Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crisis # 5a: Taking Criticisms of One's Own View Seriously: Francione's Animal Rights Theory

Accountability in animal ethics means being able to justify one's stance with good reasons. However, one can hardly do so if one's account falls due to logical criticisms that strictly adhere to the essence of what is being argued. Such criticisms cannot be shaken off because again they indelibly apply to the core of what is being asserted. As announced in the last blog entry, I am using the animal rights theory of Gary L. Francione as an example of a view that succumbs to such criticisms. These critiques are by no means dependent on accepting my own theory, but show how the view in question fails on its own terms, impartially considered. I have seen a lot in recent years of people, even academic theorists, being unconcerned with logical problems in their own views, and I think ego may have a lot to do with that. However, what happens in the wake of my criticisms is largely up to other people to decide. In the spirit of open discussion and fair debate, I offer the following critique of Francione's animal rights ethic. I agree with the latter in many respects, but find faults in its reasoning, a very important difficulty for any philosophy. To read this excerpt from my forthcoming book, in PDF format (page and footnote numbers differ from the book), please click HERE.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Modification to Crisis # 5: Taking Criticisms Seriously

I have already outlined the series of crises I am currently commenting on in my blog. The pacing of their unfolding is slow because of my many commitments, but I remind my readers that some of the finest things require time: wine (not that I drink), well-laid plans, and maturity to take a few examples. Crisis #5 was about a failure in critical theory. The aspect of critical theory mentioned in the original entry for September 21, 2008, Item 5., is about how current animal ethics theories fail to launch effective objections against other theories. These objections tend to beg the question, jump to conclusions, etc. I will soon use the writing of Tom Regan as an example in this respect. However, there is another dimension to critical theory that 5. neglected. Many animal rights theorists fail to reckon with criticisms of their own views. I will edit that entry from last September accordingly to include this other aspect.

My example for this part will be the animal rights theory of Professor Gary L. Francione, which I promised earlier in the blog I would discuss anyway. It makes sense since I have already engaged with a whole other aspect of his theory, his stance on acceptable animal legislation (not that he seems to advocate a legislative approach at this time, as noted earlier).

I will feature a special preview (in draft) from my own forthcoming animal rights ethics book. Note that I do not yet include material from Francione's latest book, a collection of essays entitled Animals as Persons, but since it features no alteration in his basic theory, there is no hurry on that score. I have found so many flaws in Francione's writing, detailed in this blog and in my journal article, "Animal Rights Law," that I am not eager to thoroughly read and perhaps respond in writing to his new book. The track record suggests that it would just be another laborious exercise in having to face logically flawed, tediously repetitive, and spottily organized material. Other projects seem more appealing at present.