vegan philosophy
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08-08-2014, 03:06 PM (This post was last modified: 08-08-2014 06:44 PM by cjlr.)
RE: vegan philosophy
(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  
(08-08-2014 01:26 PM)cjlr Wrote:  I find that only results when one insists that different morals are better or worse. I have no problem with inevitable disagreement.

Fair enough.

Indeed. And to introduce anecdata, I - and others - have experienced a number of highly judgemental self-identified vegans. Such as in this very thread:
(07-08-2014 08:45 PM)Seikilos Wrote:  When I see people making fun of vegans, it's hard for me not to imagine them wearing exactly the same smug smirks and teasing abolitionists, suffragettes, etc.

(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  
Quote:I find "want" in that context to be undue personification. Cows are not self-aware; they cannot possess an understanding of death. They respond to stimuli by trying to stay alive, sure - but all life does that, from prokaryotes to us.

These are all trivially true, yes. I acknowledge your issues with the term "want", but you might acknowledge that, in the context of the motivations of a cow, "want" is the most appropriate world available to us. To better define it, "want" in this context is meant to mean "apparent desire or motivation for".

The reason I ask this is because our perception of what the cow wants or does not want is the entire driving force of our empathy. I think for nearly all people it is pretty easy to tell that the cow would prefer to stay alive, which is why it makes most of us uncomfortable to watch it die.

I agree in part, but it feels like there's some implicit conflation there.

A cow is not self-aware and has possesses knowledge of morality. It responds to pain and distress and that usually triggers human empathy (it certainly does mine) but dying is not the same thing.

(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  
Quote:I don't know that it's any more justifiable to paint all vegans with the same brush any more than it is all atheists - beyone one narrow criteria, what do they necessarily have in common?

What that leaves is whether one accepts or rejects any number of possible justifications.

I think I made some fairly safe assumptions, but fair enough, some vegans may see it differently, or prefer to define those ideas in a different way.

I drift into plural pronouns myself when my rhetoric skews, shall we say, more professorial, but it's generally bad form.

(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  
Quote:Yes, but merely saying "it's bad" does not clarify what about it is bad, and therefore, does not address what would need to be done to make it not bad...

The general feeling I get from this post is that you would like to better define terms. This is a philosophical discussions, that is warranted. Keep in mind any terms I define here are going to be subject to the same broad strokes you identified before.

I am curious as to the definitions you're using, but yes, of course they're going to contain some subjective elements.

(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  "Bad" is that which needlessly causes harm. Needlessly is what could be reasonably determined as preventable or without adequate justification. Harm is death or what could be interpreted as physical or social stress (ex. pain, ex. separating mother from young).

I could go on to define "social stress" and "pain". I think for the purposes of this discussion these can be what would seem empathetically apparent as "pain" and "social stress".

Well, words like "needless" and "adequate" certainly leave room for interpretation.
Tongue

(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  
Quote:Yes. Hence my original post in the thread.

And if it's arbitrary like you just said, there's no point arguing with each other over where that line is. I still find it interesting to discuss, but to judge people for happening to draw it in a slightly different place is wholly insufferable.

There is no judgement here. This is a discussion. An intellectual exercise.

Didn't say you were! Just that it'd be insufferable.
Wink

And I don't think I am judging here either (but I am not exactly an unbiased observer of myself).

(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  Murder, rape, and theft all take place along a continuum. There are some kinds of murder we are very certain to call murder, and there are some instances where causing a person's death doesn't necessarily constitute murder, or even wrong doing. This is the nature of morally principled base discussions. There is a grey area, and it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location of any "dividing line", but a dividing line certainly exists.

I would agree that it very likely exists for most people.

The next question is inevitably so what?

(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  
Quote:And that only brings us back full circle. What is "harm"? What is "welfare"? What animals deserve what treatment in what contexts?

Those remain opinions subject to widely varying premises and interpretation.

That is the crux of it, yes. However, this is a the nature of all discussions about morality and ethics. I acknowledged earlier that all morality is subjective, and I will further acknowledge that is is also not empirical. Nevertheless, there are many ethical and moral positions you and I would emphatically agree upon, which, upon further inspection, are justified by rational arguments based on moral and ethical principles.

Sure, and by and large I find substantial merit in the justifications we've discussed. In particular I believe that the overconsumption of meat by the wealthier segment of the global population leads to a great many environmental problems, and that the scale of operations necessary to meet that demand are often inhumane.

I also happen to think that full-bore veganism is not a justifiable response.

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08-08-2014, 05:16 PM
RE: vegan philosophy
(08-08-2014 03:06 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  Fair enough.

Indeed. And to introduce anecdata, I - and others - have experienced a number of highly judgemental self-identified vegans. Such as in this very thread:
(07-08-2014 08:45 PM)Seikilos Wrote:  When I see people making fun of vegans, it's hard for me not to imagine them wearing exactly the same smug smirks and teasing abolitionists, suffragettes, etc.

I can certainly appreciate that. I understand and empathize with Seikilos sentiments, event If I don't think it is very conducive for a good conversations. I am sure you can appreciate how some of the comments made in this thread and others might come off as a tad dismissive, and perhaps worse.

Quote:
(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  These are all trivially true, yes. I acknowledge your issues with the term "want", but you might acknowledge that, in the context of the motivations of a cow, "want" is the most appropriate world available to us. To better define it, "want" in this context is meant to mean "apparent desire or motivation for".

The reason I ask this is because our perception of what the cow wants or does not want is the entire driving force of our empathy. I think for nearly all people it is pretty easy to tell that the cow would prefer to stay alive, which is why it makes most of us uncomfortable to watch it die.

I agree in part, but it feels like there's some implicit conflation there.

A cow is not self-aware and has possesses knowledge of morality. It responds to pain and distress and that usually triggers human empathy (it certainly does mine) but dying is not the same thing.

I don't believe that cows lament their own deaths no. However, just because an animal is too stupid to appreciate its own demise, doesn't mean its death is any less regrettable. In so far as our empathy is concerned, pain and death illicit in us a very similar response.

Quote:
(08-08-2014 02:17 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  "Bad" is that which needlessly causes harm. Needlessly is what could be reasonably determined as preventable or without adequate justification. Harm is death or what could be interpreted as physical or social stress (ex. pain, ex. separating mother from young).

I could go on to define "social stress" and "pain". I think for the purposes of this discussion these can be what would seem empathetically apparent as "pain" and "social stress".

Well, words like "needless" and "adequate" certainly leave room for interpretation.
Tongue

Of course. We could end up in an infinite regress of defining terms, and defining terms within the definition of our terms, and so on. I think we more or less understand each other at this point, though.

The theory of it can only take us so far. These vague and inspecific terms will contract and expand to mean different things depending on which specifics you are talking about. This is the best I can come up with in the general sense.

Quote:I would agree that it very likely exists for most people.

The next question is inevitably so what?

So these are the philosophical underpinnings of veganism; the what and the why of my beliefs. If the question you are asking is "so what do you want to do about it?, then, if you like, we can turn our discussion to the more pragmatic side of thing. We can talk about the policy and the methodology, although it might be the case that you know more than I do and have more to teach me than I you. To be vague and inspecific about it, here are a handful of possible solutions:

Everyone abandons meat and becomes vegan: certainly my preference, and I think arguably offers the most benefits.

Pass legislation to increase the quality of care for animal livestock: Few if any benefits for people. Could increase costs. Should improve quality of life for animals.

People switch to grass fed cows, free range chickens, ect (ethical farmers): Likely would benefit animals. Might have a modest benefits for the environment. Would likely increase costs.

Among many other possible solutions and proposals; including do nothing.

Quote:
Quote:And that only brings us back full circle. What is "harm"? What is "welfare"? What animals deserve what treatment in what contexts?

Those remain opinions subject to widely varying premises and interpretation.
Quote:That is the crux of it, yes. However, this is a the nature of all discussions about morality and ethics. I acknowledged earlier that all morality is subjective, and I will further acknowledge that is is also not empirical. Nevertheless, there are many ethical and moral positions you and I would emphatically agree upon, which, upon further inspection, are justified by rational arguments based on moral and ethical principles.

Sure, and by and large I find substantial merit in the justifications we've discussed. In particular I believe that the overconsumption of meat by the wealthier segment of the global population leads to a great many environmental problems, and that the scale of operations necessary to meet that demand are often inhumane.

I also happen to think that full-bore veganism is not a justifiable response.

I think there is a difference between "I don't agree" and "veganism is not justified as a response". I think veganism is certainly "justified" in the sense that there are many sentimental and pragmatic reasons to adopt it, but you might "disagree" in that you do not feel it complies with your individual morality and code of ethics.
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08-08-2014, 11:15 PM
RE: vegan philosophy
(08-08-2014 05:16 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  I think there is a difference between "I don't agree" and "veganism is not justified as a response". I think veganism is certainly "justified" in the sense that there are many sentimental and pragmatic reasons to adopt it, but you might "disagree" in that you do not feel it complies with your individual morality and code of ethics.

As soon as it becomes an individual choice thing, IMO there's virtually zero obligation to be logical about it. I could be an anti colour Blue activist and not wear blue clothing or go out during the day (because the sky is blue)...

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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09-08-2014, 10:34 AM
RE: vegan philosophy
I don't know a lot about this but I question the health of vegans.
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