finalphil paper23

finalphil paper23 - Jeff Sarcu Phil 105 While grazing in...

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Jeff Sarcu Phil 105 While grazing in open grassland with your antelope herd, including your newly born baby calf, a 250 pound cheetah comes out of the high grasses at full speed, heading straight for your little calf. What should you do - risk your life in an attempt to give your little calf a chance to escape, or run for your own safety? What is the right thing for you to do if you were an African antelope? The real question to consider in an observational situation as a practical, rational being would be: are non human animals capable of rational thought processes, or even further, ethics? Deep debate has occurred over the possible existence of these commonly human-related traits in non human animals. Rational thinking is viewed by many as the main cause/means to an ethics system. Ethics is an understood set of norms which dictate what action in situations of moral dilemma is right to do. In this paper, I will argue that it is truly impossible to either confirm or deny the presence of rationality and ethics in decision making in non human animals due to anthropomorphisms and limitations of human knowledge on: non human language, cognitive intent in seemingly ‘instinctual’ actions, complexities of non human choices, and the reality that non human animals experience coupled with personality biases; to supplement my argument, I will discuss the meaningful connection between my argument and cultural relativism, a widely known ethical principle. In order to illustrate the difficulty of deciding if non human animals (identified herein as “NHAs”) possess rationality and ethics, one must understand the process used to show the impossibility. I will examine what an individual who believes NHAs have rationality/ethics would argue (pro ethics), followed by the views of those who believe NHAs can’t have rationality/ethics (con ethics). Wordage of the differing arguments will be through the eyes of the side in concern (pro/com); these arguments are not what I 1
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Jeff Sarcu Phil 105 believe. Instead, they will exist as a means to then explain why the decision of yes or no is ultimately impossible. When it comes to relating rational thinking and ethics to NHAs’ ability to communicate with language, a pro ethics supporter would argue that certain animals exhibit signs of a complex communication system capable of resembling intricate thought and action processes. An extension of this argument is seen with dolphins through echolocation, which in turn gives them the ability to find reason for their actions (like a mother dolphin favoring a newly born baby dolphin over other family members because the baby is much more dependent on her than the older dolphins are) and possibly reflect on past actions (the cave had sharks around the entrance before, so the dolphins reason to avoid the cave), generating a sense of rational thinking styles similar to humans and a seemingly basic ethical system. It seems reasonable to establish that the pro ethics
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finalphil paper23 - Jeff Sarcu Phil 105 While grazing in...

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