Harnessing Moral Psychology to Reduce Meat Consumption

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (2):367-387 (2023)
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Abstract

How can we make moral progress on factory farming? Part of the answer lies in human moral psychology. Meat consumption remains high, despite increased awareness of its negative impact on animal welfare. Weakness of will is part of the explanation: acceptance of the ethical arguments doesn’t always motivate changes in dietary habits. However, we draw on scientific evidence to argue that many consumers aren’t fully convinced that they morally ought to reduce their meat consumption. We then identify two key psychological mechanisms—motivated reasoning and social proof—that lead people to resist the ethical reasons. Finally, we show how to harness these psychological mechanisms to encourage reductions in meat consumption. A central lesson for moral progress generally is that durable social change requires socially-embedded reasoning.

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Similar books and articles

Moral Reasoning and Moral Progress.Victor Kumar & Joshua May - forthcoming - In David Copp & Connie Rosati (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
The Moral Complexities of Eating Meat.Ben Bramble & Bob Fischer (eds.) - 2015 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.

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Author Profiles

Joshua May
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Victor Kumar
Boston University

Citations of this work

Moral Progress for Better Apes.Joshua May - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (4):1-13.

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References found in this work

The Enigma of Reason.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.) - 2017 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
The emotional construction of morals.Jesse J. Prinz - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2018 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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