What Would the Virtuous Person Eat? The Case for Virtuous Omnivorism

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 34 (3):1-19 (2021)
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Would the virtuous person eat animals? According to some ethicists, the answer is a resounding no, at least for the virtuous person living in an affluent society. The virtuous person cares about animal suffering, and so, she will not contribute to practices that involve animal suffering when she can easily adopt a strict plant-based diet. The virtuous person is temperate, and temperance involves not indulging in unhealthy diets, which include diets that incorporate animals. Moreover, it is unjust for an animal to be killed for food when this is unnecessary. By contrast, I argue that the virtuous person in an affluent society would eat animals, at least sometimes. I explain how the very virtues thought to motivate “virtuous modest veganism”—compassion, temperance, and justice—motivate the virtuous person to consume some animals.



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Christopher A. Bobier
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Citations of this work

Is a vegetarian diet morally safe?Christopher A. Bobier - forthcoming - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie.
The Problem of Justifying Animal-Friendly Animal Husbandry.Konstantin Deininger - 2022 - Transforming Food Systems: Ethics, Innovation and Responsibility.

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References found in this work

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 2004 - Univ of California Press.
The case for animal rights.Tom Regan - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring ethics: an introductory anthology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 425-434.

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