Why aren't ethicists better people?

You certainly do project!

“I read Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation because I had never met an animal rights person who had, and it always puzzled me how people who supposedly cared so very, very much about something would not read the book that should be their Bible. Singer is a regular Josef Mengele who advocates using retarded people for medical experiments and euthanizing people with routine medical problems. I read Animal Liberation simultaneously with Mein Kampf and it was eye opening.”

That’s the very definition of an ad-hom. You lazily attempt to discredit personal ethical choices by lumping vegetarians in with literal Nazis.

Similarly, social conservatives enlumpen feminists in with eugenicists and nazis to serve their ideological goals and tear them down for having a hive-mind which flows from fantasy feminist “authorities”. They brag about “reading Dworkin” and misquote to “prove” the worthlessness of equality.


Really, are there any situations where theoretical considerations gain the affective impetus that actually modifies behavior? There are definitely plenty where we analyze how best to undertake some motivating but initially ill defined objective; but it’s harder to think of any where you can think yourself directly into action against, or in absence of, an affective impetus. You can chain arguments together to the limit of your working memory; but you never get any closer to breaching the difference; because it seems to be one of kind rather than degree.

It has always been my experience that, all naive theories of the ‘self’ as a little cognitive homunculus perched behind the eyes and peering out to the contrary, all your language-level internal dialog is a more or less powerless mote, subject to whatever affective impressions happen to be occurring at the time. Like weather; and with the same force and unarguable immediacy of physical sense impressions.

You can string together words that sound like arguments against your affect state; but their actual effect is so profoundly limited that it can’t even really be described as even ‘futile’, it’s closer to being wholly orthogonal to the matter. Do others actually experience the feeling of being the captain of one’s soul, or is this within standard parameters?


Are public figures above criticism? Is Peter Singer your god or something? Because at that point it’s not even “ethics” at all, just dogma. Again you deflect and resort to ad hominems. And then you’re going to go for a red herring by trying to pull in feminism?

Needs more Zen.

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You appear to not understand what that phrase means if you continue to use it while conveniently ignoring that you’re the only person here abusing the fallacy. I don’t know what it is with people on the internet who hear a logical fallacy and repeat it as if it’s some sort of cheat code or magical phrase that means that they don’t have to post a cogent argument and win by default.

Apparently authoritarians are completely unable to think outside of their rigid ideological framework.

I’m not a devotee or even a vegetarian, though I volunteer for a soup kitchen that is primarily veg*n. My point is that your bizarro attacks on Peter Singer do not reflect on vegetarian belief and your attempts to find / attack a “vegetarian bible” reflect more poorly on you than the vegetarians who don’t read Singer and don’t give two shits about their supposed “Nazi religious materials”.

Your argument is embarrassingly sloppy.


This story was about scummy ethicists. Are you here to crush all comments in this thread by labeling them “ad hominems?” Because I guess we can just close this comment thread right now in order to spare you more anguish. Or do you have a personal interest in some issue, or are you merely obsessed with my perceived personal flaws?

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I’ve certainly encountered ethical dilemmas where either:

  1. my instinct about what to do was not particularly strong one way or the other, and so I had to rationally consider my next course of action
  2. something about my initial impulse seemed wrong and I reconsidered it.

Even if a moral theory only ever came into play in situations like that, it could hypothetically still be useful.

But realistically, I think “theoretical considerations” can be internalized to the point where they do modify behavior by modifying your initial impulse in response to a concrete ethical dilemma.

Or “theoretical considerations” could really be a description of whatever internalized value system begets those impulses.

TL;DR you don’t have to adopt the homonculus view of human cognition to find reasons to consider moral/ethical theories.


If a vegetarian writes a book in the middle of the last century, and nobody reads it, is it authoritative?


He thinks you’re making a “guilt by association” argument against all vegans and animal rights activists by attributing to them the views of Peter Singer.

“Should be their bible” was a bullshit rhetorical ploy, and you might as well acknowledge it so the conversation can move forward.


I didn’t question the “authoritative” remark because it was too ambiguous.

That was 30 years ago when the animal rights folks were near their peak. I expected that people who joined groups like “People for the ETHICAL Treatment of Animals” (see what I did there?) and whose whole identity was based on their ethical superiority (well also being The Smartest Guy In The Room) might have read a book by their leading ethicist, but, sadly, no. Mind you, i wasn’t expecting them to read something that would challenge their beliefs, I just figured they would have read something they agreed with in order to strengthen their ethical beliefs. Like Christians who have never read the Bible, or any other serious book on the subject that is supposedly sooooo important to them, their morality or ethics are a scam. For those of you keeping score, I am still on topic (Peter Singer, ethics, bad ethics).

I could have just as easily picked on the anti-vaxxers or anti-GMO people for the same habits, but that would ignore the largely overlooked fact that these are often the same people flitting from issue to issue.

Yes, all vegetarians and vegans are insufferable know-it-alls. No, you’re not stereotyping a huge and diverse group of people because you have some personal issue.

Done feeding the troll now, I suggest others take the same tack.


Deflection and ad hominems.

Singer was just mentioned in passing in the article, but I don’t see why subscribing to his views would be necessary to have a coherent vegetarian ethos. If you’ve never met an animal rights person who has read Animal Liberation or presumably one who advocates using retarded people for medical experiments and euthanizing people with routine medical problems, why are those arguments important and what makes Animal Liberation an appropriate Bible for people who care about animal rights? People cared about animals far before Peter Singer came along, so if his ethics are bad, why not be happy that they’re being ignored?


You expect me to try to reason you out of your fist-pounding, spittle-flecked hatred for vegetarians?

No thanks. Have fun with @jsroberts.


Deflection and ad hominems? Did not see that coming!

Mod note: Cool it and stop with the personal bickering.


Ah, I see the problem.

Most people who care about the ethical treatment of animals stay as far away from PETA as humanly possible. And most people who do not eat animals – and there are many, many reasons for that – do not necessarily know (or care) that one particular academic wrote a philosophic work about the ethics of eating animals.


But you don’t realize, all vegetarians support PETA’s goals and methods universally and I can dismantle their belief system because they are associated with PETA…

If you would all just lock step and line up it’d be a lot easier for me to tell you what you believe :cry:

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I don’t think anyone has ever accused me of moving the goalposts in a discussion. I’m more the annoying guy that insists on staying on topic.