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Nonideal Ethics and Arguments against Eating Animals

Bob Fischer

Environmental Values 28 (2019): 429-448. doi: 10.3197/096327119X15576762300695

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Arguments for veganism don't make many vegans, or even many who think they ought to be vegans, at least when they are written by philosophers. Those written by others - such as Jonathan Safran Foer - seem to do a bit better. Why? To answer this question, I sketch a theory of ordinary moral argumentation that highlights the importance of meaning-based considerations when arguing that people ought to act in ways that deviate from normal expectations for behaviour. In particular, I outline an eclectic theory, where we draw on a variety of moral frameworks and don't assume that morality is generally overriding. I suggest that meaning-based considerations help us sort through the array of reasons available to us, as well as explain why, in a particular case, what we ought to do morally is what we ought to do all things considered.


Veganism, Jonathan Safran Foer, nonideal theory

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Editorial: Questions of Knowledge and Non-Knowledge Marion Hourdequin

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