He is regarded as one of the most important thinkers of modern Europe, and his influence on Western thought is immeasurable.
Francione Place of Publication: Another, competing, basis is based on the theory of utilitarianism — the outright rejection of rights for all species and instead advocacy for equal consideration.
This is the view espoused by Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation. In this article, Professor Francione compares animal rights with utilitarianism, discussing the pros and cons of each I.
Introduction In Practical Ethics, Peter Singer argues that ethics is not "an ideal system which is all very noble in theory but no good in practice. He argues that utilitarianism does not start with rules but with goals and thus has greater normative specificity because actions are prescribed or proscribed based on "the extent to which they further these goals.
In the past five or so years, an increasing number of animal advocates have eschewed rights theory for precisely the reason that rights theory is supposedly incapable of providing determinate normative guidance.
These animal advocates express concern that rights theory demands the immediate abolition of animal exploitation, and that immediate abolition is simply unrealistic. Instead, these advocates support the pursuit of incremental welfarist reform as a "realistic" means of reducing suffering and eventually achieving abolition.
For example, Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA ostensibly endorses a rights position and ultimately seeks the abolition of animal exploitation, but she argues that "total victory, like checkmate, cannot be achieved in one move," and that we must endorse the moral orthodoxy of animal welfare as involving necessary "steps in the direction" of animal rights.
For example, Bernard Rollin believes that incremental change, in the form of welfarist reform, is the only realistic approach. Rollin claims that in the United States, "we have never had a social and moral revolution that was not incremental.
Part IV discusses the notion of nonhuman personhood, a notion central to animal rights theory.
Part V proposes a theory concerning three components of moral theory. Singer's Utilitarian Theory Singer is an act utilitarian who believes that it is the consequences of the contemplated act that matter, and not the consequences of following a more generalized rule.
There are, of course, differing views of which consequences are relevant. For classical utilitarians, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, pleasure alone was intrinsically valuable and pain alone was intrinsically not valuable. Singer, however, claims to subscribe to a modified form of utilitarianism, known as "preference" or "interest" utilitarianism, which provides that what is intrinsically valuable is what "furthers the interests of those affected.
Pleasure and pain matter because they are part of what humans and nonhumans desire or prefer or seek to avoid. In Animal Liberation, Singer argues that in assessing the consequences of our actions, it is necessary to take the interests of animals seriously and to weigh any adverse affect on those interests from human actions as part of the consequences of those actions.
Humans have failed to do this, Singer argues, because of a species bias, or speciesism, that results in a systematic devaluation of animal interests. Singer claims that speciesism is no more morally defensible than racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination that arbitrarily exclude humans from the scope of moral concern.
But there are severely retarded humans who cannot speak or reason or, at least, can do so no better than many nonhumansand most of us would be appalled if those humans were used in experiments, or for food or clothing.
Singer maintains that the only way to justify our present level of animal exploitation is to maintain that species differences alone justify that exploitation. But that is no different, Singer argues, from saying that differences in race or sex alone justify the differential treatment of otherwise similarly situated persons.
Singer's approach is clearly more favorable toward animals than classical animal welfare, which accorded little weight to animal interests.
It is important, however, to understand that Singer's theory is not a theory of animal rights.Utilitarianism is another theory in which its main objective is to explain the nature of ethics and morality.
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory which is based upon utility, or doing that which produces the greatest happiness. Utilitarianism may well be the most influential secular ethical theory in the world today.
It is also one of the most controversial. It clashes, or is widely thought to clash, with many conventional moral views, and with human rights when they are seen as inviolable. Intuitively, utilitarianism is the simplest of all philosophies.
Its mantra, “the greatest good for the greatest number,” seems like an obvious way to make decisions both large and small. Utilitarianism, Kant's ethical system represents a universal categorical imperative rule of ethics.
The Categorical imperative is an expression of the moral law. Although utilitarianism has a larger scope than Kantianism, it is a more timely process.
The decision-making method of calculating all of the potential costs and benefits of an action is extremely time consuming and leaves little time for promoting happiness, which is the Utilitarian’s goal (Bennett 63). Start studying Introduction To Ethics Chapter 6 Utilitarianism and John Mill.
Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Search. When your desire and duty clash according to Kant the person will be obligated to preform the duty, and achieve good will.