Can someone help me with this basic argument.I just want it to make sense and than I will look at the major tweaks later. I believe I need to fix the conclusion because when I get around to writing the paper about it I will be proving P2 and have nothing to say by P3 because it is the same thing.I'd appreciate some help thank you very much. (P1) If animals can critically interpret similarly to humans, it makes sense to assume they understand the feeling of pain as well. (P2) Most people agree it is morally unjustifiable to intentionally afflict pain on those who can feel it, especially in cases that are not of self defense. (P3) Animal cruelty is not a case of self defense, therefore animal cruelty is morally unjustifiable.

Looks very promising! You might want to adjust the first premise. First, you might want to refer to "some nonhuman animals." The notion of "critically interpret" seems a little awkward. Are you here asserting that some nonhuman exercise reason or that they involve higher order evaluations of some sort (e.g. they not only interpret situations but they critically do so)? I am on your side in this matter with respect to some nonhuman animals; great apes and dolphins seem to have higher order thoughts (they can recognize themselves in mirrors for example and have some powers of communication that is very close to language). If you are trying to reach P3, perhaps all you need in P1 is that some nonhuman animals suffer, and that thesis would seem to be supported on the grounds of analogy with humans --their brain and nervous system and ostensible pain-avoidance behavior is similar to our own. In P2 you might need to claim that it is not just morally unjustified to inflict pain (or suffering? some distinguish pain and suffering) but cruel unless there are overriding reasons for doing so. Minor additional point: self-defense may be a licit reason to inflict pain, but sometimes we think it is permissible to inflict pain in a person (or animal) if that will prevent much worse pain.

Good wishes in your filling out this argument. Peter Singer may be a helpful resource or the work of Tom Regan.

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