By Alasdair Cochrane
Structured round the 5 most vital faculties inside modern political idea: liberalism, utilitarianism, communitarianism, Marxism and feminism,this is the 1st introductory point textual content to supply an obtainable evaluation at the prestige of animals in modern political theory.
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Extra info for An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory
For Singer is not primarily concerned with whether the meat industry produces more experiences of pleasure, but how it fares in bringing about what is preferred. 40 An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory When evaluated on this basis, Singer claims that the meat industry does rather badly. To explain, Singer draws a distinction between ‘selfconscious’ entities and ‘merely conscious’ entities. Singer believes that self-conscious entities are those beings who are not merely sentient, but who are also aware of themselves existing over time.
Utilitarianism then, has no respect for tradition, custom, orthodoxy or received wisdom per se. All actions, policies and social norms are judged in terms of their promotion of utility, and this can lead to radical criticism of existing political structures, and radical proposals for their remedy. Indeed, historically utilitarianism has been at the forefront of social reform. Figures like Bentham, Mill and Singer have not been mere armchair philosophers, but have been staunch campaigners against slavery, racism and poverty, and equally staunch proponents of public health, public education, democracy and women’s rights.
As such, favouring one’s own species in not a clear and unambiguous natural fact of life as Petrinovich suggests. Secondly, even if it were, what does that prove ethically? After all, just because something is a natural fact does not mean that it is therefore ethically right. Rape and murder are surely natural facts of life, but quite obviously that does not make them morally permissible. Finally, we must ask what makes favouring one’s own species permissible. After all, we all belong to a wide variety of biological and social groups, and many of us have stronger bonds with these groups than we do with our species.
An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory by Alasdair Cochrane