A Hermeneutic of Stewardship:

The Biblical View of Animals

Presented by Steve W. Lemke
at the 1994 Evangelical Theology Society meeting in Chicago


The Cartesian Majority View

        What is the status accorded to animals in the Bible? Is their pain of any concern for ethics and theodicy? Will animals share in redemption? These questions have been raised repeatedly by theologians and philosophers. The central issue is the nature of animal consciousness. If animals experience pain as do humans, then their pain is of moral concern and compounds the problem of innocents related to theodicy. The majority view in Western thought is the Cartesian tradition, which draws a sharp dualism between humans and animals. In this view, animals as senseless brutes who deserve no moral concern. This paper will argue against that position.

        One modern-day advocate of the Cartesian view is Peter Carruthers, who in his article "Brute Experience" (1) has posed a unique argument that animal pain is not an appropriate object of moral concern. Arguing against Thomas Nagel's advocacy of the subjectivity of animal experience, (2) Carruthers rejects the notion that animal experience has any appropriate analogy in human experience. Rather than Nagel's attempt to explain what it is like to be a bat, Carruthers argues that animal experience and some human experience "feel like nothing" because they are "nonconscious experiences." (3) Carruthers defends this thesis in three interrelated arguments which could be called the Argument for Nonconscious Experience, the Argument for Moral Insensitivity to Nonconscious Pain, and the Argument for Moral Callousness to Animal Pain. (4)   C. S. Lewis has also suggested that at least many (and perhaps all) animals suffer no pain because they are merely sentient, without any real selfhood. (5)

An Alternative View

        If the arguments of Carruthers and Lewis were correct, animal pain would not be an issue of Christian moral concern. But I believe these arguments are fallacious, as I have elsewhere argued. At stake in this discussion are a number of issues, including (at least) one's doctrine of creation (especially of animals), a theodicy that accounts for animal pain, the anthropological question of the uniqueness of persons, and the moral implications of animal pain.

        Although Carruthers' dualistic perspective provides comforting errors for Christian theism, I have endeavored to demonstrate that Carruther's viewpoint is fatally flawed. There are many alternative accounts to that of Carruthers, but I will propose my own. The alternative view that I would offer to Carruthers' account is not fully developed here, but I will at least endeavor to sketch out an alternative.

        First, allow me to outline my presuppositions and basic ontological stance. I would characterize my ontological position as hierarchical personalism, grounded in the worldview of evangelical Christianity. (6) My epistemology offers a holistic balance of rationalism, empiricism, pragmatism, and intuitivism. My anthropological position regards persons as having value because they were created by and loved by a personal God. I approach the mind/body problem with nomological dualism, interpreted by some form of identity theory or interactionism with a great deal of epistemological humility. I would define conscious experience as at least a semiawareness of the stream of sense perception, including the experience of pain. A conscious state is the capacity to be at least semi-aware of one's environment, and a conscious belief is one's personal interpretation of the stream of sense perception. Such conscious or sentient experience includes the capacity to experience pain.

        My own reasons for affirming the moral concern for animal pain arise from this rather deontological concern based on created value (such as that advocated by Andrew Linzey), (7) although I believe a complementary account could be made from a consequentialist argument based on instrumental value (such as that of Singer's). Even if there were no inherent value, animal pain would be a moral concern because they are of instrumental value to aid in human survival. Either way, we should not brutalize the brutes. Our survival may be more closely related to theirs than we imagine. We should defend personality and life wherever we find it.

        One could derive a theological basis for animal rights from a number of religious traditions, such as the Jainist/Buddhist doctrine of ahimsa and the Hindu view of the sacredness of all life bound up in the cycle of samsara. Many of those in Eastern religious traditions would extend the definition of life to include plants. One could make a historical case, however, that most organized efforts to affirm animal rights have arisen in cultures influenced by the Judeo-Christian ethic. Eastern religions certainly have the theoretical basis for animal rights, as well as a long heritage of individual practice of respect for animal rights. But perhaps because of their disinterest in the present world and their disinclination toward activism, Eastern cultures have not created organizational efforts to preserve animal rights. Organizations such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society, the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Aubodon Society have arisen primarily in Western culture. (8)

        I stand in somewhat of a minority position within the Judeo-Christian tradition. The majority view has understood the divine injunction to have "dominion" (Gen. 1:28) as justification for subjugation and exploitation of animals, particularly within some strands of Calvinism. (9) The minority view has understood "dominion" as a stewardship for which humans will be held responsible. Historically, the minority view has been expressed in such persons as St. Francis of Assisi, Sir Thomas More, and Albert Schweitzer.

Animals and the Order of Creation

        Scripture provides a wealth of material to assign animals their proper place in creation. (10) A high view of animals comes from the positive view of nature seen in the Hebrew doctrine of creation, as distinguished from the dualism of Greek philosophy and of Descartes. The creation account portrays Yahweh not only breathing into persons a living soul (nephesh, Gen. 2:7), but dares to use the same term repeatedly (soul, nephesh) when speaking of the creation of animals (Gen. 1:20, 21, 24, 30). I understand nephesh, the soul, lifeblood, or lifeforce, to be the scriptural counterpart to the modern term, "consciousness."

        The status of animals changed radically after the sinful period from the Fall to the Noachic flood, however. While both humans and animals were vegetarians before the Fall (Gen. 1:29-30, 2:16), animals were given over to humans as food after the flood (Gen. 9:1-3). But three things in this passage underscore the value of animals. First, God expressed considerable concern that the animals be saved from the flood waters (Gen. 7:2-4), just as He later expressed concern for the cattle in Ninevah (Jonah 4:9-11). The human need for animals is underscored in God's preservation of them in the flood. The lesson is clear: we're all in this boat together. Second, God allowed this carnivorous practice only with strict admonitions against the eating or drinking of the lifeblood that underscore the sanctity of life (Gen 9:4-6). Third, God enters into a covenant relationship in the Noachic covenant not only with humans, but the author of Genesis repeats five times that God enters into a covenant relationship with all living beings (Gen. 9:10, 12, 15, 16, 17). I believe this divine concession to human weakness is analogous to the divine concession regarding divorce in the Mosaic legislation (Mark 10:4-12). Both divine concessions are clearly not God's ideal pattern, but a concession to human sinfulness.

Animals and the Law

        The torah of Moses also affirms the value of animals. Regulations were established to protect even birds from heartless exploitation, paired with the rather ominous warning, "that it may be well with you, and that you may live long (Deut. 22:6-7). Other regulations were given for the welfare of farm animals (Deut. 22:1-4, 10; 25:4). Strict limits are set on the animals that conform to dietary regulations (Deut. 14). The wisdom literature also links humane treatment of animals to godliness (Prov. 12:10). Of course, much of the Mosaic legislation dealt with animal sacrifice (Lev. 4-6). While at first blush animal sacrifice may appear to cheapen animal life, in fact animal sacrifice presupposes the value of animals. Animals with flaws were unacceptable for sacrifice (Lev. 22:1-33, Mal. 1:8). Were the lifeblood of animals viewed as not having value, their sacrifice would have no atoning value. The atonement presupposes the value of the lifeblood not only for the Jewish sacrificial system, but for the traditional Christian view of the substitutionary atonement. The sacrifice of animals, of course, fulfills a human need, not a divine need. Animal sacrifice that fails to provoke human repentance is of no use to God, since the animals are His already (Ps. 50:7-11, Isa. 1:11-17). The death of Christ brought an end to the need for animal sacrifice (Heb. 9:11-28).

        The Old Testament speaks of animals being morally responsible for their actions (Ex. 21:28-32), sharing in repentance (Jonah 3:6-9), susceptible to divine judgment (Deut. 13:12-15, 1 Sam. 15:2-3, Jer. 7:20), and having potential for salvation (Ps. 36:6). Animals are presented in the Old Testament as vehicles of divine revelation and salvation in ways that were befuddling to humans such as pharaoh (Gen. 41:1-45), Balaam (Num. 22:22-35), Jonah (Jonah 1:17), and Belshazzar (Dan. 78). God's providential care for animals is repeatedly affirmed (Ps. 104:10-30; 147:7-9; 148:7-10). In the New Testament, human value is affirmed by pointing to God's care for animals, which was so obvious to be noncontroversial (Matt. 6:26; Luke 12:6-7, 24, 27).

Animals and Eschatology

        Perhaps the most positive assurance of the value God places on animals is seen in the idealized eschatology of the Old Testament prophets. Animals have a place in the future golden age. The concession to carnivorousness will be reversed; natural predators will live together in peace (Ezek. 34:25-28, Isa. 11:6-8). Thus the New Testament presents all creation as groaning for redemption (Rom. 8:13-23). John Wesley made this argument in his sermon based on this Romans 8 passage, "The General Deliverance":

        But will creature, will even the brute creation always remain in this deplorable condition? God forbid that
        we should affirm this; yea, or even entertain such a thought! . . . . He seeth "the earnest expectation"
        wherewith the whole animated creation "waiteth for" that final "manifestation of the sons of God": in
        which "they themselves also shall be delivered" (not by annihilation: annihilation is not deliverance) from
        the "present" bondage of corruption, into "a measure of the glorious liberty of the children of God." . . .
        then the following blessing shall take place (not only on the children of men--there is no such restriction
        in the text--but) on every creature according to its capacity: "God shall wipe away all tears from their
        eyes. And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying. Neither shall there be anymore pain:
        for the former things are passed away." To descend to a few particulars. The whole brute creation will
        then undoubtedly be restored, not only to the vigour, strength,and swiftness which they had at their creation,
        but to a far higher degree of each than they every enjoyed. They will be restored, not only to that
        measure of understanding which they had in paradise, but to a degree of it as much higher than that as the
        understanding of an elephant is beyond that of a worm . . . (11)

The Bible thus affirms the value God places on animals in a fully developed doctrine of creation. The value of animals is derived from their direct creation by God, who created them as a living soul. God placed animals under human stewardship, so the fate of animals has been to suffer from human sinfulness.

Theological Implications

        What are the implications for anthropology of a higher view of animal rights? Persons have created value because they are the highest expression of personality and life. Non-human animals also have created value to the degree that they participate in these values. (Hence, one may value a mammal such as a dog more than an insect such as a beetle). Primary medical care and resources should be expended on humans because they are the pinnacle of life and personality, but there is also a moral obligation to give medical care to the advanced non-human life forms. This medical care should be given to these animals in proportion to their participation in life and personality, but never at the expense of failing to treat humans. A comatose human patient, because of her/his privileged status, deserves primary medical care over even the most deserving non-human animal.

        How does human consciousness compare with non-human animal consciousness? Consciousness is experienced differently by different species, and to some extent even within the same species. Consciousness is not defined by the perceptual range of any particular species; it is exemplified in a number of different perceptual ranges. All animal species experience consciousness to some degree. No species nor a member of any species perfectly utilizes its full potential for consciousness or intelligence. Some species have greater mental capacities than others. Vertebrates, and especially mammals, have a greater capacity for consciousness. In some areas, such as memory, intentionality, and creative response to environment, non-human animals seem to differ from humans only in degree. In other areas, such as self-consciousness, communication through language, and artistic expression, humans appear to be qualitatively different. One may thus maintain a clear ontological and axiological distinction between humans and non-human animals without resorting to insensitivity to animal pain.

        I have defined consciousness as" at least a semiawareness of the stream of sense perception, including the experience of pain." Thus against Carruthers' Argument for Nonconscious Experience, I would offer an Argument for Conscious Experience (ACE) as being the more normal and paradigmatic description of human and non-human animal experience alike. (12)

        Moral concerns are primarily related not to consciousness but to life and personality. Life (13) and personality (14) are two of the pivotal elements of my own axiology. Consciousness is just one expression of life and personality, although it is certainly a very important expression. I believe I could give an adequate defense of these twin values of life and personality, but let it suffice for the present that these values are at the core of the Judeo-Christian ethic which has served as the foundation of Western culture.

        Although animals may lack inherent value, their value is derived from the status God gave them in the created order. This created value is what Linzey refers to as the "theos-rights" of animals. (15) Because God values these creatures, animal pain is a matter for moral concern. Against Carruthers' Argument for Insensitivity to Nonconscious Pain (AINP), then, I would assert the Argument for Sensitivity to Conscious Pain (ASCP). (16)   The logical implication for animal pain, against Carruthers' Argument for Callousness to Animal Pain (ACAP), follows in the Argument for Sensitivity to Animal Pain (ASAP). (17)

        What then should be a Christian ethical stance toward animals? I believe we have permission but not endorsement to utilize animals for food and clothing. This is not God's ideal, but it is permissible without guilt. So Christians may well eat meat, wear leather, use animals for experiments, trap for fur, and do intensive farming. (18) But we should do so with the uneasy conscience that this is not God's ideal. I believe that the sensitive Christian will seek to limit these practices as much as possible. Christian vegetarianism is a positive goal toward which to work. Recreational hunting should not be encouraged. We would do well to strive to live up to Albert Schweitzer's high ethic: "A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives." (19)

        The existence of animal pain leads inevitably to theodicy questions. Why would a good God allow animals to suffer? Jeremy Bentham, in a day when the pain of slaves was discounted because of racism, acknowledged the importance of the question of animal pain:

        The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could
        have been withheld from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that
        the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to
        the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of the legs, the
        villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning
        a sensitive being to the same fate. What else it is that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty
        of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But for a full-grown horse or dog the question is not can
        they reason? Nor can they talk? But, can they suffer?" (20)

        My brief response to this aspect of theodicy would utilize the freewill and eschatological defenses. Animals suffer because of the human abuse of freewill. The welfare of animals has been given over to human hands, and humans have been poor stewards. So humans share a great deal of responsibility in animal suffering. Ultimately, one must look to the idealized eschatology of the Old Testament prophets for the final solution to animal pain. I do not, as C. S. Lewis, believe that the future of animals is tied to the eschatology of their owners. (21) This seems to me to create as many theodicy problems as it solves. But I do believe that animals will be included in some way in God's economy in the eschaton. Perhaps that offers the only final solution to the problem of animal pain.

        Nagel's crucial contribution is to remind us of the danger of allowing human language to become a kind of cultural imperialism. (22) Peter Singer has pointed out the dangers of a "speciesism" in which one species arbitrarily imposes its standards on other species. (23) Our definitions should be broad enough to describe the full range of experience, of which human experience is just a part. We should avoid defining consciousness by narrow and arbitrary perceptual ranges.

        If the majority perspective on animal consciousness were correct, we should feel no sympathy for anyone who "suffers" nonconscious pain. Carruthers asserts that we do not have even an indirect moral concern for their welfare, and makes it a moral imperative that we suppress our sympathy for them. For those who think they will have difficulty suppressing their sympathy for these sufferers of nonconscious pain, Carruthers confidently and approvingly cites instances in human history when feelings of sympathy for members of other races have been eradicated by telling themselves that the other race is not "really human." (24)

        One quickly recognizes the sinister Nietzschean implications of Carruthers' doctrine in AINP. Perhaps even Carruthers catches a glimpse of it, for he recognizes that according to his own definition in AINP1, the pain of children is also nonconscious. But children are exceptions to his rule, Carruthers insists, because pain might significantly damage the persons they may become. As in the case of language instruction, when we talk to children as if they were adults, treating children as persons is what Carruthers calls a "necessary insanity" and "useful fiction." (25) Carruthers offers no explanation as to how a nonconscious experience would harm personal development.

        But Carruthers has already thrown the baby out with the bath water. If we offer only tertiary care to a fully developed person like Mary for her nonconscious pain, then by Carruthers' own logic we certainly should offer no more than tertiary care for a potential human. If personhood has no inherent value or privileged status, why should we care about potential humans? If we do not treat Mary first, who else is in line for second-rate medical care? Do we discriminate against the mentally handicapped because they are not fully self-conscious? Do we give primary care to a healthy infant rather than one with Down's syndrome? Do we feel no sympathy for a comatose patient? Do we radically rethink our views on euthanasia? Does the primary precondition for health care become one's potential for becoming self-conscious? Do we have no moral concern to those who spurn reflective discourse? As utilitarians such as Peter Singer have reminded us, and Carruthers himself admits, the same kind of "they're not really human" argument has been used to limit the rights of minorities and women. We now recognize the error of racism and sexism. Why can we not recognize the error of speciesism? (26) Carruthers' view is a Berkeleyan idealism gone awry -- if there is pain but no thinker to reflect on it, it isn't really pain. But for Carruthers there is no mind of God to suffer the pain for us!

        While Carruthers' view may account for some exceptional cases of pain in AINP2, his description of pain does not ring true to our normal experience of pain. By his own admission, (27) pain is by definition that which breaks in upon our consciousness, and so it is oxymoronic to speak of nonconscious pain. Carruthers further acknowledges that he knows of no drug or naturally occurring lesion that would occasion nonconscious pain, though he deems it possible through surgery. (28) But Carruthers is defining pain by the exception, and an imaginary one at that, rather than by the rule. This is stretching pain-talk beyond its normal usage. Pain presupposes a "normal" neurological system, unaffected by drugs. Exceptions should be dealt with in appropriately qualified language, rather than changing the traditional terminology.

        To me, what is most strikingly absent from Carruthers' concept of pain is the traditional incorrigible and privileged status which we intuitively accord to pain. Pain, like consciousness, is token-specific. I do not experience pain now in exactly the same way I did five years ago. Different people have different thresholds of pain. But if it is pain, we have the moral obligation to sympathize for sufferers and provide any medical relief to them that is in our power to provide.

        Carruthers' first premise fails to take seriously many impressive studies in animal intelligence. (29) Carruthers asserts that "only the most anthropomorphic of us" would ascribe second-order beliefs to toads, mice, and even higher mammals such as chimpanzees. (30) He further assumes that "no one would seriously maintain that dogs, cats, sheep, cattle, pigs, or chickens consciously think things to themselves. (31) Apparently Daniel Dennett, whose homuncular functionalism Carruthers consciously imitates, (32) was just such an anthropomorphic thinker. Dennett asserts that "even the most hardboiled among us predict animals' behavior intentionally." (33) Dennett illustrates that a mouse confronted with a cat at its left and a piece of cheese on its right will follow modus ponens and go for the cheese. While Carruthers posits language as the mark that animals are not conscious, Dennett warns against using language as a rigid test for second-order intentionality: "But if it is true that some second-order beliefs are among them, and it is false that non-humans cannot be second-order intentional systems." (34) "We should be particularly suspicious of the argument," Dennett warns, "that representations of second-order intentions would depend somehow on language." (35)

        Dennett cites two illustrations of second-order thinking in animals. He had a friend whose dog was whining to get into the only chair in which he was allowed to sit, but was occupied by his master at the time. When the master would not get up, the dog went to the door and scratched as though wanting to go out. But when the master rose to open the door, the dog quickly ran back to seize the chair. Dennett sees this act of deception, based upon anticipating the reaction of the master, as not only second-order, but third-order intentionality. Likewise, a low-nesting bird feigning a broken wing to lure a predator away from the nest reflects second-order thinking. Dennett, unlike Carruthers, insists that the actions of the dog and bird done with intentionality is sufficient to posit intelligence, not just thinking the thoughts. For Dennett, the deceptive bird is just as much a second-order intentional system as any human. (36)

        The only empirical evidence that Carruthers cites for his gratuitous assertion in ACAP1 that animals have no conscious experience is that he twice footnotes Stephen Walker's book, Animal Thought. Unfortunately, Carruthers has either not fully understood Walker or deliberately misrepresents him, for the thesis of the very book that Carruthers cites is that "what goes on in animal brains has a good deal in common with what goes on in human brains," and its conclusion is that "it makes sense to suppose that awareness and mental organization occur in animals." (37) If Walker's empirical investigation bars animals from consciousness, it is a surprise to Walker.

        As a functionalist, Carruthers should be more interested in functional efficacy that mentalistic hardware. If Dennett and Walker are right, we have every reason to believe that animals function with intelligence, emotions, memory, capacity for play, intraspecies communication, intentionality, volition, characteristic personality, and at least second-order thinking. What more functional similarity could Carruthers demand? At an even more basic level, Carruthers must answer why any reasonable behavioral study of animals records responses of pain remarkably similar to the human experience of pain. The example of a hypothetical case such as Mary is not sufficient to stand against countless examples of real animal pain, and Carruthers' illustration is a non sequitur anyway because it compares an abnormally modified instance with a normal instance of a different species.

        Carruthers dismisses too lightly the moral implications of his view. He discounts the appropriateness of treating animals humanely as an exemplar in moral training, and even rejects the utilitarian arguments of Peter Singer. (38) Not only are we to steel ourselves against feelings of sympathy for animal pain, but we are immoral if we misapportion medical resources for their relief. At this point Carruthers stands virtually alone against an enormous tide of opposition. At the very least, his position would be an illegal violation of cruelty to animal laws in most Western countries, and in Eastern culture would be a shocking violation of respect for life. It is difficult to imagine how Carruthers could naively overlook the sinister moral implications of his view. What is missing in Carruthers' account is respect for life, not just self-consciousness. There are important utilitarian reasons to respect animals even if Carruthers is right that they are nonconscious. It is a common human intuition that people who abuse animals tend to abuse people. The key evidence leading to the conviction in a celebrated West Texas murder case in which the prosecution had only circumstantial evidence was testimony that the murderer, who was accused of electrocuting his wife, had electrocuted animals for entertainment. (39) Respect for life transcends animal rights activists complaining about killing animals for furs and hides, conservationists concerned about protecting endangered species, or vegetarians concerned about consuming factory-farmed animals. Respect for life is of moral concern to us all.

 


                    CARRUTHERS' ARGUMENT CONCERNING THE PAIN OF ANIMALS

The Argument for Nonconscious Experience (ANE)

ANE1 -- Availability and spontaneity to consciousness are necessary and sufficient conditions of conscious experience.

ANE2 -- Experience E is not available or spontaneous to consciousness.

ANE3 -- Therefore, experience E is a nonconscious experience.

The Argument for Insensitivity to Nonconscious Pain (AINP)

AINP1 -- Pain is an appropriate object of sympathy and moral concern if and only if it is conscious (i.e., available and
        spontaneous to conscious reflection).

AINP2 -- Nonconscious pain is logically and physically possible.

AINP3 -- Therefore, nonconscious pain is not an appropriate object of sympathy and moral concern.


 The Argument for Callousness to Animal Pain (ACAP)

ACAP1 -- If the Argument for Nonconscious Experience (ANE) obtains, then the experience of nonhuman animals is
        wholly nonconscious (because it lacks the necessary and sufficient conditions for consciousness).

ACAP2 -- If the Argument for Insensitivity to Nonconscious Pain (AINP) obtains, then animal pain (since it is
        nonconscious) is not an appropriate object of sympathy or moral concern.


MY ARGUMENT CONCERNING THE PAIN OF ANIMALS

The Argument for Conscious Experience (ACE)

ACE1 -- The capacity to be at least semiaware of the stream of perception, and the capacity to experience pleasure or
        pain, are necessary and sufficient conditions of conscious experience.

ACE2 -- Experience E is at least a semiaware experience and is a painful experience.

ACE3 -- Therefore, experience E is a conscious experience.

The Argument for Sensitivity to Conscious Pain (ASCP)

ASCP1 -- Pain is an appropriate object of sympathy and moral concern if and only if it is conscious (i.e., at least
        semiaware and sentient).

ASCP2 -- Pain is by definition a conscious experience.

ASCP3 -- Therefore, pain is an appropriate object of sympathy and moral concern.

The Argument for Sensitivity to Animal Pain (ASAP)

ASAP1 -- If the Argument for Conscious Experience obtains, then the experience of nonhuman animals is conscious,
        because it is at least semiaware and sentient, meeting the necessary and sufficient conditions for consciousness.

ASAP2 -- If the Argument for Sensitivity to Conscious Pain obtains, then animal pain (since it is conscious) is an
        appropriate object of sympathy or moral concern.

Sources Consulted

1  Peter Carruthers, "Brute Experience," The Journal of Philosophy, 89 (Spring, 1989), 258-269. Carruthers was at the University of Essex at the time of this writing.

2  Thomas Nagel, "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?", in Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, ed. Ned Block (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980), 1:159-168.

3  Carruthers, 259.

4  These arguments could be summarized as follows:

The Argument for Nonconscious Experience (ANE):

        ANE1 -- Availability and spontaneity to consciousness are necessary and sufficient conditions of conscious
                experience.
        ANE2 -- Experience E is not available or spontaneous to consciousness.
        ANE3 -- Therefore, experience E is a nonconscious experience.

The Argument for Insensitivity to Nonconscious Pain (AINP):

        AINP1 -- Pain is an appropriate object of sympathy and moral concern if and only if it is conscious
                (i.e., available and spontaneous to conscious reflection).
        AINP2 -- Nonconscious pain is logically and physically possible.
        AINP3 -- Therefore, nonconscious pain is not an appropriate object of sympathy and moral concern.

The Argument for Callousness to Animal Pain (ACAP):

        ACAP1 -- If the Argument for Nonconscious Experience (ANE) obtains, then the experience of nonhuman
                animals is wholly nonconscious (because it lacks the necessary and sufficient conditions for consciousness).
        ACAP2 -- If the Argument for Insensitivity to Nonconscious Pain (AINP) obtains, then animal pain (since it is
                 nonconscious) is not an appropriate object of sympathy or moral concern.

5  C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan, 1962), 137-138.

6  To distinguish my view from the ontological personalism of Edgar Sheffield Brightman, it may be more helpful to call my perspective "biblical personalism." Other works suggestive of this perspective include Emile Cailliet, A Christian Approach to Culture (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1953); John P. Newport, Life's Ultimate Questions (Dallas: Word, 1989); and Yandall Woodfin, With All Your Mind (Nashville: Abingdon, 1980). Major differences between ontological personalism and biblical personalism include the ontological status of persons and the omnipotence of God. Ontological personalism accords ontological status to persons, while the biblical personalism views persons as having a derived value from the personhood of God, especially revealed in the personal incarnation of Jesus Christ. Ontological personalism believes in a limited God (primarily because of theodicy issues), while biblical personalism affirms the omnipotence of God. However, both forms of personalism view God as the ultimate Person, persons as having great value, and the personal as the clue to the meaning of the universe.

7  Andrew Linzey is chaplain and director of studies at the Center for the Study of Theology at the University of Essex (interestingly enough, on the same faculty as Carruthers). See Andrew Linzey, Animal Rights (London: SCM Press, 1976); Andrew Linzey and Tom Regan, Animals and Christianity (New York: Crossroad, 1990); Andrew Linzey, Christianity and the Rights of Animals (New York: Crossroad, 1989).

8  For example, early animal rights efforts in Britain such as the Victoria Street Society were carried out by the archbishop of York, Cardinal Manning, and Lord Shaftesbury; and the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals was founded by Reverend Arthur Broome and William Wilberforce. See Linzey and Regan, Animals and Christianity, ix-x; and Tim Stafford, "Animal Lib," in Christianity Today (June 18, 1990), 22.

9  See John Calvin, Commentaries on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis, vol. 1, ed. and trans. by John King. (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1847), 91-100.

10  Although hermeneutical issues are involved in most of the following passages, these will be suspended for the sake of brevity. What I hope to accomplish in this section is to suggest a repeated theme in Scripture, rather than to debate individual accounts.

11  John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, vol. 2, Sermons II, 34-70, ed. Albert

12

        ACE1 -- The capacity to be at least semiaware of the stream of perception, and the capacity to experience
                pleasure or pain, are necessary and sufficient conditions of conscious experience.
        ACE2 -- Experience E is at least a semiaware experience and is a painful experience.
        ACE3 -- Therefore, experience E is a conscious experience.

13  I mean life in the broadest sense of the term -- not just physical life, but a fulfilled and satisfying life.

14  I mean by personality a distinctive individual character, expressed with intentionality.

15  Linzey, Christianity and the Rights of Animals, 68-69, 94-98. James Gustafson's theocentric ethic, in which "we are to conduct life so as to relate all things in a manner appropriate to their relations to God," is very close to Linzey's position. See James Gustafson, Ethics from a Theocentric Perspective (Chicago: University Press, 1981), 1:113. Stephen R. L. Clark likewise asserts that although animals may have no positive rights to life, they have the negative right not to be harmed pointlessly. See Linzey and Regan, Animals and Christianity, 131-136, 143-144.

16 The Argument for Sensitivity to Conscious Pain is as follows:

        ASCP1 -- Pain is an appropriate object of sympathy and moral concern if and only if it is conscious
                (i.e., at least semiaware and sentient).
        ASCP2 -- Pain is by definition a conscious experience.
        ASCP3 -- Therefore, pain is an appropriate object of sympathy and moral concern.

17  The Argument for Sensivity to Animal Pain is as follows:

        ASAP1 -- If the Argument for Conscious Experience obtains, then the experience of nonhuman animals is
                conscious, because it is at least semiaware and sentient, meeting the necessary and sufficient conditions
                for consciousness.
        ASAP2 -- If the Argument for Sensitivity to Conscious Pain obtains, then animal pain (since it is conscious) is
                an appropriate object of sympathy or moral concern.

18   For more on these issues from a Christian perspective, see Linzey and Regan, Animals and Christianity, 145-202; Tony Campolo, 20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid to Touch (Dallas: Word, 133-140; C. S. Lewis, "Vivisection," in Undeceptions: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1952), 182-186.

19  Albert Schweitzer, Civilization and Ethics, ed. and trans. by C. T. Campion (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1967), 214.

20  Jeremy Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Moral Legislation (London, 1789), ch. xvii, par. 4, footnote.

21  Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 139-143.

22  Dennett distinguishes between frogs' visual experience and human visual experience in a way similar to Nagel's analysis of bat's experience. While noting the difference in those experiences, Dennett remarks that "the difference in degree of complexity and vividness between frog and human perception does not warrant the assumption that there is a difference in kind." (Dennett, "The Nature of Images and the Introspective Trap," 2:133).

23  Peter Singer, "All Animals Are Equal," in Applied Ethics, ed. Peter Singer (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 215-228; Animal Liberation (New York: New York Review, 1975); and "Animals and the Value of Life," in Matters of Life and Death, ed. Tom Regan, 2nd ed. (New York: Random House, 1980), 338-380. Singer credits the term to Richard Ryder.

24  Carruthers, 268.

25  Ibid., 269.

26  Singer, "All Animals Are Equal," 215-222. Singer recounts one poignant illustration of just such an argument regarding sexism. When the early advocate of women's rights, Mary Wollstonecraft, published her "Vindication of the Rights of Women" in 1792, her ideas were debunked by Cambridge philosopher Thomas Taylor in an anonymous satire entitled, "A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes." Taylor's point, which he viewed as self-evidently absurd, was that the same arguments for women's rights could also be used to defend animal rights.

27  Ibid., 267, footnote 12.

28  Ibid., 267.

29  Good surveys of the recent research include Stephen Walker, Animal Thought (New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983); Stephen Walker, Animal Learning (New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987); John M. Pearce, An Introduction to Animal Cognition (London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1987); H. Hediger, The Psychology and Behavior of Animals in Zoos and Circuses (New York: Dover Publications, 1968); and D. F. Kendrick, M. E. Rilling, and M. R. Denny, Theories of Animal Memory (London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1986).

30  Carruthers, 261.

31  Ibid., 265.

32  Carruthers, 262; Daniel Dennett, Brainstorms (Montgomery, VT: Bradford, 1978), xx, 149-173. While Carruthers models his account of conscious experience on Dennett's, he does not accept Dennett's connection of consciousness with the ability to give verbal reports.

33  Dennett, 10.

34  Ibid., 274.

35  Ibid., 277.

36  Ibid., 275-276.

37  Walker, Animal Thought, xiii, 1.

38  Carruthers dismisses Singer's utilitarian argument in the same way that he dismisses the short-term memory explanation -- both fail to take into account the conscious-ness/nonconsciousness distinction. Carruthers fails to realize that Singer's utilitarianism is unaffected by the consciousness/nonconsciousness distinction. In fact, Singer's argument presupposes a significant discontinuity between non-human animals and humans. The whole structure of the argument for kindness to animals is based upon the utility that animals have for humans. The same argument could be made for trees, rocks, or paintings. Singer could concede the consciousness/nonconsciousness distinction without any significant change in his own position.

39  A retrospective on the celebrated Templin murder was in the Houston Chronicle, November 5-8, 1989. In another recent case, people in his hometown were not surprised when a man was arrested on suspicion of murder, because he had done such things as knife a dog to death because its barking bothered him, and shoot chickens for fun. The Dallas Morning News, November 18, 1989, 1A, 24A.

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C. Outler. (Nashville: Abingdon
1985), 2:445-446.  The Argument for Conscious Experience is as follows: