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If we want to improve the treatment of animals, Dominique Lestel argues, we must acknowledge our evolutionary impulse to eat them and we must expand our worldview to see how others consume meat ethically and sustainably. The position of vegans and vegetarians is unrealistic and exclusionary. Eat This Book calls at once for a renewed and vigorous defense of animal rights and a more open approach to meat eating that turns us into responsible carnivores.
Lestel skillfully synthesizes Western philosophical views on the moral status of animals and holistic cosmologies that recognize human-animal reciprocity. He shows that the carnivore's position is more coherently ethical than vegetarianism, which isolates humans from the world by treating cruelty, violence, and conflicting interests as phenomena outside of life. Describing how meat eaters assume completely – which is to say, metabolically – their animal status, Lestel opens our eyes to the vital relation between carnivores and animals and carnivores' genuine appreciation of animals' life-sustaining flesh. He vehemently condemns factory farming and the terrible footprint of industrial meat eating. His goal is to recreate a kinship between humans and animals that reminds us of what it means to be tied to the world.
- Translator's Preface
- A Sort of Apéritif
- Appetizer: How Does One Recognize an Ethical Vegetarian?
- Hors d'Oeuvre: A Short History of Vegetarian Practices
- First Course: Some (Good) Reasons Not to Become an Ethical Vegetarian
- Second Course: The Ethics of the Carnivore
- A Sort of Dessert
Dominique Lestel is an associate professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at the cole Normale Sup rieure, Paris. He is a founding member and part of the Archives Husserl Research Center and, with Thierry Bardini, is coauthor of Journey to the End of the Species. Gary Steiner is professor of philosophy at Bucknell University. He is the author of Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism; Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy; and Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, and Kinship.
"Witty and comical yet always serious in its defense of meat eating, Eat This Book is a pure joy to read."
– Brett Buchanan, Laurentian University
"Eat This Book challenges ethical vegetarians with a variety of counterarguments to consider. Though some of the rhetoric may prove indigestible, such skepticism ultimately feeds the philosophic debate on diet."
– Ralph R. Acampora, Hofstra University