Speciesism: The view that the mere fact that some creature is of a different species makes a difference to its moral status.
I. What is the principle of equality?
We believe that all humans are equal, and that this shows what is wrong with sexism, racism and other forms of prejudice. But what does ‘all humans are equal’ mean?
One understanding: all humans are equal in abilities. • This is, however unfortunately, just false.
“if the demand for equality were based on the actual equality of all human beings, we would have to stop demanding equality.”
Another understanding: while there are individual differences, what category someone belongs to within humanity is no guide to that person’s abilities. • This doesn’t cover categories based on (e.g.) IQ. • The claim here is one we don’t know for sure, but we don’t think of the principle of equality would fall if it turned out that there were genetics-based differences.
Against any approach that relies on abilities: we think that discrimination based on intellectual or physical abilities is also a violation of this principle.
“There is no logically compelling reason for assuming that a factual difference in ability between two people justifies any difference in the amount of consideration we give to satisfying their needs and interests.”
“The basic principle of equality… is equality of consideration.”
Clarification: “The extension of the basic principle of equality from one group to another does not imply that we must treat both groups in exactly the same way, or grant exactly the same rights to both groups. Whether we should do so will depend on the nature of the members of the two groups.”
II. What should be the boundary of concern for the interests of others?
The previous argument concluded that in saying that all humans are equal, we’re saying that we should consider the