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Phl 118, Exam #3 Pg. 285-291

by: Jalena Williams

Phl 118, Exam #3 Pg. 285-291 PHL 118

Jalena Williams

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These notes are for the required readings for Exam #3.
moral problems
Mark Shelton
Class Notes
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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 59 views. For similar materials see moral problems in PHIL-Philosophy at Central Michigan University.


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Date Created: 03/03/16
Speciesism and the Idea of Equality Bonnie Steinbock  Agrees with Singer that nonhuman pain and suffering deserve some moral consideration.  However, Steinbock denies that consideration should be equal to that given to humans.  Argues that humans have greater morally relevant capacity that nonhuman animals do not have the capacity to have, which entitles humans to greater consideration.   The greater moral capacities are:  The ability to be morally responsible   To reciprocate in ways that animals cannot   To desire self­respect  It is irrelevant to think that membership within a certain species is relevant to moral  treatment.  The difference between racism and sexism and speciesism is that we don’t treat animals  differently just because they have fur and feathers.   We treat animals differently based on ways that are morally relevant.   There are certain things that animals are not benefited by.  Intelligence is thought to be a morally relevant capacity because it correlates with the  capacity for moral responsibility.  Singer feels that nonhuman animals lack certain capacities that human animals have,  which justifies different treatment.  However, Singer doesn’t agree that it justifies less consideration to their needs and  interests.   He says even with racism the moral mistake isn’t blacks or women are inferior to whites  but that they give them less consideration.   Singer states that equality does not depend on intelligence, moral capacity, physical  strength, or similar matters of fact.   Singer says equality is a moral ideal and not a simple assertion of fact.  Singer is supported by philosopher Bernard Williams.  Williams states that membership in the Homo sapiens species in itself has no moral  significance, but rather the fact that all men are human is serves as a reminder that being  human involves the possession of characteristics that are morally relevant.  Williams argues that is the capacity to feel pain and affection that justifies equality.  Richard Wasserstrom states that the racist fails to acknowledge that the black person is  capable of suffering just as a white person is.  Wasserstrom argues the reason a person has a right not suffer is that we value freedom  from pain.   Wasserstrom asserts that everyone has this right since all human beings are alike in their  capacity to suffer.   Wasserstrom says humans are entitled to equality based solely on suffering.   He says these rights must be extended to animals since they suffer too.   Singer says that the demand for equality must include all beings which have an equal  capacity to suffer and enjoy well­being.  Singer places sentience at the basis of equality and not intelligence or reason.  Singer says that equality is not equality of treatment but equal consideration of interests.  Equal consideration of interests will often mean quite different treatment which depends  on the nature of the entity being considered.  Ex. It would be absurd to talk about a dog’s right to vote.  It is thought that animals do not merit equal considerations of interests because unlike  humans they do not and cannot have rights.   Even though they don’t have rights that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t still count.  Infants, the mentally defective, and insane lack certain minimal conceptual capabilities  for having rights.   It isn’t argued that they should be treated differently.  Rights do not have to be the only reason for not treating a being a certain way.  We could just decide not to do something because it may hurt that being.  Singer says that recognition of different desires and interests will often require different  treatment.  Kevin Donaghy argues that what entitles us human beings to a privileged position in the  moral community is a certain minimal level of intelligence, which is a prerequisite for  morally relevant capacities.  Singer agrees with valuing the lives of normal human beings over the lives of nonhuman  animals.  Singer says we don’t have to value a human and an animal’s life equally but we do have  to for suffering.   Donaghy agrees that killing of a normally intelligent being is far more serious than the  killing of a person so severely limited that he lacked the adult capacities of a human pig.  Steinbock argues that it is not wrong to extend special care to members of our own  species, motivated by feelings of sympathy, protectiveness, etc.   


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