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The Moral Status of Animals

 
 
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 11:02 am
Do you think animals are the subjects of moral consideration?

Any opinions about the proper scope and scale of our moral obligations in regard to animals?

Must a morally considerable being be able to recognize moral claims?
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 918 • Replies: 25
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maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 01:24 pm
@perennialloner,
1. No.

2. Well... I don't believe there are any "moral obligations", morals are subjective and depend heavily on cultural context. I do think that it is reasonable and smart to have some social mores (not morals) based on the treatment of animals.

3. I don't exactly understand what this means, but I am pretty sure the answer is 'No'. Can you explain the question better?
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 01:26 pm
Some animals are delicious, others not so much.
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perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 03:16 pm
@maxdancona,
Assuming you think there is such a thing as a morally considerable being (I'm taking it from your answer to the first question you don't think subjects of moral consideration exist), by which I mean a (living) being who can be wronged, must such beings be able to recognize moral claims? Or, in other words, have morals, the sense of right and wrong that is mostly considered exclusive to humans.

Let's put the whole morals are subjective thing aside for now. Do you personally feel morally obligated in any way in regard to animals?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 05:10 pm
@perennialloner,
Thank you for the definition of "morally considerable". I am still not sure it is a useful concept.

1. If a human being is walking through the woods and is fatally bitten by a poisonous snake, has she been wronged?

2. What about a person who happens to be killed by a falling rock. Has he been wronged?

I don't know the difference between being injured, or being wronged.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 05:13 pm
@maxdancona,
Just to be fair, let me tell you where I am coming from.

Morality was invented by humans (there is no other morality outside of what humans invented). Morality is whatever humans say it is, and morality doesn't apply to anyone except for humans.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2018 07:36 pm
@perennialloner,
Morals is a human concept. Some animals have characteristics that we humans see as moral. We are the one's making that determination based on our own morals.
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firefly
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 08:03 am
@perennialloner,
Animals are clearly the subject of "moral consideration".

We encode morality into our laws prohibiting the abuse and neglect of our domestic companion animals.

Advocacy of humane treatment of animals in zoos, circuses, movies and TV, experiments, etc., reflects our "moral consideration" regarding animals in our care.

We also try to restrict the hunting and killing of various animal groups in the wild, and protecting them from extinction is also cast aa a moral obligation.
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 01:01 pm
@firefly,
What does our consideration of animals include? You mentioned restrictions on hunting and killing of certain animals, and advocacy for humane treatment of animals in zoos.

Where does our consideration of animals end?
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 03:32 pm
@perennialloner,
Quote:
Where does our consideration of animals end?


That question is so vague and over-generalized it cannot be answered in any meaningful way.

Who is the "our" you are referring to? Humans, and their ethical values regarding animals, are quite diverse. Their views cannot be neatly summed up to answer your question.

cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 07:12 pm
@firefly,
I would say it's almost impossible to answer that question. How can any one person respond for everybody on a subject as diverse as there are people and animals around the world.
Even in our family, we have a vegetarian, some eat beef but not pork. I have eaten wild game in South Africa and kangaroo in Australia.
0 Replies
 
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 08:08 pm
@firefly,
I think I've been using poor word choices. I'm not really interested in how people think about morality. I'm interested in how we exercise morality. I'm interested in your personal systems of ethics, specifically in how they regard animals. If animals are subjects of moral consideration for you, how far should your consideration of animals extend? Where do you draw the line between what is moral and immoral treatment of animals?

Someone I know likes to talk about how cruel elephant tourism is, and says that riding elephants for entertainment is indefensible, but she has no problem drinking the milk of a cow who will spend the majority of her life being artificially inseminated so she can be pretty much continuously milked.

If you shared this view, I'd want to know why you thought elephants were subjects of moral consideration but dairy cows were not.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 08:32 pm
@perennialloner,
Thinking and exercising morality is the same thing.
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 08:56 pm
@cicerone imposter,
how is thinking about morality and exercising/demonstrating morality the same thing?
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 08:58 pm
@cicerone imposter,
you may think that morals are relative but you don't practice moral relativism.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 09:01 pm
@perennialloner,
Most people believe in what they learn from their parents, peers and church. They learn those habits by thinking about them, and acting them out in ways that's pretty consistent with that learning. It always depends on the individual's environment. That's been demonstrated by some cultures that believed in eating human flesh until recent times. Even the Donner Party ate human flesh to survive. One was cultural, the other survival.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2018 09:09 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Some in the Donner were eaten after they expired from more or less natural causes. Some were murdered for their flesh. Big difference.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Apr, 2018 12:01 am
@perennialloner,
Personal morality is about 'living with the self'. The self is largely a social construction (one in relation to others) which like 'society' has many facets some of which are logically inconsistent but are compartmentalised. Attitudes to animals typically reflect such inconsistencies especially when influenced by commercial forces in food production. Culturally transmitted linguistic categories assist in mental buffering. You only need to consider why, for example, 'pork' is NOT labelled 'dead pig' to understand this.

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mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Apr, 2018 08:13 am
@perennialloner,
I treat all life as equal.
Plant, animal mineral, etc.
Not because of any moral indoctrination - Because it makes me whole.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 Apr, 2018 08:32 am
@mark noble,
Two questions about that...

1) What do you eat?
2) What is mineral life?
 

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