PHIL-101, Ethics. HW 10 Study Guide
Terms in this set (10)
List ten different ways in which we use nonhuman animals.
The lists will vary, and include some on the list in "getting started" above.
How is cruelty defined in terms of sentience?
Cruelty is usually defined in terms of unnecessary suffering. Sentience means the ability to feel pleasure and pain.
How can the distinction between causing and allowing harm or pain be used to criticize the view that we can cause pain to animals because this part of nature-that is, something that happens in the wild?
Usually we have more moral objection to causing harm or pain than to not preventing it. If causing harm is wrong, this would not necessarily mean that not preventing it was also wrong. Thus we could not say that if we allow the latter we must allow the former.
What is the meaning of the term rights?
Rights are usually thought of as legitimate claims either to be given certain things or treatment or not to be restricted or prevented from seeking that. The meaning of a "right" is a distinct issue from the basis of or reasons for having a right.
For a being to be the kind of thing that can have rights, is it necessary that it be able to claim them? That is be a moral agent? Why or why not?
Supposedly one need not be able to claim a right in order to have it or else infants or the retarded or even those who do not know they have a right would in fact not have rights. If a moral agent is one who is the kind of being that is responsible for his actions, then it would seem that moral agency would be a sufficient condition for having rights since these are part of the same moral universe. However, whether it is a necessary condition for rights is another matter.
What do those who use the fact that animals have interests as a basis for their having rights mean by this?
They usually mean that having an interest in something means being positively oriented toward it by desiring or wanting that thing. Whether this has to be a conscious desire is another matter.
Describe the issues involved in the debate over whether nonhuman animal's interest ought to be treated equally with those of humans.
The debate us captured by the points of argument in the articles by Singer and Steinbock. One issue is the type of interests that each has and whether there is any significant moral difference in this. The other is whether the beings with the interests are substantially different in some respect such that their interests, whatever they are, should be treated differently.
List some anthropocentric reasons for preserving animal species.
Among the anthropocentric reasons for preserving animal species are that they might be an unknown source for therapies and drugs, that they play a key role in regulating the numbers and life of other animals on which we depend, and that they are interesting and aesthetically pleasing to us.
What problems does the meaning of a "species" raise for deciding whether animal species have moral standing of some sort?
One issue is whether species are real. Individual animals are in fact real. However, if a species is just a classification that we make, then it exists only in our minds or as a term that we use. On the other hand, if there is something in nature itself that guides what classifications we make, we may think of a species as real in some sense. Then we may be more able to think that it has a moral standing of some sort.
What reasons do supporters give for using nonhuman animals in experimental research? What reasons for opposing it does their opponents give? In particular, discuss the issues of pain and necessity.
Those who support the use of non-human animals in experimentation often cite as reasons that they are necessary and only if they are used can we provide information about medical therapies or the risks of other products. They argue that the animals status is such that this is permissible and that it should be done in ways to minimize animal pain nevertheless. Those opposing this will use similar criteria, but on the opposite side: that there is not the difference in moral status, that suffering is unjustified, and that the benefits do not outweigh the suffering.
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