Eating meat as a morally permissible moral mistake

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many people who are vegetarians for moral reasons nevertheless accommodate the buying and eating of meat in many ways. They go to certain restaurants in deference to their friends’ meat-eating preferences; they split restaurant checks, subsidizing the purchase of meat; and they allow money they share with their spouses to be spent on meat. This behavior is puzzling. If someone is a moral vegetarian-that is, a vegetarian for moral reasons-then it seems that the person must believe that buying and eating meat is morally wrong. But if someone believes that a practice is morally wrong, it seems she should also believe that accommodating and supporting that practice is morally wrong; many moral vegetarians seem not to believe this. In this chapter, I will offer a solution to this puzzle: I will offer a possible explanation of why people who are vegetarians for moral reasons nevertheless do accommodate the buying and eating of meat. I will offer an explanation of this accommodation behavior on which it is reasonable and it makes sense. I will argue that moral vegetarians may see the buying and eating of meat as a morally permissible moral mistake. They may see the practice as one that one should not engage in, for moral reasons, but that is not morally wrong. Thus, they may see their accommodation of the practice as accommodation of behavior that is not morally wrong, while it is still the case that they are moral vegetarians who see themselves as required to be vegetarians. 1 I will begin my discussion with an examination of the ethics of buying and eating meat. In order to know what moral positions might lie behind the accommodation practices of moral vegetarians, we must directly examine the morality of the buying and eating of meat. Later, I will explain the notion of a morally permissible moral mistake in more detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhilosophy Comes to Dinner
Subtitle of host publicationArguments About the Ethics of Eating
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages215-231
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781136578076
ISBN (Print)9780415806824
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities

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