Monday, March 15, 2010

Notes: Peter Singer, "All Animals are Equal"

I forgot to mention: I have posted to my main site a copy of the notes I have taken for my online applied ethics students on an early animal welfare article by Peter Singer. For online classes that use anthologies, I try to shoot for about this level of detail in my notes, since they stand in place of the lectures face-to-face and hybrid classes would receive.


Alan said...

Forgive me for asking, but what argument or line of reasoning was Taylor mocking when he wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes in response to Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

I briefly looked at Wikipedia and in my limited time and knowledge could only ascertain that he was mocking her argument that rights were deserved by women because they were also rational beings.

He goes on to say in 'Brute's' that his argument for animals should be extended to vegtables and even clods of dirt.

But surely, even he could see that whatever perceived differences existed between men and women were orders of magnitude closer than the differences between men and most animals (and certainly plants).

Perhaps I am not understanding properly, so I was wondering if you could help me out.

Just curious,

Mark Vuletic said...

I'm sorry, Alan, but I can't be of much help with this—I'm equally mystified.

Having taken a look at Taylor's text (a very poor satire, by the way, since it proceeds from premises that bear no resemblance at all to Wollstonecraft's, as far as I can tell), it seems as though he truly must not have thought there was a discernible difference between the behavior of women and the behavior of "brutes." I agree with you, though, it defies imagination to think anyone, no matter what they had been taught, could believe that.

Perhaps Taylor just believed that the gulf between man and woman is obviously greater than the gulf between woman and brute—still and amazingly dense thing to think, but certainly something many people have found a way to believe.

Any Taylor scholars out there?