Vegetarianism, sentimental or ethical?

Abstract
In this paper, I provide some evidence for the view that a common charge against those who adopt vegetarianism is that they would be sentimental. I argue that this charge is pressed frequently by those who adopt moral absolutism, a position that I reject, before exploring the question if vegetarianism might make sense. I discuss three concerns that might motivate those who adopt vegetarian diets, including a concern with the human health and environmental costs of some alternative diets, a concern about inflicting pain on animals, and a concern with the killing of animals. While I argue that vegetarianism does not make sense in some situations, I hope that this paper shows that there are many good reasons why the adoption of vegetarian, and—even more so—vegan diets might be appropriate in some situations. In carving out this position, I focus primarily on the question whether a morally relevant distinction between the killing of plants and the killing of animals should be made. I engage primarily with the views of two of the most prominent authors on this issue, arguing that neither Peter Singer nor Tom Regan provide a satisfactory account on the ethics of killing nonhuman organisms. Two views are challenged in particular, the view that relatively simple animals such as molluscs, as well as plants, lack awareness, and the view that animals without a preference to continue living stand to lose little or nothing by being killed. I provide some evidence to support the claim that many share my view that it is more problematic to kill animals than to kill plants, before analyzing why some suppress the negative feelings they associate with killing animals. By exploring these issues I hope to shed some light on the issue of whether the feelings of those who adopt vegetarianism are sentimental or make sense, and to stimulate reflection amongst those with an interest in food ethics.
Keywords Animals  Diet  Ethics  Food  Rights  Veganism  Vegetarianism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Jan Deckers, Vegetarianism, sentimental or ethical?
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Gary Comstock (1994). Introduction. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):1-6.

View all 28 references

Citations of this work BETA
Jan Deckers (2013). In Defence of the Vegan Project. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10 (2):187-195.
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-06-10

Total downloads

380 ( #566 of 1,100,967 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

87 ( #532 of 1,100,967 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.