Veganism is Deontological

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1,500 words long. 5-10 minutes to read.

Two Philosophies

I think some arguments within the vegan/vegetarian community come down to a difference of fundamental philosophy. Appreciating this might avoid frustration.

Deontology is a philosophy that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules, rather than based on the consequences of the action. This tends to conflict with utilitarianism (a version of consequentialism) which is about the most overall harm. If by killing one innocent person you could save multiple innocent people, deontology says no, but utilitarianism says yes. Who is right is purely subjective and may come down to instinct rather than reason, or be beyond the intellect of most/all humans to resolve.

Veganism is more deontological

I guess most vegans are deontological, but some are utilitarian. You could even argue that veganism is deontological by definition.

What would you eat IF (it’s probably not true) I provided very strong evidence to you that eating rice would cause more harm than eating cheese from a family farm? Utilitarians eat the cheese. Deontological vegans still feel that cheese is just wrong and would likely eat the rice because there are things powerfully morally objectionable about the production of cheese. Or even, for a minority, because they define their veganism dogmatically and don’t want to lose the label of being a vegan.

Can you even be a utilitarian vegan?

Thinking of the above example, utilitarian vegans are perhaps not strictly speaking vegans at all (at least not according to some deontological vegans) and may in practice be vegetarians or flexitarians or something else. There may be too much of a conflict between utilitarianism and veganism for both to exist. However, if the terms utilitarianism and veganism are interpreted as broad guidelines rather than strict doctrines, then you can indeed be both since the conflict between them is not that large.

Is purity or showing flexibility better or worse at influencing others?

A utilitarian might choose to eat bread in a restaurant with friends without asking the waiter if the bread is vegan to avoid making veganism look hard, therefore leading to more animal suffering as one of those friends then decide not to go vegan.

If being 99% vegan is more likely to inspire another person to go 99% vegan, then a greater amount of animal suffering will be avoided than if you go 100% vegan. This argument may or may not be true, but a deontological vegan just doesn’t want this argument to be true. Even it were PROVED true that occasionally eating a factory farmed egg would lead to less suffering in the long run due to better influencing of others, a deontological vegan would still not do it, or if they did they would be very uncomfortable about it.

However there is a counterpoint here: showing that you eat NO animal product at all shows that you take this more seriously and could have a more positive influencing effect as a result. Eating cake made with egg may make you look inconsistent and could make your moral system unattractive since it doesn’t look like a consistent system at all. Deontological vegans are probably nodding here upon reading this, but only because it supports your pre-existing instinct. Not because anyone has ever done any survey that would prove one way or the other who is the better influencer.

Quantifying suffering

Deontological vegans are concerned with whether there is ANY animal suffering at all, and not AS concerned with the amount of suffering. For example they may refuse to eat something with a tiny trace of animal product – even though the difference in animal suffering is tiny and they could reduce animal suffering more by being more careful about selecting plant foods or reducing their carbon footprint.

Vegan deontology is qualitative, whereas the utilitarian approach is sometimes quite quantitative. The utilitarian vegan is far more concerned about factory farmed chickens than animal testing for a toothpaste because the former causes say 1000 times more suffering. A deontological vegan doesn’t see or want to accept that the animal testing to make a toothpaste is far less important, and may be uncomfortable with quantifying things. They are more likely to see both as important issues. A deontological vegan will think, perhaps instinctively, that suffering can’t or shouldn’t be quantified or at least that there is something cold and unpleasant about it.

Veganism vs other issues

Being careful about which shampoo you buy, but taking several long haul flights a year, is perhaps inconsistent if the latter causes much more hurt than the former. The deontological vegan is in danger of spending too large an amount of time becoming ethically perfect in one area and neglecting others. Although, conversely, having simple dogmatic rules gets the deontological vegan the right result most of the time and the simplicity of “no animal product” may make it easier to make a decision on a complex issue and free up more time for other issues.

The utilitarian vegan doesn’t see the point in having excessively strict standards with regard to one area, even though in other areas (zero waste, carbon emissions, human issues) your impact might be much higher, and so is more focused on being an ethical person in general rather than being defined by a vegan philosophy.

However, the deontological vegan is able to point to a good argument by comparing to human examples – for example what if someone who regularly groped women in nightclubs proposed that it is more important that they reduce this activity by 99% and the last 1% obviously doesn’t matter. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and this (possibly) exposes the utilitarian vegans as being a bit speciesist.

“Utilitarian veganism” can just be an excuse for lower standards

Deontological vegans are more consistent.

Utilitarian vegans/vegetarians, in practice, do not always have as high ethical standards. They tend to do things like eat the occasional piece of milk chocolate. While their logical, quantifying approach does tend to clarify to them more easily than deontological vegans that this is clearly a much lesser evil, that doesn’t actually justify it (not even within a utilitarian framework). So utilitarian veganism is associated with lower ethical standards with regards to animal product.

The utilitarian who avoids asking about vegan bread in the restaurant may actually just be trying to avoid awkwardness for their own sake, even if they justify it another way.

Utilitarian “veganism” has slippage risks also. If you permit yourself milk chocolate once, why not again? If you accept a cheese sandwich from your gran so as not to offend her, she may make it for you again next time. Perhaps one day you end up making a cheese sandwich yourself when no-one else is around.

The vegan community

I suspect deontological vegans tend to participate more actively in vegan communities both online and in person and fit in more easily. I suspect some utilitarian/flexible/less strict vegans just suppress some aspects of their true views to fit in. Utilitarian vegans are also appalled by factory farming and don’t feel like they fit into mainstream (non-vegan) culture, but don’t all fully feel like they fit in to vegan communities either.

The very aggressive and annoying vegans (in activism and online) ,especially ones that do things like angrily say someone is not a vegan if they eat honey, are probably mostly deontological vegans. However, some of the very quiet vegans, that don’t even like to explain their reasons for veganism when asked, can also be quite deontological.

The way newbie or transitioning or less confident deontological vegans ask “is x vegan? Can I eat it?” like they’re asking for permission is reminiscent of the way Christians ask their priest/pastor what to do in a given situation. Utilitarians figure it out for themselves: maybe even if that means bending the rules.

Wrong actions vs appropriate emotion

A deontological vegan judges a person’s morality based on whether they do actions that are “wrong” rather than the total amount of harm that they cause.

Who do you think is the better person?
  • Someone who once killed one person deliberately because they got mad in a bar fight and didn’t like them (and does not regret it even a little bit even years later), but once ran into a burning building and saved three people.
  • Someone who has never killed nor saved anyone.
The first person seems to have caused more total good. However, if you are deontological, your feelings about the person in example a) may improve considerably if I had said they deeply regret it. To some utilitarians, that may be less important than the action itself.

Deontological vegans are much more accepting of a fellow vegan that ate cheese five times but felt remorse about it than someone who ate cheese once and felt no regret.

Reason vs emotion

The morality of utilitarianism is driven more by analytical but sometimes cold reasoning whereas the morality of deontological vegans is driven more by emotional, instinctive responses (love, compassion).

Conclusion

I can’t see any way to fundamentally determine that one philosophy is better than the other – I think we should respect both philosophies and try to get along. If we can understand that the opposing viewpoint is based on a fairly valid but different system of ethical values, this can help with mutual respect.

It may be pointless trying to argue with a person using lots of facts and arguments if what is really causing different opinions is a hard to resolve difference in a core system of ethical values.
 
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Sax

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You can't truly know the consequences of your actions with any certainty. Life is a lot more complicated than a philosophical dilemma. If you avoid an action you know to be wrong that's a sure thing, while if you perform an action you know to be wrong with the expectation that will be justified by future outcomes you're placing a bet on your ability to predict outcomes.

Utilitarianism seems to rely on some sort of moral bookkeeping, where a -1 ethical choice is justified by a +2 ethical outcome. I just don't think morality works that way. I don't think that morality can be quantified, and even if it could I don't think that positive and negative cancel each other out. The negativity you contribute to the world continues to exist regardless of the positivity you contribute.
 
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Lou

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Utilitarianism seems to rely on some sort of moral bookkeeping, where a -1 ethical choice is justified by a +2 ethical outcome.

That is not a good understanding of utilitarianism. All ethics attempts to define is "what is good (or right)". and the utilitarian answer is "the most good for the most people".
 
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Actually I think that is a reasonable understanding of utilitarianism, or at least some cases or some aspects of it.
 
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Probability-based judgements are under-rated in my view. Something with a 50% chance of causing 2x can be thought of as equivalent to a 100% chance of x.

If you are doing a -1 ethical thing to cause a +2 you need to be pretty sure the +2 will happen though if the +2 is the max possibility as well as the likely one,

OR the probabilities need to go both way like you could do the -1 even if there a chance of zero benefit provided there is also a similar chance of +5.

I speculate that whether you agree or disagree with the above is not because of your life experience, or the arguments you have, or facts, or studies, but because of something in you that you were born with - the way your brain has always been wired.

I also suspect that there is no definitive resolution to the above that we are capable of.

I'm not quite as confident about any of this as I sound though - it just would have been a boring to read article if I had stuffed it with qualifiers and caveats and maybes.
 

SapphireLightning

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What would you eat IF (it’s probably not true) I provided very strong evidence to you that eating rice would cause more harm than eating cheese from a family farm? Utilitarians eat the cheese. Deontological vegans still feel that cheese is just wrong and would likely eat the rice because there are things powerfully morally objectionable about the production of cheese

I'm going to have to stop you here. You are introducing a false dichotomy, which you also straw-man later in another way later in your post. Veganism is about minimizing harm yes, but proposing "Take one form of harm or the other" forces (in this case) two choices that are not required (outside of forcing it as part of the argument). I would choose neither as that is almost always the option. You do seem to fight for "animal usage" a lot, both here and over at the "other forum", and I have stood back, but seriously, who are you trying to convince? IMHO I see a lot of hypothetical arguments that are based in such false pretenses as a justification for animal use. AKA "A lot of work to avoid eating a veggie burger".
 

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I'm going to have to stop you here. You are introducing a false dichotomy, which you also straw-man later in another way later in your post. Veganism is about minimizing harm yes, but proposing "Take one form of harm or the other" forces (in this case) two choices that are not required (outside of forcing it as part of the argument). I would choose neither as that is almost always the option. You do seem to fight for "animal usage" a lot, both here and over at the "other forum", and I have stood back, but seriously, who are you trying to convince? IMHO I see a lot of hypothetical arguments that are based in such false pretenses as a justification for animal use. AKA "A lot of work to avoid eating a veggie burger".


Yeah...I agree. I think it's because his partner isn't vegan, he looks for a million speculative loopholes for why it's okay.

What we're dealing with here is personal neurosis, which is what makes it absolutely ironic for him to call out deontological vegans as "emotionally driven" or whatever.

To some degree, we're all driven by emotions and/or circumstances, that's just life, and though I'm a very ANGRY vegan by his definition, I'm much much much closer to being a Utilitarian like Singer, who I admire deeply, and have talks with my vegan roomie (who happens to eat honey because she thinks it saves bees, but she's also more WFPB than me, so who's the "better vegan"? Who knows) and I'm pretty much forced to be a Utilitarian as a scientist and someone who will have to work with or near people who practice animal husbandry in grad school.

It doesn't make me any less angry or disgusted by people who are "environmentalists" who continue to eat In n Out beef burgers or professors of Enviro Sci who gossip about a local restaurant's dish with bacon. I'm angry about the blatant disregard of real harm to both animals and humans. The HYPOCRISY!!! I'm not even what I call a "personal purity" vegan (I think this is what he is calling a deontological vegan?) ....I'm not at all alarmed by broke students, homeless people, or single mothers who are vegan eating granola bars from food pantries with traces of whey in them. I'm quite compatible with vegetarians and usually get along with them far better than I get along consistently with meat eaters. I think vegetarians get the overall IDEA better than meat eaters do....it's like, if you're still eating an animal, you clearly don't understand what's going here, I don't care how cruel you think dairy is.

Am I deontological, though, in that I appreciate appropriate emotion? Oh sure. I think intent is half the battle. I don't think it's necessarily a dichotomy, either. I appreciate people who think, who are aware, who are sorry. I honestly think someone who acts but does not feel inside is actually MUCH more reminiscent of the religious than he tries to paint the deontological as being. Organized religion isn't repellant to outsiders or harmful to society because people love Jesus or believe in feeding the poor, it's repellant and harmful when and if and because some religious people follow "rules" without feeling, thinking, or understanding what they're doing.

I used to think if everyone was plant based, it didn't matter WHY, because the outcome was less animals being harmed. A part of me still agrees, but in my observation, people who are plant based for strictly health or dietary reasons are more likely to eat animals again, so it's not even effective. It really is better if at least 50% of the population understands what the hell is going on and why, so the other half can follow for reasons of social norming.
 
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I'm going to have to stop you here. You are introducing a false dichotomy, which you also straw-man later in another way later in your post. Veganism is about minimizing harm yes, but proposing "Take one form of harm or the other" forces (in this case) two choices that are not required (outside of forcing it as part of the argument). I would choose neither as that is almost always the option. You do seem to fight for "animal usage" a lot, both here and over at the "other forum", and I have stood back, but seriously, who are you trying to convince? IMHO I see a lot of hypothetical arguments that are based in such false pretenses as a justification for animal use. AKA "A lot of work to avoid eating a veggie burger".

I agree it's a false choice and there would be a third way. I actually said as much in the first draft of my original post but decided to deleted this to make it more concise. The point is as a thought experiment to illustrate what your core philosophy is.

I'm not even arguing in favour of one philosophy over the other. I am just trying to create an understanding of the two philosophies. The goal of my article is to try and get each side to understand where the other is coming from, and understand that, in some arguments, you either need to address the underlying philosophy of the other person, or accept it.

I do not "fight for animal usage a lot" but we can perhaps agree to disagree on that.
 
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What we're dealing with here is personal neurosis, which is what makes it absolutely ironic for him to call out deontological vegans as "emotionally driven" or whatever.

You seem to think being emotional/instinctive rather than using analytical/reasoning is a negative thing, that the former is worse than the latter. Or maybe you just think that I think that. But I don't. This is well covered in the book "The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt (in one section, the whole book is not about just that). Being emotional/instinctive in your way of thinking can sometimes be better than logical reasoning. For one thing, you get to the answer faster and more efficiently. Sometimes, you may have got to the right answer instinctively because of prior logical reasoning/memory. In other cases it's down to your evolutionary psychology which is not necessarily a bad thing (although sometimes it is). In some cases people that act emotionally, on instinct, have already worked out the same correct answer you would get from logical reasoning. This could be because instinct is sometimes subconscious logical reasoning, or for some other reason.

I think emotional/instinctive reasoning tends to work better when we have larger numbers of little decisions to make (it's impractical to reason out all the hundreds of little decisions we take each day) and when we need a fast decision (when there is no time for slow, conscious logical reasoning). I do personally think logical reasoning often has an advantage in big decisions that you have time to look at more carefully.

People who rely primarily on logical, analytical thinking may be sometimes less spiritually developed (I'm not talking about religion here), and less adept in social situations.

Neurosis is defined as a (mild) mental illness or disorder. You are pretty much saying I'm mentally ill. I suggest we keep the insults out of the debate. Talking about me in the third person as if I'm not here is also quite rude. I'd also suggest you don't do that to people.

Your speculations about my reasoning re my partner are quite wrong. Again, it is quite rude to randomly start speculating about people's inner motivations and thoughts in a negative way, not to mention extremely unlikely to lead to accurate results based on a few posts on a forum. I'd also suggest that you don't do that to people either.
 

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Oh my goodness , there are a lot of words and mental concepts in this thread . I like to keep it really simple .. I follow my heart , which knows what my Inner truth is .. I am guided by my deep feelings , which are felt in my core .. I feel there is often a danger in over-thinking things ..

I am connected to all beings , and l love them ..( including humans ) I would not eat another human , so why would l eat an animal ?

I don't need to know or think about rules / ideologies / intellectual philosophies and the why and where of them ...

I just follow my heart - it guides me perfectly .. Walk the path of your own heart ..

Blessings to all , with love from Blissful xxoo
 
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Forest Nymph

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You seem to think being emotional/instinctive rather than using analytical/reasoning is a negative thing, that the former is worse than the latter. Or maybe you just think that I think that. But I don't. This is well covered in the book "The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt (in one section, the whole book is not about just that). Being emotional/instinctive in your way of thinking can sometimes be better than logical reasoning. For one thing, you get to the answer faster and more efficiently. Sometimes, you may have got to the right answer instinctively because of prior logical reasoning/memory. In other cases it's down to your evolutionary psychology which is not necessarily a bad thing (although sometimes it is). In some cases people that act emotionally, on instinct, have already worked out the same correct answer you would get from logical reasoning. This could be because instinct is sometimes subconscious logical reasoning, or for some other reason.

I think emotional/instinctive reasoning tends to work better when we have larger numbers of little decisions to make (it's impractical to reason out all the hundreds of little decisions we take each day) and when we need a fast decision (when there is no time for slow, conscious logical reasoning). I do personally think logical reasoning often has an advantage in big decisions that you have time to look at more carefully.

People who rely primarily on logical, analytical thinking may be sometimes less spiritually developed (I'm not talking about religion here), and less adept in social situations.

Neurosis is defined as a (mild) mental illness or disorder. You are pretty much saying I'm mentally ill. I suggest we keep the insults out of the debate. Talking about me in the third person as if I'm not here is also quite rude. I'd also suggest you don't do that to people.

Your speculations about my reasoning re my partner are quite wrong. Again, it is quite rude to randomly start speculating about people's inner motivations and thoughts in a negative way, not to mention extremely unlikely to lead to accurate results based on a few posts on a forum. I'd also suggest that you don't do that to people either.

All people are neurotic, it's a factor of the human condition, just the way you're neurotic varies from individual to individual. I didn't call you mentally ill.

You're saying though that veganism is deontological (so you chose one over the other) and pit them against one another, claiming that most vegans on-line are the deontological sort. You seem to have never even read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. His actual professional title outside of Bioethicist is "utilitarian philosopher."

Then you go on to claim that "angry" or loud, judgmental vegans are probably deontological, but then you have to include utilitarian Peter Singer as one of the loudest, angriest activists out there. IF ANYTHING people who care as much as you do about what other people think (i.e. not coming across as angry) are in fact equally or more emotional, as they are overly concerned with social concepts like fitting in, being liked, not offending anyone, or fulfilling a duty to social norms.

Even more hilarious than this, Gary Yourofsky, the man single-handedly responsible for making Israel the "vegan capital of the world" is typically identified as making Utilitarian rather than Deontological arguments. He is so angry that he was literally banned from entering more than one country, and at the height of his activism he was arrested 13 times and was imprisoned for freeing over 1500 minks from a fur farm.

If you're going to make a thread like this, please do more than pretend you know what you're talking about.
 
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Yes I have read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer and I am aware of his work. I am not saying all vegans are deontological, although the philosophy itself probably (mostly) is in my opinion. It's (broadly) consistent to be utilitarian and vegan, and some vegans are utilitarian, as I already said in my original post. Therefore, your comments about Singer and Yourofsky cannot work as a a critique of anything I've said.

That being said, Singer makes the case in the very book you mention - and elsewhere - that animal rights should be based on avoidance of suffering. He does not argue for animal rights in this book - or elsewhere - based on an absolute respect for their life or freedom. He seems fairly open to the idea that there is nothing wrong with farming and killing animals for food in a hypothetical situation of no suffering including a clean death. This is quite in contradiction to how most vegans, and myself, would see it. I don't think Singer is even vegan himself let alone one of the loudest, angriest activists out there. Some vegans do not at all relate to his views.

Singer doesn't raise his voice or show anger when he talks on these topics. Based on your characterization of him as loud and angry, I'd suggest you haven't seen any of his talks or debates that can be found online.
 
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Quotes from Peter Singer:

“If it is the infliction of suffering that we are concerned about, rather than killing, then I can also imagine a world in which people mostly eat plant foods, but occasionally treat themselves to the luxury of free range eggs, or possibly even meat from animals who live good lives under conditions natural for their species, and are then humanely killed on the farm.”

“[T]here’s a little bit of room for indulgence in all of our lives. I know some people who are vegan in their homes but if they’re going out to a fancy restaurant, they allow themselves the luxury of not being vegan that evening. I don’t see anything really wrong with that.”

“When I’m traveling or going to other people’s places I will be quite happy to eat vegetarian rather than vegan.”

“I think it’s more important to try and produce a change in the right direction than to be personally pure yourself. So when you’re eating with someone at a restaurant, and you ordered something vegan but when it comes there’s a bit of grated cheese or something on it, sometimes vegans will make a big fuss and send it back and that might mean the food is wasted. And if you’re in company with people who are not vegan or not even vegetarian, I think that’s probably the wrong thing to do. It’d be better off just to eat it because people are going to think, ‘Oh my god, these vegans…’”

“If you really were thorough-going in eating only animals that had had good lives, that could be a defensible ethical position.”
 

Forest Nymph

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Yes I have read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer and I am aware of his work. I am not saying all vegans are deontological, although the philosophy itself probably (mostly) is in my opinion. It's (broadly) consistent to be utilitarian and vegan, and some vegans are utilitarian, as I already said in my original post. Therefore, your comments about Singer and Yourofsky cannot work as a a critique of anything I've said.

That being said, Singer makes the case in the very book you mention - and elsewhere - that animal rights should be based on avoidance of suffering. He does not argue for animal rights in this book - or elsewhere - based on an absolute respect for their life or freedom. He seems fairly open to the idea that there is nothing wrong with farming and killing animals for food in a hypothetical situation of no suffering including a clean death. This is quite in contradiction to how most vegans, and myself, would see it. I don't think Singer is even vegan himself let alone one of the loudest, angriest activists out there. Some vegans do not at all relate to his views.

Singer doesn't raise his voice or show anger when he talks on these topics. Based on your characterization of him as loud and angry, I'd suggest you haven't seen any of his talks or debates that can be found online.

1) What you think of his public demeanor is no measure of his anger. He coined the term speciesism, he's been inside factory farms, and he defends some of the actions of Animal Liberation Front.

2) Some vegans don't relate at all to his views because of his ideas about the disabled and stem-cell research. Also, for reasons like when you travel in certain parts of Asia it's extremely difficult to be 100% vegan, and it's quite common for vegans living in Korea to become vegetarians for practical reasons while living there.

3) If he's not a vegan, then why does he promote How to Create a Vegan World by Tobias Leenaert?

4) The grated cheese example is entirely vegan. Wasting food because it has trace amounts of dairy isn't going to save any more animals, literally nor economically. He grasps the intellectual big picture. It's similar to the idea that a poor person taking charity might eat bread that had whey in it or granola bars with honey. It does not save anyone to make a fuss under these circumstances, he's absolutely right about that.

I've found your overall creation of this thread utterly obnoxious, like you're trying to prove a point only you know about.
 
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Why are you still insisting that Singer is vegan? I just provided a quotation directly from the man himself saying he eats vegan at home but vegetarian when traveling and in other people's homes. Did you even read it? If you have any understanding of veganism at all, you'll know that means he is not vegan.

It's perfectly possible to promote a vegan book even if you are not vegan. What a bizarre argument. Not worthy of a response.

Even though I proved you conclusively wrong on Singer with quotations, you still won't concede the point. I have to wonder what the point is debating with someone who will never concede a point even when it's so obvious they are in the wrong.

I clearly stated at the beginning at the end of the thread what its purpose was. You won't take that in good faith.

If you don't like the topic, don't contribute.

You keep insulting me ("obnoxious"), even though I try to ignore and be polite with you, and don't insult you back. You don't seem to notice that everyone on this forum is nice and polite except you. I'm not going to debate with you if you won't be polite.

It was the same in the environmental thread. You have an issue with me and you are looking for ways to continually attack me even though you have no good argument to do so. It's not appropriate behavior. Please stop it.

Also, ask yourself what is the point, what is the value to you, in continuing this debate.
 

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Why are you still insisting that Singer is vegan? I just provided a quotation directly from the man himself saying he eats vegan at home but vegetarian when traveling and in other people's homes. Did you even read it? If you have any understanding of veganism at all, you'll know that means he is not vegan.

It's perfectly possible to promote a vegan book even if you are not vegan. What a bizarre argument. Not worthy of a response.

Even though I proved you conclusively wrong on Singer with quotations, you still won't concede the point. I have to wonder what the point is debating with someone who will never concede a point even when it's so obvious they are in the wrong.

I clearly stated at the beginning at the end of the thread what its purpose was. You won't take that in good faith.

If you don't like the topic, don't contribute.

You keep insulting me ("obnoxious"), even though I try to ignore and be polite with you, and don't insult you back. You don't seem to notice that everyone on this forum is nice and polite except you. I'm not going to debate with you if you won't be polite.

It was the same in the environmental thread. You have an issue with me and you are looking for ways to continually attack me even though you have no good argument to do so. It's not appropriate behavior. Please stop it.

Also, ask yourself what is the point, what is the value to you, in continuing this debate.

I can call the thread obnoxious. That's no more inappropriate than calling a book bad or an argument weak. I can absolutely suspect someone of manipulative motives.

The point of me continuing is that you are blatantly incorrect about and misunderstand so many things (as well as taking Peter Singer quotes out of context).

Singer talked about the possibility of there being a humane way to raise livestock all the way back in the 1970s. He was vegetarian before he was vegan, similarly to Matthew Scully who wrote Dominion, a conservative right wing view of animal rights. He doesn't ACTUALLY CONDONE THIS PRACTICE in 2019. If he did, he'd have pasture chickens or talk about grass fed cattle.

Instead, Singer identifies as vegan (look it up) as long he finds it to be practical. There are really places you pretty much would starve in Asia if you tried to be 100% vegan, which is what I naturally presume he means by "travel" not traveling to a city like L.A. or Tel Aviv where he'd have plenty of vegan options.

He's a political vegan. There are quite a number of them these days. Political vegans identify the harm as active contribution to the system of factory farming, meaning he won't actually purchase animal products, but he will eat something his friend offers him at a dinner party if it contains milk or egg, because if he does eat it no new animals will be slaughtered and no new money will be put into the capitalist system to support animal agriculture. He reasons that the food would just be thrown away or eaten by someone else, so why be rude and wasteful. Vegans like this also support freeganism, usually, though for me that's taking it a bit far since freegans will even eat meat if they find it in a dumpster, so while they don't contribute to the wrongs of the system, they still are eating flesh.

It's also okay for him to concede the ethical positions of other philosophers. It means as an academic philosopher he finds the argument solid, it doesn't mean he agrees with it.

Also saying everyone on this forum is nice and polite except me is a LOL joke, you must not hang out here much.

It also completely conflicts with what you say in your OP. You say "aggressive and annoying" vegans are deontological which is you insulting a whole slew of people, since you say most vegans on-line or who are activists are deontological.

You also say that utilitarian vegans might not even be vegans, completely ignoring how Peter Singer actually popularized the term speciesism. Peter Singer has probably done much more for animals and the planet and veganism than anyone who screams at their waiter for putting Parmesan cheese on top of their minestrone soup.
 

Tadpole

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Thanks Jamie, this article is quite compelling and has certainly provided some food for thought.
What resonates with me here is the more objective approach of asking questions and considering the importance of challenging our own conscious perception of issues relating to lifestyle choices. This will always exceed any ego driven "true facts" that appear to be so prevalent lately.
I can't quite understand how others here (usual suspects, ahem) take your carefully thought out post simply as an opportunity to yet again start an argument in which they can aggressively assert their precious views. If only I could apologise on their behalf.
Find it sad as I am striving to adopt a better way of living that includes kindness not only towards our environment, but also towards other humans. If only some here could try harder to achieve that.
 
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You say "aggressive and annoying" vegans are deontological which is you insulting a whole slew of people, since you say most vegans on-line or who are activists are deontological.

I said that aggressive and annoying vegans were "probably mostly" deontological. You have changed what I said just slightly by not mentioning the "probably" or "mostly".

But far more importantly, you seem to be of the belief, judging by your above comment, that you think the statement "aggressive and annoying vegans are deontological" implies that the hypothetical reverse statement "deontological vegans are aggressive and annoying" is also true. This is a clear error of logic and is not the case.

I think only a very small minority of vegans are aggressive and annoying (which is probably true of any group justifiably fighting oppression, but people are just looking for excuses to put vegans down). I do NOT think most deontological vegans are aggressive and annoying although a very small minority of them probably are.

Further, it's not clear that being aggressive (assuming only verbally aggressive) and annoying, as a vegan trying to end animal suffering, is even definately a bad thing.

Deontological vegans are probably amongst the most conscientious, good hearted, loving people ever to walk the Earth. I may have some tiny disagreements with some aspects of their beliefs, but this is far less than the strong agreement I hold with their views.

I said in the article that deontological vegans were "more consistent" and that utilitarian veganism can be just "an excuse for lower standards". I said that the morality of deontological vegans is driven by love and compassion. The article is hardly an attack on deontological veganism.

I don't see much value in continuing this debate. These tetchy back and forth arguments between two people are not productive for a forum in my view. The only reason I keep replying is to correct your misrepresentation of my views. I'd actually prefer you stop replying or manage to put together a reply without misrepresenting my views, then we can end the debate.