- McSpotlight -

Each to count as one and only one...

Posted by: Red Deathy ( SPGB, UK ) on November 19, 1998 at 17:34:38:

In Reply to: Dr. Doolittle goes to Washington posted by Stuart Gort on November 19, 1998 at 13:07:41:

: I probably shouldn't enter into a tirade about what is happening to
: intellectual integrity in what is called education today. Suffice it to
: say that the academic world generates more respect than it should for
: having shifted the emphasis from how to think to what to
: think.

Perhaps, and indeed that is teh emphasis here in literary studies. However, what has happened ovr recent years is that the idea of poliiticaly Neutralknowledge has been exploded, teh idea of self-evident humanities, etc. Instead we have a battle ground of political contestation. Even telling people how to think is telling them, in teh end, what to think (Or at least what not to think). Obviously, teh slef-evident nature of what has gone before meant that folks like yourself could attack any attempt to change it as ideologically motivated (which it was, but which ignores the ideological motivation of the self evident theorist). the reason you, presumably this is, feel that Universities are NOW teaching people what to think, and they weren't THEN, is because of an ideological dissonance with your own views...

: If you mean that we should consider animal treatment as a subject to
: be included in the realm of ethics I agree but only in the context of
: any other resource to be responsible for. This Singer guys surely wants
: to go further than this though, as denoted in your following statement.

Well thats the old cartesian point of view
: Curious. Who will speak for the animals? Dr. Doolittle? If people
: can't see the danger in this then I am at a loss for words. There is no
: point in giving animals equal status to man unless that equality
: carries with it the weight of the state to enforce their legal rights.
: What will those rights be? Will animals retain the right to tear each
: other into shreds and man be denied this right? Who will speak for the
: animals? May I?

I haven'tread his proposals in detail, presumaly we'd include animals in bills of rights etc. Singer would argue, that if we transposed 'blacks' for 'animals' in the above, we'd have statements similar to those being made by racists in the nineteenth century.

: Ageism, sexism, racism,... all those nasty 'isms that formerly
: applied to human interaction are now being (none too subtly) applied to
: animals too. It makes my original point again. The animal rights
: movement cannot gain ground by attempting to manipulate emotions so
: they've taken to attempting to intellectualize their agenda. But
: Animals and humans are not equal and everyone knows it. This will fail
: too.

Again, singer would argue that they are the same in their capacity to suffer and feel pain, and that such arguments, the self-evident inequality and difference, were once applied to blacks v. whites.

: Additionally, If animals and humans are equal, then we who reside
: at the top of the food chain will dominate by natural law and eat what
: we please. No amount of intellectualizing will stop the lion from
: shredding the lamb.

Well, if one follows the hedonistic utilitarian impulse to 'maximise happiness' where each is to count as one and only one, then clearly the result must be that we can maximise happiness by all humans becoming vegitarian (because we can, and our consciouss ethics say we should.). If anyone accepts utilitarianism (I don't) then this is a water tight case for them (utilitarianism is the dominant ideological ethic, but its usually muted, few would agree with Godwin that its right for a man to go to jail unjustly in the good of a greater cause.).

You can't rely on self evident superiority, you have to find good and rational grounds why humans should inflict suffering upon animals.


Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup