English Expository Essays



This essay presents a Deontological (Kantian) and Utilitarian analysis of the ethics of what we eat using examples as well as direct application of the normative principals. In addition, it applies Virtue Ethics to the Dan Barber videos. The paper then concludes with a summary of main ideas. 


Deontological theories do not historically admit that human beings have duties to animals. Kant argues that moral law is binding on all rational creatures. Although he declined to acknowledge animals with rationality, they exist beyond the Kantian framework of morality. Explicitly, Kant makes an argument that people have no direct duties with animals.

Deontological (Kantian) ethical theories define ethics as the process that determines the moral rules which are applied on the obligations of the people as well as the restrictions of their action. In any deontological notion, it is allowable to eat a moral agent. For instance, the Kantian conception of not handling a moral agent as a means and regarding them always as an end may seem to prevent eating of meat.    

In consideration utilitarianism, it is conceptually simpler among the ethical theories. The relevance of an action is exclusively determined on its consequences, through which is predestined the entire change in pleasure or pain it brings around. The action that is right is the one which takes full advantage of utility. Different from Kantians, the utilitarian’s only make a single consideration when making decisions on moral status of being concerning the ability to feel pleasure or pain. As a result, utilitarian’s have over the history been considerate to the moral claims associated with animals. A good instance can be traced back to the utilitarianism argument that was made by Bentham concerning the rights of animas. 

Utilitarian argue that it is worth to consider animals morally, thus the issue is whether the act of balancing the consumption of meat increases or decreases the total utility. A lot of human beings do not achieve more pleasure out of eating meat, however, it is far from an important interest. Individuals can still survive without necessarily consuming meat, and it is normally advised that it is healthier consuming the vegetarian diet. Besides this, there is a wide range of suffering associated with the production of meat.              

The principle of the virtue of ethics suggests that ethics should not be over judging an action, but should highly consider characters. In Dan Barber video, ‘how I fell in love with a fish’, he presents a dilemma that many chefs undergo in the present day. He offers his recreation over sustainable fish he can love, as well as the honeymoon with foodies he enjoyed since he learned of an outrageously delicious fish that that was raised up using a method of revolution in Spain. Thus, in relation to the virtue of ethics, Dan Barber should not apply judgment on what he has to eat but consider the characters. 


The essay has discussed the Deontological (Kantian) and Utilitarian analysis of the ethics of what we eat using examples as well as direct application of the normative principals. In addition, the paper has applied virtue ethics to Dan Barber video.

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  1. Barber, Dan. “How I Fell In Love With A Fish.” Ted.Com, 2018, https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_how_i_fell_in_love_with_a_fish#t-9543.
  2. Singer, Peter, and Jim Mason. The Ethics Of What We Eat. Pennsylvania, Rodale, 2007.
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