Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Transcript of ARZone Tom Regan Workshop Part 2

Transcript of ARZone Tom Regan Workshop

21 May 2011 at:

6pm US Eastern Time

11pm UK Time and

22 May 2011 at:

8am Australian Eastern Standard Time

 

Part 2

(Part 1 may be found here.)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

This has been a great conversation, but I'd like to move onto the next of our five questions at this time.  

 

The next question and answer focuses on sentience, and self awareness.  In ‘The Case’ (esp. chaps. 2-4) and elsewhere it is indicated that you consider that the ability to feel pain does not imply self awareness, in the sense of one having a notion of psychological continuity over time. I therefore believe you must have at least one example of an individual of some species who is sentient but not a subject of a life (even though I still find it difficult to understand such an occurrence from an evolutionary perspective).

 

Who could this individual be?

 

To which Professor Regan replied:

Sentiency usually is defined as capable of experiencing pleasure and pain, while self-awareness, as I understand the idea, involves more than being aware of something, including pleasure or pain.

 

It involves being aware that I-am-the-one-who-is-aware-of (in this case) pleasure or pain. Without this higher order/unifying awareness, there is no self-awareness.

There is a concept some philosophers and psychologists explore called the specious present. Roughly speaking, and in this context, it refers to discrete moments of experience that are not united, not held together, by a self.

 

We might think of this sort of mental life as being like a series of disconnected bubbles, each of which lasts only an instant before popping. One bubble, followed by another bubble, followed by another bubble, and so on.

 

In this picture there is no unifying mind or self that carries the memory of the first bubble to the second, then to the third, etc. There is just the series of evanescent, disconnected bubbles, each lasting a moment before popping, none connected to the others.

 

Could these be the mental states of sentient beings? Could one of the bubbles be pleasant, another painful? Why not? Without self-awareness?

 

We have one bubble (pain), followed by another bubble (pleasure), followed by another bubble (pain), etc.  However, without an enduring self, there isn’t anybody who can have a right to life because there isn’t anybody to have one. 

 

Does anyone have an opinion on this?

 

Rachel Hickey:

Surely its enough to just feel pleasure or pain. most of us prob go day to day with just that. Not being self-conscious doesnt deny continuity of being. This bubble theory is dubious.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Oh, my - that's a debate in itself. He goes with 'subject of a life' as the morally relevant characteristic, I think. He's conversant with Sartre's analysis of consciousness (which we in philosophy abbreviated as 'csness') as 'disconnected moments'  Tom Regan demaned neurological compexity in order for rights to be rationally claimed, and many will agree to that.  Almost sounds Cartesian, doesn't it (Sartre and Descartes were both French)  Does Regan open the door to neurological work on nonhumans in order to discover the degree of self-awareness, and would it be invasive research, if so? Regan surely granted rights to mice, lower animals in the phylogenetic scale, but they do have self-awareness. Do insects? PETA urges no violence to insects, as do Jains.

 

Red dog:

Although I read Regan's Case for Animal Rights many years ago, I appreciate this clear explanation which gave me a better understanding of where he's coming from.  But as I started to say in the thread (before my post got accidentally erased), I'm a lot more comfortable with the view expressed by Francione and even more strongly by Dunayer, that sentience (in the broadest possible sense of the word) is evidence that a being has an interest in continuing to live.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Hi Rachel, I think it's quite important to be self aware.


Maynard S. Clark:

"They are not our cupbearers; we are not their kings." - Tom Regan


In the context of respectably bearing an endowed Chair in philosophy, one has the additional academic burden of carrying the weight of all the intellectual and academic issues one formally OR informally engages.  That is its own discipline.

 

Red dog:

I would define sentience as more than just the ability to experience pleasure and pain, but the ability to have any experiences whatsoever. Even if their experience of the world is radically different from ours. 

 

Rachel Hickey:

Of course it is. But its not something easily examined in 'the other' - I was really thinking that a being's worth isn't based on their having self-consciousness. (also trying to get to grips with this form of dabating - its fast....)

 

Susannah:

My opinion was that sentience implies some degree of self-awareness, as they both involve subjectivity, in the words of Prof John Webster, University of Bristol: ""A sentient animal is one for whom feelings matter" to feel pain and then feel what it is like to feel pain.

 

Tim Gier:

This is the problem. Ask any 10 animal rights philosophers what sentience means and you'll get ELEVEN answers.


Jose Valle:

Is there any way to feel pain without a being who feels it? 


Red dog:

But what I'm confused about is how to defend one view other than to say I'm more comfortable with it. Why believe sentience is the criterion, rather than self-awareness, or vice versa?  Is it just a matter of picking the view we feel most comfortable with?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

'Being' could be self-aware or not self-aware. Depends on neurological sophistication  We ought not to cause anyone pain OR suffering (e.g. anesthetized harm), but some are 'subjects' in their own 'story' (life)

Life for us and such others is NOT 'doped' - a mere acquiescence to fleeting sensory moments. Why believe sentience is the criterion, rather than self-awareness, or vice versa?  Is it just a matter of picking the view we feel most comfortable with? Depends on neurological sophistication  We ought not to cause anyone pain OR suffering (e.g. anesthetized harm), but some are 'subjects' in their own 'story' (life). Life for us and such others is NOT 'doped' - a mere acquiescence to fleeting sensory moments.

 

Susannah:

Nociceptors register pain but the posession of nociceptors doesnt imply sentience

 

Tim Gier:

I agree Susannah.

 

Red dog:

Suzanne, can you explain?  How are you defining sentience? Dominique, that seems like a commonsense view and I agree. Why believe sentience is the criterion, rather than self-awareness, or vice versa?  Is it just a matter of picking the view we feel most comfortable with?

 

Dominique:

if it fights or is scared for it's life, I would consider it self aware

Scallop vs chicken?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

To a certain extent, if "its" not an "it", but a he or she, aware of being a "he" or a "she", doesnt that imply sentience?

 

Will:

Go jordan!

 

Susannah:

Nociceptors detect injury or damage, they are used in reflex responses 

 

Red dog:

I said something like that on another board and got harassed for it, though.

 

Susannah:

Dropping a hot pot, then the signal moves up to the brain and the conscious detection of pain

 

Maynard S. Clark:

We DO in fact 'draw lines' all the time; our discussion often is WHERE to draw that line (and sentience and self-awareness are issues in that decision) 

 

Michael T Tiedemann:

Whether non human animals are "self aware" or not, to me it doesn't matter. Of course they want to continue to live when you see them run away from  someone wielding a knife at them.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Nociceptor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A nociceptor is a sensory receptor that responds to potentially damaging stimuli by sending nerve signals to the spinal cord and brain.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Good point Michael, I like the "oh, only "five" other animals recognise themselves in a mirror" talk... 

 

Dominique:

Yes, I feel trees are self aware, where does that leave me?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Francione mentions dogs recognising themselves by smell, surely that is no "less" recognition?

 

Susannah:

But just because an animal detects injuries through nociception doesnt mean they actually feel pain 

 

Will:

Trees?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

However, our DISCUSSION seems to question how LOW on the phylogenetic scale self-awareness is found (regularly?). 

 

Susannah:

Jellfyish have nociceptors

 

Red dog:

Susannah, are you suggesting that some animals don't feel pain? 

 

Susannah:

Corals, sea anenomes, jellyfish detect pain, but don't actually "feel" it 

 

Michael T Tiedemann:

And all this philosophy and trying to find the right definition of sentience is also silly. To me, sentience is an animal that feels emotions. Period. 

 

Red dog:

Joan Dunayer makes a good case as to why almost all animals should be given the benefit of the doubt, since we have no way of determining exactly what they experience.

 

Roger Yates:

Maynard, that issue of regularly is interesting. Regan's bubble model could mean that some beings are sometimes self-aware and have a sense of self - but then there's a break. A bubble pops.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Again, I think Tom Regan SPECIFICALLY distinguishes 'sentience' from 'self-awareness' which is required to have rights, while sentience is capacity to sense.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I agree Mr Tiedemann, could we not agree that "if we try to hurt them, and they flinch/move, then they matter"?  As compared to "objects" who remain unmoven?  (making up words here)

 

Michael T Tiedmann:

YES WE CAN Mr. Wyatt!

:-)

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Surely we wouldn't be eating those who want to run away. 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Would that not include some plants, Jordan?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Not sure on the issue of plants Carolyn

 

Carolyn Bailey:

If they flinch/move away from pain, is a criterion for sentience, would that not include some plants? Carnivorous plants for example.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Does practicality come into this?  Must we have an exact definition, balanced to the last atom, before moving forward?

 

Red dog:

Regan's view could also imply that humans whose memories have significantly deteriorated have no rights. And can be eaten.

 

Tim Gier:

It doesn't matter to us, perhaps, how we define 'sentience' but it does matter to all the other people in the world.


Red dog:

It matters a lot.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

The utility issues in research are still NOT being addressed (in our 'advocacy moments').  I think we obligate ourselves to address those in nontrivial ways.  I suspect that most chat members do NOT believe we have that obligation. 

 

Tim Gier:
If sentience is simple the ability to experience pain on some level, then it leads only to the idea that we ought not to cause sentient beings pain. Enter Peter Singer

 

Red dog:

A few years ago a company called Ecover did an experiment to determine the effects of its products on sea fleas. 

 

Jose Valle:

Aren't we mixing here nociception with pain?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

RE plants, which I'm sure we can all agree "are less than" animals?

 

Michael T Tiedemann:
So how about Live and Let live?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

We would be well advised to consider trees a bit more significant than we do, also.

 

Tim Gier:

Yes Jose, we are.

 

Red dog:

Because sea fleas aren't legally recognized as animals, they could still put the "no animal testing" label on their products.  The vegan society revoked its vegan designation, rightly, in my view, because their definition of animals is broader

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I’m not so fond on the term "live" Michael, look at it in reverse 

 

Michael T Tiedemann:

lol

 

Tim Gier:

Regan talks about "subjects-of-a-life" because it is a conception that can be defended rigorously in a philosophical debate.   

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Nociception (nocioception, nociperception) is "the neural processes of encoding & processing noxious stimuli." It is the afferent activity produced in the peripheral and central nervous system by stimuli with potential to damage tissue. . 

 

And that's to Tom Regan's credit, I argue.  And it's clear, definable and defensible. 

 

Tim Gier:

When people talk about sentience as something more than just the capacity to experience pain, they are really talking about something quite a bit closer to what Regan talks about. 

 

Sky:

Tim - wasn't Subject-of-a-Life (SOAL) designed to be cautious and "conservative" and on purpose? 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

In the Boston Vegan Assn, this argument demanded semantic clarity on the two terms. We began with acknowledgement of the lack of clarity with which both terms are used; then we sought to define both. 

 

Red dog:

I think the vegan society's definition was something closer to "vertebrates and multicellular invertebrates"

 

Tim Gier:

Yes, Sky, absolutely. Regan says exactly that in The Case. He wants to start where most people will agree and leave the harder cases alone. 

 

Oscar Horta:

This is a very tricky issue...

 

Tim Gier:

It was a deliberate move to establish the basis for his rights theory, not to exclude any other animals.

 

Red dog:

Doesn't he also say something to the effect that it's better to draw the line as far back as possible when deciding which animals to include in the moral community?

 

Oscar Horta:

We must distinguish though, between his interpretation of what beings fulfill their criteria and the issue of which beings actually fulfill them. 

 

Sky:

Tim. I can see why he would in the 1980s - but what about now. Does SOAL still mean the same for Regan as it did in the 1980s? 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I still think that, in research, those who do the research on animals today could become the methodological liberators by understanding what nonanimal research methods need to be valid and effective.  Not only can we all change, but they have types of analytical expertise that many of us do not have.

 

Tim Gier:

I am not clear on that now, although it do think from his full answer on this question that he sees consciousness as along a continuum, where different beings have different states of it 

 

Will:

Well what animals are subjects then? 

 

Red dog:

I should have capitalized Vegan Society and specified that it's the one in the UK ... at least that's my understanding of the story, which is several years old. I had stopped buying Ecover products and then bought one accidentally a while ago.

 

Roger Yates:

Hi Will - Regan was once criticised as standing for "mammal rights" but his idea of SOAL "covers" birds and fishes too.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Animals are 'subjects' (of their own narrative) when they understand when they experience 'loss' or gain.  "In the gain or loss of one race all the rest have equal claim" - that's Unitarian. "race" could be changed to 'species'   The discussion we NOW (today) have with many researchers is including fish, mice, and birds among those who are morally relevant, when the goals of the Great Ape Project could more readily be accommodated or agreed upon.

 

Tim Gier:

Oscar, what you are saying is that Regan can consider who he wants to, but we should not necessarily be limited by his reasoning as to who does or does not warrant consideration, right? 

 

Oscar Horta:

Yes

 

Tim Gier:

I agree

 

Maynard S. Clark:

There are primatologists here at Harvard who want to end animal experimentation - upon the higher apes (for the same evolutionary reasons we claim: they are too much like us for us to harm in this way).

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Doesn't Prof. Regan's idea of SOAL cover most other animals, but he mostly includes mammals and birds because many philosophers still believe all other animals don't have minds?


Sadia Rajput:

I agree with Mr. Horta!

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I didn't say that is everyone, or the majority, nor of the Regional Primate Center, but...

 

Which philosophers believe animals don't have minds?  Is there such a thing as 'degree of self-awareness'?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

It was a generalisation made in Empty Cages

 

Tim Gier:

Yes, Carolyn, I believe that you are correct. Regan even says that we should all "know where his sympathies lie" when it comes to who we ought to respect.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Oh, Steve Wise may have thought of past philosophers like Descartes.

 

Tim Gier:

There are many who don't think animals have minds.

 

Michael T Tiedemann:

I know plenty of humans that don’t have them too!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Hah Michael! :-)

 

Michael T Tiedemann

:-)

 

Roger Yates:

Regan cites Peter Carruthers as a modern philosopher who denies that nonhumans can think.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Oh, yes!  Peter Carruthers.  Yeah.  How could have forgotten.  And there were others... who denied it effectively - as sufficient for humans to consider morally (or even procedurally).   I argue that our lives can be lived rationally; Veganism well-done can be a rational pathway; most nonvegetarian paths are not rational paths; however, not everyone becomes a RATIONAL vegan, nor is every nonveg fully irrational.

 

Susannah:

Sientists such as Vilayanur Ramachandran, who insist nonhumans can't really experience pain as they don't have language...

 

Maynard S. Clark:

However, whatever solution IS found, according to the late humanist philosopher Corliss Lamont, will have something to do with reason. 

 

Michael T Tiedemann:

Please define Rational vegan 

 

Tim Gier:

What is important to consider is how it is that we can defend the idea that other animals have a ought not to be harmed or killed. Is talk about sentience vs. subjective experience necessary?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

whether OURS alone (which I doubt) or the neurological sophistication of life of many species (which I believe to be the case).

 

Roger Yates:

If memory serves, philosopher Stephen Clark cites those who believe nonhumans do not feel pain - but merely experience "sensations."

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Does the neurological sophistication of other species (or even members of our own species) impose moral duties or obligations upon us?  R. L. Clark is a Christian vegetarian philosopher.  Are we allowing him?

 

Roger Yates:

I will if you will!

 

Maynard S. Clark:

or Daniel Dombrowski, the vegetarian process philosopher along the lines of Charles Hartshorne?

 

Michael T Tiedemann:

Mr. Clark, what did you mean by a rational vegan? 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

A process theist  Self-analysed

 

Will:

That sounds rude

 

Maynard S. Clark:

That we are comfortable with 'reason'  Not merely technocratic intelligence, but with responsible uses of our mental abilities. (Heideggerian distinction?)

 

Michael T Tiedemann:

ah, I see.  Thanks

 

Maynard S. Clark:

an authentic relationship with our world in all its plurality (and plurality of persons) - existentially scrutinized  MH says: In der Welt Sein - dasein - being 'there' - in a real way (not just as we think ourselves to be).

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I'd like to move on to the next topic now, in which Professor Regan speaks about achieving abolitionist goals: 

 

I wonder do you feel that only a move to abolish any use or abuse of animals is sufficient, or do you feel that ensuring better welfare for animals that are used by humans, such as farm animals, is a part of the journey to adequate animal rights?  Is a push for better animal welfare a way of helping society take the logical next step in not using or abusing other animals or does this, as some think, make the use and abuse of other animals acceptable to some? 

 

To which Professor Regan responded:

 

For when an injustice is absolute, one must oppose it absolutely. It was not “reformed” slavery that justice demanded, not “reformed” child labor, not “reformed” subjugation of women. In each of these cases, abolition was the only moral answer. Merely to reform absolute injustice is to prolong injustice. 

 

But how can we achieve our abolitionist goals?

 

One path (the one I favor) invites ARAs to give our time and energy to trying to make incremental abolitionist changes. I listed a few examples in Empty Cages. Other examples are given in an essay I co-authored with Gary Francione (Animals Agenda, January/February 1992, p. 42):

 

An end to the use of animals in product testing·        

An end to the use of animals in maternal deprivation, military, and drug addiction experiments         

An end to the killing of elephants, rhinos, and other “big game”· 

An end to the commerce in fur 

 

Truth be told, it is wishful thinking to believe that the successful implementation of reforms will abolish animal agriculture. It is far more likely that great numbers of people will continue to eat animal flesh, only now with a clear conscience, a gift, paradoxically, given to them by the well-intentioned reformers.

 

I don’t think ARAs should be working for improved welfare for the prisoners exploited by the animal industrial complex. To make such improvements will only make their exploitation more socially acceptable and, as a result,  perpetuate the very evils we oppose.  To my way of thinking, as I wrote twenty-five years ago, “to reform absolute injustice is to prolong injustice.” 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Steven Pinker in a New Republic article “The History of Violence” offers evidence that on the average the amount and cruelty of violence to humans and animals has decreased over the last few centuries. 

 

What reduces violence against animals is abolitionist in Regan's sense BECAUSE he says that we can do that piece by piece. Ingrid Newkirk used to argue that.   We ARE in 2011; not everyone sees things as progressively as everyone else.

 

Will:

Regan wants empty cages not bigger ones! 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Didn't one of our guests (Steve Wise, or was it David Pearce) tell us that animal experimentation is a slightly different set of issues for abolitionists, but follows the same line of reasoning?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I found this quote interesting from Prof. Regan's interview:  

 

But how can we achieve our abolitionist goals? One path (the one I favor) invites ARAs to give our time and energy to trying to make incremental abolitionist changes. I listed a few examples in Empty Cages.

 

I wonder if incremental changes are in accordance with abolitionist goals. 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Yes - empty cages - but also NO meat production, and getting sidelined ONLY with animal research is missing the 'low hanging fruit'   We might be reading "incremental abolitionist changes" differently. 


I see that as abolishing one core injustice afer another.   That's what Ingrid Newkirk argued to me in person years ago.  I'm not sure PETA is consistent with that. 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Some would argue that advocating for an end to seal slaughter, for example, wasn't an abolitionist goal

 

Maynard S. Clark:

So, if every abolition takes work, why not list the wrongs to be corrected, then begin working on making the corrections palatable and acceptable to the oppressors.  THEN, when the public agrees, negotiation may be over. But I doubt that it's over B4. Again, Gary Francione (in Boston, live) urged us to frame our movement in the context of overall violence reduction.  The public CAN accept reduction in violence; the WAY we often frame our goals may prove problematic to the public.  I was told (rightly or wrongly) by one of his then-MIT students that Steven Pinker is vegetarian.  Steven Pinker, The History of Violence, The New Republic, March 19, 2007.

 

Sky:

Wouldn't that abolish one form of animal use, Carolyn? 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Yes it would, but some would argue that to actually advocate for that goal would elevate the importance of ending the seal slaughter above other goals.

 

Roger Yates:

Isn't the issue here the claims-making that goes along with SICs? The claims-making of the seal campaign may have implied that seals are special. 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

These ARE issues that concern us with which we have common cause with the general public.  Why MUST we frame ourselves at odds with our contemporaries?  Probably because we FEEL alienated by them and their actions.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree, Roger

 

Red dog:

It puts advocates in a strange position, asking people to oppose the seal hunt but then being asked to address questions about fisheries, etc. Usually the campaigners come across as pro-fishing, even if they're not. 

 

Will:

Yes

 

Maynard S. Clark:

But are those advocates of violence really SPEAKING FOR the best interests of the general public?  Usually WE say that they are not, but isn't the public often confused by such voices?  For later: http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/media/2007_03_19_New%20Repub... - WE'RE GETTING NICER EVERoger Yates: DAY.A History of Violenceby Steven Pinker  We HEAR those who yell the loudest, and our 'action items' given them even MORE voice and reason for doing their (sick and) dastardly deeds.  How do we enable a better, more longstanding social synthesis that is higher than the present status quo?

 

Tim Gier:

When Regan says that we should demand justice, he's not saying that we can demand justice only by demanding total abolition. 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Doesn't JUSTICE require the good of all parties?

 

Roger Yates:

What do we think about Regan's claim that reformers give flesh-eaters a gift?

 

Red dog:

While I can see a problem with Regan's approach, and I think Francione has made some valid points against what he calls single-issue campaigns, some of his supporters seem to oppose any article or film or book or website that doesn't regurgitate the same content over and over. A writer has to decide what fits in a particular article or book and what to save for the next one; a filmmaker has to focus on specific topics; a photographer has to decide what belongs in the picture and what belongs outside of it.   

 

Tim Gier:

We can demand justice while at the same time making demand against the 'system' which are acheivable 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Well, wheat gluten could be such a gift, or Tofutti, or … "which are achievable”. Don't we need 'to be about' helping the 'oppressors' find better ways?  Here goes:  "Yet show I unto you a more excellent way" 1 Corinthians 12:31

 

Tim Gier:

What are you saying Maynard?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

We are to be 'bout' bringing in the new era, with the better ways, our young vegans ought to be equipped to do the good (better) work that we are mandating.  If we are NOT ABOUT (announcing and bringing in) the 'new era', where are we when it arrives?  Just scattered by the wayside?  We DO invest our younger vegans' careers, and we ought to support their being 'about' that better way.

 

Red dog; I would have a hard time putting all my energy into most of the campaigns that Regan mentions in this particular article. But I can't condemn activists who focus specifically on vivisection.

 

Roger Yates:

There is a structural problem I'd like to point out. If reformers give a gift to people by essentially promoting happy meat, then so do abolitionists, if we buy into the idea that rights claims will bring about welfare improvements.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

No movement is us alone; there are new vegans coming up all the time. I don't think 'happy meat' is a gift to anyone (neither the animals NOR the meateaters, who suffer the same harms from eating unhappy meat)


Tim Gier:

If we can bring in the new era sooner by inplementing reforms that are consistent with abolition then we ought to implement those reforms

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I'm not a welfarist. I don't think that 'better way' is a better way to harm animals; that's NOT the better way; the better way is free of ALL animal agriculture.  To welfarists we could say, "Oh, ye of little faith."  Sorry to sound like Al Sharpton

 

Red dog:

And I'm leaning toward supporting shelter reform legislation (such as that proposed by Nathan Winograd) even though it falls short of the idealistic legislation I'd like to see.

 

Tim Gier:

"I have never said that no reforms short of abolition are feasible." Gary Francione

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Francione says we can legitimately care for pre-existing animals, but surely we need to acknowledge a clear problem in feeding them meat.

 

Red dog:

Tim ... he's said that, but in recent years I'm not aware of any he's come out in support of.

 

Tim Gier:

He said that in the new book

 

Red dog:

Thanks, haven't read it yet but hope to some time.

 

Does he support any specific reform measures or other campaigns?

 

Will:

is that the book with the rip-off title Tim?

 

Tim Gier:

The point is, there are many facets to this problem, and there are some things we can abolish, so of the worst practices, while we still work towards total abolition, it is how reform happens

 

Roger Yates:

Will - you mean that it is called The Animal Rights Debate, like Cohen and Regan's book? 

 

Tim Gier:

It isn't the case that slavery in America was ended in one fell swoop, it was a long process that some argue is still not complete. 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Would you suggest we focus on the worst practices first, Tim?

 

Will

Yeah

 

Tim Gier:

I would suggest that we work to implement any change or abolish any practice which is consistent with an overall goal of abolition.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Implement incremental change? I'm not sure if that's what you're suggesting or not.

 

Red dog:

Pound seizure (if it's still called that) could be part of a boader shelter reform bill ... but is it really right to campaign against cosmetic tests only, as of other vivisection was OK?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I'd sign on to that, if the rest of y'all agree to it 

 

Red dog:

Or particular kinds of experiments, when other lethal/invasive experiments are still going to be allowed on beings who can't consent?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Note Steve Wise's book: Though the Heavens May Fall about the end of slavery as humane justice. "The landmark trial that led to the end of human slavery."  Claims can be analyzed, scrutinized, but when they are legitimate and widely understood, they can be accepted.

 

Tim Gier:

As Roger has suggested, the claims making is important.

 

If we say "End Circuses, because all animal use is wrong" that sends a consistent message.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Human slavery has not ended!

 

Red dog:  Maybe a "vegan lifestyle promotion bill" could be a first step?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Tim, are you suggesting incremental change, which you feel will eventually lead to abolition? 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I think 'vegan diet' IS do-able, sustainable, less expensive overall, and results in greater happiness and less misery for me - as well as for others.

That claim can be examined, studied, debated, and considered in its variable ramifications.  If, say, half the human population (particularly in the wealthier parts of the world) were to believe that more would become more nearly vegan, and 'demand' for exploitation would decrease. As more see it as viable, it becomes a live option for them.

 

Tim Gier:

No. Carolyn, I am suggesting a consistent message about abolition leads to abolition. But that part of that messaging can involve banning the use of dolphins in waterparks.

 

Sky:

If “to reform absolute injustice is to prolong injustice” - does that mean we should oppose reforms that happen and certainly not welcome them? Wouldn't that "look" odd?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

It can? Would you advocate for that banning? Would that be an appropriate use of your time as far as advocacy goes?

 

Tim Gier:

Of course it would look odd, because it is odd.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Would it be odd also to reject reforms such as banning sow stalls then?

 

Red dog:

I have to take my angel to the vet, but I'd like to say THANK YOU to all the ARZone administrators and to Tom Regan for bringing us this discussion! What a great idea! I'm still looking over the links and will look carefully at the transcript too. As I said I read Regan's "Case" ages ago and don't have it to refer to, so this is very helpful. I can't remember if I read Empty Cages or not but will look at it. The links will be very helpful for me and I'll share them on other boards once I've gone over them.

 

Susannah:

It would be an appropriate use of your time if that ban got you widespread media coverage which allowed a wider vegan and antispeciesist message.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I think we should understand and discuss these suggested implications of abolitionism among ourselves so that WE have real, genuine ideas about it.


Tim Gier:

I have never said that I would advocate bigger cages, have I?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I was wondering which reforms you do and don't advocate for, I'm not sure where you draw the line. 


Maynard S. Clark:

Banning sow stalls is one of the 'singular injustices' that Ingrid was urging us to ban, as chipping away. Today, however, in 2011, many of our number are calling that 'welfarist' - with an economic justification (just makes animal ag cheaper). Whose interests are we serving?  Are we advocating for animals, or the farmer, or the meateater?  The meateaters' real interest is in not eating meat, but they refuse to recognize that. Being irrational IS both possible and evident. But barroom brawls aren't in anyone's interest either, but they happen, and the police are called in, sometimes very forcefully.   In our own minds, what ought to be outlawed?  And in what sustainable sequence?

 

Tim Gier:

Whether I can tell you where I would draw the line in this chat tonight is not relevant. What is relevant is that there are some practices which can be abolished.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think it's relevant to determine, if you're advocating for reforms, which reforms you deem in accordance with keeping with abolitionist goals 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Or do you believe in 'rational suasion'?   And in what sequence?

 

Tim Gier:

You keep saying I have advocated reforms, Carolyn, but I have not. I advocate for banning the use of other animals, or banning practices which are disrepectful of their rights.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

You have said you advocate for incremental reforms which would lead to abolition

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Well, how do we feel about 'action items' on (supposedly) 'AR' lists: Here's one: "Please help the Irish greyhounds" (what about the other dogs, other greyhounds, other animals, etc.?) There's 'racing to death' inChina: http://www.examiner.com/animal-advocacy-in-jacksonville/greyhounds-will-they-be-racing-to-death-china

 

Tim Gier:

I have said "If we can bring in the new era sooner by inplementing reforms that are consistent with abolition then we ought to implement those reforms" 

 

"Consistent with abolition" being the operrative phrase.

 

I think my meaning has been plain enough

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I read that to say, as I already stated, that you agree/advocate for reforms which may lead to abolition.

 

Tim Gier:

And I have said that is not what I meant.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I'm not sure what the difference is. I'm afraid I'm confused.  Anyway, perhaps this is a good time to move on 

 

Tim Gier:

Ask Prof. Regan, I agree substantially with his position

 

Sky:

Yes, let's move on.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

As do I, but we seem to differ, which is confusing. The next question, and the last one for today is in regard to Professor Regan on rights and the animal rights movement. 

 

Who gets to say what “animal rights” means and who gets to define what the AR movement is and who is or is not part of it?

 

To which Prof. Regan replied: 

 

So, to go back to the first part of your question: rights mean something. And they mean the same thing whether they are ascribed to humans or nonhumans.

 

“Animal rights” exhibit the same characteristics as “human rights”:  no trespassing, equality, trump, justice, respect, as has been explained.  As I have expressed this idea in a “animal research” context: Animals are not our tasters, we are not their kings. If people affirm animal rights, this is what they are affirming. If others deny animal rights, this is what they are denying. 

 

Now, there are those who deny animal rights but use the words anyway. Peter Singer comes to mind in this regard. He explicitly denies that animals have rights then turns around and says they do anyhow. He says his use of “animal rights” is “rhetorical.”

 

That’s not the way I understand the idea. To my way of thinking, “animal rights” means something. Invoking or appealing to their rights is invoking or appealing to more than a “rhetorical” idea.

 

Please feel free to offer any comments on this topic.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

"human rights is how much they have shaped human history" - "animal rights" would shape (future) animal history.   Nonhumans cannot effectively claim these for themselves (in the sense of 'Cows with Guns'), but the difference is that ADVOCATES must do the work for them.

 

Tim Gier:

While the idea of "rights" is intuitively appealing, there is an argument "Moral Anti-realism" which holds that it is a mistake to speak of morality as a real thing which actually exists. 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

In the Arab Summer, those nations need to do the work for themselves (however any of us may feel); in animal advocacy, the animals' cannot speak for themselves.  We are the voice of the voiceless; we need to become conceptually clear on what we are doing IN HUMAN HISTORoger Yates: - as Steve Wise taught last Saturday "nominalism"?  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-anti-realism/  Is it descriptive or intellectually PRE-scriptive 

 

Tim Gier:

I don't fully understand the idea, but from what I have read, it is something worth serious consideration.


Yes, that's where I've read about it

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Most of US think that most other humans are in error in ethics  substantially, woefully, and TRAGICALLY in error  We're not the FIRST self-constructed group to take such a broad position outside the majority.

 

Tim Gier:

I still am drawn to the notion of the rights. It fits with everything I have learned about the world, and it's fundamental to my idea of society.  That doesn't mean that I ought not to abandon it if the notion can be shown to be incoorect.  But, I do think that when we engage with the public that talking about rights can cause peoples eyes to glaze over  People do like to talk about how they feel, not what their obligations might be

 

Maynard S. Clark:

So, Tim, you believe that we CAN be progressive, not merely 'apocalyptic'

 

Tim Gier:

We can be, and we must be.

 

Roger Yates:

There definitely seems to be an issue with rights-based ideas in North America. 

 

Maynard S. Clark:

There could be a core idea that it's wrong to cause harm to anyone unnecessarily. 

 

Tim Gier:

Other animals are not the sort of beings who ought to be harmed or killed.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

The term 'rights' could be 'heard' (and interpreted) differently by America's less homogeneous populations.  Well, WE have little NEED to harm ... such persons of such wondrous complexity.  We don't need to eat or wear them.  Doing so causes them harm, and because we don't need to, it's wrong for us.   That's not rights; that's more egocentric ethics. Most folks seem NOT to have reached that point, but many have.  And many vegetarians (and dietary vegans) are not much beyond that point in their analysis. Sadly, I think.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I'd like to remind everyone to please feel free to leave comments or questions on Professor Regan's Interview in ARZone - http://arzone.ning.com/profiles/blogs/animal-rights-philosopher-tom 

 

Roger Yates:

Anyone like to make a final statement? 

 

Jason Ward:

ARZone ROCKS!!!

 

Sky:

Yes, thanks ARZone and thanks Tom Regan!

 

Jason Ward:

;-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I'd also like to thank all participants for being here and adding to a great discussion about the work of Professor Tom Regan. 

 

You rock, Jay!

 

Tim Gier:

This has been a great discussion

 

Sadia Rajput:

Absolutely Sir Gier!

 

Brooke Cameron:

I'd like to thank ARZone for the opportunity to hear Tom Regan's updated opinion. That's really cool! 

 

Roger Yates:

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

It was a pleasure to hear all of these ideas relative to Tom Regan's responses. Thank you all!

 

Roger Yates:

Well, I think it is clear that Tom Regan still has an important place in the animal movement and still has an audience for his ideas.

 

Tim Gier:

I agree with that 100%

 

Sky:

Me too.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Yes absolutely!

 

Mangus O’Shales:

Yeah, it is very good. Some of the stuff went over my head, but it always does. Thank you!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I believe his ideas are as relevant today as they were 20 or 30 years ago. Professor Regan is a good person, and a wonderful advocate for both humans and animals other than humans.

 

Part 1 of the ARZone Tom Regan Workshop may be found here:

http://arzone.ning.com/profiles/blogs/transcript-of-arzone-tom-regan-1

 

 

ARZone exists to promote rational discussion about our relations with other animals and about issues within the animal advocacy movement. Please continue the debate after a chat by starting a forum discussion or by making a point under a transcript.

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Comment by Tucker on May 23, 2011 at 22:23

It wasn't me who said "red dog it seems you had no real connection with the people whose actions you were defending...? That must have been someone else - I neither said that to red dog nor Roger.  Just clarifying.

Comment by red dog on May 23, 2011 at 21:04
4. "My" definition of sentience wasn't mine. I was paraphrasing Francione and Dunayer. Sorry if that wasn't clear enough.
Comment by red dog on May 23, 2011 at 20:57

1. Susannah, I apologize for getting your name wrong.

 

2. This is the view I meant to express strong agreement with:

"if it fights or is scared for it's life, I would consider it self aware

Scallop vs chicken?" (Posted by Dominique)

 

3. I expressed an opinion similar to Dominique's on another board and got harassed for it.

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on May 23, 2011 at 18:02

You posted in the correct place for comments. I would have turned comments off on Part 1, but my computer crashes every time I try!

 

Comment by red dog on May 23, 2011 at 17:55

There's nothing wrong with the transcript as far as I can tell--I just wanted to make my intentions clear for readers. I thought Tucker must have meant to address Roger because he was an ALF spokesperson and I was just bringing up hypothetical cases.

 

I also hope I haven't posted this in the wrong place? This was my response to part 1.

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on May 23, 2011 at 17:30
Thanks, red dog.

The transcript has actually been drastically cleaned up in order to present a readable copy of what transpired in the workshop. Unfortunately, as you suggest, while many people were talking more than listening in this workshop, the conversations were somewhat disjointed and very confusing.

If ever you notice a transcript which contains inaccuracies, please feel free to let me know, so that I may make the necessary corrections to the actual transcript.

Your second point above (2) was Tucker in response to your comments about what your response would be to those who may ask you about an ALF action you were not part of.

I'll endeavour to go through the transcript in an attempt to locate your other points and clarify them as well.

Again, please feel free to email me at any time if you feel a transcript, or anything else, requires clarification or correction.
Comment by red dog on May 23, 2011 at 14:29

Great chat, but I worry that due to the different conversations going on at the same time (and maybe my own carelessness in posting), a few parts of the transcript could possibly confuse readers:

 

1. I wrote: "The examples Regan uses involve arson. That's potentially violent because it could endanger lives, not because it destroys property."

 

I think I meant to add something. What I meant to add is that economic sabotage could take other forms--such as sending black faxes or hacking into computer systems. Such actions could cost money but not run the risk of injuring or killing anyone (including insects). Regan's comments don't really address whether or not these actions would constitute "violence." I would say no.

 

2. Tucker is quoted as saying: "red dog It seems you had no real connection with the people whose actions you were defending ...?" I think he must have meant to address that question to Roger.

 

3. I wrote: "No, of course it isn't and I don't think it should be." To clarify, this was in response to Roger's statement that it isn't possible to dictate what the media write. Hopefully most reporters want to be fair and give everyone a fair hearing. I know some don't. But if you present your case as clearly as possible, you're doing your best. I think the media are changing, even if the changes are so slow as to be unnoticeable at times.

 

4. I wrote "In response to Maynard S. Clark:, it seems so ..."

 

My response was delayed, but this was Maynard's question: "Could we say that MOST folks on this list are conflicted about (non)violent direct action?"

 

5. I wrote: "Tim, that's very true ... but the fact that you're allowing this discussion on your site shows that you're serious about challenging speciesism."

 

This was in response to Tim's statement: "We cannot force anyone in the movement to be nonviolent, nor can we deny 'membership' in the movement to those who choose to act violently out of frustration"

 

6. Tucker wrote: "The media will always misrepresent the truth and present a picture they want the public to see. Breaking locks on cages would be portrayed as violence by the media  and they'd probably make up a load of other stuff about the activists too"

 

While I think there's a great deal of truth to this, I don't think it's inevitable and it's something we have a responsibility to change. We have to demand better behaviour from the media--that was my point.

 

7. I wrote: "Did someone follow up and ask for a correction? Did they write a letter to the editor? Did they talk with the reporter directly?"

 

This was in response to Tucker's post about the SHAC case.

 

8. "Right, me too ... but we have to remember it's the victimizers having this discussion and not the victims, unlike in many other social movements."

 

The "me too" was an expression of agreement with Roger's post: "I think we raise the issue about proportionality because we are in a social movement trying to bring about social change in a speciesist society." With my previous question I didn't mean to suggest we shouldn't be discussing it, of course.

 

9. I wrote: "Maynard S. Clark:, I think that's what's at issue." I'm not sure what this was in response to. Was something left out?

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