanical or spiritual (intentional) principles 2. The origins of all movements of non-human animals lie in mechanical principles 3. By contrast, some movements of humans must be attributable to spiritual principles 4. So non-human and human animals are different - Descartes writes, “I am not disturbed by the astuteness and cunning of dogs and foxes, or by all the things which animals do for the sake of food, sex, and fear; I can easily explain all of them as originating from the structure of their body parts” Descartes’ Letter to More (II) - Another argument: 1. There is a natural hierarchy among animals  Some species are more advanced than others  Within species, some specimens are more advanced than others 2. Yet no matter how high we go on this hierarchy, we never find a “brute” that “has attained the perfection of using real speech” 3. Such speech “is the only certain sight of thought hidden in a body” 4. So we have no certain evidence of thought in “brutes” Clarifications - Descartes ends by noting he is only arguing against the attribution of thought to non- human animals o He says, “please note that I am speaking of thought, and not of life or sensation” o The upshot of his opinions is that “it absolves [humans] from the crime of suspicion when they eat or kill animals” January 10, 2014 Regan’s Moral Framework - Reign regards himself as a follower of Kant o He thinks that everything which has a life possess
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