Speciesism: Human Beings

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Stacey A. Holmes
2013
ENG140, Week 7, Assignment
Stacey A. Holmes
2013
ENG140, Week 7, Assignment

Essay 3 Summary and Response (Draft 2)

Ivy Bridge at Tiffin University
ENG 140
April 25

Essay 3 Summary and Response (Draft 2)

Ivy Bridge at Tiffin University
ENG 140
April 25

Author and world renowned Philosopher, Dr. Peter Singer who is currently at Yale University, defines terms such as “Personhood” and “Speciesism” rather distinctively, and he does it in a way, that does not fit in with most of societies’ ideas of what represents the meaning of either, personhood (such as an infant not being a “person” because it is not yet self-aware, but a dolphin being a “person” because it can recognize itself in a mirror) or discrimination (he describes individuals who eat meat as being speciesist, because he or she doesn’t take into consideration the feelings of the animal or the animal’s desire to continue on living).

When asked the question “What is a person?” Most would answer by saying, “A person is a being, such as a human, that has certain mental capacities or attributes constituting personhood, which in turn could be defined differently by different authors in different disciplines and by different cultures in different times and places”.

The definition for human being is “a member of any of the races of Homo sapiens; person; man, woman, or child” (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers, 2003).

When asked to give the definition for a person, Singer, who is currently at Yale University; describes a person as “Someone who is aware of their own existence over time, is aware enough to realize that they are the same being that lived previously; who can expect to live into the future” (Singer, Peter. (2008, January 28th). Human Use of Animals [http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/culture/philosophy/human-use-animals].

Singer believes that some non-human animals have individuality and could be considered “persons”; describing some human beings who lack mental capacity and attributes (i.e. intellectual disability, dementia, brain injury, mental illness and even infants) as non-persons, because there is… no awareness of a past, present or future being. Singer says that these human beings are still showed compassion, respect, and regard. So, why aren’t we (human beings/persons) capable of showing that same compassion towards animals or non-humans?

He argues that we should be able to recognize that animals are aware of their being, are aware of their past and present, that they have a desire to live, and are also very conscience of the way they are treated by human beings. He also believes that they understand suffering. He says that human beings or “persons” should be more evolved to think that there is no suffering for these animals.

Singer thinks that we should be more concerned for them individually, think about what would be in their best interest, and take in consideration the things that could be bad for them or quite possibly, be harming them; rather than, using them for our own wants, needs, and desires.

Society has a total disregard for animals and the fact that they are suffering, because our need for what the animal has to offer us is greater; albeit sustenance, experimental purposes, etc… (Singer, Peter. (2006, December 11th). The Colbert Report [http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/79412/december-11-2006/peter-singer].

Singer argues that this total disregard for animals’ is what he deems as speciesism (which is much like racism only targeted toward other species), and that those who practice this (speciesism) are speciesist (someone who has prejudices towards species other than their own).

Singer says that “Some animals have a higher moral status than some humans and that our disregard for animal suffering is a deplorable moral blind spot” (Singer, Peter. (2008, January 28th). Human Use of Animals...
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