Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Making explicit the implications

A bit from a post at A Thinking Reed .......


Vegetarianism without foundations

[...] I don’t think you need a fully developed philosophical view to find vegetarianism compelling.

Almost everyone admits, in practice if not theory, that animals can suffer. And nearly everyone admits that it’s a moral truism that you shouldn’t cause unnecessary suffering. From those two simple, commonsense premises, it follows pretty quickly that you shouldn’t cause animals unnecessary suffering.

Throw in a few basic factual premises about the conditions under which animals are raised for food, and I think you arrive in short order at the minimal conclusion that our current system for raising animals for food (and probably most other feasible systems) is morally objectionable to say the least.

None of this requires you to make any major conceptual shifts in your worldview, such as accepting a particular theory of value or animal “rights” or whatnot, merely to draw a conclusion from premises that you (probably) already accept. It’s true that there are some people who claim to believe that animals don’t suffer, or that their suffering doesn’t matter. But the widespread revulsion at, say, the antics of Michael Vick indicate that this is a minority position.

In this sense, vegetarianism is like a lot of other reform movements: it doesn’t offer new values so much as try to make explicit the implications of values that people already accept ........



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