Consequentialism, Animal Ethics, and the Value of Valuing

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Peter Singer argues, on consequentialist grounds, that individuals ought to be vegetarian. Many have pressed, in response, a causal impotence objection to Singer’s argument: any individual person’s refraining from purchasing and consuming animal products will not have an important effect on contemporary farming practices. In this paper, I sketch a Singer-inspired consequentialist argument for vegetarianism that avoids this objection. The basic idea is that, for agents who are aware of the origins of their food, continuing to consume animal products is morally bad because it leads to not appropriately disvaluing the origins of their food. That is a morally bad outcome that can be avoided by becoming vegetarian.
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