PHIL 224, Week 2


Major ethical theories:

Possible synthesis: Needs-based consequentialism

Possible problems:

Assignment 1, due Sept. 29.

Change: If you do topic 2 on animal extinction, the assignment MUST be handed in by Sept. 29.


Consequentialist arguments for vegetarianism

  1. Not eating animals avoids environmental damage and depletion.
  2. Vegetarianism makes people healthier.
  3. Vegetarianism reduces world hunger.
  4. Raising animals for food causes animal suffering.

Rights & duties arguments for vegetarianism

  1. People have a duty to look after their health (Fox).
  2. Animals have rights because they suffer (Singer).
  3. Animals have rights because they are "bearers of life" (Regan).

Value map for being vegetarian

Discussion questions

  1. How good are the arguments for vegetarianism?
  2. Which arguments would support being vegan (no dairy products)?
  3. Are non-human animals capable of pain, consciousness, beliefs, interests, self-awareness?
  4. Is assignment of rights to animals an example of anthropomorphism (the inaccurate attribution of human characteristics to non-humans)?
  5. What would be people's ethical obligations to intelligent extraterrestrials?

Native Hunters

Arguments against native hunting

  1. Non-human animals have rights to life.
  2. Non-human animals suffer if hunted.

Arguments for native hunting

  1. Aboriginals have needs for food and subsistence.
  2. Aboriginals have rights to their traditional cultures.

Discussion questions

  1. Are their cultural rights?
  2. How can we adjudicate conflicts between cultures and/or species?

Review Questions for Week 2

  1. State the consequentialist argument for being vegetarian based on environmental effects, and one response.
  2. State the animal rights argument for being vegetarian, and one response.
  3. State the consequentialist argument for and against native hunting.
  4. State rights-based arguments for and against native hunting.
  5. What is the difference between anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism?
  6. How does Fox think that duties to oneself support vegetarianism?
  7. What ethical reasons does Donner think are relevant to seal hunting by natives?
  8. Essay: Considering consequentialist arguments for and against, should people be vegetarians?
  9. Essay: Considering rights-based arguments for and against, should people be vegetarians?
  10. Essay: Considering arguments for and against, should natives hunt?

Phil 224

Paul Thagard

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

This page updated Sept. 22, 2011