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“What We Owe to Nonhuman Animals,” by Dr. Gary Steiner (vegan), Part 1 of 2

2023-11-25
Език:English
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Dr. Gary Steiner is an American moral philosopher, author, and professor emeritus at Bucknell University, where he taught for 34 years. His newest book, “What We Owe to Nonhuman Animals: The Historical Pretensions of Reason and the Ideal of Felt Kinship” was published in September 2023. “My central focus is in trying to make a very, very compelling case for the proposition that if you really care about sentient creatures and about the problems of oppression, then you should care about nonhuman animals just as much as you care about the oppression of human beings.” Dr. Steiner tells us what inspired him to become vegan. Throughout Western history, there has been a prevailing notion of human superiority over animal-people. Dr. Gary Steiner explains that, sadly, misguided concepts over the centuries have affected the world people’s attitudes toward animal-people.

“What Aristotle neglects to recognize is that, in all those first writings that I talked about, about the behavioral abilities of nonhuman animals, they show all kinds of ingenuity, all kinds of adaptability.” “Then, about 150 years after Descartes, Immanuel Kant comes along and says the same thing that Saint Aquinas had said, which is: don’t be gratuitously cruel to nonhuman animals because it might make you liable to be more cruel to human beings. Kant says, if you work a field animal like a horse for a long time, you have every reason to feel gratitude toward it, but you don’t owe it anything morally. And that is a real contradiction and a real problem that many philosophers, ever since, have been trying to think their way out of.” “Maybe we ought to have a little bit of a sense of skepticism about our own cognitive powers, and a little bit more humility, and start from the proposition that we don’t really know what it’s like to be a nonhuman animal who appears not to have human language. And maybe we shouldn’t assume that we can decide what’s best for them. Maybe they’re even in a better position to decide what’s best for us.”
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