Speaker: Tom Parr (Essex)
Title: 'Vegetarianism: Moving Beyond the Standard Case'
According to the standard case for vegetarianism, adhering to a meat-based diet is wrongful because doing so contributes, or risks contributing, to wrongful future killing and torture. On this view, when one purchases meat products, the wrongfulness of one’s conduct is explained not by reference to the animals from whom the products in question have been derived, but rather by reference to those that will be harmed in the future in order to satisfy the demand that the purchase creates. Importantly, though, carnivorism does not always increase the demand for future killing and torture. When this is the case, we can respond in one of three ways. First, we could accept that the standard case does not condemn carnivorism, and thus conclude that it is permissible to purchase and to eat meat in these cases. Second, we could argue that, contrary to initial impressions, when it is correctly interpreted, the standard case actually does condemn carnivorism in these cases. Or, third, we could argue that the standard case for vegetarianism should be supplemented with additional moral principles explain why carnivorism is wrong in these cases. Our aim in this paper is to examine the prospects for the third of these strategies.
Convenors: Prof Jeff McMahan and Dr Tom Sinclair
Webpage: Moral Philosophy Seminar