For some professors and authors, making a career out of philosophy means developing a theory or set of principles that they then elaborate on — and never seriously question — for the rest of their productive lives. Not so for Dr. Joel Marks, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of New Haven and a Bioethics Center Scholar at Yale University. For instance, you don’t have to travel too far back in the works referenced on his main website to figure out that Marks used to believe in morality.

His 2009 book Ought Implies Kant: A Reply to the Consequentialist Critique took the existence of right and wrong as a given, and argued for a version of Kantian ethics that would extend moral duties to animals and universally obligate humans to follow a vegan diet. Now, however, Marks is putting the finishing touches on a new book titled Ethics Without Morals, suggesting that he changed his mind about a few things in the past two years. What changed is that Marks stopped taking right and wrong as a given. In fact, he had an epiphany and decided they were myths. His “Moral Moments” column at Philosophy Now magazine became “Ethical Episodes,” he took to questioning some key components of animal rights philosophy such as inherent value and announced his new thinking in a New York Times column called “Confessions of an Ex-Moralist.”

But none of this affected how Marks felt about animals. He still wants people to go vegan — it’s just that now he emphasizes that his call for a vegan humanity is based on his own desires and aversions, not innate rules that he deduced by objectively observing the workings of the universe. Since its tendency toward moralizing is the main thing I don’t like about standard vegan proselytizing, I admire Marks’ amoral “desirist” approach (and can’t wait to read his next book), even though I don’t share his desire for everyone to stop eating animal products.

Joel Marks

Could you summarize why you don’t believe in morality?

It’s very simple (although devastating to our everyday but unexamined assumptions). The universe as we now understand it consists of such things as spacetime, dark energy, dark matter, gravity, stars and planets, quarks and gluons, beliefs and desires, plus the natural laws that govern all of these things, plus mathematics and logic. Granted we do not yet have a single overarching theory of everything that explains how all of these things fit together perfectly, but there is a certain type of reality that adheres to them that does not adhere to moral values. In other words, it is not to be expected that the final theory will have any place in it for moral good or moral bad or moral right or moral wrong, nor any of their attendant concepts such as moral responsibility and moral desert. Everything that needs explaining can be explained without postulating any of those phenomena.

For example: There is no need to postulate the notion of moral wrongness in order to explain why most human beings believe that torturing babies is morally wrong. All you need is some kind of evolutionary explanation along the lines of: Creatures that thought it was OK to torture babies would (or did!) simply die off because their offspring would be too debilitated to reproduce. But suppose that under certain environmental conditions the only successful reproducers were those who had been “toughened” to the max. Then maybe under those conditions, torturing babies would be the ticket to survival (that is, of the genes that in combination with that environment, motivate the torturing of babies). So there is no “objective” or “absolute” wrongness attaching to the torturing of babies; there is simply the survival, under given conditions, of certain practices and prohibitions, some of which assume the mantle of objectivity or absoluteness in order better to motivate us to carry them out.

Some ex-vegans use amoralism to escape vegan moralizing. For them, the lack of proof of right or wrong is the best argument against giving rights to animals, and doesn’t preclude human rights, since we all selfishly benefit from rules against murder and so on. But you don’t believe in moralism, yet you remain a vegan and would like to convince more people to go vegan. However, there appears to be no human benefit to giving rights to animals, so if there’s no right or wrong, why should we do it? 

The main difference between a moralist and an amoralist such as myself is not at all about altruism versus egoism or hedonism. Most of the reasons that a moralist has for treating other animals with caring and respect are also reasons for an amoralist. The only difference is that the moralist treats these things as matters of duty incumbent on both him- or herself and all other human beings. But that is a big difference because of the consequences of having that sort of attitude about one’s own preferences, namely, that it is wrong for anyone not to have them. It leads to a way of interacting among human beings that, I would argue, is contrary to our considered desires. A very good source on this is Ian Hinckfuss’s The Moral Society.

As to our treatment of nonhuman animals, then, I would expect – perhaps I should acknowledge that this is my faith – that once we become fully aware of the nature of other animals as revealed to us through evolutionary theory and ethology, as well as of their actual treatment in animal agriculture (not to mention the clothing industry, animal circuses, biomedical research, etc.), and of the facts of human nutrition and the huge variety of non-animal culinary (and other) options, we will be moved by our natural compassion to adopt a vegan diet.

This was certainly my own story. And it is also another reason for my opposition to moralism. For I had become convinced of the moral wrongness of eating animals long before I became a vegan. But it was only when I had the opportunity (which came about largely by chance) to immerse myself in information about all of the above that I just spontaneously found myself motivated to make the final leap to veganism. So it’s really just cause and effect, I believe.

And that’s why I am also motivated to try to educate as many people as possible about the facts about other animals and how we treat them. The truth shall make the animals free, you might say. My peculiar angle on that project as a philosopher is to help those facts “sink in” for people through logical dialogue and reflection on them.

My main objection to veganism is that it is often preached as a mandate, the so-called “moral baseline.” A lot of vegans who are not particularly moralistic about other issues slip into moralism when it comes to human treatment of other animals, to the point that animal rights outrage sometimes reminds me of fervent, religious anti-abortion activism. Why has veganism become so wrapped up in moralism, is this ultimately bad for animals and is there any hope of extricating veganism from moralism?

One reason, I would surmise, there has been such an emphasis on morality in veganism (or vegetarianism more generally) is that so many people who become vegetarian, probably the vast majority in fact, do so for reasons that have nothing to do with concern about the animals who are being abused and slaughtered for our food, but instead for dietary reasons. Meanwhile, in the minds not only of animal advocates but of just about everyone, being caring and respectful of others is associated with being a good person and doing the morally right thing (and not being so or doing so is morally wrong). Therefore, especially if you want not only to be morally pure yourself but also to help the animals as much as possible by spreading the good word about not exploiting them, it seems incumbent on you to emphasize your moral motives. For if other people assume you are vegetarian or vegan because you are only concerned about your own health or fitness or weight, they may be less likely to become vegetarian themselves if they happen not to care about “dieting” for such reasons. So morality may seem to be the only alternative to (human) health (and possibly environmental) appeals for getting people to stop aiding and abetting cruelty and disrespect to nonhuman animals.

Of course my role as a philosopher would be to disabuse folks of the idea that there is a necessary dependence of caring about and respecting animals (human or otherwise) on being moral. You can have the former without the latter. This is very similar to the equally mistaken notion that without the belief in God, everybody would just go around raping and pillaging and murdering. If anything, I would say, it works the other way: Religion and even morality cause more such behavior than would their absence.

As for what hope there is to turn this around: I haven’t a clue. The human (and animal) condition in general strikes me as hopeless. But my preference would be to rid veganism (and everything else) of its moralism, and my hunch is that doing so could only help the animal cause by removing yet another barrier between animal-consumers and their giving up the habit – that barrier being the defensiveness that inevitably arises from being labeled immoral or bad.

I would expect an amoralist veganism to be relatively understanding of animal users, since it rejects dogma. However, an amoralist can be just as appalled at Nazism as a moralist is, despite refusing to call Nazism objectively wrong. Do you think amoralism would soften the judgment of most moralist vegans, making them generally more accepting of meat eaters, or might it have no discernable effect other than cutting out the “right and wrong,” “immoral and bad” phraseology?

If it were only a matter of using a different terminology, it would not be very interesting or important and hardly worth the effort to “convert” everyone to the amoralist way of speaking. So my belief, or as I put it before, faith, is that changing the way we talk about things we are used to thinking of as moral matters – whether it be meat-eating or genocide – would also change the way we think about them and hence feel about them and ultimately how we behave. Now on the face of it that would seem to count against the switch I favor since who among us would want to lessen the outrage against Hitler and his ilk? And who among us ethical vegans would want to lessen the outrage against the abuse and slaughter of nonhuman animals?

But as I have suggested, the moral outrage against the practices we don’t like really has two quite distinct components: an extreme and universal aversion on the one hand, and a moral judgment on the other. It seems to me pretty clear that we can retain the former while relinquishing the latter. And the point of doing this, I have further maintained, is that it would enable us to be more rational in our attitude toward those with whom we disagree, and perhaps even, as a consequence, more effective in achieving what we desire. We would cease to see the others as evil or evil-doers and instead as people who are for the most part just like ourselves but perhaps with a very different background or in very different circumstances or even with some very different inborn tendencies. Isn’t this likely to inspire in us greater tolerance, greater willingness to give the benefit of the doubt, to negotiate, to compromise, etc.?

Now that may sound rather appealing in the abstract, but a further worry implicit in your question is that this transformation of the moral psyche into an amoral one could lessen our commitment to causes that we are used to deeming of the utmost urgency and importance, like stopping Hitler or bin Laden (if we are not their acolytes!) and ending the exploitation of nonhuman animals (if we are animal advocates). I think my only response can be that in life there are always tradeoffs. So on the one hand the amoralist program would indeed tend to remove a certain ferocity from one’s advocacy, a certain self-assurance and judgmentalism that can give one all sorts of motivational and rhetorical advantages in the struggle against opponents. On the other hand this kind of attitude, besides being based on sheer falsehood (that is, the belief that there is such a thing as objective value in the universe), has well-known tendencies to take people over-the-top in their characterizations of others and what they do, resulting in both figurative and literal overkill. Indeed, Hitler and bin Laden themselves could be prime examples of this phenomenon: moralists to the nth degree.

So which kind of effect is more aversive to our considered opinion: a somewhat lessened, because less fanatical, allegiance to our causes, or the world as it is? I hope this is not just the grass is greener phenomenon, but all I can say is that from my present outlook – surrounded as I and we are by people who are forever berating and slaughtering one another out of moral conviction – the former looks more attractive. Especially when, as I must keep reminding folks, we would still be fully susceptible to appeals to our compassion and allied motivations. When the victims of Hitler cry out to us, when the animals in factory farms cry out to us, there is something quite natural in us that will respond (other things equal). But at the same time we need not vilify those who are responsible for these things. The only rational question is: What is the most effective way to address the situation in keeping with one’s own considered desires? In the case of Hitler this could mean killing him. In the case of factory farms it means, I believe (following Gary Francione), promoting veganism.

I will add one more thing with respect to the plight of other animals at human hands (or mouths). If the animals themselves had the mental and physical means to do so, they might well mount a violent rebellion against humanity. More power to them, I say in the abstract. But given that I am a human being, and even one who is fully committed to so-called abolitionism or animal liberation, my strongest desires are human-centered. And so I have no sympathy for mounting any kind of violent overthrow of the tyrannical human regime. I possess a strong desire to live in a peaceful community with my human neighbors and friends and relatives, the majority of whom eat animals and animal products, and, further, to be on friendly, respectful, even loving terms with them; and to live in a society where major decisions are taken on a democratic basis in an environment of maximal, informed dialogue. So I will cheer for the chimps in the movie theatre as they wrest control of the world from human hands; and I most certainly admire intelligent animal-rescuers and undercover videotapers. But I do not support violence against animal-users, nor their demonization, nor even an attitude of contempt, nor intimidation, vandalism, arson, etc., in the cause of the animals. Fortunately the more extreme acts are rare, and in fact many animal advocates have explicitly ruled them out on moral grounds. But mine is not a moral statement; it’s just how my personal desires pan out in light of reflection on relevant information and experience.

The issue here is not even specific to the human/animal situation, I suspect, but has generally to do with our subjective allegiances. Furthermore, these things need have nothing to do with judgments of “inherent worth,” another item from the moralist’s toolkit. Thus, we all show various preferences to our own children; but does this rest on a belief in the lesser value of other children? Of course not. This is also why I would not consider it necessarily speciesist to refuse to take certain steps on behalf of nonhuman animals that one would take or support as a matter of course on behalf of other human beings. For there need not be a judgment of superior worth of the humans in order to have stronger bonds of commitment to them. As things stand, I believe inherent worth is a myth anyway; but if I believed in it, I would probably attribute equal worth to all sentient beings. This still would not eliminate my having preferences.

I don’t see why amoralism should force anyone into total consequentialism, but does amoralism tend to encourage a more consequentialist attitude, and could this have implications for how an amoralist animal advocate promotes veganism?

For instance, there are subsistence hunters who believe they are responsible for less animal suffering than vegans; they sometimes argue that by hunting wild animals for food (sometimes singling out destructive invasive species for bonus ethical points) rather than purchasing, let’s say, vegan meat replacements, they have less of a harmful impact on wild animal habitats than vegans and are less responsible for the exploitation of factory farmed animals in the form of factory farmed manure that goes to agricultural crops. Someone who believed in right and wrong might focus on intent and say that it’s always wrong to intentionally kill an animal for food outside of extreme hypotheticals, and so fail to see anything positive about the hunting, even if it helps animals overall. In contrast, would an amoralist vegan be more likely to see the potential defensibility of intentional harm in order to avoid greater foreseen (but unintentional) harm?

Basically, are amoralist vegans more likely to be concerned with suffering reduction than “animal rights”, and thus be more likely to think that non-vegan behaviors are sometimes the most preferable?

That is a brilliant question. But I don’t necessarily agree with the implication. I see the point that morality is often preoccupied with motives, so that these motives could lose a great deal of their significance if we were not concerned about their moral quality. But I don’t think that the features of motives that interest the moralist would necessarily be a matter of indifference to an amoralist. Take your example. It is true that an amoralist would not be bothered by any supposed immorality of intentionally killing animals for food when there were vegetarian alternatives available. But what is to prevent someone from “simply” disliking the killing of animals for food when there are other options? Nor do I think this is only a logical point. It strikes me as quite plausible that many people just don’t like to see human beings killing other animals (or any animals, including humans) unless there is a clear and present necessity to do so. And this is so even if, as in your example, the net outcome may be the deaths of still more animals.

In other words, your suggestion seems to presume that human beings are natural utilitarians, or would be in the absence of moral considerations. But I doubt that this is true. I think human responses tend to be nonutilitarian. We love our family and our pets, then our friends, then our country, our religion, and on and on, without regard to how it all plays out for “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Just so when it comes to specific phenomena, such as killing (versus letting die or inadvertently causing death), and so on. The practice of utilitarianism requires focused effort, which is why somebody like Peter Singer has to keep trying to convince everyone to behave in accordance with the results of utilitarian calculations.

The approach I would therefore recommend (and which Singer does employ in fact, along with his arguing) is to try to engage people’s nonmoral and, indeed, nonutilitarian feelings … even if it turns out that this is in the cause of some utilitarian objective. So for instance, to get the ex-moralist animal protectionist to condone hunting under the conditions you describe, you might want to portray (by verbal portrait or photographs or video or cartoon or imaginative novel or theatre or whatever) the suffering and death of wild animals via loss of habitat for vegetable farming versus their relatively quick and less numerous demise by subsistence hunting. This could work. But in the end it’s an appeal to emotion, not a utilitarian argument. I would only comment on behalf of the anti-hunter that such examples may be (for better or worse) relatively rare in the modern world.

Amoralism doesn’t undermine compassion for animals, but does it undermine the specific logical arguments that the major animal rights philosophers make, such as the argument from marginal cases and inherent value? Are either Singer, Francione or Regan at all equipped to argue with those who don’t believe in an objective morality?

Honestly, I don’t think it makes much difference one way or the other. This is because the belief in objective morality does not guarantee that one will subscribe to any particular moral theory. A moralist could be a utilitarian or a deontologist or an egoist or a virtue theorist or a feminist or whatever. From my amoralist point of view, all those theories simply manifest some strongly held desire or “intuition,” which the moralist then – due to the very strength of the desire – wants to impose on everyone as if it were a law of the universe. “Thou shalt” (or “shalt not”) do x in morals as in logic (as opposed to “obeying” a physical law, where one has no choice in the matter).

When I say it makes no or little difference, however, I mean that, without morality, we would still be left with our strong desires that the world be a certain way and that people behave in certain ways. So: a nonmoralist Singer would presumably still desire that the capacity for pain, even absent certain cognitive abilities, determine how we treat other sentient beings; and Regan would still desire that we treat all subjects of a life with a certain type of fundamental respect; and Francione would still desire that everyone refrain from eating any animal products (whenever it is feasible so to do) and from owning animals, because of the detrimental impact such practices and institutions have on nonhuman animals; and so forth. It’s just that their desires would no longer be supported by certain metaphysical underpinnings, such as inherent value or objective good. But such fictions are not necessary, are they? Is not compassion sufficient to motivate the same desires? Do we really suppose that Singer, Regan, and Francione do not care about other animals but only about certain abstract values and Ultimate Reality?

Furthermore, Singer, Regan and Francione will still be able to adduce all of the evidence they are accustomed to do. Singer can still point to the painful procedures employed in animal agriculture; Regan can still point to the psychological lives of other animals; Francione can still point to the counter-productivity of welfarist schemes of using other animals “humanely.” All of these things and more are available to influence the beliefs, feelings and behaviors of animal users.

The only things denied by amorality to Singer, Regan and Francione are these: some presumed objective truth or categorical imperative that requires everyone to leave off using or abusing other animals, and the attribution of wrong-doing or evil to those people who do not leave off doing those things. Neither of these has any basis in reality according to our best theory of the world, it seems to me.

I should also mention that some would argue that morality is not only not necessary to motivate people but it is also not sufficient to motivate people. An excellent article that makes this very point is Maxim Fetissenko’s “Beyond Morality: Developing a new Rhetorical Strategy for the Animal Rights Movement” in the Journal of Animal Ethics (Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 2011, pages 150-175). (Alas, Fetissenko argues that compassion is not very effective either and suggests instead a focus on self-interested motives such as concern about health and the environment.)

Vegans don’t often talk about illegalizing animal use, perhaps because that idea is too far off to consider seriously (and it would make them look bad), but a lot of vegans do see that as a goal, ideally. Is that, however, not the case for amoralist vegans?

Even people who believe in morality sometimes say “you shouldn’t legislate morality,” usually in reference to rules with a religious taint, since people have conflicting religious beliefs. So if the issue of ethics were openly acknowledged as unsettleable because there is no right or wrong, wouldn’t this encourage a relatively ethics-agnostic governance that wouldn’t want to ban too many behaviors that didn’t violate social stability? And assuming there are always some humans who want to eat meat, wouldn’t that leave out animals from major legal protections?

If animal advocates were undogmatic and recognized that their desires to protect animals were based on subjective feelings - subjective feelings that many humans do not share - would they feel less justified than moralist vegans would in legally overruling the desires of meat-loving, animal-indifferent humans, given that banning animal use can’t be justified for practical reasons like mutual self-interest and keeping order?

This is just another of the infinity of practical questions that one could only have more-or-less educated hunches about. Also, there may not be one-answer-fits-all. As a philosopher I am not professionally in the business of judging things like this, although I often have my personal opinions (but likely based more on desire than knowledge). But I can say that the moralism/amoralism divide is not necessarily the most relevant consideration. As you point out, even moralists can be political libertarians, or selective libertarians. And when they are so, they are as often as not being pragmatic about the most effective way to bring society ‘round to their particular moral ideal. (And recall also that an amoralist could have the same ideal as a moralist, the sole difference being that the amoralist does not believe there is any obligation to achieve or live that ideal but simply desires it to hold sway.) So while your question is a very interesting one, my answer is boring: “It depends.”

But to say something a little more specific: The desirist form of amoralism I have espoused holds that we have desires regarding means as well as ends. Thus, in my own case, while I desire (as an end) that there be no use of nonhuman animals for human purposes, I also desire (as a means) that coercion be minimal. Therefore I would want to avoid legislating the abolition of animal use not only because that might be an inefficient means of achieving that goal but also because I find that means to be intrinsically aversive because coercive. Someone else, however, might find the horror of animal use to be so compelling that any means whatever, even if likely futile, would be desired by that person as a means of eliminating animal use (or, perhaps more correctly to say, as a form of expression of their strong opposition to what they are nevertheless unable to eliminate). So that person and I could end up being opponents regarding means even though we shared the goal of animal liberation.

There seem to be a lot of atheist vegans. One theory for this is that without religion, we don’t have the concept of Dominion to soothe our consciences. Believing in evolution instead of God could make us feel less superior to other animals - though it could also make some of us more prone to use blood-drenched nature as our guide. Some people say that those willing to question religion are more likely to question other traditions, like meat eating. Others say that humans have a need to believe in something, and the atheist who doesn’t have a personified higher power will seek substitute meaning devices, like veganism. Does it seem to you that vegans are often atheist? What’s your take on it?

I am becoming repetitive since mainly what I have to say is that I’m a philosopher and hence not professionally knowledgeable about the religious or irreligious tendencies of vegans as a matter of empirical fact. Like you I can lay out the logical possibilities, and surely there are reasons both for and against veganism being allied with religion (all the more so of course because religion is hardly monolithic). But as it happens I have taken personal note of a certain phenomenon that is relevant to your question, but I put this down as no more than an impression based on my limited experience. I have been struck by the opposite tendency from what you suggest: I see much of veganism as having a religious flavor (and fervor), even among those who make no explicitly religious references. (I here take veganism to be shorthand for animal advocacy or animal liberation, both because I find Gary Francione’s brief persuasive that dietary veganism is the royal road to animal liberation and because I find Lee Hall’s brief persuasive that veganism, conceived broadly as the non-use of animals, is the very expression of the ultimate goal of respect for all animals.)

Now this should not be surprising if my general amoralist critique of morality is correct, namely, that morality even in its secular form is just another form of theism (see for example my “Confessions of an Ex-Moralist”). But the association of veganism with religion is even more specific than that. To take the most obvious example: Who among animal advocates in the West can resist the comparison of animal liberation to the Garden of Eden? The images that the Biblical narrative brings to mind are the very model of the abolitionist goal:

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Even the animals are vegan! Indeed, I suspect (even if only generalizing from introspecting my own ideals) that a certain romanticized – and surely false — view of animals in nature derives from the pleasant idyll of the wolf dwelling with the lamb and so forth in Isaiah’s prophecy of the new Eden. Also, I find it quite natural to recoil at the abuse of animals as a violation of their God-given life and preciousness – even though I fancy myself an atheist.

But religion, being a pervasive influence in any culture, will offer us “grounds” for whatever position on anything. It has worked the way it has in my personal journey to veganism due purely to contingent features of my life, no doubt, such as having gone to a Quaker school for 12 years. But religion could function in someone else’s life as the foundation of their carnivorism (“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you” says God to Noah after the Flood), in which case embracing atheism could become that person’s route to veganism.

In Beyond Morality, Richard Garner argues against morality and then discusses amoral approaches to living that he thinks may lead to more pleasant lives for most people. He cites Stoicism, Epicureanism and aspects of Buddhism as useful philosophies that may reduce suffering by encouraging adherents to temper their desires and not fret about things they cannot control. Has your approach to living changed since you gave up a belief in morality? Did anything arise in morality’s place? And do you find that you are happier in a “post moralist state of mind”?

Garner and I are pretty much twins about this, although I see moralist thinking and attitudes as more pervasive and ingrained than he and hence am perhaps less optimistic about the prospects for an amoral regime. But I am much happier now, indeed. Let me only begin to count the ways. A great weight of “guilt” and second-guessing is falling from my shoulders, slowly but surely. Life is so much simpler, now that, besides figuring out what I most informedly and reflectively and deeply want and how to get it, I need not also try to figure out what is the right (i.e., obligatory or permissible) thing to do (which is not only a difficult task but an impossible one, as thousands of years of inconclusive moral argumentation attest). I also thereby avoid making my own life and other people’s lives unnecessarily more difficult by opposing strong desires with mythical injunctions and prohibitions. I also am lowering the moral chip from off my shoulder; thus, I avoid countless pointless hassles with people. In fact I can now say that I hate no one, and I respect everyone; and I wish everyone well.

When I come up against a person who is doing something that I had hitherto considered wrong, even an outrage, I will now likely react only with some combination of aversion, sadness and puzzlement, but also rational reflection on how to turn the situation around to my liking. So I certainly have not become any kind of quietist. And neither have I become an egoist, a common misconception of the amoralist (or what I call the desirist) position. Although my desires are the only basis for whatever I do, my desires are just as other-directed as any moralist’s – the case in point being my unadulterated desire for the well-being of all nonhuman animals.

So I would recommend the amoralist way of life to anyone and everyone, but it is also not for me to say if everyone else will take to it as I have. For those who reject it, at least if we agree on all relevant factual matters, I would seek to live on tolerant terms to the greatest degree that is compatible with my considered desires regarding both ends and means. But therefore if my contrary desires were strong enough, as in cases where my opponent’s desires adversely affect third parties (such as animals) about whom I care, I might strive to circumvent or even overpower my adversary. I have already spoken about how this plays out (for me) with respect to veganism.

I close my remarks with a friendly request that my interlocutor and readers reconsider any resistance they may still harbor toward veganism. For people who, like myself of yore, are daunted by the apparent difficulty of becoming vegan, I have put together a dedicated Website: www.TheEasyVegan.com. For people who are skeptical about the amoralist approach to veganism (and ethics in general), I recommend the follow-up article I wrote in reply to objections that readers posted to my “Confessions” article (cited above): Atheism, Amorlity and Animals: A Response

Thank you for this opportunity to reflect further on and share these ideas. I look forward to additional dialogue.