Secondary Manuel Teixeira Gomes Philosophy Conference debates four perspectives on animal rights

The XIII Philosophy Conference of the Manuel Teixeira Gomes Secondary School, in Portimão, is already on February 3rd. […]

The XIII Philosophy Conference of the Manuel Teixeira Gomes Secondary School, in Portimão, is already on February 3rd. The guest speaker is Pedro Galvão, from the University of Lisbon, who will present and discuss four perspectives on animal rights. Admission is free.

However, as an “appetizer”, here is, in a proposal by the Conference organizers, a set of small famous texts on the moral status of animals.

God then said: "Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, so that he may rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the domestic animals and all the reptiles that crawl on the earth." God created man in His image, He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. Blessing them, God said to them: “Grow and multiply, fill and dominate the earth. Dominate the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and all the animals that move on the earth».
Bible, Genesis 1:24-28
Plants are made for animals and animals are made for man. Domesticated, they provide them services and feed them; in the wild they contribute, if not all, the greater part at least to their livelihood and to satisfy their diverse needs by providing them with dresses and other resources. If nature does nothing incomplete, if it does nothing in vain, it is necessary to admit that it created all this for man.
Aristotle, century Greek philosopher. IV ac

Christ himself shows that the restraint on the death of animals and the destruction of plants constitutes the height of superstition, for, judging that there are no common rights between us and animals and trees, he ordered the demons to inhabit a herd of pigs and, with a curse, he dried up the tree where he found no fruit (…). Certainly neither the pigs nor the tree had sinned.
St. Augustine, Christian philosopher of the century. IV

It does not matter how man behaves with animals, because God has submitted all things to human power and it is in this sense that the Apostle says that God does not care about oxen, because God does not ask man to account for what he does to oxen or to another any animal.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Christian philosopher from the XNUMXth century. XIII

As far as animals are concerned, we have no direct duties. Animals do not have self-awareness and are only means to an end. That end is man.
Immanuel Kant, century German philosopher. XVIII

There may come a day when the rest of the animal creation will acquire those rights which could never have been taken away from them except by the hand of tyranny (…) The question is not: Can they 'the animals' reason? Nor: Can they speak? But: Can they suffer?
Jeremy Bentham, XNUMXth century English philosopher XVIII

We have already seen that the feelings and intuitions, diverse emotions and faculties such as friendship, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man is so proud, can be observed in a nascent state and sometimes quite developed in the lower animals.
Charles Darwin, XNUMXth century English scientist. XIX

The dominion given to man by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to "use and abuse", or to dispose of things as it pleases (...) In relations with visible nature, we are subject to laws , not only biological, but also moral, which cannot be transgressed with impunity.
John Paul II

If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into account. Regardless of the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that his suffering be given as much consideration as the similar suffering (…) of any other being. If a being is not able to feel suffering, or to experience joy, there is nothing to be aware of. Thus, the limit of sentience (ability to suffer and/or experience joy) is the only defensible boundary of concern for the interests of others.
Peter Singer, contemporary Australian philosopher

Texts taken from Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer, Porto, Via Optima, 2000 (except for the excerpt from Genesis)

Learn more about this conference and other initiatives here