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Lecture 2

PHIL 1320 Lecture 2: Phil 10-5-17

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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
Philosophy PHIL 1320
Professor
Jonathan Surovell

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Kittay on Severe Profound Cognitive
Disability and Moral Status
What is the “problem of marginal cases”? What view is it a problem for?
Humans are rational, animals are not. Norcross believes that not all humans
have higher moral status than animals, (Ex. toddlers, babies, fetus, coma victims,
people with profound cognitive disability (nonverbal)) therefore this argument is
wrong.
Norcross believes that the argument, Humans overall have a higher moral status
based on species, is wrong and considered “speciesist”.
Some animals can learn how to use language, koko the gorilla knows basic sign
language.
most sentences said by an individual are unique, and no other human will ever
say the same exact thing.
are animals rational? Are there degrees of rationality?
a toddler’s level of rationality might be lower than that of an adult pig
The rationality gambit is supported by general philosophical principles
But it’s inconsistent with some deeply held beliefs about particular cases, viz.
Infants and humans with profound cognitive disabilities
So we face a choice
Go with the general principles and against intuitions about cases, or
Go with intuitions about cases and against general principles
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Description
Kittay on Severe Profound Cognitive Disability and Moral Status What is the problem of marginal cases? What view is it a problem for? Humans are rational, animals are not. Norcross believes that not all humans have higher moral status than animals, (Ex. toddlers, babies, fetus, coma victims, people with profound cognitive disability (nonverbal)) therefore this argument is wrong. Norcross believes that the argument, Humans overall have a higher moral status based on species, is wrong and considered speciesist. Some animals can learn how to use language, koko the gorilla knows basic sign language.
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