Name the Trait-Logical Consistency in Ethical Choices

There are countless reasons that can and have been argued for you to go vegan, but they typically fall into one of the following three arguments;

  • The environmental destruction that animal agriculture imposes,
  • The correlations we are seeing more and more of, between consuming animal products and prolific preventable diseases in our society
  • The fact that meat/dairy consumption is unnecessary, and thus immoral.

Before we dive into the actual logical exercise, it’s best to understand how it works. The Name the Trait argument is a logical deductive argument, meaning when it is done right the only conclusion can be the truth.

A Deductive Argument

Naming the Trait is a logical exercise that utilizes deductive arguments. A deductive argument, described by the International Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is “an argument that is intended by the arguer to be deductively valid, that is, to provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion provided that the argument’s premises are true.”

When an argument’s premises are determined to be true, the argument is a sound argument. When the premises of an argument do succeed in guaranteeing the conclusion, its called a valid argument. Arguments can either be valid or invalid and sound or unsound, but there is no in-between status like “kind of valid.”

If we are to be logically consistent in our thinking and reasoning, then we have to avoid using any form of double standards. When we are discussing ethics, we are looking at what justifies certain actions. This isn’t finding justification based on law or culture, but finding justification completely based on logical consistency.

So when we are looking at animal rights, the name the trait argument works like this;

Name the Trait

The Question: What is it that is true of an animal, that if true of a human, would justify murdering them for food?

For example, if one was to argue that we can kill animals because they lack intelligence, then would it be justified to kill humans who lack the same amount of intelligence?

Or maybe one could argue we can kill animals because they lack the ability to take responsibility for their actions, but would it justify killing humans who act the same?

Don’t get it twisted however, this argument isn’t inherently favorable towards veganism. It only favors logic. which just happens to support the veganism argument. One of the most popular arguments vegans will hear is; “What would you do if you were on a desert island and there were no foods to eat except for animals?” The answer, kill the animals because it is necessary for survival. That is the logical response to that specific situation. Hypotheticals like this can be annoying to deal with but utilizing the name the trait argument here, can add credibility to your logical reasoning.

No matter the premise, the point of this exercise is to logically work through all excuses people may have for justifying the killing of animals.

The name the trait argument can be an amazingly effective tool if you ever find yourself without an answer to an animal-welfare related question in terms of ethics & morale. Try using this tool with an avid meat eater who thinks the killing of animals for food is morally justified.

Until Next time, Strive to Thrive!

Aidan Morgan

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