Animal Rights Zone

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Philosopher Alastair Norcross: Torturing Puppies and Factory-Farming

If you needed to torture puppies in order to enjoy the taste of chocolate, would doing so be wrong? Wouldn’t doing so be obviously wrong? Most who would say ‘yes’ regularly purchase and consume factory-farmed meat, seeing no problem with the latter, and yet, the two may not be morally distinguishable. According to at least one philosopher, they are not. In a highly provocative and creative paper, Alastair Norcross makes the case that purchasing and eating factory-farmed meat is morally comparable to torturing puppies for gustatory pleasure, and meat-eaters who realize this ought to become vegetarians (or at least give up factory farmed-meat). It’s an argument worth thinking about. (Other arguments for vegetarianism can be found here and here).

The rest:

(And of course, the arguments against factory-farming apply equally to eggs and dairy).

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Comment by Spencer Lo on October 28, 2012 at 12:34

Unfortunately the link is broken. There are actually two versions on his paper, and the one I linked to was a slightly different (longer) version than yours (but the basic argument is the same).

Comment by Tim Gier on October 28, 2012 at 12:31

Hi Spencer, the link to the Norcross paper is broken (at least it is for me right now anyway). Is this the same paper?:

Coincidentally, I just read another paper Norcross wrote called "Two Dogmas of Deontology" that was recommended to me by Lukas Gloor. Great paper, and the author's keen sense of humor is evident in it as well. 

Comment by Spencer Lo on October 2, 2012 at 17:33

Hi Paul,

I found the paper hilariously creative, and also watched the lecture version of his paper (which may not be the same lecture you attended):

Comment by Paul Hansen on October 2, 2012 at 17:29

Hi Spencer. I heard Alastair Norcross present this paper in person at an APA (American Philosophical Association) conference in Pasadena in 2004. His talk was hilarious (as anyone can tell by reading the original). Listening to Norcross was like listening to a standup comic—a professor who obviously knows how to combine good reasoning with humor. His original title was: “Puppies, Pigs, and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases.”


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