Some of the most pressing moral issues we face today arise from how humans treat nonhuman animals, especially in farming and scientific experiments. High-intensity or ‘factory’ farming raises the biggest questions because of its sheer scale, and because routine practices there, once we look closely, often appear shocking. Vast numbers of animals spend much or all of their short lives in confined, sunless spaces, their experience a combination of stress, monotony and pain.
Is this wrong, and what kind of wrongness is it? These questions are often approached within a utilitarian framework, which holds that the reduction of suffering and promotion of experienced wellbeing comprise our basic goals in moral affairs. That view is readily applied to our treatment of animals, as seen especially in the work of the Australian philosopher Peter Singer. A rival tradition in moral philosophy derives from the Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant, who held that our goal should not be getting better things to happen by any available means – as endorsed in utilitarianism – but acting in ways that respect the preferences and projects of others. A person should try to act, in any situation, in a way that would make sense if everyone followed the same rule that they do…
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Оформление: картина Ж.-Л. Жерома “Диоген” (1860; источник).