PHI-2630 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Speciesism, Eating Animals, Determinative

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27 Oct 2016
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PHI2630 Notes October 11th
ANIMAL RIGHTS
One of the main questions regarding the treatment of non-human animals.
What is the morally relevant difference between humans and non-human animals?
(If one wants to justify treating non-human animals differently than humans, one has to
explain what grounds this kind of treatment.)
Compare the following scenarios:
o Torturing animals for fun
o Hunting (sports/trophy)
o Using animals for medical tests
o Using animals for beauty product testing
o Eating animals
- Do you think all of the above scenarios are morally justifiable?
- If not, which ones and why? What is the difference between the acceptable and
unacceptable cases, if any?
Peter Singer: All Animals are Equal
o Singer on speciesism:
‘The point about speciesism is that we give less weight to the interests of
beings who are not members of our species, simply because they are not
members of our species; not looking at their individual characteristics, not
looking at their capacities, or what’s good for them, or bad for them.
But we just say, ‘well they’re not members of our species Homo sapiens,
therefore we can use them for our purposes, our ends, we don’t have to
treat them as if their ends mattered.’ Whereas if we have a human being,
no matter what the mental level of that human being, that human being’s
life is sacred, that human being is an end in itself, we must respect the
dignity of that human being and so on.
That’s speciesism, to just take the species as itself as determinative of
moral status.’
o Speciesism discrimination against the members of a species simply on the
basis of species membership.
SINGERS ARGUMENT FOR EQUAL CONSIDERATION OF ANIMALS
o Principle of Equal Consideration: Like interests deserve equal consideration.
o Nonhuman animals have an interest in not suffering parallel to that of humans.
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