This paper is designed to help people rationally engage moral issues regarding the treatment of animals, specifically uses of animals in medical and psychological experimentation, basic research, drug development, education and training, consumer product testing and other areas.
Philosophers and other theorists from a surprisingly wide range of ethical perspectives have argued that harming animals in agribusiness, in the fashion industry, in research labs, and in other arenas— that is, causing animals to experience pain, suffering, and death for these purposes—is seriously morally wrong and that we individually and collectively ought not to support these practices. The range of ethical perspectives includes utilitarianism and other consequentialisms, rights-based deontologies, ideal contractarianisms, virtue ethics, common-sense moralities, religious moralities, feminist ethics, and (...) more, indeed almost every major theoretical perspective in ethics.1 While there is a river of moral thinking in defense of animals, defenses of common beliefs and attitudes regarding animal use are but a trickle. Therefore, Tibor R. Machan’s book, Putting Humans First: Why We Are Nature’s Favorite, an attempt to justify the status quo regarding animal use and show why its critics are mistaken, is a.. (shrink)
Frey sets the challenge for the other authors: to explain why, morally, no humans can be subject to the kinds of experiments that animals are subject to and to explain how researchers can reliablyuse animal models to understand and cure human disease. He thinks that the first challenge has not been met; the second challenge is, unfortunately, not directly addressed in this book. Adrian Morrison states that he “abhors” positions like Frey’s, Peter Singer’s and Tom Regan’s. He asserts that all (...) “human beings stand apart in a moral sense from all other species” (51) and that all are worthy of “special consideration” (50). Regrettably he fails to defend his view by identifying the morally-relevant characteristics that all humans (even those with less intelligence, sentience and autonomy than animals) possess and all animals lack that might make his claim true. That omission prevents him from rationally criticizing opposing views. (shrink)
Zagzebski’s paper ends with a passage from Iris Murdoch. While the character in the passage is Kant, who recognizes the sounds of the moral law as coming from “the voice of his own reason,” (p. 22) Murdoch’s message seems to be directed to anyone who accepts a “secular” ethic. We can understand her message as a warning: DO NOT reject theistic or Christian ethics; DO NOT fail to view Christ as the source of the moral law, for this rejection is (...) (if I understand Murdoch correctly) one of the first steps down the road to Hell. I will argue that Christians should take these first steps down this road (and, if fact, ride the slippery slope all the way down), but that this road is not the road to Hell. It’s the moral road that Christians should want to be on. (shrink)
The vast majority of Altick’s discussion restates, in slightly different language, Machan’s argument for the conclusion that animals don’t have any “natural” moral rights. (The questions of what legal rights animals should have and what treatment of animals should be legally actionable are separate issues; our focus is on ethics and moral philosophy, not the law.) This argument is as follows.
right. Unlike incoherent positive rights , such as the “right” to education or health care, the animal right is, at bottom, a right to be left alone . It does not call for government to tax us in order to provide animals with food, shelter, and veterinary care. It only requires us to stop killing them and making them suffer. I can think of no other issue where the libertarian is arguing for a positive right—his right to make animals submit (...) to any use he sees—and the other side is arguing for a negative right! (shrink)
I now apply these logical skills to many other common arguments in defense of animal use. In each case, once we make the premises clear, precise and/or add the missing premise(s) needed to reveal the full pattern of reasoning, we see that each argument has at least one premise that is either false or in need of serious, but unsupplied, rational defense. Thus, we should believe these arguments are unsound.
In Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (Doubleday, 2008), Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen argue that human embryo-destructive experimentation is morally wrong and should not be supported with state funds. I argue that their arguments fail.
|Scope: | |1. The first sentence should include the subject’s name, life span in | |parenthesis, and place and date of birth (day and month) if known (followed by | |mentioning early work on civil disobedience, perhaps) | |2. Outline key contributions to animal ethics, focusing on Animal Liberation | |and Practical Ethics | |3. Outline contributions to debates on poverty, relating this to environmental | |ethics | |4. Outline more recent work on globalization and climate change eg in One (...) World|. (shrink)
Russ Shafer-Landau’s Moral Realism: A Defence is a refreshingly clear, straightforward, and elegant search for the truth about whether there are any objective, universal truths in ethics. The book’s jargon-free writing style, clarity in argumentation and comprehensive coverage of the issues make it an ideal main text for upper-division undergraduate courses and seminars in ethics. It is also accessible also to bright students with just a few philosophy courses who are interested in the issues (Shafer-Landau’s entry-level..
Pinn seems to be addressing two logically distinct sets of questions. They are distinct in that answers to one set have no implications for the other (or if they do, the  connection is not at all obvious). It’s not clear whether Pinn realizes this.
Philosophers and other theorists from a surprisingly wide range of ethical perspectives have argued that harming animals in agribusiness, in the fashion industry, in research labs, and in other arenas— that is, causing animals to experience pain, suffering, and death for these purposes—is seriously morally wrong and that we individually and collectively ought not to support these practices. The range of ethical perspectives includes utilitarianism and other consequentialisms, rights-based deontologies, ideal contractarianisms, virtue ethics, common-sense moralities, religious moralities, feminist ethics, and (...) more, indeed almost every major theoretical perspective in ethics. (shrink)
“It is easy for us to criticize the prejudices of our grandfathers, from which our fathers freed themselves. It is more difficult to distance ourselves from our own views, so that we can dispassionately search for prejudices among the beliefs and values we hold.”.
David Graham , email: email@example.com>; url: http://reductioblog.com>, is an independent scholar living in Sacramento, California. He graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Sacramento, with degrees in English and philosophy. His writing, which focuses on libertarianism and animal rights, has been published on iFeminists.com and Strike-the-Root.com.
“The fact is that animals that don't seem to have a purpose really do have a purpose. The Bosses have to eat. It's probably the most noble purpose of all, when you come to think about it.” – Cat, “Babe”.
In Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007) Francis Beckwith argues that fetuses are such that, from conception, they are prima facie wrong to kill. He thinks abortion is almost never permissible beyond rare cases where, unless the fetus is killed, both the pregnant woman and the fetus will die. He defends his view not from religiously-justified premises but by appealing to “a particular metaphysics of the human person” that he calls “The Substance (...) View.” I will argue that such metaphysics is irrelevant to the morality of abortion. Beckwith’s metaphysics thereby neither supports, nor detracts from, his abortion ethic. Moral, not metaphysical, assumptions drive the argument, and Beckwith inadequately defends these assumptions. Indeed, they are often false, and his main argument is unsound. (130 words). (shrink)
Is banning trans fat a bad policy? Resnik (2010) offers two general reasons for thinking so. First, because trans fat bans could lead to the government’s placing other objectionable restrictions upon food choices. Second, that, because we can adequately reduce trans fat consumption through education and mandatory labeling, bans are unnecessary. There are good reasons to reject both claims. First, since any slippery slope towards further restrictions on food choices is easily avoided, trans fat bans do not give the cause (...) for worry that Resnik suggests they do; second, trans fat bans are necessary, in the sense of “necessary” that is relevant to public health policy debates. (shrink)
Many people involved in the life sciences and related fields and industries routinely cause mice, rats, dogs, cats, primates and other non-human animals to experience pain, suffering, and an early death, harming these animals greatly and not for their own benefit. Harms, however, require moral justification, reasons that pass critical scrutiny. Animal experimenters and dissectors might suspect that strong moral justification has been given for this kind of treatment of animals. I survey some recent attempts to provide such a justification (...) and show that they do not succeed: they provide no rational defense of animal experimentation and related activities. Thus, the need for a rational defense of animal experimentation remains. (shrink)
Carl Cohen's arguments against animal rights are shown to be unsound. His strategy entails that animals have rights, that humans do not, the negations of those conclusions, and other false and inconsistent implications. His main premise seems to imply that one can fail all tests and assignments in a class and yet easily pass if one's peers are passing and that one can become a convicted criminal merely by setting foot in a prison. However, since his moral principles imply that (...) nearly all exploitive uses of animals are wrong anyway, foes of animal rights are advised to seek philosophical consolations elsewhere. I note that some other philosopher's arguments are subject to similar objections. (shrink)
The problem of infant suffering and death has remained one of the most intractable problems for theists. Andrew Chignell has attempted to develop a theodicy for this problem that is based on Marilyn Adam’s paradigm for theodicy. However, his discussion repeatedly avoids the argument that, traditionally, most have thought to be the basis of this problem of evil. Thus, his theodicy provides the traditional theist with no adequate response to the problem. I argue that since infant suffering is a serious (...) (and inadequately addressed) problem for any theodicy, animal torture and death is a serious problem as well. I note that few theodicies have addressed animal suffering in a manner that takes their pain seriously. (shrink)
In a recent article published in this journal, Andrew Chignell proposes some candidates for greater or ‘balancing out’ goods that could explain why God allows some infants to be tortured to death. I argue that each of Chignell's proposals is either incoherent, metaphysically dubious, and/or morally objectionable. Thus, his proposals do not explain what might justify God in allowing infants to be tortured, and the existence of infant suffering remains a serious problem for traditional theism.
We appreciate John Altick’s response to our review of Tibor Machan’s book, Putting Humans First, and are grateful to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies for allowing us to respond. The more discussion of these important matters, the better. In hopes that others will join the debate and address issues and arguments that we do not, our reply will be brief. The vast majority of Altick’s discussion restates, in slightly different language, Machan’s argument for the conclusion that animals don’t have (...) any “natural” moral rights. (The questions of what legal rights animals should have and what treatment of animals should be legally actionable are separate issues; our focus is on ethics and moral philosophy, not the law.) This argument is as follows. (shrink)