## Is our dominion over animals unethical?

• 5.2k

Importance is subjective, too, by the way. (Not that you claimed otherwise, but just in case that's not clear.)

Re this:
Why do you think it is ok to needlessly kill an animal for food, but not needlessly kill a human for food?

I don't think it's okay to needlessly kill "an animal, any animal" for food. I think it's okay to needlessly kill non-human animals for food.

Re the other questions, I don't categorically have a problem with people being inconsistent in their moral stances, and I particularly don't have a problem with that re hypocrisy--the advice given by someone should be evaluated on its own merit, which won't hinge on whether the person in question is following the advice themselves. But there are situations where I might have a problem with inconsistency on certain things if it's affecting interactions with someone, and especially if we're talking about situations where control is being exercised--for example, via laws.

In general, though, I'm not fond of the "overarching principle" approaches to morality or legislation. I think those quickly turn into theory-worship, which I'm not fond of, and they can very quickly go off the rails with respect to what I feel is reasonable. I prefer a more situational, "common sense" approach, focused on not overreacting, not having a draconian framework, etc.
• 302
In mine, consumer sovereignty is an unsustainable cognitive burden, and responsibility lies with the producer.

Plain and simple, animals would not be needlessly killed if society stopped buying animal products. If everybody stopped buying meat tomorrow, do you think farms would continue to breed animals into existence for product that isn't going to be purchased? No. It's not an opinion that I am conveying. It's a fact, that the consumer demands what product is produced. Once the consumer stops demanding that product, that product stops existing.

I see the trap here. Pigs are at least as intelligent as dogs, so I'm led to believe. I don't know if it's true - because my experience with either animal is extremely limited. I've never eaten dog meat - while I eat bacon regularly. Would I eat dog? Under the right circumstances - north pole expedition, holiday in Korea. But otherwise, no!

And you still haven't explained WHY it is ok to kill and eat a pig, but not a dog or human? Are you going to actually answer this question?

If you're attempting to establish hypocrisy in my position, it shouldn't be difficult. But then I'm not the one making claim to moral superiority. It's you that needs a consistent position. Ultimately I can simply say - I love a bacon sandwich, and I don't care. But I'm attempting to meet you on the ground laid out by your proposition - to test the idea that our dominion over animals is unethical.

What a fail on many different levels. To come into a philosophy forum and claim you don't have to be consistent in your ethics, followed by justifying an action by saying "I love a bacon sandwich and I don't care." - Do you actually even care to be consistent in your ethics?

Let me ask you a question. If scientists developed a pill you could take, and you'd have all the nutrition you need without having to eat at all - would you think that a good thing, and take it? I wouldn't. I love to cook, and I love to eat. I have a theory that vegetarians can't cook. They don't really like to eat. It is in their view, a chore. Where in my view, it's a pleasure - and to be utterly honest, the savagery and sacrifice adds to the experience.

Depends on the cost efficiency of that pill. Sometimes I don't feel like cooking, but sometimes I do. On the days I don't feel like cooking, I could pop that pill and be done with it. But at least I would have the choice. Also, people who become Vegan are more likely to cook, since animal products are prevalent throughout society. Even before I was Vegan, I didn't feel like cooking or eating all the time, and I feel the same way even after becoming Vegan.

It's a rhetorical point. I have no evidence. If the point were raised against me - I'd dismiss it on the grounds that human beings have free will. All I'm saying is that you're happy to depend on human labour, but were it an animal it would be condemned as exploitation. It's your morals that are in question, not mine. I accept that life is a web of inter-dependencies. The food chain is one of them. The plants you eat are part of that web, a web of life that involves animals eating other animals.

Most humans have the ability to work or stop working. They have the free will to choose a different trade or profession. They are not enslaved into a working environment, and unable to exercise their free-will. I condemn all forms of exploitation, and I try my best to avoid supporting it. Also, the more you refuse to take responsibility for your moral actions, the less likely it is I will be responding to you in the future. If you keep saying, "I don't need to be consistent. It's your morals that are in question, not mine." - Then there is really no point to have a discussion, since you want it to be one-sided without any criticism or responsibility on your side.

I did explain at the bottom of my previous post - the difference between animals and human beings. In a word, awareness.

Still doesn't explain a thing. There are human beings who have the same awareness as a cow or dog or pig. Mentally retarded people, or severely disabled people who have the same consciousness level as a pig. Does that mean it is OK to kill mentally disabled people because they have a lower awareness?

You're not taking anything I say on board, are you? Nothing. I understand where you're coming from, and criticize your position, but you don't understand and criticize mine. All you're doing is banging the same drum - it's cruel, it's cruel, it's murder, it's wrong, it's cruel. That's not philosophy - is it? It's the opinion of an opinionated person.

How ironic it is to say, "that's not philosophy - is it?", coming from the person doesn't care to be consistent, and justifies their actions by saying "I don't care." - Is that your version of philosophy? Talk about an opinion...

I can't say I like the idea. And it's not necessary to torture an animal to kill it and eat it, and use its skin for clothing. As I've said, I do care about animal cruelty, but believe that responsibility lies with the producer. I don't know how many times I have to say this before you will take up the point and question it - rather than simply ignoring it, and insisting it's cruel, it's murder, it's torture blah, blah, blah.

You say you don't like the idea of animal cruelty and unnecessary torture, but then continue to support industries that do it? Talk about cognitive dissonance.

Would I? Do I have to be consistent? Can I not extend sympathy to a person, who's personhood is damaged in some way? But let's examine the proposition. If it were a survival situation - say, there's limited oxygen, and besides yourself - you could only save one person. Would it be them? Are you telling me - that they would have an exactly equal chance of being saved? Or would the retarded person be the first out the airlock - if push came to shove? In extremis, given no other options, that's a bullet I'd bite - and if you're honest with yourself, so would you! But even the retard would outlive the dog!

You can never answer any of my questions, can you. It may be pointless to continue this conversation (between us), because you don't care about actually answering questions and challenging your own moral inconsistencies. As I said before, it's laughably ironic to say to me, "That's not philosophy - is it?", but then say things like "Do I have to be consistent." - Followed by taking the question out of context by applying it to an extreme survival situation, instead of the situation I framed the question in.

Smh.
• 302
I don't think it's okay to needlessly kill "an animal, any animal" for food. I think it's okay to needlessly kill non-human animals for food.

Why is it okay to needlessly kill non-human animals for food, but not humans?

Re the other questions, I don't categorically have a problem with people being inconsistent in their moral stances, and I particularly don't have a problem with that re hypocrisy

Then I guess there may not be a point to discuss further if we disagree about that aspect. If you don't think logic is an essential tool we should use when trying to reason and evaluate our beliefs, this conversation won't get much further.
• 1.2k

The article which supports your claim of 51% is extremely dubious. (read: written from a blatant and bias laden agenda)

Here's how/why:

Their first claim:

"Animal respiration should be counted as a source of yearly GhG output"

Presently, as they acknowledge, the Kyoto protocols do not classify animal respiration to be a net source of Carbon Dioxide because animal respiration is considered a part of a rapidly cycling system whose GHG outputs are roughly equal to their inputs (plant matter grows, which sequesters CO2, and is then eaten and respired by animals, but the same amount of plant food grows each year (else the animals would starve)). It doesn't make mathematical sense to count animal respiration as a net carbon source when we are specifically sequestering an equivalent amount each year in feed and hay. In essence, animal respiration is trading CO2 back and forth between its gas form and being sequestered in plant flesh (and in animal flesh as well), it doesn't create or net CO2.

Their arguments against this range from naturalistic fallacy to false equivocations. I.e "livestock respiration is no more natural than exhaust from a tailpipe", and " if it is legitimate to count car exhaust as a net GHG source, then it is equally legitimate to count animal respiration as a net source of GHGs" (pg 12)

Their closest-to-sound argument to support the addition of animal respired GHGs are that increased land use and deforestation lessen the earth's ability to photosynthesize carbon away, but the impact from those factors are already included in land use and agricultural approximations.

Regarding the articles position on land use, they make further errors:

It acknowledges that GHG impact from land use and deforestation reflects year-to-year changes, but the article claims that it should be considering the entire opportunity cost of not allowing forest regeneration to absorb CO2 (and switching to low GHG alternatives in land use) as a yearly source of net GHG's. This makes the error of stepping outside the "yearly source" parameter (because previously deforested land reflects previous years) and also incorrectly portrays allowing forests to regenerate as a permanent source of continual CO2 sequestration. Once the forests are fully regenerated, the amount of carbon they can store is capped, so it wouldn't even be a yearly contribution...

Regarding methane:

This article acknowledges that the FAO (food and agri org.) modifies methane tonnage based on the the global warming potential of methane over a 100 year time frame. It has a GWP of 25 using the 100 year time frame. By comparing this warming potential to the warming potential of CO2 (1) we can modify the tonnage to get a total theoretical amount of GHG (methane and CO2) with a warming potential of 1 (because methane is a stronger GHG, pound for pound).

The article suggests, with the intent of inflating impact by focusing on the short term, that we should be evaluating the GWP of methane using the 20 year time frame instead of the 100 year time frame.
If a 20 year time frame was used, then it would have a GWP of 72. This is an unnecessary inflation because methane is only that much more powerful when we focus narrowly on short term effects (methane has a 12 year lifetime, but CO2 can last up to 200). The 20 and 100 GWP metrics use methane as a standard, and CO2 does less warming work over a 20 year period than a 100 year period, therefore they're shrinking CO2 warming potential relative to methane by comparing it at a 20 year standard, and concealing this complexity in order to arbitrarily increase tonnage, to misleading effect.

They go on to commit more errors in their other sources section (pg 14):

They seek to update the number of livestock related GHG's by citing increases in animal products worldwide, but they do not seek to update other sources of GHG's which theoretically have grown in similar proportions.

It cites, and fails to explain, a disparity in livestock counting figures, and proceeds to accept the high estimate (they said they were going to choose conservative numbers, which was clearly either a lie or beyond their ability).

The rest (the bulk) of this magazine article consists of suggestions about how to mitigate and transition away from animal products...

I'm not an expert on the climate or climate change, but I do understand its basic principles. This article raises some points worth considering, but it blows itself far out of reason and proportion wherever it finds the chance. It uses clearly doubtful and dubious accounting tricks which would not survive competent review.

It is extremely doubtful that agriculture accounts for 51% of green-house-gasses.
• 302
The article which supports your claim of 51% is extremely dubious. (read: written from a blatant and bias laden agenda)

It is extremely doubtful that agriculture accounts for 51% of green-house-gasses.

If this Article is incorrect, I am fine with acknowledging better research out there. I don't have a problem with accepting new studies and peer reviewed journals. The point still remains though, that animal agriculture causes a lot of damage to the environment, as well as our health. It may not be 51%, but it still a significant amount, even if that is 25%.
• 5.2k
Why is it okay to needlessly kill non-human animals for food, but not humans?

So, any moral stance whatsoever is either going to be foundational for someone (at least at that time, in that situation), or it might rationally rest on another moral stance(s) the person has. If it rests on another moral stance, then the same thing goes there--it's either foundational or it rests on another moral stance. That will continue until you get to the foundational moral stance(s) in that situation. And it usually doesn't take more than a step or two to get to foundational stances.

When we get to a foundational stance, the answer for "Why is xM rather than x~M?" is always "because that's how I intuitively feel about it"--or at least that's always what it's going to "analyze out to."

It's always possible from the start to just state a foundational moral stance. "It's morally acceptable to needlessly kill non-human animals for food (but not human animals)" is a foundational stance for me, so the reason for it is that that is how I intuitively feel about it.

This would work exactly the same way for your "It's not morally acceptable to needlessly kill any animals (or sentient animals, or however you might qualify that exactly) for food." Either that's a foundational moral stance for you, in which case the reason for it is that that is how you intuitively feel about it, or it's rationally resting on some other moral stance or two or three . . . Before too long, we'd get to a foundational moral stance in the chain, and the reason you consider whatever thar stance is to be moral rather than alternatives is that that is how you intuitively feel about it. You could, of course, always just start with a foundational moral stance instead.
• 5.2k
Maybe some chains from foundations to whatever "top floor" someone stated are much longer than two or three steps, but one thing that often happens is that you'll ask "why is x moral?" after you've descended a step or two and folks will simply act outraged that you're even asking.

Nevertheless, the reason why anyone thinks it's moral, if we're on the bottom floor, is that that's how they intuitively feel about it.
• 302
You seem to only be talking about Metaethics, when I am in fact talking about Normative Ethics. Or in the specific case of Veganism, Applied Ethics. If you don't know the difference between the three, here's a link from the IEP.

- https://www.iep.utm.edu/ethics/

As I said before, I agree that the ground floor of an ethical system is subjective, which is in reference to Metaethics. But I am asking you about your ethical system that you already have put in place, within your own mind. In your subjective ethical system, Why is it okay to needlessly kill non-human animals for food, but not humans?

And please refrain from talking about people (in a general sense). I only care about your (Terrapin) subjective view on morality. Please answer the question, based on that, without going back to Metaethics.I am trying to see if your normative ethics are logically consistent. (Although you have stated that you don't find it important to be logically consistent, correct?)
• 5.2k

Do you believe that we can avoid stating foundational moral stances, so that we could give a sentential reason, another moral stance that something is built on, no matter how many links in the chain we've gone through?
• 302
It's fine to state the foundational moral stance (Metaethics), but that is irrelevant to whether or not your normative stance is internally consistent. The question of grounding is separate from the question of logical consistency. Better worded: The question of how your ethics are grounded (Metaethics) is separate from the question of whether your ethics are logically consistent.

Example:

Metaethics - I believe things are morally right, based on my personal preference.
Normative Ethics - I believe it is morally right to kill old people.
Contradiction - I believe it is morally wrong to kill old people.

You can have a contradiction within your ethical system, irrespective of how that system is grounded. Whether it is grounded upon the will of god, personal preference, societal norms, etc... Doesn't matter. The fact remains, that your system could still be internally inconsistent, AKA, logically contradictory.

A different analogy.

My favorite color is red.
My favorite color is not red.

It doesn't matter what my color preference is based on (the grounding), because there is still a clear contradiction here. Whether the color preference is based on family tradition, peer pressure, etc...is irrelevant. Because in my system, there is a logical contradiction, of my favorite color being (and not being) red.
• 5.2k

You're not understanding what I'm asking you, and it suggests you didn't understand a lot of the earlier, longer post.

You're asking for a sentence, presumably a moral stance, that "It is okay to needlessly kill non-human animals for food, but not humans" rests on, correct?

If that's correct, I'm asking you this: do you believe that any arbitrary moral stance we could state necessarily rests on some other moral stance we could state?
• 302
It seems a bit evasive to not answer my question, at very least. I have asked it three times now, " Why is it okay to needlessly kill non-human animals for food, but not humans?"

Instead of answering that question, you seem to be side-tracking and now asking me questions in return?

But since you won't answer my question, I'll answer yours. No, I don't think any arbitrary moral stance you could state necessarily rests on some other moral stance you could state. Why and how is that relevant to my question? And how it is relevant to logically consistent ethics?
• 5.2k

What I asked you is relevant to your question, because I indeed did answer your question, but you didn't seem to accept it as an answer. (I'm assuming, by the way, that you read the entirety of my posts to you. If you did not, that would explain this.)

Okay, so if it's not the case that any arbitrary moral stance necessarily rests on some other moral stance I could state, why is it unacceptable to start with a moral stance that doesn't rest on another?
• 302
I have read everything you have written, but still did not notice or understand an answer to my question.

Why is it okay to needlessly kill non-human animals for food, but not humans?
• 203
Plain and simple, animals would not be needlessly killed if society stopped buying animal products.

Can you honestly be saying at this stage of debate - that if people were vegetarians, animals would not be farmed? There's a difference between simple and simplistic. Constantly seeking to bias the argument by needlessly introducing terms like needlessly - demonstrates that your argument is a prejudiced opinion. Prejudice obscures the truth.

It's nominally true:

Once the consumer stops demanding that product, that product stops existing.

But is't also a fact that animals are not needlessly killed. They're killed for food, and the vast majority of people eat meat. They are not likely to stop doing so - and you have not established, morally speaking, that they should.

And you still haven't explained WHY it is ok to kill and eat a pig, but not a dog or human? Are you going to actually answer this question?

I'm not a farmer. I don't know anything about raising pigs. I don't have a dog either. I imagine there are reasons that pigs are farmed, and dogs are not. But it's not universal, is it? In China and Korea dogs are farmed and eaten. And there were cannibals in New Guinea that ate human flesh. Interestingly, I understand - eating human brains gave them the equivalent of mad cow disease.

What a fail on many different levels. To come into a philosophy forum and claim you don't have to be consistent in your ethics, followed by justifying an action by saying "I love a bacon sandwich and I don't care." - Do you actually even care to be consistent in your ethics?

It's entirely acceptable in my culture to eat bacon sandwiches. Just as it's acceptable to eat dogs in Korea, and human flesh in New Guinea. How can I be consistent when the world is so diverse? I can offer my perspective, as you have offered yours. I do not personally relish the idea of eating dog flesh or human flesh, but I reject your claim that my position is - it's okay to eat pig, but not dog or human. It's too simplistic - if you are seeking to establish that our dominion over animals is unethical.

Depends on the cost efficiency of that pill.

As I said, I love to cook, and I love to eat. It's one of the great pleasures in life - and I would not forgo that pleasure needlessly. There are not vegetable substitutes for meat based dishes, and just because it's possible to survive on vegetable matter alone, does not infer that vegetarianism is an equal substitute, anymore than taking a pill would be.

"I don't need to be consistent. It's your morals that are in question, not mine." - Then there is really no point to have a discussion, since you want it to be one-sided without any criticism or responsibility on your side.

The fact that the title of this thread, which you started, is posed in the form of a question - belies your real position. You ask a question and then insist on an answer - and nothing anyone has said, despite some very good arguments from myself and others, has shifted you one inch. It's that - that makes it your views that are in question, and not mine. You came here with an agenda - while pretending you were trying to decide a question, you had already decided.

How ironic it is to say, "that's not philosophy - is it?", coming from the person doesn't care to be consistent, and justifies their actions by saying "I don't care." - Is that your version of philosophy? Talk about an opinion...

I'm only saying "I don't care" in the context of paying taxes to government, to employ people who know all about farming - to do that caring for me. What purpose would my ignorant hand-wringing serve?

You say you don't like the idea of animal cruelty and unnecessary torture, but then continue to support industries that do it? Talk about cognitive dissonance.

Then someone is not doing their job, and that's who you should spend your time harassing. I don't know anything about farming. On a well run farm, I very much doubt there's "animal cruelty and unnecessary torture" - because what would be the point? That would be like a potter smashing his pots. But then, you're speaking in relation to an imaginary ideal - garden of eden type scenario, wherein the loin lays down with lamb. The sad fact is, those animals are going to die one way or another. Stunned and cut and bled - is probably preferable to attacked and torn open and eaten alive.

You can never answer any of my questions, can you. It may be pointless to continue this conversation (between us), because you don't care about actually answering questions and challenging your own moral inconsistencies. As I said before, it's laughably ironic to say to me, "That's not philosophy - is it?", but then say things like "Do I have to be consistent." - Followed by taking the question out of context by applying it to an extreme survival situation, instead of the situation I framed the question in.

I disagree. This has been most useful to me. I always assumed vegetarians were a bit flaky, but I had no idea. This was your question:

For you to stay consistent, would you then be ok with us exploiting a human who has the same consciousness as a dog or cow? Such as a mentally deranged or handicapped person, who has a lower level of consciousness compared to normal human beings. Since they do not have the same awareness of themselves and of the world, as well as not being able to think creatively, are we then justified in exploiting mentally retarded people? Let's see if you're willing to bite the bullet here.

I think I answered perfectly reasonably. I can't imagine any circumstances in which I'd want to exploit a mentally deranged or handicapped person. Is that a better answer than the one I can up with?

If it were a survival situation - say, there's limited oxygen, and besides yourself - you could only save one person. Would it be them? Are you telling me - that they would have an exactly equal chance of being saved? Or would the retarded person be the first out the airlock - if push came to shove? In extremis, given no other options, that's a bullet I'd bite - and if you're honest with yourself, so would you! But even the retard would outlive the dog!

What you seem loathe to acknowledge - is that there is a natural pecking order; and thus, your attempts to conflate the moral worth of a human being with the moral worth of an animal are intuitively wrong. And so I have explained why it's okay to kill a pig or a dog, but not a human being - and if you had read my post before responding to it - you'd have known that. But then, you're not here to consider the question you asked. You already know the answer - so you start typing before you start reading, and you're not really thinking at all - you're merely reacting on the basis of your prejudices. If there's no point continuing this discussion - that's the reason.
• 5.2k

Again: "'It's morally acceptable to needlessly kill non-human animals for food (but not human animals)' is a foundational stance for me, so the reason for it is that that is how I intuitively feel about it."

If you read that earlier, apparently you have some problem with us stating foundational stances--that is, stances for which there is no other moral stance that it is resting on. What is the problem with respect to that specifically? You just agreed above that it's possible to state moral stances that do not rest on other moral stances. So what is the issue?
• 838
We do not need to kill an animal to survive, be healthy and enjoy food.

I agree, but still feel we need some other approach to making the case. Instead of focusing on the harm to animals and the harm to the environment, how about a focus on the harm to person consuming the animals? You know, heart disease and so on.

Most people already know we are killing millions of animals, and at least many meat eaters already know that this industrial process is damaging to the environment. But they're still eating meat, evidence that they are not persuaded by the damage being done. Pointing the finger of moral blame and shame is probably going to generate as much resistance and push back as it does conversion.

We might ask whether we are using a moralistic message because we have evidence that it will be effective, or because we enjoy moralizing about other people's behavior. My guess is that a self interest argument would prove the most effective.
• 302
the reason for it is that that is how I intuitively feel about it.

Do you think how you intuitively feel about something is a valid justification for an action? This is where ethically consistency comes into your normative ethics.

A: Terrapin believes it is morally acceptable to kill non-human animals needlessly, based on an intuitive feeling.

B: Jack believes it is morally acceptable to kill old people needlessly, based on an intuitive feeling.

For you to be logically consistent, you would have to state that both situations (A and B) have valid justifications for the action committed. Since, in both situations, the same justification has been deployed. So, do you think Jack is justified in his action, which is based on the same justification you have deployed yourself?
• 302
My guess is that a self interest argument would prove the most effective.Jake

I've tried many different angles, but the health and environmental aspects are the least effective (from my experience). People eat food that they KNOW is bad for them, such as a fast food / candy / soda / etc... What makes you think they would care to switch off a meat based diet for a plant-based diet? They are also selfish, which produces a lack of interest for caring about the environment. The moral arguments seem to be most effective when people actually care to answer honestly instead of evading or avoiding the questions.
• 6.8k
My guess is that a self interest argument would prove the most effective.Jake

My guess is that no argument--moral, self-interest, environmental, etc--will succeed in changing the food habits of more than a few people. Why not? Because it is very difficult to change other peoples' behavior by arguments. Take women's suffrage: It took about 70 years for hundreds of thousands of women engaging in extensive and intense political activity to achieve the vote. The Temperance Movement began in the 1830s and did not success until 1920. The temperance campaign was also extensive and intensive.

The first Surgeon General's report on smoking appeared in 1964. 15% of the population or roughly 30 million still smoke after all the haranguing, health warnings, bans on smoking in public places, and so forth. The incidence of obesity is rising all over the world: Clearly something besides individual choice is at work. Cheap and plentiful fat and sugar probably have something to do with it.

What will change food habits is a change in the environment in which people make food decisions. IF the cost of a pork chop rose from approx. $2 today, to$10 for the same amount and quality of meat, far fewer people would opt to eat one or two chops for dinner. If a pound of ground beef cost $15, one would not use it for burgers; one would use it as a condiment. If eggs were$10 a dozen, one would think twice about making a cake.

I would eat more codfish, but good quality frozen cod costs $15 a pound. So Cod isn't on the menu very often. People DO CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR when there is a clear personal necessity or benefit for them to change. • 5.2k Do you think how you intuitively feel about something is a valid justification for an action? This is where ethically consistency comes into your normative ethics. A: Terrapin believes it is morally acceptable to kill non-human animals needlessly, based on an intuitive feeling. B: Jack believes it is morally acceptable to kill old people needlessly, based on an intuitive feeling. For you to be logically consistent, you would have to state that both situations (A and B) have valid justifications for the action committed. Since, in both situations, the same justification has been deployed. So, do you think Jack is justified in his action, which is based on the same justification you have deployed yourself? First, I wouldn't use the word "valid." When we're talking about moral stances, we're not talking about truth value. No moral stance is either true or false. "Justification for an action" is fine to talk about in general--and there are definitely some actions that I'd feel a need to justify or not--but re morality, at least, I wouldn't use "valid." Now, I think, in general, that justifications are subjective--I think this even when we're not talking about axiology. Something is justified to someone, and the fact that it's justified to someone doesn't imply that it's justified to anyone else. Justifications are simply what someone considers to be good, sufficient reasons for belief, action, etc. If I feel that something is morally permissible, I do not normally think "A justification is needed to do this thing that I feel is morally permissible." That seems rather redundant to me. But I suppose it could make sense to say that me feeling that x is morally permissible is amounts me feeling that doing x is justified . . . but really I'm kind of saying the same thing on both sides there. (So maybe it doesn't make much sense, but I'll try to play along with it.) That Jack feels that y is morally permissible isn't a sufficient justification for me to feel that doing y is justified. That's not inconsistent, because my stance on that isn't "Anything that anyone feels is moral is something that I feel is justified for anyone to do." At any rate, you're treating justification in general as if it's not something personal. That's not my view. • 302 People DO CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR when there is a clear personal necessity or benefit for them to change. In other words, humans are selfish assholes, lol. But I agree. Humans, I'd argue, are one of the worst species on the planet lol. All we do is ruin the lives of everything around us, including our own species. It's quite sad actually. • 302 First, I wouldn't use the word "valid." When we're talking about moral stances, we're not talking about truth value. No moral stance is either true or false. I never said anything about true or false. Validity is in reference to logic (or fact), which I have already talked about in regards to logically consistency. But when I say valid justification, I am referring to two things here. 1. Valid justification. A justification you would accept for yourself in which you would base an action on. 2. Valid justification based on consistency. A justification that you have used, in which somebody else would/could use to deploy in the same way. - Terrapin owns black slaves, because he thinks black people are inferior. - Jack owns chinese slaves, because he thinks chinese people are inferior. In this case, the justification is "believing someone is inferior." - I would then ask you, do you believe that this justification is valid; meaning you should base your actions on it? Not whether or not it is true or has some truth value. I am talking about whether or not it is valid enough for YOU to use and deploy yourself. A different example can be taste preference based on peer pressure. Someone could have been peer pressured into drinking beer, but ended up acquiring a taste for beer, and enjoying it. I would never say that "peer pressure" is a valid reason for obtaining preferences, as I think peer pressure does more harm than good in most cases. If you don't want to use the word valid, I can replace it with the word 'reasonable'. Do you believe Jack is reasonably justified in his actions of owning slaves (based on the feeling of chinese people being inferior). In this context, 'reasonable' and 'valid' are synonyms. Valid justification vs reasonable justification. Same concept and meaning. Or as you wrote, "sufficient justification". Sufficient, valid, reasonable. Take your pick. That Jack feels that y is morally permissible isn't a sufficient justification for me to feel that doing y is justified. Why do Jack's actions not have a sufficient justification, but your actions do? And let me bring up the example again to be clear. A: Terrapin believes it is morally acceptable to kill non-human animals needlessly, based on an intuitive feeling. B: Jack believes it is morally acceptable to kill old people needlessly, based on an intuitive feeling. Jack's justification is based on an intuitive feeling. Terrapin's justification is based on an intuitive feeling. Why is Jack's justification not sufficient, but yours is? • 5.2k I never said anything about true or false. Validity is in reference to logic, In logic, validity obtains when it's impossible that premises are true while a conclusion is false. That's the definition of validity. Anyway, re your comments further on, it looks like you're using "justification" to refer to "reasons given for something" and "valid justification" to refer to "reasons given for something that you feel are good reasons." That's works well enough, but it wasn't clear to me that you were using the terms that way. I basically use "justification" only in that second sense (which should be clear given my definition of justification in the earlier post). Why do Jack's actions not have a sufficient justification, but your actions do? Re this, I explained this in detail in the post you're responding to. Again, trying to make sense of a "justification for action in relation to a moral stance," "I feel that x is moral" would be sufficient for me to feel that doing x is justified (or validly or reasonably justified to use your term), because that's what it means, basically, for me to feel that x is moral--that it's acceptable to do x. That's not the same thing as "If Jack feels that y is moral then I feel that y is justified (validly justified)," because what it means for Jack to feel that y is moral is NOT that I feel that it's acceptable to do x. Rather, Jack would feel that it's acceptable to do x. Or in other words, I certainly don't have a view that any x is justified--that it's acceptable to do--just in case some person feels that x is moral. I could say that I feel that x is justified, or x is acceptable to do in other words, just in case I feel that x is moral. One thing that might be giving you trouble understanding this is that you're trying to parse it without the to someones (to me, to Jack), but on my view, these things--moral stances, justifications, are necessarily to someone. Another thing that might be posing a problem here, though, is suggested by your examples. You might be using "justification" in a different way than I'm using it above. Re this, for example, "Terrapin owns black slaves, because he thinks black people are inferior," you might mean something like, "Terrapin believes that it's a fact that black people are inferior, therefore Terrapin feels that it's morally acceptable to own black slaves." Or in other words, you might be thinking of moral stances resting on something else--just where the something else isn't itself a moral stance. If that's the idea, then the big problem is that no ought derives from any is. In other words, no fact justifies (or implies) any moral stance whatsoever. So if you're trying to get at that with "justifications," you're trying to suggest a fallacy. There are no justifications of that sort for any moral stance. • 6.8k In other words, humans are selfish assholes, lol. But I agree. Humans, I'd argue, are one of the worst species on the planet lol. All we do is ruin the lives of everything around us, including our own species. It's quite sad actually. The point of my post was not that humans are assholes and among the worst species, ever. Rather, it was to point out that speech isn't sufficient. How did we get from 50% of the population smoking down to 15%? We gave people good reason to quit! Indoor public smoking was banned (people had to go outside and smoke, even if it was frigid); we banned smoking in bars and restaurants. Hefty tax increases were applied to tobacco products. A pack of cigarettes now costs$8 in my state, where it used to cost less than 4 or less. At \$160 for a carton, one begins to find the logic of quitting quite compelling.

If we want to help people avoid obesity, quality foods need to be made more affordable and readily available, and low-food value fats and sugars need to be made less affordable. Curtailing high-fat, high-sugar fast food is an obvious step.

it stands to reason that if a large number of people in a population are alcoholic, then perhaps alcoholic products are too cheap, too affordable, and too available. Prohibition isn't necessary, but some control is.

Similarly with animal vs. plant diets: the best strategy to achieve higher rates of vegetarianism is to make high quality vegetarian foods readily available to population who isn't familiar with them. The "market" can do this, but the government may need to 'prime the pump'.
• 203
In other words, humans are selfish assholes, lol. But I agree. Humans, I'd argue, are one of the worst species on the planet lol. All we do is ruin the lives of everything around us, including our own species. It's quite sad actually.

It seems to me your vegetarianism is self congratulatory, rather than ethical. You have no firm grasp on what ethics are, you haven't argued in those terms, and have been reduced to repeating a mantra about "the needless torture and murder of animals" - and calling the human species selfish assholes.

Clearly, you imagine your preference for animals over humans on such solid ground you have no need to grapple with the idea of ethics as a moral system, in relation to the facts of the real world; in which, despite the meteoric - if somewhat chaotic progress of civilization, billions of people still go to bed hungry.

It wasn't that long ago - the only way of life was rural, and when the crops failed people starved - just as animals do in nature. We drag ourselves out of the dirt, misery and savagery of a state of nature - and some simpering, self congratulatory, pseudo-ethical bigot, would cast all humankind as selfish assholes in comparison to himself. Well now we know!
• 838
What makes you think they would care to switch off a meat based diet for a plant-based diet?

I cast my vote for Professor Crank's post. Yes, a price increase, that's probably the only realistic solution. It's like the carbon tax, a method of accounting for the damage being done, including it in the price of the product. I predict that -34% of all politicians will be voting for an increased tax on meat in the near future. :smile:
• 838
Humans, I'd argue, are one of the worst species on the planet lol.

Not the worst morally, just the worst because we have the most power, thus the most opportunity to wreck everything for other creatures in pursuit of our own interests, as we so poorly perceive them.
• 838
Clearly, you imagine your preference for animals over humans

That's not actually what he's expressing, imho. By arguing for a plant based diet, he's also arguing on behalf of human interests.

What he's struggling with is that he sees our human interest clearly, but can't find an effective method of communicating that interest to those such as yourself who are determined to never get it no matter what.
• 203
Clearly, you imagine your preference for animals over humans

That's not actually what he's expressing, imho. By arguing for a plant based diet, he's also arguing on behalf of human interests. What he's struggling with is that he sees our human interest clearly, but can't find an effective method of communicating that interest to those such as yourself who are determined to never get it no matter what.Jake

The anti-progress misanthrope sides with the misanthropic herbivore, in agreement that:

Humans, I'd argue, are one of the worst species on the planet

So what are the others - as bad or worse? And by what criteria do make such a judgement?
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