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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-21-2010 07:03 PM
Joan Kennedy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whodat1980 View Post

Well said! As much as I hate cockroaches and LOVE chocolate, I would never eat a chocolate-covered cockroach. I won't kill flies, bees, wasp and other critters, even if they are annoying. As for the oysters thing, I LOVED the taste, but like many are saying on here: Its STILL an animal, no matter what.

Chocolate is one of the few non-vegan things I still eat. I try not to think about the insect matter, but even with diligent quality control, all chocolate is chocolate-covered bugs.
05-18-2010 08:08 PM
Whodat1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by nontoxicglue View Post

Not only does it have a heart, but when you prod the oyster, it clamps up to stop itself from getting eaten. It does it because, like cows, pigs, and chickens, it does not want to die. Who are we to decide whether they can feel or not? If one is a Vegan, then it should include all animals regardless of how insignificant they may seem. Besides, they filter water and provide reefs for other sea critters.



Well said! As much as I hate cockroaches and LOVE chocolate, I would never eat a chocolate-covered cockroach. I won't kill flies, bees, wasp and other critters, even if they are annoying. As for the oysters thing, I LOVED the taste, but like many are saying on here: Its STILL an animal, no matter what.
05-18-2010 11:13 AM
Hekaterine For anyone who is either not in the UK or who is, but didn't watch "QI" on Friday - here's a good reason not to eat oysters:



Oysters are kept fresh if they don't open their shells while out of the water. In France (according to "QI"), they "train" oysters to keep their shells closed by bopping them with an iron bar when they open up so they learn to keep their shells closed. Not sentient, huh?
04-16-2010 07:15 PM
Sevenseas "How does the vegan community feel about eating oysters?" and "is eating oysters ethical?" are too distinct questions, especially to someone who doesn't base his/her ethics on the views of vegans.
04-16-2010 06:24 PM
Joan Kennedy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

My position is that a comment such as "eating oysters is immoral" is interchangeable with "eating oysters is unethical", and no one will interpret the latter comment as referring to a moral code concerning some specific profession or social group.



Depending on how you define social group, the near- and far-flung vegan community could pretty much qualify. And obviously does uphold "eating oysters is unethical" as a basic tenet!
04-16-2010 06:08 PM
Sevenseas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

Here's one decent expression of what I was trying to get at. You and I seem to agree there's at least a lot of overlap between the two, if not on the precise extent of overlap.

My position is that a comment such as "eating oysters is immoral" is interchangeable with "eating oysters is unethical", and no one will interpret the latter comment as referring to a moral code concerning some specific profession or social group.
04-16-2010 05:44 PM
Joan Kennedy Here's one decent expression of what I was trying to get at. You and I seem to agree there's at least a lot of overlap between the two, if not on the precise extent of overlap. Oysters probably don't give a ****.



"The difference between ethics and morals can seem somewhat arbitrary to many, but there is a basic, albeit subtle, difference. Morals define personal character, while ethics stress a social system in which those morals are applied. In other words, ethics point to standards or codes of behavior expected by the group to which the individual belongs. This could be national ethics, social ethics, company ethics, professional ethics, or even family ethics. So while a person's moral code is usually unchanging, the ethics he or she practices can be other-dependent.



When considering the difference between ethics and morals, it may be helpful to consider a criminal defense lawyer. Though the lawyer's personal moral code likely finds murder immoral and reprehensible, ethics demand the accused client be defended as vigorously as possible, even when the lawyer knows the party is guilty, even at the expense of setting him free possibly to murder again. Legal ethics must override personal morals for the greater good of upholding a justice system in which the accused are given a fair trial and the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."



- http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-...and-morals.htm
04-16-2010 05:21 PM
Sevenseas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

And if you Google "difference between ethics and morality" or something like that, you may find a lot of commonality between what's written in those hits and the way I expressed my understanding of it. Though I can't express it as clearly as an academic would.

I'll just head to Merriam-Webster online:



Quote:
Main Entry: eth·i·cal

[...]

synonyms see moral

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethical



Quote:
The danger you perceive from an attacker pretty much is your motivation, isn't it?

My belief about the danger is my motivation. But beliefs are sometimes false or unjustified. And that's why someone's motivation, and the aspects of the situation, are two different things. The former is a feature of someone's mental states, the latter is not.
04-16-2010 04:38 PM
Joan Kennedy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

And I on the other hand have never understood any distinction between them. Even when we're talking about moral theory, they're pretty much used indistinguishably: we have moral philosophy, or we have ethics, and both deal with the same issues.



Without even thinking about it people do sort out these two related though different concepts along certain well-worn lines: we become accustomed to talking about sexual morality, business ethics, as two obvious examples. And if you Google "difference between ethics and morality" or something like that, you may find a lot of commonality between what's written in those hits and the way I expressed my understanding of it. Though I can't express it as clearly as an academic would.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

I usually don't think of my own actions: "it's morally okay to do this because I have such and such motivations". Rather, I think "it's morally okay to do this because [some aspects of the situation I'm in, such as the danger presented by an attacker in a self-defense scenario]".

See, that sounds to me like essentially two ways of saying the same thing. And in crisis mode, we're likely to do something in the moment without much internal dialog at all. The danger you perceive from an attacker pretty much is your motivation, isn't it? Whether your perception was accurate, or at least reasonable, will get sorted out later. If you thought he had a gun, you'll pray they find it. If all he was holding was his cell phone, you'll pray the jury agrees it sorta looked like a gun.



Which has **** to do with oysters.
04-16-2010 04:05 PM
Sevenseas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

I think we use moral and ethical as if they were interchangeable, though I've always thought morality has more to do with our own consciences, re actions that affect ourselves and those closest to us, and ethics has more to do with our compact with society at large.

And I on the other hand have never understood any distinction between them. Even when we're talking about moral theory, they're pretty much used indistinguishably: we have moral philosophy, or we have ethics, and both deal with the same issues.



And if anything would have to do with society's current rules -- although I think neither one needs to have anything to do with them -- it would seem to me to be morality, since it derives from mores, custom (or something like that).

Quote:
I think that in your kill-a-guy example, your motivation makes it moral or not, and the reality of the situation makes it ethical or not.

I usually don't think of my own actions: "it's morally okay to do this because I have such and such motivations". Rather, I think "it's morally okay to do this because [some aspects of the situation I'm in, such as the danger presented by an attacker in a self-defense scenario]".
04-16-2010 02:49 PM
Joan Kennedy I think we use moral and ethical as if they were interchangeable, though I've always thought morality has more to do with our own consciences, re actions that affect ourselves and those closest to us, and ethics has more to do with our compact with society at large. Of course there is overlap, as there is between a sin and a crime. When we do something immoral we feel like crap about it, even if nobody else knows. But when we do something unethical, we can usually live with ourselves unless we're caught; at that point, depending on the offense, we may be deeply shamed. I think that in your kill-a-guy example, your motivation makes it moral or not, and the reality of the situation makes it ethical or not. It's a harder case to make to society than to yourself, your reason to believe that this guy had it coming. Ask the guy who was just convicted for shooting the abortionist. But for oysters, it's the opposite: Society is just fine with oyster-eating, but your individual morality has a more severe standard than society's. So there's no real trouble unless you start vandalizing the oyster farms to make a point. Which nobody ever does. Oysters may be effective aphrodisiacs, but they're not sexy issues, not like cattle and even chickens can be. And I think it's because we're pretty sure they don't suffer, the way we're quite sure cattle and chickens do. Having fellow-feeling for their right to have subjective experiences, I think that's off the map ethically, though if you're wired that way and the feeling is genuine, it might be dead center morally.
04-16-2010 01:53 PM
Sevenseas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

Your motivation and the reality of the situation as a whole would have a huge overlap in your examples, so it's not that easy to tease them apart as factors that matter.

Someone's motivation, say about self-defense, can reflect erroneous beliefs about the danger posed by the other person(s), or questionable values (such as holding that any potential threat to one's private property merits a death sentence).



While such aspects of that someone's mental state can be mitigating factors, I think ultimately the moral assessment of the situation comes down to the actual danger faced in the situation, and the means we as a society (or individuals) hold as acceptable for avoiding it.



This has **** to do with oysters though.
04-16-2010 12:03 PM
Parsnip
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

The mental gymnastics are the best part!



They do keep you limber.
04-16-2010 12:01 PM
Joan Kennedy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post


Really though, my reason for doing it would matter only if it was in the guy's own interests, or if it was for self-defense or defense of other, and even then, what would matter ethically would not be my motivation, but the reality of the situation as a whole.

Well yeah, whatever it would take to convince twelve unbiased citizens, those are the kinds of examples of reasons that come to mind. Whatever compelling reason puts a good guy in that bedroom with that firearm in his hand. Your motivation and the reality of the situation as a whole would have a huge overlap in your examples, so it's not that easy to tease them apart as factors that matter.
04-16-2010 11:04 AM
Sevenseas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

Whether it was ethical would depend on why you were doing it.

Maybe I considered some piece of his flesh a delicacy, and attacking him when he's asleep would ensure that I could stamp his flesh with a 100% humane-certified happy meat label.



Really though, my reason for doing it would matter only if it was in the guy's own interests, or if it was for self-defense or defense of other, and even then, what would matter ethically would not be my motivation, but the reality of the situation as a whole.
04-16-2010 10:59 AM
Joan Kennedy Whether it was ethical would depend on why you were doing it. Without some compelling reason, you'd presumably be a psychopath without any ethical concerns motivating your actions. By striking while he slept you'd most likely be trying to neutralize his ability to repel your attack, not trying to minimize his suffering. Which is most likely one major reason we eat oysters and not tigers.
04-16-2010 10:42 AM
Sevenseas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

I think the Slate writer draws the line at pain because his ethical decisions are based on whether or not an animal suffers as a consequence of being harvested, not whether he thinks it "deserves" to live only if it passes a test of sentience.

I'm sure the Slate writer would not suffer much as a consequence of me putting a few bullets through the back of his head when he's asleep, but I don't think it would be ethical, because I recognize the continuance of his world of subjective experience as something worth protecting.
04-16-2010 10:27 AM
Joan Kennedy I think the Slate writer draws the line at pain because his ethical decisions are based on whether or not an animal suffers as a consequence of being harvested, not whether he thinks it "deserves" to live only if it passes a test of sentience. Which in any case he believes would have to entail some kind of brain. I would not think twice about eating eggs and cheese -- except for the cholesterol -- if cows and hens were able to give it up right through a ripe and happy old age until their deaths from natural causes. Like if a big shot of oxytocin could render a milkless cow milky without it having to go through calving, and if she weren't becoming hamburger at the end of her road. Honestly, if you Google "plant sentience" you come upon arguments just as fervent as the ones on this thread, with people accusing one another of specieism for not appreciating the "other-consciousness" of highly developed plants. I'm pretty sure fruitarians think we're all going to hell anyway.
04-15-2010 10:39 PM
Sevenseas The Slate article focuses on pain, but I do not see pain as (conceptually) necessary for sentience, which is simply the capacity for any experiences, even if none of them are negative. And sentience, not merely pain, is the quality the respecting and protecting of which is the cornerstone of my moral views. But of course, the lack of pain could be a reason to also tentatively doubt that a given organism has sentience in general.
04-15-2010 08:18 PM
SomebodyElse The mental gymnastics are the best part!
04-15-2010 06:54 PM
Cornflower Luckily, I don't find oysters appealing in the least, and have zero desire to eat them. So no need for any mental gymnastics on this one!
04-14-2010 03:42 AM
Calou
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

That's where it's getting circular I guess, because I think the question is "why animals", when the distinction is taxonomic, and not based on something else, like self awareness? Taxonomy is based on biological characteristics, and has nothing to do with anything deeper in an ethical sense. If it's not sentience that makes the really important difference between the killing of plants for food, and the killing of animals, and mere taxonomy is simply too arbitrary to make a worthwhile criterion for deciding who has a right to life and what doesn't, what else is there? My best answer is sentience, and the possibility of sentience, because I can't think of anything else that makes a more important difference between what I ought to eat and who I ought to leave alone. It's not the only reason to be vegan, but to me it is the cornerstone, mostly because I can't think of anything else that isn't completely arbitrary, and based on dogmatic adherence to a definition, rather than a well thought out course of reasoniing.

+1
04-13-2010 08:46 PM
SomebodyElse No not me. Like I said, I don't need them, and they belong to an ecosystem humans are not natural members of. Let the starfish have those they can pry open, and let them do their filtering job for the reefs they are part of. There are plenty of other things I can eat, that won't take the only form of sustenance out of the mouths of other animals who aren't adapted to eat anything else.
04-13-2010 08:41 PM
Semicharmed So would that mean if science advanced to the point where it could be demonstrated, in a concrete way, that oysters (and perhaps a few other invertebrates) weren't sentient, then you'd be fine with eating them?
04-13-2010 08:22 PM
SomebodyElse I do differentiate between oysters and plants. I don't require concrete evidence derived from investigating an oyster individually. I consider the relation of oysters to other animals of the phylum Mollusca, which includes the most intelligent invertebrate in the sea, the octopus, whose intelligence in captivity has challenged that of its human captors. It may have been at one time that the predecessors of the modern oyster possessed greater sentience than they might demonstrate today, since sessile animals, like plants, are much more limited in their ability to use their sense of self awareness for survival purposes. An oyster may not, like plants, need sentience as a survival skill anymore, because the evolutionary advantage of sentience is wasted on organisms who cannot flee danger, but I wouldn't bank on an oyster's sentience as being completely lost.
04-13-2010 08:06 PM
Semicharmed Out of curiosity, if sentience is the cornerstone, then DO you differentiate between oysters and certain plants (the ones that can respond to stimuli in a measurable and obvious way) since we have pretty much no proof the responses or oysters and those plants indicate a difference of experience?



ETA: Since I don't know much about the practice of farming oysters, could you elaborate on why you find it unethical?
04-13-2010 08:03 PM
SomebodyElse
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

SomebodyElse, the cages themselves are the barriers that keep predators away from oysters.

I guess I forgot to mention that I find the whole process of farming oysters unethical, so the details really don't matter.
04-13-2010 08:00 PM
SomebodyElse
Quote:
Originally Posted by Semicharmed View Post

So my deeper reasoning is simply that I want to avoid unnecessary death, exploitation, reliance, consumption (etc.) of animals, no matter how it comes about or how sentient the creature is or isn't.

That's where it's getting circular I guess, because I think the question is "why animals", when the distinction is taxonomic, and not based on something else, like self awareness? Taxonomy is based on biological characteristics, and has nothing to do with anything deeper in an ethical sense. If it's not sentience that makes the really important difference between the killing of plants for food, and the killing of animals, and mere taxonomy is simply too arbitrary to make a worthwhile criterion for deciding who has a right to life and what doesn't, what else is there? My best answer is sentience, and the possibility of sentience, because I can't think of anything else that makes a more important difference between what I ought to eat and who I ought to leave alone. It's not the only reason to be vegan, but to me it is the cornerstone, mostly because I can't think of anything else that isn't completely arbitrary, and based on dogmatic adherence to a definition, rather than a well thought out course of reasoniing.
04-13-2010 05:01 PM
Semicharmed
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchvegan View Post

I don't want to be argumentative: but if you think they are most likely not sentient (ie. like plants); then what would be the objection to eating them? Or is it that you are not sure and so want to give them the benefit of the doubt?



I totally think that's a valid question and I don't see it as argumentative at all.



That said, I'm probably going to butcher this explanation and not be as clear as I'd like... So bear with me please?



From a practical standpoint, given what basic knowledge I have about oysters, I'd say they're most likely not sentient. But that word "probably" means I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. That's the practical side of it.



HOWEVER... My lifestyle, and being vegan, is not all about practicalities. So my deeper reasoning is simply that I want to avoid unnecessary death, exploitation, reliance, consumption (etc.) of animals, no matter how it comes about or how sentient the creature is or isn't. Hypothetically speaking: A born-braindead chicken being kept alive by an oxygen machine... Or, heck, an animal that died naturally in the woods... Those things have, arguably, a complete lack of sentience, and they weren't killed or altered into non-sentience by human action or inaction. They were not exploited or harmed or kept locked up. But I still wouldn't eat them. Because I don't look for logical excuses to fuel by body with animal parts. There may be some "logical" times to eat meat, if you say your only reason for being vegan is a sentience one.



But I just don't eat or use animals or animal-derived products. It's not really a "practical" thing, though there are practical elements. It's a matter of principle, and of embodying the IDEA that humans do not need to exploit the animal kingdom to survive, and that a purer ethical path is elsewhere and there is no need to even TRY to justify eating certain things in or from the animal kingdom. Could you try? Like with oysters? Sure. And you might even succeed. But what is DRIVING that need to justify eating something from the animal kingdom, when there is no need to? Not any motivation I'd like to possess, that's for sure.



I will admit, readily, that it may be logical from a "no pain" standpoint to consume some animals, like oysters. I absolutely refuse to pollute veganism by saying something utterly wrong and obnoxious like "This practice is evil because of paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain!" when that's not the case.



I just don't wish to spend time or energy justifying the unnecessary killing and/or consumption of any living animal, however "logical" it might be.



Did that make any sort of sense?
04-13-2010 04:30 PM
Calou
Quote:
Originally Posted by Semicharmed View Post

That's not true... Take a CIPA patient, for example. Having nerves does not mean "having a negative, painful, fearful, etc. experience from stimuli."



In addition, like I mentioned, invertebrates will do things other animals won't. Like exert equal pressure on a limb that has been damaged or crushed as they do on their other limbs. A human, a cat, a mouse, etc. would all limp because there would be a negative sensation associated with the damage. Not most invertebrates, though. They'll try to avoid damage, but it's not clear that it's because of "feeling" anything.



(Btw, I'm not arguing for eating oysters. I wouldn't - I totally agree with you on the "no thanks!" to oysters bit. I just think the REASON not to eat them has little to nothing to do with pretending we know they experience pain or feel anything in particular at all. We don't know that. They likely don't.)



I don't want to be argumentative: but if you think they are most likely not sentient (ie. like plants); then what would be the objection to eating them? Or is it that you are not sure and so want to give them the benefit of the doubt?
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