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Liberal Neutrality and Consumption-Chapter 4:The Dispute Over Fur

Elsevier Ltd
DOI: 10.1016/b978-008043920-4/50007-0
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Philosophy


Publisher Summary This chapter examines why the idea of consumer sovereignty is embedded in liberal thinking and why it is so difficult to impose rigid rules with respect to consumption. If the state promotes a vegan lifestyle it privileges one mode of living over others, and the people are treated in unequal ways according to their “tastes.” It Liberalism does not necessarily give any definitive answer to the question of what kind of beings are morally considerable. It is therefore fully feasible to imagine “a vegan state” that would rely on liberal doctrines. A state accords with the Rawlsian ideal state only if a clear majority of the people, in their considered moral beliefs, accepts the philosophy of life, and if the views are based on traditional beliefs. The most plausible case for state-based, or collective, environmental protection is the one that aims at the protection of public goods. Even though Rawls denies the possibility of a non-anthropocentric ethic, there is room for criticism of human behavior with respect to the natural world and animals. Environmental protection that is prudentially motivated may justify coercion when it is regarded as the protection of public goods.

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