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Abbate, Cheryl, , . Meat Eating and Responsibility: Exploring the Moral Distinctions between Meat Eaters and Puppy Torturers
2020, Utilitas, 2020: 1-8
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Abstract: In his influential article on the ethics of eating animals, Alastair Norcross argues that consumers of factory raised meat and puppy torturers are equally condemnable because both knowingly cause serious harm to sentient creatures just for trivial pleasures. Against this claim, I argue that those who buy and consume factory raised meat, even those who do so knowing that they cause harm, have a partial excuse for their wrongdoings. Meat eaters act under social duress, which causes volitional impairment, and they often act from deeply ingrained habits, which causes epistemic impairment. But puppy torturers act against cultural norms and habits, consciously choosing to perform wrongful acts. Consequently, the average consumer of factory raised meat has, while puppy torturers lack, a cultural excuse. But although consumers of factory raised meat aren’t blameworthy, they are partially morally responsible for their harmful behavior – and for this, they should feel regret, remorse, and shame.

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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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Korsgaard, Christine M., , . Facing the Animal You See in the Mirror
2009, The Harvard Review of Philosophy 16(1): 4-9.
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Introduction: What does it mean to be an animal? About 600 million years ago, certain organic life forms on this planet began to wake up, and to become aware of their surroundings. They found themselves to be hungry, and to be the target of unwelcome interest on the part of others who were hungry. And for both of these reasons, they had to work to take care of themselves. To prod them to do that, nature made many of them capable of pain, and of terror. But some of them were also capable of the opposite feelings of pleasure and security. And out of these various feelings grew feelings of interest and boredom, of grief and joy, of family attachment and hostility to outsiders. These life forms are constructed in such a way that they cannot help but struggle to stay alive, and perhaps even to care about their lives. And a few of them know themselves to be, in spite of that, ephemeral beings. The organic life forms sharing this strange evolutionary adventure are the animals, and you and I are among them. This gives rise to a moral question: How should we interact with the others?

Comment: A useful introduction to the idea of human exceptionalism and logocentrism. Korsgaard presents a clear and accessible argument by analogy for respecting/caring for non-human animals based on degrees of self-consciousness. This would make a good introductory text in any class that covers the relationship of humans to non-human animals.

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Palmer, Clare, , . Killing Animals in Animal Shelters
2006, In: Killing Animals, edited by The Animal Studies Group. Champaign: Illinois University Press.
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Summary: In this article, Palmer provides a clear survey of positions on killing domestic animals (cats and dogs) in animal shelters. She argues that there are three ways of understanding the killing that occurs in animal shelters: consequentialism, rights based, and relation based. She considers the relationship of humans and domesticated animals that leads to their killing in animal shelters as well as providing an ethical assessment of the practice.

Comment: This text is a clear introduction to the ethical issues involved in keeping 'pets' or 'companion animals.' It would serve as a clear introduction to the problem of 'painless killing' in a course on ethics of killing, environmental ethics, or animal ethics.

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Warren, Karen J., , . Ecofeminist Philosophy: A Western Perspective on What It Is and Why It Matters
2000, New York: Rowman & Littlefield.
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Summary: A philosophical exploration of the nature, scope, and significance of ecofeminist theory and practice. This book presents the key issues, concepts, and arguments which motivate and sustain ecofeminism from a western philosophical perspective.

Back Matter: How are the unjustified dominations of women and other humans connected to the unjustified domination of animals and nonhuman nature? What are the characteristics of oppressive conceptual frameworks and systems of unjustified domination? How does an ecofeminist perspective help one understand issues of environmental and social justice? In this important new work, Karen J. Warren answers these and other questions from a Western perspective. Warren looks at the variety of positions in ecofeminism, the distinctive nature of ecofeminist philosophy, ecofeminism as an ecological position, and other aspects of the movement to reveal its significance to both understanding and creatively changing patriarchal (and other) systems of unjustified domination.

Comment: This book serves as a comprehensive introduction to ecofeminist philosophy. The introductory chapter (1), the chapter on vegetarianism (6), and the chapter on the Land Ethic (7) make excellent stand alone readings in an introductory course on Environmental Ethics.

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