PHIL 224, Week 3

Animal ethics, continued.

Assignment 1, due Sept. 29.

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

Recommended: include a node for the topic, e.g. MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION, ANIMAL EXTINCTION, GMO. The map should be like the vegetarian map, not like the right-wing and left-wing maps.

Future debates

Please volunteer for debates in November concerning:

  1. Alberta oil sands and planned pipeline
  2. Fracking

Doubts about animal rights

  1. Non-human animals lack characteristics that support the attribution of rights to a species:
  2. Extending rights to animals diminishes human rights.
  3. Welfare of animals can be protected for other reasons: pain is bad.
  4. Similarly, rights should not be attributed to trees, islands, planets.

From Week 2: Native Hunters

Why environmental ethics is especially important for aboriginal issues

  1. Aboriginals are particularly vulnerable in Canadian society.
  2. Many aboriginals live in fragile environments.

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?

Cattle and Prairie Ecology

Arguments against raising cattle

  1. Health disadvantages: cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, E. coli contamination, etc.
  2. Environmental disadvantages: water, manure, methane, etc.
  3. Pain and suffering of cows.

Arguments for raising cattle

  1. Nutritional value for humans
  2. Pleasure of eating meat
  3. Prairie ecology benefits: grazing is better than cultivation

Endangered Species

Arguments for protecting endangered species

  1. All species have a right to existence.
  2. All species have intrinsic value.
  3. Diverse species have health value for humans.
  4. Diverse species have aesthetic value for humans.

Arguments against protecting endangered species.

  1. Extinction is natural: 99% of species have gone extinct.
  2. Most species are of no foreseeable value to humans.
  3. Legal protection of endangered species infringes human rights, e.g. property.

Review Questions for Week 3

  1. Why does Cohen think that raising cattle is environmentally beneficial?
  2. Are the arguments for not eating beef different from the general arguments for being vegetarian?
  3. What reasons does Wellington consider for attributing intrinsic value to species?
  4. What reasons does Wellington consider for attributing indirect utility to species?
  5. What legal steps does Wellington think should be taken to protect species?
  6. Essay: Considering arguments for and against, should endangered species be protected?

Phil 224

Paul Thagard

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

This page updated Sept. 26, 2011