Morality In Animals Essay

1234 words - 5 pages

For many years, people assumed that humans are significantly different from other species, which made them somewhat superior. However, research on animal behavior, especially our closest relatives, the apes has led to new discoveries that show many similarities between human and animals. Some of these similarities have questioned the uniqueness of humans and have led to debates not only among scientists but in the public as well. Frans de Waal, a renowned primatologist and the author of The Ape and the Sushi Master, is among the scientists that claim animals and humans are quite similar. The main focus of his book is to show that culture is not exclusive to humans. De Waal was not the first ...view middle of the document...

These pillars are reciprocity, which relates to fairness and empathy, which relates to compassion. After studying primates, he was able to observe behaviors that indicate empathy, reaction to unfairness, sharing, punishing, encouraging and mutual cooperation which all represent moral behavior. For example, he observed chimpanzees and bonobos reconcile after a fight. Chimpanzees reconcile through grooming each other while bonobos reconcile through sexual activities. This reconciliation after a fight symbolizes empathy in the apes. He also observed cooperation and encouragement between two chimpanzees even when there is no immediate reward available. Moreover, an experiment carried out between two chimpanzees also showed that the chimpanzees cared for the welfare of other. While de Waal views these actions as moral behave, some scientists argue that primate research is based on anthropomorphism. They argue that we anthropomorphize in scientific research, that is, we “project thoughts and feelings onto animals, making them more humanlike than they are” (35). Ultimately, this makes us see what we want to see and interpret behaviors based on human characteristics. De Waal responds to this by claiming that anthropomorphism cannot be avoided and that it acts as a good starting point when studying animal behavior. In the book Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals, the authors mention that “we cannot assume that anthropomorphism carries exactly the same connotations at all times or for all scientists” (23). Moreover, “anthropomorphism rests largely on cultural biases and certain linguistic terms” (23). Therefore scientists who study animal behavior using an anthropomorphic lens are subject to cultural cognition.
Another aspect he explores is the origin of morality through reflecting on the reasons why humans are good. Referencing the philosopher and sociologist Edward Westermarck, de Waal argues that morality develops naturally in humans and is part of the evolutionary process. Morality just like any other trait is adaptive and has a positive effect on survival and reproduction. For this reason, morality cannot be credit solely to humans; Animals are also able to acquire moral behavior through the evolutionary process. On the contrary, Sigmund Freud, a neurologist and Claude Levi-Strauss, an ethnologist argued that humans have to be taught how to be moral, influenced by Thomas Huxley and Thomas Hobbes. De Waal contends that both Huxley and Hobbes “Preached that the original state of human kind, and of nature in general, is one in which selfish goals are pursued without regards for other” (339), implying that humans cannot be naturally moral. The incest taboo was the moral behavior that was used to test the two claims. Westermarck argued that individuals who grow up together develop a sexual aversion for each other which kills...

Find Another Essay On Morality in Animals

Use of Animals in Biomedical Research

2235 words - 9 pages sensitivity, and yet won't really touch those with such strong stances. Their arguments may follow my idea of relativistic morality in which, since morality varies among cultures anyway, there is no universal morality and therefore we are allowed to create our own, possibly without considering animals. It certainly makes many jobs much easier if we need not care about the suffering we are causing other creatures. This is, by definition, an

Where did our morality come from - Philosophy 1600 - Essay

617 words - 3 pages . Where increasing numbers of individuals are starting to care about how animals are being treated in this world. This is represented by laws being created that protect animals from poaching, hunting ,mass extinctions and cruelty. Another example is human rights. All persons are of equal moral worth and a person’s value is not dependent on gender, ethics, group membership, sexual orientation or any other contingencies of birth that we say is morality

Animal Moralities and Human Negligence

1213 words - 5 pages researches. It is true these types of experiments do not provide a protection to animals because they keep harming, killing, and ruining their morality of our faunae. Another important point is that the exploitation of animals in the industries should be prohibited because they take away the moral status of our creatures. As Regan states, “They are symptoms and effects of the deeper, systematic wrong that allows these animals to be viewed and

Reasoning within Animals

1312 words - 6 pages Rene Descartes and David Hume lived in two completely different time periods, yet they shared interest in some of the same philosophical categories. Could animals reason? How did humans expand their knowledge compared to animals? Questions like these were answered both by Descartes and Hume even though they had two opposing views. Descartes was the first to address the questions about animal instincts, and later on Hume set out to refute some of

Ethical Obligations To Circus Animals

1000 words - 4 pages top: seeking legal protection for circus elephants after ASPCA vs Ringling Brothers’, Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, vol.1, no.13, pp.155-170. Carmeli, YS 2002, ‘“Cruelty to animals” and nostalgic totality: performance of a travelling circus in Britain’, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol.22, no.12, pp.73-88. Garner, R 1993, Animals, politics, and morality, Manchester University Press, Manchester

Utilitarianism And Speciecism

913 words - 4 pages People sometimes do not consider the feelings of animals when making decisions. As a result, animals are constantly injured or killed in today's society. Animals are sentient beings that deserve happiness, and humans should recognize their feelings and rights. In this paper, I will argue that we need to adopt animal rights ethics by explaining utilitarian principles and by critiquing egoistic, religious, ethical subjectivist, and anthropocentric

informative speech of global warming

323 words - 2 pages . You do not need to do something grateful. To respect and be regarded to animals, can already help a lot for animals. Animals are not just to be used as our food, clothing, entertainment or experiment; they have their own lives and have right to be what they want to be. And the reason why we should care is the contribution animals have given to us. There are lots of things we can do to support animal rights, to show respect is the best and helpful to change animals' lives in the future. As a result, implement Animal right is not only to help and support animals but also show our morality and ethics as a human being.

When is it ever morally permissible to kill and eat animals?

1196 words - 5 pages morality (Stephens 205). Epictetus believed, in accordance with nature, that humans are superior to nonhuman animals because humans are moral agents that understand reason and judgment and nonhuman animals are unequal to human beings. This superiority makes it morally permissible for humans to use animals as they wish. Epictetus also believed that Providence contributes nonhuman animals bodies to humans to use as they wish whether it be for clothing or

Animal Abuse and Neglect

1296 words - 5 pages . “More than 25 million vertebrate animals are used in testing in the United States each year. When invertebrate animals are thrown into the mix, the estimated number rises to as high as 100 million.”(dosomething) The laboratory testing of animals is important to biomedical research, product safety testing, and education. Biomedical researchers use animals to extend their understanding of the workings of the body and the processes of disease and

Animals' Right to Life

1116 words - 4 pages animals, and therefore, that all animals have the right to live. Unfortunately animals continue to be viewed in many circles as inferior creatures, and are often used in medical research where they are not granted any right including the right to live and their only destiny is to suffer to death. The purpose of this short-essay, is to evaluate, analyze, and assess whether or not animals have a recognized right to life, specifically within the

The Triangle of Human Progress: Society, Technology, and Morality

988 words - 4 pages The interplay between the needs of society, the implications of society using technology on a wide scale, and the role of morality all play a role in defining human progress. The goal is to balance each in order to create a sustainable future. A sustainable future involves using resources and creating an environment that can sustain future generations. However, it is clear that the current triangle of human progress is an unsustainable

Similar Essays

Morality Of The Genetic Engineering Of Animals

1289 words - 6 pages to theology and God, genetic engineering of animals should be allowed but should also be heavily regulated. God has set forth a mandate for humans to care for and treat the world with respect. Therefore, the resources should be utilized wherever needed for the good of other humans. Genetic engineering should, therefore, be used positively and wisely. Theology and basic morality provide the limits to genetic engineering and the governments in the

Evolution And Moral Truths Essay

1716 words - 7 pages happened with morals and ethics. This idea forms the basis for proving that morality can be explained by evolution and vice versa. An article published in Psychology Today argues that there are two main reasons for believing that moral bears the imprint of evolutionary history: nonhuman animals exhibit some aspects of human morality, and there is an impressive collection of theories explaining how standard, moral behavior has evolved. It is with

The Idea Of Morality Cannot Work Without The Existence Of God

1032 words - 4 pages origins of humanity and society that those who did not adhere to a certain code of conduct would be rejected. For example, a person in any group of people that killed other members of the group would quickly be rejected from that group. It is also visible that codes of conduct or 'morality' is present in the animal kingdom and that the rules that animals live by in a group are intrinsically linked to their instinct and

The Surge Of Morality Essay

1829 words - 8 pages , which, as we shall see, forms an essential part of the social instinct, and is indeed its foundation-stone” (Darwin 174). Sympathy shown to humans and animals render services needed in varied situations thus leading to a satisfied life. However, morality is also an innate social instinct. Thus as an innate characteristic, it keeps evolving through predisposing factors like experiences and environment. The environment has a huge impact on morality