The arguments for vegetarianisms seem to be very convincing to me. Are there any good arguments philosophers have made that eating animals is not immoral?

Good question. There have been at least two lines of reasoning that have some following among philosophers. The first consists of seeking to object to the positive reasons that are advanced for vegetarianism and against raising animals for food. So, Peter Singer initially built his case for vegetarianism on a utilitarian foundation to the effect that raising animals and killing them causes undeserved suffering. Arguably, however, it seems that he would not have a strong reason to object to painless killing. And if you breed animals who have happy lives, there might even be a utilitarian reason for having large numbers of animals that then meet a painless end. A second kind of argument has been launched by R.G. Frey (who, sadly, died last year), Peter Carruthers, and others that animals lack morally relevant interests. Frey and Carruthers argue for this on the grounds that animals lack language. The argument is quite controversial as it is based on the view that there cannot be non-linguistic or pre-linguistic thought and consciousness. This is also quite troubling as it would seem to entail that pre-linguistic human children lack morally relevant interests, but this seems quite counter-intuitive. One may also argue that some animals have language or at least the power to communicate and this is evidence that they have reflection and possibly self-awareness (something that seems reasonable in cases when animals pass what is called "the mirror test," being able to recognize their reflection and act accordingly. Ockham's razor has also been deployed to argue that it is not reasonable to believe that the animals we eat have higher order thoughts and reflection that would make them objects of moral concern. Ockham's razor is, essentially, the policy of only positing entities or phenomena that is necessary to describe and explain something. Arguably, some of our intentional behavior can be explained without positing higher order self-awareness. I, for example, very occasionally sleepwalk and some persons have even been known to sleep drive. These are cases when we are able to do complex things opening doors, getting into a car, turning it on, and so on without knowing what you are doing. If you like, this may involve a subject knowing which car is his, but not knowing that he knows it. Could it be that chicken, cattle, lambs, fish... might have some sensory life and cognition, but they lack the higher order self-reflection necessary to be taken seriously ethically?

I do not personally adopt the above arguments, especially the last one which has the consequence of assuming that nonhuman animals are on a par with sleep walkers!

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