Writing Assignment 1
Singer: All Animals Are Equal
Peter Singer, a Utilitarian, believes in the maximization of happiness of humans and extends this thought to the nonhuman inhabitants of Earth. Singer, believes that all animals should be granted moral status, similar to that of the human inhabitants. He presents his argument in a modus ponens form. His conclusion of, that nonhuman entities should be given the same amount of moral consideration as human entities is reached though his presentation of premises that if an entity can suffer, then its suffering must be given similar moral consideration to that of human entities. In Singer’s second premise he states that that nonhuman entities have the capability of suffering, therefore making his argument strong and valid.
The first premise presents the idea of the “principle of equal consideration” which says that if a nonhuman entity has the ability to suffer, then it should be given equal moral consideration as humans. This premise means that if an nonhuman is suffering, we should take it into consideration and try to minimize the pain. According to Singer, suffering is a prerequisite to interests of taking their suffering into moral consideration, and if you have sentience, this should give you moral status similar to humans. People who object this thought would say something to the likes of “humans are the intellectually superior beings and have a right to utilize their surroundings (plants, animals, etc) to maximize their survival, mainly their happiness.” To this Singer would counter that intelligence is an arbitrary rebuttal. The argument to Singer is pointless because if you consider a certain level intelligence is the cut off for being granted the “principle of equal consideration” then you would have to exclude certain humans since some mentally challenged and young children do not possess the same mental capabilities as even some Apes and other mammals. This would allow, in theory, factories to test...
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