Collections of Essays 1. Overall View Utilitarianism is a philosophical view or theory about how we should evaluate a wide range of things that involve choices that people face. Among the things that can be evaluated are actions, laws, policies, character traits, and moral codes. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism because it rests on the idea that it is the consequences or results of actions, laws, policies, etc.
Animal ethics and the argument from absurdityEnvironmental values, vol. Arguments for the inherent value, equality of interests, or rights of non-human animals have presented a strong challenge for the anthropocentric worldview.
However, they have been met with criticism. Often, particularly inter-species interest conflicts are brought to the fore: Because of this absurdity, the arguments need to be abandoned. It is claimed that in all of the three areas mentioned above, the argument faces severe difficulties. When presented with the claim of the moral vegetarian that it is wrong for us to eat meat, many people respond that because it is not wrong for lions, tigers and other carnivores to kill and eat animals, it cannot be wrong for humans to do so.
I argue that his defence fails. To act or not to act? Sheltering animals from the wild: The leading question of this article is whether it is acceptable, from a moral point of view, to take wild animals that are ill out of their natural habitat and temporarily bring them under human control with the purpose of curing them.
In the Netherlands, seals that are lost or ill are rescued and taken into shelters, where they are cured and afterwards reintroduced into their natural environment. Recently, this practice has been criticised because it is thought to interfere with the wildness of the animals and population.
In this research, the moral assumptions behind the arguments of both the proponents and opponents of sheltering have been analysed within a morally pluralistic framework.
It is concluded that sheltering on too large a scale would be contrary to the efforts of the last few decades to maintain an independent or wild seal population, which means that a certain amount of caution is called for.
However, in the current situation there is no decisive reason to completely prohibit shelters either. Good arguments can even be given in favour of sheltering. It also becomes clear that the acceptability of sheltering wild animals depends on the specific circumstances in which an animal is encountered.
The predation and procreation problems: Predation causes a lot of suffering in the wild. Yet, a lot of people believe it is morally permissible. This article presents an ethical principle that justifies condones predation without referring to anthropocentric notions such as moral agency or species membership.
The moral intuition that predation is permissible is coherent with other intuitions about harmful behaviors in the wild, such as the permissibility of some kinds of procreation for example r-selection that do not sufficiently contribute to wellbeing. These intuitions can be unified in an ethical principle that uses the three conditions of naturalness, normality and necessity.
Furthermore, this 3-N-principle is related to the intrinsic value of biodiversity. Finally, some analogies between well-being of a sentient being and biodiversity of an ecosystem are discussed. The rights of wild thingsInquiry, vol. It has been argued that if non-human animals had rights we should be obliged to defend them against predators.
I contend that this either does not follow, follows in the abstract but not in practice, or is not absurd. We should defend non-humans against large or unusual dangers, when we can, but should not claim so much authority as to regulate all the relationships of wild things.
They still have some claims, often strong ones. Population dynamics and animal welfare: The culling of kangaroos at the Puckapunyal Army base Australia raises some intriguing ethical issues around animal welfare.
After discussing the costs and benefits of the cull, this paper addresses the more general animal welfare issues related to population dynamics. Natural selection favours the maximization of the number of surviving offspring.
This need not result in the maximization of the welfare of individuals in the species. The contrast between growth maximization and welfare maximization is first illustrated for a single population and then discussed in terms of competing populations. In the Lotka-Volterra model of competing species and its generalizations, the choice of different birthrates does not affect the population sizes at equilibrium.
Welfare could be much higher at lower birthrates without even reducing numbers at equilibrium. Policing natureEnvironmental ethics, vol. Utility, rights, and holistic standards all point toward some modest steps to limit or check the predatory activity of carnivores relative to their victims.
Policing nature need not be absurdly costly or violate common-sense intuitions.
If natural entities have intrinsic value, should we then abstain from helping animals who are victims of natural processes? The idyllic view of nature is false:Summary of why suffering probably dominates happiness.
I personally believe that most animals (except maybe those that live a long time, like >3 years) probably endure more suffering than happiness overall, because I would trade away several years of life to avoid the pain of the average death in the wild.
by John Stuart Mill () Chapter 2 What Utilitarianism Is. A PASSING remark is all that needs be given to the ignorant blunder of supposing that those who stand up for utility as the test of right and wrong, use the term in that restricted and merely colloquial sense in which utility is opposed to pleasure.
Intuitively, utilitarianism is the simplest of all philosophies. Its mantra, “the greatest good for the greatest number,” seems like an obvious way to make decisions both large and small.
Below are samples of my writing, preceded by a list. Most of the pieces are taken from a philosophy club's now-defunct website, where members posted comments and arguments on various topics.
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought in political philosophy. An egalitarian favors equality of some sort: People should get the same, or be treated the same, or be treated as equals, in some respect.
Published: Mon, 5 Dec Deontology is an ethical theory whose name is derived from the Greek word “deon”, meaning duty or obligation. Deontology holds that people act in an ethically acceptable way whenever they act in accordance with their duties and obligations.