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PHI2010 Week 9 Notes Animal Rights Terminology Animal A living thing that is not a human or plant Webster Any member of the kingdom of living things as earthworms crabs birds and people that differ from plants typically in being able to move about in not having cell walls made of cellulose and in depending on plants and other animals as sources of food Rights Wenar 2015 Entitlements not to prefer certain actions or not to be in certain states or entitlements that others not perform certain actions or not be in certain states Examples A right to life right to choose right to vote to work strike right to one phone call to dissolve parliament to operate a forklift to asylum to equal treatment before the law to offender to death to launch a nuclear first strike to castle kingside to a distinct genetic identity a right to be left alone to go to hell in one s own way Categories Who is alleged to have the right children s rights animal rights workers rights states rights the rights of people What actions or states or objects the asserted right pertains to Rights of free expression to pass judgement rights of privacy to remain silent property rights bodily rights Why the right holder allegedly has the right Moral rights are grounded in moral reasons legal rights derive from the laws of society customary rights exists by local convention How the asserted right can be affected by the right holder s actions The inalienable right to life the forfeitable right to liberty and the waivable right that a promise be kept The Case of Animal Rights Tom Regan Yes animals have rights What is the moral status of animals What are the typical options Indirect Duty Contractarianism Utilitarianism Regan The Typical Options don t work Better Options Inherit Value Bad Option 1 Indirect Duty We have no duties towards animals but may have duties involving them E g If your neighbor kicks your puppy they haven t wronged your puppy they have wronged you They have a duty to you not to upset you by harming your puppy but she has no duty to your puppy Justification Animals e g puppy do not feel pain Animals may feel pain but only human pain matters Regan s Response Such bad justification it s not even worth seriously addressing Bad Option 2 Contractarianism Morality consists in set of rules that individuals voluntarily agree to abide by as we do when we sign a contract hence the name Contractarianism Regan page 515 Those who understand the contract are covered by it and those who cannot understand the contract have no rights What about those who do not understand morality Young children are protected by the contract because of the love and interest of adults Some animals like pets may be protected by the love and interest of humans Some animals like lab animals dogs monkeys rats etc are not protected by the love and interest of humans Problems Nothing guarantees that everyone will be treated equally in creating the contract The rule could describe an unjust system Contractarianism denies that we have direct duties to anyone incapable of understanding the contract e g young children or mentally disabled people If the view doesn t work in the case of humans there is no reason to think it is true in the case of animals Bad Option 3 Utilitarianism Utilitarianism in general accepts two moral principles Regan 517 Equality Everyone s interests count and similar interests must be counted as having Utility Does the act that will bring about the best balance between satisfaction and similar weight of importance frustration for everyone involved Main Problem with Utilitarianism like interests of everyone else Utilitarianism Uncompromising egalitarianism Everyone s interests count and count as much as the Advocates of human or animal rights should not want the kind of equality found in E g Murdering Aunt Bea It could be morally justified to murder your Aunt Bea if you then donate part of her money to a children s hospital AND you go live on a beach This is morally permissible in Utilitarianism because the good would outweigh the badness of Aunt Bea s death This seems wrong because it is failing to recognize that Aunt Bea has 1Inherent Value as an individual human being Better Option Inherent Value we have value usefulness to me As individuals Regan page 519 who are experiencing subjects of a life Regan page 520 Our value is independent of my usefulness to you and yours is not dependent on your To treat others in ways that fail to show respect for the other s independent value is to act immorally and to violate the individual s rights All who have inherent value have it equally whether they be human animals or not Regan page 520 Dome consequences of this view subject of a life is enough Indirect Duty Fails What humans like is not all that matters just being an experiencing Contractarianism Fails Young humans and mentally disabled are valuable regardless if they do not understand morality and cannot enter contracts Utilitarianism Fails Murdering Aunt Bea would not be okay Major consequences for non human animals Animals have rights Stemming from their inherent value and must therefore be treated respectfully e g not used in agriculture or in labs or hunted Animals are also experiencing subject of a life Read Why Animals Have Not Rights by Cohen Speaking of Animal Rights by Warren The Case for Animal Rights Ton Regan Yes animals have rights What are the typical options Indirect Duty Contractarianism Utilitarianism Better Option Inherent Value Why Animals Have No Rights Carl Cohen No animals do not have rights What are rights A right is a claim that one party may exercise against another within a community of Rights may only be intelligibly defended among beings who can make moral claims moral agents against one another Rights holders are necessarily possessed only by persons Following this view of rights 1 Only humans confront purely moral choices and lay down moral laws 2 Nonhuman animals lack the capacity for moral judgments 3 Nonhuman animals do not have moral rights Can we treat nonhuman animals anyway we want No we have obligations towards them that do not arise from rights Rights entail obligations but obligations do not necessarily entail rights E g a teacher has obligations towards their students parents have obligations to pay child s tuition though a child doesn t have the right to tuition As such we have an obligation to treat nonhuman animals humanely but not to treat them as the holder of rights Objections What

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UCF PHI 2010 - Week 9 Notes- Animal Rights

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