An Argument for Veganism

Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 78 (3):525-555 (2016)
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Abstract

This article discusses the assumptions that are necessary to derive the conclusion that veganism - avoiding the use of animal products from conventional agriculture, hunting and fishing - is a moral duty. Using a formal-axiomatic framework, it is shown that twenty assumptions or axioms are sufficient to come to the conclusion. The argument is made as parsimonious as possible, using the weakest conditions, the most restrictive definitions and most reliable empirical facts. The argument assumes an antidiscrimination principle and a weak basic right not to be used merely a means for someone else’s non-vital ends. It demonstrates that being a human is not morally relevant whereas sentience is a morally relevant criterion that meets the assumptions. If one does not agree with the conclusion that veganism is a moral duty, logical consistency requires that one must be able to indicate at least one axiom that one rejects. The argument makes hidden assumptions visible and provides a framework for a review of the philosophical literature about animal rights and vegetarianism/veganism.

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