I thought I would point to two interesting ethics posts by Marc Moffett, master blogger at Close Range and Rational Hunter, philosopher of language at the University of Wyoming, and self-proclaimed hunter/gatherer. In this post, Marc wonders, assuming that a certain kind of compatibilism is true, whether utilitarianism is the only ethical theory that can justify the recent government reclassification of weight problems as diseases, thereby making these problems coverable by medicaide. In this post, Marc denies that “responsible hunting” causes the massive pain and suffering of animals usually assumed by those interested in discussions of animal welfare. WRT the latter post and the Rational Hunter blog in general, it is interesting to see someone who values hunting, fishing, and the outdoors thinking out loud about ethical and lifestyle issues concerning animals and the environment.

2 Replies to “Ethics posts over at Close Range and Rational Hunter

  1. These are important issues, urgent matters of life and death. I was just going to suggest that they be pursued, especially since Scott Wilson joined the blog and ethics & animals issues are one of his specialties.
    Re. hunting, the an excellent hot-of-the-presses discussion of the issue is found in Mark Bernstein’s new book _Without a Tear: Our Tragic Relationship With Animals_:
    This is an excellent book, esp. for philosophers. He defends a simple Principle of Gratuitious Suffering — that it is morally wrong to intentionally inflict gratuitous pain or suffering on another, innocent individual — and reveals its implications, given the empirical facts, for animal agriculture, hunting, the fur industry and animal experimentation. As nearly all philosophers who have looked at the issues agree (why is that?), Bernstein concludes that these activities are all seriously morally wrong.
    There are so many philosophers who make comparable cases, and so few who try to make cases to the contrary and defend any aspect of the status quo regarding the treatment of animals. I wonder why that is; there philosophical and sociological / psychological / occupational explanations that would be interesting to discuss.
    Re. Moffett’s claim that “responsible” hunting does not cause massive pain and suffering, Bernstein and others show that to be false. And it’s horribly naive to think that if there is no pain and suffering involved in a death, there are no serious harms.
    I hope more people say more about these topics.

  2. Hi all,
    I posted a longish response to Nathan’s comments on my site. Thanks for spurring me to think some more about this. I would be more than happy to hear more detailed criticisms.

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