The Pig’s Squeak: Towards a Renewed Aesthetic Argument for Veganism

  • A. G. HoldierEmail author


In 1906, Henry Stephens Salt published a short collection of essays that presented several rhetorically powerful, if formally deficient arguments for the vegetarian position. By interpreting Salt as a moral sentimentalist with ties to Aristotelian virtue ethics, I propose that his aesthetic argument deserves contemporary consideration. First, I connect ethics and aesthetics with the Greek concepts of kalon and kalokagathia that depend equally on beauty and morality before presenting Salt’s assertion: slaughterhouses are disgusting, therefore they should not be promoted. I suggest three areas of development since Salt’s death that could be fruitfully plumbed to rebuild this assertion into a contemporary argument: (1) an updated analysis of factory farm conditions, (2) insights from moral psychologists on the adaptive socio-biological benefits of disgust as a source of cognitive information, and (3) hermeneutical considerations about the role of the audience that allow blameworthiness for slaughterhouse atrocities to be laid upon the meat-eater.


Vegetarianism Animal ethics Aesthetics Sentimentalism Virtue ethics Aristotle Henry Stephens Salt 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarPaulUSA

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