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

  1. Top | #21
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MxM111 View Post
    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.
    Actually eating the dead, especially the parents, was a common sign of respect or even duty in some cultures. It is called Endocannibalism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocannibalism

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    Yes, it is also called "grok that person completely" (Stranger in a strange land). This is for sure not a new idea.

  3. Top | #23
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    What is moral is inextricably linked with what those in your immediate community will accept from you without punishing you. A lot of these 'moral relativity' questions only come about when disparate cultures become aware of one another.

    Person [A] over here thinks person [B] over there is immoral because they do things differently, but this has no bearing on person [B], and until it does person [B] has no reason to care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    I don't find most of these morally dumbfounding. The fundamental issue is that these researchers believe that morality is based on "harm". It isn't.

    1) Clearly wrong. You respect the ones you love, even after their death. If you owned a dog and didn't love it, then I would consider that morally wrong as well.
    My wife drives a car she inherited from her dad. If she gets a new car and sells the current one for scrap metal, is that clearly wrong because it means she didn't love her father, or loved him but is now disrespecting him? What's the difference between a car one's father isn't using any more, and a dog body that one's dog isn't using any more?

    My folks had a dog, and I loved her, but it was her personality, her behavior, her affection for us -- her mind -- that I loved. When that was gone, wasn't the body left behind just another of her former possessions, the same as her chewing bone?

    2) This depends on exactly what "very busy" entails, but if this wasn't something extreme, and merely something like "too busy at work", then *clearly* it is morally wrong. It is wrong not to keep your promises, especially to your family.
    Let's say the mom was dying from a gunshot -- she was a hit woman who'd been hired to do a revenge killing, and the daughter of the last man she murdered hunted her down and shot her, and the actual promise she got her son to promise was to kill the girl who'd shot her and to visit her grave every week and give her a progress report until he'd avenged her. It is wrong not to keep your promises, especially to your family, so it follows that it would also clearly be morally wrong for her busy son not to murder the girl, yes? No. I assume you'd agree with me that the son ought to end the cycle of revenge killings and not kill the girl.

    You can't make an immoral thing become moral by saying "I promise to". It follows that "It is wrong not to keep your promises" is not a top-level unconditional duty. It's a derived rule-of-thumb that applies in normal situations because it serves some more fundamental principle. So why should we keep our promises? What's the more fundamental principle? It seems to me we need to identify the reason for keeping promises if we want to know whether it still applies to promises to dead people.

    3) This isn't wrong at all. National symbols don't deserve reverence.
    They don't? What is declining to eat a dog's body out of respect, if not reverence for a symbol? Do you mean we owe love to our dogs but not to our countries?

    5) Buying the chicken is already wrong.
    What's wrong with buying a chicken? Are we supposed to get our chickens by sneaking into the chickencoop and making off with one, to honor the fox god? Or do you mean it's wrong because it harms the chicken? Morality isn't based on harm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Person [A] over here thinks person [B] over there is immoral because they do things differently, but this has no bearing on person [B], and until it does person [B] has no reason to care.
    You are really on something here. Is it immoral to do things differently? It is simple question but think about it. It may be the cornerstone between different political movements (conservative vs liberal), different types of society (dark ages vs resonance) and so on.

  6. Top | #26
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    I don't find any of these immoral, b/c there is no harm and I determine morality on the basis of actual harm caused to others.

    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post

    I don't find most of these morally dumbfounding. The fundamental issue is that these researchers believe that morality is based on "harm". It isn't.
    Most universal ethics are based on harm. List the things that 90% of humans would agree are immoral, and they'll likely all strongly related to causing harm to others.


    1) Clearly wrong. You respect the ones you love, even after their death. If you owned a dog and didn't love it, then I would consider that morally wrong as well
    Disrespect causes harm to the living. Respecting the dead is merely an extension of that harm principle, and the many who don't extend it to the dead, don't b/c they know it causes no harm.

    2) This depends on exactly what "very busy" entails, but if this wasn't something extreme, and merely something like "too busy at work", then *clearly* it is morally wrong. It is wrong not to keep your promises, especially to your family.
    A large % of humans would disagree that a promise to a dead person carries any moral obligation, precisely b/c they are dead and thus unharmed by the broken promise. Even those who had a problem with it would view it as much less unethical than breaking a promise to visit her in the retirement home, and that is precisely b/c that would cause emotional harm to the mother.

    3) This isn't wrong at all. National symbols don't deserve reverence.
    I agree, b/c symbols cannot be harmed, and any harm caused by people's attachment to symbols is self-inflicted. Note that if you said she tore it up in public some people would then find it wrong, precisely b/c then it would have a negative emotional impact on others.

    4) Not wrong, although most would find it disgusting.
    Agree that it isn't wrong, b/c no one is harmed. If they had sex, it becomes potentially wrong due to the harm of deformities on offspring. Or if one of them didn't consent or was too young to know what they were doing then it would be wrong, again b/c of harm caused.

    5) Buying the chicken is already wrong. Having sex with it is probably the least of the wrong things here.
    Sex with a dead things can't cause harm so not immoral, unless it's viewed as a kind of violating another person's property, which is partly why necrophilia is viewed as wrong. Also, like #1, it's much about how it might harm the still living loved one's of that person.

    Buying a chicken is only wrong if you assume a being with rights not to harmed has been harmed.

  7. Top | #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    I agree, b/c symbols cannot be harmed, and any harm caused by people's attachment to symbols is self-inflicted. Note that if you said she tore it up in public some people would then find it wrong, precisely b/c then it would have a negative emotional impact on others.
    Immorality for me is connected to causing harm. If I take the wild patch of land beside my house, clear it and plant trees and a lawn the vast majority of people will like it and doing so ostensibly causes no harm. Most people would see it as an improvement.

    But many people would like to see it kept wild because humanity are not the only life that matters. A good moral decision would be to allow a large part of the land to remain wild.

    In reading this thread I'm struck between the similarity between what persons hold to be moral and just being superstitious. Clearly, having negative feelings about using an old flag for a rag is to be superstitious, even if one had someone close lose a life in uniform.

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    #5 I see as wrong, inasmuch as it supports cruelty and the killing of sentient beings.

    The rest are merely symbolic violations of Haidt's sanctity and the purity foundations. They are inconsequential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Immorality for me is connected to causing harm. If I take the wild patch of land beside my house, clear it and plant trees and a lawn the vast majority of people will like it and doing so ostensibly causes no harm. Most people would see it as an improvement.

    But many people would like to see it kept wild because humanity are not the only life that matters. A good moral decision would be to allow a large part of the land to remain wild.
    Quote Originally Posted by seyorni View Post
    #5 I see as wrong, inasmuch as it supports cruelty and the killing of sentient beings.

    The rest are merely symbolic violations of Haidt's sanctity and the purity foundations. They are inconsequential.
    Interesting. So suppose we all stop killing sentient chickens and having sex with/eating them; sheep and cattle likewise. Then it will take less of the earth's surface to feed us all. What do you think we should do with the freed-up land? Plant lawns, or let it return to the wild so other kinds of sentient beings who matter can live on it? If a good moral decision would be to turn a large part of the land back into wilderness, which of Haidt's foundations make that a good moral decision? Looks like sanctity/purity. But those are inconsequential. You'd vote for lawns, then?

  10. Top | #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Immorality for me is connected to causing harm. If I take the wild patch of land beside my house, clear it and plant trees and a lawn the vast majority of people will like it and doing so ostensibly causes no harm. Most people would see it as an improvement.

    But many people would like to see it kept wild because humanity are not the only life that matters. A good moral decision would be to allow a large part of the land to remain wild.
    Quote Originally Posted by seyorni View Post
    #5 I see as wrong, inasmuch as it supports cruelty and the killing of sentient beings.

    The rest are merely symbolic violations of Haidt's sanctity and the purity foundations. They are inconsequential.
    Interesting. So suppose we all stop killing sentient chickens and having sex with/eating them; sheep and cattle likewise. Then it will take less of the earth's surface to feed us all. What do you think we should do with the freed-up land? Plant lawns, or let it return to the wild so other kinds of sentient beings who matter can live on it? If a good moral decision would be to turn a large part of the land back into wilderness, which of Haidt's foundations make that a good moral decision? Looks like sanctity/purity. But those are inconsequential. You'd vote for lawns, then?
    Decreasing our dependency on meat would have health and environmental benefits.
    Lawns? Environmental wastelands.

    The biosphere we depend on is a complex, interactive system. It was self-sustaining until a planetary infection of hominins started mucking up the works.
    I'd say let the freed up acreage resume its natural function.

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