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The pig that wants to be eaten. watch

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    Imagine this. You're wondering what you want to have for your dinner, and a genetically modified or selectively bred pig walks up to you and tells you that you should eat it for dinner. In fact, not only should you, the pig actively wants you to. Do you eat the pig?
    (This is very similar in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, a part of the Hitchhiker's Guide series - there is is a cow like creature offering the best cuts of steak).

    Two lines of thought come out of this thought experiment as I look at it. The pig wants you to eat it, so really you'd be doing it a disservice by not eating it. Even if you've spent years as a vegetarian for moral reasons, does the pig's attitude of wanting to be eaten override what you think is right concerning if you should eat it's bacon?
    However, as Arthur Dent thought in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, if the animal is smart enough to be able to communicate that it wants to be eaten, does this somehow put it into a category of 'too intelligent for us to eat' - in other words, what makes this pig then morally different to a human that would allow you to eat that pig, but send a human that wanted to be eaten to see a psychiatrist?

    What would your response be to a pig that wanted to be eaten?
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    Have you read the book of the same name? It's got a bunch of interesting thought experiments etc., great for a light read.

    I think if you're not currently a vegetarian - i.e. you currently eat pigs that presumably don't want to be eaten - this is a fairly straightforward one.

    If you are vegetarian, vegan etc. it's more interesting. If you agree that right and wrong are some functions of suffering and well-being, I guess you've got to think about whether the pig is fully informed about being eaten and fully comprehends - in its 'right mind', whatever that means - what constitutes being eaten.

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    (Original post by Implication)
    Have you read the book of the same name? It's got a bunch of interesting thought experiments etc., great for a light read.

    I think if you're not currently a vegetarian - i.e. you currently eat pigs that presumably don't want to be eaten - this is a fairly straightforward one.

    If you are vegetarian, vegan etc. it's more interesting. If you agree that right and wrong are some functions of suffering and well-being, I guess you've got to think about whether the pig is fully informed about being eaten and fully comprehends - in its 'right mind', whatever that means - what constitutes being eaten.

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    I have read the book, it's what got me interested in philosophy in the first place. I recommend it to anyone wanting an introduction.

    I am a vegetarian, and have been for 11 years, and this one is still one I think about and want to discuss.

    I don't think it is cut and dry for current meat eaters, because of the second point regarding this kind of intelligence (or closeness as well, we don't eat our pets and a lot of meat eaters do get upset about the Chinese eating dog etc.) that we ascribe to certain animals - ourselves included - that might change people's minds. In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, I understand Arthur Dent to be a meat eater, but he refuses the steak from the cow-like creature he was just talking to as he got freaked out by it.
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    I have read the book, it's what got me interested in philosophy in the first place. I recommend it to anyone wanting an introduction.

    I am a vegetarian, and have been for 11 years, and this one is still one I think about and want to discuss.

    I don't think it is cut and dry for current meat eaters, because of the second point regarding this kind of intelligence (or closeness as well, we don't eat our pets and a lot of meat eaters do get upset about the Chinese eating dog etc.) that we ascribe to certain animals - ourselves included - that might change people's minds. In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, I understand Arthur Dent to be a meat eater, but he refuses the steak from the cow-like creature he was just talking to as he got freaked out by it.
    Yeah that's true I guess. I think some meat-eaters object to cannibalism in principle because they've drawn some arbitrary line in the intelligence sand, and could extend that to this scenario. I don't find it a very compelling argument myself precisely because where one draws the line seems completely arbitrary to me.

    As a current meat-eater, I think there is a chance I might refuse as it would freak me out personally. However, I think if I were to put my logical hat on I'd have to say that it wouldn't be immoral to eat the animal. Or if I did think it were immoral, I think I'd have to concede that eating meat as I do now is also wrong....
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    This reminds me of a slightly different case where a German man called Armin Meiwes put an advert on the internet looking for a man who wanted to be eaten. He received a reply from another man (Bernd Brandes) who consented to being killed and eaten by Armin and the consent was videotaped. I guess a case like this would set the precedent, legally speaking, because if a human can willingly and legally consent to themselves being eaten, then the same would be applicable to any such pig able to offer consent?

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/200...ny.lukeharding
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    Imagine this. You're wondering what you want to have for your dinner, and a genetically modified or selectively bred pig walks up to you and tells you that you should eat it for dinner. In fact, not only should you, the pig actively wants you to. Do you eat the pig?
    (This is very similar in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, a part of the Hitchhiker's Guide series - there is is a cow like creature offering the best cuts of steak).

    Two lines of thought come out of this thought experiment as I look at it. The pig wants you to eat it, so really you'd be doing it a disservice by not eating it. Even if you've spent years as a vegetarian for moral reasons, does the pig's attitude of wanting to be eaten override what you think is right concerning if you should eat it's bacon?
    However, as Arthur Dent thought in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, if the animal is smart enough to be able to communicate that it wants to be eaten, does this somehow put it into a category of 'too intelligent for us to eat' - in other words, what makes this pig then morally different to a human that would allow you to eat that pig, but send a human that wanted to be eaten to see a psychiatrist?

    What would your response be to a pig that wanted to be eaten?
    There is no difference at all. I'd send both to a psychiatrist. It's an insane thing to desire for oneself regardless of what species you are or what level of intellect you have.

    I'd question the sanity of any creature who 'wanted' to be butchered and eaten. No sane being wants that for themselves. It's morally wrong to carry out their request even if they are intelligent since you can be very intelligent and yet completely insane.

    Also, if you hold a knife to pigs throat and press it - the pig will try to escape, it does not desire pain but it cannot verbalize that to you. The ability to verbalize doesn't demonstrate intellect e.g. parrots, and the inability to verbalize doesn't demonstrate lack of intellect e.g. Prof Stephen Hawking. So just because the pig can verbalize doesn't necessarily mean it's 'intelligent' and just because some animals can't doesn't necessarily mean that they are unintelligent.

    A 'normal' pig communicates it's unhappiness in others ways (e.g. frantically trying to escape/squealing). You'd probably get a very similar response from a small child or a dog etc. If a child doesn't want to be harmed then why should any other creature which is as 'intelligent' as say, an average 3 year old?

    It's insane to carry out the act regardless of the intellect of the animal (or the sanity) and just because it can verbalize doesn't indicate intellect. Even if we could prove lack of intellect in a creature, intellect would not be a sensible measure against which we could justify killing it.

    To be honest, there are different topics within this question:

    1. How do we measure intelligence?
    2. Can we eat unintelligent animals? If 'yes' then what makes unintelligent humans so special that we don't eat them?
    3. If we don't use intelligence as our measure for whether to kill and eat then what else, if anything, can we use?
    4. Can we eat insane animals? If 'yes', why not insane humans?
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    Imagine this. You're wondering what you want to have for your dinner, and a genetically modified or selectively bred pig walks up to you and tells you that you should eat it for dinner. In fact, not only should you, the pig actively wants you to. Do you eat the pig?
    (This is very similar in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, a part of the Hitchhiker's Guide series - there is is a cow like creature offering the best cuts of steak).

    Two lines of thought come out of this thought experiment as I look at it. The pig wants you to eat it, so really you'd be doing it a disservice by not eating it. Even if you've spent years as a vegetarian for moral reasons, does the pig's attitude of wanting to be eaten override what you think is right concerning if you should eat it's bacon?
    However, as Arthur Dent thought in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, if the animal is smart enough to be able to communicate that it wants to be eaten, does this somehow put it into a category of 'too intelligent for us to eat' - in other words, what makes this pig then morally different to a human that would allow you to eat that pig, but send a human that wanted to be eaten to see a psychiatrist?

    What would your response be to a pig that wanted to be eaten?
    Why is it based on intelligence rather than the sensations the animals can feel?
    If I want to be eaten does that mean you not eating me is a disservice? Or is it only animal flesh you feel this way about?

    My response to the pig would be: "Why don't we talk about it" as it could only ever be taken as a cry for help.
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    Imagine this. You're wondering what you want to have for your dinner, and a genetically modified or selectively bred pig walks up to you and tells you that you should eat it for dinner. In fact, not only should you, the pig actively wants you to. Do you eat the pig?
    (This is very similar in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, a part of the Hitchhiker's Guide series - there is is a cow like creature offering the best cuts of steak).

    Two lines of thought come out of this thought experiment as I look at it. The pig wants you to eat it, so really you'd be doing it a disservice by not eating it. Even if you've spent years as a vegetarian for moral reasons, does the pig's attitude of wanting to be eaten override what you think is right concerning if you should eat it's bacon?
    However, as Arthur Dent thought in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, if the animal is smart enough to be able to communicate that it wants to be eaten, does this somehow put it into a category of 'too intelligent for us to eat' - in other words, what makes this pig then morally different to a human that would allow you to eat that pig, but send a human that wanted to be eaten to see a psychiatrist?

    What would your response be to a pig that wanted to be eaten?
    Obviously, such a pig is able to reason and is self-aware. In normal circumstances, most sentient beings that have these capacities generally have a preference to go on living.

    But, when they don't, we shouldn't be keeping them alive if they don't want to be kept alive. In this sense, your scenario is akin to the debate about voluntary euthanasia. As a utilitarian, I'm fully in favour of legalising voluntary euthanasia so that doctors can assist humans if they wish to die, and if humans seriously wished to be eaten, then I wouldn't have any ethical objection to killing them either, so I'd respect the preference of the pig here.

    And, I'm a vegetarian: I don't eat meat or eggs and I'm phasing out dairy products too.
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    Imagine this. You're wondering what you want to have for your dinner, and a genetically modified or selectively bred pig walks up to you and tells you that you should eat it for dinner. In fact, not only should you, the pig actively wants you to. Do you eat the pig?
    (This is very similar in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, a part of the Hitchhiker's Guide series - there is is a cow like creature offering the best cuts of steak).

    Two lines of thought come out of this thought experiment as I look at it. The pig wants you to eat it, so really you'd be doing it a disservice by not eating it. Even if you've spent years as a vegetarian for moral reasons, does the pig's attitude of wanting to be eaten override what you think is right concerning if you should eat it's bacon?
    However, as Arthur Dent thought in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, if the animal is smart enough to be able to communicate that it wants to be eaten, does this somehow put it into a category of 'too intelligent for us to eat' - in other words, what makes this pig then morally different to a human that would allow you to eat that pig, but send a human that wanted to be eaten to see a psychiatrist?

    What would your response be to a pig that wanted to be eaten?
    I would classify that pig as mentally ill. I'm too lazy to go back to meat.
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    I agree in that we need to have a definition as to how we measure intelligence. Because that for me seeks to be one of the big points that stand out to me
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    Why is it based on intelligence rather than the sensations the animals can feel?
    If I want to be eaten does that mean you not eating me is a disservice? Or is it only animal flesh you feel this way about?

    My response to the pig would be: "Why don't we talk about it" as it could only ever be taken as a cry for help.
    That is a brilliant response, and I never thought about it like that.

    We take suicide attempts even if the person thinks that their family will be better off without them as cries for help (similarly, the pig in this example could be said to think you would be better off with the food than with them alive) so why not in this way.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Obviously, such a pig is able to reason and is self-aware. In normal circumstances, most sentient beings that have these capacities generally have a preference to go on living.

    But, when they don't, we shouldn't be keeping them alive if they don't want to be kept alive. In this sense, your scenario is akin to the debate about voluntary euthanasia. As a utilitarian, I'm fully in favour of legalising voluntary euthanasia so that doctors can assist humans if they wish to die, and if humans seriously wished to be eaten, then I wouldn't have any ethical objection to killing them either, so I'd respect the preference of the pig here.

    And, I'm a vegetarian: I don't eat meat or eggs and I'm phasing out dairy products too.
    I think as a psychology graduate with a minor in philosophy, while keeping someone alive when they don't want to be could be cruel (we're not debating euthanasia here, although I do agree with you from the perspective of someone with a pain disorder), we also should be thinking why they would want to be alive. Does that pig have that preference based on a logical interpretation of all of the facts available? Is it even intelligent enough to consider all of the facts? Are humans intelligent enough to consider all of the facts - god knows we make a lot of silly decisions.

    I'm also a vegetarian. I don't eat a lot of eggs, but I couldn't live without cheese. I guess we do what we think we can manage.
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    I think as a psychology graduate with a minor in philosophy, while keeping someone alive when they don't want to be could be cruel (we're not debating euthanasia here, although I do agree with you from the perspective of someone with a pain disorder), we also should be thinking why they would want to be alive. Does that pig have that preference based on a logical interpretation of all of the facts available? Is it even intelligent enough to consider all of the facts? Are humans intelligent enough to consider all of the facts - god knows we make a lot of silly decisions.

    I'm also a vegetarian. I don't eat a lot of eggs, but I couldn't live without cheese. I guess we do what we think we can manage.
    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    That is a brilliant response, and I never thought about it like that.

    We take suicide attempts even if the person thinks that their family will be better off without them as cries for help (similarly, the pig in this example could be said to think you would be better off with the food than with them alive) so why not in this way.
    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between someone who minored in philosophy, and someone who did straight honors philosophy.

    #trollingthemods

    On a more serious note: Are you questioning your decision to eat animals/the products of animals.
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    Only if I wanted to, on the question of sanity it would,be rude for me to assume the pig is simply too dumb to understand the choice they have made, it is their choice and therefore their responsibility, if you believe, as i do, in assisted suicide in certain circumstances then why can it not be applied to the pig, actually to say suicide is insane is a value judgement not a question of intelligence, many intelligent people have killed themselves
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    (Original post by whorace)
    Only if I wanted to, on the question of sanity it would,be rude for me to assume the pig is simply too dumb to understand the choice they have made, it is their choice and therefore their responsibility, if you believe, as i do, in assisted suicide in certain circumstances then why can it not be applied to the pig, actually to say suicide is insane is a value judgement not a question of intelligence, many intelligent people have killed themselves
    What does killing myself have to do with wanting people to eat me? There are more worthy causes for my corpse to be used.
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    I would eat it

    I'm a meat eater and raise my own livestock for the table

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    Talking pig is still a pig - haraam :hand:
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between someone who minored in philosophy, and someone who did straight honors philosophy.

    #trollingthemods

    On a more serious note: Are you questioning your decision to eat animals/the products of animals.
    Please do not troll the support team

    I'm just very interested in philosophy, and I know I don't have any real answers, which is why I like discussions like this. I have an A Level, and a minor at degree level. This was the first thought experiment that got me interested back when I was 11, so I thought I'd bring it to others.

    No, I am not. I don't do it, I don't plan to it. Mine is a simpler reasoning, given that I don't particularly enjoy animal products, and don't get anything from animal products that can't be gotten as easily or easier than from animal products, it doesn't seem worth it to me.But my vegetarianism isn't the debate here, it just helps you to see where I'm coming from.
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    (Original post by Zamestaneh)
    Talking pig is still a pig - haraam :hand:
    smh
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    Don't eat meat, would never eat a silent pig or a talking pig.
 
 
 
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