Advertisement

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

  • A. G. HoldierEmail author
Articles

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Vegetarianism Animal ethics Aesthetics Sentimentalism Virtue ethics Aristotle Henry Stephens Salt 

References

  1. Adams, C. (1994). Bringing peace home: A feminist philosophical perspective on the abuse of women, children, and pet animals. Hypatia, 9(2), 63–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anonymous. (2015a). Affidavit #1. Resource document. The Food Integrity Campaign and the Government Accountability Project. http://www.foodwhistleblower.org/campaign/wtf-hormel/#affidavits. Accessed 16 April 2016.
  3. Anonymous. (2015b). Affidavit #2. Resource document. The Food Integrity Campaign and the Government Accountability Project. http://www.foodwhistleblower.org/campaign/wtf-hormel/#affidavits. Accessed 16 April 2016.
  4. Aristotle, (1984a). Nicomachean ethics. In J. Barnes (Ed.), The complete works of Aristotle: The revised oxford translation (Trans.) (II ed., pp. 1728–1827). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Aristotle, (1984b). Politics. In J. Barnes (Ed.), The complete works of Aristotle: The revised oxford translation (Trans.) (II ed., pp. 1985–2128). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chapman, H. A., & Anderson, A. K. (2014). Trait physical disgust is related to moral judgments outside of the purity domain. Emotion, 14(2), 341–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (1995). Cognitive Adaptations for Social Exchange. In J. H. Barkow, L. Cosmides, & J. Tooby (Eds.), The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture (pp. 163–228). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dover, K. J. (1974). Greek popular morality in the time of plato and Aristotle. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Dürrigl, M. A. (2002). Kalokagathia—beauty is more than just external appearance. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 1(4), 208–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eisnitz, G. A. (2007). Slaughterhouse: The shocking story of greed, neglect, and inhumane treatment inside the US meat industry. Amherst: Prometheus.Google Scholar
  11. Fitzgerald, A. J., Kalof, S. L., & Dietz, T. (2009). Slaughterhouses and increased crime rates: An empirical analysis of the spillover from “The Jungle” into the surrounding community. Organization & Environment, 22(2), 158–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gadamer, H. G. (2004). Truth and method (J. Weinsheimer & D. G. Marshall, Trans., 2nd ed.). New York: Continuum Books.Google Scholar
  13. Gandhi, M. (1931). The moral basis of vegetarianism, Lecture given to a meeting of the London Vegetarian Society. November 20th; transcript http://worldvegfest.org/news/evu/other/gandhi2.html Accessed April 16, 2016.
  14. Irvin, S. (2008). The pervasiveness of the aesthetic in ordinary experience. The British Journal of Aesthetics, 48(1), 29–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Katz, S. E. (2006). The revolution will not be microwaved: Inside America’s underground food movements. White River Junction: Chelsea Green.Google Scholar
  16. Kuehn, G. (2004). Dining on Fido: Death identity, and the aesthetic dilemma of eating animals. In E. McKenna & A. Light (Eds.), Animal pragmatism: Rethinking human-nonhuman relationships (pp. 228–247). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  17. May, J. (2014). Does disgust influence moral judgment? Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 92(1), 125–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Milliken, J. (2006). Aristotle’s aesthetic ethics. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 44, 319–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pi, J. J. (2012). Kant’s aesthetic reading of aristotle’s Philia: Disinterestedness and the mood of the late enlightenment. Revisia de Filosofia, 37(2), 55–68.Google Scholar
  20. Plato (1989). Lysias. J. Wright (Trans.). In: Hamilton, E. & Cairns, H (Eds.). The Collected Dialogues of Plato. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Pollan, M. (2006). The omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  22. Prayson, B., McMahon, J. T., & Prayson, R. A. (2008). Fast food hamburgers: What are we really eating? Annals of Diagnostic Pathology, 12, 406–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Salt, H. S. (2012). The logic of vegetarianism: Essays and dialogues. London: Forgotten Books.Google Scholar
  24. Schlosser, E. (2002). Fast food nation: The dark side of the America meal. New York: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  25. Schnall, S., Haidt, J., Clore, G. L., & Jordan, A. H. (2008). Disgust as embodied moral judgement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(8), 1096–1109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Scully, M. (2002). Dominion: The power of man, the suffering of animals, and the call to mercy. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  27. Silvia, P. J., & Brown, E. M. (2007). Anger, disgust, and the negative aesthetic emotions: Expanding an appraisal model of aesthetic experience. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1(2), 100–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Singer, P. (2009). Animal liberation: The definitive classic of the animal movement (Updated edition ed.). New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  29. Strohminger, N. (2014). The meaning of disgust: A refutation. Emotion Review, 6(3), 214–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Telfer, E. (1996). Food as Art. Food for thought: Philosophy and food (pp. 41–60). New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2001). Does beauty build adapted minds? Toward an evolutionary theory of aesthetics. Fiction and the Arts. Substance, 30(1), 6–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Weiler, I. (2002). Inverted kalokagathia. Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Post-Slave Studies, 23(2), 9–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wirzba, N. (2011). Food and faith: A theology of eating. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarPaulUSA

Personalised recommendations