Do scientists have any special moral obligations essay


Do scientists have any special moral obligations essay

The Moral Considerability of Animals To say that a being deserves moral consideration is to say that there is a moral claim that this being can make on those who can recognize such claims.

A morally considerable being is a being who can be wronged. It is often thought that because only humans can recognize moral claims, it is only humans who are morally considerable.

The Moral Considerability of Animals

However, when we ask why we think humans are the only types of beings that can be morally wronged, we begin to see that the class of beings able to recognize moral claims and the class of beings who can suffer moral wrongs are not co-extensive. In the s, Richard Ryder coined this term while campaigning in Oxford to denote a ubiquitous type of human centered prejudice, which he thought was similar to racism.

Peter Singer popularized the term and focused on the way speciesism, without moral justification, favors the interests of humans: Similarly the speciesist allows the interests of his own species to override the greater interests of members of other species.

The pattern is the same in each case. That humans are members of the species Homo sapiens is certainly a distinguishing feature of humans—humans share a genetic make-up and a distinctive physiology, we all emerge from a human pregnancy, but this is unimportant from the moral point of view.

Species membership is a morally irrelevant characteristic, a bit of luck that is no more morally interesting than being born in Malaysia or Canada. As a morally irrelevant characteristic it cannot serve as the basis for a view that holds that our species deserves moral consideration that is not owed to members of other species.

One might respond that it is not membership in a biological category that matters morally, but rather the social meaning of those categories, meanings that structure not only the institutions we operate within, but how we conceptualize ourselves and our world.

Humans have developed moral systems as well as a wide range of other valuable practices, and by creating these systems, we separate the human from the rest of the animal kingdom.

The most common way of understanding it is to suggest that there are distinctly human capacities and it is on the basis of these capacities that humans have moral status and other animals do not. But which capacities mark out all and only humans as the kinds of beings that can be wronged?

A number of candidate capacities have been proposed—developing family ties, solving social problems, expressing emotions, starting wars, having sex for pleasure, using language, or thinking abstractly, are just a few. As it turns out, none of these activities is uncontroversially unique to human.

Both scholarly and popular work on animal behavior suggests that many of the activities that are thought to be distinct to humans occurs in non-humans.

For example, many species of non-humans develop long lasting kinship ties—orangutan mothers stay with their young for eight to ten years and while they eventually part company, they continue to maintain their relationships.

Less solitary animals, such as chimpanzees, baboons, wolves, and elephants maintain extended family units built upon complex individual relationships, for long periods of time. Meerkats in the Kalahari desert are known to sacrifice their own safety by staying with sick or injured family members so that the fatally ill will not die alone.

All animals living in socially complex groups must solve various problems that inevitably arise in such groups. Canids and primates are particularly adept at it, yet even chickens and horses are known to recognize large numbers of individuals in their social hierarchies and to maneuver within them.

One of the ways that non-human animals negotiate their social environments is by being particularly attentive to the emotional states of others around them.

When a conspecific is angry, it is a good idea to get out of his way. Animals that develop life-long bonds are known to suffer from the death of their partners. Some are even said to die of sorrow. Darwin reported this in The Descent of Man: Coyotes, elephants and killer whales are also among the species for which profound effects of grief have been reported Bekoff and many dog owners can provide similar accounts.

While the lives of many, perhaps most, non-humans in the wild are consumed with struggle for survival, aggression and battle, there are some non-humans whose lives are characterized by expressions of joy, playfulness, and a great deal of sex Woods Because human behavior and cognition share deep roots with the behavior and cognition of other animals, approaches that try to find sharp behavioral or cognitive boundaries between humans and other animals remain controversial.

For this reason, attempts to establish human uniqueness by identifying certain capacities, are not the most promising when it comes to thinking hard about the moral status of animals. The notion of personhood identifies a category of morally considerable beings that is thought to be coextensive with humanity.

Historically, Kant is the most noted defender of personhood as the quality that makes a being valuable and thus morally considerable for a contemporary utilitarian discussion of personhood, see Varner On the other hand, rational beings are called persons inasmuch as their nature already marks them out as ends in themselves.

By this he is a person….

Do scientists have any special moral obligations essay

This problem emerges because of the reflective structure of human consciousness. Do these impulses represent the kind of things I want to act according to?

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In stepping back we gain a certain distance from which we can answer these questions and solve the problem of normativity. When we determine whether we should take a particular desire as a reason to act we are engaging in a further level of reflection, a level that requires an endorseable description of ourselves.

This endorseable description of ourselves, this practical identity, is a necessary moral identity because without it we cannot view our lives as worth living or our actions as worth doing. Korsgaard suggests that humans face the problem of normativity in a way that non-humans apparently do not: Its perceptions are its beliefs and its desires are its will.

It is engaged in conscious activities, but it is not conscious of them.

What is the ethical challenge for scientists in the 21st century? As the current Bush Administration prepares for a war in Iraq, the use of nuclear weapons has been suggested again.

That is, they are not the objects of its attention.However, as I have argued earlier, the theories we have examined in this essay are not good at settling conflicts between health promotion and environmental protection, because they do not adequately address the value of human health and the value of the environment.

Moral Obligations about Charity views of Peter Singer and John Arthur Do Scientists Have Any Special Moral Obligations?

Citizens Have to a Guaranteed Minimum Income in a Democratic Society. We will write a custom essay sample on Moral Obligations about Charity views of Peter Singer and John Do Scientists Have Any Special Moral Obligations? Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality ; Peter Singer, The Visible Man analysis At you will find a wide variety of top-notch essay and term paper samples on any.

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Do scientists have any special moral obligations essay

In sum, medical professionals have special obligations that those who are not medical profes-sionals do not have. 2 ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN COMPUTING. responsibility focuses on what individuals should do in the future. In the moral sense, responsibility is a virtue: A.

This will be proven by comparing scientist that have used moral obligations such as the Arabs during the Islamic Golden Age and this is proof that science can prosper when scientists have a moral obligation. Do scientists have any ‘special’ moral obligations?

Or should science seek to be free from any values and morals? This has been a popular topic that has been discussed throughout not only this century but also, centuries previous to us.