David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 29 (1-4):391 – 406 (1986)
Meat-eating as a human practice has been under ethical attack from philosophers such as Peter Singer and Tom Regan on both utilitarian and deontological grounds. An organicist ethic, on the other hand, recognizes that all life other than the primary producers, the plants, must feed on life. This essay affirms, with many environmental ethicists, the moralconsiderability of biota other than the human, but denies that this enlargement of the moral community beyond Homo sapiens necessarily precludes our eating of meat. First, absolute deontological arguments against meat-eating are disputed, then utilitarian-hedonistic arguments are shown not to be sufficient to require ethical vegetarianism. Both sorts of arguments have strengths, however, that set us on guard against current abuses in the meat-raising and slaughtering industries. If the principle of 'due respect' for beings with different degrees of intrinsic value is honored, then moderate meat-eating under reformed social practices can be seen as licit. Two final problems then require investigation: the problem of dietary justice for poor humans and the problem of 'speciesism'. Dealing with the latter requires discussion of cannibalism and the ethics of humans being eaten by still higher 'aliens'.
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References found in this work BETA
Martin Buber (1970). I and Thou. New York,Scribner.
Frederick Ferre (1986). Personalism and the Dignity of Nature. The Personalist Forum 2 (1):1-28.
Immanuel Kant (1909/2004). Critique of Practical Reason and Other Works on the Theory of Ethics. Barnes & Noble Books.
H. J. McCloskey (1979). Moral Rights and Animals. Inquiry 22 (1-4):23 – 54.
Mary Midgley (1983/1984). Animals and Why They Matter. University of Georgia Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Jennifer Everett (2001). Environmental Ethics, Animal Welfarism, and the Problem of Predation: A Bambi Lover's Respect for Nature. Ethics and the Environment 6 (1):42-67.
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