Wednesday, November 26, 2003


From Socrates on, good philosophers have always aimed to stir up critical thinking so I guess that Keith Burgess-Jackson will be pleased that he has stirred me up over this post: “If you aren't prepared to raise and kill a turkey, don't eat one”. A version of Peter Singer thinking if I am not mistaken.

If he means that I should always sincerely say under my breath “I am prepared to raise and kill turkeys” before I sit down to a turkey dinner, that would seem a fairly modest if highly eccentric requirement. If actual action rather than mere preparedness to act is required, however, I see bigger problems. As it happens, I have back in my country childhood been involved in raising fowl and beheading them for the table when required so I guess I would be OK for a Thanksgiving Day feast even under a stringent version of Keith’s morality -- but I don’t really see why. Does it have to be turkeys that you raise or are other fowl close enough to justify a turkey feast? And how much of the raising do you have to do? And if you don’t have to do all of it, why can you not delegate the whole of the raising to others? Delegation and specialization are the the great tricks of homo sapiens, so why should we not delegate that particular task?


No comments: