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Veganism beyond Diet
Basic philosophical themes in animal ethics

Patrizia Setola
Ethics
• Ethics or moral philosophy = branch of philosophy
concerned with issues of rightness and justice, or fairness
 I...
Ethical Veganism
•Veganism is part of an ethical stance
which rejects the view of sentient beings
as commodity
•Ethical ve...
Aristotle
(384–322 BC)
•Animals have sense
perception but lack reason
•Animals thus exist for the
use of humans (the only
...
Judaico-Christian tradition
• For the Bible, God created humans in his own image and free to use
natural resources – inclu...
René Descartes (16
century French philosopher):
1.

2.

Language is the only
evidence of mind
(thought, reason, and
feelin...
René Descartes

animals are just machines,
therefore
they don‟t deserve moral concern
Immanuel Kant
„Animals are ... merely
as means to an end.
That end is man‟

(Lectures in Ethics,
1780)
Rationality in Animals?
Betty, The New Caledonian Crow
Alternative views
Pythagoras
• Pythagoras's school (sixth century
BC, Magna Grecia) advocated a refusal
to eat meat or to offer blood sacrif...
Jeremy Bentham
(1748-1832)
„The question is not,
can they think
nor can they talk
but can they suffer‟
(1780)
David Hume (1711-1776)
„Animals undoubtedly feel‟ (1742)
• Sympathy is the source of moral thought
• It can be extended to...
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
• Rejects reason, autonomy, selfconsciousness, and power as
requirements for moral concern...
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

• Humans evolved from other animal species by natural selection
• Animals’ and humans’ capacit...
Charles Darwin
„The expression of the emotions in man and animals‟ (1782)
Eastern philosophies: Ahimsa
• The Indian traditions of Jainism, Hinduism, and
Buddhism accept the doctrine of ahimsa
Non...
Native Americans
•Nature is animated by spirit
•Spiritual view of animal
life, which is owed respect
•It‟s however allowed...
Contemporary views on
animals
Behaviourism
Input
(Stimulus)

Black
box

Output
(Response)

The predominant
scientific theory in the 1st
part of the 20th...
Cognitive Ethology
•In 1976 Donald Griffin publishes
„The Question of Animal
Awareness‟
Animal behaviour can be studied i...
Peter Singer
„Animal Liberation‟
(1975)
The start of rigorous
philosophical literature on
the moral status of
animals
Peter Singer
• Exposed shocking cruelty to animals used in modern farms and
laboratories

• Philosophical framework inspir...
Speciesism (Richard Ryder)
• Racism = privileging the
interests of one ethnic group
• Sexism = privileging the
interests o...
Peter Singer, Welfarism, and Vegetarianism
• Singer does not rule out the use of animals
− It is possible to use animals f...
Tom Regan – Animal Rights
„The Case for Animal Rights‟
(1983)
•To achieve justice for animals we
need to recognise their r...
Singer versus Regan
Singer
• Moral status is rooted in sentience
• Human use of animals permitted if
their interests are c...
Gary L. Francione

„We must be clear that veganism is the unequivocal baseline of anything
that deserves to be called an “...
Joan Dunayer
•Equal right to moral consideration and
legal protection to all animals (all sentient
beings)

•Strong opposi...
Mark Rowlands
• John Rawls, „Theory of Justice‟ (1971) – social
contract as the basis for a just society
• In the „origina...
Mark Rowlands

• Under the „veil of ignorance‟ one
does not know which species
they belong to either
 It makes sense to e...
Ethic of Care
„The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics’ (2006)
Contributions by Carol Adams, Josephine Donovan,

Mart...
Ethic of Care
„The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics’ (2006)
- Contributions by Carol Adams, Josephine Donovan, Mar...
Carol Adams
•Consumption of meat has become central to
the organization and economy of human
societies
•Access to meat has...
Cora Diamond
• „Eating Animals and Eating People‟ (1978)
- Singer‟s and Regan‟s arguments for vegetarianism are wrong:
- T...
Workshop
Questions
Humane treatment
• Wouldn‟t it be ok to eat animals who have had a
good life and have been painlessly killed?
• And what a...
Eating animals
• Wouldn‟t it be ok to eat animals who have died of a
natural death? Or by accident (e.g. road-kill)? Why?
Extinction of domestic animals
• In her book “When Species Meet,” Donna Haraway describes the
vegan logic of avoidance as ...
Are all animals equal?
• Should we protect mosquitoes, leeches, and other parasites? Where
do you draw the line? What crit...
Language
Can you think of ways in which everyday language
belittles and trivializes animals and animal-related
issues?
Campaigns
• What do you think of single issue campaigns?
Plants‟ rights
• How would you answer to those who ask, „But what
about plants, shouldn‟t we give them rights too?
Persuasion
• Are some methods of persuading other people to
adopt a vegan ethos more effective than others?
• If so, can y...
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Veganism Beyond Diet (3)

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Presentation by Patrizia Setola for the Vegan Information Project's World Vegan Month 2013 events.

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Veganism Beyond Diet (3)

  1. 1. Veganism beyond Diet Basic philosophical themes in animal ethics Patrizia Setola
  2. 2. Ethics • Ethics or moral philosophy = branch of philosophy concerned with issues of rightness and justice, or fairness  It involves the development of systematic approaches to determine „right‟ or „wrong‟ behaviour (Rawls, 2000) • Together with religion and science, it has had a major influence on the development of attitudes towards animals
  3. 3. Ethical Veganism •Veganism is part of an ethical stance which rejects the view of sentient beings as commodity •Ethical vegans do not only follow a vegan diet, rather they oppose the use of animals or animal products for any purpose “The doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.‟‟ (1951) •The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 when he co-founded the British Vegan Society
  4. 4. Aristotle (384–322 BC) •Animals have sense perception but lack reason •Animals thus exist for the use of humans (the only rational animals) oNB also, on the basis of reason men are superior to women some humans are suited to be slaves
  5. 5. Judaico-Christian tradition • For the Bible, God created humans in his own image and free to use natural resources – including animals – for their own purposes • Christian philosophers since the Middle Ages (Augustine, Thomas Aquinas) have claimed that animals lack reason and are therefore subordinate • Judaism has placed greater importance in minimizing pain caused to animals
  6. 6. René Descartes (16 century French philosopher): 1. 2. Language is the only evidence of mind (thought, reason, and feeling) Only humans possess language Conclusion: animals lack reason & feeling th
  7. 7. René Descartes animals are just machines, therefore they don‟t deserve moral concern
  8. 8. Immanuel Kant „Animals are ... merely as means to an end. That end is man‟ (Lectures in Ethics, 1780)
  9. 9. Rationality in Animals? Betty, The New Caledonian Crow
  10. 10. Alternative views
  11. 11. Pythagoras • Pythagoras's school (sixth century BC, Magna Grecia) advocated a refusal to eat meat or to offer blood sacrifice • Pythagoras believed that - the human soul could transmigrate to humans or other animals after death - the ultimate goal was to free the soul from earthly existence and reunite with its divine origins
  12. 12. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) „The question is not, can they think nor can they talk but can they suffer‟ (1780)
  13. 13. David Hume (1711-1776) „Animals undoubtedly feel‟ (1742) • Sympathy is the source of moral thought • It can be extended to sensitive creatures • But justice only concerns humans (equal in power)
  14. 14. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) • Rejects reason, autonomy, selfconsciousness, and power as requirements for moral concern • Moral living requires compassion for all beings who can suffer • But humans deserve higher moral concern in virtue of their intelligence (thus increased capacity for suffering)
  15. 15. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) • Humans evolved from other animal species by natural selection • Animals’ and humans’ capacities differ in degree not in kind
  16. 16. Charles Darwin „The expression of the emotions in man and animals‟ (1782)
  17. 17. Eastern philosophies: Ahimsa • The Indian traditions of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism accept the doctrine of ahimsa Non harm to all living things Reverence to all life
  18. 18. Native Americans •Nature is animated by spirit •Spiritual view of animal life, which is owed respect •It‟s however allowed to kill and consume animals
  19. 19. Contemporary views on animals
  20. 20. Behaviourism Input (Stimulus) Black box Output (Response) The predominant scientific theory in the 1st part of the 20th century −„Inner states‟ of animals (and humans) cannot be studied
  21. 21. Cognitive Ethology •In 1976 Donald Griffin publishes „The Question of Animal Awareness‟ Animal behaviour can be studied in the context of evolutionary theory „Inner states‟ (beliefs, desires, feelings, etc.) used to explain behaviour
  22. 22. Peter Singer „Animal Liberation‟ (1975) The start of rigorous philosophical literature on the moral status of animals
  23. 23. Peter Singer • Exposed shocking cruelty to animals used in modern farms and laboratories • Philosophical framework inspired by Bentham o Utilitarian – goal: to maximize overall welfare o Pleasure and pain (sentience) as requirements of moral consideration o Only sentient beings can have interests o Principle of equal consideration – when deciding on our actions, we should consider equally the interests of all beings (human and non human alike) who are involved  Different from equal treatment
  24. 24. Speciesism (Richard Ryder) • Racism = privileging the interests of one ethnic group • Sexism = privileging the interests of one gender • Speciesism = privileging the interests of one species
  25. 25. Peter Singer, Welfarism, and Vegetarianism • Singer does not rule out the use of animals − It is possible to use animals for human purposes as long as: a. Their interests have been considered equally b. Their use maximizes overall utility • The focus is on their treatment (welfare) • He describes himself as a „flexible vegan‟ • His argument for vegetarianism is on utilitarian grounds, namely − in raising animals for our food, we cause them more suffering than we gain by eating their flesh
  26. 26. Tom Regan – Animal Rights „The Case for Animal Rights‟ (1983) •To achieve justice for animals we need to recognise their rights •The most basic right is to respectful treatment One must never be used merely as a means to secure the best overall consequences •Thus, some uses of animals are ruled out categorically
  27. 27. Singer versus Regan Singer • Moral status is rooted in sentience • Human use of animals permitted if their interests are considered equally and aggregate welfare increases as a result • Vegetarianism (equal consideration of interests) • In a life-boat situation humans take the precedence Regan • Moral status is rooted in being the subject-of-a-life • Any form of exploitation that treats animals as mere tools is condemned • Veganism • In a life-boat situation humans take the precedence
  28. 28. Gary L. Francione „We must be clear that veganism is the unequivocal baseline of anything that deserves to be called an “animal rights” movement. If “animal rights” means anything, it means that we cannot morally justify any animal exploitation; we cannot justify treating animals as human resources, however “humane” that treatment may be.‟ (from Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach, blog post, 2012)
  29. 29. Joan Dunayer •Equal right to moral consideration and legal protection to all animals (all sentient beings) •Strong opposition to „bans‟ within the status quo (welfare regulations) •Language perpetuates speciesism (the „oppressor‟s language‟)
  30. 30. Mark Rowlands • John Rawls, „Theory of Justice‟ (1971) – social contract as the basis for a just society • In the „original position‟ the contracting parties are under a „veil of ignorance‟  This ensures that they choose impartially fair and just principles • But animals are left out from the contract, since: I. II. Mark with Brenin They do not contribute to society They are not „moral persons‟
  31. 31. Mark Rowlands • Under the „veil of ignorance‟ one does not know which species they belong to either  It makes sense to extend justice to animals
  32. 32. Ethic of Care „The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics’ (2006) Contributions by Carol Adams, Josephine Donovan, Marti Kheel, Lori Gruen, et al. • The oppression of animals and women is interrelated (and so is their liberation) • Reason has been overvalued in traditional Western philosophy, to the detriment of our feelings of care for others • Justice – determined by our care for others - should be extended to those we care for (animals)
  33. 33. Ethic of Care „The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics’ (2006) - Contributions by Carol Adams, Josephine Donovan, Marti Kheel, Lori Gruen, et al. • Emotion and feeling valued over reason • Importance of  Relationships and partiality  Context over abstraction
  34. 34. Carol Adams •Consumption of meat has become central to the organization and economy of human societies •Access to meat has been traditionally controlled by men (hunters) •Men‟s control over meat supply ensured high power and elevated status over women •The link between meat-eating and male superiority survives in modern societies Meat eating identified with virility, strength, power, and maleness
  35. 35. Cora Diamond • „Eating Animals and Eating People‟ (1978) - Singer‟s and Regan‟s arguments for vegetarianism are wrong: - The reasons why we do not eat our dead have nothing to do with interests which warrant protection - a human being is not something to eat, and this is a fundamental feature of what it means to be human - We attribute significance in virtue of our relationships with others (human or non) - The animal as „fellow creature‟ – we share the same vulnerability in life and death
  36. 36. Workshop Questions
  37. 37. Humane treatment • Wouldn‟t it be ok to eat animals who have had a good life and have been painlessly killed? • And what about using animal products which do not involve killing the animal, such as dairy and eggs (as long as the animals are treated humanely)?
  38. 38. Eating animals • Wouldn‟t it be ok to eat animals who have died of a natural death? Or by accident (e.g. road-kill)? Why?
  39. 39. Extinction of domestic animals • In her book “When Species Meet,” Donna Haraway describes the vegan logic of avoidance as subtly supporting extermination. If vegans denounce all possible “uses” of animals, should the animals simply not exist? if there were no uses of animal products, would cows, sheep, chickens go extinct?
  40. 40. Are all animals equal? • Should we protect mosquitoes, leeches, and other parasites? Where do you draw the line? What criteria do you apply for this purpose?
  41. 41. Language Can you think of ways in which everyday language belittles and trivializes animals and animal-related issues?
  42. 42. Campaigns • What do you think of single issue campaigns?
  43. 43. Plants‟ rights • How would you answer to those who ask, „But what about plants, shouldn‟t we give them rights too?
  44. 44. Persuasion • Are some methods of persuading other people to adopt a vegan ethos more effective than others? • If so, can you identify them? • Why do you think they are more effective?
  • nycworldveganday

    Sep. 5, 2014

Presentation by Patrizia Setola for the Vegan Information Project's World Vegan Month 2013 events.

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