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UCF PHI 2010 - Week 9 Notes- Animal Rights

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PHI2010 Week 9 Notes- Animal RightsTerminology - “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 phonecall, 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 ValueBad 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 rulecould 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 animalsBad 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 similar weight of importance Utility: Does the act that will bring about the best balance between satisfaction and frustration for everyone involved- Main Problem with Utilitarianism Uncompromising egalitarianism: Everyone’s interests count and count as much as the like interests of everyone else. Advocates of human or animal rights should not want the kind of equality found in Utilitarianism  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 Valueas an individual human being.Better Option: Inherent Value- As individuals (Regan page 519), who are experiencing subjects of a life (Regan page 520), we have value.- Our value is independent of my usefulness to you, and yours is not dependent on your usefulness to me.- 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.” (Reganpage 520)- Dome consequences of this view: Indirect Duty Fails: What humans like is not all that matters; just being an experiencing subject of a life is enough. 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 WarrenThe Case for Animal Rights- Ton Regan: Yes, animals have rights.- What are the typical options? Indirect Duty  Contractarianism Utilitarianism- Better Option: Inherent ValueWhy 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 moral agents. Rights may only be intelligibly defended among beings who can make moral claims 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 laws2. 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


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