Vegetarieni faimosi: Plutarh

The Roman essayist Plutarch (c. 56-120) is best remembered today for his Parallel Lives, biographical studies of Greek and Latin statesmen and philosophers. But he was also the author of a number of influential ethical treatises dealing with topics ranging from education to marriage to religious observance. Several of these pieces discuss the moral status of animals, the presence of reason in nonhuman creatures, and ethical vegetarianism.

Especially noteworthy is the essay „On the Eating of Animal Flesh,” excerpted here. In it, Plutarch denies that humans are naturally carnivorous and argues that indulgence in a flesh diet „makes us spiritually coarse and gross by reason of satiety and surfeit.” In addition, the cruelty with which food animals are treated brutalizes the human character, rendering it callous to the suffering of people and animals alike. Plutarch does not build his case on the Pythagorean/Empedoclean doctrine of soul transmigration, but instead holds that animals deserve moral consideration because of their possession of attributes that indicate intelligence and sentience. There is little doubt that Plutarch, like Porphyry after him, accepted the claim that animals are rational and hence fall within the moral community, but unfortunately his treatise breaks off at the point where he introduces this theme.

Walters, Kerry S., Ethical Vegetarianism: from Pythagoras to Peter Singer, State University of New York Press, NY, 1999, p.27.


~ de Alexandra pe ianuarie 3, 2011.

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