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Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

Slides for an Introduction to Philosophy course at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

These slides talk about Elizabeth Harman's articled called “The moral significance of animal pain and animal death” (2011), as well as Christopher Belshaw's article called "Death, Pain, and Animal Life" (2015). The last few slides talk about the film Angry Inuk, by documentary filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril.

philosophy
ethics
animal rights
Harman
Belshaw

3cd8f8111c34336b77da90efab71822e?s=128

Christina Hendricks

March 26, 2018
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Transcript

  1. Animal Ethics PHIL 102, UBC, Christina Hendricks Spring 2018 Except

    images licensed otherwise, this presentation is licensed CC BY 4.0
  2. A question for this week Many believe it is morally

    wrong to cause animals significant pain without important moral justification. Is it also wrong to painlessly kill them in the prime of life without important moral justification? http://is.gd/phil102animals
  3. Elizabeth Harman Article: “The moral significance of animal pain and

    animal death” (2011) A “surprising claim” underlying the argument that factory farming is wrong but humane killing of animals for food is not (on doc camera) Photo by Rachel Lees on Unsplash
  4. Arguing for the surprising claim How might one argue for

    the first and second parts of this claim? Utilitarian reasons? • Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, public domain on Wikimedia Commons
  5. Peter Singer’s view Equal consideration of interests Speciesism Peter Singer

    by Chatham House, licensed CC BY 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons
  6. Structure of Harman’s article 1.Lay out “surprising claim” 2.Provide argument

    against it (p. 728) o Your view of these premises 3.Reply to criticisms of that argument: first, second, fourth views (we’re skipping the third) o Argue against these criticisms of the argument in (2)
  7. First criticism Painlessly killing animals in the prime of life

    deprives them of a benefit, but doesn’t harm them. Epicurus vs. Nagel How does Harman reply? Does painless killing harm humans or animals?
  8. Second criticism Death is bad only if one has desires

    & plans for the future; animals don’t have these so death can’t be bad for them (nor harm them). How might one criticize this argument? How does Harman do so? Pig images one and two, licensed CC0 on pixabay.com
  9. Fourth criticism Death is not a significant harm to animals

    because they have only a weak psychological connection to their future lives. Pig images one and two, licensed CC0 on pixabay.com
  10. Harman’s reply to 4th criticism Tommy • No surgery: healthy

    5 yrs then suffer horribly then die • Surgery: suffer less for 2 weeks than will in 5 years, then healthy, normal life Bull and horse images licensed CC0 on pixabay.com Billy • No surgery: steadily suffer more & more over a few months then die • Surgery: suffer more for 2 weeks than if no surgery but then healthy, normal life
  11. Harman’s reply to 4th criticism Tommy • No surgery: healthy

    5 yrs then suffer horribly then die • Surgery: suffer less for 2 weeks than will in 5 years, then healthy after that Bull and horse images licensed CC0 on pixabay.com Billy • No surgery: steadily suffer more & more over a few months then die • Surgery: suffer more for 2 weeks than if no surgery but then healthy after that How does Harman use this to criticize 4th view?
  12. Harman’s reply to 4th criticism Tommy • No surgery: healthy

    5 yrs then suffer horribly then die • Surgery: suffer less for 2 weeks than will in 5 years, then healthy after that Bull and horse images licensed CC0 on pixabay.com Billy • No surgery: steadily suffer more & more over a few months then die • Surgery: suffer more for 2 weeks than if no surgery but then healthy after that Both surgeries permissible, but 4th view can’t explain why Tommy’s would be
  13. Summary • Harman: criticisms of her argument against the ”surprising

    claim” fail, so her argument holds oWe have strong reasons not to (a) cause intense pain to, or (b) painlessly kill animals in the prime of life: doing so is wrong unless justified by other moral considerations. • Any arguments you gave on google doc not discussed by her?
  14. BELSHAW, “DEATH, PAIN, AND ANIMAL LIFE” (2015)

  15. Overall points Showing that painless death is bad for or

    harms animals (Harman’s argument) isn’t enough • Need to show that this is a harm that matters morally • Painless animal death does not matter morally Photo by jamie r. mink on Unsplash Desert image licensed CC0 on pixabay.com
  16. Animals & Infants Death is bad in some sense for

    the one who dies… But in a way that matters morally only if “it deprives its victim of a life that, to the victim, matters,” if they have “categorical desires” (37) Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash Like the “second view” Harman addresses
  17. Criticisms of the above? • What does this say about

    the deaths of those w/o a sense of their future lives? • How does Harman respond to this kind of view? • What are the capacities of animals regarding future life? Jellyfish, Dog, Dolphin images licensed CC0 on pixabay.com
  18. Do animals’ lives or pleasure have intrinsic value? Even if

    painless death isn’t bad for them in a way that matters, is it bad in some intrinsic sense? (40) • What might this mean? • Belshaw says problematic consequences—agree? A gaggle of goslings, by USFWS Mountain-Prairie, licensed CC BY 2.0 on Flickr Crowd, by James Cridland, licensed CC BY 2.0 on Flickr
  19. Death is actually good for animals My reconstructed argument for

    this (doc camera) Cat examples Wild animals Photo by Kamonnat Onnom on Unsplash Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash
  20. Summary Harman & Belshaw • Harman: painless death is a

    significant harm to animals • Belshaw: painless death of (many) animals is not a harm that matters morally; further, death may often be better than life • Implications for painless killing of animals for food—Harman’s view in another article
  21. INUIT, SEAL HUNTING, SEAL PRODUCTS BAN Althea Arnaquq-Baril, Angry Inuk

  22. Some background • 1972: US Marine Mammal Protection Act •

    1983: ban on products from certain seal pups in Europe o Exemption for Indigenous peoples • 1987: Canada bans hunting of certain kinds of seal pups • 2009: EU vote to ban import of seal products o Exemption for Indigenous peoples
  23. Animal welfare concerns • Stunned & wounded animals not getting

    quick death • Speed of hunt and firing guns from boats worsens this • Difficult & too costly to monitor commercial hunts for rule violations Harp seal image by Gene Herzberg, licensed CC BY 2.0 on Flickr
  24. Arguments from film The following were discussed in class: •

    If can’t sell seal products, can’t make enough money to live o Why doesn’t the indigenous exemption to the EU ban address this? (not discussed in class) • Hunting seals and selling products is sustainable; other ways of making money there are not • False, romanticized view of Inuit just needing to hunt seals for “subsistence”—only for food to eat; ignores how they’re part of international market & need money for other things
  25. Suggestions for what could be done? Can you think of

    any way to address the concerns of both sides in this issue? Shared google doc in class…
  26. Credits Cow photo on title slide by Ryan Song on

    unsplash.com All icons not attributed were purchased with a subscription to The Noun Project.