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Phil 287-07E

Reading Questions 7
October 18th, 2016
Regan and Sagoff
1. What, for Regan, is the fundamental basis upon which he objects to the use of animals as
means to human ends? How does this basis differ from Singer's philosophical approach to
animal ethics?
The fundamental basis that is wrong is the system that allows people to use animals as their
resources. In Singers philosophical approach, he believed that all animals have the right to equal
consideration; meaning that where interests are equal, they must be given equal weight. The
difference between the two is that Regan believes the bigger issue to be that animals are thought
to exist for the US to use as a resource, and that is the problem.
2. Explain Regan's critique of the cruelty-kindness view.
Regan does not believe the cruelty-kindness view to be an adequate theory. For kindness, he
feels that there is no guarantee that a kind act is always a right act. He describes the example of a
generous racist whose kindness may be real but rooted in injustice. As for cruelty, he states that
the absence of cruelty does not mean that a person avoids doing what is wrong.
Class Notes
1. Animal welfare
1. Cruelty kindness view
b. Animal liberation
1. Utilitarian
b. Animal Rights
3. Explain Regan's cup analogy, which he uses to critique the utilitarian defense of animals.
How does Regan's notion of subject of a life differ philosophically from Singer's use of
the notion of subjective experience?
In the cup analogy the liquids that are within the cup represent our personal desires,
while we represent the cup itself. The cup contains no value whatsoever, only the contents of the
cup have value. The contents can either be more or less, representing the idea of pleasure and
pain (interests) for people.
Regans notion of subject of a life means that all conscious beings have intrinsic value
through the fact that they are experiencing life in general. The cup itself is the subject, which is
what Regan is interested in. Humans AND animals are conscious of their existence. Singer
argues that animals are unaware of their existence. He is more interested in the subjective
experience.
4. Explain Regan's argument in response (p. 23) to the claim that nonhuman animals have
inherent value, just less inherent value than humans. Do you find his argument to be strong
or weak?
Regan outlines four mains points for the EQUAL intrinsic value of humans and animals.
First, that the animal rights movement is parallel and not antagonistic to the human rights

movement. Second, he describes the implications for animal use in farming and science. For
science, simply do not use animals. For agriculture, the fundamental problem is that animals are
treated without any independent value and simply as resources. The last two points are purely
philosophical, for Regan believes that his words are not enough to change anything, that actions
stemming from his words and philosophy will lead to change.
Regans basis for less inherent value of animals is through a lack of reason, autonomy,
and intellect. In essence, animals are deficient in some way. Yet, Regan also brings up classes of
humans that are technically deficient in some way: children, senile, nonintelligent people. Thus,
if we treat deficient animals with less value then why dont we treat other classes as humans that
way? Of course, it is absurd to treat animals that way. We cannot rationally treat animals any less
than we treat marginal humans.
I find Regans argument as a little impractical to implement in our society. People are
aware of the wrongdoings of certain practices in science and agriculture. However, I believe that
most people see the utilitarian value in these practices, that they will never be supportive of
animals rights for their intrinsic value. The people will also have trouble opposing the current
system of the way we treat animals as it is right now.
Class notes
Argument from Marginal Cases
1. Basis for less inherent value
A. Lack reason, autonomy, intellect
b. Classes of humans also lack children , unintelligent, senile
1. Rejection of the implications of 1 and 2
2. Animals do not have less value
5. Do you agree with Sagoff's argument that being in a moral community with non-human
nature requires the expansion of the same moral rights to animals as we ascribe to
humans? Explain.
No, I do not believe nature allows for animals to have the same moral rights as humans.
The reason for this is because of what Sagoff pointed out in the essay, that nature can be very
violent towards animals. Nature does not allow for animals to have the same moral rights as
humans because, if they did, then nature wouldnt exist as it should be. However, I do feel that
preserving the authenticity of the ecosystem is important, as nature intended it to be.
6. Explain how Sagoff uses the idea of basic rights to argue that humans have an
unlimited obligation to protect all animals, domestic and wild, from harm. Do you agree
that this is the inevitable implication of the animal liberation/rights position? Explain.
Sagoff believes that we have basic rights to subsistence and security, and all other rights are
derived from it. There are two types of rights: negative and positive. For example, the right to life a
negative right would be to respect that life by NOT taking it away. Sagoff believes that animals have
positive rights. He wants us to positively affect the lives of animals. Thus, we have an unlimited
obligation to protect all animals. **Regans interpretation is more negative, he believes that we shouldnt
kill animals (negative rights).
No, I feel that it is impractical to protect ALL animals, domestic and wild, from harm. There are
too many needs to attend to in terms of protecting animals in nature, and we would be giving us too many
obligations to help the animals if we attempt to protect all of them. Sagoff states The list of obligations is

long, but for that reason it is more, not less, compelling. I believe in the opposite notion, that the list of
obligations toward protecting animals is so long, making it much less compelling.
Class Notes:
Difference Between utilitarian and a rights approach to animal ethics
o Singer & Regan
o Moral Individualism
Property based approach
Morally Relevant Properties
Singer - sentience/ having interests
Regan - Subject of a life
Relational Ethics
Conflict between animal ethics and environmental ethics
o Sagoff
o

can these views be reconciled