Truth Through Combat

Singer’s Analogical Argument

Peter Singer’s argument on animal research, experimentation, and factory farming is an analogical argument, meaning that it attempts to compare one thing to another in order to make its point. In this case, the comparison is between racism/sexism and speciesism, which Singer defines as the view that human beings are superior to non-human animals by virtue of being human. Singer believes that this is a prejudice which has a form identical to racism and sexism.

After reviewing the paper (and the summary, if you like) consider one or more of the following questions:

  • Does the analogy work? Are racism and sexism identical in form to speciesism?
  • How would you define the concept of prejudice?
  • Is it always wrong to have a prejudice? Are some prejudices justified?
  • If it’s true that speciesism is a “bad” prejudice, then what solution should be adopted for it? Should all consumption of animals cease? Should only factory farming cease? Would it still be alright to hunt?
  • How does utilitarianism apply to the use of animals for food and other products? Can we assume that animals should be counted in the calculation of happiness demanded by utilitarian principles?


Filed under: Bioethics, Philosophy, , , , ,

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