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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have faced some moral dilemmas when explaining vegan values to myself and others on a philosophical level.
edit: i know these are not direct dilemmas related to being vegan (eg, we should save all animals), but there may be situations that arise where we are confronted with the need to harm or kill another animal.

The issue is as follows...

If you have to choose between the lives of 2 animals from different species, how do you choose? Is there truly more value of any one life than another, or is it all about which animal we have the closest emotional attachment to?

Is it ever morally justified to save one life of a species at the expense of 2 lives from another species?

How about if you turn the "taking the life" into "inflicting pain". Does it change any of your previous answers?
 

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If two lions were charging my chihuahuas, I would shoot them both for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@ade903

Use your imagination and create a scenario. We can test outcomes as we manipulate the scenario for purposes of this philosophical discussion. I am hoping this will help me to understand the difference between the values of lives across species from a moral perspective.

@Poppy

I'm sure any pet owner would. But what if they were not YOUR chihuahuas? In fact, lets say they are not pets of anyones because otherwise there is emotional motives and not a utilitarian point of view.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@ade903

Someone is pointing a gun at your head and making you choose one. If you dont choose then all will die (and you too).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Or perhaps a person you know is going hunting for food. You know that if you suggest an animal that person will probably only kill one of that animal. But if you suggest nothing then they will probably kill one of each.

In this view I would probably have to suggest the largest animal. The reason is that less lives would have to be taken to provide the same amount of food.

I wouln't like to be put in that position, and I wouldnt eat that food, but thats not what this thread is about.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ade903 View Post

Out of curiosity, what situation would cause you to have to choose?
Quote:
Originally Posted by cornernote View Post

@ade903

Use your imagination and create a scenario. We can test outcomes as we manipulate the scenario for purposes of this philosophical discussion. I am hoping this will help me to understand the difference between the values of lives across species from a moral perspective.

@Poppy

I'm sure any pet owner would. But what if they were not YOUR chihuahuas? In fact, lets say they are not pets of anyones because otherwise there is emotional motives and not a utilitarian point of view.
Like Ade903, I'm not seeing the point of your question: nobody is going to point a gun at Ade or anyone else. The ony realistic scenario I can think of (at the moment) is feeding meat to carnivorous pets- and we've dealt with that issue here before (although I don't think we ever settled it!) And my response to that is: a nutritionally-adequate vegetable-derived diet should be developed for them.

I do believe that animals' lives have equal value apart from whether someone loves them or not.
 

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Actually, I don't walk my dogs anywhere near lion dens and I don't own a gun.
As for humans wanting to attack my dogs? While some of my neighbors may indeed want to throttle my dogs from time to time, I think we're safe. Besides, I'd just let them off leash. There's no human around here that could catch one loose!

Sent from my DROID2 using Tapatalk
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by paperhanger View Post

Which one would you shoot first?
I'd shoot the skinnier one first. He'd be the hungrier!

Sent from my DROID2 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
a nutritionally-adequate vegetable-derived diet should be developed for them.
What if your pet is a snake? I don't think (could be wrong) they can be vegan.
Again, you have an emotional attachment to the pet. I am sure not many people go around killing mice to feed to wild snakes.

Quote:
Like Ade903, I'm not seeing the point of your question
To engage with other people who believe in similar morals to mine in deeper moral discussions than I am able to discuss with meat-eaters. Is there a better forum to post such questions into? Sorry if I asked in the wrong place.

Quote:
I do believe that animals' lives have equal value apart from whether someone loves them or not.
Great, thats what I want to discuss. I can see the logic behind that point of view, but i cannot bring myself to emotionally agree that the life of an ant is the same as the life of a spider.
In fact, if you gave me a list of animals (that I have never met and are nobodys pets) I could happily put them in a list of "value of life" (according to my value).

Is this wrong of me? I understand the logical and moral flaw in my emotions, but I cannot change that which I value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
As for humans wanting to attack my dogs? While some of my neighbors may indeed want to throttle my dogs from time to time, I think we're safe. Besides, I'd just let them off leash. There's no human around here that could catch one loose!
You are trying to solve the scenario by saving all the lives. I understand that this is the ideal outcome, however for purposes of this philosophical discussion there has to be a choice made by you between taking the life of an animal from one species or another. You can use any scenario that meets these criteria.

(sorry, not trying to force you to choose/discuss something you don't want to, i just want to keep on topic - "value of life between species" on a philosophical level. Discussion about pets, etc is already in other threads).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
If two lions were charging my chihuahuas, I would shoot them both for sure.
Why bother shooting them? The lions will save you the bullets. =)

(sorry that was in bad taste, but coudn't help pointing out the way it reads the 1st time u read it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@RabbitLuvr

You can choose any scenario you like. But I may change parts of the scenario to re-evaluate what effect it has on your decision. You may pose the scenario of being on a deserted island, and therefore the ant is more important than a sheep (for whatever reason you think has logic/moral merit). I may then ask if the same logic/moral merit applies when you are in an elevator.

The scenarios don't have to make perfect sense, be likely, or even be physically possible, its not about that... its about the value of lives of different species.

I think one thing we agree on is that we would save the life of a human before that of an animal. Is this because its our "own kind", or because human lives are more important from any perspective? What about the choice between an evil human and a good animal? And what about the choice between a human and an alien (assuming the alien is more intelligent and "evolved").
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
So I guess I choose non-human animals over humans.
Well said. Thank you for your input and explaining the reasoning behind it.

Quote:
I don't see the point of debating hypothetical "let's see what the vegetarian would do if in a situation where they might be faced with killing an animal" scenarios.
This thread as it is based on a philosophical question. Nobody is forcing you to post here, however your opinions are very welcome.

I enjoy talking about different scenarios because the same morals should (in theory) apply, and often don't which results in interesting thoughts and conversation. I feel this helps us to better understand the reasons behind our own morals, as well as those of others at a deeper level.

What makes one animals life more important than another. I do value the lives of some animals more than others. Despite logic telling me it is not "right", I still cannot shake that emotion. Some species are "easier" to harm than others. If I killed an animal with my car while driving I would be very upset and put a lot of thought into it. If I killed 100 ants while walking I couldn't care less. Both were unavoidable in my daily movements and travels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post

Buh-bye, human.
What about a lion? Its just nature right. But a (modern?) human is not allowed because you think they should have the same emotions towards animals that vegans do. They should have feelings for the chihuahuas because of logic/morals you put forward. But sometimes logic doesn't make you feel an emotion.
 
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