“Are All Species Equal?”
The article is all about the critical responses of David Schmidtz to Paul Taylor’s arguments for species egalitarianism. The first response he presented is all about our respect for nature. According to Schmidtz, in having a moral standing, at least there’s a command for respect and simply realizing something as more than a mere thing. Upon recognizing that all species command respects, he then critically asks if there is a good reason for us to believe that all species command equal respect. In this response, Schmidtz wanted to try to explain why in the first place other species command respect and at the same time why they also do not command equal respect. Our awareness of respect for nature is just what we give much importance rather than species egalitarianism. However, for Schmidtz, our sense of respect for nature only motivates us to accept and embrace the species egalitarianism. But this also doesn’t mean that species egalitarianism is necessary for us to respect nature. The question of Schmidtz about the species egalitarianism’s compatibility to our respect of nature highlights this first response he presented to us. The second response is about the grounding of species egalitarianism wherein according to Paul Taylor, the grounding of the species egalitarianism is biocentrism. It also actually presents its four beliefs that form the core of the biocentrism. However, Schmidtz always criticize these beliefs especially when it comes to comparing human species to non-human species because according to him we humans do not have the same kind of value as non-humans. Major critics of these beliefs necessarily reject the last belief. The third response to species egalitarianism is the critical question of Schmidtz about the hypocrisy of species egalitarianism. This is due to the inconsistency of the major advocates of the species egalitarianism. The inconsistency happens when these advocates of species egalitarianism allow that the human needs overrule the needs of non-human needs. Other major response is the arbitrariness of the species egalitarianism whereas valuing the cognitive capacity is not anthropocentric according to James C. Anderson. The point here is the problem that while there is one property that provides basis for moral standing, there might be many other also. For Schmidtz, we may conclude that one of the grounds of our moral standing such as vegetative natures is something we share with all living things. However, there are also grounds for our moral standing that we do not share with all living things.
The question whether species are equal or not for me does not need to be answered because equality of species is not always possible and we cannot just simply compare the moral standing that the humans have to the moral standing of the non-humans. Of course we should respect every other species, but this does not mean that we value them equally. Of course we prefer some species than some other species. Our intention of favoring some species than the other must be something reasonable for it to become permissible. The claim about human superiority doesn’t make sense because there is no basis of claiming such. For one thing we know, that our intellectual capacity and our moral agent doesn’t provide a good ground that we humans are superior. What is necessary for us is to transcend our rationality in order to develop our sense of respect for nature. We don’t need to think about rankings of the species for it does not provide any purpose. We only need enough respect to the other species’ uniqueness. There are times that we sacrifice our respect for other species just to give favor to the other species, but this doesn’t mean we are degrading those species we sacrificed. It only shows how we respond to the situation especially when we need to prefer the some other species than the other species. We cannot also take away our feeling of commensuration when we know that that