Glossary

 

 
 
Speciesism

According to Peter Singer, as he wrote in Animal Liberationspeciesism is defined as “a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interest of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species.” In the case of the relationship between humans and animals speciesism is a prejudice held by some humans against other species that allows them to believe they are superior in all ways.

 

 
 
Anti-Speciesism

Anti-Speciesism is the belief that speciesism is wrong. Humans must respect and honor the needs of other species on Earth so as not to hinder their survival. Singer states that all species are to have “equal consideration of interest” during the decision making process regarding the resources the Earth has to offer.

 

 
 
Automata

Automata are machines made to represent different natural organisms. They do not think complex thoughts or have ideas of their own. Descartes refers to animals as automata who use their brains for controlling the necessary functions for survival. They are essentially machines who have been created for the sole purpose of existing in nature.

 

 
 
Suffer

To suffer is to feel pain physically or emotionally. When an organism suffers it cannot function as it normally does and cannot serve its purpose in nature. Suffering increases its chance of permanent damage or even death. Not all species demonstrate suffering in the same way which can make diagnosing an organism in a state of suffering a difficult task.

 

 
 
Anthropocentrism

Humans are at the center of the universe. All other organisms and other functioning entities are second to the needs of the human race. When interpreting the world and its purposes, all things are interpreted in terms of human values and experiences. Anthropocentrists believe Earth’s resources were created for humans to use at their discretion.

 

 
 
Reason

Reason is the ability to think through available options and determine which is the correct choice. Some believe animals have that capability while others see this as a characteristic belonging only to human beings. Many of the people who believe animals do not contain the ability to reason believe their actions are driven by instinct, a natural ability often necessary for survival.