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Moral standing in environmental ethics Sullivan, Charles 1996

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MORAL STANDING IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS by CHARLES SULLIVAN B.A., Portland State University, 1994 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Philosophy We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 1996 © Charles Sullivan, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an aduanced degree at the Uniuersity of British Columbia, I agree that the library shall make it freely auailable for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensiue copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatiues. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The Uniuersity of British Columbia Uancouuer, Canada DE-6 (2/88) 11 Abstract This thesis in environmental ethics examines the question of what kinds of beings or entities can have moral standing in their own right. A being or entity with moral standing is one for which i t is possible to give direct moral consideration, and toward which we can have moral obligations. Are d i r e c t moral considerations and obligations applicable only to humans, or human persons, i . e . , moral agents? Can the scope of consideration and obligation be meaningfully extended to include a l l sentient animals, or a l l l i v i n g things, or even further to species and such natural objects as mountains and rivers? These are the questions with which this thesis is concerned. I f i r s t consider humanism, which holds that the boundaries of moral standing cannot extend beyond humans or human persons. I argue that humanism f a i l s because i t i s riot consistent with our deeply held moral conviction that the reason why i t i s not morally permissible to torture humans typically has nothing to do with being a member of the human species, or with being a moral agent. Rather, the reasons for not torturing humans are that the i n f l i c t i o n of unnecessary pain i s bad for humans, and we would rather be free from such suffering. Since these reasons are applicable to a l l sentient animals, humanism i s rejected as an inconsistent and mistaken theory of moral standing. I l l The next view I consider, i s sentientism, which holds that the boundaries of moral standing can be extended to include those with the a b i l i t y to have conscious experiences, i.e., pain, pleasure, satisfaction, frustration. I argue that sentientism i s by far the most consistent with our generally accepted ethical foundations. I then move on to vitalism, which holds that the boundaries of moral standing can be extended to include a l l li v i n g things. V i t a l i s t s argue that because conditions can be better or worse for plants they therefore have a good of their own, which is considered sufficient for moral standing. I reject vitalism by arguing that the good of plants i s an empirical matter and not a normative one. I further maintain that because plants are incapable of having experiences that matter to them i t is unclear how they can be morally wronged. F i n a l l y I consider attempts to extend the moral boundary to include such things as species, ecological systems, and natural objects such as mountains and rivers. These positions I reject also, except insofar as the moral standing of such things can be reduced to the interests of individual sentient beings. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents iv Acknowledgments v Dedication v i Introduction 1 Humanism 9 Theological Ethics 9 Simple Humanism 11. Sophisticated Humanism 12 . Sentientism 16 The Professor and the Chimpanzee 18 The Severely Retarded Human 21 Two Kinds of Sentientism 22 Vitalism 28 Health as a Good 29 Health and the Good of Animals 32 The Needs of Plants and Animals 35 The Interests of Plants 40 The Comatose Human 45 Taylor's Vitalism 49 Further Expansion 54 Species 54 Ecological Systems and Natural Objects 58 Sentientism vs. Environmentalism 62 Last Words 70 Conclusion 74 Bibliography 83 V Acknowledgements I thank my thesis advisor, Earl Winkler, for his patient guidance and suggestions for this thesis. The opportunity to work with him has been an invaluable step in furthering my philosophical education. I thank my friends Seana Binns, John Horner, and Karen Spears who showed me the true s p i r i t of Canadian tolerance and generosity. Dedication To the three most important women in my l i f e . My mother, ] Madden Sullivan, my grandmother, Irene Madden, and my sister, Nora Sullivan Houndalas Introduction 1 1. . Introduction In this thesis I examine the question of what kinds of beings or entities can have moral standing. A being or entity that has moral standing i s one that can be on the receiving end of a moral action by a moral agent, and one whose status as a being with moral standing i s considered independently of i t s usefulness or value to others. I begin, in Chapter 2 , by giving a brief account of Christian theological ethics. I dismiss the theological approach because i t relies upon faith in the authority of scripture and not upon rational thinking. I then consider a simple form of humanism which holds that only humans can have moral standing simply because they are members of the human species. This theory i s rejected because the membership principle i s arbitrary and irrelevant to moral standing in a way analogous to how membership in a particular race or ethnic group is arbitrary and irrelevant to moral standing. I then turn to a more sophisticated form of humanism which holds that only persons can have moral standing, i.e., those who are self-conscious, rational, moral agents. The remainder of the chapter examines a sophisticated form of humanism, or personalism. I argue that this theory cannot account for the reasons we tend to give for not causing unnecessary suffering, and further, that a subject is a self-conscious, rational, moral agent i s not d i r e c t l y relevant to why we ought not cause the subject unnecessary suffering. Introduction 2 Chapter 3 examines sentientism which holds that what matters for moral standing i s the a b i l i t y to have conscious experiences such as pain, pleasure, s a t i s f a c t i o n , frustration, and so forth. I argue that whether a moral agent is justified in treating persons and animals differently w i l l depend upon the kind of treatment in question, and upon any relevant differences between animals and persons that could justify different treatment. Some kinds of treatment, like promise keeping, can apply only to persons because such actions require some degree of self-consciousness, rationality and moral agency. However, when i t comes to causing unnecessary suffering, the relevant reasons for not mistreating persons are the same reasons as for not doing so to animals. These reasons are that needless suffering is bad for persons and animals, and that i t matters to persons and animals that they not experience suffering. I then compare a chimpanzee with a severely retarded human in order to further defend the sentientist position. I point out that we do not think i t right to cause unnecessary suffering to severely retarded humans, even though they are not self-conscious, rational, moral agents. The most relevant consideration for not harming severely retarded humans is that they are capable of suffering. Consistency then requires that similar weight be given to equivalent suffering for whomever i s threatened, be i t a normal human, a severely retarded human, a chimpanzee, or whatever. Introduction 3 i At the end of Chapter 3 I compare u t i l i t a r i a n and rights-based sentientism. I explain that u t i l i t a r i a n sentientism casts a broader moral net in that i t takes into account various sentient experiences that, although not s u f f i c i e n t for r i g h t s , are s t i l l deserving of moral consideration. On the other hand, rights-based sentientism appears to provide more protection for an individual in that i t would not as readily allow for individual rights to be trumped on behalf of aggregate u t i l i t y . Although I do not endorse either form of sentientism over the other, I suggest that talk of interests, rather than rights, may be more appropriate in relation to animals. I do, however, consider sentientism in general to be the most compelling theory for moral standing in environmental ethics, and elsewhere. Chapter 4 examines the theory of vitalism which holds that a l l l i v i n g beings possess moral standing by virtue of being alive. V i t a l i s t s argue that because conditions can be better or worse for nonsentient livi n g beings, i.e., plants, that these beings have a good of their own—apart from their instrumental value to others--and that t h i s good i s sufficient for moral standing. I argue against vitalism by showing that what we mean when we say that certain conditions are good or bad for plants i s that these conditions are either conducive or detrimental to the health of plants. I then argue that the reason why we consider health to be good for animals i s because i t allows for experiences in their li v e s which are sat i s f y i n g to them. Since plants are Introduction 4 incapable of having experiences at a l l , whether healthy or not, I conclude that health as such is not a good for plants in any l i t e r a l sense. We thus have no di r e c t moral obligation to promote the health (or good), or to refrain from promoting the ill-h e a l t h (or bad), of plants. I then consider a number of arguments which attempt to show that plants have interests sufficient for moral standing because they can be benefited and harmed, or because they have latent tendencies, direction of growth, and natural fulfillments, or because they heal and maintain themselves. I argue against these views by maintaining that because plants are incapable of having experiences that can matter to them—that they do not, so to speak, have a sake of their own—it is unclear how exactly they can be morally wronged or righted, have morally s i g n i f i c a n t interests, or moral standing. Next I consider an a l t e r n a t i v e approach to environmental ethics developed by Paul W. Taylor. Taylor develops a type of vitalism that involves three elements: a belief-system, a moral attitude, and a set of rules or standards by which to govern our behaviour. Taylor c a l l s his belief system the b i o c e n t r i c outlook. Greatly influenced by ecology, t h i s outlook views a l l l i f e as part of an interconnected, unified system whose integrity and stability are necessary for promoting the good of the various biotic communities of which i t consists. Introduction 5 Taylor believes that when moral agents adopt this non-normative biocentric outlook they w i l l find what he call s the a t t i t u d e of respect to be a reasonable normative attitude to adopt in relation to a l l l i f e . And thus moral agents w i l l ascribe inherent worth to a l l l i v i n g entities, and w i l l see the promotion of their good as i n t r i n s i c a l l y valuable. Taylor maintains that i f we accept the ecologically-informed biocentric outlook then the adoption of the moral attitude of respect w i l l be as reasonable as the adoption of any other theory in environmental ethics. A central claim in Taylor's thesis is that a l l l i v i n g things are teleological centres of l i f e with their own good. I argue that Taylor's account does not provide compelling reasons for making the transition from the view that plants can have a good, i.e., health, to adopting the normative attitude of respect. I also argue against Taylor's claim that the biocentric outlook makes the attribution of equal i n t r i n s i c value to a l l l i v i n g things most reasonable. Although I accept that i t i s not i r r a t i o n a l to adopt the normative attitude of respect for a l l of Nature, given the non-normative biocentric outlook, i t appears that adopting this attitude i s in no way forced upon us by this outlook either. In Chapter 5 I examine attempts to further expand the moral franchise in order to establish the moral standing of species, ecological systems, and natural objects such as rivers and mountains. Introduction 6 I consider the view put forward by Holmes Rolston III-that species have moral standing, and that this standing is not simply the aggregation of the interests of the individual members of the species. I argue that Rolston does not adequately explain how conditions can be beneficial to a species apart from being beneficial to the collection of existing and future members of the species. I maintain that a species is an abstract category and cannot, as such, be the kind of thing that can have moral standing. I then consider the view that ecological systems and certain natural objects can have moral standing. I argue that ecological systems and natural objects can only have instrumental moral standing insofar as they contribute to the morally significant interests of sentient beings. Next I consider the attempt by Mary Anne Warren to overcome the co n f l i c t between two incompatible positions: rights-based sentientism and environmentalism. The former view would, in principle, allow for the sacrifice of certain biosystems in order to protect the rights of individual animals; whereas the l a t t e r view would allow for the sacrifice of individual animals in order to maintain certain biosystems. Warren f i r s t argues that, although animals may have certain rights, these rights have less moral force than corresponding human rights, and that they can be overridden— in a way that human rights cannot—in order to protect certain v i t a l goals of a u t i l i t a r i a n and environmental nature. Introduction 7 Warren provides good reasons for attributing less stringent moral rights to animals than to humans. However, she f a i l s to adequately explain what would count as a v i t a l goal that would allow us to override the rights of animals. It i s not clear whether these v i t a l goals must bear some relation to human rights to l i f e , and freedom from suffering, or whether they need only be grounded in the human interest in aesthetic and emotional experiences. Without further explanation of what a v i t a l goal i s , i t i s d i f f i c u l t to determine in what cases the k i l l i n g of animals' could be justified. Warren then presents a thought experiment designed to show that our intuitions lend support to the view that nonsentient l i v i n g parts of the ecosystem have i n t r i n s i c value independently of their value to human or other sentient beings. Her scenario involves two viruses: one that would k i l l a l l sentient l i f e (including humans), and one that would k i l l a l l nonsentient l i f e . If both viruses were released, the one that k i l l s nonsentient l i f e would not begin to take effect u n t i l after a l l sentient l i f e had been destroyed. Warren suggests that i t would be morally preferable not to release the second virus despite the fact that no sentient interests would be transgressed, and that no one would ever know that the second virus had been released. My intuitions d i f f e r from Warren's in relation to her thought experiment, without a more substantial argument for the i n t r i n s i c value of nonsentient l i f e , I am l e f t to Introduction 8 conclude that rights-based sentientism and environmentalism may not be entirely compatible, although Warren has reduced the c o n f l i c t between them by arguing for the diminished rights of animals. Finally, I argue that i f we give proper and honest moral consideration to sentient interests, including the interests of future humans (physical, emotional, and spiritual) that we can go a long way toward achieving many of the much needed moral reforms in our relationship to nature and the environment without the recourse to ra d i c a l reconceptions of moral standing such as vitalism proposes. Humanism 9 2. Humanism Much of traditional Western ethics has held either that only biological humans or human persons can be properly said to have moral standing. Typically, such views are defended by appealing to exclusively human characteristics that are deemed relevant to moral standing. Both theological and non-theological arguments have been used to defend these positions. Theological Ethics The theological view of moral standing, as put forward by Thomas Aquinas,1 attempts to reconcile selected themes from the Bible 2 with the views of Aristotle. 3 Aquinas argues for a hierarchy of beings in which God i s at the apex, "man" is lower than God, animals are lower than "man", and plants are lower than animals. In this hierarchy, the purpose of the lower beings i s to be of service to the higher beings. Although this position has been used to justify the human use of animals, i t also includes a number of injunctions concerning how animals are to be treated. These injunctions do not involve concern for animals as such, but rest on the notion that the human mistreatment of animals may lead to the human mistreatment of other humans. Thus Aquinas states the following: Now i t i s evident that i f a man practice a pitiable affection for animals, he is a l l the more disposed to take pity on his fellow-men, wherefore Aquinas £ 1 9 1 8 ] , I I , I I , Q64, art. 1. P a r t i c u l a r l y Gen. i , 29-30, and Gen. ix, 3. P a r t i c u l a r l y P o l i t i c s I, 3. Humanism 10 i t is written (Proverbs x i i , 10) "The just regardeth the l i f e of his beast." 4 Fortunately the theological defence of the exclusive moral standing of humans i s not as fashionable as i t once was. As theological speculation and the c i t a t i o n of scripture came to be viewed as weak defences for moral claims, other ju s t i f i c a t i o n s were needed to maintain the exclusion of non-human animals from moral standing. Thus i t is that Immanuel Kant—himself a Christian—argued for the exclusion of nonhuman animals from moral standing on non-theological grounds, as when he stated the following: But so far as animals are concerned, we have no direct duties. Animals are not self-conscious, and are there merely as a means to an end. That end is man. . . . Our duties towards animals are merely indirect duties towards humanity.5 Kant avoids reference to religious or superstitious beliefs as the basis for the moral distinction between humans and nonhuman animals, but r e l i e s instead on the characteristic of self-consciousness. In addition to self-consciousness, such characteristics as rationality, language, and moral agency have a l l been used to justify the difference in treatment and status between humans and nonhuman animals. The j u s t i f i c a t i o n of this difference i n moral standing between humans and nonhuman animals by i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of certain exclusive characteristics of humans or persons i s the basis of humanism. 4Aquinas [1918], I I , I, Q102, a r t . 6. 5Kant [1963], p.239. Humanism 11 Simple Humanism Humanism i s the secular view that holds that only humans have moral standing. At this point i t i s helpful to distinguish between two forms of humanism: Simple, and Sophisticated humanism. Simple humanism holds that the criter i o n for moral standing i s membership i n the human species. If a being i s genetically human i t qualifies for moral standing, otherwise i t does not. Sophisticated humanism (or personalism) holds that there are certain characteristics typical of humans, such as rationality, self-consciousness, and moral agency (or autonomy), that are necessary and sufficient for moral standing. Simple humanism relies on a membership principle which seems to be an extension of the moral attitudes and consideration people naturally have toward family and friends. But what is i t about Homo Sapiens as a species that l i m i t s moral consideration to them? Consideration only for members of our own species bears a striking similarity to consideration based upon race. What i f we were to encounter i n t e l l i g e n t , s e n s i t i v e , well-disposed extraterrestrial beings? Would we consider them to lack a l l moral considerability? 6 It would be unreasonable to entirely disregard them simply because they are not Homo Sapiens. We can see that both racial and species membership are a r b i t r a r y in the sense that they do not identify characteristics that I thank my th e s i s advisor, E a r l Winkler, f o r t h i s suggestion. Humanism 12 are relevant to moral standing. Thus simple humanism f a i l s as an adequate theory of moral standing. Sophisticated Humanism Sophisticated humanism offers—as the name suggests—a more sophisticated defence for the exclusion of animals from the moral sphere. This view holds that humans exist in moral communities within which they establish relationships of mutual responsibilities and obligations. In order to establish and develop these moral relationships one must necessarily be a self-conscious, rational, moral agent. Since animals are not self-conscious, rational, moral agents they cannot be members of the moral community. The characteristics that underlie membership i n the moral community are thus the conditions for moral standing i t s e l f . Lacking these characteristics, animals cannot have moral standing. Sophisticated humanists may be able to incorporate many of the practices of environmentalists into their theory. It could be argued that environmental destruction i s a bad thing for humans, whether economically, aesthetically, emotionally, or physically. And because of this negative impact upon humans, the humanist can maintain that we ought not continue with these destructive practices. What the humanist w i l l not accept i s that we ought to discontinue these practices for the sake of the environment, whether that includes individual animals, species, trees or ecosystems. Humanism 13 It is obvious that the characteristics of personhood cited by humanists are necessary in order to make and keep promises, and to enter into other agreements that involve moral re s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and obligations. What i s not so obvious is the claim that in order to have moral standing one must necessarily be able to enter into mutual moral agreements and reilations. Young children, idiots, and some of the mentally i l l are not self-conscious, rational, moral agents, and are thus unable to enter into moral agreements, yet we do not consider these individuals to be lacking in moral status, nor do we exclude them from our moral community. It would seem that in order to remain consistent the sophisticated humanist must exclude a l l individuals that are not self-conscious, rational, moral agents from the moral sphere. Thus young children, idiots, and the mentally i l l w i l l f a l l into the same camp as animals. This troublesome result of denying moral status to these particular groups of humans does not prove that sophisticated humanism is false, yet i t should make us pause and reconsider whether being a self-conscious, rational, moral agent i s a necessary condition for having moral status. It is possible for the sophisticated humanist to accept the uncomfortable consequence of his theory while attempting to repair the damage by maintaining that i t i s in the interests of certain persons that we treat undeveloped humans with respect. It could be argued that because there exist Humanism 14 full-fledged members of our moral community who have relationships of care, concern, and love for these undeveloped humans, i t is therefore in the interest of these persons i n our moral community that we respect these undeveloped humans. Thus the humanist could grant moral standing by proxy to young children, idiots, and the mentally i l l . But this position leads one to wonder upon what basis the treatment of abandoned or. orphaned children should be governed, or how one should treat those individuals who are senile, i d i o t s , or mentally i l l yet have no one who personally loves or cares for them. We are l e f t to conclude that third parties are obligated to govern their treatment of these marginal humans based solely on the number of persons whose interests would be at stake i n r e l a t i o n to the treatment. In our everyday moral lives when we are asked to give reasons why any full-fledged person should not be mistreated we do not tend to cite such reasons as the person i s a self-conscious, rational, moral agent. The appeal to s e l f -consciousness, rationality, and moral agency seems mistaken when considering why we should not cause unnecessary suffering to persons. Typically our reasoning reflects our belief that mistreatment i s harmful to persons, and that i t is something that persons wish to avoid. Simply put: mistreatment hurts, and i t is a bad thing for beings like us who are capable of suffering. But we can give the same Humanism 15 reasons why we should not mistreat young children, idiots, or the mentally i l l . Unnecessary suffering is a bad thing for these individuals in much the same way that i t i s for persons. There are countless ways in our everyday moral lives that demonstrate that we do not regard the moral status of the young, the infirm, and the incapacitated as simply derivative from the interests of full-fledged persons. Thus i f we allow that the experience of unnecessary suffering should not be visited upon young children and these marginal humans because i t is bad for them, and because they do not like these experiences, then i t would seem that there is nothing to prevent our extending these same reasons to animals that are also capable of suffering. Thus we are inescapably led to consider the merits of sentientism. Sentientism 16 3. Sentientism The sentientist argues that moral status depends not at a l l on whether a being i s a self-consciousness, rational, moral agent. According to sentientism, what matters for moral standing i s the a b i l i t y to experience pain and pleasure. What counts as pain and pleasure i s not necessarily limited to gross physical sensations, but can include such experiences as discomfort, dissatisfaction, discontent, satiation, frustration, and other physical, psychological and emotional states. Undoubtedly, the possession of self-consciousness, rationality, and the capacity for moral agency are relevant factors in many of the moral relations among humans. Such things as promise-keeping, the freedom to voice one's opinions, and the right to p o l i t i c a l a f f i l i a t i o n can apply s o l e l y to those humans possessing self-consciousness, rationality, and moral agency, i.e., persons. But as things stand, a l l moral relations between humans are not such as to require uniquely human attributes on the part of everyone involved. They do require that there be at least one moral agent or actor, but the recipient in moral relations need not possess uniquely human characteristics. That the individual doing the, particular act must necessarily be a moral agent in order for the act to qualify as a moral act is f a i r l y obvious. We may "punish" a dog that takes the food from the kitchen table, but this is a form of behavioural conditioning, and i t cannot truly represent moral Sentientism 17 censure nor a positing of moral blame. Rather, we believe that the dog could not help i t , and for that reason we do not assign moral responsibility to the dog. A moral act, then, requires that the individual performing the act be a moral agent. But what of the recipient of the moral agent's act, i.e., the moral p a t i e n t ? "What is . . . the condition of moral relevance? What i s the condition of having a claim to be considered by rational agents?"7 As we have seen, the sophisticated humanist argues that only persons can qualify as moral patients, whereas animals cannot. On the other hand, the sentientist argues that i t i s the capacity for sentient experiences that matter, thus animals do qualify as moral patients. In order to assess whether a moral agent i s j u s t i f i e d i n according different treatment to a person than to an animal i t i s important to keep the following two considerations in mind. 1. The kind of treatment in question. 8 2. The relevant differences between the individuals that are supposed to justify the difference in treatment.9 From the sentientist perspective these considerations are important in determining j u s t i f i a b l e differences in treatment between persons and animals. The f i r s t c riterion is important because certain kinds of treatment may be relevant to only certain kinds of beings. Such things as 7Wamock [1971] p. 148. 8Rachels [1990] p.178. 9Rachels [1990] p.176. Sentientism 18 admission to university, opportunity for employment, and the freedom to vote are examples of kinds of treatment that by their nature exclude animals from consideration. Similarly, torment and torture are kinds of treatments that necessarily exclude rocks and other mere things from consideration. The second c r i t e r i o n i s important in determining whether, given the particular treatment in question, there are relevant differences between individuals, e.g., between persons and animals, such as to jus t i f y the difference in treatment. I w i l l explore these two c r i t e r i a i n the following hypothetical cases. The Professor and the Chimpanzee First consider the case of the decision of who to hire as a mathematics professor at a university. In this case the kind of treatment in question i s the act of hiri n g a mathematics professor. The relevant differences that could justify hiring applicant A over applicant B would involve an assessment of which candidate possesses more of the qualities necessary for being a good mathematics professor, e.g., knowledge of mathematics, teaching s k i l l s , etc. In a similar manner, i f one candidate for the professorship were a qualified human and the other a bright chimpanzee, there would be no doubt that the human should be hired over the chimp. This i s because chimps are quite incapable of acquiring the necessary qualifications for the job of mathematics professor. This marks a relevant difference between the human and the chimp with respect to Sentientism 19 the treatment in question. In this case the university would be justified in rejecting a l l chimps from consideration, and i t certainly would not be arbitrary discrimination to do so. Now consider a different kind of treatment between a human and a chimp, say torture, i . e . , the i n f l i c t i o n of needless suffering. Consider what kind of relevant difference might exist between a human and a chimp that could justify torturing the chimp but not the human. [This case is not meant to be one in which we have to torture either the human or the chimp, and now must decide which one must be tortured]. Since torture i s the kind of treatment in question i t would seem that the relevant characteristic to be considered is the ab i l i t y to suffer. The considerations that we would cit e in favor of not torturing a person would be such things as torture causes the person to suffer, needless suffering is bad for the person, and i t matters to the person that they not experience suffering. These are also the same considerations that we would cite in favor of not torturing the chimp. Such characteristics as self-consciousness, rationality, and moral agency appear to be irrelevant, except insofar as they play a role in a being's capacity to experience various forms of suffering. It would seem that in relation to torture there is no relevant difference between the person and the chimp that could j u s t i f y torturing the chimp but not the person. It might be that in the case where we had to choose between either torturing a human or torturing a.chimp we Sentientism 20 would choose in favor of the human. This is not based on the belief that the human would suffer more physical harm from the torture, although i f this belief were true i t could make a difference. Rather, i t i s that the human might have a greater a b i l i t y to know ahead of time what w i l l happen, and thus suffer more. Or the human may suffer the emotional and psychological consequences for a longer period of time afterwards than would the chimp. Or i t may be that the human's family and friends w i l l also suffer, and that the human might have a greater potential for happiness in the future than that of the chimp.10 Although this suggests that there may be more reasons for not causing the same needless suffering to humans than to animals, i t does not mean that the a b i l i t y to suffer i s only relevant in relation to our treatment of other humans. Continued l i f e , the capacity for various experiences, and freedom from mistreatment by humans are good things for most animals. "These things create interests for them, in continued l i f e and in not being mistreated." 1 1 Fortunately for decision-making, i t i s rare that the suffering caused to animals involves a choice between human suffering and nonhuman animal suffering. Indeed, much animal suffering i s caused in the name of comparatively t r i v i a l gustatory, cosmetic, and fashion preferences of humans. 1 0 S i n g e r [1979] p.196. 1 1Winkler [1991] p.185. Sentientism 21 In case one s t i l l suspects that there is some relevant characteristic of either personhood or humanity that limits moral considerability or status to humans, i t w i l l help to look at the familiar case of the severely retarded human. The Severely Retarded Human Consider a human whose retardation i s severe enough that he does not possess self-consciousness, rationality, or moral agency, but he can experience pleasure and pain. Consider further that this severely retarded human i s orphaned, having no friends, family, nor anyone who personally cares for him. The question i s what considerations we would cite in favor of not torturing him. These considerations must be independent of the considerations for persons who might be negatively affected by the act of torturing the severely retarded human, or simply by the awareness that the torture i s taking place. By stripping the severely retarded human of a l l of the supposed morally relevant characteristics unique to persons, he is now in much the same position as the chimp with respect to those characteristics that could be cited to justify his not being tortured. Indeed, i t may be that a normal chimp would suffer even more than a severely retarded human due to the chimp's greater capacities of awareness, memory, and so forth. It should be clearer now that in certain moral situations regarding humans the most, relevant consideration i s the a b i l i t y to suffer. Consistency would then require that similar weight be given to equivalent suffering for whomever Sentientism 22 i s threatened, be i t a normal human, a severely retarded human,.a chimpanzee, and so forth. Being a self-conscious, rational, moral agent i s not directly relevant to the jus t i f i c a t i o n of torture, just as being a good poet would not be d i r e c t l y relevant i n justifying the employment of a mathematics professor. As Jeremy Bentham remarked nearly 200 years ago, "The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"12 If we accept, with respect to being caused unnecessary pain, that the a b i l i t y to suffer i s the most relevant moral consideration in determining the moral standing of severely retarded humans, then in order to be consistent we must also grant the same consideration to chimps and other animals capable of suffering. Thus, humanism can be rejected as a mistaken theory with respect to the relevant differences between humans (or persons) and other sentient animals that could justify causing unnecessary suffering to the latter but not the former. Two Kinds of Sentientism Sentientism has been developed in two vari e t i e s : a u t i l i t a r i a n form, and a rights-based form. The prominent proponents of these two forms of sentientism are, respectively, Peter Singer, and Tom Regan. Within a u t i l i t a r i a n s e n t i e n t i s t framework the principle of u t i l i t y declares that we should act in such a 1 2Bentham [1789] ch. 17, section 1. Sentientism 23 way as tp bring about the greatest possible balance of good over e v i l (including pain over pleasure, satisfaction over dissatisfaction, and so on) of any being capable of these experiences. The u t i l i t a r i a n sentientist also holds that the suffering and pleasure (including other experiences of a sentient nature) of any being capable of these experiences is to be counted equally with the like experiences of any other being so capable. The interests of many animals in not being made to suffer are comparable to the interests of humans in not being made to suffer. Singer believes, therefore,.that i f we employ the u t i l i t a r i a n sentientist approach to our ethical decision-making we w i l l be forced to alter significantly the way that we treat animals. If we give equal weight to the l i k e interests of animals and humans, argues Singer, we should morally oppose raising animals for food and using them, as we presently do, in research. To do otherwise would make us guilty of what he calls 'Speciesism'. Analogous to racism, speciesism involves a preference for the interests of the members of our own species simply because they are members of our own species. Rights-based sentientism maintains that many individual animals have interests sufficient for having rights. As with humans, the rights of animals imply that they have a claim to a certain kind of treatment that is owed to them, or is their due, and that the withholding of this treatment i s considered Sentientism 24 a wrong and an injustice, and not simply a cause of damage.13 And just as children and certain incapacitated humans need not be able to claim their rights in order to have them— rather, they can be claimed on their behalf—so likewise animals need not be able to vocalize or comprehend their rights in order to have them. Rights are considered to provide a stronger moral claim than interests in the sense that they are not normally to be traded-off with another being's interests or overridden for the sake of the general welfare. That humans are the subjects of a l i f e , . o r centres of consciousness with a good of their own i s , according to Regan, the basis for ascribing inherent value to humans. It is further argued that on the basis of this inherent value i t is a violation of the rights of humans to treat them solely in terms of whether they forward the aggregate pleasures of the group, "in particular, to harm human beings for the sake of the profit or pleasure of any group i s to violate their right not to be harmed."14 Typically, rights-based sentientists do not try to demonstrate that humans have r i g h t s — a claim that i s denied by some philosophers. Rather, they query whether i f humans can be said to have rights, can animals then be said to have them also? Regan responds in the affirmative. His claim i s that animals aire also the subjects of a l i f e that can be better or worse for them, and that animals exhibit behaviour 1 3Feinberg [1974] p.50. 1 4Regan [1980] p.44. Sentientism 25 which suggests that they have certain choice-preferences, pleasures and pains, and satisfactions and dissatisfactions which constitute their having interests in attaining a better l i f e and avoiding a worse l i f e . And further, according to. Regan, The satisfaction or realization [of these interests]...would appear to be just as intrins i c a l l y worthwhile, judged in themselves, as the satisfaction or realization of any comparable interest a human being might have.15 Much of the disagreement between Singer and Regan mirrors the disagreement within human ethics between u t i l i t a r i a n s and deontological theorists. Deontological theorists often voice concern that u t i l i t a r i a n i s m can, theoretically, result in undeserved harm to individuals i f the causing of t h i s harm promotes o v e r a l l u t i l i t y . U t i l i t a r i a n theories have been greatly refined in response to these concerns, and many rule-utilitarians argue that their theories can account for the concerns of rights-based theorists without invoking the language of rights. Within human ethics i t i s not clear that either side can yet claim victory in this debate, and this may likewise be the case in a sentientist-based ethics. U t i l i t a r i a n sentientism, i t seems, casts a broader moral net than does rights-based sentientism in the sense that there may be sentient experiences that, although not su f f i c i e n t for rights, are given consideration in the f e l i c i f i c calculus. On the other hand, rights-based 1 5Regan [1975] p.201. Sentientism 26 sentientism would appear to provide stronger protection for the individual, in that i t would not as readily allow for the individual's rights to be trumped on behalf of the aggregate u t i l i t y . I am not convinced that animals do have moral rights; but I am also concerned with the p o s s i b i l i t y of utilitarianism justifying harm to individuals for the benefit of the group, whether that group consists of humans, animals, or a combination of both. It may be that talk of interests, as opposed to rights, i s more appropriate in relation to animals. But just how we ought to weigh competing interests, whether between individuals, or between an individual and a group s t i l l remains a d i f f i c u l t problem. There may be clear cut cases in which, for example, the interests of a bear in continued l i f e and freedom from suffering would outweigh the interests of a hunter i n experiencing the sense of accomplishment, or camaraderie with his fellow hunters, in ) tracking and k i l l i n g a bear. On the other hand there are more d i f f i c u l t cases in which, for example, i t must be decided whether i t is justifiable to destroy the habitat of certain animals—the result being starvation, or some other form of death—in order to provide employment for people to maintain themselves and their families. It may be that we cannot always be certain what is the best course of action in these d i f f i c u l t situations, or what counts as s u f f i c i e n t justification for overriding the interests of other beings. Sentientism 27 But i t i s a significant step forward to realize that moral justification is a requirement for overriding the interests of other sentient beings. Vitalism 28 4 . Vitalism V i t a l i s m i s the theory of moral standing i n environmental ethics which holds that a l l l i v i n g things possess moral standing by virtue of being alive. According to vitalism, being alive i s sufficient for moral standing. V i t a l i s t s argue that a l l l i v i n g entities are teleological centres of l i f e , which is to say that they are goal-oriented, and pursue their own good in their own unique manner.16 Any condition that promotes or permits a li v i n g entity to attain the goals toward which i t teleologically aims i s considered good for that entity, and any condition that hinders or prevents a l i v i n g entity from attaining the goals toward which i t aims i s considered bad for that entity. It i s supposed that a li v i n g entity need not be inter-ested in attaining its.good in order for this attainment to be good for that entity. A f o r t i o r i , neither must a li v i n g entity have a conscious wish nor a desire to attain i t s good in order for the thing attained to be good for i t . V i t a l i s t s argue that because something can be 'good for' a l i v i n g entity this implies that that living entity can have a 'good of i t s own'. Paul Taylor argues this point when he states that, One way to know whether something belongs to the class of entities that have a good is to see whether i t makes sense to speak of what is good or bad for the thing in question. If we can say, truly or falsely, 1 6 T a y l o r [1986] p.45. Vitalism 29 that something is good for an entity or bad for i t , without reference to any other entity, then the entity has a good of i t s own.17 It makes sense to say that mere things, i.e., rocks, sand, etc., differ from plants in that certain conditions can be better or worse for plants, but not for mere things. 1 8 If someone were to destroy a rock garden or a neatly combed sand garden we would not say that the destruction is bad for the rocks and sand themselves, although the gardener might very well suffer. Similarly, a gardener might suffer i f one were to trample on her flower garden. But in this case we would say that the trampling of the flowers, unlike the rocks and sand, i s bad for the flowers themselves. When certain conditions are good for plants, i t i s indeed their own good to which we are referring. In this way i t makes perfect sense to speak of plants having a good of their own. But what is the moral significance, i f any, of plants having a good of their own? Health as a Good One way to mark the distinction between biological e n t i t i e s and mere things i s in terms of goal-directed systems. . . . goal-directed systems are, roughly,, those systems that have a tendency to 1 7Taylor.[1986] p.61. 1 8 I t may make sense to say that lubrication i s good for a car engine, but what counts as good for a car engine depends on the intentions, interests, or desires of the humans who make or use cars. The good of plants, however, would seem to be independent of human intentions, interests, or desires, although this does not discount the pos s i b i l i t y of humans having a contingent interest in the good of plants. Vitalism 30 maintain a state (the "goal" state) in the face of external and internal perturbations. 1 9 The goal state that biological entities have a tendency to maintain i s nothing other than what we would c a l l the health of those entities. The more able an animal or plant is at maintaining this goal state the more healthy i t i s , whereas the less able an animal or plant is at maintaining this goal state the less healthy i t i s . Environmental conditions, whether natural or human-made, determine to a great degree how d i f f i c u l t or easy i t is for a l i v i n g entity to maintain i t s metabolic equilibrium, or health. Certain environmental conditions can be better or worse for l i v i n g entities, which certainly suggests that some conditions can be good for l i v i n g entities, and others bad for i t . But as the rock and sand garden examples i l l u s t r a t e , one cannot speak l i t e r a l l y of something's being good for a mere thing, in the sense that the thing i t s e l f w i l l derive any benefit. Mere things do not have metabolic goal-states, i.e., health. Since one cannot speak literally of the health or i l l - h e a l t h of things, i t makes no sense to speak of something's being good or bad for them. Things have no optimal state of existence toward which they continually strive to maintain. Without this optimal state, i . e . , health, toward which a thing strives, there i s nothing against which to measure whether certain conditions are good or bad for them, l i t e r a l l y speaking. Thus i t i s that mere 1 9Bedau [1992] p.34. Vitalism 31 things, whether natural or human art i f a c t s , cannot have a good in any but a metaphorical sense. Of course, mere things can have an instrumental good (or bad) when what is done to (or with) them i s good or bad for beings that can be benefited and harmed. As pointed out, when speaking of plants i t makes l i t e r a l sense to speak of something's being good or bad for them. When something is good for a plant, what we mean (all that we can mean) is that the thing in question is conducive to the plant's health. Similarly, a l l that we can mean when we say that something is bad for a plant i s that the thing in question is detrimental to the health of the plant. We can say, for example, that Dutch Elm Disease i s bad for Dutch Elm trees, or that stripping off the protective layer of bark from trees i s generally bad for trees. Similarly we can say that light and water (in varying amounts) are good for Dutch Elm trees (as well as other plants). We do not speak metaphorically, analogously, or anthropomorphically, but l i t e r a l l y , when we say that plants have varying degrees of health, and that certain conditions can be good for plants (conducive to their health), or bad for plants (detrimental to their health). If we assume that health, as such, constitutes the good of plants, 2 0 does this then mean that the health of plants is morally significant? In order to get a clearer understanding 2 0Although G.E. Moore [1903] pp.42-44 considers i t an open question as to whether health (defined as what i s normal) i s also good. Vitalism 32 of how ( i f at a l l ) the health of plants i s morally significant, i t may be profitable to ask f i r s t why i t i s that the health of (most21) animals is morally significant. Health and the Good of Animals As with plants, we can speak l i t e r a l l y of animals being in good health, i l l - h e a l t h , or somewhere in between; in short, animals can have varying degrees of health. Consider dogs. We can say, for example, that exercise i s good for dogs, in the sense that exercise i s conducive to the health of dogs. Why, then, i s health good for dogs? I would suggest the following answer: Health i s good for dogs because i t allows for the existence of experiences in the lives of dogs that are satisfying for dogs. Health enhances the experiential lives of dogs. This i s not to say that the reason, why health i s good for dogs i s because dogs value health. Rather, dogs experience satisfaction from the events in their lives that are engendered by being healthy. When dogs are healthy they are better able to do those things that give them pleasure, satisfaction and contentment. These might include such things as eating, playing, exploring, s o c i a l i z i n g , sleeping, and whatever else i t i s that constitutes a good l i f e for dogs. Being unhealthy is bad for dogs because they are then less able (or unable) to do those things that give them pleasure, satisfaction and contentment. 2 1 I say "most" animals because there may be some very simple animals that are more l i k e plants, so that my analysis of animals w i l l not apply to them. Vitalism 33 This lessened abi l i t y (or inability) invariably leads to dogs being dissatisfied, discontent, frustrated, or in pain. In addition to certain states of affairs being benefi-c i a l for dogs, i.e., conducive to their health, we can also say that health i t s e l f is good for dogs precisely because i t enables them to have more satisfactory experiences than they would i f they were unhealthy. In relation to plants we can say that, A connexion with i t s survival [or health] can make something beneficial to a plant. But this is not, of course, to say that we count l i f e [or health] as a good to a plant. We may save i t s l i f e [or health] by giving i t what is beneficial; we do not benefit i t by saving i t s l i f e [or health]. 2 2 The distinction between being able to have experiences that are engendered by health (or i l l - h e a l t h ) , and not being able to do so, marks a difference between animals and plants. This distinction reveals the difference between merely having a good of one's own, and having a sake of one's own. On this account, plants cannot have a sake for which we can act by advancing their good (health), because no forms of experience accompany their being healthy. Without experiences nothing can matter to plants. Because of this I am led to believe that health (and continued l i f e ) is not a good for plants in any l i t e r a l sense. Dogs, on the other hand, can have both a good of their own, e.g., health, and a sake of their own for which we can act. If we believe that i t i s necessary that something matter experientially to an entity in order for i t Foot [1977] p.39. Brackets mine. Vitalism 34 to have interests in a sense that, can create moral standing, then i t would seem that plants cannot have moral standing. Except for various forms of instrumental value, this distinction between something's being of the sort that has experiences that matter to i t , and not being that sort of thing, marks the boundary between the moral and the non-moral world. This distinction marks the difference between those entities that can have interests of a kind that create moral standing and those that cannot.23 It may help at this point to c l a r i f y what I mean by mattering. I am not referring to anything necessarily as complex as having a set of values or norms. When I talk of something mattering to animals I do not mean that they have cognitive capacities such as attitudes or bel i e f s . When something matters to a being this means that i t makes an experiential difference to that being. The paradigmatic example of something mattering to an animal i s when an animal desires to avoid (or be free.from) the unpleasant subjective state that we c a l l pain. In case one thinks that the distinction I have drawn between beings capable of having experiences that matter to them, and those that cannot i s irrelevant and lacking in moral significance, I w i l l explain why I think t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s relevant and morally s i g n i f i c a n t . As mentioned, the specific distinction drawn is between those 2 3 I thank my t h e s i s advisor, E a r l Winkler, f o r pointing out t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n . Vitalism 35 beings for which the experiences engendered by health (or ill-health) matter, and those beings for which mattering is not possible. It should be pointed out that the experiences, or states of a f f a i r s , that matter to humans (and possibly certain other animals) need not be limited to those conditions that are engendered by health or i l l - h e a l t h . This is another way of saying that the experiences engendered by health need not be the only experiences that matter to humans (and possibly certain other animals). But when we talk of something being good for plants we can only mean that i t i s conducive to the health of plants, and nothing more. Since health i s the only kind of good, and the only apparent normative predicate that can apply to both plants and animals, I restrict my argument to that of health. Why, then, is i t relevant and morally significant that the experiences, or states of affa i r s , engendered by health can matter to most animals, but not to plants? The Needs of Plants and Animals By way of explication, consider Joel Feinberg's talk of the purported relationship between having needs and having interests. 2 4 He argues that mere things cannot have needs, and that when we say such things as 'the house needs cleaning,' or, 'the banjo needs tuning,' we are not talking l i t e r a l l y about the house's needs or the banjo's needs. Rather, we are talking about a human's need for a clean house or a tuned banjo. 2 4 F e i n b e r g [1974] pp.53-4. Vitalism 36 We can also talk of the needs of plants, e.g., plants need water, and the needs of animals, e.g., animals need wa-ter. In attempting to c l a r i f y what Feinberg sees as an ambi-guity in the use of the word 'need' he explains that we can understand this word in either of two ways. When we say that "A needs X", argues Feinberg, we can mean either one of two things: 1. X is necessary to the achievement of one of A's goals, or to the performance of one of i t s functions, or 2. X is good for A; i t s lack would harm A or be injurious or detrimental to him (or i t ) . 2 5 Feinberg then states that, The f i r s t sort of . . . statement is value neutral, implying no comment on the value of the goal or function in question; whereas the second kind of statement . . . commits i t s maker to a value judgment about what is good or bad for A in the long run, that i s , about what is in A's interests. 2 6 Feinberg thinks that the f i r s t statement can apply to plants, but the second statement cannot. I agree with Feinberg that the f i r s t statement is value neutral, and that i t can apply to plants. His assessment agrees with my analy-sis of "health as a good," in relation to plants. Even though something can be good for plants, I argued, this can only mean that i t is conducive to health, or as Feinberg puts i t , Feinberg [1974] p.53. Feinberg [1974] p.53. Vitalism 37 . . . necessary to the achievement of one of . . . [a plant's] goals, or to the performance of one of i t s functions. It sounds odd to say that something i s good for a plant, while insisting that this "good" is value neutral. If i t is understood that "good for a plant" can only mean "conducive to the health of a plant," then what i s being asserted is that what is conducive to the health of a plant i s not good for a plant in the sense of i t s having a sake of i t s own, or in the sense of being in i t s experiential interest. Before I defend this claim i t w i l l help to clear up some of the confusion in Feinberg's second statement. Feinberg's comment concerning the second statement sug-gests that the expression "good for" must imply interests. He suggests that a being must have interests in order for the second statement to be meaningfully applied to that being. 2 7 I believe Feinberg i s mistaken here, primarily because he does not distinguish between two different senses of the word 'good.' The f i r s t being 'good' in the sense of "conducive to health," and the second being 'good' in the sense of " i t mattering to the being that those conditions engendered by health obtain." Thus i t is that the expression "X i s good for A," where A is a plant, i s meaningful with regard to a plant's health, and should not be used to exclude plants as Feinberg has done. Further, in the second statement, Feinberg speaks of harm, detriment, and injury as being value judgments that would also exclude plants. It i s important to 2 7 F e i n b e r g [1974] p.54. Vitalism 38 be careful in using terms such as harm, detriment, and injury since on some accounts i t i s . possible to use these expressions meaningfully in relation to plants. Consider Kenneth Goodpaster's argument that sentience in not necessary for a being to have moral standing in i t s own right. Goodpaster argues that those views which claim that sentience i s necessary for moral standing, . . . are not plausibly supported, when they are supported at a l l , because of a reluctance to acknowledge in nonsentient living beings the presence of independent needs, capacities for benefit and harm, etc. 2 8 These capacities for nonsentient needs, benefits and harms of plants do appear to be independent of their usefulness to humans in a way that distinguishes them from mere things or human artifacts whose benefits and harms are st r i c t l y instrumental to humans. Certainly we can meaningfully use the term "detriment" in relation to plants. If we allow that some things, e.g., sun and water, are beneficial to plants, i.e., conducive to their health, then i t certainly follows that the lack of those things, or certain things contrary to those things, e.g., poison, frost, etc., would be detrimental to plants, i.e., conducive to their i l l - h e a l t h . Likewise, those things that are detrimental to plants can be said to harm or injure them; not, of course, in the sense that plants suffer or ex-perience harm or injury, rather, in the sense that they are BGoodpaster [1978] p.60. Vitalism 39 conducive to the plant's i l l - h e a l t h . To suffer or experience harm, injury or detriment implies much more than that certain states of affairs are conducive to i l l - h e a l t h ; i t also sug-gests a f e l t effect that can matter to the being. Thus i t would appear that everything contained within Feinberg's second statement can also apply to plants. If Feinberg intended for harm, injury, and detriment to mean suffering or experiencing harm, injury, and detriment then I believe he was on the right track. What we should say is that i f and only i f the health (or ill-health) of plants, or the conditions engendered by the health (or ill-health) of plants, matters to plants themselves can they have interests in a s t r i c t sense. Since nothing can matter to plants then i t follows that they cannot have interests of any moral significance, and that talk of the harm, injury, and detriment of plants can only be value-neutral so far as they are concerned. The same holds for the so-called "needs" of plants. The "needs" of a plant would simply be those things, e.g., sun and water, that would be conducive to a normal state of health for that plant. This, likewise, is a value-neutral term since i t does not matter to the plant whether or not i t s "needs" are f u l f i l l e d . Thus i t i s that no claim of what is owed to plants in their own right can be made on the basis of their health alone. And since health i s the only good that plants can have, no claims to certain kinds of treatment can meaningfully be made on behalf of plants, and Vitalism 40 neither can they have interests in any s t r i c t sense, nor moral standing. The Interests of Plants Goodpaster, however, maintains to the contrary that plants do have interests when he states the following: In the face of their obvious tendencies to maintain and heal themselves, i t is very d i f f i c u l t to reject the idea of interests on the part of trees (and plants generally) in remaining a l i v e . 2 9 If we accept Goodpaster's claim that plants can have interests (in remaining alive), then at the very least we now have two different kinds of interests: those of sentient beings, and those of nonsentient beings. Goodpaster allows that the recognition of the interests of a l l l i v i n g things does not mean that there are no differences in the degrees of moral s i g n i f i c a n c e between sentient and nonsentient interests. But what are we to make of the so-called interests on the part of plants in remaining alive? Feinberg argues that i f a being can have rights then i t must be the kind of being that has (or can have) interests. In this case i t may be better to replace talk of rights with that of moral standing. Although weaker than rights, moral standing implies direct moral considerability for the entity in question, and may provide a common conceptual ground between sentientists and v i t a l i s t s . Feinberg identifies what he c a l l s the interest principle which outlines two reasons why an entity must have 2 9Goodpaster [1978] p.59. Vitalism 41 interests in order to have rights. In the following I w i l l substitute the term, "an entity with moral standing" for Feinberg's term, "rights holder". Thus i t i s argued that an entity with moral standing must be the kind of entity that can have interests for the following reasons: (1) because an entity with moral standing must be capable of being represented and i t is impossible to represent a being that has no interests, and (2) because an entity with moral standing must be capable of being a beneficiary in his own person, and a being without interests is a being that is incapable of being harmed or benefitted, having no good or "sake" of i t s own. Thus, a being without interests has no "behalf" to act in, and no "sake" to act for. 3 0 Despite some misgivings about Feinberg's use of the expressions, "having a good", and "being harmed and benefitted"—which on some accounts can apply to p l a n t s — i t seems that he i s essentially arguing for the view that in order for an entity to have interests there must be the capacity to experience. This seems to support'the notion of having a "behalf" to act in, or a "sake" to act for. These kind of interests could be called sentient interests because they are grounded in the experiences of benefit and harm. Goodpaster maintains that their independent needs, and capacities for benefit and harm do indeed support the view that plants have interests, yet he acknowledges that plants may not experience anything in relation to their needs, benefits and harms. In support of this claim, Goodpaster takes Feinberg to task for holding that the discharging of 'Feinberg [1974] p.51. Vitalism 42 the biological functioning of plants i s assigned by human interests. 3 1 In this, Goodpaster seems correct. Although the growth of certain plants can be in the interest of humans (and other sentient beings), i t seems true that humans do not assign to plants their biological functioning. Indeed the discharging of these biological functions can take place independently of any human interests. I do not see, however, how we can conclude, as Goodpaster does, that i t i s then a matter of the plant's interests in discharging i t s biological functions. It may be that when there are no human or sentient interests at stake then there are simply no interests involved at a l l in a plant's growth and l i f e . Or i f i t does make sense to talk of a plant's interests i t i s hard to see how these interests can e n t a i l any moral considerations. Feinberg argues further that interests must be compounded out of conations, and he then provides some cr i t e r i a for conative l i f e . These consist of such things as, conscious wishes, desires, and hopes; or urges and impulses; or unconscious drives, aims, and goals; or latent tendencies, direction of growth, and natural fulfillments. 3 2 Robin At t f i e l d finds some of Feinberg's c r i t e r i a for conative l i f e to be supportive of his claim that plants have interests. For plants do indeed have tendencies at certain times in their l i f e cycle, and they have direction of growth Goodpaster [1978] p.59. Feinberg [1974] pp.49-50. V i t a l i s m 43 as well as the a b i l i t y to f l o u r i s h a f t e r t h e i r own kind. 3 3 A t t f i e l d here takes Feinberg to be s t a t i n g that l a t e n t tendencies, d i r e c t i o n of growth, and natural f u l f i l l m e n t s are sufficient conditions for having i n t e r e s t s . 3 4 It i s odd that Feinberg would o f f e r these c r i t e r i a as s u f f i c i e n t conditions for having i n t e r e s t s when i n the same essay he argues that plants cannot have i n t e r e s t s . 3 5 Although i t i s always dangerous to guess an author's i n t e n t i o n , I w i l l hazard a guess t h a t — b a s e d on the tenor of the essay as a whole— Feinberg d i d not intend f o r these three c r i t e r i a to be s u f f i c i e n t conditions f o r having i n t e r e s t s . I t seems more p l a u s i b l e that he considers these three c r i t e r i a to be necessary conditions. In l i g h t of t h i s concern i t becomes less c l e a r whether he intended for a l l of his c r i t e r i a for having i n t e r e s t s to be necessary conditions, or whether some are necessary, some s u f f i c i e n t , or some both necessary and s u f f i c i e n t . Regardless of Feinberg's int e n t i o n s , i t seems doubtful that l a t e n t tendencies, d i r e c t i o n of growth, and natural f u l f i l l m e n t s can be s u f f i c i e n t conditions for having interests that are of any d i r e c t moral s i g n i f i c a n c e . Mark Johnson attempts to ground int e r e s t s i n wellbeing as when he states the following: Those things that f a c i l i t a t e or contribute to our wellbeing are instrumentally good for us and are therefore i n our i n t e r e s t s . The concept of wellbeing does not presuppose a conception of the 3 3 A t t f i e l d 3 4 A t t f i e l d 3 5Feinberg [1981] pp.39-40. [1981] pp.39. [1974] pp.51-5. Vitalism 44 good, but is an empirical matter, determined in principle in terms of the nature of the entity-concerned . 3 6 On Johnson's account, the empirical matter of a l i v i n g entity's wellbeing has to do with the telos of that entity, i.e., the inherent nature of an entity that defines i t s identity and i t s effective functioning. 3 7 Wellbeing, as applied to sentient beings suggests some measure of contentedness or at least a lack of discontent, something which i s not identical to health or effective functioning. Rather, wellbeing in a sentient context i s an experiential by-product of health or effective functioning. A plant's wellbeing, however, would seem to consist solely in i t s being healthy, or l i v i n g in accord with i t s genetic programming. It is not clear how being healthy, as such, can be considered a ground for interests of a morally significant kind when there can be no experiential by-products of health that can matter to plants. It is even d i f f i c u l t to understand how health, as such, can be a ground for the morally significant interests of humans i f there are no experiential by-products (or mattering experiences) had by humans that are engendered by health. It may help to consider the case of the comatose human in order to better understand how i t i s that a being must have experiences that can matter to i t in order to have interests deserving of any moral consideration. This analogy Johnson [1991] p.145. Johnson [1991] p.146. Vitalism 45 may help explain why I believe that simply being alive is not s u f f i c i e n t for having interests; or that i f nonsentient beings can be said to have interests these are of no direct moral significance. The Comatose Human Consider a comatose human in a vegetative state with severe, irreversible brain damage. Assume that there i s no p o s s i b i l i t y that this patient can ever come out of this vegetative state. The patient knows no comfort, discomfort, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, contentment, discontentment, satiation, frustration, pleasure, or pain. In short, nothing can matter to the patient , as he i s now. He has no experiences. It would seem that the patient, like the plant, has no interests, or at least none of a morally relevant kind. Repulsive as this might seem i n i t i a l l y , i t does not mean that we may then do as we please with the l i v i n g bodies of comatose patients, or that we have no obligations concern-ing these patients. We do not, however, have obligations d i -rectly to these patients, because they do not have interests of the relevant kind, since nothing matters to them.38 We may be obliged to keep them alive [and treat their bodies with respect] to protect the sensibilities of others, or to foster humanitarian tendencies in ourselves, but we cannot keep them alive [or treat their 3 8Although we most l i k e l y do have obligations to persons who give explicit instructions about what should be done in the event that they become human vegetables. Vitalism 46 bodies with respect] for their own good, for they are no longer capable of having a 'good' of their own [for their own sake]. 3 9 The fact that certain therapies can improve the health of the body of the permanently comatose patient does not mean that the therapies are done for the sake of the patient, or that they are, s t r i c t l y speaking, in the patient's interests, since neither health, nor the conditions engendered by health can matter at a l l to the patient. Plants are no different from the comatose patient in the sense that i f nothing can matter to them then they cannot have morally relevant interests; they can have no "sake", and no moral standing. If the permanently comatose patient had a broken leg, and a physician were to set and cast the leg, would we say that this procedure is in the interest of the patient (or the leg)? The patient or the leg has no experiences that can matter to him or i t . Certainly the bone w i l l mend i t s e l f according to the genetic instructions that relate to bone growth. But because this mending procedure\can make no difference to the patient or the leg i t i s unclear exactly wherein l i e the interests, or to whom or what they belong. Or i f there are interests, i t i s unclear why they should be of any direct moral significance. This i s also the most that one can say about plants. Simply because plants mend, have direction of growth, and are alive i s no reason to think that they have an interest in mending, growing, or being alive any more than does the 39Feinberg [1974] p.61. Brackets mine. Vitalism 47 comatose patient or his leg have these interests. Again, i f we want to refer to biological growth as somehow comprising interests i t is unclear how they could create any obligations on the part of moral agents to give them consideration. If a plant cannot have experiences that can matter to i t then i t becomes d i f f i c u l t to understand how i t can be morally wronged or righted. Just as the capacity to be a moral agent i s necessary in order for one to have moral obligations, so likewise the capacity to have experiences that matter seem necessary in order to have morally considerable interests, a good of one's own for one's own sake, and moral standing. A l l of this may sound rather dogmatic, and one might feel that what is really needed is some grand overhaul in our conception of morality, a kind of "paradigm-shift" to a way of seeing a l l l i v i n g things as endowed with interests of direct moral significance, and with moral standing. I, for one, have d i f f i c u l t y conceiving how this would be possible. Admittedly, my arguments do not establish conclusively that there cannot be alternative understandings of what counts as sufficient conditions for an entity to have moral standing in i t s own right. Likewise, I have not proven that there could not be other outlooks that could count as moral outlooks with very different boundaries concerning what has moral standing. My approach to the question of moral standing takes as i t s s t a r t i n g point the t r a d i t i o n a l , conservative Western philosophical view that only humans or persons can have moral Vitalism 48 standing. It then attempts to work outward to sentientism by showing that humanism i s inconsistent with our generally accepted moral conviction that i t is wrong to cause needless suffering to any being capable of experiencing suffering. Moreover, i t seems to me that any act that causes pain to another being requires good reasons or j u s t i f i c a t i o n . In order to work outward to vitalism in this same manner the most plausible approach would involve providing good reasons for believing not simply that plants can be said to have interests in some sense, but that the satisfaction or not of a plant's interests matters somehow to the plant. I have not encountered any convincing arguments which show that health qua health of a plant matters or i s morally significant in any way other than i t s being instrumentally conducive to experiential interests. As mentioned above, I have not proven that there cannot be alternative conceptions of morality with very different boundaries concerning what has moral standing. Paul W. Taylor develops just such an alternative approach to environmental ethics. Taylor does not attempt to work outward from humanism to sentientism to vitalism; rather he argues that given a background of certain empirical facts from ecology i t i s reasonable to adopt a certain normative attitude of respect by which we can ascribe inherent worth to a l l living things. Vitalism 49 Taylor's V i t a l i s m Taylor develops a type of vitalism that involves three elements: a belief-system, a moral attitude, and a set of rules or standards by which to govern our behaviour. Taylor's belief system is what he c a l l s "the biocentric outlook". He considers the biocentric outlook to be a philosophical world-view that i s greatly influenced by the science of ecology. This outlook sees a l l l i v i n g things as part of a vast interconnected, unified order whose integrity and s t a b i l i t y are necessary for promoting the good of the various b i o t i c communities of which i t consists. The biocentric outlook involves four basic elements:40 1. Humans are members of the community of l i f e on the same terms as a l l of the nonhuman members. 2. The Earth's ecosystems are seen as a vast interconnected web in which the sound biological functioning of each being depends on the sound biological functioning of the others. 3 . Individual organisms are conceived as teleological centres of l i f e , pursuing their own good in their own way. 4 . The claim that humans are, by their nature, superior, cannot be supported from the disinterested biocentric viewpoint. Taylor believes that when moral agents adopt this non-normative biocentric outlook they w i l l find the attitude of 4 0 T a y l o r [1981] p.70. Vitalism 50 respect to be the most suitable attitude to adopt in relation to a l l of the livi n g members of the earth's biosphere. Thus they w i l l ascribe inherent worth to these l i v i n g entities, and w i l l see the promotion and protection of their good as i n t r i n s i c a l l y valuable. This attitude of the respect for nature is then manifested in rules and standards that govern our behaviour toward a l l l i v i n g members of the b i o t i c community. Taylor acknowledges that he does not present an argument that shows his theory to be correct, and others incorrect. Rather, he asserts that, the biocentric outlook recommends i t s e l f as an acceptable system of concepts and beliefs to-anyone who i s clear-minded, unbiased, and factually enlightened, and who has a developed capacity of reality awareness with regard to the lives of individual organisms. This, I submit, is . as good a reason for making the moral commitment involved in adopting the attitude of respect for nature as any theory of environmental ethics could possibly have.41 Although I have no d i f f i c u l t y i n accepting the empirically-informed biocentric outlook, I do f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to understand why i t is that we should then adopt the attitude of respect, and i t s accompanying moral commitments. Taylor hopes that when we recognize (among other things) that a l l l i v i n g organisms are teleological centres of l i f e that pursue their own good in their own way, we w i l l then be persuaded to accept the normative attitude of respect toward these organisms. He believes that when we Taylor [1981] p.81. Vitalism 51 become familiar with the good of individual organisms we can develop an understanding of th e i r point of view. By conceiving of organisms as centres of l i f e , Taylor believes one is then able to view the world from their perspective. 4 2 And this perspective w i l l in turn make i t reasonable to adopt the normative attitude of respect. I can conceive of how one can consider the perspective of animals. We can empathize with many of their experiences that contribute to or detract from their good. This a b i l i t y to adopt the animal's perspective i s particularly obvious when we see an animal, say, in pain, or quenching i t s t h i r s t . But what could i t mean to for us to look at the world from a plant's perspective? If an organism such as a plant has no subjective experiences then i t seems that there i s nothing i t is like to be that organism, or nothing i t i s like for that organism.43 How then can one take up the perspective of a plant when i t does not have a perspective, or point of view of the world to begin with? Taylor maintains that, When considered from an ethical point of view, a teleological center of l i f e is an entity whose "world" can be viewed from the perspective of its l i f e . In looking at the world from that perspective we recognize objects and events occurring in i t s l i f e as being beneficent, maleficent, or indifferent. 4 4 Fortunately for Taylor nothing much hinges on the acceptance of the notion of an entity whose "world" can be viewed from 4 2 T a y l o r [1981] p.74. 4 3Nagel [1979] p.166. 4 4 T a y l o r [1981] p.74. Vitalism 52 the perspective of i t s l i f e . We need not be able to "identify" with the l i f e of, say, a plant. A l l that i s required is that we can understand that a l l l i v i n g things are centres of l i f e with their own good. More importantly, Taylor maintains that the biocentric outlook makes the attribution of equal i n t r i n s i c value for a l l l i v i n g things most reasonable. But the whole biocentric outlook i s so abstract and "removed" that i t makes i t at least equally reasonable to deny that any l i v i n g thing has intrinsic value as to say that a l l l i v i n g things have equal i n t r i n s i c value. Indeed, one can ask what the real difference i s between a l l l i v i n g things having equal intrinsic value and nothing having intrinsic value. 4 5 Taylor f a i l s to adequately recognize that valuing requires some framework of needs and interests in relation to which values can be said to exist. The moral outlook that seems most reasonable to me in terms of being consistent with our generally accepted moral convictions i s one where sentience i s required for moral standing. Although I am not prepared to argue that vitalism or the moral attitude of respect for a l l l i v i n g things are impossible moral outlooks, I nevertheless have some d i f f i c u l t y understanding these outlooks as moral. In spite of these concerns i t is not clear that Taylor gives adequate reasons to make the jump from adopting the non-normative 4 5 I thank my t h e s i s advisor, E a r l Winkler, f o r pointing out the d i f f i c u l t i e s inherent i n Taylor's a t t r i b u t i o n of equal i n t r i n s i c value to a l l l i v i n g things. Vitalism 53 biocentric outlook to then adopting the attitude of respect which ascribes moral standing to all l i v i n g organisms. Although i t may not be irrational to adopt the moral attitude of respect in response to the biocentric outlook, i t is not clear that the attribution of equal i n t r i n s i c value to a l l living things is as reasonable a move as Taylor suggests. It is certainly not i r r a t i o n a l or unreasonable to accept the biocentric outlook while rejecting the attitude of respect. Indeed, i f we reject the attitude of respect we cannot be charged with inconsistency in r e l a t i o n to either our generally accepted moral convictions, or the ecologically-informed biocentric outlook. Further Expansion 54 5 . Further Expansion of the Moral Franchise Just as v i t a l i s t s attempt to expand moral standing beyond sentient interests to include a l l l i v i n g things, others have attempted to expand moral standing beyond vitalism to include species, ecological systems, and some natural objects such as mountains and rivers. On my view, the plausibility of further moral expansion w i l l depend upon whether we consider these objects to have morally significant interests. Species Most of us are f a m i l i a r with laws enacted by governments designed to protect threatened and endangered species of plants and animals from extinction. Those of us who find the rapid rate of extinction of many species to be appalling, especially when profit is the main motive behind this destruction, w i l l applaud conservation legislation. Whether or not species themselves can have moral standing i s not a question with which legislators need necessarily concern themselves. It is often enough to consider that existing and future humans w i l l be harmed by this rapid extinction, or that many humans may simply value maintaining biodiversity as a part of our human or cultural heritage. However, a question that has arisen in environmental ethics is whether a species—as opposed to the individual members of the species—can have moral standing. Holmes Rolston III argues that species do have moral standing. What exactly a species i s , on Rolston's account, Further Expansion 55 is not always clear but he does suggest that the obligations that moral agents have to a species are not to a class or a category; nor to an aggregation of sentient interests. 4 6 He refers to a species as a ' l i f e l i n e ' , and as a 'specific form'. He considers species to be "objectively real genetic forms"47 that exist in time (but not in space), and further, as a kind of co l l e c t i o n that i s i t s e l f a separate and distinct whole whose qualities cannot be reduced to the aggregation of the qualities of the individual members of the species. 4 8 It is not d i f f i c u l t to understand the motivation for those arguments that aim to establish species as true objects of moral concern. If the equivalent interests of different individuals are to be given equal consideration then i t would seem that the interests of individuals of an endangered species would have no greater claim to protection than those of a flourishing species when their interests are equivalent. For example, the interests in continued l i f e , and freedom from unnecessary suffering would most lik e l y be the same for a Bald Eagle, and a common urban pigeon. That a species is rare seems to have no bearing when considering the sentient or v i t a l interests of the members of the species.. In support of the distinction between the interests of a species as a whole, and those of the aggregate of 4 6 R o l s t o n [1988] p.147. 4 7Winkler [1991] p.187. 4 8 R o l s t o n [1988] esp. pp.133-6. Further Expansion 56 individual members, of the species, Rolston argues the following: Events can be good for the well-being of the species, considered collectively, although they are harmful i f considered as distributed to individuals. 4 9 One often finds deer hunters using claims similar to this one in order to justify preserving the integrity of the herd or the species, by hunting the old and the sick. Whether deer hunters really do k i l l primarily the old and sick, and whether this j u s t i f i c a t i o n for hunting can be maintained i s not the point at issue. What is at issue is whether talk of the well-being of a species considered as distinct from the aggregate well-being of the members of the species i s the most i n t e l l i g i b l e way to maintain this distinction. Rather than positing the existence of a species as an entity distinct from the aggregation of i t s members, I would argue that talk of the well-being of a species can be best understood as a s t a t i s t i c a l compilation of health indicators quantified over a l l of the individual members of the species. Moreover, when we talk of improving the species at the expense of individuals, this improvement i s better understood as including in our s t a t i s t i c a l compilation the predicted health indicators of future individual members of the species. in an attempt to impart some substance to his notion of species, Rolston argues that the telos i s encoded in the Fraser [1962] quoted by Rolston [1989] p.214. Further Expansion 57 genetic set, and that this is as much a 'property' of the species as i t i s of the individual members of the species. And further, he maintains that events can be beneficial at the species level, which i s an additional consideration to whether they are beneficial to individual members of the species. 5 0 What Rolston f a i l s to recognize i s that i t is not a species, as such, that i s benefited at the expense of certain individuals, rather i t i s existing and future individuals that are the beneficiaries at the expense of certain existing individuals. Rolston argues in some detail for his claim that a species i s a kind of animate, dynamic form that does not exist in space, and whose existence is not reducible to that of i t s members. I believe that despite his imaginative efforts Rolston f a i l s to make his case because he does not adequately explain what i t could mean for conditions to be beneficial to a species (an abstract form on his account) apart from being beneficial to the collection of existing and future individual members of the species. The d i f f i c u l t y in arguing for the moral standing of a species l i e s in the fact that a species i s nothing more than an abstract category— despite Rolston's assertion to the contrary—and abstract categories are not the kinds of things that can have interests or moral standing. If we consider the well-being of a species to consist in the aggregate well-being of existing and future members--5 0Rolston [1989] p.215. Further Expansion 58 which I believe to be the most reasonable conception—we must then consider the status of the two categories of species: sentient, and nonsentient. If we reject the v i t a l i s t ' s claim that nonsentient l i v i n g organisms can have a good which establishes direct moral standing, then no amount of aggregation of these goods can lead us to assert that a nonsentient species can have moral standing. If, on the other hand, we hold that sentient experience i s required for an individual to have morally significant interests (the interests in not being harmed, and in continued l i f e ) , then there seems to be no reason why we cannot consider a sentient species to have moral standing, but only, however, in terms of the aggregate sentient interests of the individual members, present and future. In this sense, promoting the interests of a species can be seen as analogous with working toward bettering a human community in which the interests of the community are reduced to the collective interests of the individual members who comprise the community. Ecological Systems and Natural Objects The theory that ecological systems have moral standing can be interpreted i n two ways: d i s t r i b u t i v e l y , or collectively. 5 1 The f i r s t view holds that the earth's ecological workings are comprised of many d i s t i n c t and separate things, and i t is these things themselves that have moral standing. The second view holds that these distinct Frankena [1979] p.11. Further Expansion 59 and separate things comprise a whole, or a unified system, and i t is this whole i t s e l f that has moral standing. Since many of the distinct and separate things that make up the earth's ecological workings are nonliving natural objects, e.g., mountains, bodies of water, volcanoes, then, according to the distributive approach, these natural objects would a l l have moral standing. This further expansion of ethics in i t s distributive form is explained by Rolston when he states the following: If we now universalize "person," consider how slowly the circl e has been enlarged fully to include aliens, strangers, infants, children, Negroes, Jews, slaves, women, Indians, prisoners, the elderly, the insane, the deformed, and even now we ponder the status of fetuses. Ecological ethics queries whether we ought again to universalize, recognizing the intrinsic value of every ecobiotic component.52 We can certainly recognize the instrumental value of ecobiotic components in relation to how they contribute to the good of sentient subjects, but this is not what is being recommended. Even those v i t a l i s t s who would ground interests and moral standing in the teleological good of nonsentient organisms would have d i f f i c u l t y recognizing what kind of moral value ecobiotic components could have other than their instrumental value to living entities. Rolston realizes that nonliving natural objects do not have a telos, or end, toward which they s t r i v e . Yet he believes that we can recognize that these objects do have moral status when we consider what he c a l l s "projective 5 2 R o l s t o n [1975] p.101. Further Expansion 60 nature". It may be best to quote Rolston at length on this point. We confront a projective nature, one restlessly f u l l of projects—stars, comets, planets, moons, and also rocks, crystals, rivers, canyons, seas. The l i f e in which these astronomical and geological processes culminate is s t i l l more impressive, but i t is of a piece with the whole projective system. Everything is made out of di r t and water, stellar stuff, and funded with stellar energy. One cannot be impressed with l i f e in isolation from i t s originating matrix. Nature i s a fountain of l i f e , and the whole fountain—not just the l i f e that issues from i t — i s of value. 5 3 Although nature's astronomical and geological projects have culminated in l i f e , they can just as easily culminate in death and destruction, to which one theory for the extinction of the dinosaurs attests. We may respect these processes in terms of wonder, or fear. Or we may value these processes as the instrumental precursors to the existence of sentient l i f e , or even a l l l i f e . But apart from instrumental value, or a respect grounded in awe, i t is d i f f i c u l t to see how any kind of moral obligations can arise with respect to nonliving, nonsentient natural projects. Rolston recognizes that we may value these natural projects or processes, but he also maintains that they have value in themselves..54 It i s d i f f i c u l t to know what to make of this claim. We may consider such things as pleasure, knowledge, and beauty to have intrinsic value, but that does not mean that these things have value apart from the a b i l i t y of beings who can value or experience them. It makes more 5 3 R o l s t o n [1988] p.197. 5 4 R o l s t o n [1988] p.199. Further Expansion 61 sense to say that we value these things i n t r i n s i c a l l y (for what they are), rather than claiming that these things have some kind of value apart from any valuing or experiencing subject. When I i n t r i n s i c a l l y value some pleasant experience, a beautiful object, or having knowledge, this means that I value these things apart from any additional instrumental benefits that these things may impart—although I may value the instrumental benefits, this i s an additional consideration to valuing something i n t r i n s i c a l l y . If, however, I do not value pleasant experiences, beautiful objects, or the possession of knowledge I cannot meaningfully be said to have morally wronged or transgressed the interests of pleasant experiences, beautiful objects, or items of knowledge. Likewise, i f I d o n o t value some nonsentient natural project I cannot be said to have morally wronged or transgressed the interests of that project. Whereas i f i t does not matter to me whether I cause unnecessary suffering to sentient beings, I can s t i l l be said to have transgressed their interests, and thus to have morally wronged them. With this distinction in mind i t is d i f f i c u l t to see how a natural project can have any value in i t s e l f apart from i t s being valued by this or that valuer; If we consider the idea that i t i s the wholes or unified systems that have value in themselves, I believe that we w i l l encounter much the same d i f f i c u l t y . I do not know how one -might go about grounding moral concern for wholes, except insofar as they can be reduced to the interest of Further Expansion 62 persons and sentient beings. One might argue using the analogy of a community of persons. It might be maintained the what counts as the moral good of the overall community is more than the sum of the moral good of i t s individual members, although this seems doubtful. 5 5 Even i f we accept this analogy with possible emergent properties of community, i t i s hard to know how any unified system can have moral value in i t s e l f without the existence of some subjects within this natural community whose interests can be transgressed. Frankly, I do not see how one could maintain that unified systems or wholes have any direct moral status apart from the interests of sentient beings, whose lives are inexorably linked with the functioning of the unified system. Sentientism vs. Environmentalism There i s a conflict at the forefront of environmental philosophy between rights-based s e n t i e n t i s t s and environmentalists. The environmentalist sees the stability, complexity, and i n t e g r i t y of ecological systems as the indicator of the value of species and individual organisms, and as the measure of the Tightness and wrongness of human actions. The environmentalist would be willing to sacrifice various individual sentient beings for the benefit of the ecosystem as a whole. On the other hand, the sentientist outlook, "is individualist in i t s moral focus, in that i t treats the needs and interests of individual sentient beings as the ultimate basis for conclusions about right and 5 5Frankena [1979] p.17. Further Expansion 63 wrong."56 The sentientist would in principle be will i n g to sac r i f i c e the integrity of the ecosystem for the sake of individual sentient beings. There i s some concern as to whether these two positions are fundamentally incompatible. Mary Anne Warren argues that these two positions are reconcilable provided each side i s w i l l i n g to make some compromises.57 Warren i s willing to accept that animals have a right to l i f e , and a right to freedom from unnecessary suffering, but that these rights are less stringent than the corresponding rights of humans. Warren suggests that the continued l i f e of a human has greater i n t r i n s i c value than the continued l i f e of an animal because human lives are worth more to their possessors. She supports th i s view by suggesting that, animals appear to lack the sorts of long-range hopes, plans, ambitions and the like, which give human beings such a powerful interest in continued l i f e . 5 8 She does not deny that animals have a right to l i f e , but rather that this right has less moral force, and can be overridden more easily than the corresponding human right to l i f e . : : ' . • Concerning the right to freedom from unnecessary suffering Warren recognizes that i t i s not clear that humans necessarily suffer more than animals. Although humans may be thought to suffer more because of the a b i l i t y to anticipate 5 6Warren [1983] p.110. 5 7Warren [1983]. 5 8Warren [1983] p.116. . Further Expansion 64 and remember more c l e a r l y the anguish and torment of suffering, animals could similarly be thought to suffer more because they may be unable to recognize that the pain w i l l eventually subside, and they may be unable to focus on other things in order to distract themselves somewhat from the experience of suffering. Since we cannot be certain that human suffering i s , on the whole, more intense than animal suffering we cannot accord humans a greater right to freedom from unnecessary suffering on this basis alone. Warren suggests, however, that there may be other reasons for regarding the human right to freedom from unnecessary suffering as more stringent than the corresponding animal right. Warren argues that moral autonomy provides a reason for according humans a stronger right to freedom from suffering than animals. 5 9 Borrowing from a contractualist theory of morality, Warren points out the mutual advantage to moral agents when they agree to respect the interests of other moral agents on the stipulation that this respect w i l l be reciprocated. Thus, i t is the possibility of reciprocity which motivates moral agents to extend f u l l and equal moral rights . . . only to other moral agents. I respect your right to l i f e , liberty and the pursuit of happiness in part because you are a sentient being, whose interests have intrinsic moral significance. But I respect them as fully equal to my own because I hope and expect that you w i l l do the same for me.60 5 9Warren [1983] p.119. 6 0Warren [1983] p.119. Further Expansion 65 Warren examines a number of objections to her position, the most significant being the d i f f i c u l t y in accounting for the f u l l and equal rights of those nonparadigm humans who, like animals, lack moral agency. In terms of infants and children, Warren gives three reasons for assigning them stronger moral rights than animals. 6 1 F i r s t , infants and children possess not just potential autonomy, but p a r t i a l autonomy, in that they are already learning the things that w i l l enable them to become f u l l y autonomous moral agents. Second, we simply place great value on the lives and well-being of infants and children. And third, i f we did not grant strong moral rights to infants and children they would most likely not grow up to become responsible moral agents. Concerning those nonparadigm humans who are incurably senile or severely retarded Warren suggests some reasons why they should be extended stronger moral rights than animals. Although they lack the potential for moral autonomy, there may be friends and relatives who care for their well-being. They may have greater mental capacities than are apparent, and may, i f cared for, gain or regain some measure of moral autonomy. And further, since someday we may become mentally incapacitated to some degree, we might be worried about our futures i f we denied strong moral rights based upon mental incapacitation. 6 2 6 1Warren [1983] p.121. 6 2Warren [1983] p.121-2. Further Expansion 66 A number of these reasons, provided by Warren, for ascribing stronger moral rights to nonparadigm humans than to animals have to do not with the interests of these humans themselves, but with our interests as f u l l y autonomous humans. Warren refers to the rights that arise out of these instrumental concerns as conferred rights, in contrast to natural rights, which are based on the properties of the being i t s e l f . In relation to this distinction she argues the following. The sentience of nonparadigm humans, like that of sentient nonhuman animals, gives them a place in the sphere of rights holders. So long, as the moral rights of a l l sentient beings are given due recognition, there should be no objection to providing some of them with additional protections, on the basis of our interests as well as their own.63 Warren's view that animals do not have rights of the same moral force as humans allows for cases in which these rights can be overridden for certain u t i l i t a r i a n or environmental considerations which would not be permissible in the case of human rights. If there,is no alternative available—short of k i l l i n g animals belonging to a flourishing species—in order to achieve what Warren c a l l s a vital goal, such as the preservation of a threatened species, then the k i l l i n g of these flourishing animals would be j u s t i f i e d . 6 4 Warren does not make i t clear what exactly would count as a vital goal. S p e c i f i c a l l y , one i s l e f t wondering whether this should include, say, a threatened plant species that plays no 6 3Warren [1983] p.122. 6 4Warren [1983] p.126. Further Expansion 67 obvious beneficial role in the s t a b i l i t y of the ecosystem, the preservation of which i s simply a matter of botanical curiosity. In such cases i t i s not clear that even the diminished rights of animals could justifiably be overridden. Let us assume, however, that the conflict i s between members of a threatened sentient species, and those of a flourishing sentient species. In this case Warren would appear to believe that the preservation of a threatened sentient species constitutes a vital goal such that i t s preservation would justify our k i l l i n g members of the flourishing sentient species. But since the rights of the members of the threatened sentient species do not necessarily outweigh the rights of those of the flourishing sentient species, i t must then be the rights of humans that would t i p the scales in favor of those of the threatened species. Warren does not explain which human rights could justify such actions, and how these rights are related to vital goals. If human l i f e and freedom from suffering are what i s at stake in the preservation of the ' threatened species then this could provide reasons that would ju s t i f y k i l l i n g members of the flourishing species. But would the human interest (I hesitate to c a l l t h i s a right) i n the aesthetic or emotionally pleasant experience of observing, say, Bald Eagles be enough to t i p the scales in favor of k i l l i n g numerous Sea G u l l s — a p r o l i f i c and invasive species—in order to preserve these rare birds? This is not clear on Warren's account. Without c l a r i f y i n g which human interests (or Further Expansion 68 rights) constitute v i t a l goals, and which are t r i v i a l ones, i t i s hard to know to what degree Warren succeeds in attempting to bridge the gap between sentientism and environmentalism. In addition to arguing for the diminished rights of animals in an attempt to bridge the gap between sentientists and environmentalists, Warren argues for the i n t r i n s i c value of the nonsentient elements of the ecosystem in order to bolster the environmentalist's position. Warren describes a hypothetical scenario designed to tests our intuitions concerning whether nonsentient elements of the ecosystem have value apart from their instrumental value for sentient beings. In Warren's thought experiment65 a dangerous virus that w i l l k i l l a l l animal l i f e on earth (including humans) in a matter of weeks has accidentally escaped from a laboratory. Furthermore there is another virus which would destroy a l l plant l i f e i f i t were released, but this second virus would not begin to take effect until after the last animal is dead. This second virus could be released secretly so that no one would suffer, even from the knowledge that a l l plant l i f e w i l l be destroyed after the extermination of a l l sentient l i f e . Further, we are to assume that there i s no possibility that sentient l i f e could ever re-evolve from plants, i f the plants were not destroyed, and moreover, we may be. certain that no sentient aliens would ever v i s i t the earth. With 6 5Warren [1983] p.128-9. Further Expansion 69 these variables of her thought experiment in place, Warren considers the following. The question is would i t be morally preferable, in such a case, not to release the second virus, even secretly? If we tend to think that i t would be, that i t would certainly be better to allow the plants to survive us than to render the earth utterly l i f e l e s s (except perhaps for the viruses), then we do not really believe that i t i s only sentient—let alone only human—beings which have intrinsic value. 6 6 What are we to make of Warren's thought experiment? My intuitions on this matter do not coincide with hers. Indeed I think that there is no morally preferable or unpreferable way to proceed when i t comes to releasing the second virus. One of the variables in the thought experiment i s that no one w i l l suffer even from the knowledge that a l l nonsentient l i f e w i l l be destroyed. When I engage in the thought experiment, however, I am well aware that a l l nonsentient l i f e w i l l be destroyed, yet I am supposed to imagine that I would have no such knowledge of this destruction. I would guess that the d i f f i c u l t y in performing such mental contortions would account for my Warren-like intuitions, were I to have them. I do value the beauty, complexity, and i n t e g r i t y of nonsentient l i v i n g things for the aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual comforts they afford me and others. The fact that I value the existence of these experiences, and that they are accompanied by such strong feelings, could make i t d i f f i c u l t to honestly imagine what i t would be l i k e to have no 6 6Warren [1983] p.129. Further Expansion 70 knowledge of the destruction of a l l nonsentierit l i f e while performing the thought experiment. But to the degree that I am psychologically able to hold a l l of the hypothetical variables of the experiment in place, and not allow any residual feelings to escape these fixed variables and creep back into my f i n a l intuitions, then I am led to believe that the release of the p l a n t - k i l l i n g virus i s neither morally preferable nor unpreferable. And i f I were to give as much weight to my intuitions as Warren gives to hers, my beliefs would be that nonsentient l i v i n g things do not have intrinsic moral value, but have only instrumental moral value insofar as they effect the conscious experiences of sentient beings. Last Words The r i s i n g interest in the f i e l d of environmental ethics would appear to reflect more than simply the curiosity of philosophers concerning the boundaries of moral standing and the l i m i t s of our obligations. There are pressing concerns and fears about the manner and degree of the exploitation of animals and the environment in order to feed the growth of industry, agriculture, and the human population. These concerns have given rise to a growing consciousness of our exploitive behaviours and their harmful effects. We find this growing consciousness manifested in a spectrum of practices from recycling and conservation to public policy lobbying and c i v i l disobedience. The role played by environmental philosophers in addressing these concerns, although important, should not be overestimated. Further Expansion 71 , It i s one thing to attempt to c l a r i f y concepts and principles, or to give reasons why certain behaviours are morally preferable to others, but i t is quite another thing to expect that the reasoning of philosophers w i l l be consistently reflected in the actions of individuals, communities, corporations, and governments. Although I defend the sentientist view of moral standing, I am given to admire the motivation behind the search for the justi f i c a t i o n of vitalism, and further moral expansion. In my attempt to work outward from humanism by remaining consistent with our firmly held moral convictions I find that I am unable to find room for the belief that the concept of moral standing i s applicable to those entities lacking conscious experiences. Although I hold that we do not have moral obligations d i r e c t l y toward nonsentient e n t i t i e s , we cert a i n l y can have obligations concerning nonsentient e n t i t i e s . Those who seek to establish moral standing beyond sentient interests may not be satisfied with indirect obligations concerning nonsentient entities, yet I think approaching the problem in this manner w i l l y i e l d strong moral reasons by which to govern our actions. If the in t e r e s t s of sentient animals are given due moral consideration then certainly strong j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the destruction of wilderness areas, especially habitat areas, would be required. Human interests, i t seems, may provide even stronger moral reasons for how we govern our actions. The i l l - e f f e c t s * Further Expansion 72 to existing and future humans of such things as global warming, ozone depletion, and toxic waste are a l l matters of great moral concern, and i f human interests are honestly-taken into account we would find many of our present practices to be morally unjustifiable. Furthermore, the emotional, aesthetic, and sp i r i t u a l benefits that we derive from our experiences in wilderness areas—or even from simply knowing that there are pristine wilderness areas, though we may never experience them—provide further moral reasons for how we should govern our actions. The destruction of a particular - wilderness area, or the extinction of a species, may do us no physical harm, but the fact that we value a wilderness or a species for the important, though often more subtle, emotional, aesthetic, and s p i r i t u a l benefits they provide us are good moral reasons for not destroying them. It may be thought that talk of our common natural heritage, or of our feelings of connectedness to nature, or the preservation of animal habitats has been heard for some time but has not fared very well in stemming the tide of our exploitive practices. I would not deny t h i s . However, I believe that the problem i s not a matter of these being inadequate moral reasons for governing our actions, rather i t is that the weight of these reasons has not been given their proper due i n the deliberations of policy makers. The problem, i t would seem, is more one of p o l i t i c s , moral psychology, and sociology, rather than philosophy. If the history of abolitionists, c i v i c rights workers, and Vietnam Further Expansion 73 War protesters has taught us anything, i t i s that policy makers do not always weigh the interests of those affected by their decisions as they should. If the interests of sentient animals are honestly taken into account, as well as those of existing and future humans, and i f further, our emotional, aesthetic, and s p i r i t u a l i n t e r e s t s are given just consideration then I think we may go a long way to achieving the goals of the v i t a l i s t s , and the environmental expansionists. Conclusion 74 6. Conclusion In this thesis I have examined the question of what kinds of beings or entities can have moral standing in their own right. In Chapter 2 I b r i e f l y examined Christian theological ethics which holds that only humans have moral standing. I rejected this theory because i t relies primarily on non-rational f a i t h i n the authority of r e l i g i o u s scripture. I then considered a simple form of humanism which holds that i t i s membership in the human species that is necessary for moral standing. I rejected this theory because i t does not adequately describe why membership in any group--whether i t be a species, a race, or a gender—is relevant to moral standing. In relying upon membership as such, and not upon any unique characteristics or qualities of humans, simple humanism appears to be a theory that i s too weak to adequately defend i t s conclusion. I then . turned to a more sophisticated form of humanism which holds that only s e l f -consciousness, rational, moral agents, i.e., persons, have moral standing. I argued that, although being a self-conscious, rational, moral agent is relevant to many of the moral relations between persons, i t does not appear to be directly relevant to why we ought not cause unnecessary suffering. That fact that suffering is bad for persons, and that i t matters to persons that they not suffer are the main reasons we tend to givie for not causing unnecessary suffering. These reasons apply to a l l sentient beings, and not only persons. For this reason self-consciousness, Conclusion 75 r a t i o n a l i t y , and moral agency appear to be irrelevant to moral standing, and thus sophisticated humanism is rejected. In Chapter 3 I examined sentientism which holds that what matters for moral standing i s the a b i l i t y to have certain conscious experiences such as pain, pleasure, frustration, satisfaction, and so on. I argued that whether a moral agent is j u s t i f i e d in according different treatment to a person than to an animal w i l l depend upon the kind of treatment involved, and upon the relevant differences between animals and persons that could justify different treatment. Certain kinds of treatment such as the opportunity for employment, and the freedom to vote are relevant only to persons, and to exclude animals i s not a r b i t r a r y discrimination. However, when i t comes to such treatment as torture, i.e., causing unnecessary suffering, the relevant reasons that we give for not treating persons in this way are the same reasons we give for not doing so to animals. These reasons are, namely, that needless suffering i s bad for persons and animals, and that i t matters to persons and animals that they not experience suffering. In order to further defend the view that being a self-conscious, rational, moral agent i s not d i r e c t l y relevant to being caused unnecessary suffering I compared a chimpanzee with a severely retarded human. I argued that we do not tend to think i t right to cause unnecessary suffering to severely retarded humans even though they are not self-conscious, rational, moral agents. The most relevant consideration for Conclusion 76 not harming severely retarded humans concerns their a b i l i t y to suffer. I then argued that consistency requires that similar weight be given to equivalent suffering for whomever is threatened, be i t a normal human, a severely retarded human, a chimpanzee, and so forth. At the end of Chapter 3 I compared u t i l i t a r i a n and rights-based sentientism, specifically the views put forward by Peter Singer and Tom Regan, respectively. I explained that u t i l i t a r i a n sentientism casts a broader moral net in that i t takes into account various sentient experiences that, although not sufficient for rights, are s t i l l deserving of moral consideration. On the other hand, rights-based sentientism would appear to provide more protection for the individual in that i t would not as readily allow for the individual's rights to be trumped on behalf of the aggregate u t i l i t y . Although I did not commit myself to endorsing either form of sentientism over the other, I suggested that talk of i n t e r e s t s , rather than righ t s , may be more appropriate in relation to animals. I did, however, contend that sentientism in general is the most compelling theory for moral standing in environmental ethics. Chapter 4 examined the theory of vitalism which holds that a l l l i v i n g beings possess moral standing by virtue of being alive. V i t a l i s t s argue that because conditions can be better or worse for nonsentient livi n g beings, i.e., plants, that these beings have a good of t h e i r own--apart from their instrumental value to others--and that t h i s good i s Conclusion 77 considered sufficient for moral standing. I argued against vitalism by showing that what we mean when we say that certain conditions are good or bad for plants is that these conditions are either conducive or detrimental to the health of plants. I then argued that the reason why we consider health to be good for animals i s because i t allows for experiences in their lives which are satisfying to them. Since plants are incapable of having experiences that are engendered by being healthy, I concluded that health as such i s not a good for plants, and we thus have no moral obligation to promote the health (or good), or refrain from promoting the ill-h e a l t h (or bad), of plants. I then considered a number of arguments which attempt to show that plants have interests s u f f i c i e n t for moral standing because they can be benefited and harmed, or have latent tendencies, d i r e c t i o n of growth, and natural fulfillments, or that they heal and maintain themselves, or that they have a wellbeing. I argued against these views by maintaining that because plants are incapable of having experiences that can matter to them, i.e., a sake of their own, i t i s unclear how exactly they can be morally wronged or righted, have morally s i g n i f i c a n t interests, or moral standing. I was w i l l i n g to grant the p o s s i b i l i t y that various aspects of biological growth can somehow comprise interests on the part of plants, but that these interests are not of a morally significant kind, and do not create any Conclusion 78 obligations on the part of moral agents to give them consideration. I conceded that I do not prove conclusively that plants cannot have moral standing, and that there cannot be alternative conceptions of morality with very different boundaries concerning what has moral standing. With that in mind I turned to the alternative approach to environmental ethics developed by Paul W. Taylor. Taylor develops a type of vitalism that involves three elements: a belief-system, a moral attitude, and a set of rules or standards by which to govern our behaviour. Taylor calls his belief system the biocentric outlook. He considers the biocentric outlook to be a philosophical world-view that i s greatly influenced by the science of ecology. This outlook sees a l l l i v i n g things as part of a vast interconnected, unified order whose integrity and s t a b i l i t y are necessary for promoting the good of the various biotic communities of which i t consists. Taylor believes that when moral agents adopt this non-normative biocentric outlook they w i l l find what he calls the attitude of respect to be the most suitable attitude to adopt in relation to a l l of the l i v i n g members of the earth's biosphere. And thus they w i l l ascribe inherent worth to these l i v i n g e n t i t i e s , and w i l l see the promotion and protection of their good as i n t r i n s i c a l l y valuable. Taylor does not present his theory as the correct one, while others are incorrect, rather he maintains that i f we accept the Conclusion 79 ecologically-informed biocentric outlook then the adoption of the moral attitude of respect w i l l be as reasonable as the adoption of any other theory in environmental ethics. An important aspect of Taylor's theory emphasizes the understanding that a l l living things are teleological centres of l i f e with their own good. That a l i v i n g thing i s a teleological centre of l i f e i s , on Taylor's account, a non-normative factual claim. Whereas the claim that a l i v i n g thing has a good of i t s own appears to carry some normative weight for Taylor, or at least he considers i t a reasonable non-normative basis for a normative attitude. I argued that Taylor's account does not provide compelling reasons for making the transition from accepting the view that plants can have a good, i.e., health, to then adopting the normative attitude of respect. I also argued against Taylor's claim that the biocentric outlook makes the attribution of equal i n t r i n s i c value to a l l l i v i n g things most reasonable. Although I accepted that i t i s not irr a t i o n a l to adopt the normative attitude of respect for nature given the non-normative biocentric outlook, i t appears that adopting this attitude is not clearly and obviously as reasonable as Taylor would have us believe. in Chapter 5 I examined attempts to further expand the moral franchise in order to establish the moral standing of species, ecological systems, and natural objects such as rivers and mountains. Conclusion 80 I considered the view put forward by Holmes Rolston III that species have moral standing, and that this standing is not simply the aggregation of the interests of the individual members of the species. I argued that Rolston f a i l s to adequately explain what i t could mean for conditions to be beneficial to a species apart from being beneficial to the collection of existing and future individual members of the species. I maintained that a species is an abstract category and cannot, as such, be the kind of thing that can have moral standing. I then considered the view that ecological systems and certain natural objects can have moral standing. I argued that ecological systems and natural objects can only have instrumental moral standing insofar as they contribute to the morally significant interests of sentient beings. Next I considered the attempt by Mary Anne Warren to reconcile two apparently incompatible positions: rights-based sentientism and environmentalism. The former view could, in principle, allow for the s a c r i f i c e of the integrity and s t a b i l i t y of certain biosystems in order to protect the rights of animals. Whereas the latter view could allow for the s a c r i f i c e of animals in order to maintain certain biosystems. Warren f i r s t argues that, although animals have certain rights, these rights have less moral force than the corresponding human rights, and that they can be overridden— in a way that human rights cannot—in order to protect Conclusion 81 certain v i t a l goals of a u t i l i t a r i a n and environmental nature. Warren provides good reasons .for attributing less stringent moral rights to animals than to humans. However, she f a i l s to adequately explain what would count as a vital goal that would allow us to override the rights of animals. Whether these v i t a l goals must bear some relation to the human rights to l i f e , and freedom from suffering, or whether they need only be grounded in the human interest in pleasant aesthetic and emotional experiences i s not c l a r i f i e d . Without further explanation of what a v i t a l goal i s , i t is d i f f i c u l t to assess in what circumstances the k i l l i n g of animals would be justified. Secondly, Warren presents a thought experiment designed to show that our intuitions are such that we do indeed consider nonsentient l i v i n g parts of the ecosystem to have i n t r i n s i c value independently of their value to human or other sentient l i f e . Her scenario involves two viruses: one that would k i l l a l l sentient l i f e (including humans), and one that would k i l l a l l nonsentient l i f e . If both viruses were released, the one that k i l l s nonsentient l i f e would not begin to take effect u n t i l after a l l sentient l i f e had been destroyed. She concludes that i t would be morally preferable not to release the second virus even though no sentient interests would be at stake, and even though no one would ever know that the second virus had been released. Conclusion 82 Concerning this thought experiment, Warren and I simply have conflicting intuitions on the matter. Without a more substantial argument for the in t r i n s i c value of nonsentient l i f e , I conclude that rights-based sentientism and environmentalism are not completely compatible, even though Warren may have narrowed the gap somewhat by arguing for the diminished rights of animals. Finally, I expressed my sympathy with the motivation behind vitalism and further moral expansion although I do not think the arguments succeed in establishing moral standing beyond sentient interests. I maintained that we can achieve many of the goals of vitalism and further moral expansion without adopting these theories. I argued that we have compelling moral reasons to protect wilderness areas i f the interests of sentient beings, as well as the interests in l i f e and freedom from suffering of existing and future humans, are honestly given proper moral consideration. Furthermore, I maintained that the human interest in the benefits of valuable emotional, aesthetic, and s p i r i t u a l experiences afforded by our relationships with natural environments provides additional moral reasons for the protection and promotion of these environments. Bibliography 83 Bibliography Aquinas, Saint Thomas [1918] Summa Theologica, trans. English Dominican Fathers. Benziger Brothers. Attfield, Robin [1981] "The Good of Trees", Journal of Value Inquiry, 15, 1981, 35-54. Bedau, Mark [1992] "Goal-Directed Systems and the Good", The Monist, Vol. 75. Bentham, Jeremy [1789] The Principles of Morals and Legislation. Callicott, J. Baird and Michael E. Zimmerman . . . [et al . ] " (eds). [1993] Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice Hall. Feinberg, Joel [1974] "The Rights of Animals and Unborn Generations", in Philosophy and Environmental Crisis, Blackstone, William T. (ed). Athens: University of Georgia Press, 43-68. Feinberg, Joel (ed). [1984] The Problem of Abortion, second edition, Belmont, California: Wadsworth. Foot, Philippa [1977] "Euthanasia", in Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1978, 33-61. Originally published in Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter 1977. Page references are to the former. Frankena, W.K. [1979] . "Ethics and the Environment", in Ethics and Problems of the 21st Century, Goodpaster, K.E. and K.M. Sayre (eds). Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 3-20. Fraser, G.R. [1962] "Our Genetic 'Load.' A Review of Some Aspects of Genetic Variation", Annals of Human Genetics, 25 (1962), 387-415, quoted by Holmes Rolston III [1989] Philosophy Gone Wild, Buffalo: Prometheus Books. Goodpaster, Kenneth E. [1978] "On Being Morally Considerable", in Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, Zimmerman, Michael E. and J. Baird Callicot . . . [et al.] (eds). Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice Hall, 1993, 49-65. Originally published in The Journal of Philosophy, LXXV, 6 (June 1978), 308-25. Goodpaster, Kenneth E. and K.M. Sayre (eds). [1979] Ethics and Problems of the 21st Century, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Bibliography 84 Johnson, Lawrence, E. [1991] A Morally Deep World: An Essay on Moral Significance and Environmental Ethics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kant, Immanuel [1963] "Duties to Animals and Spirits", in Lectures on Ethics, trans. Louis Infield. New York: Harper and Row. Moore, G.E. [1903] Principia Ethica, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nagel, Thomas [1979] "What is i t Like to be a Bat?" in Mortal Questions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 165-80. Rachels, James [1990] Created from Animals; the Moral Implications of Darwinism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Regan, Tom [1975] "Do Animals Have a Right to Life?", in Animal Rights and Human Obligations, Regan, Tom and Peter Singer (eds). Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice Hall, 1976, 197-204. Originally from "The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism", The Canadian Journal of Philosophy, October, 1975. Page references are to the former. Regan, Tom [1980] "Animal Rights, Human Wrongs", in Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, Zimmerman, Michael E. and J. Baird Callicot . [et al.] (eds). Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice Hall, 1993, 33-48. Originally published in Environmental ethics, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer 1980), 99-120. Regan, Tom [1982] All That Dwell Therein, Berkeley: University of California Press. Regan, Tom [1983] The Case for Animal Rights, Berkeley: University of California Press. Rolston, Holmes III [1975] "Is There an Ecological Ethic?", Ethics, 85 (Spring 1975). Rolston, Holmes III [1988] Environmental Ethics: Duties to and Values in the Natural World, Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Rolston, Holmes III [1989] Philosophy Gone Wild, Buffalo: Prometheus Books. Russow, Lilly-Marlene [1981] "Why do Species Matter?", in People, Penguins and Plastic Trees, Van De Veer, Donald and Christine Pierce (eds). Belmont, California: Wadsworth, 1986, 119-126. Originally published in Environmental Ethics,, Vol.3 (Summer 1981) 101-112. Bibliography 85 Singer, Peter [1975] Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, New York: Avon Books. Singer, Peter and Tom Regan (eds). [1976] Animal Rights and Human Obligations, Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice Hall. Singer, Peter [1979] "Not for Humans Only: The Place of Nonhumans in Environmental Issues", in Ethics and Problems of the 21st Century, Goodpaster, K.E. and K.M. Sayre (eds). Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 191-206. Singer, Peter (ed). [1985] In Defense of Animals, Oxford: Blackwell. Stone, Christopher D. [1974] Should Trees Have Standing?, Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann. Taylor, Paul W. [1981] "The Ethics of Respect for Nature", in Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, Zimmerman, Michael E. and J. Baird Callicot . . . [et al.] (eds). Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice Hall, 1993, 66-83. Originally published in Environmental Ethics, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Fall 1981), 197-218. Taylor, Paul W. [1986] Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Van De Veer, Donald and Christine Pierce (eds). [1986] People, Penguins and Plastic Trees, Belmont, California: Wadsworth. Warnock, G.J. [1971] The Object of Morality, London: Methuen & Co. Warren, Mary Anne [1983] "The Rights of the Nonhuman World", in Environmental Philosophy, E l l i o t , Robert and Arran Gare (eds). Pennsylvania State University Press, 109-134. Winkler, Earl [1991] review of Philosophy Gone Wild, by Holmes Rolston III, Dialogue (Book Reviews) Vol. XXX, No. 1-2, 184-189. 

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