Philosophy 220 Moral Status of Non-Human Animals: Curnutt Curnutt, “Vegetarianism” Curnutt is convinced that moral arguments for vegetarianism coming from consequentialism and rights-based theories are incapable of addressing all of the issues that have been raised. He offers in replacement an argument grounded in something like the harm principle. The Old Arguments Consequentialists like Matheny will find it difficult to argue that the moral value of the consequences of actions will always require vegetarianism. Rights talk is so complex and contentious that even Regan doesn’t get the job done. NEW Review the NEW argument for vegetarianism as it is presented on (364c1). Some Notes: Prima Facie: on its face, presumed to be (but can be overridden). Ultima Facie: on its face, (can't be overridden). Animal: vertebrate. Clearly, (3), (5) and (6) are the key moves in the argument. Killing Animals is Prima Facie Morally Wrong. Harm: something that adversely affects an individual or entity's interests Severity of harm dependent on centrality of interests. Welfare interests are those that are (a) definitive of basic well-being, and (b) because their realization is the necessary precondition of having interests. Killing NHAs harms them, independent of any consequentialist or rights-based analyses. Therefore, assuming harm is prima facie morally wrong, it is prima facie wrong to kill NHAs. Animal Eating is Prima Facie Morally Wrong On the basis of the conclusion that killing NHAs is prima facie wrong, the conclusion that eating animals is also prima facie morally wrong follows from the acknowledgment that eating them requires killing them. A possible response comes from the recognition that rarely do animal eaters actually kill the animals they eat. Curnutt rejects this response on the grounds of an analogy with other forms of transfer (holocaust lamp; stolen stereo). Benefitting from a “morally nefarious practice” makes one complicit in the immorality. In some cases, we may have no choice. However, animal eating is clearly not one of them. From Prima Facie to Ultima Facie The last step of Curnutt’s argument is demonstrating that the Prima Facie wrongness of animal eating is in fact Ultima Facie wrongness. Demonstrating this requires arguments to the effect that the wrongness of animal eating is not overridden by competing moral concerns. Curnutt identifies 4 different claims to overridingness 1. 2. 3. 4. Traditional/Cultural: many obviously immoral practices have been so supported, but that doesn’t change our evaluation. Aesthetic: aesthetic appreciation is not generally regarded as sufficient to override moral concerns. Convenience: again, the fact that something is convenient is insufficient to override its immorality. Nutrition: NEW is not committed to veganism, just lacto-ovo vegetarianism. Absent any persuasive claim to overringness, the prima facie wrongness of animal eating is thus ultima facie.