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Carrie Figdor, , . The Psychological Speciesism of Humanism
2020, Philosophical Studies [forthcoming]
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Carrie Figdor

Abstract: Humanists argue for assigning the highest moral status to all humans over any non-humans directly or indirectly on the basis of uniquely superior human cognitive abilities. They may also claim that humanism is the strongest position from which to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of within-species discrimination. I argue that changing conceptual foundations in comparative research and discoveries of advanced cognition in many non-human species reveal humanism’s psychological speciesism and its similarity with common justifications of within-species discrimination.

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Ruth Garrett Millikan, , . Truth, Rules, Hoverflies, and the Kripke-Wittgenstein Paradox
1990, Philosophical Review 99 (3):323-53
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Hannah Ginsborg

Abstract: “[T]he sceptical argument that Kripke attributes to Wittgenstein, and even the ‘sceptical solution’, are of considerable importance regardless of whether they are clearly Wittgenstein’s. The naturalistically inclined philosopher, who rejects Brentano’s irreducibility and yet holds intentionality to be an objective feature of our thoughts, owes a solution to the Kripke-Wittgenstein paradox.” The challenge is a welcome one. Although I will argue that the Kripke-Wittgenstein paradox is not a problem for naturalists only, I will propose a naturalist solution to it. (Should the Kripke-Wittgenstein paradox prove to be soluble from a naturalist standpoint but intractable from other standpoints, that would, I suppose, constitute an argument for naturalism.) Then I will show that the paradox and its solution have an important consequence for the theories of meaning and truth. The Kripke-Wittgenstein arguments which pose the paradox also put in question Dummett’s and Putnam’s view of language understanding. From this view it follows that truth rules must be “verificationist rules” that assign assertability conditions to sentences, rather than “realist rules” that assign correspondence truth conditions. The proposed solution to the paradox suggests another view of language understanding, according to which a speaker can express, through his language practice, a grasp of correspondence truth rules.

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Humpherys, , . Contractarianism: On the Incoherence of the Exclusion of Non-Human Beings
2008, Percipi 2, 28-38
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: Although the practices of animal experimentation and intensive rearing involve a considerable amount of animal suffering they continue to be supported. Why is the suffering of animals in these practices so often accepted? This paper will explore some of the reasons given in support of the use of animals for such practices. In particular I will focus on contractarianism as one of the many positions that argues that morally relevant differences between species justify animal experimentation and factory farming. These differences include rationality and moral agency. On this position non-humans are excluded from direct moral concern on the basis that they lack such qualities. I will argue that in order for contractarianism to be coherent it necessarily has to include non-humans in the contract. This has implications for the application of contractarianism to the ethics of factory farming and animal experimentation.

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Humphreys, , . Animal Thoughts on Factory Farms: Michael Leahy, Language and Awareness of Death
2008, Between the Species 13 (8): 1-16
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The idea that language is necessary for thought and emotion is a dominant one in philosophy. Animals have taken the brunt of this idea, since it is widely held that language is exclusively human. Michael Leahy makes a case against the moral standing of factory-farmed animals based on such ideas. His approach is Wittgensteinian: understanding is a thought process that requires language, which animals do not possess. But he goes further than this and argues that certain factory farming methods do not cause certain sufferings to the animals used, since animals lack full awareness of their circumstances. In particular he argues that animals do not experience certain sufferings at the slaughterhouse since, lacking language, they are unaware of their fate . Through an analysis of Leahy’s claims this paper aims to explore and challenge both the idea that thought and emotion require language and that only humans possess language

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Humphreys, , . Game Birds: The Ethics of Shooting Birds for Sport
2010, Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 4 (1): 52-65
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: This paper aims to provide an ethical assessment of the shooting of animals for sport. In particular, it discusses the use of partridges and pheasants for shooting. While opposition to hunting and shooting large wild mammals is strong, game birds have often taken a back seat in everyday animal welfare concerns. However, the practice of raising game birds for sport poses significant ethical issues. Most birds shot are raised in factory-farming conditions, and there is a considerable amount of evidence to show that these birds endure extensive suffering on these farms. Considering the fact that birds do have interests, including interests in life and not suffering, what are the ethical implications of using them for blood sports? Indeed, in the light of the suffering that game birds endure in factory farms, it may be that shooting such birds for sport is more morally problematic than other types of hunting and shooting which many people are often fiercely opposed to, for while it seems plausible to say that some animals may be harmed more by death than others (due to, say, their greater capacities), there may be harms that are worse than death (such as a life of intolerable suffering). The objective of this paper is to assess the ethics of shooting animals for sport, and in particular the practice of raising game birds for use in blood sports, by applying principles commonly used in ethics; specifically the principle of non-maleficence and equal consideration of (like) interests

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Humphreys, Rebekah , , . The Moral Status of Sentient and Non-Sentient Creatures
2011, Issues in Ethics and Animal Rights, Manish Vyas (ed.), Regency Publications
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter

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Humphreys, Rebekah , , . Rights, Interests and Moral Standing: A Critical Examination of Dialogue between Regan and Frey
2011, Issues in Ethics and Animal Rights, Manish Vyas (ed.), Regency Publications
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: This paper aims to assess R. G. Frey’s analysis of Leonard Nelson’s argument (that links interests to rights). Frey argues that claims that animals have rights or interests have not been established. Frey’s contentions that animals have not been shown to have rights nor interests will be discussed in turn, but the main focus will be on Frey’s claim that animals have not been shown to have interests. One way Frey analyses this latter claim is by considering H. J. McCloskey’s denial of the claim and Tom Regan’s criticism of this denial. While Frey’s position on animal interests does not depend on McCloskey’s views, he believes that a consideration of McCloskey’s views will reveal that Nelson’s argument (linking interests to rights) has not been established as sound. My discussion (of Frey’s scrutiny of Nelson’s argument) will centre on the dialogue between Regan and Frey in respect of McCloskey’s argument. I will endeavor to update the dialogue by providing a re-interpretation of ‘rights’ in Nelson’s argument.

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Humphreys, Rebekah , , . The Argument from Existence, Blood-Sports, and ‘Sport-Slaves’
2014, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 27 (2): 331-345
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The argument from existence is often used as an attempted justification for our use of animals in commercial practices, and is often put forward by lay-persons and philosophers alike. This paper provides an analysis of the argument from existence primarily within the context of blood-sports (applying the argument to the example of game-birding), and in doing so addresses interesting and related issues concerning the distinction between having a life and living, or worthwhile life and mere existence, as well as issues surrounding our responsibilities to prospective and actual beings. However, my analysis of the argument will go beyond the animal ethics context; it is important that it does so in order to reveal the troublesome implications of the argument and to highlight the sorts of unethical practices it supports. In particular, in applying the argument to a relevant example concerning human beings, I will discuss how the argument from existence could be used to justify the ownership of slaves who were reared for slavery. My objective is to show just how problematic the argument from existence is, with the aim of laying the argument to rest once and for all.

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Humphreys, Rebekah , , . Biocentrism
2016, Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics, Springer
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The orthodox approach to the environment and its inhabitants is deemed to be anthropocentric in that it recognises the moral standing of human beings alone, and as such other beings are given at the most indirect moral consideration when their interests conflict with the interests of humans. However, many global environmental problems and worldwide practices directly affect not just human beings but many other creatures too. In the light of this, the anthropocentric approach has been accused by some philosophers of being too narrowly focused on human interests to creditably account for the true extent of our moral obligations. This article provides a conceptual outline of biocentrism as an alternative approach to ethics; one which widens the moral scope to include all living beings as candidates deserving of moral consideration. The article also discusses how this approach might be applied to contemporary ethical issues which are international in their dimension, including environmental issues, as well as issues concerning our use of animals in worldwide human practices.

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Humphreys, , . Dignity and its violation examined within the context of animal ethics
2016, Ethics and the Environment 21 (2):143-162
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The word ‘dignity’ may be used in a presentational sense, for example, one might say “she presents herself with dignity”, or in a social sense, for example, one might say “she fulfilled her duty with dignity, or honour.” However, in this paper I will not be using ‘dignity’ in either of these senses. Rather, the sense of dignity I will be concerned with is one that is related to ideas about the value or worth of a being. This latter sense of dignity has a long history, and tends to be a concept that is thought to be applicable to human animals only, and more specifically to human persons—moral agents, capable of rationality, of directing their own lives, and of formulating…

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