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phl ch 1

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University of Toronto St. George
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

Env ethics book chapter 1 animal welfarism  To possess moral standing is to be an entity whose existence and fundamental interests have “positive moral weight” o Positive moral weight means that the other agents have duties to constrain themselves in specific ways when dealing with such entities  Ex: we say humans have moral standing and this then means that other humans may not treat animals in certain ways they might torture them  Anthropocentricism= humans needs should be considered first  Community norms are community norms because the members of the community have agreed to the state of affairs offered by the governing party of the community; it’s like a contract o And so our contract is with each other; we agree to refrain from interfering in each other’s lives in specified ways.  Humans are being seen as most powerful species; even wild animals are seen as powerless; technology has limited our interaction with these animals because it separates us from them; like putting them in zoos  Intrinsic value= valuable independently of other entities or their interests  Extrinsic value = valuable relative only to the values or interests of some other entity  Even if we have no duties to animals we may have duties regarding them o Ex: respecting someone’s pet b/c they are someone else’s property o Ex: being cruel to animals can lead to animal cruelty  Singer compares specism to gender equality, racism, etc, Thomas taylor supports specisim o Arguments against specism: women given the right to vote b/c they can make logical and reasonable decisions on who to vote for whereas animals do not see the significance of voting nor about government  Another ex: since a man cant have an abortion it’s meaningless to talk of his right to have one  Equality doesn’t mean we must treat both groups in exactly the same way or grant exactly the same rights to both groups o One may cling to the view that the demand for equality among humans is based on the actual equality of the different races/sexes.  According to Jeremy bentham the question is not about what can animals do? What are they good for? or can they talk or reason? They question is can they suffer? o Because they can suffer they should also be given rights and the animals also have interests; a stone cant suffer therefore cant have interests but a mouse does have an interest(doesn’t want to be tormented) in not being tormented because it will suffer if it does o Every living sentient being has an equal interest in avoiding pain o It’s not the act of killing that indicates what we are ready to do to other species in order to gratify our tastes,
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