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Phl 118, Exam #3 Notes Pg. 277-285

by: Jalena Williams

Phl 118, Exam #3 Notes Pg. 277-285 PHL 118

Marketplace > Central Michigan University > PHIL-Philosophy > PHL 118 > Phl 118 Exam 3 Notes Pg 277 285
Jalena Williams
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About this Document

These are just notes from the required readings for exam #3.
moral problems
Mark Shelton
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jalena Williams on Thursday March 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHL 118 at Central Michigan University taught by Mark Shelton in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see moral problems in PHIL-Philosophy at Central Michigan University.


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Date Created: 03/03/16
All Animals Are Equal  Peter Singer   Animal liberation is the idea of rights for animals.  Someone may argue that men and women should be treated equally because they are both capable of making rational decisions while animals cannot make rational decisions.  EX. Dogs cannot understand the concept of voting.   There are important differences between humans and animals and these differences must  give rise to some differences in the rights that each have.  The basic principle of equality from one group to another does not imply that we must  treat both groups in exactly the same way or grant exactly the same rights to both groups.  Whether or not you will treat a human or animal the same depends on their nature.   The basic principle of equality does not require equal or identical treatment and it  requires equal consideration.  Equal consideration for different beings may lead to different treatment and different  rights.  One issue with racism and sexism is that you cannot infer anything about that person’s  intellectual or moral capacities and abilities.  Equality is a moral idea and not an assertion of fact.  The principle of the equality of human beings is not a description of an alleged actual  equality among humans; it is a prescription of how we should treat humans.  Jeremy Bentham (utilitarian)–“Each to count for one and none for more than one.”  Translation: The interests of every human being affected are to be taken into account and  given the same weight as the like interests of any other being.  Taking into account the interests of the being, whatever those interests may be, must  according to the principle of equality be extended to all beings; including animals.  Racism and sexism must be condemned and so should speciesism.  Speciesism is a prejudice or attitude of bias toward the interests of members of one’s own species and against those members of other species.  The objections to racism and sexism can apply to speciesism.  The capacity for suffering and enjoyment along with hapiness is a vital characteristic that  gives a being a right to equal consideration.  The capacity for suffering and enjoyment is a prerequisite for having interests at all.  Ex. A stone being kicked down the street by a kid doesn’t have interests because it cannot suffer.  Nothing we could do to a stone could have any effect to its warfare.  If a being suffers there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering  into consideration.  The nature of the being doesn’t matter.  They are to be treated equally if they have the capacity to suffer.  Ex. A mouse being kicked on the side of a road would have an interest because it can  suffer.  Sentience= lacking the capacity to suffer.  Someone who is racist, sexist, or participates is speciesism violates the principle of  equality by more weight to their interests based solely on their race, sex, or species.   Animals can feel pain.  Therefore, there is no moral justification for regarding pain and pleasure that animals feel as less important than the same amount of pain or pleasure felt by humans.  Normal adult human beings may have mental capacities that in certain circumstances  would lead them to suffer more than animals would in the same circumstance.  Sometimes animals differ because of their more limited understanding.  Pains of the same intensity and duration are equally bad, whether felt by humans or  animals.  Most people are speciesists because they will readily cause pain to animals when they  won’t do the same to humans.  Sanctity to life view= it is always wrong to take an innocent human life.  People who take this view oppose abortion and euthanasia but don’t usually oppose the  killing of nonhumans.  There are some animals that have a higher mental capacity than a mentally challenged  infant.  The only thing that distinguishes that infant from the animal is the infant biologically is a  homo sapiens which is what most people feel gives it a right to life.   Using that arbitrary difference is speciesism.  One way to avoid speciesism is by allowing beings which are similar in all relevant  aspects have a similar right to life.   It is true that certain beings have features that make their lives more valuable than those  of other beings.  There are also some nonhuman animals whose lives by any standards are more valuable  than the lives of some humans.  A chimpanzee, dog or pig can have a higher mental capacity than a severely retarded  infant.  General Idea:   We should give the same respect to the lives of animals as we give to the lives of those  humans at a similar mental level.   


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