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Dumb Beasts and Dead PhilosophersHumanity and the Humane in Ancient Philosophy and Literature$
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Catherine Osborne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282067

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282067.001.0001

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On Eating Animals: Porphyry's Dietary Rules for Philosophers

On Eating Animals: Porphyry's Dietary Rules for Philosophers

(p.224) 9 On Eating Animals: Porphyry's Dietary Rules for Philosophers
Dumb Beasts and Dead Philosophers

Catherine Osborne (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the reasons why Porphyry's De abstinentia recommends refraining from killing and eating animals. These reasons include the idea that meat is a luxury which is not conducive to good philosophy. It is suggested that all forms of special diet, including the choice of a vegetarian diet in parts of the world where the natural resources yield game, fish, or grazing rather than edible crops, depend upon the availability of choice among a surplus of different foodstuffs. Hence, the opportunity to choose a distinctive diet, whether meat or vegetarian, as opposed to using the whatever the locality affords naturally, presupposes some degree of affluence, and perhaps exploitation of labour and natural resources so as to import goods at below their true cost from those who are not in a position to choose.

Keywords:   vegetarianism, meat, killing, De abstinentia, luxury, exploitation, diet

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