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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 1, Issue 3, Fall 1994

Peter Singer
Pages 36-38

Feminism and Vegetarianism
A Response

Erin McKenna is correct to question the relative weight that I give to emotions and reason in Animal Liberation. In 1975 when the first edition was published, emotion played a key role in the campaigns of animal societies, and I wished to make an appeal to reason that would have ethical and political impact. I disagree with McKenna’s conclusion that an impartial, objective stance is either impossible or undesirable. I argue that we should not abandon the attempt to reach an impartial position. Admittedly, in some disputes, giving equal weight to all interests will be extraordinarily difficult. But to do so is not impossible, just extraordinarily difficult, and a decision must be made regarding which course is better on the whole. This difficulty gives no reason to abandon impartiality.

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