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Engineering Life Expectancy and Non-identity Cases

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Engineering Life Expectancy and Non-identity Cases

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Abstract

In his paper “Eating Animals the Nice Way” McMahan (Daedalus 137(winter): 66–76, 2008) explores whether there are ways of routinely using non-human animals for human consumption that are morally acceptable. He dismisses a practice of benign animal husbandry, in which animals are killed prematurely and believes that a practice in which animals were engineered to drop down dead instantaneously at the same age would be equally wrong, even though it would not involve killing. Yet, McMahan considers his intuition that both practices are equally wrong with regard to our duties towards (or regarding) the involved animals hard to justify. This paper explains in more detail why this commonsensical intuition is indeed hard to justify and explores what it would take to justify it. It takes nothing less than a yet-to-be-specified plausible theory in population ethics and an account of welfare (or some related concept that gives us reasons for action) that deals in a plausible way with non-identity cases involving species- or breed-related differences in life expectancy.
ARTICLES
Engineering Life Expectancy and Non-identity Cases
Tatjana Vis
ˇak
1
Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published online: 10 February 2018
Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract In his paper ‘‘Eating Animals the Nice Way’’ McMahan (Daedalus
137(winter): 66–76, 2008) explores whether there are ways of routinely using non-
human animals for human consumption that are morally acceptable. He dismisses a
practice of benign animal husbandry, in which animals are killed prematurely and
believes that a practice in which animals were engineered to drop down dead
instantaneously at the same age would be equally wrong, even though it would not
involve killing. Yet, McMahan considers his intuition that both practices are equally
wrong with regard to our duties towards (or regarding) the involved animals hard to
justify. This paper explains in more detail why this commonsensical intuition is
indeed hard to justify and explores what it would take to justify it. It takes nothing
less than a yet-to-be-specified plausible theory in population ethics and an account
of welfare (or some related concept that gives us reasons for action) that deals in a
plausible way with non-identity cases involving species- or breed-related differ-
ences in life expectancy.
Keywords Population ethics Non-identity cases Welfare Fortune Jeff
McMahan Animal engineering
Introduction
In his paper ‘‘Eating Animals the Nice Way’’ McMahan (2008) explores whether
there are ways of routinely using non-human animals for human consumption that
are morally acceptable. McMahan ends his paper with the following consideration:
&Tatjana Vis
ˇak
tatjana.visak@gmail.com
1
Department of Philosophy and Business Ethics, University of Mannheim, L9, 5,
68161 Mannheim, Germany
123
J Agric Environ Ethics (2018) 31:281–293
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10806-018-9724-9
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
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