The attitude of many human beings toward non-human animals

1. As discussed in the video, Peter Singer created the term “speciesism” to describe the attitude of many human beings toward non-human animals. What does this term mean?

2. What is the “argument of need” in support of speciesism? What is one reason to agree with this argument, and what is one reason to reject this argument?

3. Although this is not discussed in this video, Singer discusses the ways in which speciesism is embedded in many human languages. For example, in English, calling humans “pigs” is an insult. Give two examples of how animal names may be applied to humans, in any language you choose (languages other than English are very welcome!). Are these insults? Are they compliments? Are they neutral? Explain whether your examples support Singer’s claim that comparisons between humans and animals are usually speciesist.

Video 2 Moral behavior in animals:

4. Many people have argued that non-human animals are not capable of moral thought, or of understanding moral rules. Frans de Waal’s research suggests that this is not true. Explain any one of the experiments shown in the video that suggests that some animals are able to have a sense of justice or fairness.

5. De Waal’s research also focuses on compassion and empathy in animals. Explain any one of the experiments in the video that suggests that some animals have a sense of compassion or empathy.



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