the basic framework of a utilitarian theory of morality

Tom Regan (1985) and Peter Singer (1989) agree that we have moral responsibilities toward animals, but disagree about the best approach to animal ethics.

 

What basic conclusions do they agree about (be specific)?

 

How would you explain the basic difference in their approach? Specifically, explain how Singer’s argument represents a utilitarian view, referring to John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism for the basic framework of a utilitarian theory of morality. In what way is Regan’s view a non-utilitarian one? Name at least one argument he makes that is non-utilitarian, and compare it with an argument from Singer that is utilitarian.

(Remember that the aim in this discussion is to unpack the utilitarian approach to ethics, not simply to discuss our responsibilities toward animals.)

 

Finally, share your responses to either or both of the arguments and any of the other material on animal ethics from this week.

 

When responding to your peers, consider what Singer and/or Regan would say in response to their remarks, think about whether what a peer calls a non-utilitarian consideration might be, after all, a utilitarian one, or vice versa, or think of strengths and weaknesses in their argument that they might not have considered.

 

Regan, T. (1985). The case for animal rights. In P. Singer (Ed.), In defense of animals (pp. 13-26). New York: Basil Blackwell.

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