Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Research Sponsor

Dr. John Huss

First Reader

Dr. Priscilla Sakezles

Second Reader

Dr. Joseph Li Vecchi

Abstract

Natural Law theories dominate the way in which humans view their relationships with other animals. Natural Law theories, commenced by Aristotle, claim that rationality is the morally relevant feature that differentiates humans from other animals. As a result, human beings often use non-human animals at their disposal, which has propelled factory farming and the mistreatment of animals. The term, "Speciesism" describes unjustified mistreatment of a species based on species membership. This essay examines the origin of Speciesism, as it relates to Natural Law theories. Additionally, the text discusses the negative consequences of Speciesism and the arbitrariness of omitting non-human animals in one's moral community, pulling from Peter Singer and Stijn Bruers. Futhermore, this essay seeks to answer the question: Is rationality the morally relevant feature that allows humans to use other animals at their disposal? It is hoped that this examination of Speciesism will show that rationality is not morally relevant and humans should rather use sentience as a base for their moral community. Subsequently, more humans should consider adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet/lifestyle.

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