December 5, 2011
Balance of Interests and Animals
Matheny's argument focuses on the principle of equal consideration of interests. Which fits well with the ethical theory of utilitarianism. Utilitarian theory is mainly a concern of everyone's interest, the thought of our consequences due to ones actions, and how this may affect our surroundings. Also, it suggests to put ourselves in the place of others to make a decision on whether we should make a certain action or back away from it. Utilitarianism is said to be “universalist, welfarist, consequentialist, and aggregative” (Matheny 334). Universalist because it helps us focus on those affected by our actions including those without the normal trait we use in order to consider their interests. Welfarist because it defines what is morally acceptable in designation of people's contentment. And consequentialist because it points out the rightness or wrongness of ones actions, consequences. Aggregative for it casts up the interests of those that are affected by ones actions. For this four reasons utilitarianism is said to be the best ethical theory. Other ethical theories do not focus much on the consequences ones action would lead us upon. Matheny uses the Miep Gies example who hid Anne Frank along with the family form the Nazis to pint out whether if she did wrong on lying to the Nazis comparing the consequences there would have been if she would had turn them in to the Nazis. Matheny points out that those who feel pleasure and pain are to be thought to have interests and says that by humans experiences with dogs and cats we have a reason to think that they do have sentient for they have a similar reaction towards pain. Matheny explains how we can control what pain we may have because we are cautious that there is going to be pain like when you visit a dentist and how we can conclude that large number of interest with less intensity may outweigh the sum of a smaller number of interests with a greater intensity. Matheny criticizes those philosophers who claim that those that are to be morally considered are to have “certain levels of rationality, intelligence, or language” (Matheny 337). Matheny argues that this cannot be a reasonable way to consider who can be morally considered because animal's lack of rationality, intelligence, or language give us the right to leave them out of moral consideration. Points out if this was the case then those that have a high level of rationality, intelligence, or language are to be more morally considered than others. And that adult animals may have higher levels of this mentioned terms than a human infant. So, this theory of this philosophers is not a way to say who has moral consideration and who does not. Matheny explains the living of animals in a farm and how this animals are being slaughtered without the use of anesthesia, finds it disturbing and puts out the options of not having this animals who endure a painful life. Matheny explains how vegetarians are on average healthier than those who eat meat so he encourages to stop meat eating habits because there are now food products that taste like animal product but does not contain them in it. And if we are to prove that we should be able to eat animal products it should be by comparing the amount of pleasure we get with the pain this animals suffer in the factory farms. Matheny puts out how the principle of equal consideration of interest takes place in this case, where we should put ourselves in the shoes of this animals who are being treated like this and then decide if our pleasure is more concerned than their suffering. So, we should not eat from those animals that feel pain. Eating a vegetarian diet can help us be healthier and for us not to be concern of the damage done to animals.
Matheny uses the principle of equal consideration and utilitarianism to show us how eating animals is to be wrong by comparing our pleasure and their pain on how they live and being…