Author Archives: Daniel J. Park

Refutation Against Animal Rights

Mary Anne Warren refutes Tom Regan’s essay on animal rights “The case for Animal Rights” through her essay “Difficulties with the Strong Animal Rights Position.”  Warren clearly states in the beginning of her synopsis of what made Regan’s argument for Animal rights so weak by laying out 3 stages of Regan’s argument.  Warren starts put by mentioning “Moral, mature mammals are not only sentient but have mental capacities, as well.  These include the capacities for belief, emotion, memory, desires…” (Warren 164)  Warren basically states that these animals have the ability to feel pain and pleasure and we have the ability to make things better or worse off for them in the long run.  Warren next says that Regan’s second stage of his argument opposes utilitarianism because he states “Individuals are like mere receptacles, in that harm to one individual may be justified by the production of a greater net benefit to other individuals” (Warren 164) Warren points out that Regan says that we should reject the perfectionist theory and conclude that all subjects-of-a-life have equal inherent value.   Warren refutes Regan’s final stage of his argument by stating that “Rights are not absolute and can be overridden in certain circumstances” (Warren 164) and that the term inherent value is very unclear and does more harm than good to Regan’s point.

Warren defines Inherent value as “The bridge between the plausible claim that all is normal, mature mammals, humans and otherwise claim to have basic moral rights of the same strength.” (Warren 165) The idea of inherent value is highly obscure and it is ill-suited for the role to defend animal rights because it cannot attach to anything other than an individual, species or eco-system.  Warren states that wherever we draw the sharp line between same inherent value and same basic moral rights, we have and no inherent value and no moral rights seems to be implausible because there are no degrees in inherent value.   Basically she says that it is up to the gods to draw the line between who or what gets moral rights and inherent value.

Warren gives many examples about what we do not know or trivialities that refute the idea of Inherent Value.  “It is still unclear what we say about insects, spiders, octopi, and other invertible animals which have sensory organs but whose minds out alien to us.” (Warren 166)  Warren gives many more examples like how mice are seen as trivial to human children and cannot really be compared given the example of the rodent’s vs human children invading and eating what is in the kitchen of a house.  Warren says that we are justified to killing rodents because they threaten our well-being.  Warren wraps up her refutation against Regan’s argument by stating that human rights are stronger than animals rights because people are at least sometimes capable of being moved to action or inaction by the force of reasoned argument and we also listen to reason which gives more possibility for cooperation and nonviolent resolution.

Works Cited

Warren, Mary Anne, “Difficulties With the Strong Animal Rights Position”, Between the Species (No. 4, Fall 1987). Nedlands, Australia.

Individuals vs Utilitarians

In this essay, Kant argues that there are several implications in morality and being moral.  Morality can be defined as the decision making ability from choosing between right and wrong and what is good and what is bad stemming from the laws and trending favorable outlooks society has towards a certain actions.  Kant argues that by taking away our own ability to make our own decisions on what’s good and bad because utilitarians say that we should just follow the norms of society, it takes away from our sense of self and makes us less of an individual by not being able to think for ourselves.

Kant states that utilitarians state that self satisfaction is found inadequate compared to the guidelines that utilitarians follow.  Kant uses this quote, “Projects of the sort I have called commitments, those with which one is committed more deeply and extensively involved and identified, this cannot just by itself be an adequate answer.” (Kant 104)  Through this, we can see that he argues that utilitarians think that individuals cannot think for themselves and postulate an adequate solution to a problem or become moral through their own commitments and convictions. Another quote that Kant includes is, “It is absurd to demand of such a man, when the sums come in from the utility network when he should step aside from his own projects and decisions and acknowledge the decision of the utilitarian calculation requires.  It is to alienate him in a real sense from his actions and the source of his actions in his own convictions.” (Kant 104)  Again we can see that Kant argues that by making the individual step aside for the utilitarian point of view, he loses his own sense of identity through the way he thinks because he can’t put to use his own convictions in the way he thinks abiding by the utilitarian point of view.

The next thing Kant argues is that he says that good traits in individuals are pointless/meaningless if that person with good traits does not have a good will because it could lead the individual to bad intentions.  Kant says “A good will is not good because of what it effects or accomplishes, nor because of its fitness to attain some proposed end; it is only good through its willing ie it is good in itself.” (Kant 106)  A good will therefore enhances the good traits of the individual or erases those traits through a not good will.  A good will constitutes the indispensable condition of being of worthy of happiness because if you have a good will you deserve the state of being happy.

Kant wraps up his argument by stating that “The pre-eminent good which is called moral can consist in nothing but the representation of the law itself.” (Kant 108)  We can clearly see that the oversimplification that only the law says what is good and what is not may seem very drastic as the law may not take into account certain circumstances.  Kant argues that utilitarians overextend the idea that only through society and laws can we say what is good and what is bad and the individuals in society get stripped of their ideas to think with their own ideas and convictions.

      Kant, Immanuel. “Selections from Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals.” Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (1993): 104-112. Blackboard. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.