Why our moral consideration should include all humans regardless of their level of cognitive ability

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2 discussions each around 250 words

1.Why our moral consideration should include all humans regardless of their level of cognitive ability, yet denied to non-human animals simply because they have lower levels of cognitive abilities (though still higher in some cases than those of human infants and some mentally disabled humans)? What response might he have to your way of drawing the line between the types of beings that should get moral consideration and those that should not?

2.Utilitarianism is based on the notion of bringing about the greatest good, which requires some conception of what “the good” is such that this can be identified, measured, and calculated in a way that is consistent across time, place, and people.  Is there any such “good” that has these characteristics?  What does Mill identify as the good, and does it have these characteristics?  What about Singer?  What good does he seem to be referring to and does it have these characteristics?  What implications would there be if we can’t identify a good of the sort that the utilitarian seems to need? 

resources: http://www.iep.utm.edu/conseque/

http://www.utilitarianism.com/millauto/

(http://www.utilitarianism.com

http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/phil1200,Spr07/cohen.pdf

http://www.hackettpublishing.com/pdfs/Hursthouse_Essay.pdf

http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/an-animals-place/

http://www.rollingstone.com/feature/belly-beast-meat-factory-farms-animal-activists

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1282251

http://animalwelfareapproved.org/

(http://certifiedhumane.org/

http://www.farmsanctuary.org/

http://www.localharvest.org

http://www.peta.org/

  • Halteman, M. C. (2008). Compassionate eating as care of creation. Washington, DC: Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved from http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/faith/compassionate_eating_halteman_book.pdf
    • Matthew Halteman draws out of various Christian traditions a common focus on the importance of dominion and stewardship over God’s creation, and how that carries responsibilities to care for and nurture creation, especially non-human animals, into their own flourishing. He speaks of such care as a “spiritual discipline” to eat in ways that express and embody one’s faith in God’s care for, provision for, and ultimate redemption of the world.
  • Pollan, M. (2006). The omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. New York: Penguin Press.
    • Michael Pollan explores the moral ramifications of the way we eat through an account of three sources of our food: industrial farming, sustainable agriculture, and hunting/foraging.
  • Regan, T. (2003). Animal rights, human wrongs: An introduction to moral philosophy. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefied.
    • This book takes a look at philosophical positions for and against animal rights. Tom Regan gives his own arguments for animal rights and responds to objections to his position.
  • Safran Foer, J. (2009). Eating animals. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
    • Jonathan Safran Foer is an author of several popular books, such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In this book, he discusses the ethics of eating animals by drawing upon his own experiences growing up in a food-loving family, his ventures into the factory farming industry and into the lives of the sentient creatures we eat and keep as pets, and a critical examination of contemporary eating habits from multiple angles.
  • Singer, P. (1975). Animal liberation. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
    • This classic work that helped spawn the animal rights movement gives Singer’s arguments for the ethical treatment of animals and chronicles the many ways in which those ethics are violated within agriculture, medical research, and elsewhere. He argues for drastic changes in the way society treats sentient non-human beings
  • Articles

    • Baxter, W. (1975). People or penguinsJournal of Economic Literature, 13(3), 943-947. Retrieved from http://hettingern.people.cofc.edu/Env_Ethics_Sp_2012/Baxter_Case_for_Optimal_Pollution.pdf

      • William Baxter adopts the view that all of our obligations to protect the environment are for the sake of humans only. Animals have value only if they are valued by humans.
    • Cavalieri, P. (2005). Are human rights human? Logosjournal, 4(2). Retrieved from http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_4.2/cavalieri.htm
      • Paola Cavalieri makes a case that philosophy attempts to give rights to all and only humans fail. The reason is that all of the arguments that humans have certain rights also apply to some animals as well. Therefore, logically, they should have those rights as well.
    • Kurlansky, M. (2014, March 17). Inside the milk machine: How the modern dairy worksModern Farmer. Retrieved from http://modernfarmer.com/2014/03/real-talk-milk/
      • Kurlansky offers an in-depth and first-hand look into the modern dairy farm.
    • Wallace, D. F. (2004). Consider the lobster. Retrieved from http://members.livingcities.org/_members.livingcities.org/dynamic/members_initiatives_documents-content-5.pdf
      • Widely admired, author David Foster Wallace writes an article chronicling his visit to the Maine Lobster Festival. What he finds is rather disturbing. He investigates the question of whether lobsters feel pain when boiled alive and seems to wonder why so many people seem not to care about the answer.
    • Multimedia

      • Rainer Ebert. (2008, March 15). Carl Cohen: Why animals do not have rights [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/kbk7xY9t-UQ
        • A six-part series in which Carl Cohen outlines his reasoning that animals do not have rights because they cannot make and keep contracts.
      • Rainer Ebert. (2008, March 16). Tom Regan: Animal rights – an introduction [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/fTNNJspZXA4
        • This is a five-part series in which Tom Regan gives a public lecture about why animals should have rights and how those rights are routinely violated by humans.
      • TEDxPeachtree. (2011, November). Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals
        • This video is an interesting public lecture about many ways in which non-human animals demonstrate moral behavior.
      • TheAnimalHolocaust. (2010, December 13). Earthlings – Full length documentary (multi-subtitles) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/ce4DJh-L7Ys
        • This resources is a highly disturbing film with footage of the human treatment of animals for food, entertainment, research, companionship, and clothing. Warning: this is an extremely troubling film; however, what is being shown is real footage of things that are going billions of times every day.
      • WilliamsCollege. (2009, December 14). Peter Singer: The ethics of what we eat [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/UHzwqf_JkrA
        • This is a video of a public lecture in which Peter Singer explains his reasoning about the ethics of eating. Singer has been innovative among philosophers for arguing that theoretical philosophy should have practical consequences in terms of modifying how we actually live.

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