Vegetarianism.

I have had my flirtations with being a vegetarian.  I have thought about it a little, and it seems that the evidence is unequivocally damns carnivorous practices.

But, most people still eat meat, even after hearing the arguments.  I am not special, I just eat less meat because I am used to it.  I also don’t judge people who eat meat, I think its a legitimate choice.

This sort of disgusts me.  I have always subscribed to the belief that if you can’t make a difference, you shouldn’t bother.  I am now starting to doubt this.  First, I am basically becoming an ethical universalist because I think that too often individually rational choices lead to undesirable ends (just one more cookie won’t be bad for me…I can put off homework just one more hour…)  I am still not sure what an individual’s duty ought be in an “unjust” system.

If you would rather continue eating meat without guilt, you might want to skip the rest of my post.  But, I would prefer that you read this article and gave it an honest chance because otherwise (from my perspective) you are being at least somewhat evil.

First, I want to share an interesting thought experiment from this interesting book review.

“How would you judge an artist who mutilated animals in a gallery because it was visually arresting? How riveting would the sound of a tortured animal need to be to make you want to hear it that badly? Try to imagine any end other than taste for which it would be justifiable to do what we do to farmed animals.”

I would be really pissed at a friend who said it was okay to torture pigs for auditory, visual, or sensual pleasure.  Yet, I don’t have a strong emotional reaction to my friend eating animals.  For some reason, taste creates an exemption in my moral intuition.

I think I want that to change.  I will continue doing research, and I may consider becoming a radical animal rights advocate.  I think this is some pretty serious stuff.

Check out this book review, it is pretty interesting.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2009/11/09/091109crbo_books_kolbert

 

One of the most interesting parts is where the author criticizes Michael Pollon’s views in An Omnivore’s Dilemma.  I will write a post on this topic soon.

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2 Responses to Vegetarianism.

  1. mcdonaldb says:

    I like the post. As you know, I was a vegetarian throughout all of high school, but fell off the bandwagon summer after senior year, and I consistently eat meat now. I think about why that is from time to time, and I think there are three reasons for my reversion to meat eating (these are causal, not normative reasons):

    1. Cafeteria food options aren’t great, which makes it hard to be a vegetarian, and I’m lazy.

    2. I never developed a sense of repulsion or disgust at meat eating. My vegetarianism was always completely intellectual – but that made it easy to resume meat eating.

    3. In high school, everyone knew that I was a vegetarian, so they expected me to be a vegetarian. Once people expected me to be a vegetarian, it was really easy to be a vegetarian. Now no one expects me to be a vegetarian. It sounds kind of pathetic when I say it like that, but that really has played a role in my eating habits.

  2. Ross says:

    I think the lack of an intuitive moral revulsion to eating meat is a sufficient reason to continue being a carnivore, given we agree that there are no underlying rational principles governing morality.

    If I were morally repulsed by animal slaughter, though – and I think it’s very likely that I would be if I knew more about it – then I would probably be a vegetarian.

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