The Instigator
socialpinko
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
CiRrK
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Speciesism is unjustified given a preference utilitarian framework

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
CiRrK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,183 times Debate No: 23568
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (20)
Votes (3)

 

socialpinko

Pro

===Overview===

Pro will argue for the unjustiability of Speciesism while Con will either argue for the permissibility of Speciesism or at the very least refute whatever points Pro brings in support of the resolution. Both debaters must argue from a preference utilitarian framework. This means that preference utilitarianism will be assumed at the outset of this debate to be a sound ethical theory. It's validity will not be the subject of this debate. Permissibility or unjusifiabilty of Speciesism must be based off of the basic tenets of preference utilitarianism.

===Definitions===

Preference utilitarianism (PU) is the ethical theory which purports that moral actions are those which cause or add to the satisfaction of the most preferences. PU is a type of utilitarianism but replaces general happiness or welfare with the satisfactions of preferences.[1]

Speciesism is the act or support of discriminating or treating members of different species differently purely on the basis of their membership in their respective species. In most cases they will hold their own species in higher favor (notably humans).[2]

Permissibility means that an action is allowed under a specific ethical system though not necessarily positively supported (an example being personal thoughts under a general rights-based approach to ethics), something that is not prohibited but not prescribed. Unjustifiability means that an action is positively prohibited under a specific ethically system, an example being murder under Kantian Deontolgy.

Debating will begin in R2. R1 is for agreement on terms and definitions and for acceptance. I wish my opponent the best of luck.

===Sources===

[1] http://www.utilitarianism.com...
[2] http://www.richardryder.co.uk...
CiRrK

Con

==Definitions==

1) He offers the definition of preference utilitarianism from this site: http://www.utilitarianism.com...

However, this site actually says "Moral theory according to which the good consists in the satisfaction of people's preferences...

Thus, for his sake we should use this definition: preference utilitarianism.... "rests on the claim that what is good is desire satisfaction or the fulfillment of preferences; and what is bad is the frustration of desires or preferences." [1]

But, l'll leave the option up to him which he would rather use.

2) Speciesm is fine.

3) Permissibility is fine and unjustifiable is fine.



[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...

Debate Round No. 1
socialpinko

Pro

The argument which I will be employing was originally forwarded by Peter Singer (a preeminate preference utilitarian philosopher and animal rights activist). Therefore it is not an original argument of mine and thus Mr. Singer deserves the credit for it's original formulation. My opening argument will be brief and thus this can be seen as more of an introductory argument. I will focus on the refutations which my opponent brings with my case in the further rounds.


===Maximization of preference satisfaction and morality===


It is a basic premise that PU holds the maximization of preference satisfaction to be the criterion of moral behavior (hereon referred to as the Principle of Preference Maxmimization or PPM). This point is in line with the definition of PU which both my opponent and I have agreed upon. It follows that the principle which our jointly assumed ethical framework is built is a good place to start. Therefore this is probably the least controversial of the premises in the argument and the most self-explanatory.


===The PPM contains no prima facie differentiation between preferences vis a vis their species===


The basic premise on which preference utilitarianism is based is that the maximization of preferences is an inherently basic good. From this, one may deduce that the inherent goodness of preference maximization is not necessarily correlated to whether or not the organism experiencing them has the characteristics of a person. Humans are neither the only organisms capable of holding preferences, nor is holding preferences a universal characteristic of humans[1]. Consider the case of a braindead human and a healthy dolphin. It is obvious that the dolphin will hold more preferences and thus be capable of more preference satisfaction than the braindead person. From this, we may conclude that the dolphin is therefore a more heavily weighted moral agent than the humas. Thus, we are lead to conclude that moral weight is not necessitated by species membership only, though species may be a general indicator of how weighted an organism's preferences will be (chickens will usually hold less preferences than humans though not in every case).


===Animals as moral agents capable of holding preferences===


All but the most ardent Cartesian's[2] admit that animals are capable of holding preferences. On PU, this makes animals moral agents and from there, means that the preferences of animals ought to be taken into account when formulating future actions or when evaluating the morality of past ones. This does not mean that all animals are automatically on par with humans vis a vis their preferences though. A full grown adult is certainly capable of much more preference loss than a chicken or a komodo dragon in most cases. All this means is that not all preferences are not necessarily equal, though this does not mean one species will always be taken into consideration more than all others.



===PU and the speciesist view of preference ignorance===


It has been shown that animals (not only humans) are capable of holding preferences and are thus moral agents under PU. From this it holds that the outright dismissal of all animals (or any member of a particular species in favor of another in all circumstances) as moral agents is unjustified within a PU ethical framework.


===Sources===


[1] http://www.deathreference.com...
[2] http://home.cogeco.ca...
CiRrK

Con

Thanks to Pinko for holding this match :D


C1: A PU framework is fundamentally specisist

As noted by my opponent there is a preference difference between a brain-dead human and a dolphin. This is important because it highlights a quantity/quality dilemma that is occasionally faced by utilitarian philosophers. Essentially this dilemma is that to what extent does the quality of one’s welfare or preference outweigh a quantity of people being affected? The point about the dolphin demonstrates that in weighing preferences the quality of the preference is important. For example take the famous run-away trolley scenario, however lets alter it slightly. Instead of each group being persons, one is a human which will be hit by the trolley; the other is a group of 5 pigs. Even though the group of 5 pigs is quantitatively more, the quality of the preference of the one human being is considerably more so. The person has a family to support, a job to maintain, friends to maintain connection with etc. At the least both groups feel pain, but the pigs act on instinct and their preferences will be negative preferences, as opposed to the positive preferences of the adult human.


My opponent would say this does not work in the marginal case of a brain-dead human vs. the preferences of a healthy dolphin. I would contend that the PU framework functionally excludes cases of marginal analysis since it is fundamentally theoretical and not practical. This is warranted thus: In Practical Ethics, Singer points out that he believes deontological approaches to ethics are inferior to utilitarian approaches because deontology are impractical and cannot be instituted into real-world moral dilemmas. The key here is Singer’s distinction of the impractical with the real-world – deontology fails to have end goals in mind relating to plausible moral dilemmas. (Im not saying he is right on deontology, but rather descriptively that’s what he is arguing). Why is this important? Because the theoretical comparison of a marginal braindead human to a dolphin will never be needed in a cost-preference analysis. The PU framework brings the theoretical to the actual = it is a calculus to determine case scenarios for real world preference conflict. The argument from marginal cases since they are theoretical comparisons, and cases of which will never occur in real life, is excluded from the PU framework.


Since marginal cases are excluded from the PU framework, what should we use in determining weight of preferences in a situation lacking an actual moral dilemma? Answer: a normal human being in the face of a possible moral dilemma. By normal human being I mean non-marginal (marginal itself is defined as situated at the edge or margin of something). Thus, when creating a PU framework we can morally deduce that a hierarchy is established where human beings will have more preferences (both positive and negative) in this world compared to most animals. Therefore, a PU framework in and of itself is specisit because it it aligns basic and non-marginal preferences via species.

Since human beings are capable of poessing both negative and positive preferences, weight must be given to human beings first The quality outweighs that of the animal.


C2: Specisism is a belief system and does not inherently entail preference violation

Specisism is defined as: act or support of discriminating or treating members of different species differently purely on the basis of their membership in their respective species.

Impact? There is none. Nothing inherent in specisism is preference violation, animal abuse, or animal violence. Specisism is a belief system at its core – that animals are morally inferior to humans. Does this mean that they deserve violent action? No it doesn’t. In order for my opponent to have a link to unjustifiability under a PU framework it is his burden to prove that specisism by definition or in principle harms or violates the preferences of other animals. This however is not the case since simply ascribing a lower moral status does not functionally mean I must treat those animals in a cruel way. The resolution is that assuming a PU framework determines a moral course of action specisism is unjustified, which according to him is strictly prohibited. Preference utilitarianism is not deontology, meaning it does not base itself in the mind, rationality, intent, etc of the agent. It is determined solely by the end which is established. A PU framework can only establish an act as unjustified if it violates the preferences of the object (the animal). But simply treating members of different species differently does not in and of itself mean preference violation.

C3: Specisism is permissible if X group of animals feel no pain

The resolution nor do the rules establish that only animals which can feel pain are applied to the definition of specisism. There are many species out-there which do not feel pain, for example the species of animal’s sponges, and thus they have no negative preferences which is the basis for the PU framework applying to animals. Insofar as this is true, the resolution cannot be applied to the cases where a certain species of animals cannot feel pain and therefore specisism cannot be labeled unjustifiable.

Debate Round No. 2
socialpinko

Pro

===Alleged speciesism is a PU framework===


First to my opponent's re-definition of the trolley problem. My first objection is that he takes a single scenario and unjustifiably generalizes from it. It is true that in this scenario (5 dolphins vs. 1 presumably normal human), the human would win out as far as preferences go. However, this does not mean that (A) humans will always win out or (B) that the human won out by virtue of it's species membership i.e. because they were a human. On A, it is clear that the scenario could easily be redesigned to where the dolphins would win out. Consider the case of speeding trolley going towards a group of three normally healthy dolphins, another going towards a brain-dead loner with no friends, family, or current acquaintances to speak of. In this scenario the dolphins are clearly capable of more preference violation, thus PU is not inherently speciesist towards humans. Humans merely happen to *generally* have more preferences than most animals. On B, this is obvious. The human won out because we assumed it had a family, was conscious, etc. However this is not inherent to humans and we could easily imagine a human without these things (as in the case of my refutation of A). Not all humans have positive preferences and not ALL animals have only negative preferences[1][2].


My opponent predicts my marginal objection and attempts to co-opt my refutation. He argues that a cost-preference analysis will never require (or at the very least will very rarely require so) taking into account a brain-dead human vs. animals capable of preferences whereas most humans are not brain-dead and are capable of holding more preferences than most animals. From there my opponent argues that on balance, one would be justified in speciesist discrimination as in most cases it will lead to greater preference satisfaction. My opponent makes an interesting though futile case. He makes the mistake in applying an unnecessary and unreliable meta-preference to ethical analysis within the framework. However, there is no reason to add in a preference for humans over animals to a PU framework when (A) species is not a reliable indicator of preferences (life decisions, random tragedies, mental illness, etc. are marginally common enough) and (B) a catch-all preference for humans inherently goes against taking preferences into account alone. It simply clouds it with specie labels which at best only provide a generalized view of probable preferences.


===Speciesism and possible non-preference violation===


I admit I was caught rather off guard by this argument by my opponent. However, my personal surprise aside, this argument fails in it's purpose. In this debate, my opponent and I are not arguing about whether or not HOLDING a specific view goes against preference utilitarianism, but whether or not that view IN ITSELF is in line with preference utilitarianism. Holding the belief that Kant was wrong in his first formulation of the categorical imperative may not go against the first formulation per se (since Kant's ethic regard actions and not thought content), however one would certainly be justified in saying that the mental negation of the first formulation (referring to the specific content of the thought, not the act of having it) is not in line with Kantian ethical principles. So the same principle is applied in this case. Even if one is not going against the principle of equal interests by not believing it is correct, the CONTENT of the thought is not in line with the CONTENT of preference utilitarianism.


===Speciesism and the lack of pain===


**Non-speciesism of example**

My opponent makes the observation that speciesism does not differentiate between animals that can feel pain and animals that cannot. Speciesism is a catch-all term for ANY discrimination between species, irrespective of whether they are capable of holding preferences. Therefore, my opponent argues, one may discriminate against certain species (i.e. engage in speciesism) within a PU framework. An interesting argument, however this ignores the fact that my opponent is reasoning that discrimination against (for example) sponges is justified NOT because they are members of a specific species, but specifically owing to their lack of preferences. Therefore my opponent (and the prospective sponge discriminator) is operating within a PU framework. Whenever someone discriminates based on species membership alone as opposed to the potential victim's ability to have preferences, one is going against our PU framework since taking into account the preference level of the victim in question is necessary to deciding whether the action will lead to an outcome in which the least amount of preferences are gone against.


**Need for rational rule on balance**


While one might get lucky and acting on speciesist impulse might lead to situations in which the least amount of preferences are violated in some cases, on balance, without rationally taking into account preferences more preference violations will be made than if they were taken into account. Take the example of one arguing that having a light on is not necessary to avoid running into obstacles when crossing a room. While this may be true in some cases, on balance (and this is important as we are operating within a consequentialist framework) having the light on will lead to running into obstacles less than with the light on. Likewise, if one's goal is to violate the preferences of preference holding beings as little as possible, some sort of rational principle is necessary to determine when we are doing that. We may get lucky at times but we're basically walking blindly.


===Sources===


[1] http://www.sciencedirect.com...
[2] http://www.springerlink.com...
(Though both sources deal with chimpanzees, they are far from the only animal species capable of positive preferences)
CiRrK

Con

Thanks to Pinko for arguing a persuading and substantive case!! :D


C1: Hierarchy


Marginal Cases

Pinko makes the mistake of not directly addressing my argument as it was, but rather he simply restated the problem surrounding specisism. He argues that I am applying an unnecessary meta-preference analysis within the PU framework. However it is not unnecessary because following a PU framework will functionally necessitate a hierarchy of interests. In other words, unless we can successfully breakdown a way to determine what preferences outweigh other preferences then we will be caught in ethical paralysis.

He never addresses the substance of this argument which was that any utilitarian framework must deal with the realistic and common-place. This is the Singer evidence – he drops the particular argument. Insofar as utilitarianism only accounts for cases that are common and dealing in real-world moral dilemmas, cases of marginal human beings are excluded from the overall preference calculus. What is the impact of this dropped evidence? It essentially means that the dolphin/brain-dead human scenario is moot.


Hierarchy

My argument was never to generalize the trolley example as an end-all-be-all argument. Rather it was simply highlighting a differential in preferences between species. He tries to make the argument that 5 healthy dolphins is more preferable than a brain-dead loner with no family, friends, jobs, etc. However this ad absurdum argument falls in the face of the PU framework – utilitarian analysis doesn’t give credence to these types of moral dilemmas, since they are in and of themselves un-utilitarian (utilitarian here meaning useful). This is why the analysis of marginal cases is uber-important for this contention. Pinko attempts to make the distinction between generalizations and specifics of examples. He claims that I can only prove generally that humans have more preferences. This is exactly what the hierarchy does – it ensures that ethical paralysis does not occur due to minute, irrelevant and rare circumstances. Meaning, generalizations are they key to utilitarian decision making. For example, lets grant that it is possible that there is a situation where a human is in conflict with a dolphin, and a bystandard must determine whom he will side with and ultimately save. This bystandard cannot go through every detail of the person’s life and the dolphin’s life (clearly he doesn’t know – the dolphin could have some emotional defect or the person might have no job). The bystandard must make a decision in the moment – the generalization works. All competing preferences cannot functionally or realistically be taken into account. Which leads to positive and negative preferences. SEP writes: What is desired or preferred is usually not a sensation but is, rather, a state of affairs, such as having a friend or accomplishing a goal. (a positive preference) Remember, the resolution makes PU the framework – specisism is only the object of the framework.

Thus, when establishing the essential and needed hierarchy of interests in any utilitarian framework there must be certain criteria to follow. Normal functioning humans have both negative and positive preferences – animals have mostly negative preferences. Pinko shows that chimpanzees have positive preferences such as appetite and such, however this makes no difference in the overall analysis. At the top of the hierarchy will be humans regardless of how close other species can get.

Thus, since marginal cases are excluded from the PU framework, a hierarchy of the general, normal functioning human being compared to the normal dolphin is essential. Point? The PU framework is inherently specisist itself because its hierarchy is divided into levels of species.

C2: Preference Violation

Pinko: …my opponent and I are not arguing about whether or not HOLDING a specific view goes against preference utilitarianism, but whether or not that view IN ITSELF is in line with preference utilitarianism.

I believe Pinko is misunderstanding the function of a framework. A framework is a way by which we can evaluate actions or beliefs – it is an umbrella/macro analysis which encompasses micro behavior. Preference utilitarianism is a utilitarian framework, just a specific type. Why does this matter? Because, utilitarian frameworks don’t give credence to the inner-workings of the thought process or intent of an action. All it cares about is the action itself. In terms of the resolution, in order for specisism to categorically violate a PU framework it inherently must be an act which violates the fundamental principles of PU. As mentioned above, specisism (by definition) does not violate preferences nor lead to animal abuse, cruelty or violence. The position of Pinko is based primarily in the belief that specisism leads to preference violation but this is not in and of itself what specisism is. Remember the resolution says unjustifiable, meaning categorically unallowed. As long as specisism in and of itself does not violate preferences then it cannot fit into this definition.

Pinko tries to relate this to a mental negation of the first formulation (universality maxim) and claims that even though this doesn’t violate the maxim itself, it is still in violation of Kantian principles. I will disagree on two levels: first, my opponent gives zero warrants for this to be the case. He says, however one would certainly be justified in saying, though he never goes on to say why its justified. By secondly, I would argue this example isn’t analogous because mentally rejecting Kant would access the first formulation, i.e. it would universalize not accepting universalization, which would probably upset Kant. However, accepting specisism (using the definition given) does not access preference violation. Remember, the first formulation is a thought-experiment – a PU framework is not; it is actual. In other words, believing you can treat animals differently does not access direct preference violation. Impact? Pinko cannot access the word unjustifiable in the resolution.


C3: Lack of Pain

Pinko argues that my contention falls because I am holding the preferences, or lack thereof, of certain species in determining how they are treated. I.e. I am using PU instead of specisism. However, Pinko makes the fatal mistake in not recognizing the fact that this contention functionally molds the two systems together. Essentially, it is A PART of the species of sponges, for example, that they do not feel pain. Their species determines the build, or lack thereof, of the nervous system. Since this particular species lacks a nervous system, then by logical extension they lack the essential negative preferences (e.g. feeling pain) needed to warrant analysis under a PU framework. Insofar as that is true, specisism is permissible for these certain groups of species because it is inherent in their species to have no preferences.

Pinko’s second argument is that there needs to be a rational rule or else there will be more preference violations than not. When applied to real-world scenarios dictated by utilitarianism, I think it fails in two ways. First, the common folk who might not know the difference in species will rarely if ever be interacting with animals of higher preferences where there will be a conflict of preferences. Second, if for instance there is a research facility in Africa and a preference conflict arises the experts there will know the difference between an ape and a sponge. However, regardless of this, this argument does not address the fundamental objection brought by my contention. As long as there are indeed species which cannot experience negative preferences, such as the sponge, then Pinko cannot again access the word unjustified in the resolution.
Debate Round No. 3
socialpinko

Pro

===Marginal Cases===

My opponent argues that ethical paralysis is the outcome of not being able to determine which preferences outweigh others, thus a meta-principle favoring humans is necessary. My opponent attempts to substantiate this point by arguing that utilitarianism is only concerned with what is common place as far as moral dilemmas are concerned. This is a mistaken view. The reality of PU is that it DOES provide a calculus for us to begin with, that stating that actions that result in the most preferences being satisfied is the action which is moral. One is not stumped into paralysis without adopting another view, one is just as capable of weighing whether or not one ought to save a chimpanzee over a brain-dead orphan (if not more capable since pre-established biases are removed which could cloud preference calculus) as if a meta-preference for humans were made beforehand. Even common place ethical dilemmas which my opponent continues to bring up do not require meta-preference for humans. Consider whether it is acceptable to take someone off of life support. Prima facie only humans are involved in this decision. Therefore a meta-preference for humans clouds relevant preference calculus and is not even always useful, while pure preference calculation is.

===Hierarchies===

My opponent here makes the argument that ethical paralysis obviously must occur even in the marginal cases which I use to disprove his arguments in favor of speciesism. He takes the example of the dolphin and the brain-dead loner and points to the fact that it may be impossible or at least impractical to take into account all of the facts of the two's lives in order to determine which to save. Therefore, my opponent argues that making a pro-human generalization "works" in that it allows the bystander to make a quick decision. However, where does my opponent see this approach working? The bystander has clearly made the wrong choice (within a PU framework) and chosen the one with the lesser number of possible preference satisfactions over the one with more. This has bee my point. That adding prejudices clouds actual preference calculation which is the entire point of PU.

The argument that a hierarchy of interests (in generalized cases) is therefore needed ignores completely the fact that by adopting such an approach, one is necessarily throwing out preference calculation as the primary motivation for moral actions. When one adds in biases in favor of humans over animals irrespective of whether or not the specific case involves a situation in which the animal possesses a higher degree of preferences than the human, one is clearly not adhering to the PU framework. My opponent's point that utilitarianism only deals with relatively general cases is false, PU deals with adherence to the principle of preference maximization. The PPM holds to a higher degree than biases added on WITHIN a PPM framework. One cannot adopt speciesist prejudices without abandoning PU entirely.

===Preference Violation===

My opponent argues that my argument against speciesism is that it violates (in itself as a belief or opinion) animal preferences. But since this is obviously not true, speciesism does not inherently do any such thing and so is not incompatible with PU as a moral system dealing with actions. However, this view continues to mistake the actual meaning of the resolution and is clear semantics (a rule violation as per my R1 framework for the debate). The resolution clearly means that the concept of speciesism is incompatible with the concept of PU. This is what my opponent and I have argued throughout this entire debate (my opponent has argued on the assumption on every other point) and the argument posited here is a rule violation on the prohibition of semantics.

===Lack of Pain===

In his defense of this contention, my opponent points out that the existence of species which cannot possibly hold pain owes to their species specifically and thus argues that his point successfully molds PU and speciesism together, rather than the two being incompatible. This point fails though in that it provides no warrant for why this molds the points, rather than simply upholds PU over speciesism. Consider the agreed definition of speciesism, that of discriminating against members of a species "purely" on the basis of their species membership. This means killing a sponge because it is a sponge, not because it doesn't feel pain.

On my opponent's attempted refutation of the need for a rational rule for preference calculation, my opponent has two rebuttals, both of which are insufficient to upholding it though. On the first, my opponent argues that people won't usually be in a dilemma in which a preference conflict needs to be resolved between a higher preference animal and a human. Thus my opponent argues that since it's usually easy to determine this, a rational rule is not needed and will not lead to more net preference violations. The argument is flawed in that it totally ignores (A) situations which may arise between high preference animals and humans and (B) the fact that this not only applies to species but to humans as well. This means that even among humans there are dilemmas in which preference differences aren't intuitively calculated. And since inter-personal conflicts are common (adhering to my opponent's own argument against marginal cases), a rational rule is still needed for net preference maximization. My opponent's second attempted refutation of my point argues that if scientists have to deal with high preference animals in moral dilemmas, they will be more familiar with the relative preferences of the animal and thus better equipped to make a decision regarding the appropriate action. However not only does this not account for non-scientists interacting with high preference animals, but it fails to appreciate that the scientists in the scenario are still using preference calculation, albeit more intuitively than abstractly.
CiRrK

Con

Thanks to Pinko for an awesome round! :D

C1: Hierarchy of Interests

Marginal Cases

Pinko attempts to disprove my impact of ethical paralysis by saying there is no ethical dilemma in the case of a chimpanzee and a brain-orphan. However this doesn’t disprove anything because it links directly into the Singer analysis – that utilitarianism doesn’t give credence towards rare and marginal circumstances. Essentially Pinko is trying to disprove my marginal case analysis by referencing other marginal cases.

But, Pinko goes further to argue that even commonplace moral dilemmas would not require this hierarchy of interests – he offers an example of a braindead human on life support. Theres one slight problem with this point, which he himself states: only humans are involved. The underlying assumption with the hierarchy of interests is that there is a common moral dilemma between competing species, not between competing humans.

Hierarchy

Pinko makes the keen observation that even if we accept my scenario of ethical paralysis the hierarchy fails in this instance because giving favor to the human for simply being human might violate the PU calculus. However, I think Pinko is missing the fundamental impact, which ironically, he uses as an objection to my 3rd Contention – it is the notion of having a basic rule. My argument is that if there is no hierarchy of interests categorized into generalizations of interests than the only theoretical result would be paralysis of action. Insofar as it is impossible to gauge all interests for all parties involved in a moral dilemma, then accepting this “pure” calculus would lead to paralysis and inaction. If that’s true, than all preferences involved has been violated. The collective violation of preferences would be more than the individual preference violation.

But, this is the least important of my contentions. The most important is C2.

C2: Preference Violation (Or lack thereof)

Pinko: My opponent argues that my argument against speciesism is that it violates (in itself as a belief or opinion) animal preferences.

This is not the case at all; on the contrary it is the exact opposite. My argument is that speciesism does not inherently lead to preference violation. In order for my opponent to affirm the resolution using the word” unjustified”, as he defined it as, speciesism must in and of itself violate animal preferences. As previously mentioned, attributing a different status or discriminating against animals (being speciesism is) does not necessarily lead to animal cruelty, abuse, violence or preference violations. Pinko dropped the analysis about what a PU framework actually is – utilitarian frameworks only give credence to actions which violate the fundamentals of the framework. The fundamental of a PU framework is preferences. Thus, unless speciesism as an idea results in animal preferences being violated then Pinko gains no ground in the realm of claiming it unjustified.

Pinko attempts to say I violated the rules using a semantics argument; however, this is quite misleading. The argument does not rely on a debate of definition or meaning of language, but rather to what extent does specisism link into the notion of preference utilitarianism. I’m using all of the definitions provided by Pinko in the first round, not on the basis of the language itself but what are the logical implications of what specisism is. But regardless this is a new argument in the last round.

Pinko dropped the argument he used making the analogy to Kant and the first formulation.

This is a contention that is of voter status. Why? Because PU cannot exclude any action or belief categorically (i.e. the action is unjustified) unless that action or belief violates the tenets of the framework.

C3: Lack of Pain

Pinko’s first argument against this is that I gave no warrant as to how specisism and preference analysis can be molded together. However I did specifically in the last round: one’s species determines the extent by which one has negative preferences. Since sponges are sponges, they lack a nervous system capable of feeling pain. Pinko says the word “purely” in the resolution means we can kill a sponge for being a sponge, not that we can kill it because it doesn’t have preferences. However, after the word purely, there is the qualified statement: …”based on their membership in their respective species”. Acting against a sponge based on being a member of the sponge species means there is no preference violation, which means the PU framework has not been violated. Remember, my analysis of the PU framework is that utilitarianism only cares about actions, not intent. Even if the guy killing the sponge was only killing it for it being a sponge, since this sponge doesn’t feel pain then no preferences have been violated. Thus, PU does not make specisism unjustified.

Pinko has created a double bind for himself by using the rational rule argument. If we accept that there is credence to this argument then my opponent accesses the need to prevent ethical paralysis/inaction present in my 1st contention. And I would further argue that the need to prevent this paralysis outweighs the need for a rule to generalize between species that can and cannot feel pain. Why? Because I would contend through ethical paralysis all parties involved will have their preferences violated, as opposed to it being a coin-flip between a species that can feel pain or cannot feel pain. But, if you reject the rational rule argument than specisism cannot be coined as “unjustified” insofar as there are species of animals which cannot feel pain.

But all that being said, there is a clear reason to vote Con via C2, so I would request that most analysis be paid attention to that contention.

Debate Round No. 4
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
No preferences Vis a Vis species

Con uses the example of a brain dead human and a dolphin. When talking to a specific species about the weight another species holds, it becomes that humans relative belief that holds the preference for the brain dead human. Their are moral attachments to the human as opposed to the dolphin when considering our own species.
Animal as moral Agents capable of holding preferences
"A full grown adult is certainly capable of much more preference loss than a chicken or a komodo dragon in most cases. All this means is that not all preferences are not necessarily equal, though this does not mean one species will always be taken into consideration more than all others."
This is what kind of did it for me. Coming from the pro side, you wouldn't think an argument like this would hold net beneficial qualities to the position he is trying to support, which is that of equality... If all species are not equal, then I can make the objectively dull statement that humans are superior to animals for a vast plethora of reasons including intelligence, emotions, creation, and over all usefulness. Given that Con himself admits to equality not being an weighted issue when supporting his case.

Con's Contention 2 however is where most of this starts coming together.

"In order for my opponent to have a link to unjustifiability under a PU framework it is his burden to prove that specisism by definition or in principle harms or violates the preferences of other animals."
This. Pro specifically cites himself that animal equality is not an issue.

On Con's contention 3 I do feel like this is kind of use of semantics, however it still does make sense. To me if an animal cannot feel mental pain, or understand the pain emotionally, then it still applies. There are plenty of animals which do not understand pain. Some animals will submit themselves to pain, based purely on instincts, thus do not qualify in pro's terms of speceism.

Sources to Pro.
Posted by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
This was a tough one. Personally I think Con's C2 was a redefinition. Specisim, as defined and agreed upon, necessarily referred to a type of "act." In this debate, it was not merely a belief system or intention. It was a type of act in which one species was treated in higher favor than another. Notice that the definition wasn't just that species were treated differently (in which case I would agree that this does not necessarily violate preferences) but with different degrees of favor.

However, Pro did not really see or push this angle and, based on my reading, accepted this redefinition, but continued to try and argue the unjustness of specieism within this new framework.

C3, however, is all Pro. Regardless of why an organism doesn't feel pain, it is clear that it is the lack of pain that leads to the judgement of whether or not preferences are violated. So, even if you conclude that a given species doesn't feel pain, because that is the essence of their species, your treatment of them, as described in Con's C3, is based upon them not feeling pain, not simply because they are of a different species. The analysis of their preferences is what is the deciding factor and, thus, Con describes PU, rather than specieism.

So, how to vote? Con placed emphasis on C2, on which I don't feel Pro successfully rebutted, given the new framework, but I believe the new framework was a subtle (though not necessarily deliberate) change from the agreed upon definitions. Unfortunately, this is a fault in Pro, so I'm ultimately going to have to go with Con, overall.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
I hope this debate gets more votes, I hate seeing good debates like this get passed by.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
The SEP quote is from the same link at the definition of PU
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
It will be :D I cant wait to see how much you've improved in the past year I was away
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
Interesting first post, should be fun.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
Oh......and yes I will choose to use your alt definition. I was simply using the website as reference and failed to notice it said people's.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
Should be a very good debate....lets see if my strategy works :D
Posted by OMGJustinBieber 5 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
The freeman/bluesteel debate is different from this once since there's an agreed upon framework - one which imo is pretty pro-animal rights, but then again Cirrk is a very experienced debater. This one should be interesting.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
Thats fine. I wouldnt be able to even post tomorrow anyway
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
socialpinkoCiRrKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
socialpinkoCiRrKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
socialpinkoCiRrKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I was not expecting this to go in Con's favor, but Con's C2 was of "voter status," as Con put it. Under a PU framework, the intention behind actions is irrelevant. As long as the effect of speciesism does not violate the PU framework, speciesism is justified.