A million animals...

Smoon

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Hi there, this is my first post, and I'd like anyone's thoughts on a philosophical conundrum I've been asked by a colleague. The question is: "if I had to eat meat to save a million animal's lives, would you?". This one has me slightly stumped on how to reply! Any ideas? Thanks in advance :)
 

mavrick45

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pragmatically speaking, the life of many outweigh the life of one
 
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Lou

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Hi there, this is my first post, and I'd like anyone's thoughts on a philosophical conundrum I've been asked by a colleague. The question is: "if I had to eat meat to save a million animal's lives, would you?". This one has me slightly stumped on how to reply! Any ideas? Thanks in advance :)
These kind of "philosophical" questions are typically bogus.
Presenting someone with a philosophical conundrum can sometimes lead to people better able to analyze and organize their thinking. Or it might be useful to demonstrate or reveal flaws or assumptions. Does this question appear to do either?

This particular question actually reminds me of a trap that is used to mess with people.

A good example is a very old joke. The joke actually has some historical context. Some people attribute it to Churchill. Some to Shaw.

anyway, it goes like this.

Man to woman: Would you sleep with me for one million dollars?
Woman: Sure.
Man: How about for ten dollars?
Woman: What do you think I am?
Man: We’ve already established what you are. All we’re doing is bargaining about price.​

Its the same thing with the million animals. It's trying to display inconsistency in values or morals.

there is at least one easy way to get out of this trap.
My favorite is the one used by economists.

Now, imagine that you offered me one million dollars to be a garbageman for a year. I would take it. But if you offered me $30K for the same time, I wouldn’t. The fact that I would take a million to be a garbageman doesn’t mean I’m a garbageman. The fact that a woman would take a million dollars to be a prostitute doesn’t mean she’s a prostitute.​

Philosophers actually have a name for this. I forget what it is but I bet later on today one of our resident philosophers will probably chime in.

Another thing about these kinds of questions is that most often they are used by "haters". I associate them with the "desert island" types of questions. They serve no practical value.

Now some philosophical conundrums do have practical value. As I mentioned to help analyze and organize your thinking. This kind of questions usually starts with a terrorist who knows the secret location or a trolley car driving on a track heading towards some people.

Now if you have a mean streak you can actually do a little studying and learn how to defend yourself against this kind of stuff. but for now, I suggest you don't play.
 

Emma JC

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Specious argument? is that the phrase you are looking for @Lou ?

specious argument - an argument that appears good at first view but is really fallacious
argument, statement - a fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true; "it was a strong argument that his hypothesis was true"
vicious circle - an argument that assumes that which is to be proved
straw man, strawman - a weak or sham argument set up to be easily refuted
special pleading - an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence

Emma JC
 

Lou

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I'm pretty sure I was not thinking of specious argument. but I'm glad you brought that up. that's a good one to know. I'm not sure that it is the most appropriate description.

I may have been thinking of a false dichotomy. but I just looked that up and I think the best term to describe this situation is "the false dilemma fallacy"


But maybe not. I'm just an amateur philosopher.

Anyway, I was just trying to come up with some snappy comebacks for Smoon.

"if I had to eat meat to save a million animal's lives, would you?".

Of course, the first one I came up with seems totally obvious: How could that even happen?
 
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Emma JC

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Anyway, I was just trying to come up with some snappy comebacks for Smoon.

"if you had to eat meat to save a million animal's lives, would you?".

Of course, the first one I came up with seems totally obvious: How could that even happen?
Exactly, which is why it is fallacious!

If you could eat no meat and save 10 animals lives in your lifetime, would you?

Emma JC
 
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Forest Nymph

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The reason this problem has no utility is because non human animals don't possess the same ego or worldly power as an evil man.

Sure I'd kill a genocidal maniac, perhaps even someone particularly culpable for climate change, to save a million people.

But eating one pig or cow has no similar outcome. In fact if one human had the power to save a million animals but only on the condition that you eat meat in front of her, there's more utility in offing her than eating the chicken.
 
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