Porphyry's Argument Against Eating Animals
In this paper I will reconstruct an argument, which Porphyry ascribes to the Stoics, that is in favour of using and eating animals. Then I will detail Porphyry’s response to this argument and evaluate that response. Then I will give an overview of his alternative theory of justice. I will decide that his argument against the Stoics is successful.
The Stoics argue that justice does not apply to animals, so we are not wrong for killing and eating them (1, 4). Justice does not apply to animals, say the Stoics, because only human beings are rational and justice applies only to rational beings. Therefore justice only applies to human beings. This line of argumentation is supported by …show more content…
The Stoics say that our lives would be impossible because we rely heavily on animal products and animal labour. Rather, in order to have a “civilised and humane way of life” we need to be able to use animals like sheep and horses and we need to be able to eat animals’ meat (1, 5). In fact, we might need these animals in order to live at all, not just to live a quality life. So it is absurd to say that we should live without animals. The absurdity of the first horn forces us into the second. In the second horn we do kill animals, which allows us to live and live well but makes justice impossible to maintain (1, 4). The second horn states that if we allow justice to apply to animals, then we will be forced to be unjust in order to ensure that we either live well or even live at all. Being required to be unjust in order to live our lives is also absurd.
As is the nature of a dilemma, neither horn is acceptable. Both horns yield absurd consequences, therefore extending justice to animals is absurd. To avoid this absurdity we must accept the Stoic, narrower, definition of justice as applying only to human