I don't often get to exercise my structural knowledge of "proofs", all learned by painstaking rote in university so many years ago, but it's kind of fun to trot out those rusty old skills from time to time. As you can see in this case, I was asked to develop and present a position routed in natural philosophy which would "prove" that eating animals is problematic. Of course, I hope you like the results, and I welcome and discussion or critiques on the the effort. =o)
You'll just have to forgive me for the image I selected for this one though; that scene just screams "natural philosophy" -- to me, anyway.
And I'm happy to oblige you!
I will demonstrate the following points:
• Humans naturally thrive without eating other animals.
• Needlessly ending sentient being's life is "wrong".
• Eating an animal requires that animals to die.
• Humans eating animals is "wrong".
● Humans w/o Eating Animals (A)
As we've discussed earlier in this thread, we have all of recorded history demonstrating that persons, groups, and societies have been thriving on plant based diets, and that prior to this there is every reason to believe that humans consumed even less of animals (ref. goo.gl/3QZWDg). Or, to quote the biologist Rob Dunn (ref: goo.gl/H1Miq), "for most of the last twenty million years of the evolution of our bodies, through most of the big changes, we were eating fruit, nuts, leaves and the occasional bit of insect, frog, bird or mouse. While some of us might do well with milk, some might do better than others with starch and some might do better or worse with alcohol, we all have the basic machinery to get fruity or nutty without trouble."
It is perhaps even more compelling to note that contemporary humans, having much greater access to a variety of resources, have no difficulties at all living on a plant base lifestyle, and no reasonable person could argue against this.
Therefore, humans naturally thrive without eating other animals.
● Ending Sentient Life Is "Wrong" (B)
Of course, the issue of why sentient life intrinsically deserves respect is a broad and complex field of philosophical study, but I'll do my best to distill the salient points here.
Assuming that sentience is defined as the ability to feel, perceive, or be conscious, or to have subjective experiences ( ref: goo.gl/gevxP ), then for humans, this is the baseline consideration when we make decisions on someone's basic rights; if someone is sentient, then they possess inalienable rights, and if not, they don't. We humans value and respect sentience in each other, and we do so for various reasons.
One of the primary reasons we respect the sentience of fellow humans is that we have empathy. We know what is to be a living individual, and just as we don't want this violated in ourselves, so it is that we don't want it violated in others. As such, we have a natural tendency to protect this sentience in ourselves and others fiercely.
Similarly, we humans view other sentient beings as special, just as we do when looking at each other. For example, people experience deep attachment to their companion animals, taking joy in their joys, protecting them from harm, and mourning their death, all because we understand what it is for them to be unique and alive like us.
From here, I'm sure it's clear why all sentient life receives special respect; i.e., to not do so would be to lack empathy, and that would make one a sociopath ( ref: goo.gl/ik1ON ). I don't mean to imply that anyone who kills and eat animals is deranged -- quite the contrary -- I'm saying that the reason why people are attracted to purchase products packaged as (for example) "free-range" is specifically because they have empathy for animals, and therefore respect them as individuals which have rights. These rights include -- at the least -- the right not to be needlessly tortured.
If a being is afforded the right not to be needlessly tortured, then any greater violation of his or her person beyond torture must be a violation as well. Needlessly taking an animal's life is a much greater violation of his or her being than mere torture, so needlessly taking his or her life is "wrong".
Therefore, needlessly killing a sentient being is "wrong".
● Consequence Of Eating Others (C)
This is the simplest of the points to make in this proof, and I'll avoid belaboring it over much: we cannot eat an animal's body without ending its life.
Therefor, eating an animal requires that animals to die.
● Eating Animals Is "Wrong"
If "humans do not need to eat animals (A)", and "needlessly taking the life is a sentient being is 'wrong' (B)", and "eating a sentient being requires killing that being (C)", then "eating animals is 'wrong' (A + B + C)".
This post is one in a series in which excerpts of discussions on veganism from other threads are reposted (or paraphrased) for the sake of expanding the conversation. As always, your thoughts and questions are welcome. See the full collection via the #spommveganchats hash (or perhaps with a more robust search, such as goo.gl/JoxZC ).
(for anyone requiring/desiring more context, the original conversation can be found at goo.gl/0Uwnws )
#naturalscience #naturalphilosophy #vegan