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Sahnhar lec 3 Sahnhar lec 3 Presentation Transcript

  • Neil McPherson Society & Human/Nonhuman Animal Relations (SOCY10015) Lecture 3: The philosophical separation of 'Man' and 'Beast ’ : considering the historical construction of the moral status of the nonhuman animal Lecturer: NEIL McPHERSON Room: A820 Phone: x8479 Email: [email_address] Aristotle Descartes Hume Kant Bentham
  • Neil McPherson
    • The philosophical separation of 'Man' and 'Beast ’ : considering the historical construction of the moral status of the nonhuman animal
    • Cognitive separation - the nonhuman animal as irrational/means to end
        • Aristotle
        • Descartes – the impact of Cartesian dualism
        • Hume – relocating Man & nature
    • Moral separation – the moral status of the nonhuman animal
        • Kant – deontological ethics
        • Bentham – consequentialist ethics
  • Neil McPherson
    • Cognitive separation - the nonhuman animal as irrational
    • Aristotle – the nonhuman animal as irrational, lacking moral virtue
      • “ Nature, as we say, does nothing without some purpose; and for the purpose of making man a political animal she has endowed him alone among the animals with the power of reasoned speech. Speech is something different from voice, which is possessed by other animals also and used by them to express pain or pleasure; for the natural powers of some animals do indeed enable them both to feel pleasure and pain and to communicate these to each other. Speech on the other hand serves to indicate what is useful and what is harmful, and so also what is right and what is wrong. For the real difference between man and other animals is that humans alone have perception of good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust. ”
    • (Aristotle Politics Bk1Ch2:4. Trans Ellis)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Aristotle
      • “ Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals (as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better), the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master. ”
      • (Aristotle Politics Bk1Ch4. Trans Jowett)
    •  
      • “ It is evident then that we may conclude of those things that are, that plants are created for the sake of animals, and animals for the sake of men…for our use and provision…or for some other advantageous purpose…As nature makes nothing either imperfect or in vain, it necessarily follows that she has made all these things for men ”
    • (Aristotle Politics Bk1Ch8. Trans Ellis)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Aristotle
      • Nonhuman animals are irrational and are not possessed of speech
      • Nonhuman animals cannot take part in political congress
      • Separation of soul & body – mortal/immortal soul
      • Nonhuman animals have no interests and are justly enslaved by man
      • Nonhuman animals are for the sake of men
      • Due to lack of cognitive ability, the nonhuman animal has no moral standing – a view influential for 2000 years
  • Neil McPherson
    • Cognitive separation - the nonhuman animal as irrational
    • Descartes – the Father of Modern Philosophy
      • “ While the great philosophical distinction between mind and body in western thought can be traced to the Greeks, it is to the seminal work of René Descartes (1596-1650), French mathematician, philosopher, and physiologist, that we owe the first systematic account of the mind/body relationship. ”
      • (Wozniak 1992: 1)
      • “ Descartes…took the Aristotelian-Thomist view to its limits and denied that animals, in view of their lack of a rational soul, could be thinking, self conscious beings at all. ”
      • (Linzey 1990: xv)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Descartes
    • Cartesian dualism – the philosophical separation of mind and body
      • “ This will not appear as any way strange to those who, knowing how many different automata or moving machines the industry of man can devise, using only a very few pieces, by comparison with the great multitude of bones, muscles, nerves, arteries, veins and all other parts which are in the body of every animal, will consider this body as a machine, which, having been made by the hands of God, is incomparably better ordered, and has in it more admirable movements than those which can be invented by men.”
    • (Descartes 1989a: 73)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Descartes
      • “ And one should not confuse words with the natural movements which bear witness to the passions and can be imitated by machines as well as by animals; neither should one think, as did certain Ancients, that animals speak although we do not understand their language.”
        • (Descartes 1989a: 75)
      • “ [I]t is particularly noteworthy that there are no men so dull-witted and stupid, not even imbeciles, who are incapable of arranging together different words, and of composing discourse by which to make their thoughts understood; and that, on the contrary, there is no other animal, however perfect and whatever excellent dispositions it has at birth, which can do the same.”
      • (Descartes 1989a: 74)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Descartes
      • “ [L]et us conceive here that the soul has its principal seat in the little gland which exists in the middle of the brain, from whence it radiates forth through all the remainder of the body by means of the animal spirits, nerves, and even the blood, which, participating in the impressions of the spirits, can carry them by the arteries into all the members.”
    • (Descartes 1989b: 37)
  • Neil McPherson Descartes Nonhuman animal as bête-machine devoid of soul, of language and reason, reactive only to external stimuli and instinct no comprehension of its existence An unconscious, automaton, a clockwork entity body which man could freely dismember and excavate through the unrestricted processes of vivisection.
  • Neil McPherson
    • Descartes
    • Describing Jansenist treatment of nonhuman animals at the Parisian monastery of Port-Royal in the early eighteenth century:
      • “ They administered beatings to dogs with perfect indifference, and made fun of those who pitied the creatures as if they felt pain. They said the animals were clocks; that the cries they emitted when struck were only the noise of a little spring that had been touched, but that the whole body was without feeling. They nailed poor animals up on boards by their four paws to vivisect them and see the circulation of the blood which was a great subject of conversation.”
    • (Fontaine quoted in Guerrini 2007: 133)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Descartes
      • “ my view is not so much cruel to beasts but respectful to human beings…whom it absolves from any suspicion of crime whenever they kill or eat animals. ”
    • (Descartes 2003: 175)
      • “ Descartes ’ s fatuous assertion that animals do not feel pain helped to ease the consciences of many experimenters in the years to come ”
    • (Ryder 2000: 52).
  • Neil McPherson
    • Descartes
    • Cartesian dualism – separating mind and body
    • The nonhuman animal as bête-machine
      • an irrational being devoid of consciousness and speech
      • no comprehension of its existence
      • reactive only to external stimuli and instinct
      • an unconscious, automaton, a clockwork entity
      • body which man could freely dismember and excavate through the unrestricted processes of vivisection.
    • Reconciliation of science and religion – the location of the body in the natural sciences and the mind in the field of Philosoohy
  • Neil McPherson
    • Hume
      • “ Next to the ridicule of denying an evident truth, is that of taking much pains to defend it; and no truth appears to me more evident, than that beasts are endowd with thought and reason as well as men. The arguments are in this case so obvious, that they never escape the most stupid and ignorant. ”
    • (Hume 1969: 137)
    •  
    •  
  • Neil McPherson
    • Hume
      • “ We are conscious, that we ourselves, in adapting means to ends, are guided by reason and design, and that ‘ is not ignorantly nor casually we perform those actions, which tend to self-preservation, to the obtaining pleasure, and avoiding pain…The resemblance betwixt the actions of animals and those of men is so entire in this respect, that the very first action of the first animal we shall please to pitch on, will afford us an incontestable argument for the present doctrine [the reason of animals]. ”
    • (Hume 2008: 137)
    •  
  • Neil McPherson
    • Hume
      • “ The common defect of those systems, which philosophers have employd to account for the actions of the mind, is, that they suppose such a subtility and refinement of thought, as not only exceeds the capacity of mere animals, but even of children and the common people in our own species; who are notwithstanding susceptible of the same emotions and affections as persons of the most accomplishd genius and understanding. Such a subtility is a dear proof of the falsehood, as the contrary simplicity of the truth, of any system. ”
    •  
    • (Hume 2008: 137)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Hume
      • “ we should be bound by the laws of humanity to give gentle usage to [nonhuman animals], but should not, properly speaking, lie under any restraint of justice with regard to them, nor could they possess any right or property. Exclusive to such arbitrary lords. Our intercourse with them could not be called society, which supposes a degree of equality; but absolute command on the one side, and servile obedience on the other. ”
    • (Hume in Linzey & Clarke 1990: 122)
  • Neil McPherson Hume   Nonhuman animals as rational beings ‘ Vulgar ’ and ‘ sagacious ’ actions Naturalistic approach – relocation of man in hierarchy of God & nature Causal reason & moral agency – suggests differences in kind However, does not consider the nonhuman animal as having moral sense or capacity for judgment (see Beauchamp 1999) Nonhuman animal not seen as having direct moral status, but moral consideration suggested
  • Neil McPherson
    • Moral separation – the moral status of the nonhuman animal
    • Kant – deontological ethics
      • “… so far as animals are concerned, we have no direct duties. Animals are not self-conscious and are there merely as a means to an end. That end is man. We can ask, “Why do animals exist?” But to ask “Why does man exist?” is a meaningless question.
    • (Kant 1999: 459)
    •  
    •  
  • Neil McPherson
    • Kant
      • “ I am subject to the law of the intelligible world…and therefore I must look on the laws of the intelligible world as imperatives for me, and on the actions which conform to this principle as duties.
      • “ And in this way categorical imperatives are possible because the Idea of freedom makes me a member of an intelligible world. ”
    • (Kant 1969: 82-3)
    • Act morally whatever the consequences
    •  
    •  
  • Neil McPherson
    • Kant
      • “ The practical imperative, therefore, is the following: Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only ”
      • (Kant 1969: 54)
    •  
    •  
  • Neil McPherson
    • Kant
    •  
      • “ Beings whose existence does not depend on our will but on nature, if they are not rational beings have only a relative worth as means and are therefore called “ things ” ; on the other hand, rational beings are designated “ persons ” because their nature indicates that they are ends in themselves, i.e., things which may not be used merely as means. ”
      • (Kant 1969: 52)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Kant
    •  
      • “ Thus if a dog has served his master long and faithfully, his service, on the analogy of human service, deserves reward, and when the dog has grown too old to serve, his master ought to keep him until he dies. Such action helps to support us in our duties towards human beings where they are bounden duties.”
      • (Kant 1999: 459)
      •  
      • “ If a man shoots a dog because the animal is no longer capable of service, he does not fail in his duty to the dog, for the dog cannot judge, but his act is inhuman and damages in himself the humanity which it is his duty to show towards mankind…Tender feelings towards dumb animals develop humane feelings towards mankind…Our duties towards animals, then, are indirect duties towards mankind. ”
    • (Kant 1999: 459)
    •  
  • Neil McPherson
    • Kant
    •  
      • “ Vivisectionists, who use living animals for their experiments, certainly act cruelly, although their aim is praiseworthy, and they can justify their cruelty, since animals must be regarded as man’s instruments.”
    • (Kant 1999: 565)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Kant
      • [Kant] is no heir to Descartes or the Cartesian tradition in physiological research. Quite the reverse. That nonhuman animals behave the way we do when we are in pain was the basis for his indirect account of our limited obligations to them. But such pain, when inflicted in the services of science, for example, was not morally significant. Here the end can literally justify the means.”
    • (Shanks 2002: 79. Original emphasis)
  • Neil McPherson Kant Nonhuman animals are not rational or self conscious Human ’ s have moral duties towards animals but these are indirect Mistreatment of nonhuman animals brutalises humans However, as means to the end of Man, the nonhuman animal, as an instrument for human development, can and should be used towards the end of man where necessary Forms the philosophical basis for animal rights discourse
  • Neil McPherson
    • Moral separation – the moral status of the nonhuman animal
    • Bentham – consequentialist ethics
      • “ Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other hand of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make.”
      • (Bentham 1996: 11. Original italicisation)
  • Neil McPherson Bentham Pleasure & pain Greatest good for the greatest number The hedonic calculus - intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity, extent Sentience not consciousness or rationality
  • Neil McPherson
    • Bentham
      • “ The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the  os sacrum  are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line?   Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse?  But a full grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would avail? The question is not, Can they reason ? nor, Can they talk ? but, Can they suffer ?”
      • (Bentham 1996: 283. Original emphasis)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Mill
      • “ to save a [human] life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force…In such cases, as we do not call anything justice which is not a virtue, we usually say, not that justice must give way to some other moral principle, but that what is just in ordinary cases is, by reason of that other principle, not just in the particular case. ”
    • (Mill 2000 [1863]: 24)
      • "it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied ”
    • (Mill 2010 [1859]: 37)
  • Neil McPherson
    • Bentham
      • “ I never have seen, nor ever can see, any objection to the putting of dogs and other inferior animals to pain, in the way of medical experiment, when that experiment has a determinate object, beneficial to mankind, accompanied with a fair prospect of the accomplishment of it.”
      • (Bentham in Bowring 1842: 549-5)
  • Neil McPherson Bentham Utilitarianism – consequences of actions Sentience rather than consciousness or rationality Nonhuman animal emerges as being possessed of direct moral status However, the concept of pleasure/good is malleable and human satisfaction can be used as justification for human use of nonhuman animals Forms the philosophical basis for animal welfare discourse
  • Neil McPherson
    • Summary
    • Cognitive separation - the nonhuman animal as irrational/rational
        • Aristotle
        • Descartes – the impact of Cartesian dualism
        • Hume – relocating Man & nature
    • Moral separation – the moral status of the nonhuman animal
        • Kant – deontological ethics
        • Bentham – consequentialist ethics
    • Indirect v direct moral status
    • Welfare & rights