Vegetarianism: toward ideological impurity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines vegetarianism from the perspective of someone who justifies their dietary preferences on the basis of animal welfare and environmental considerations alone. Even for such people, there is a tendency to think of the prohibition against meat-eating as quasi-sacred. The chapter explains this tendency by reference to the psychological theories of Jonathan Haidt, and argues that this tendency ought to be resisted, because it has a number of costs. However, there are potential benefits as well as costs to accepting strict rules. The chapter suggests that the vegetarian ought to accept a strict dietary regime, while making every effort to avoid sacralizing that regime, by seeing her dietary preference as based ultimately on her choices. So doing may best allow her to achieve her ethical goals without alienating potential allies and without undermining her own efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Moral complexities of eating meat
EditorsBen Bramble, Bob Fischer
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780199353903
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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