published on March 11, 2017
Veganism, Normative Change, and Second Nature
This paper draws on the account of second nature in Aristotle, Dewey and Hegel to examine the way in which norms become embodied. It discusses the implications of this for both the authority of norms and how they can be changed. Using the example of veganism it argues that changing norms requires more than just good reasons. The appreciation of the role of second nature in culture allows us to: firstly, better conceive the difficulty and resistance of individuals to changing norms because of the material resilience of norms, habits and customs in a culture. Secondly, it argues that the effective adoption of a new norm such as veganism or the behavioral change necessary to respond to climate change, requires not just more good reasons but the creation of material pathways in the culture in which those revised norms can be inhabited.