We begin by asking how the moral status of animals has been understood by thinkers who deny that animals have rights. Then we test the mettle of their ideas by seeing how well they stand up under the heat of fair criticism. If we start our thinking in this way we soon find that some people believe that we have no duties directly to animals, that we owe nothing to them that we can do nothing that wrongs them. Rather we can do wrong acts that involve animals and so we have duties regarding them though none to them.
Applied Ethics Regan v Singer: It is crucial, at the outset, to point out that, in attempting to derive animal rights though an analogy between animals and humans, both Regan and Singer fail to come to terms with the strongest rival position: This close though imperfect correlation between species and the capacity-set called "personhood" leads to the common, though strictly incorrect, term "human rights.
The error is also rampant in public discussions of "the right to life" of fetuses which focus on the question of "human life" rather than "personal life".
However, it is a simple empirical fact that no such beings have yet been shown to exist. It does not follow from this analysis that non-humans possess no rights whatever. Several philosophers have argued that sentient animals have a right to humane treatment.
What, then, of so-called "marginal cases" of human beings with only partial or potential person-traits? As with animals, they might be accorded such rights as they have the capacity to exercise. Also, potential persons, such as infants or temporarily comatose individuals, are plausibly accorded rights "in anticipation" of later capacities.
|He taught philosophy at North Carolina State University from until|
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To the best of our knowledge, no animals warrant such "anticipations. Surely it is, to say the least, a prominent presumption among philosophers who deal with this issue.
Essentially for these reasons: This, of course, is a conclusion to which Regan and Singer strenuously object. Why, then, should personal life, contrary to the contention of "animal rights" advocates, be qualitatively different? The key, most commentators agree, is language, defined, not as "sign communication," but as a syntactically structured system of significant symbols.
Furthermore, all this and more can, through grammar, be combined and structured in an inexhaustible variety of ways. Finally, through language, one may acquire a self-concept, and view oneself as an entity continuing through time.
Though the point of view that we have sketched above has been extensively and recently argued by philosophers such as Mead, Dewey, Cassirer, Langer, Wittgenstein and many linguists, psychologists and anthropologists, Regan chooses instead to take on Rene Descartes -- and no one else.
He thus dismisses "the linguistic difference: We do not say "Ah, if only he could still speak, we could give him something for his pain.
For he feels no pain. Of course, animals and language-deprived humans can suffer pain, and may therefore be said to have a right not to endure gratuitous pain. However, paralyzed humans who cannot "perform linguistic feats" may not be language-deprived, since there may be a great deal "going on inside.
With language and personhood, life-quality is transformed. The life and experiences of persons and of non-persons are no longer "comparable;" they are "different in kind.
Their advocacy of "animal rights" and "animal liberation" stands repeatedly on the contention that human and animal experiences might be regarded as "comparable," or even "equal," and thus that human and animal "interests" and "rights" might be "equal.
But surely, this is not how it is. On the contrary, because human experiences are interactive, organic, intentional and systemic, an "autobiography" is more than a sum of discrete sequential experiences.
Because human experiences are contextual, they come out of an ongoing life, and effect the future of that life. Experiences which "happen to" a life -- a stubbed toe, a toothache, an unexpected prize, etc. Thus the quality of a pleasure or pain can not be assessed apart from the quality of the life it happens "in" or "to" -- apart from the matrix of attitudes, expectations and evaluations that make up that life.
Now if, as Regan and Singer contend, the differences between human and animal lives are simply matters of degree not kind, cf. Regan among isolated phenomenal bits, then some sense and use may be made of this arguments by analogy.
Our account of "personhood" seems to suggest, however, that this position is radically mistaken. Humans, qua persons, deal with each other in conversation and with themselves in thought, with and through concepts articulated through syntactical language.
They think abstractly of themselves, of others, of community, of time, of their past and future, of concepts such as rationality and of morality. As persons, humans experience unique dimensions of mental and emotional pain; self-reproach, dread of impending loss, regret for abandoned projects, fear of death, and such moral sentiments as guilt and shame.
Persons also uniquely enjoy such pleasures as self-respect, intellectual and creative accomplishment, patriotism, irony, humor and pride. In sum the transcending and transforming fact that human beings are persons gives them a moral considerability far beyond that of animals.
Thus, once we seriously reflect upon and evaluate the human condition of personhood, talk of "comparability" or even "equality" of experiences of animals and human beings becomes unsupportable.
Having said all this, we must not coast off the deep end. In particular, acknowledgment of these significant differences does not entail that animal experiences do not morally "matter," and that gratuitous torture of animals is not morally reprehensible.
However different and even unknowable animal pain may be, it is pain nonetheless.Compare Tom Regan, Carl Cohen and Peter Singer in Terms of Animal Rights Singer Animal rights are one of the most controversial issues today. There has been endless debate about whether or .
Vital Text: "Reading The Case for Animal Rights helps you sleep more soundly. Everyone is currently interacting with the screen. However, the emission of electronic signals puts your mind in a state of attention (as if it must be maintained).
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THE CASE FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS By Tom Regan From: ANIMAL RIGHTS AND HUMAN OBLIGATIONS Edited by Tom Regan and Peter Singer. Second edition Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall, ISBN # How to proceed?
We begin by asking how the moral status of animals has been understood by thinkers who deny that animals have rights.
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Peter Singer’s argument reveals little new to the reader who has ever been thinking about poverty and difference in life standards in different nations.
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