4 Separate Discussion Questions Please Read Each Carefully

Discussion Post Assignment Description:

1.) Please watch the TedTalk below and carefully read the excerpt from the transcript.

2.) Please review Chapter 2 of Philosophy the Basicsand determine which ethical framework you have usedin the past to determine the right course of action in a moral dilemma.

https://studyhighschoolenglish.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/0415693160_philosophy-the-basics.pdf

3.) Please share the moral dilemma you have dealt withalong with the ethical framework you have used. Please provide at least two strengths and two weaknesses of your preferred ethical framework. Please use the criticisms of each framework offered in the book to assist you in identifying the weaknesses of the ethical framework you chose.

Philosophy in prison
“…You think you know right and wrong? Then can you tell me what wrong is? No, don’t just give me an example. I want to know about wrongness itself, the idea of wrong. What is that idea? What makes something wrong? How do we know that it’s wrong? Maybe you and I disagree. Maybe one of us is wrong about the wrong. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s me — but we’re not here to trade opinions; everyone’s got an opinion. We are here for knowledge. Our enemy is thoughtlessness. This is philosophy.”

And something changes for Tony. “Could be I’m wrong. I’m tired of being wrong. I want to know what is wrong. I want to know what I know.” What Tony sees in that moment is the project of philosophy, the project that begins in wonder — what Kant called “admiration and awe at the starry sky above and the moral law within.” What can creatures like us know of such things? It is the project that always takes us back to the condition of existence — what Heidegger called “the always already there.” It is the project of questioning what we believe and why we believe it — what Socrates called “the examined life.” Socrates, a man wise enough to know that he knows nothing. Socrates died in prison, his philosophy intact.

So Tony starts doing his homework. He learns his whys and wherefores, his causes and correlations, his logic, his fallacies. Turns out, Tony’s got the philosophy muscle. His body is in prison, but his mind is free. Tony learns about the ontologically promiscuous, the epistemologically anxious, the ethically dubious, the metaphysically ridiculous. That’s Plato, Descartes, Nietzsche and Bill Clinton.

So when he gives me his final paper, in which he argues that the categorical imperative (Kantian ethics) is perhaps too uncompromising to deal with the conflict that affects our everyday and challenges me to tell him whether therefore we are condemned to moral failure, I say, “I don’t know. Let us think about that.” Because in that moment, there’s no mark by Tony’s name; it’s just the two of us standing there. It is not professor and convict, it is just two minds ready to do philosophy. And I say to Tony, “Let’s do this.”

Part 2:

Jeremy Bentham, 1789

Your main posting is due this Monday, September 14th.In order to adequately answer the questions posed, your main posting should be at least 500 words long.

https://wordcounter.net/

Two replies (at least five sentences each) to your classmates are due on Tuesday, September 15th.

Please make sure to highlight what you found insightful about your classmates’ posts.

Please use a spell checker to identify grammatical errors before submitting your work.

Discussion Post Assignment Description (4 parts):

1.) Please read Chapter 3 Animals in Philosophy the Basics.
https://studyhighschoolenglish.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/0415693160_philosophy-the-basics.pdf

2.) Please watch the following video and answer the following questions:

Hypothetically speaking, if someone is a meat-eater, why would she/he have an issue with eating fluffy?

Dogs and pigs have the same level of cognition. How would a meat-eater justify eating bacon if she/he is horrified at the thought of eating a dog?

What is the inconsistency in this line of reasoning? How is this related to the term speciesism?
Non-Human Animals: Crash Course Philosophy #4

3.) Please read All Animals Are Equal by Peter Singer and answer the following questions:

How is the Christian perspective below very similar to Peter Singer’s utilitarian argument for equality of moral consideration?

How are both of these perspectives different than the Kantian focus on rational thought and rights-based duty-oriented claims to moral worth?

https://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/phil1200,Spr07/singer.pdf

This is how Singer’s argument develops through his article:

The only criterion of moral importance that succeeds in including all humans, and excluding all non-humans, is simple membership in the species Homo sapiens.
However, using simple membership in the species Homo sapiens as a criterion of moral importance is completely arbitrary (random).
Of the remaining criteria we might consider, only sentience―the capacity of a being to experience things like pleasure and pain―is a plausible criterion of moral importance.
Using sentience as a criterion of moral importance entails that we extend to other sentient creatures the same basic moral consideration (i.e. “basic principle of equality”) that we extend to (typical, sentient) human beings.
Therefore, we ought to extend to animals the same equality of consideration that we extend to human beings.

Christian perspective:

“Animal advocates sometimes speak a language of liberation bearing little resemblance to the world that animals actually inhabit, or to our own world for that matter… Much as I admire anyone who bothers to take the matter seriously, some [rights-based] theorists, at least in their more abstract arguments, miss a crucial point by assuming that to be cared for a creature must somehow be made our equal, which isn’t even true in our human affairs, where often those we love most are the weak and vulnerable.”

Matthew Scully, author of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

Peter Singer’s utilitarian argument:

“We should make it quite clear that the claim to equality does not depend on intelligence, moral capacity, physical strength, or similar matters of fact. Equality is a moral ideal, not a simple assertion of fact.

There is no logically compelling reason for assuming that a factual difference in ability between two people justifies any difference in the amount of consideration we give to satisfying their needs and interests. The principle of the equality of human beings is not a description of an alleged actual equality among humans: it is a prescription of how we should treat humans.

Jeremy Bentham incorporated the essential basis of moral equality into his utilitarian system of ethics in the formula: “Each to count for one and none for more than one.” In other words, the interests of every being affected by an action are to be taken into account and given the same weight as the like interests of any other being. A later utilitarian, Henry Sidgwick, put the point in this way: “The good of any one individual is of no more importance, from the point of view (if I may say so) of the Universe, than the good of any other.”

It is an implication of this principle of equality that our concern for others ought not to depend on what they are like, or what abilities they possess—although precisely what this concern requires us to do may vary according to the characteristics of those affected by what we do. It is on this basis that the case against racism and the case against sexism must both ultimately rest; and it is in accordance with this principle that speciesism is also to be condemned. If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his own ends, how can it entitle humans to exploit nonhumans.”

https://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/phil1200,Spr07/singer.pdf

All Animals Are Equal

PETER SINGER

“A liberation movement demands an expansion of our moral horizons and an extension or reinterpretation of the basic moral principle of equality. Practices that were previously regarded as natural and inevitable come to be seen as the result of an unjustifiable prejudice. Who can say with confidence that all his or her attitudes and practices are beyond criticism? If we wish to avoid being numbered amongst the oppressors, we must be prepared to re-think even our most fundamental attitudes. We need to consider them from the point of view of those most disadvantaged by our attitudes, and the practices that follow from these attitudes. If we can make this unaccustomed mental switch we may discover a pattern in our attitudes and practices that consistently operates so as to benefit one group—usually the one to which we ourselves belong—at the expense of another. In this way we may come to see that there is a case for a new liberation movement. My aim is to advocate that we make this mental switch in respect of our attitudes and practices towards a very large group of beings: members of species other than our own—or, as we popularly though misleadingly call them, animals. In other words, I am urging that we extend to other species the basic principle of equality that most of us recognize should be extended to all members of our own species.

The extension of the basic principle of equality from one group to another does not imply that we must treat both groups in exactly the same way, or grant exactly the same rights to both groups. Whether we should do so will depend on the nature of the members of the two groups. The basic principle of equality, I shall argue, is equality of consideration; and equal consideration for different beings may lead to different treatment and different rights.

I believe that we reach this conclusion if we examine the basis on which our opposition to discrimination on grounds of race or sex ultimately rests. We will then see that we would be on shaky ground if we were to demand equality for blacks, women, and other groups of oppressed humans while denying equal consideration to nonhumans. When we say that all human beings, whatever their race, creed, or sex, are equal, what is it that we are asserting?

Those who wish to defend a hierarchical, inegalitarian society have often pointed out that by whatever test we choose, it simply is not true that all humans are equal. Like it or not, we must face the fact that humans come in different shapes and sizes; they come with differing moral capacities, differingintellectual abilities, differing amounts of benevolent feeling and sensitivity to the needs of others, differing abilities to communicate effectively, and differing capacities to experience pleasure and pain. In short, if the demand for equality were based on the actual equality of all human beings, we would have to stop demanding equality. It would be an unjustifiable demand.

Still, one might cling to the view that the demand for equality among human beings is based on the actual equality of the different races and sexes. Although humans differ as individuals in various ways, there are no differences between the races and sexes as such. From the mere fact that a person is black, or a woman, we cannot infer anything else about that person. This, it may be said, is what is wrong with racism and sexism. The white racist claims that whites are superior to blacks, but this is false—although there are differences between individuals, some blacks are superior to some whites in all of the capacities and abilities that could conceivably be relevant. The opponent of sexism would say the same: a person’s sex is no guide to his or her abilities, and this is why it is unjustifiable to discriminate on the basis of sex. This is a possible line of objection to racial and sexual discrimination. It is not, however, the way that someone really concerned about equality would choose, because taking this line could, in some circumstances, force one to accept a most inegalitarian society.

The fact that humans differ as individuals, rather than as races or sexes, is a valid reply to someone who defends a hierarchical society like, say, South Africa, in which all whites are superior in status to all blacks. The existence of individual variations that cut across the lines of race or sex, however, provides us with no defense at all against a more sophisticated opponent of equality, one who proposes that, say, the interests of those with I.Q. ratings above 100 be preferred to the interests of those with I.Q.s below 100. Would a hierarchical society of this sort really be so much better than one based on race or sex? I think not. But if we tie the moral principle of equality to the factual equality of the different races or sexes, taken as a whole, our opposition to racism and sexism does not provide us with any basis for objecting to this kind of inegalitarianism.

There is a second important reason why we ought not to base our opposition to racism and sexism on any kind of factual equality, even the limited kind which asserts that variations in capacities and abilities are spread evenly between the different races and sexes: we can have no absolute guarantee that these abilities and capacities really are distributed evenly, without regard to race or sex, among human beings. So far as actual abilities are concerned, there do seem to be certain measurable differences between both races and sexes. These differences do not, of course, appear in each case, but only when averages are taken. More important still, we do not yet know how much of these differences is really due to the different genetic endowments of the various races and sexes, and how much is due to environmental differences that are the result of past and continuing discrimination. Perhaps all of the important differences will eventually prove to be environmental rather than genetic. Anyone opposed to racism and sexism will certainly hope that this will be so, for it will make the task of ending discrimination a lot easier; nevertheless it would be dangerous to rest the case against racism and sexism on the belief that all significant differences are environmental in origin.

The opponent of, say, racism who takes this line will be unable to avoid conceding that if differences in ability did after all prove to have some genetic connection with race, racism would in some way be defensible. It would be folly for the opponent of racism to stake his whole case on a dogmatic commitment to one particular outcome of a difficult scientific issue which is still a long way from being settled. While attempts to prove that differences in certain selected abilities between races and sexes are primarily genetic in origin have certainly not been conclusive, the same must be said of attempts to prove that these differences are largely the result ofenvironment. At this stage of the investigation we cannot be certain which view is correct, however much we may hope it is the latter.

Fortunately, there is no need to pin the case for equality to one particular outcome of this scientific investigation. The appropriate response to those who claim to have found evidence of genetically-based differences in ability between the races or sexes is not to stick to the belief that the genetic explanation must be wrong, whatever evidence to the contrary may turn up: instead we should make it quite clear that the claim to equality does not depend on intelligence, moral capacity, physical strength, or similar matters of fact. Equality is a moral ideal, not a simple assertion of fact.

There is no logically compelling reason for assuming that a factual difference in ability between two people justifies any difference in the amount of consideration we give to satisfying their needs and interests. The principle of the equality of human beings is not a description of an alleged actual equality among humans: it is a prescription of how we should treat humans.

Jeremy Bentham incorporated the essential basis ofmoral equality into his utilitarian system of ethics in the formula: “Each to count for one and none for more than one.” In other words, the interests of every being affected by an action are to be taken into account and given the same weight as the like interests of any other being. A later utilitarian, Henry Sidgwick, put the point in this way: “The good of any one individual is of no more importance, from the point of view (if I may say so) of the Universe, than the good of any other.”

It is an implication of this principle of equality that our concern for others ought not to depend on what they are like, or what abilities they possess—although precisely what this concern requires us to do may vary according to the characteristics of those affected by what we do. It is on this basis that the case against racism and the case against sexism must both ultimately rest; and it is in accordance with this principle that speciesism is also to be condemned. If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his own ends, how can it entitle humans to exploit nonhumans?

Many philosophers have proposed the principle of equal consideration of interests, in some form or other, as a basic moral principle; but, as we shall see in more detail shortly, not many of them have recognized that this principle applies to members of other species as well as to our own. Bentham was one of the few who did realize this.

In a forward-looking passage, written at a time when black slaves in the British dominions were still being treated much as we now treat nonhuman animals, Bentham wrote:

The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. Itmay one day come to be recognized that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

In this passage, Bentham points to the capacity for suffering as the vital characteristic that gives a being the right to equal consideration. The capacity for suffering—or more strictly, for suffering and/or enjoyment or happiness—is not just another characteristic like the capacity for language, or for higher mathematics.”

4.) Please read the passage below and answer the following questions:

How has the biblical concept of “dominion” been used to justify the subjugation and mistreatment of persons and nonhuman animals?

How is it argued that the concept of dominion has been taken out of context?

Through a reinterpretation of the concept of dominion, could Christian ethicists reconcile both the Kantian duty-based approach to morality with the utilitarian approach?

Christian Perspective:

“The Bible does not explicitly support animal rights, but it also does not explicitly support abolition of slavery or equality for women. In fact, historically, the Bible has been used to support many injustices such as slavery, the subjugation of women, and racism. Many Christians today similarly cherry pick and in our opinion misapply selected Biblical passages to excuse abusing and unnecessarily killing animals for nothing more than pleasure and convenience.

It has always been possible to take certain Biblical passages, we believe out of context, to justify nearly any injustice. We believe the Bible can and should be used to inspire us to be compassionate and to serve others. Jesus himself stated, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)…

Christians often justify animal abuse by citing Genesis 1:26 which gave Adam “dominion” over the animals. However, shortly thereafter God instructed them Adam and Eve to eat only plants (Genesis 1:29). “Dominion” obviously does not include using animals for food, and since Eden was paradise, humans were not to harmfully exploit animals, either. Humanity’s dominion over animals should be like the dominion of a good king over his subjects, not like a tyrant’s dominion over miserable subjects. We understand “made in [God’s] image” (Genesis 1:27) to reflect humanity’s capacity to rule over Creation as God would – with compassion (Luke 7:13), mercy (Luke 6:36) and diligence (Proverbs 27:23). We are to count others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).”

https://cara3.morwebcms.com/FAQ


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