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PHL275H1 Lecture Notes - Categorical Imperative, Kantianism, Hedonism

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Ethics Lecture
November 14, 2011
Ethics and Animals
Utilitarianism and Kantianism
Utilitarianism [hedonist]: pain and pleasure are all that matter,
non humans can experience pain and animals have to count in
utilitarian calculations
Kant: only humans have reason, only humans have rights and
duties [duty to follow categorical imperative comes from our
reason], therefore, animals have no rights and we have no duties
to them. He acknowledges that animals can suffer.
oViolation of humanity when we use animals in a way that
are not necessary for our needs; it’s a violation because as
humans, we have the capacity of empathy for suffering. So
if you have no empathy to animals, you likely don’t have
empathy for human suffering
Singer: All Animals are Equal
Not claiming their equal in the normal sense of equal
Not ‘rights’ but interests
Not ‘equal treatment’ but ‘equal consideration’
Singer realizes because of our reason, humans can anticipate
suffering and pain in a way animals presumably cannot
Sometimes having reason makes it worse, and sometimes it
makes it not as bad
We need to consider animals capacity relative to their other
We have to be conscious of their capacity
The Argument from Equality
Arument against sexism Argument against speciesism
Men and women are not
significantly different in their
Anything that can suffer has an
interest in not suffering
Without a difference in interests,
no difference in consideration is
Humans and non-humans share an
interest in not suffering
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