Excerpted from Animal Liberation, 2nd edition, New York: Avon Books,pp.
Suggested Further Readings 1.
Animal lovers go to wildlife sanctuaries because they want to see animals up close and because they believe sanctuaries are in the business of taking care of animals that have nowhere else to go. Animal behavior was based on fables, like foxes are clever, tortoises are persistent. So scientists said, “All we can know about animals is based on what they do. We can only describe what they do. Downward Spirals: Why we Can’t just Treat the Tail End of our Symptoms. The Elephant Ecosystem Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant.
The Problems of Animal Thought and Reason Given what we know or can safely assume to be true of their behaviors and brains, can animals have thought and reason? The answer depend in large measure on what one takes thought and reason to be, as well as what animals one is considering.
Philosophers have held various views about the nature and possession conditions of thought and reason and, as a result, have offered various arguments for and against thought and reason in animals. Below are the most influential of such arguments. Reason Hume defined as a mere disposition or instinct to form associations among such ideas on the basis of past experience.
In the section of A Treatise of Human Nature entitled, "Of the Reason of Animals," Hume argued by analogy Animal rights why cant we be since animals behave in ways that closely resemble the behaviors of human beings that we know to be caused by associations among ideas, animals also behave as a result of forming similar associations among ideas in their minds.
Given Hume's definitions of "thought" and "reason," he took this analogical argument to give "incontestable" proof that animals have thought and reason. A well-known problem with Hume's argument is the fact that "belief" does not appear to be definable in terms of vivid ideas presented to consciousness.
Beliefs have propositional content, whereas ideas, as Hume understood them, do not or need not. To have a belief or thought about some object for example, the color red always involves representing some fact or proposition about it for example, that red is the color of bloodbut one can entertain an image of something for example, the color red without representing any fact or proposition about it.
Also, beliefs aim at the truth, they represent states of affairs as being the case, whereas ideas, even vivid ideas, do not.
Upon looking down a railway track, for instance, one could close one's eyes and entertain a vivid idea of the tracks as they appeared a moment ago that is, as converging in the distance without thereby believing that the tracks actually converge. And it is further argued, insofar as "belief" fails to be definable in terms of vivid ideas presented to consciousness, "reason" fails to be definable in terms of a disposition to form associations among such ideas; for whatever else reason might be, so the argument goes, it is a surely a relation among beliefs.
Finally, and independently of Hume's definitions of "belief" and "reason," there is a serious question about how incontestable his analogical proof is, since similar types of behaviors can often be caused by very different types of processes. Toy robotic dogs, computers, and even radios behave in ways that are similar to the ways that human beings behave when we have vivid ideas presented to our consciousness, but few would take this fact alone as incontestable proof that these objects act as a result of vivid ideas presented to their consciousness Searle Normal adult human beings, of course, express their occurrent thoughts through their declarative speech; and declarative speech and occurrent thoughts share some important features.
Both, for example, have propositional content, both are stimulus independent that is, thoughts can occur to one, and declarative speech can be produced, quite independently of what is going on in one's immediate perceptual environmentand both are action independent that is, thoughts can occur to one, and declarative speech can be produced, that are quite irrelevant to one's current actions or needs.
In addition to taking speech to be thought's only certain sign, Descartes argued that the absence of speech in animals could only be explained in terms of animals lacking thought. Rather, Descartes concluded, the best explanation for the absence of speech in animals is the absence of what speech expresses—thought.
There are various places in his writings where Descartes appears to go on from this conclusion to maintain that since all modes of thinking and consciousness depend upon the existence of thought, animals are devoid of all forms of thinking and consciousness and are nothing but mindless machines or automata.
It should be noted, however, that not every commentator has accepted this interpretation see Cottingham Various responses have been given to Descartes' language-test argument. Malcolmfor example, argued that dispositional thinking is not dependent upon occurrent thought, as Descartes seemed to suppose, and is clearly possessed by many animals.
The fact that Fido cannot entertain the thought, the cat is in the tree, Malcolm argued, is not a reason to doubt that he thinks that the cat is in the tree. Others Hauser et al. And others Pepperberg ; Savage-Rumbaugh et al. The Action-Test Argument Whereas Descartes' principal aim in his language-test argument was to prove that animals lack thought, his principal aim in his action-test argument is prove that animals lack reason.
For Descartes, to act through reason is to act on general principles that can be applied to an open-ended number of different circumstances. Descartes acknowledged that animals sometime act in accordance with such general rules of reason for example, as when the kingfisher is said to act in accordance with Snell's Law when it dives into a pond to catch a fish see Bodenbut he argued that this does not show that they act for these reasons, since animals show no evidence of transferring this knowledge of the general principles under which their behaviors fall to an open-ended number of novel circumstances.
Some researchers and philosophers have accepted Descartes' definition of "reason" but have argued that some animals do show the capacity to transfer their general knowledge to a wide or wide enough range of novel situations.
For example, honey bees that were trained to fly down a corridor that had the same or different color as the entry room into which they had initially flown automatically transferred this knowledge to the novel stimulus dimension of smell: Other researchers and philosophers, however, have objected to Descartes' definition of "reason.
On this view of intelligence, sometimes called the massive modularity thesis, subjects have various distinct mechanisms, or modules, in their brains for solving problems in different domains for example, a module for solving navigation problems, a module for solving problems in the physical environment, a module for solving social problems within a group, and so on.I work hard on animal issues, but I also have hobbies, friends, activities that do not have anything to do with animal rights.
I think this gives a balance that allows me to continue to do this work. Also, I think perspective is really important.
Mar 17, · "If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die." Animal rights groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have called for SeaWorld to release its 29 orcas to sea pens.
The contemporary animal rights movement owes a great intellectual debt to Peter Singer's pathbreaking book Animal Liberation (), also known as ‘the Bible of the Animal Liberation Movement’. In that book Singer made a break with the dominant but limited Kantian argument that mistreating animals is a bad – inhumane – thing for humans to do.
These rights are different from animal rights because we have the power to ensure that other humans have access to food and housing, are free from torture, and can express themselves.
On the other hand, it's not in our power to ensure that every bird has a nest or that every squirrel has an acorn. Factionalism in Animal Rights Follow The following essay was featured in Critical Mass: Newsletter of the Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements, American Sociological Association 42 (2): As for animals being skinned alive in China, there is only one video we are aware of, and that was almost certainly staged by animal rights extremists.
Please, provide further info on the “many, many videos” of animals being skinned alive.