giovedì 2 febbraio 2006

Colloquio sui diritti degli animali - 2

Il colloquio con Martha C. Nussbaum che annunciavamo ieri è terminato. Riporto due delle domande (e delle risposte) più interessanti:

Question from Richard T. Hull, SUNY at Buffalo:
You say that sentience is a requirement for moral standing. The implication of this is that trees and other non-sentient organisms have no moral standing. Yet there is something noble and valuable about the giant sequoia, the grandfather oak, the bristlecone pine that arguably should be recognized by an adequate theory of justice. How can the value of non-sentient organisms be recognized philosophically?

Martha C. Nussbaum:
I think we do have duties to protect the environment, but I would not call these issues of justice. I take a lot of time spelling out what makes something an issue of justice for me, but the presence of agency and striving, including sentience, is at the heart of it. If we destroy a beautiful tree, that is perhaps wrong, but I don’t think that it’s an injustice to that tree. But I think that people who hold the capabilities approach may differ on this question, and I have already invited younger workers on the approach to develop alternative positions.

Question from Dan Cudahy:
If there is no moral wrong in “painlessly” killing a non-human animal, why would there be any moral wrong in “painlessly” killing human one?

Martha C. Nussbaum:
The answer given by Singer and Bentham, which I tentatively accept, is that humans have a very different relationship to the future. We form projects that extend into the future, which are frustrated by premature death. We also have the capacity to imagine and fear our own deaths. For creatures who lack these capacities, death is not the same sort of harm, if a harm at all. I think we need to do much more work on the question when and why death is bad for a human being. Epicurus and Lucretius still have not been fully answered. But I’ve just told you some of the things that I say on this point (in The Therapy of Desire, the chapter on Lucretius on death). Those reasons don’t seem to apply to animals. If we find that some animals, perhaps dogs or apes, do form temporally extended project and do fear death, we would have some good reasons to think that killing an animal of that kind (apart from euthanasia) is morally bad.

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