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New expanded definition of veganism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Forest Nymph, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. Forest Nymph
    Nerdy

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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  2. Lou
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    Lou Active Member

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    I agree with the idea. Completely.
    in fact, I have always felt that way. I guess I always knew that educating others wasn't in the definition. I just thought it was understood.

    I have met online more than a few vegans that were "secretive". they chose not to bring it up. Heck, I may have met some IRL, but how would I know. They don't call themselves vegan anyway (at least not too loudly), so I can't see how this revised definition would affect them.

    I'm pretty sure that most vegans are mostly like me. If I recall right, PETA encourages "advocacy over purity". For sure Singer does.

    A vegan who is as vegan as can be is doing a lot but how effective is just ONE vegan.

    I myself am frustrated. Although I've helped lots of proto-vegans to transition. I've never ever converted a carnist to veganism.

    Some people call the "almost vegan" celebrities hypocrites. But to me they are heroes. As far as veganism goes they are so much more effective than me, or any vegan I actually know.

    The concept of exclusivity doesn't bother me at all. If you want to call yourself a vegan, as far as I'm concerned you are a vegan. Veganism is often called a lifestyle - it's a journey. Not a destination. No one is 100% vegan. The line is super fuzzy. Draw it for yourself - where ever you want. Who defines "practical and possible". So if you don't advocate - you're still a vegan if you want to be. but vegans who don't advocate may want to re-think it.

    If this new definition makes some vegans become active, then it will have done some good.
     
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  3. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    Not that you know of. But you may have inspired someone who made some changes later, and if it was someone you didn't see again, you wouldn't know!
     
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  4. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    I agree with the broad idea that vegans should educate others, but I don't think it should be ab obligation, and I don't think it should be in the definition, so I disagree with this. It smacks of exclusivity and it would make veganism off putting.

    Imagine if you were trying to convince people to stop their sexist behaviour and you made it a condition that they must go on a feminist march immediately. That's hardly likely to be an attractive idea to a person who is sexist. They are probably more likely to dismiss you and continue being sexist.
     
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  5. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    Avoidance of harm to animals natural habitats is unrealistic and vague about how you would achieve it; it perhaps means you no longer buy anything and grow your own food in an allotment probably. Again, it just smacks of superiority and excess, or at least it will to the people who are currently meat eaters you are trying to convince. It's counter productive if the goal is to reduce harm, and only sensible if the true goal is really moral superiority in an exclusive club.

    These goals are better for people who are already vegans but anything in the definition is immediately seen by people considering it from the outside.
     
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  6. Lou
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    Lou Active Member

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    I know where you are coming from, but lets back off the march and just go to personal behaviour. Let's say you convince that " someone" to stop acting sexist. And then at work, there is some sexist behaviour - and they choose to do nothing.
    Something they witnessed and did nothing about. Maybe just some locker room talk. OK, they didn't participate in the sexist behaviour, so maybe they are not sexist. But if they didn't speak up - are they a feminist? Do we give them a pass because they are not acting sexist. Or maybe we should have more expectations?

    I think its the same with veganism. Not just stop eating animals but also to get others to stop.
     
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  7. Forest Nymph
    Nerdy

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    I totally respect your point but that's actually the entire premise behind He For She, so some feminists do insist that it should mean you actually stand up against sexism if the situation calls for it.

    I do respect your viewpoint but too many self-labeled vegans are overly apologetic to meat eaters, they downplay it like it's a dietary personal choice instead of an ethical philosophy with real world consequences to animals, humans and the environment.
     
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  8. Forest Nymph
    Nerdy

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    I think the "modeling" of veganism celebrity vegans do is important, but it's also important for people to understand the reasons behind the modeling or behavior. There is a certain type of person who largely operates via polite custom or what is "normative" so they will try veganism if their friends or family will, or if their favorite celebrity got in shape that way. There is another type of person who will wholly reject veganism if only observed on this superficial level, because they see the behavior itself as empty "virtue signaling"...those people have to be told why veganism is reasonable, ethical and preferable. They're not going to go vegan no matter how much you Vegan Jeezus it up, because modeling behavior is something they actively rebel against on principle.

    We do need a variety of methods, and I agree with advocacy over purity, but a definition with deeper explanations is firmly in order.
     
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  9. Lou
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    Lou Active Member

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    Doesn't seem like its the vegan celebrities fault. sounds like you should be faulting that "certain type of person".

    the other "type of person", not sure what can be done about them. If only there were some books or movies or youtube videos that explained why veganism is "reasonable, ethical, and preferable" that they could watch. ;)

    But if they are just going to rebel on principle, then it seems like they aren't our target audience no matter what.
     
  10. Forest Nymph
    Nerdy

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    Some people need for things to spelled out for them in black and white. If the word "speciesism" at least was included in the definition (and perhaps not the moral impetus to evangelize) it would be clearer as to them what is going on. Maybe they'd at least ask themselves what speciesism is, I think there's an advantage in making the term more mainstream.
     
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  11. gab
    Devilish

    gab Active Member

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    For many, including myself, it is more of a health choice rather than out of concern for animals or environment.

    I am not suggesting here that the fate of the animals or the environment are not of concern, only that they are not a driver for me.

    Before you shout foul, the outcome is the same though, I do not consume or use (as far as practical) animal products.

    Under the current definition I suppose it's ok to call myself a 'vegan', if there were a revised definition perhaps 'plant-based' would be more appropriate.
     
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  12. Lou
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    Lou Active Member

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    I think intent is really important to the definition. But what is that saying? It's all in the results or something.

    Plant-based might be more accurate. But as far as I'm concerned if you want to call yourself a vegan - then you are a vegan.

    Maybe the litmus test is what you are wearing and what is in your bathroom. Not wearing animal products and buying cruelty-free has little or nothing to do with your personal health. If you do those things you are best described as vegan.
     
  13. gab
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    gab Active Member

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    Lou, I call myself different things for practical reasons: in an Indian restaurant I call myself 'strict vegetarian' because that means vegan in India. In a British restaurant, I would ask for the 'vegan menu'.

    I intentionally use vegan labeled products as much as possible.
     
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  14. Jekyll40

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    How do you persuade people not to smoke. Do you tell them it pollutes the environment, it's not nice for other people, it lowers the value of your car?

    No, you tell them "It'll kill you."
     
  15. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    But the problem is that saying it's wrong to eat meat for ethical reasons is very true, and saying it's unhealthy to eat meat is only slightly true especially for young people with low cholesterol. The ethical arguments have more truth.
     
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  16. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    Sorry for the delay in response to this thread, I just haven't looked at if for days. I agree that vegans should speak out more and not downplay, for example I don't think they should just answer "why are you vegan" with question dodging "personal reasons" or lies "health issues" to avoid awkwardness or argument. I mean by all means do that in certain occassions if you are tired or dealing with your own depression that day or in an important business meeting but as a general rule I think we shouldn't be doing that.

    However I agree with that, but less convinced about whether it should be in the definition. That is the question here.
     
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  17. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    This is a good argument, a good comparison. I was almost tempted to concede the argument at first, but after thinking about it some more, I don't think I would change my views that much after reading this. Maybe a little shift but definately not a complete flip.

    I think hearing some sexist locker talk and not saying anything doesn't make you sexist. But I think it's fair to say that not saying anything means you are probably not a feminist either. You are in a middle ground I'd argue, neither sexist nor feminist.

    I mean as a general rule. It would probably be more accurate to say that not saying anything is not consistent with being a feminist. That doesn't mean you have to speak up every single time you hear something sexist to call yourself a feminist. But at least some of the time you should, and if you never do, you are probably not a feminist.

    But then I am not sure that we should equate feminism with veganism here. The way I think of it, veganism equates to "not sexist". It is more the absence of a negative thing than a positive thing.

    Also, the proposed definition for veganism in the article posted that started this was quite strong and says that vegans should "actively" oppose animal exploitation which comes across as stronger than just talking about it when the subject comes up which is all that's needed in my view to qualify as feminist (in addition to your own behaviours obviously).

    I think that changing the definition is going to make for less simplicitly and more confusion. Perhaps we should try to mention this in longer explanations of veganism but I don't think it should be in a 1-sentence definition that someone is coming across for the first time.

    If the definition of veganism includes opposing animal exploitation then when you try to sell veganism to a meat eater you are immediately demanding that they oppose themselves. That is always going to be a really really tough sell. Most people are not already vegan when they first encounter the definition. Let's introduce the debate about the moral obligation to speak out to people who have already set meat aside.
     
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  18. Lou
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    Lou Active Member

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    The first time I read that I read it as "I'll kill you".
    I though that was pretty harsh. :)
     
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  19. Lou
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    Lou Active Member

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    I really like it when I see people taking this kind of stuff serious and thinking hard about it.

    But I think we aren't really on opposite sides here. It's more like a couple of people in a paint store discussing shades of grey.
    "I think that one is silver"
    "More like a platinum. That one is silver"
    "No, that is definitely light grey"
     
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  20. Sax
    Surfing

    Sax Active Member

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    I think that's an excellent description of things as they currently stand. Veganism already includes opposing animal exploitation, in a moral and economic sense (I'm taking that to be self-evident).

    This new definition presumes you can "encourage and educate others to become vegan" in a way that does more good than harm to the causes of veganism and animal welfare. In my experience people are hyper-sensitive to the suggestion that animal products are wrong and they should stop consuming them. Trying to convert people is prone to backfiring, leaving them further entrenched in their carnism.

    I don't believe it has to be that way. But too often it is, and that's a problem that we need to figure out.
     

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