Singer evaluates the consistent influence of

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Singer evaluates the consistent influence of speciesism to our current social and cultural understanding of our relationship to animals, and evaluates early forms of thought that have led to our perceived understanding of the human-animal divide.
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3 Singer reevaluates historical origins of ancient tradition that reinforced our attitude towards animals that we understand as "an unquestioned truth". He argues the importance of the reevaluation since our attitudes are "drawn on presuppositions that are now obsolete", such as religious, moral, and metaphysical understanding (185-86). The first ancient tradition was of religious origins dating back to the biblical creation story by the Hebrews in an era of Pre-Christian thought. Singer argues that Hebrew writings reflected their assumed relationship to animals, with assumptions allotting "human beings a special position in the universe", created in God's image (188). The second influence was that of Greek doctrines of Aristotle, with claims of animals existence primarily to serve human beings in a "hierarchy in which those with less reasoning exist for the sake of those with more (189)." Aristotle's doctrines, however, were not uniform in Greece, and was in fact was in rivalry with the doctrines of thought by Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher, who was a vegetarian who "encouraged his followers to treat animals with respect (188)." The following era of Christian thought was developed under the Roman Empire during wartime, and continued to express religious justification of the unique and sacred exclusivity of the human species. An example was in Christian scripture in which Jesus justifies the law entirely intended for humans, and establishing that there are no shared rights between animal and man (191-193).
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4 The ways in which humans continue to repress other beings is also present in social constructions of childhood experiences and our admiration of science at the expense of other beings. Singer expresses the importance of early social influences on children that do not allow children to make an informed decision on whether or not they condone consuming the flesh of another being. The primary reason for humans lack of informed decision is since we are made to eat meat at an age when we do posses moral reasoning and do not comprehend what we are consuming. Singer reflects on a common pattern of children's refusal to eat meat without moral reasoning, and that humans meat consumption is never based on an unbiased and informed decision. In respects to animal experimentation, Singer evaluates humanities prestige value to science that makes us overlook cruelty towards animals that would otherwise seem unethical. He defines a combination of factors that are overlooked due to respect for science, and scientific "conditioned ethical blindness" that overlooks the mass amount of experimentation on animals that do not produce results of real significance (71). Animal experimentation is considered the "accepted mode of research", making it the familiar research method for both the scientists and for the teachings of future scientists. Since scientific
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  • Fall '16
  • Erica Bornstein
  • Animal Rights, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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