Introduction to Ethics Lecture 19 Regan & The Case for Animal Rights - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Introduction to Ethics Lecture 19 Regan & The Case for Animal Rights

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Introduction to Ethics Lecture 19 Regan & The Case for Animal Rights
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Introduction to Ethics Lecture 19 Regan & The Case for Animal Rights

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  1. Introduction to EthicsLecture 19Regan & The Case for Animal Rights By David Kelsey

  2. The animal rights movement • The 3 goals of the animal rights movement: • The total abolition of the use of animals in science • The total dissolution of commercial animal agriculture • The total elimination of commercial and sport hunting and trapping Regan wants to argue for the position by arguing that we should change the way we view and value animals…

  3. What’s wrong with mistreating animals • To Regan, what is wrong with mistreating animals: • Isn’t just the pain, suffering and deprivation it causes them. • There is a wrong more fundamental than this: the basic belief that animals are our resources, resources to be used as we please… • So for Regan, a moral wrong is done if we raise a calf to eat it (veal) no matter if we treat the calf abhorrently by allowing it to live in a very confined space or if we treat the calf more humanely. What matters isn’t how we treat the calf, instead it’s that we raise it to eat it…

  4. Regan’s method • Regan’s method: • Regan first looks at views that deny that animals have rights. He then argues against them. • Indirect duties views: • Hold that the duties we have to animals are only duties in virtue of our duties we have to one another. • If I kick my neighbor’s dog this is wrong because I have a duty to my neighbor to not do wrong to him or his property… • Justifying the indirect duties view: • To justify the view we might say that though you and your dog are harmed when it is kicked, it is only your (human) pain that matters. • Regan dismisses this argument because “pain is pain wherever it occurs.”

  5. Contractarianism • Contractarianism: • Morality consists of a set of rules that individuals voluntarily agree to abide by • Those who understand and accept the terms of the contract are covered directly. They have rights that are created and protected in the contract. • The contractors can also spell out the protection for others who cannot sign the contract themselves. • If one cannot sign the contract themselves then they have no rights… • My duty to animals consists and is founded in my duty to the people who love and care for them…

  6. Regan against Contractarianism • Regan’s argument against Contractarianism: • Morality consists of rules people agree to abide by. But the people that set up the rules are the ones who enforce them. So whoever is strong enough to enforce the rules makes them. • If too few contactors care about an injustice then the victim isn’t protected against it… • So the view could sanction the most blatant forms of social, economic, moral and political injustice…

  7. Rawls’ Contractarianism • John Rawls’ view: • The view puts the contractors behind a veil of ignorance. All accidental features of being a human being are ignored, for example, race, sex, age, etc. • This eliminates all bias and prejudice • Thus, might doesn’t make right because the contractor could be the one that isdiscriminated against. • Regan’s reply to Rawls: • On Rawls’ view we have no direct duties to those who cannot sign the contract, such as small children or the mentally challenged. • But Regan’s point is that if we harmed a small child we would be doing a wrong to the child and not just to those who care about him. • Question: • Is this reply sufficient? Maybe small children and the mentally challenged are granted rights behind the veil of ignorance just because I don’t know whether I am one or not.

  8. Regan on Indirect duties views • Regan’s point against Contractarianism: • Regan thinks Contractarianism is an indirect duties view. Only those who can sign the contract are granted full moral rights. • Thus, we have a duty to not harm something or someone who cannot sign the contract only insofar as one who can sign cares about them. • But Regan thinks such a view is plainly false because when we harm a young child for instance it is plain that we are wronging the child…

  9. Regan against Utilitariansim • Regan argues against Utilitarianism: • Regan considers Utilitarianism as a direct duties view. Utilitarianism can prohibit mistreating animals so long as doing so leads to evil consequences… • But suppose you have an Aunt Bea who is rich and intends to give you a large inheritance after she dies. She won’t give you this money now. She is a rather old, inactive, cranky and sour person but she prefers to go on living. • Thus, the world will be better off without Aunt Bea. • So according to Utilitarianism you ought to take care of her.

  10. Regan’s view • The Rights View: • Regan begins with the view that an individual has inherent moral worth. • So we are more than merely a machine to produce utility… • For the sake of equality Regan adds that anyone who has inherent value has it equally. • Race or sex doesn’t matter… • All those having inherent value then have “an equal right to be treated with respect, to be treated in ways that do not reduce them to the status of things, as if they existed as resources for others.” • I violate an individuals rights when I fail to show respect for their value. • Benefits of the rights view: • It denies the tolerability of any and all forms of discrimination • It denies that we can bring about good results by using evil means that violate an individuals rights

  11. The Rights View • The Rights view: • Regan thinks that full moral rights aren’t limited to only humans. • His argument: • To say that Rights only belong to Homo Sapiens is speciesism… • We cannot say that although animals do have inherent value that they have less value than do humans. • Regan’s argument: if animals have less inherent value than us because of something they lack like reason or autonomy or intellect then it will follow that certain humans, for example the mentally challenged, have less value as well.

  12. The Rights view • What grants one full moral rights? • What is common and similar to all human life, according to Regan is this: • “we are each of us the experiencing subject of a life, a conscious creature having an individual welfare that has importance to us whatever our usefulness to others.” • Every dimension of our life, our pleasure and pain, suffering and sadness, satisfaction and frustration, continued existence or untimely death “make a difference to the quality of our life as lived, as experienced, by us as individuals. • For Regan, since animals are the experiencing subject of a life as well it follows that animals too have rights… • An animal’s experiences make a difference to the quality of life as lived and experienced by that animal…

  13. What follows from the Rights view… • What follows from the rights view: • The animal rights movement is part of the human rights movement. • Just as we fight for women’s rights so to ought we fight for the rights of animals. • The use of animals in science ought to be abolished. • Commercial animal agriculture ought to be abolished. • Animals cannot be treated as resources...