Argument: Human life is of greater intrinsic value than animal life
(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision | Newer revision→ (diff)
“The Problem of Animal Rights “,Hon-Lam Li"In contrast, the third view holds that moral status is a-matter-of-degree, and that human and non-human animals have moral status, or intrinsic value, but to different degrees. On this view, moral status, or intrinsic value, of an animal is dependent on, and derived from, its capacity to have a rich life, which is in turn dependent on its experiential capacity. Given that human beings have the capacity to a richer life than other animals, they also have higher intrinsic value or moral status. Similarly, mammals also have higher intrinsic value than birds, which in turn would have higher intrinsic value than reptiles, which has higher intrinsic value than fish, shrimps, etc. I claim that the "matter-of-degree" view is the only plausible view on the comparative moral status between humans and non-humans."
Ethics, Animals, Alexander George on November 12, 2005 Askphilosophers.org "According to some ethical theories that make happiness the central touchstone of morality, for instance utilitarianism, human happiness should not count more strongly than happiness in the non-human animal world. One quantum (as it were) of human happiness should contribute as much to the grand calculus of pleasure as does one quantum of rat happiness. Now, it may be that humans are capable of more happiness than rats; or perhaps, as John Stuart Mill argued in his Utilitarianism, they are capable of a kind of happiness that is of greater value than any happiness a rat could experience. But that's not to privilege humans; it's just to acknowledge a fact about their greater capacity for happiness. You wonder whether this might be unfair, because you wonder whether, if an elephant had written Utilitarianism, the theory would have looked a bit different (say, assigning great value to distinctively elephantine pleasures). But this is an impossible road. We are human, we are who we are, and we have no choice but to think our thoughts and come to our conclusions. Of course, empathy with other creatures is an important part of our moral reflection. But still, it is we who must do the empathizing. At the end of the day, there is nothing for it but to come to our conclusions about what's right. There is such a thing as thinking "out of the box" -- but we can't get so far out of the box that we leave ourselves behind."
Jesus said, "You are of more value than many sparrows "[Luke 12:7].