Thursday, September 23, 2010

Carnivores: Can't Live With 'Em, Can't Annihilate Them

I wish (or do I?) that I had time to enter my own considered comments on this. I've said a few things here, and Duncan has lots more worth thinking about on this. I appreciate what Jean Kazez says about humility. The responses at On the Human might be better than the oodles of comments on the NYT blog (haven't checked since #29). For better or worse, I'll be moderating a discussion of McMahan's essay next Friday at the EKU Library at 3:30 p.m. (Room 204G, if you'd like to come interfere non-violently, or take me out for a stiff drink afterwards.)

McMahan gets high marks for being provocative, and many of the issues he raises are philosophically significant, but I think that the incorrectness of his position stems from the hubris of an implicit anthropocentrism (or perhaps, ratio-centrism) hiding under the cover of a humane concern for the suffering herbivores. If that's too much assertion and not enough argument, I think for now I'll just have to fall back on something Jean Améry said: "I'd rather be a witness than be convincing." I suppose this sort of response will just confirm the suspicions of people like McMahan that Wittgensteinians are too morally conservative. (I await a comment from DR...)


  1. I think I'm commented out on this one. Hope the discussion goes well.

  2. The comments at On the Human seem pretty interesting, though I can't do much more than skim. McMahan did make an appearance to respond, rather generously, to many of them.

    I found this comment worth pondering.

  3. I don't have much to add but, yes, that's an interesting comment. I imagine Heidegger might have a lot to say about all this, but I'm not in a position to say what it would be.