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In addition, David Armstrong (1973) has objected that the intensionality test merely undermines our justification of de dicto belief ascriptions to animals, not de re belief ascriptions, since the latter do not aim to describe how the animal thinks but simply to identify the state of affairs the animal's thought is about . Furthermore, Armstrong argues that it is in fact de re belief ascriptions, not de dicto belief ascriptions, that we ordinarily use to describe animal beliefs. When we say that Fido believes that the cat is up the tree, for example, our intention is simply to pick out the state of affairs that Fido's belief is about, while remaining neutral with respect to how Fido thinks about it. Roughly, what we are saying, according to Armstong, is that Fido believes a proposition of the form Rab , where "R" is Fido's relational concept that picks out the same two-place relation as our term "up," "a" is Fido's concept that refers to the same class of animals as our word "cat," and "b" is Fido's concept that refers to the same class of objects as our word "tree."
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Animal experimenters want us to believe that if they gave up their archaic habit, sick children and other victims would drop dead in droves.
If indirect theories are correct, then we are not required to take the interests of animals to be directly relevant to the assessment of our actions when we are deciding how to act. This does not mean, however, that we are not required to consider how our actions will affect animals at all. Just because something is not directly morally considerable does not imply that we can do whatever we want to it. For example, there are two straightforward ways in which restrictions regarding the proper treatment of animals can come into existence. Consider the duties we have towards private property. I cannot destroy your car if I desire to do so because it is your property, and by harming it I will thereby harm you. Also, I cannot go to the town square and destroy an old tree for fun since this may upset many people that care for the tree.