Advertisement

Philosophia

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 271–290 | Cite as

The Core Argument for Veganism

  • Stijn BruersEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article presents an argument for veganism, using a formal-axiomatic approach: a list of twenty axioms (basic definitions, normative assumptions and empirical facts) are explicitly stated. These axioms are all necessary conditions to derive the conclusion that veganism is a moral duty. The presented argument is a minimalist or core argument for veganism, because it is as parsimonious as possible, using the weakest conditions, the narrowest definitions, the most reliable empirical facts and the minimal assumptions necessary to reach the conclusion. If someone does not accept the conclusion, logical consistency requires that s/he should be able to point at axiom(s) on which s/he disagrees. The argument exposes hidden assumptions and provides a framework for an overview of the philosophical literature on animal rights and vegetarianism / veganism.

Keywords

Veganism Speciesism Animal ethics Sentience 

References

  1. ADA. (2009). Position of the American dietetic association: vegetarian diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7), 1266–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, M. W., Gupta, R., & Monnier, A. (2008). The interactive effect of cultural symbols and human values on taste evaluation. Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 294–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barilan, Y. M. (2005). Speciesism as a precondition to justice. Politics and the Life Sciences, 23(1), 22–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bruers, S. (2013). Speciesism as a Moral Heuristic. Philosophia, 41(2), 489–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carruthers, P. (1992). The animals issue: Moral theory in practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. CEH. (2013). Our Nutrient World. Center for Ecology and Hydrology, Global Partnership on Nutrient management.Google Scholar
  7. Chappell, T. (2011). On the very idea of criteria for personhood. Southern Journal of Philosophy, 49(1), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, C. (1986). The case for the use of animals in biomedical research. The New England Journal of Medicine, 315(14), 866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen, C., & Regan, T. (2001). The animal rights debate. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  10. Davis, S. (2003). The least harm principle may require that humans consume a diet containing large herbivores, not a vegan diet. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 16(4), 387–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diamond, C. (1978). Eating meat and eating people. Philosophy, 53(206), 465–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dombrowski, D. (1997). Babies and Beasts. The Argument from Marginal Cases. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  13. Ebert, R., & Machan, T. (2012). Innocent threats and the moral problem of carnivorous animals. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 29(2), 146–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. EFSA. (2005). Opinion of the scientific panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) on a request from the commission related to the aspects of the biology and welfare of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. EFSA Journal. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2005.292.Google Scholar
  15. EFSA. (2009). General approach to fish welfare and to the concept of sentience in fish. Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare. Parma: EU Food Safety Authority.Google Scholar
  16. Engel, M. (2000). The immorality of eating meat. In L. Pojman (Ed.), The moral life: An introductory reader in ethics and literature (pp. 856–889). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Ereshefsky, M. (2010). Species. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Spring 2010 Edition, Edward N. Zalta (ed.).Google Scholar
  18. Fairlie, S. (2007). Can Britain Feed Itself? The Land, 4.Google Scholar
  19. Fink, C.K. (2005). The Predation Problem. Between the species, Issue V:1–16.Google Scholar
  20. Finnis, J. (1995). A Philosophical Case Against Euthanasia. In J. Keown (Ed.), Euthanasia Examined. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Francione, G. (2000). Introduction to animal rights: Your child or the dog? Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Francione, G. (2008). Animals as Persons. New York: Colombia University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Frey, R. (1980). Interests and rights: The case against animals. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Goldman, M. (2001). A transcendental defense of speciesism. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 35, 59–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gunnarsson, L. (2008). The great apes and the severely disabled: moral status and thick evaluative concepts. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 11(3), 305–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kant, I. (1785). Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Google Scholar
  27. Kumar, R. (2008). Permissible killing and the irrelevance of being human. The Journal of Ethics, 12, 57–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lamey, A. (2007). Food fight! Davis versus Regan on the ethics of eating beef. Journal of Social Philosophy, 38(2), 331–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lee, P. (2004). The Pro-life argument from substantial identity: a defence. Bioethics, 18(3), 249–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lee, P., & George, R. (2008). The nature and basis of human dignity. Ratio Juris, 21(2), 173–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Levy, N. (2004). Cohen and kinds: a response to nathan nobis. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 21(2), 213–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Liao, M. (2010). The basis of human moral status. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 7(2), 159–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Machan, T. (2004). Putting humans first: Why we are nature’s favorite. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  34. MacLean, D. (2010). Is “Human Being” a Moral Concept? Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly, 30(3/4), 16–20.Google Scholar
  35. Matheny, G. (2003). Least harm: A defense of vegetarianism from Steven Davis’s omnivorous proposal. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 16, 505–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Matheny, G., & Chan, K. M. A. (2005). Human diets and animal welfare: the illogic of the larder. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 18, 579–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McMahan, J. (2005). Our fellow creatures. The Journal of Ethics, 9, 353–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Melden, A. I. (1980). Do infants have moral rights. In W. Aiken & H. LaFollette (Eds.), Whose Child? (pp. 210–211). Totowa: Littlefied, Adams & Co.Google Scholar
  39. Narveson, J. (1977). Animal Rights. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 7, 161–78.Google Scholar
  40. Narveson, J. (1987). On a case for animal rights. The Monist, 70(1), 31–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Olewski, J. (2010). Calculating our nitrogen footprint. Growing Green International, 26, 13–15.Google Scholar
  42. Rachels, J. (1990). Created from animals. The moral implications of darwinism. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Regan, T. (1983). The case for animal rights. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  44. Rowlands, M. (1997). Contractarianism and animal rights. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 14(3), 235–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Scanlon, T. M. (2008). Moral Dimensions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Scruton, R. (1998). Animal Rights and Wrongs, Demos.Google Scholar
  47. Scruton, R. (2004). The conscientious carnivore. In S. Sapontzis (Ed.), Food for thought: The debate over eating meat. Amherst: Prometheus.Google Scholar
  48. Scruton, R. (2006). Eating our friends. Right Reason (May 26, 2006).Google Scholar
  49. Stehfest, E. e.a. (2009). Climate Benefits of Changing Diet. Climatic Change 95, 83–102.Google Scholar
  50. Steiner, G. (2008). Animals and the Moral Community. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Tanner, J. (2006). Marginal humans, the argument from kinds and the similarity argument. Facta Universitas, 5(1), 47–63.Google Scholar
  52. Thomas, L. (2010). Animals and Animals. Between the Species X, 108–203.Google Scholar
  53. van de Veer, D. (1979). Of Beasts, Person, and the Original Position. The Monist, 62, 368–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Van den Berg, F. (2011). Harming Others: Universal Subjectivism and the Expanding Moral Circle. PhD dissertation, Universiteit Leiden.Google Scholar
  55. Williams, B. (2006). The Human Prejudice. Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline. Princeton.Google Scholar
  56. Wreen, M. (1984). In defense of speciesism. Ethics and Animals, 5(3), 47–60.Google Scholar
  57. Young, T. (1984). The morality of killing animals: four arguments. Ethics and Animals, 5(4), 88–101.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Moral ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations