Våre plikter overfor dyr som våre medskapninger
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Peter Singers` and Tom Regans` accounts on animal ethics focus mainly on the similarities between humans and animals. Both accounts are based upon rational arguments and objectivity, and pay little or no attention to the role of emotions, culture and language in moral reasoning. Following Cora Diamond, I argue that an animal ethics that does not consider a wider understanding of human reasoning, is flawed. I stress that that both language and emotions are influential. Our morality is influenced by both emotions and rationality, therefore accounts on animal ethics must understand the role of emotions and reason. Emotions are our primary source of value, but without rationality emotions may become unreasonable and unreliable. Therefore, I argue that an animal ethic, based upon only one of the components of morality, is flawed. I try to show that an animal ethic needs to build on a comprehensive understanding of human reasoning. This means that it needs to understand how language and culture shapes our moral reasoning. I argue that how we think about animals are influenced by both culture and language. The concepts “human” and “animal” entail different facts, and we base our morality on these facts. This means that we don’t have the same obligations towards animals as humans, but this does not mean that we can use animals as mere resources, we have specific duties towards animals. By analysing J. M. Coetzees novella «The lives of animals», I clarify why it is so difficult to talk about animals. I argue that we, when speaking of animals, get what Diamond calls a difficulty of reality. We are unable to comprehend the animals’ situations, because our reality is determined by our concepts and culture that imply that animals are totally different from us- in the se nse that they are acceptable to use as products. At the same time our experiences indicate that they are something more. The solution to this problem, I suggest, is to view animals as our fellow creatures. When we see that animals and humans share something significant, we can realise the connection between us and them, and adjust our concepts accordingly. This makes it clear that animals are not objects or resources, but subjects, and because animal products are not necessary, it is morally wrong to exploit our fellow creatures.