RE: Vegetarianism vs Omnivoreism .... discussions btw Kichi and bennyboy
22nd February 2014, 20:51
(This post was last modified: 22nd February 2014, 20:57 by bennyboy. )
(22nd February 2014, 16:43)rasetsu Wrote: I just wonder if the metric of suffering isn't more concerned with protecting the feelings of the vegetarian, rather than that of the animals.
I think that's probably true. Many of our ideas about what is wrong are probably propagated due to the sympathetic suffering of observers with regard to the prime suffering of others. For example, rape laws and chastity laws are probably an emotional response by the parents of girls, especially the fathers, than the girls themselves.
Quote:I don't know what a chicken feels. I don't know what its suffering means. But the typical vegetarian stance appears founded on a reaction to emotional revulsion, rather than a consistent ethical framework.
Yes. Changes in moral ideas are probably almost rooted in somebody's feelings about things. The disconnect is that at the beginning of a change in ethics at a social level, it may be that not all have the same emotional reaction.
For example, how many Afghan muslim men give a shit if other men beat their daughters? I don't know the answer, but it's obviously less than in the States or Canada.
Quote: It's hard, I think, because at this time, ethics, in my view, faces a crisis. The traditional foundations of ethics appear flawed, so people are hunting for replacements. An ethics based on compassion is very popular, and superficially seems compelling; I just don't think that this seeming superficial rationality of the position holds up under scrutiny. I'd be the first to admit that there are unanswered questions in my ethics, but I think an ethics based on empathy is a dry hole.
Well, ethics must be based on some kind of value. And since there is no objective value, it must be an arbitrary. So where do arbitrary values come? From people's world views interacting with their subjective experiences, i.e. ideas interacting with feelings.
To put it simply, if people lacked the capacity to care about anything, they wouldn't make rules about anything, either personal mores or societal ethics. They'd just bump around doing stuff until they died. For example, if a girl and her parents didn't have an emotional reaction to her being raped, there would never have been laws about rape. If slave-owner's wives or non-slave-owners didn't have an emotional reaction to the plight of slaves, there would never have been changes in the US of laws about slavery.
Vegetarianism is a highly interesting issue, because it's a transitional ethic: many people have strong emotional reactions to meat-eating on both sides of the issue, and some do not. Let's go back to Afghanistan, where a husband beating his wife will bring a broad range of reactions from his compatriots, from "serves the bitch right, I'm sure," to "Allah forbid, no wonder the civilized world thinks muslims are barbarians," to "meh. What's for lunch?" (no, I'm not saying meat-eating is wife-beating. I'm just saying that they are both unresolved ethics in their social contexts)
Quote: Empathy is a useful guide to moral judgements, but a highly fallible one, and as such it more "points toward the foundations of ethics" than suffices as a foundation for ethics itself.
Two points about that:
1) What other system could you use?
2) Isn't even the decision to use an objective metric just rooted in other types of feeling? For example, highly cerebral people might see themselves as superior due to their relative lack of strong emotions, or their ability to control emotions; but their motivation in changing the metric of ethics may be rooted in feelings of annoyance caused by people they consider inferior to themselves, or of revulsion to arriving at decisions about things by non-objective processes. If there were no emotions evolved, then from whence comes the motivation to institute a change in the metric?