• Isaac
    What I do not accept is your blanket statements about vegans.andrewk

    I've not made any blanket statements about vegans (at least not intentionally). I'm making what I think are rational inferences based on the criteria of group membership. If I made the claim "all vegans try to eliminate meat from their diet" you could not reasonably deride that as a disagreeable blanket statement, it just follows from the definition of vegan. I'm saying that if vegans were to make moral claims about their veganism (as some clearly do) I would dispute those moral claims on the grounds I've talked about (primarily uncertainty about net suffering, which I take to be a moral axiom in this context).

    What I'm objecting to here is primarily the equivocation around the moral claim that we should live our lives in such a way as to reduce the suffering of sentient creatures without reducing our own quality of life below a fair standard. That claim as stated I can broadly agree with (although I have issues with it). Veganism, however, by definition, is a theoretical means of achieving this objective, not this objective itself.

    For instance they might say that it is immoral to eat a product the consumption of which leads to a net increase in animal suffering.andrewk

    No, they could not, not as a vegan claim. They might, as people, make such a claim, but that would be unrelated to their veganism, which is the topic of discussion here. As I said, Hitler claimed that the Jews were an inferior race, and he was a vegan. His views on Jews have no place in a discussion about veganism because they are completely unrelated to his being a vegan. Vegans can make all sorts of claims, but the only ones relevant to a discussion about veganism are the ones related to the elimination of animal products.

    A moral relativist is as capable of making a moral claim to another person as a moral absolutist is. If they share the same moral axioms (which seems to be the case here, as most participants in this thread appear to be approaching it from a utilitarian base)andrewk

    This is exactly my issue. We need to share the same moral axioms (I agree that, in this case its theoretically possible that a moral relativist might have posted on the off chance of talking to another relativist who happens to share their axioms, but it makes no difference to my issue).

    If the shared moral axiom is reduction of suffering to a point where it does not impose an unfair hardship, then veganism has work to do that it has not done to present itself as the only rational solution. Namely, how do we best manage the long-term uncertainty in the degree of harm caused. Which is how this whole bit of the debate got started.
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