Jeff McMahan: Might We Benefit Animals by Eating Them?
Lecture by Jeff McMahan (University of Oxford) organized by the Department of Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy
Leslie Stephen once wrote that “The pig has a stronger interest than anyone in the demand for bacon. If all the world were Jewish, there would be no pigs at all.” In recent debates about the ethics of eating animals, some have advanced the related claim that if people cause animals to exist and give them good lives in order to be able to eat them, then even if the animals are killed prematurely, the practice is permissible because it is good for the animals overall, as well as being good for the human beings who eat them. This argument raises deep issues in ethical theory – issues about rights, issues in population ethics, and so on – which I will explore in detail in the talk.
Jeff McMahan is White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford and author of The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life (Oxford, 2002) and Killing in War (Oxford, 2009).
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One day after this lecture, on Thursday, Jeff McMahan will give another lecture in Groningen, entitled: Killing Civilians in War.