Vegetarian Discussion: "Speciesism" - Nothing Wrong With It

"Speciesism" - Nothing Wrong With It
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N*@yahoo.com
2012-04-08 13:06:34 EST
"Animal rights activists" - actually, most are "passivists", doing
nothing more than talk - commonly invoke "speciesism" to try to explain
why human use of animals is wrong. This is meaningless. First of all,
all species are "speciesist": the members of all species pursue their
interests, as individual entities and as members of their species, with
no regard for the interests of other species. The "ar" passivists
cannot give a coherent explanation of why "speciesism" is wrong, except
by invoking it themselves. Only humans are capable of conceiving of the
interests of members of other species. To say that we /must/ is itself
"speciesist."

Secondly, the only way the passivists attempt to show that it's wrong is
by comparison with other "isms" that they claim, without explanation,
are inherently and "obviously" wrong: racism, sexism, "heterosexism",
etc. This comparison is cynical and dishonest. First, a discussion of
*why* racism and sexism are (or might be) wrong quickly reveals that
they comprise negative thoughts and actions against people of the same
species who share the same morally relevant characteristics as those who
are doing the discriminating. A person's race or sex has no bearing on
his ability to participate in the moral community of humanity.

That leads to the second criticism of the passivists' comparison. The
member of a disadvantaged group was and is able to say, himself, that
his treatment at the hands of the advantaged group's members is based on
irrelevant considerations and is therefore wrong - he is able to
*demonstrate* that he is and ought to be seen as the moral equal of
those in the advantaged group.

The analogy with racism and sexism and other wholly *human* "isms" is
spurious.

The passivists cannot make a case as to *why* the interests of members
of other species ought to be given the same moral weight as the
interests of members of our own species. Forget about "marginal cases"
- that doesn't achieve anything.

Rupert
2012-04-09 00:00:31 EST
On Apr 8, 7:06 pm, notgen...@yahoo.com wrote:
> "Animal rights activists" - actually, most are "passivists", doing
> nothing more than talk - commonly invoke "speciesism" to try to explain
> why human use of animals is wrong.  This is meaningless.  First of all,
> all species are "speciesist":  the members of all species pursue their
> interests, as individual entities and as members of their species, with
> no regard for the interests of other species.

Some nonhuman animals do show concern for the interests of members of
other species, and in any case there is no good reason why we should
use the behaviour of nonhuman animals as a moral guide.

> The "ar" passivists
> cannot give a coherent explanation of why "speciesism" is wrong, except
> by invoking it themselves.  Only humans are capable of conceiving of the
> interests of members of other species.  To say that we /must/ is itself
> "speciesist."
>

It's not. Any moral theory at all will restrict the set of individuals
who have moral obligations to the class of moral agents. And also,
just about any moral theory that anyone accepts requires us to give
*some* consideration to the interests of nonhuman animals.

> Secondly, the only way the passivists attempt to show that it's wrong is
> by comparison with other "isms" that they claim, without explanation,
> are inherently and "obviously" wrong:  racism, sexism, "heterosexism",
> etc.  This comparison is cynical and dishonest.  First, a discussion of
> *why* racism and sexism are (or might be) wrong quickly reveals that
> they comprise negative thoughts and actions against people of the same
> species who share the same morally relevant characteristics as those who
> are doing the discriminating.  A person's race or sex has no bearing on
> his ability to participate in the moral community of humanity.
>

There are plenty of intellectually disabled humans who cannot
participate in the moral comunnity of humanity to any greater degree
than nonhuman animals. These humans have the same morally relevant
characteristics as nonhuman animals. It is failing to give nonhuman
animals the same level of consideration that we think is due to these
humans that constitutes "speciesism".

> That leads to the second criticism of the passivists' comparison.  The
> member of a disadvantaged group was and is able to say, himself, that
> his treatment at the hands of the advantaged group's members is based on
> irrelevant considerations and is therefore wrong - he is able to
> *demonstrate* that he is and ought to be seen as the moral equal of
> those in the advantaged group.
>
> The analogy with racism and sexism and other wholly *human* "isms" is
> spurious.
>
> The passivists cannot make a case as to *why* the interests of members
> of other species ought to be given the same moral weight as the
> interests of members of our own species.  Forget about "marginal cases"
> - that doesn't achieve anything.

Equality of interests is the default starting position in ethics. If
you want to claim that your interests should be given more weight than
those of another group because your group is "special", the burden is
on you to explain why.

George Plimpton
2012-04-09 00:44:48 EST
On 4/8/2012 9:00 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On Apr 8, 7:06 pm, notgen...@yahoo.com wrote:
>> "Animal rights activists" - actually, most are "passivists", doing
>> nothing more than talk - commonly invoke "speciesism" to try to explain
>> why human use of animals is wrong. This is meaningless. First of all,
>> all species are "speciesist": the members of all species pursue their
>> interests, as individual entities and as members of their species, with
>> no regard for the interests of other species.
>
> Some nonhuman animals do show concern for the interests of members of
> other species, and in any case there is no good reason why we should
> use the behaviour of nonhuman animals as a moral guide.

No other species show *moral* concern for interests of other species'
members.

The point of the post is that those who decry "speciesism" are relying
on it to say that humans should not engage in it.


>> The "ar" passivists
>> cannot give a coherent explanation of why "speciesism" is wrong, except
>> by invoking it themselves. Only humans are capable of conceiving of the
>> interests of members of other species. To say that we /must/ is itself
>> "speciesist."
>>
>
> It's not.

It is.


>> Secondly, the only way the passivists attempt to show that it's wrong is
>> by comparison with other "isms" that they claim, without explanation,
>> are inherently and "obviously" wrong: racism, sexism, "heterosexism",
>> etc. This comparison is cynical and dishonest. First, a discussion of
>> *why* racism and sexism are (or might be) wrong quickly reveals that
>> they comprise negative thoughts and actions against people of the same
>> species who share the same morally relevant characteristics as those who
>> are doing the discriminating. A person's race or sex has no bearing on
>> his ability to participate in the moral community of humanity.
>>
>
> There are plenty of intellectually disabled humans who cannot
> participate in the moral comunnity of humanity to

"marginal cases" doesn't work. It's useless.


>> That leads to the second criticism of the passivists' comparison. The
>> member of a disadvantaged group was and is able to say, himself, that
>> his treatment at the hands of the advantaged group's members is based on
>> irrelevant considerations and is therefore wrong - he is able to
>> *demonstrate* that he is and ought to be seen as the moral equal of
>> those in the advantaged group.
>>
>> The analogy with racism and sexism and other wholly *human* "isms" is
>> spurious.
>>
>> The passivists cannot make a case as to *why* the interests of members
>> of other species ought to be given the same moral weight as the
>> interests of members of our own species. Forget about "marginal cases"
>> - that doesn't achieve anything.
>
> Equality of interests is the default starting position in ethics.

No.

Rupert
2012-04-09 02:43:25 EST
On Apr 9, 6:44 am, George Plimpton <geo...@si.not> wrote:
> On 4/8/2012 9:00 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> > On Apr 8, 7:06 pm, notgen...@yahoo.com wrote:
> >> "Animal rights activists" - actually, most are "passivists", doing
> >> nothing more than talk - commonly invoke "speciesism" to try to explain
> >> why human use of animals is wrong.  This is meaningless.  First of all,
> >> all species are "speciesist":  the members of all species pursue their
> >> interests, as individual entities and as members of their species, with
> >> no regard for the interests of other species.
>
> > Some nonhuman animals do show concern for the interests of members of
> > other species, and in any case there is no good reason why we should
> > use the behaviour of nonhuman animals as a moral guide.
>
> No other species show *moral* concern for interests of other species'
> members.
>
> The point of the post is that those who decry "speciesism" are relying
> on it to say that humans should not engage in it.
>

No, they are not. To say that moral agents have moral duties towards
those who are not moral agents is not speciesist.

> >> The "ar" passivists
> >> cannot give a coherent explanation of why "speciesism" is wrong, except
> >> by invoking it themselves.  Only humans are capable of conceiving of the
> >> interests of members of other species.  To say that we /must/ is itself
> >> "speciesist."
>
> > It's not.
>
> It is.
>

You obviously don't understand what speciesism is.

> >> Secondly, the only way the passivists attempt to show that it's wrong is
> >> by comparison with other "isms" that they claim, without explanation,
> >> are inherently and "obviously" wrong:  racism, sexism, "heterosexism",
> >> etc.  This comparison is cynical and dishonest.  First, a discussion of
> >> *why* racism and sexism are (or might be) wrong quickly reveals that
> >> they comprise negative thoughts and actions against people of the same
> >> species who share the same morally relevant characteristics as those who
> >> are doing the discriminating.  A person's race or sex has no bearing on
> >> his ability to participate in the moral community of humanity.
>
> > There are plenty of intellectually disabled humans who cannot
> > participate in the moral comunnity of humanity to
>
> "marginal cases" doesn't work.  It's useless.
>

Why not?

>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> >> That leads to the second criticism of the passivists' comparison.  The
> >> member of a disadvantaged group was and is able to say, himself, that
> >> his treatment at the hands of the advantaged group's members is based on
> >> irrelevant considerations and is therefore wrong - he is able to
> >> *demonstrate* that he is and ought to be seen as the moral equal of
> >> those in the advantaged group.
>
> >> The analogy with racism and sexism and other wholly *human* "isms" is
> >> spurious.
>
> >> The passivists cannot make a case as to *why* the interests of members
> >> of other species ought to be given the same moral weight as the
> >> interests of members of our own species.  Forget about "marginal cases"
> >> - that doesn't achieve anything.
>
> > Equality of interests is the default starting position in ethics.
>
> No.


Dutch
2012-04-09 03:53:14 EST
"Rupert" <rupertmccallum@yahoo.com> wrote
> On Apr 9, 6:44 am, George Plimpton <geo...@si.not> wrote:
>> "marginal cases" doesn't work. It's useless.
>>
>
> Why not?

You know why not.


Zerkon
2012-04-09 08:05:09 EST
In article <yt6dnYnAlbcGWBzSnZ2dnUVZ5jednZ2d@giganews.com>, notgenx32
@yahoo.com says...
> Only humans are capable of conceiving of the
> interests of members of other species. To say that we /must/ is itself
> "speciesist."
>
>

great assumption given this idea of 'only humans are capable of...' has
been specifically defeated more than once. Some examples being abstract
thought, tool making, altruistic behavior and grief.

Given ...

> the members of all species pursue their
> interests, as individual entities and as members of their species,

then the "Animal rights activists" are not in violation.

> The passivists cannot make a case as to *why* the interests of members
> of other species ought to be given the same moral weight as the
> interests of members of our own species.

Read: "The passivists cannot make a case that I will hear or accept".

For instance, the case was made thousands of years ago on the moral
weight, as you call it, of all life. You may not agree with any of this
but you also can not make it out to be a fringe element or unsupported
principle in human belief and hope to keep your position within reason.

George Plimpton
2012-04-09 10:31:08 EST
On 4/8/2012 11:43 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On Apr 9, 6:44 am, George Plimpton<geo...@si.not> wrote:
>> On 4/8/2012 9:00 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>> On Apr 8, 7:06 pm, notgen...@yahoo.com wrote:
>>>> "Animal rights activists" - actually, most are "passivists", doing
>>>> nothing more than talk - commonly invoke "speciesism" to try to explain
>>>> why human use of animals is wrong. This is meaningless. First of all,
>>>> all species are "speciesist": the members of all species pursue their
>>>> interests, as individual entities and as members of their species, with
>>>> no regard for the interests of other species.
>>
>>> Some nonhuman animals do show concern for the interests of members of
>>> other species, and in any case there is no good reason why we should
>>> use the behaviour of nonhuman animals as a moral guide.
>>
>> No other species show *moral* concern for interests of other species'
>> members.
>>
>> The point of the post is that those who decry "speciesism" are relying
>> on it to say that humans should not engage in it.
>>
>
> No, they are not.

Yes, they are. You are requiring humans to behave a particular way due
to their species. That's "speciesism" (an ugly, contrived word, in fact
not even a real word at all, as every spell-checker in existence
demonstrates by flagging it as not a word.)


>>>> The "ar" passivists
>>>> cannot give a coherent explanation of why "speciesism" is wrong, except
>>>> by invoking it themselves. Only humans are capable of conceiving of the
>>>> interests of members of other species. To say that we /must/ is itself
>>>> "speciesist."
>>
>>> It's not.
>>
>> It is.
>>
>
> You obviously don't understand what speciesism is.

I do understand full well what it is. In fact, it's sophistry.


>>>> Secondly, the only way the passivists attempt to show that it's wrong is
>>>> by comparison with other "isms" that they claim, without explanation,
>>>> are inherently and "obviously" wrong: racism, sexism, "heterosexism",
>>>> etc. This comparison is cynical and dishonest. First, a discussion of
>>>> *why* racism and sexism are (or might be) wrong quickly reveals that
>>>> they comprise negative thoughts and actions against people of the same
>>>> species who share the same morally relevant characteristics as those who
>>>> are doing the discriminating. A person's race or sex has no bearing on
>>>> his ability to participate in the moral community of humanity.
>>
>>> There are plenty of intellectually disabled humans who cannot
>>> participate in the moral comunnity of humanity to
>>
>> "marginal cases" doesn't work. It's useless.
>>
>
> Why not?

I've explained that to you before, too. The argument from species
normality defeats it, among other things.

George Plimpton
2012-04-09 10:42:29 EST
On 4/9/2012 5:05 AM, Zerkon wrote:
> In article<yt6dnYnAlbcGWBzSnZ2dnUVZ5jednZ2d@giganews.com>, notgenx32
> @yahoo.com says...
>> Only humans are capable of conceiving of the
>> interests of members of other species. To say that we /must/ is itself
>> "speciesist."
>>
>>
>
> great assumption given this idea of 'only humans are capable of...' has
> been specifically defeated more than once. Some examples being abstract
> thought, tool making, altruistic behavior and grief.

It hasn't been defeated when it comes to moral agency. Only humans are
moral agents. In particular, only humans are capable of demonstrating
moral consideration for members of other species.


> Given ...
>
>> the members of all species pursue their
>> interests, as individual entities and as members of their species,
>
> then the "Animal rights activists" are not in violation.

"In violation" of what? What I said is that the "ar" criticism of
so-called "speciesism" is incoherent, in no small part because it relies
on it itself.


>
>> The passivists cannot make a case as to *why* the interests of members
>> of other species ought to be given the same moral weight as the
>> interests of members of our own species.
>
> Read: "The passivists cannot make a case that I will hear or accept".

They haven't made a case. They take as an assumption the very thing
they must show, so they fail.

George Plimpton
2012-04-09 10:43:50 EST
On 4/9/2012 12:53 AM, Dutch wrote:
> "Rupert" <rupertmccallum@yahoo.com> wrote
>> On Apr 9, 6:44 am, George Plimpton <geo...@si.not> wrote:
>>> "marginal cases" doesn't work. It's useless.
>>>
>>
>> Why not?
>
> You know why not.

He does indeed know why not. He knows that it's sophistry to begin
with, and he knows exactly why.

Rupert
2012-04-09 12:15:19 EST
On Apr 9, 4:31 pm, George Plimpton <geo...@si.not> wrote:
> On 4/8/2012 11:43 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Apr 9, 6:44 am, George Plimpton<geo...@si.not>  wrote:
> >> On 4/8/2012 9:00 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> >>> On Apr 8, 7:06 pm, notgen...@yahoo.com wrote:
> >>>> "Animal rights activists" - actually, most are "passivists", doing
> >>>> nothing more than talk - commonly invoke "speciesism" to try to explain
> >>>> why human use of animals is wrong.  This is meaningless.  First of all,
> >>>> all species are "speciesist":  the members of all species pursue their
> >>>> interests, as individual entities and as members of their species, with
> >>>> no regard for the interests of other species.
>
> >>> Some nonhuman animals do show concern for the interests of members of
> >>> other species, and in any case there is no good reason why we should
> >>> use the behaviour of nonhuman animals as a moral guide.
>
> >> No other species show *moral* concern for interests of other species'
> >> members.
>
> >> The point of the post is that those who decry "speciesism" are relying
> >> on it to say that humans should not engage in it.
>
> > No, they are not.
>
> Yes, they are.  You are requiring humans to behave a particular way due
> to their species.  That's "speciesism" (an ugly, contrived word, in fact
> not even a real word at all, as every spell-checker in existence
> demonstrates by flagging it as not a word.)
>

No, they're not requiring that humans behave a particular way due to
their species. Saying that only moral agents have moral obligations is
not speciesism.

> >>>> The "ar" passivists
> >>>> cannot give a coherent explanation of why "speciesism" is wrong, except
> >>>> by invoking it themselves.  Only humans are capable of conceiving of the
> >>>> interests of members of other species.  To say that we /must/ is itself
> >>>> "speciesist."
>
> >>> It's not.
>
> >> It is.
>
> > You obviously don't understand what speciesism is.
>
> I do understand full well what it is.  In fact, it's sophistry.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> >>>> Secondly, the only way the passivists attempt to show that it's wrong is
> >>>> by comparison with other "isms" that they claim, without explanation,
> >>>> are inherently and "obviously" wrong:  racism, sexism, "heterosexism",
> >>>> etc.  This comparison is cynical and dishonest.  First, a discussion of
> >>>> *why* racism and sexism are (or might be) wrong quickly reveals that
> >>>> they comprise negative thoughts and actions against people of the same
> >>>> species who share the same morally relevant characteristics as those who
> >>>> are doing the discriminating.  A person's race or sex has no bearing on
> >>>> his ability to participate in the moral community of humanity.
>
> >>> There are plenty of intellectually disabled humans who cannot
> >>> participate in the moral comunnity of humanity to
>
> >> "marginal cases" doesn't work.  It's useless.
>
> > Why not?
>
> I've explained that to you before, too.  The argument from species
> normality defeats it, among other things.

The argument from species normality is flawed. There are many cogent
objections to it.
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