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Logical Celery
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Greetings from England

Post by Logical Celery » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:08 pm

Hi there, I'm currently exploring/learning more about veganism, primarily the ethical side of things as a means to better understand the philosophy. I heard this forum was a good place to communicate on such ideas, so I hope to perhaps get a better grip on things and to extend my knowledge.

I may consider trying out a vegan diet in the future, I've began to limit my consumption of animal products gradually in order to make the effect take course overtime, and so far it yields positive results.

So, I would like to essentially get some this first question out of the way for starters:

- In terms of the foundation for vegan arguments, should one's system reflect that of a moral universalist's system? Or in other words, should the system reflect that of one which is logically consistent, non-arbitrary and a consequentialism-based system dealing with values?

^ If yes to the above, what is the best defense to non-arbitrariness and how do you preclude out things to be arbitrary? That is to say, if one asserts a trait/characteristic that appears to be arbitrary and fails to offer up a sound argument in defense, can it be ruled out? Should you be capable of defending your characteristics with arguments/reason otherwise it is arbitrary?

From what I read, it seems as though many vegans have to deal with numerous arbitrary arguments/complex variations of argument predicated on arbitrary foundations, so perhaps if they are successful in offering up a rational argument for why the system ought to be logically consistent + non-arbitrary then it may suit them better.

The person that I spoke with on discord attempts to use a consistency test most of the time, alongside several of his cohorts, yet I see them dealing with numerous arguments dealing with crazy arbitrary nonsense. Their attempts to overcome this usually entails an overly insane hypothetical that does not resonate with meat-eaters all too well.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:06 pm

Welcome, and congrats on your successful reduction!

As to your question, I think that relates to burden of proof, which can be a complicated topic.

You can take an extreme position in rejecting anything that's not proved and demanding proof of any claim, or the opposite (accepting everything), but both of those tend to backfire.
In discourse, usually we ask for extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims, of course that would tend to give an apparent advantage to claims like "suffering is bad" which most people find considerably more plausible.

People (like Isaac & company) tend to have a double standard about demanding proof, but I think that also has a lot to do with them not knowing what they're really arguing.

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Post by Red » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:56 pm

Hey LC! If you have any questions about going vegan, this place is a great resource.
If the circumstances make it such that you can't fuck a man in the ass, then just peckerslap him. Better to let him know who's in charge than to let him get the keys to the car.
-Lyndon Baines Johnson

Logical Celery
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Post by Logical Celery » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:42 pm

Thank you for the welcome!

I've been reading through some of the threads here, and I'm starting to pick up on some new ways of thinking about this topic. I was, however, a bit curious on a thing in regards to "negative rights", actually.

@brimstoneSalad You say that negative rights are absolute, this was mentioned on the Tom Regan thread, and I was a little bit stumped because from what I've seen most vegans (on discord) do not primarily hold it to such a degree.

I've spent some time in Ask Yourself's discord server, and from what it seems they do indeed afford sentient beings these rights, but they would never hold it to an absolute. There is a trade-off where it may become necessary to deny a being these rights when conflicting interests are in action, and I think a good example of that would be the whole crop death/pesticide argument case. They usually talk about how it's justified to kill in self-defense to protect one's food in order to feed a society that is made up of vastly more sentient beings as opposed to an attacking pest, like a rabbit. Or sometimes it may involve survival situations when hypotheticals are proposed.

As a secondary point, from what I've seen in the deontology thread (the popular one by TVA) I agree that it does indeed seem circular by the given examples. However, most people from the Ask Yourself server do not necessarily justify it that way, actually. They would say it's a violation of the being's right to life, but they will expand onto their interests on other things that make it a bad action to begin with, kind of like what the consequentalist does.

To me it seems these kinds of vegan debaters are a mixture of both, not strict crazy deontologists but like a more tamed version that also adheres to consequentialist vegan talking points as a reinforced backing. Their logic could backfire on them in a way, but I haven't seen something show up.

Are they rule consequentalist do you think? And if you think there are some issues with rule consequentalism, what would they necessarily be? It doesn't have to be an excessive list, but a few short examples would be sufficient to work from.

Thank you in advance. I'm rather more convinced of the consequentalist based arguments, I was lingering to the deontological types for quite some time in the way Tom Regan goes about it as a base.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:16 pm

Logical Celery wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:42 pm
@brimstoneSalad You say that negative rights are absolute, this was mentioned on the Tom Regan thread, and I was a little bit stumped because from what I've seen most vegans (on discord) do not primarily hold it to such a degree.
Most people pick and choose, and take things only to an arbitrary extent they feel like; kind of like most Christians will cherry pick parts of scripture they like, or apply religious rules only so far and then ignore them when it doesn't suit them.

That's not to say that this is a bad thing (I would prefer biblical theists NOT stone homosexuals because the old testament told them to), but it is potentially inconsistent.
Logical Celery wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:42 pm
I've spent some time in Ask Yourself's discord server, and from what it seems they do indeed afford sentient beings these rights, but they would never hold it to an absolute.
I think you're talking about Avis diagram where he's trying to mix deontology and consequentialism based on the numbers?
Most people aren't as overt about that, but it is descriptive of what some people believe in practice.
Doesn't mean it's coherent.

It's kind of like if a Christian made a diagram of adherence to old testament laws vs. progressive values and mapped them relative to the social stakes at hand.
Yes, that's descriptive of what a lot of people do, but is it internally consistent to any kind of coherent metaethic? Not really. That's just descriptive social relativism.
Logical Celery wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:42 pm
They usually talk about how it's justified to kill in self-defense to protect one's food in order to feed a society that is made up of vastly more sentient beings as opposed to an attacking pest, like a rabbit.
That's just good old fashioned consequentialism; weighing harms vs benefits. No reason to bring rights into it. They don't add anything and they're not being used correctly.
Logical Celery wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:42 pm
They would say it's a violation of the being's right to life, but they will expand onto their interests on other things that make it a bad action to begin with, kind of like what the consequentalist does.
Yeah, that's just consequentialism. There's no reason to talk about rights. Just talk about the being having an interest to live, and how violating that is a harm which we weigh against other harms or benefits.
Specifically, it's preference consequentialism.

You can bring the instrumental utility of legal rights into consequentialism, but that's not what people are doing there (that's social contract stuff).
Logical Celery wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:42 pm
Are they rule consequentalist do you think? And if you think there are some issues with rule consequentalism, what would they necessarily be? It doesn't have to be an excessive list, but a few short examples would be sufficient to work from.
There's nothing wrong with rule consequentialism. It's an empirical question of whether following rules has a better outcome than attempting individual assessment.
Rule consequentialism is beneficial in cases where there's no time to assess the details, no access to details, or excessive bias that prevents objective assessment. Rule consequentialism derives from application of general consequentialism to specific cases where assessment is difficult.

E.g. a rule: Don't kill people, period.
If you have weighed the pros and cons of murder and determined murder is a good course of action, you are more likely wrong and biased by anger or temporarily insane or misinformed and are not weighing the pros and cons correctly, so don't kill people even if you think it's a good idea because you're probably wrong.

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Post by Logical Celery » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:13 pm

Thank you for the response. And yes, I'm in agreement with you, they should just get the whole "right to life" stuff out of the equation and talk specifically about the consequentalist arguments instead. I've seen some people actually nitpick and pedantically attack arguments revolving around that, and quite specifically, apply that same logic to pests in an absolute sense. At that point the vegan in question has to justify why the human's right to life > animal's and it can get messy considering those rights are absolute.

Right, and it seems many people in the server adhere to that view because it seems like an easy system to attach to in order to answer difficult grey area questions in regards to ethics/veganism etc.

But, to be charitable, AVI does acknowledge that the threshold between the switch is in a grey area zone, but the difference between killing 1 to save 5 VS killing 1 to save 1 million is not so grey.

I will look into preference consequentalism, I'm not too familiar with that, but from what it seems on Wiki (skim-reading it here atm) I align with it. Guess AY and his cohorts could benefit by talking about this stuff instead, eh?

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Post by Logical Celery » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:23 am

@brimstoneSalad

Sorry to bother, but I just found something interesting on Ask Yourself's channel on preference utilitaranism that I just had to share. This was on his positive rights/negative rights debate video (with AVI) -- Some commenter left the following message:
The whole concept of these negative rights within most vegan discourse is pretty much useless when we can instead account for preference utilitarianism, which many of us actually do when trying to justify these negative rights in question.

A good example of this would be in something like the pesticide debate. The "right to life" concept would apply to both the pest and human, and quite frankly, the carnist can usually pull the vegan's tail on this pedantically and obscure conversation. A preference utilitarianism based argument would simply crush this debate into submission and weigh the benefits to harms in like a mathematical sense.

The rights based view could try to justify itself via the preference utilitarianism path, but there's like no point to it when you can just account for the latter instead.


And Ask Yourself's response to this was the following:
I really find it obnoxious when people come in with some worthless statement claiming that their system answers whatever is being discussed so they don't actually have to engage with it, with ZERO evidence. Saying you're a preference utilitarian a) doesn't sort out obligations from virtues, and b) commits you to a positive rights position. So with respect to a, there are many things that are in line with the interests of me or others that aren't moral obligations. And with respect to b, preference utilitarianism also commits you to a positive rights position of some type because maximizing interests often entails more than just doing nothing to hurt others. So no, you haven't even interacted properly with the topic in your comment, even with preference utilitarianism on the table you're still left grappling with the exact same issues you've just baselessly dismissed: "how do you split virtues from obligations?", and "how do you constrain positive rights?"


What do you think?

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:57 pm

Logical Celery wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:13 pm
But, to be charitable, AVI does acknowledge that the threshold between the switch is in a grey area zone, but the difference between killing 1 to save 5 VS killing 1 to save 1 million is not so grey.
I don't see how he can substantiate that. What he's essentially talking about is moral relativism with respect to the threshold, and if somebody *thinks* killing one to save a million is grey then there's no argument he can make against that. He just has to keep raising the stakes until the other person agrees it's not grey anymore, and that person may never do so.
Logical Celery wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:13 pm
Guess AY and his cohorts could benefit by talking about this stuff instead, eh?
Yes, but Isaac already knows he's right, so he doesn't believe he has anything to gain from discussion. He's too fixated on "murking" people and creating spectacle to learn anything.

He's welcome to the forum, though. If he wants a debate, this is basically neutral ground and I'd have to answer any questions he posed.
Likewise for any of his cohorts who have his stamp of approval/blessing to do so. I don't think he really trusts any of his followers aside from AVI though, and AVI is pretty busy.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:21 pm

@Logical Celery
Ask Yourself wrote:Saying you're a preference utilitarian a) doesn't sort out obligations from virtues,
Begging the question: why do you think there's a difference between the two?
This is Matt Dillahunty reasoning. You have to substantiate your claim that there IS a fundamental distinction between the two at all.

Also, if it's useful then it's entirely possible to do that by addressing the consequentialist system WITH consequentialism, much as I explained Rule Consequentialism earlier.

If treating something as an obligation makes people more likely to wholesale reject the moral system, and treating it as a virtue increases compliance and produces more overall good, then that's probably what you should do. This is relative to the situation, where a good could transition from one to the other depending on the effect on the population.

The distinction between a "virtue" and an "obligation" has more to do with judgement/punishment and social condemnation (and the utility of those things) than some magical fundamental difference between the two in moral quality.

Ask Yourself wrote:and b) commits you to a positive rights position.
Again, the rights stuff is garbage philosophy. It only makes sense from an instrumental perspective, and that's not what's being used here. Throw all of that out; it implies something inviolable.
Preference consequentialism doesn't commit you to ANY rights.
However, what he probably means is that it commits you to also respecting positive preferences in addition to negative ones. And that's true.

It's good to do something that helps a creature get what it wants in the same way it's bad to do something that hinders the creature in getting what it wants or inflicts something the creature doesn't want upon it. What's the problem with that?

Although if you don't want that, you can advocate something called "negative preference utilitarianism" which prioritizes negative preferences (e.g. I don't want to die).
However, all negative preferences (and positive ones) may just be a restatement of each other. E.g. I want to live = I don't want to die.
There's no clear way to differentiate them. Not that doing so is meaningful or matters.

This is all an issue of Isaac and the like begging the question. They presume these things are important as a matter of fact without evidence. It's like a theist saying "well the Bible must be true otherwise God doesn't exist, and we know God exists so explain that!"
Ask Yourself wrote:So no, you haven't even interacted properly with the topic in your comment, even with preference utilitarianism on the table you're still left grappling with the exact same issues you've just baselessly dismissed: "how do you split virtues from obligations?", and "how do you constrain positive rights?"
:lol:
Issues this person baselessly dismissed, or issues Isaac and his lot baselessly assert?
What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. The answer is simple: there's no reason to believe these are problems. If Isaac thinks they are, he needs to prove that. Him just personally not liking them or not feeling it isn't evidence.

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Post by Logical Celery » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:03 pm

@brimstoneSalad

A friend of mine on discord gave me some intel on a little scuffel that happened in Ask Yourself's server last night.

Ask Yourself is profoundly delusional. He dismisses the moral realist positions as all being delusional/believing in magic, and he constantly keeps pushing the Skeptic/William Laine Craig dichotomy in his server against objective morality.

He got into a little debate with one of his mods (one that he likes and respects) about objective morality (the mod is a moral realist) and in that exchange the mod brought up the point about the consensus in academia about how over 50% of philosophers subscribe to moral realism. Ask Yourself essentially proclaimed them to be "profoundly" confused and outright delusional.

He's not even open to the fact that he may be completely out of his league here, and that he may not understand something that they do, but this level of delusion seems extremely worrying.

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