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International Animal Rights ConferenceInternational Animal Rights Conference

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Thursday, 10.09.2015   18:30-19:50   Room A
Akrasia and the activist`s frustration: The persistence of animal consumption
Elisa Aaltola

The term "meat-eaters` paradox" has gained attention in the recent years, and points toward the peculiar way in which the Western societies increasingly emphasise care toward nonhuman animals, whilst also eating and otherwise consuming ever more of those same animals. The talk discusses this issue via "akrasia", an old dilemma in philosophy, which refers to situations where we rationally know something to be morally wrong, but still take part in it. How can individuals, who have all the knowledge of the suffering and harm caused by animal industries to nonhuman beings, and of the environmental, human rights and health-related impact that animal consumption has, still carry on visiting McDonald`s? Going through classics such as Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza and Descartes, the emphasis will be on asking what we could learn from philosophical takes to the problem otherwise often deemed as purely psychological. The role of cultural habit, denial, negative emotions, desire and reason will be explored, as well as the need for a wider societal reform within how we are taught to approach not only other beings, but also ourselves and "morality" differently.













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