Do you accept the ethical argument that every species has the inherent right to survive without human interference, regardless of whether it serves any useful purpose for humans? Explain why or why not?
Personally speaking, I feel it is pointless to say something “has the value regardless of human infect,” because the “concept” of “value” is from human culture. The truth that we are humans is undeniable, and it does not necessarily imply negative (Loeb, 2007). When we are talking about it, it is more like deciding if we want to “consider” such thing has a “meaning” or “value” or something, and this does not make the object gain or loss anything in the case not related to humans.
Every species that does exist has a right to exist without human interference. Humans have let themselves become apart from nature and feel that they have the right to become the masters over it (Baumslag, 2000). As such, we look at species only as being beneficial or detrimental to humans. This right to exist should be extended to any creature, whether it be a disease-causing vector such as the mosquito, a virus or bacterium, or an animal that sometimes attacks and kills humans that have ventured into, or encroached upon, its natural habitat. There are only a few sample vials of smallpox left in the world. An ethical debate exists as to whether these vials should be destroyed. They have a right to exist like any other organism on earth. We have eradicated the disease but who are we to decide to consciously bring about an organisms total eradication?
Taylor’s argument for the core thesis of biocentrism has already been reviewed: every living organism is intrinsically valuable because each has interests and goods of its own and each is capable of flourishing. What good reasons do we have for thinking that members of the human species are more worthy than members of other species on Earth?
Many traditional arguments for attributing intrinsic value in a significantly higher degree, if not exclusively, to human beings have a common structure: they appeal to the fact humans have certain traits, such as self-consciousness, rationality, the capacities for language, for moral decision, for aesthetic creation and appreciation, and many other abilities and skills that are considered as meritorious or otherwise worthy, traits which no other life form on earth has, or has to nearly such a great extent that humans have them. The underlying idea is that since these traits are the most valuable and morally relevant, creatures who possess them to a greater extent are more worthy than creatures who possess them to a lesser extent or lack them altogether. As critics have pointed out, however, these arguments setting out to compare the moral worth of different species do not actually start off from neutral ground. Instead, the set of traits identified, and assumed by the arguments to be the most morally relevant and worthy, are none other than exactly those traits characteristically and typically possessed by members of our own species (Loeb, 2007).
If we are not to beg the question in favor of human superiority, it can be noted that objective comparisons can be made of different individuals of the same species regarding their species specific merits ,that is, those capacities and skills required for living a good life relative to the species.
IT would not even be conceptually coherent or sensible to compare the merits of individuals belonging to different species (Baumslag, 2000). Nevertheless, on the supposition that the appeal to human superiority is the only line of defense that humans have in attempting morally to justify their exploitation of the Earth’s environment and its other inhabitants, then, given that humans have already benefited disproportionately at the great expense of members of many other species, the onus appears to be on the humans to demonstrate that they are indeed ‘greater’ than the rest.
If the greatness of humanity is not mere human self-arrangement, then such greatness may consist at its core in a moral capacity to look beyond the interests of oneself and one’s close associates, and to show a willingness to care for and share with those who are less able to fend for themselves.
Baumslag, D. (2000). The Role of Rhetoric in Ethical Argument. Dialogue, 39(01), 129. doi: 10.1017/s0012217300006430
Loeb, D. (2007). The Argument from Moral Experience. Ethical Theory And Moral Practice, 10(5), 469-484. doi: 10.1007/s10677-007-9081-7