Veganism and Living Well

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (3):405-417 (2012)
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Abstract

I argue that many philosophical arguments for veganism underestimate what is at stake for humans who give up eating animal products. By saying all that’s at stake for humans is taste and characterizing taste in simplistic terms, they underestimate the reasonable resistance that arguments for veganism will meet. Taste, they believe, is trivial. Omnivores, particular those that I label meaningful omnivores, disagree. They believe that eating meat provides a more meaningful meal, though just how this works proves elusive. Meaningful omnivores could find little in the philosophical literature to help them clarify and support their position until recently. A few philosophers have argued that our culinary practices involve something more significant than taste. I categorize these arguments into three kinds. They either argue that culinary practices are a form of artistic achievement, that our diet forms part of our identity, or that a specific diet facilitates honest engagement with the world. Each of these arguments connects some aspect of our culinary practices to living a meaningful life. I examine each argument to see if it can defend the meaningful omnivore’s position. In the end, I conclude that it cannot. Nonetheless, this argument has significant implications for the animal welfare movement. Given the intense suffering caused by contemporary animal agriculture, concern for meaning is not sufficient to justify eating meat and often dairy. Concern for meaning does, however, require that we look for ways to preserve and extend culinary traditions while making them more humane.

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Author's Profile

Christopher Ciocchetti
Centenary College of Louisiana

Citations of this work

Veganism and Children: Physical and Social Well-Being.Marcus William Hunt - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (2):269-291.
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Autonomy, Values, and Food Choice.J. M. Dieterle - 2016 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (3):349-367.

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References found in this work

The Ethics of Identity.Kwame Anthony Appiah - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
The Ethics of Identity.[author unknown] - 2006 - Philosophy 81 (317):539-542.
Moral Vegetarianism from a Very Broad Basis.David DeGrazia - 2009 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2):143-165.
Stages on life's way.Søren Kierkegaard - 1940 - New York,: Schocken Books. Edited by Walter Lowrie.

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