"The moral idea is that everyone's interest ought to receive equal consideration, regardless of "what they are like or what abilities they have.'"
He then proceeds to outline Singer's argument that being "speciest" is the morally equivalent being racist. Is this something people agree with, or an obvious strawman?
Do most people think that's what "equality" means?
It reminds me of MNS and the poll regarding human rights. What about "with great rights come great responsibilities"?
It is an unfortunate thing that this word has become somewhat meaningless in recent times. I think that part of the new lack of meaning is because of the particular use which you cite in the quote. Such a definition is obviously loaded; It is not used so much to clarify an idea or point but instead to obscure it. It is this exact definition of "equality" which I see being used so very prevalently in debate of letting religious dogma being taught in science class: That it does not matter the source of the idea of how people have come into being, but that another has had an idea which is founded upon different principles and therefore stands in equal footing with another. Never mind the sources of the idea or to what end the idea is being used for.
So to answer your question, I believe it is being used as an obvious strawman.
Whenever I hear one of those aforementioned douche bags pontificate about how dangerous [...] videogames are I get a little stabby. --Wil Wheaton.
I've never seen a snake moralize over whether to eat a rat or not.
Cannibalism is another thing. Animals rarely eat their own kind (outside of some mating rituals, then, of course, all bets are off).--The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.
Nature isn't near as fluffy and nice as the people who claim to love it think. This is why every once in a while some idiot gets eaten by a bear.---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
that becomes a bear appetizer. Why can't it be the "we should all be nicer to the other animals" people, in order to teach them the "nature isn't every species behaving by your rules, it's you accepting the fact that your rules do not apply to the other animals, and, for that matter, don't really apply to you, unless you apply them to yourself" lesson?
I'm not really sure where you see the strawman argument here. I mean, the quote isn't an argument to begin with -- I can't see how it can be a fallacious one.
There is no one vegetarian movement, and no one basis for them. "These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
Not by a longshot. But the argument I seem to be receiving is that eating animal flesh is morally equivalent to eating retards or babies.
Honestly I find the end of The Omnivore's Dilemma a bit disappointing as earlier parts of were at least very interesting and seemed to me at least as being fairly well researched and considered. I can certainly see some fair arguments against eating "meat", namely that animals suffer not only unnecessarily but even the degree of [mistreatment] is enough to make you not want to eat meat. Of course on the other hand there's plenty of "suppliers" who go well out of their way to raise all their animals justly.
But what really got me was that definition of equality. Do people really believe that the cruelest, sickest degenerate is "equal" to the most virtuous and capable? Not that they were born "equal" or with equal rights or whatever, but that their "concerns" are, for lack of better word, "equal"?
The argument about eating babies and the retarded people is easily misunderstood. His point is to show that the common argument that it is okay to kill and eat animals because they lack our capacities has a flaw in it: we don't re-classify humans with diminished capacities as cattle. Our classification is an empathic abstraction, not a calculation based on differing capacities.
This is also the answer to the "animals eat animals" argument. If reciprocity were the key to our notions of equality, then we'd assume it was okay to neglect humans of diminished capacity because that's what they would do on their own. But we don't. We think doing so is inhumane. Why? Not because they have the same capacities as us, but because we grant value to their suffering.
You're trying to conflate Singer's idea of the moral equivalence of suffering with some idea of political/legal equality. Nowhere does Singer argue that cows should have the vote.
The whole book is very good.Buy my books, dammit!
Singer's a utilitarian. When he talks about moral ideals, he is almost always setting them up for revision and qualification. He tends to view moral ideals as important convenient fictions, not road maps for behavior or policy.
In fact, he made explicit that his arguments don't require vegetarianism. He argued vegetarianism was simply the easiest way to not get into the quagmire of trying to figure out how one could kill a creature that suffers in a humane way. He said that, in theory, if painless ways of killing could be devised, then their use would be ethically defensible. However, since we could never be sure that they were painless - the animal could never say because, even if it could communicate, it'll be dead - it is easiest to avoid the issue altogether.
Basically, we've got a straw man Singer set up to show the ideal moral position, then we've taken it out of context, and then we've decided Singer's idea is just an illogical straw man.
Somebody in this here story is trafficking in hay-stuffed humanoids, but I ain't sure it's Singer.
When I'm imprisoned as an enemy combatant, will you blog about it?
First, aside from utilitarianism being fundamentally consequentialist (and therefore subject to revision as a response to the particulars of the situation), I don't see this as characteristic of utilitarianism. I think Singer's writing on meta-ethics shows that he doesn't either.
But as for Singer himself, he really does believe that our moral obligations impose what others would see as extreme requirements on us. Take, for instance, the essay that made him famous: Famine, Affluence and Morality. Singer genuinely believes that people in the western world are morally obligated to give nearly all of their income to charity. I don't see how it's possible to take it as any sort of demonstrative tool or thought experiment: He is very blunt about being very literal.
The rest of your comment I agree with."These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM