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Iva Apostolova

PHI 2396—Bioethics: Final Lectures October 29th, 2013 Animal Rights Joel Feinberg Discuses two basic ethical concepts: • Rights • Interests Main argument: to have rights is to have a claim to something and against someone, the recognition of which is used to protect ones legal rights to one's moral rights In either case we appeal to the enlightened conscience To have a right in the full moral sense is to have enlightened conscience • But there is another, conceptual way of having rights • There are certain kinds of beings that can have rights because we can meaningfully predicate rights to them (following a certain logic of reasoning) • such beings have only contingent rights which are always in some way combined the rights of the enlightened conscience Discuses seven main groups: 1. IndividualAnimals: a. there are legal rules against cruelty and meaningless killing of animals, but this does not solve the problem if animals have rights b. the law reflects that we have duties regarding animals but not necessarily to animals. c. Animals are not genuine moral agents, therefore, they do not have rights and duties like humans do d. Reasons to deny animals rights: i. they are intellectually incompetent, have no reasons ii. cannot claim their own rights by making court motions iii. don't understand whether their rights have been violated, and can't communicate their issues e. Feinberg: ability to understand your own rights and set legal machinery towards protecting them are not necessary for the possession of rights i. if that was true incompetent humans and babies would have no rights f. more sound argument: a being that has rights is one that has interest and could be represented; one that is capable of being a beneficiary in his own person i. animals incapable of interests g. animals are like "mere things" h. in order to have interests, one has to have conative life: conscious wishes, desires and hopes, urges and impulses, aims and goals, direction of growth, natural fulfillment i. animals lack conation i. laws against cruelty are laws for us, not animals—we don't want to encourage cruel behavior in humans j. but animals do have interests in an important sense k. many of the higher animals have appetites and conative urges, rudimentary purposes, the integrated satisfaction of which constitutes their welfare or their good that is worth protecting—therefore animals can have rights of some sort i. examples: pets made beneficiaries and trusties l. but it is still conceptually confusing to talk about animals as moral agents who have rights and duties 2. Vegetables: a. interests are linked to desired needs and aims, which means they presuppose at least a rudimentary cognitive equipment/awareness b. vegetables cannot have interest—cannot have rights c. Feinberg's conclusions: vegetable cannot have rights d. however there is a conceptual confusion when it comes to the rights of vegetables: i. first we often confuse the needs and desires that plants have for sunshine and nutrients for the needs and desires similar to those of higher animals ii. ethical or aesthetical value we prescribe is purely human (like when we say a plant is happy) iii. confusion about the use of language iv. use language metaphorically more often than we think when talking about plants that are flourishing 3. Whole species: a. When we compared to individual animals, we run into paradox b. Animal species cannot have beliefs that are associated with interests, therefore cannot have rights c. can sacrifice individual animas rights, for betterment of species d. interests of whole species, are human interests—laws against animal cruelty are not for species, but for humans e. obligation to future generations f. note: important difference between whole species and corporate entities—not comparable 4. Dead persons: a. they do and do not have rights and/or interests b. in one sense they don't because they are dead c. the one who promises to fulfill will has a moral duty to keep his/her word to not defame/tarnish the reputation of the deceased 5. Human vegetables: a. do not have interests and therefore don't have rights b. we think of them as having rights, but that is for our own sake, not theirs c. Human vegetables not capable of having good in their own bodies 6. Fetuses: a. If we define a fetus as potential human beings, they can have rights b. Fetuses and newborns don't have interests therefore no rights c. but we assume that they will acquire such traits so that they will have interests and thus, rights d. rights of unborn not unconditional 7. Future generations: a. even more remotely possible than fetus b. not sure who they will be and that their interests will be c. rights contingent because they have no present interests d. they are kinds of things that can have things Paradoxes of potentiality: • biggest problem: leads to slippery slope • introduce such criteria as causal importance and deviation from the normal course of events • as vague as they are they are at least a start • causal importance: e.g. cement is causally important to foundation of buildings • Causal importance is relativistic: depends on purposes and interests • NCE: e.g. dehydrated orange juice when mixed with water will make, under normal circumstances, make orange juice Conclusions: • best way to talk about rights, is to talk about interests • interests defined as conscious desires, needs, hopes, beliefs, etc. • only autonomous humans have present interests and therefore full-fledged rights • Other things can have rights and at least contingent rights (Higher animals, dead peoples, fetuses, future generations) Animal Rights November 1st, 2013 Peter Singer Singer rejects that intellectual capacity has anything to do with moral equality • If that was true no quality even among humans • Therefore every living being needs to be treated equally, as long as they have interests If being suffers it has interests, and should be allowed for that suffering to stop • important question: do animals suffer? • suffering related to pain—mental, cannot be observed by outside observer Way to know when in pain: 1. by analogy with ourselves 2. by reading the external signs of their behavior Singer: pain is primitive response—language not necessary • language not best way to express pain animals have similar neurological structures to humans • singer admits the farther away from humans less likely we understand the actions of animals • we are not entitled to specia • we feel justified in treating animals the way we do • speciestic attitude treaded animals as means to end Singer makes additional argument about killing animals: • people believe should not let animals suffer, but ok to kill them humanely • Singer: unacceptable for 2 reasons: o if combine "animal
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