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Attack my argument: morality of eating meat

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 09:47 am
@Setanta,
Sorry, i didn't answer your final question--i believe that Henry's ideal moral response would have been to sacrifice his own life rather than commit murder, but that he was not willing to sacrifice the 6000 or 7000 men of his army on that basis. He was nothing if not moral--he refused before the battle to take the best horses and flee to Calais with his bodyguard: he stated that god would abandon him if he abandoned his men.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:07 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
The second definition is no more arbitrary than the first. The first depends on what one would accept as "rational," the second merely depends on what one would accept as "human." The second is far easier to define.

Easier to define perhaps, but irrelevant in itself. Membership in the species homo sapiens is only relevant because being human is a workable proxy to being rational, and being rational is relevant to having rights. Choosing the second approach, then, does not relieve you from working out what it means to be rational, and why being rational is relevant to having rights. To pretend otherwise is definition-laundering --- too clever by half, and not worthy of your intellect.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:10 am
@Setanta,
What do you think Henry morally should have done, given his situation? And by what rationale?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:11 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
i'm no respecter of Bentham, and in fact am contemptuous of him.
Not to take this thread off the meat hiway completely, but why ?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:16 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
Easier to define perhaps, but irrelevant in itself. Its only relevance is that being human is a workable proxy to being rational, and that being rational is relevant to having rights. Choosing the second approach, then, does not relieve you from working out what it means to be rational, and why being rational is relevant to having rights. To pretend otherwise is definition-laundering --- too clever by half, and not worthy of your intellect.

All you're saying is that the second definition is as arbitrary as the first. I don't disagree, but then that's not what you said before, which is that the second definition was more arbitrary than the first. I'm paying close attention to what you write. I suggest you do likewise.

As for the charge of "definition-laundering," I have no idea what that means. But I think I need to remind you that the syllogism I posted does not necessarily reflect my personal views. If you want to go on with this discussion as a purely academic exercise, I'm happy to play along. I will not, however, tolerate insinuations against my intellectual honesty or challenges to defend a position that I never took.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:19 am
@Thomas,
Morality has little meaning for me, but i consider that people who articulate a morality should adhere to it. Henry should not have ordered the killing of the prisoners if he wished to remain moral on his own terms. Of course, i consider that objective morality does not exist, so i'd have no problem, personally, with making that choice. However, i also believe that Henry should not have taken that little army in harm's way as he did, and believe that he did so from an ill-considered hubris--either that, or he should have taken more care to have provide for contingencies.

I have problems with morality as a concept, because it really cannot be used without the implication of an absolute standard. As far as i can see, no morality has ever been anything but subjective. In Henry's case, i'm even less impressed. He had no problem justifying the murder by slow hanging or burning of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Lollards because they were heretics in his eyes. (The total numbers cannot be reliably ascertained.) That heresy was to deny transubstantiation and the authority of priests. Henry is not a man i could ever admire.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:30 am
@farmerman,
His was goofy--he decided what human nature was, on no particularly justifiable basis, and then defined utility on that basis. His "panopticon" was institutionalized torture on a large scale (the first panoticon prison was in Pennsylvania--Philadelphia, i believe). His contention was that men kept in total isolation in his system would have no choice but to reflect on their wickedness, and would thereby be brought to repentance. It seems clear to me that he knew nothing about human nature. His felicific calculus, with it's dozen or so pains and pleasures was a work of pure fantasy, and no sound basis for writing laws. Once again, he resolutely ignored or was ignorant of human nature.

I find his principles of liberalism and "welfarism" to have been reasonable, but they were not original to him, and would have been articulated and acted upon without him. Much good can be said of him, of course--but i despise that late 18th century notion that human affairs can be reduced a handful of clever axioms, to some mathematical expressions.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:30 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
As for the charge of "definition-laundering," I have no idea what that means.

"I define the class of 'evildoers' to comprise all serial murderers in America, plus joefromchicago. Evildoers, as a class, deserve capital punishment. Joefromchicago, being a member of the class, therefore deserves capital punishment."

This manifests a form of intellectual cheating that I call definition laundering. It is analogous to saying this:

"I define the class of rational beings to comprise every individual capable of reasoning, plus all members of the species homo sapiens incapable of reasoning. As a class, rational beings possess rights. Humans incapable of reasoning, being members of the class, therefore possess rights."

Like the first example of definition laundering, this one projects an aura of logic and intellectual rigor. But it's just faking it. It's cheating. And this is what makes approach #2 arbitrary.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:40 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
His was goofy--he decided what human nature was, on no particularly justifiable basis, and then defined utility on that basis. His "panopticon" was institutionalized torture on a large scale (the first panoticon prison was in Pennsylvania--Philadelphia, i believe). His contention was that men kept in total isolation in his system would have no choice but to reflect on their wickedness, and would thereby be brought to repentance.

Not true. Bentham's panopticon has nothing to do with isolation. See Wikipedia, under "Panopticon":

Quote:
The Panopticon is widely, but erroneously, believed to have influenced the design of Pentonville Prison in North London, Armagh Gaol in Northern Ireland, and Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. These, however, were Victorian examples of the Separate system, which was more about prisoner isolation than prisoner surveillance; in fact, the separate system makes surveillance quite difficult.

Source
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 10:50 am
@Thomas,
From your source, quoting Bentham:

"a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example."

Consider me unimpressed by allegations of Mr. Bentham's innocence.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2012 12:21 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
"I define the class of 'evildoers' to comprise all serial murderers in America, plus joefromchicago. Evildoers, as a class, deserve capital punishment. Joefromchicago, being a member of the class, therefore deserves capital punishment."

That's a perfectly logical statement. The question remains whether the distinction is defensible, not whether we are entitled to make distinctions in the first place.

Thomas wrote:
This manifests a form of intellectual cheating that I call definition laundering.

Call it what you will. If you don't like the definition, offer a better one.

Frankly, I don't see why the proposition "this person isn't rational, so he has no rights" is any less arbitrary than the proposition "this rabbit isn't a member of a class that is capable of rationality, so it has no rights." If you think the former is a better way to proceed than the latter on a utilitarian basis, however, I'd be interested in knowing why.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 10:38 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Thomas wrote:
"I define the class of 'evildoers' to comprise all serial murderers in America, plus joefromchicago. Evildoers, as a class, deserve capital punishment. Joefromchicago, being a member of the class, therefore deserves capital punishment."

That's a perfectly logical statement. The question remains whether the distinction is defensible, not whether we are entitled to make distinctions in the first place.

That's not the issue. The issue in the example I made up is that it fails to make a relevant distinction but pretends to do it anyway. That's logical malpractice. The second approach you suggested has the same problem. It pretends that being rational is necessary for having rights, but accords rights to humans without reason anyway. That, too, is logical malpractice, no matter if you believe that rationality is relevant to having rights.

joefromchicago wrote:
Frankly, I don't see why the proposition "this person isn't rational, so he has no rights" is any less arbitrary than the proposition "this rabbit isn't a member of a class that is capable of rationality, so it has no rights."

If one puts it that way, it isn't. But that's not how your second approach is put.

joefromchicago wrote:
If you think the former is a better way to proceed than the latter on a utilitarian basis, however, I'd be interested in knowing why.

Going by your recent post's way of putting it, there is no difference, whether you're a utilitarian or not.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:29 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
The second approach you suggested has the same problem. It pretends that being rational is necessary for having rights, but accords rights to humans without reason anyway. That, too, is logical malpractice, no matter if you believe that rationality is relevant to having rights.

I'm sure the original poster will be interested in knowing that. As for me, I'm tired of being asked to defend a position that isn't mine.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 02:31 pm
@joefromchicago,
Fair enough.
0 Replies
 
BobbyBlank
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2012 12:19 pm
You guys need to apply a certain razor to your arguments. Less is always more.

The argument for the eating of animals is simple. You are a omnivore, nature made you thus. Like most predators, you have your eyes in the front, you have canine teeth and you need proteins provided my animal flesh in order to maintain health.

The argument is simple we are animals and like our relatives the chimpanzee we are meat eaters, meat is a perfectly natural part of our diet, nature attests to this. And nothing natural can be immoral.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2012 01:20 pm
@BobbyBlank,
Of course there isn't any immorality in eating meat the immorality goes on abusing it given the amount of fresh water and nourishment taken to raise it as in the way we deal with the animals we eat...I particularly feel sorry for how Pigs are treated in slaughterhouses once they are highly intelligent creatures...(similar to dogs IQ)
Other then that I fully agree with you.
0 Replies
 
 

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