Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Are Animals Good?

Is there any evidence to suggest that animals are good? The notion of animal consciousness is a subject of continual debate. The philosopher Thomas Nagel famously wrote an essay on the subject entitled, “What Is it Like to Be a Bat.” It’s easy to ascertain that dogs for instance possess intuition as they're able to sense emotions like danger and even the sadness which may be afflicting their master. Of course, no one can get in a dog or any animal’s mind and any attempts to deduce the reality of what's going on within any creature are purely anecdotal—though neuroscientists have undoubtedly conducted FMRIs on a variety of species. But goodness is a function of the creation of a moral sensibility which represents a pretty advanced evolution of the cortical areas of the brain. Goodness has to do with ethics and the kind of right thinking that Kant was trying to unearth with his “categorical imperative.” The good news might be that seeing goodness in your poodle may be a wish, a projection, which is a reflection of the human’s own desire to attain this state of grace. One might conclude that a person who thinks that animals are good is good himself and someone who fails to see the good in lower species, merely looking at them as prey, is simply a homo sapiens who, despite the advanced mind, still lacks a moral compass. Surely there are plenty examples of that.

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