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    The Distinct Intelligence of Humans and Animals in the Book “Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights”

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    Rights, Steven M. Wise examines the intelligence of humans and animals. Wise’s main argument is that animals are people just like humans and that science can help prove that they should be treated as equals. In doing so, he gives a lot of reasons for his stance on the issue. Wise, like many others, is a supporter of animal rights, Wise is a Boston University graduate and teaches animal rights around the country. He became interested in animals rights after reading Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation” in 1975. He cares about the well-being of animals and like many others, wants to see the View of animals in our society change. In Drawing the Line, Wise intends on explaining why both animals and humans should be treated like people. At first I assumed he wanted to explain his reasoning to anyone that’s interested in animal rights. In actuality, wise wants his audience to be somewhat familiar with animal rights and his work.

    On numerous occasions, Wise mentions one of his previous books, Rattling the Cage. If you haven’t read it, then most of his content will be unfamiliar to you. For example, in chapter 10 Wise is talking about Orangutans and mental representation. Wise says’ In Rattling the Cage, we learned the Bonobo, Kanzi, could create stone tools. He does this nearly several times in chapter 5. He even says, “We met these robots in Rattiing the Cage”. At one point, I turned the next page and said to myself, “Let me guess, Rattling the Cage”. I felt as if I needed to run out and buy the book myself just so Wise could be happy. Wise did a terrible job of explaining all his main points to me because his intended audience is for anyone who has read any of his work prior to Drawing the Line. Lastly, I would focus on more of my argument if I were Wise. Instead of reiterating Rattling the Cage, he could at least tell the audience his thesis or any of his previous main points.

    Wise argues that animals and humans are equal and should be treated as people. In Drawing the Line, Wise looks at autonomy as a key factor in deciding who should have basic rights. According to Wise, a person must be able to desire, reason and act. Wise mentions a handful of animals throughout the book. These animals consist of the following: His son, orangutans, parrots, dogs, honeybees, elephants, gorillas, and bonobos (Chimpanzee). To further support his argument, Wise listed four categories of autonomic values for basic rights. Wise’s categories suggest that bees and dogs lack enough evidence to determine whether or not they deserve basic rights. Elephants and parrots have barely enough evidence to qualify for basic rights. Lastly, All humans, dolphins, gorillas, bonobos, and Orangutans are entitled to basic rights. Wise knows that the majority of people in today’s society would not accept this as basic rights, but urges his readers to open up to a new moral view.

    Wise was inspired to enter animal rights after reading Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation in 1975. Singer is an Australian philosopher who’s widely known for his stances on animal rights and the suffering of animals. Wise truly admires Singer, and it’s only fitting that Singer would do the same. Singer would agree with Wise because he argues that animals should not have to feel suffering. Wise wants animals to be entitled to basic rights and to give animals the same rights as human beings would mean ending their suffering. Animals wouldn’t be put in slaughterhouses if they had the same rights as us. NC State professor Tom Regan is another philosopher who primarily deals with animal rights. His main argument is for animal rights to be viewed as an issue of morality. Animals that are slaughtered aren’t considered to be morally wrong in our country. Meanwhile, cats and dogs are treated like family.

    Regan would definitely agree with Wise on his argument for animal equality. While Regan and Singer both appear to agree with Wise, there’s one philosopher who might not feel the same way. University of Michigan professor Carl Cohen has his own reason for why animals aren’t entitled to the same rights as humans. Cohen argues that like Regan morality plays a role in the way we view animals, but he also argues that humans have moral judgment. Cohen believes that animals should be treated well but not enough to deserve rights. Cohen supports animal research in terms of medical use and scientific use. In other words, if animals can help humans than they should be used in a way that can help human life. One of the last people that might agree with Wise is Matt Cartmill. Cartmill, a scientist from Boston university believes that all animals possess consciousness.

    Cartmill argues that consciousness contributes to both humans and non-humans in his article, ”The Problem of Animal Consciousness: Do horses gallop in their sleep?” Cartmill would agree with Wise because he still he also wants animals to be viewed differently. Wise is not wrong in is an argument. It’s a rough subject when determining animal rights. Wise does the best he can to explain the argument of why animals are people just like humans and that science can help prove that they should be treated as equal. It’s not easy. but he provides a myriad of examples throughout his book. If one is able to read Ratt/ing the Cage, then those examples might make a lot more sense. Animals have a right to be treated as equals, but not everyone see’s it that way. It’s easier said than done. It may be a long time before there’s change, but at least there are people out there who are willing to make a strong effort.

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    The Distinct Intelligence of Humans and Animals in the Book “Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights”. (2023, Mar 16). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-distinct-intelligence-of-humans-and-animals-in-the-book-drawing-the-line-science-and-the-case-for-animal-rights/

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