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Humanities LibreTexts

6.9: Discussion Questions

  • Page ID
    31085
    1. For many ethical issues, a good place to start is to reflect on “common views” about the issues. Suppose you surveyed a range of people and asked them whether it’s morally permissible (or even morally obligatory) to experiment on animals and why. What are some of the most common answers that would be given? What reasons would you often hear in favor of these answers? Are these reasons generally good reasons or not? Why?
    2. Describe how animals are treated by in medical, scientific, psychological, educational and industrial experimentation and research: what happens to animals when used for these purposes? What are the facts? How do these industries describe how they treat animals? Are they correct in their description of the facts?
    3. Explain the strongest moral arguments for the conclusions that animal experimentation is (nearly always) wrong and/or that an experiment on an animal is wrong unless the experimenters would be willing to perform the experiment on a similarly conscious and sentient human infant. Are these arguments sound or not? Explain and defend your views.
    4. Summarize the wide range of activities and methods of research that can be (and is) done to improve human health and cure disease that does not involve animals.
    5. Explain the strongest and/or most common moral arguments for the conclusions that (a) animal experimentation is almost never wrong, indeed it’s often morally obligatory and/or (b) animal experimentation is morally justified when it is “necessary” because there are “no alternatives” to produce the desired benefits. Are these arguments sound or not? Explain and defend your views.

    Of course, always feel free to raise any other questions, observations, criticisms and any other responses to the Chapter’s readings and issues.

    Paper Option

    What, if any, kind of medical, scientific, psychological, commercial/industrial, educational and/or veterinary experimentation or research (and other uses, e.g., dissections) are morally permissible? Which are morally impermissible? Thoroughly defend your view and respond to the strongest and/or most common objections to your arguments. 4-6 pages.

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