ENGL 202 Introduction to Literary Study: Creaturely LivesIntroduction to We3: animal rights and animal sorrow02/15/2013Grant Morrison
Tom Regan • “fundamental points” • “moral judgments are not simply and solely expressions of individual feeling or attitude” (24) – not preference or taste • “moral judgments need to be validated” (24) • Not “statements about a culture’s mores” (= “cultural relativism”) (24) “The Rights of Humans and Other Animals,” The Animals Reader, pp. 23-29.
Must be independent of “what any God says or wills” (24) • Different from legal rights • A moral right to bodily integrity, even if against the collective interest (the Mickey Mantle example) [cf. utilitarianism is the view that we should maximize the consequences of our actions for the good of the collective interest] (25) • If animals have rights, then we can no longer justify using them in biomedical research (25)
For Regan, Raymond Frey’s utilitarianism is a “fundamentally mistaken way of thinking about morality” (26) • Distinction between animal welfarists (who argue that it is OK to use animals in research if we attend to their welfare) and animal rightists (who argue that all animal research is wrong). (26) • “But do animals have rights?” (27) [N.B. the philosopher Frey denies that humans have rights]
If animals have rights, it’s not because of their rationality and autonomy (28) • Not all humans are rational and autonomous agents • Animal rights on the basis of “noncognitive criteria … such as sentience (the capacity to experience pain and pleasure) or emotion.” (28)
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy “Grief, Sadness, and the Bones of Elephants,” The Animals Reader, pp. 91- 103.
elephant weeping at his daily visit to the site where a herd-mate died Mourning Lost Love Loneliness Imprisonment Depression and Learned Helplessness weeping
Weaponized cat and bird.Illustration from a16th-century German treatise on munitions and explosive devices, the Feuer Büch.