Utilitarianism And Speciecism Essay

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 viewpoints on the issue.Utilitarian ethics looks at what will cause the greatest happiness for the greatest number of beings. Utilitarianism is a teleological theory, focusing on the consequences of actions instead of the actions themselves. According to utilitarianism, all sentient beings should be given consideration in society. This includes both humans and animals, which can feel both pain and pleasure. In today's society, animals are used for test subjects, food, clothing, etc. and are sometimes harmed in the process. Their pain in these situations should be taken into consideration.Metaphysical dualists, believers in anthropocentrism, state that humans are the center of the universe and are the most significant beings. Supported by Darwinism, metaphysical dualists believe that humans are the strongest and fittest beings. Thus, contrary to utilitarianism, many humans may argue that they have the power to do as they please with animals and they should be allowed to do so. The naturalistic fallacy notes that it is unethical to say something that is the case morally ought to be that way. Simply because humans have the capability to harm or kill animals does not mean that it is morally right for them to do so.Metaphysical dualists may also argue that giving rights to animals would be degrading. However, white, male Americans once said the same when asked to give rights to all humans. Now, all colors and types of humans on the planet have been given rights and individuals no longer feel that it is degrading. Expanding rights to all sentient beings would mean greater pleasure and happiness for all.Christianity may be used as a defense in harming animals. There are verses throughout the Bible that state that man rules over the animals. Yet, close interpretation of the Bible is very difficult, for the Bible contains many vague and contradictory passages. The Bible was once used to support slavery, while most people now agree on slavery's immorality. God did not write the Bible, so his messengers may have included inaccuracies. Also, other religions, such as Hinduism, believe humans should treat all beings with respect. Thus, there is not one, universal source of morals.Ethical subjectivism is sometimes used to argue against animal rights. Ethical subjectivists believe that morality is relative. In other words, what is right or wrong depends on the beliefs of the individual person. Thus,...

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