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Dune010's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Dune010


I had a discussion with a friend of mine, who's also an atheist (but unlike me, he does not believe in objective morality). He proposed the reciprocity argument for omnivorism, which boils down to "we do not have moral obligations to animals because they cannot reason and/or keep a social contract with us."

I found this argument very weak. Reciprocity is a probable explanation of the evolution of morality, but that does not justify reasoning on reciprocity alone. The social contract seems like it has the same problem as religion we you use it as a basis of normative ethics: it becomes either ridiculous or superfluous.

When we pass strangers on the street we not expect them to attack us, even though there is no written agreement between us. And we help strangers even if we know we will never see them again and won't be repaid.

I have to agree with your friend. The complexity of society moves the issue beyond simple reciprocation. On the whole, there is no need to bring animals within the protection of society. Limiting animal suffering is a good thing largely because it is offensive to many people.

Why do you believe in objective morality? What is the source of objective morality?

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 13:45:00 UTC | #348396