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Thread: Is it wrong to eat your dog, etc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post

    It means that the possibility of one's offspring having serious genetic defects is greatly increased as a result of incestuous sexual relations.
    Sure, I already agreed that conceiving a child with a close blood-relative would be immoral. But sexual contact per se isn't wrong. You can use contraceptives, or terminate any pregnancy. Obviously, if you are not willing to do that, then it would be immoral.


    Then explain why it's still illegal for siblings to marry each other in 47 out of 50 states in the US.
    Why should I have to explain that? That is totally irrelevant to the ethics of the situation, and more generally, the legality of an act is completely irrelevant to the morality of an act. That is simply a category error. Unless you want to allow for all sorts of things, up to and including genocide, to be moral.

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

    The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

    The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

    Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

    The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

    The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

    Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.
    Moral codes don't always have to do with your actions in relation to other people. We see many moral codes that censure actions to objects, animals, and to yourself.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

    The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

    The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

    Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.
    Moral codes don't always have to do with your actions in relation to other people. We see many moral codes that censure actions to objects, animals, and to yourself.
    But all of them actually do have some relationship with how society needs to function. I believe in Kant's categorical imperative. An action is right if you can will that the maxim of an action become a moral law applying to all persons. It also needs to be recognized that morality often functions on a symbolic level. That's why cruelty to animals is unacceptable as they are sentient beings and since it can translate into cruelty to other sentient beings such as humans.

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

    The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

    The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

    Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.
    Moral codes don't always have to do with your actions in relation to other people. We see many moral codes that censure actions to objects, animals, and to yourself.
    It's pretty much the same thing. Some animals are food and some are friends. Friends get the protection of our moral code. Moral codes define how a person is expected to deal with the world, objects, animals and possibly to oneself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    It also needs to be recognized that morality often functions on a symbolic level. That's why cruelty to animals is unacceptable as they are sentient beings and since it can translate into cruelty to other sentient beings such as humans.
    Kant had the idea that animals don't matter in themselves, because they don't reason and are not autonomous. They're not an "end in themselves" but (exactly as with Aquinas) their end use is for humans.

    That's some dated stuff there.

    What's wrong with direct regard for nonhuman animals? Why isn't it enough? After all, they like their lives and would themselves prefer not to be treated cruelly.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    It also needs to be recognized that morality often functions on a symbolic level. That's why cruelty to animals is unacceptable as they are sentient beings and since it can translate into cruelty to other sentient beings such as humans.
    Kant had the idea that animals don't matter in themselves, because they don't reason and are not autonomous. They're not an "end in themselves" but (exactly as with Aquinas) their end use is for humans.

    That's some dated stuff there.

    What's wrong with direct regard for nonhuman animals? Why isn't it enough? After all, they like their lives and would themselves prefer not to be treated cruelly.
    First, it's good to see some lively discussion around here again. It seems people have gone way overboard with this idea of social isolating, not that there's anything wrong with that.

    My own opinion is that the fundamental basis of all morality is the survival of the species (human beings in the present case). So any decisions about how we are to treat animals should be based on whether it will serve the over-all interests of the human race. Right now the idea that we can continue to harvest animals as a source of food and continue to maintain a tolerably livable environment is in question. Therefore there is a call for more "animal rights". Prior to that there was a lot of sentiment for the prevention of cruelty to animals. As I suggested this is due to our increasing awareness of their ability to feel and think in ways not that much different than humans. My argument is that our respect for other human beings is to a large extent based on our ability to identify with them. If we treat them cruelly then we are more likely to treat each other cruelly. But we will never treat animals with the same regard and respect that we do other humans. It just isn't viable as a survival strategy.

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    Treedbear,

    I'm thinking you're saying something very important about how behaviors towards animals reflect on us.

    But consider also how humans putting our own interests first reflects on how poorly we treat the rest of life on earth. Observe for example, the mass extinction event. Humans behave like we're center-stage. All the rest of earth's life is background scenery to our own self-absorbed drama. The result is catastrophic. We could be more mutual than that.

    I don't agree with anyone suggesting giving animals all the same rights as humans. Differing capacities matter. But before killing a food animal it should have the space to live something like the life it evolved to live. And then kill it as "kindly" as possible. Better yet, kill it with the deepest respect since it's our kin.

    Life has to eat life, but humans can do it better than we do. Animists knew this and made a ritual when taking another life. "I am sorry for killing you, my brother!" That's a good lesson to moderns, who feel cut off from "nature" and have a harder time caring about it. Animist's behavior seems superstitious to ... rational people? or are we rather more a lot of dissociated people? Animism seems to me like a prescientific recognition of biological mutualism. It kept many humans mindful of what they are: a feature of earth's life.

    Am I concerned about a family that'd eat its dead pet? Before, I would have answered "Not if it's dead already". But on second thought, yes I really should be. If they see meat whenever looking at animals then they're pretty fucked up. If there were a lot of people like that, it'd be worrisome. And it's an actual problem, inasmuch as we look at our kindred species as pretty props in our background scenery or as walking meat ("resources").

    The problem though is for earth's life generally. I disagree with the first sentence of your second paragraph, as I'm an ecocentrist. But the rest of your post has got me reconsidering some aspects of my stance. So, thanks for expanding on your idea of symbolism's role in ethics.
    Last edited by abaddon; 05-07-2020 at 11:45 PM. Reason: changed "animals" to "people" to make a sentence clearer

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    while it's not as serious as eating human flesh it's wrong for the same reason. Morality is strongly dependent on symbolism which is why it doesn't matter whether the dog or the granny were already dead, and interring or cremating the bodies might even be considered a waste.
    So your argument is that it is wrong because of symbolism, i.e. because the current culture considers it wrong? I think by virtue of the question this is not allowed argument. You can think of the original question as "is our culture is wrong that we consider eating dog (or grandma) wrong?". What if we had different symbolism? What if eating someone/body is a sign of respect and attempt to preserve a part of that person in you? To think about it, it would not be bad tradition: you taste a dog (or a person) and think "I need to remember this taste forever". It may help to bring closure.

  10. Top | #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

    The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

    The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

    Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.
    Moral codes don't always have to do with your actions in relation to other people. We see many moral codes that censure actions to objects, animals, and to yourself.
    But all of them actually do have some relationship with how society needs to function. I believe in Kant's categorical imperative. An action is right if you can will that the maxim of an action become a moral law applying to all persons. It also needs to be recognized that morality often functions on a symbolic level. That's why cruelty to animals is unacceptable as they are sentient beings and since it can translate into cruelty to other sentient beings such as humans.
    Sorry to bring such example but it is considered immoral in many cultures "to have sex with yourself", also known as masturbation. No relationship with society is required (talking from my friend's experience).

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