A Dilemma of Consumer Responsibility

Philosophy Now 102:9-11 (2014)
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Abstract

Are consumers of meat morally responsible for harms caused to animals in the produciton of that meat? One common argument for the negative states that in a global market, the decisions of an individual consumer makes little or no difference to whether and how a product is produced, hence the individual consumer cannot be held morally responsible. I argue that this same reasoning would imply that consumers of child-pornography cannot be held morally responsible for the harms done to children in its production. Since society does (rightly) hold consumers of child-pornography responsible for harms done to children depicted, we are being inconsistent if we do not hold consumers in general rsponsible for harms done in the production of that which they consume.

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Richard Corry
University of Tasmania

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