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I know this borders on the arbitrary but I was wondering, if there is a reasoning being that can only survive by eating men, would it be moral for them to do so? If it does wouldn't it contradict our morality?

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I know this borders on the arbitrary but I was wondering, if there is a reasoning being that can only survive by eating men, would it be moral for them to do so? If it does wouldn't it contradict our morality?

Yes, but this does presuppose something that could not actually happen. Since this is totally hypothetical, it would be moral for us to preemptively kill them all in self defense (we could do that by exiling them to Alpha Centauri).

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David, why does it "presuppose something that could not actually happen"? After all, there are animals now that have only one food source (eg pandas can only eat bamboo). Suppose another sentient species had evolved on Earth, but could survive only by eating humans. Speculative, sure, but not impossible.

Anyway, I agree it would be moral for them to eat us, and moral for us to kill them in self-defense. There is no moral conflict because each species would have different moral standards.

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There are in fact rational beings whose survival depends on “eating” others: cripples, communists, and organ-transplant candidates. Is it moral for them to “eat” us?

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Is that serious question, David (GC)? Human ethics must be based on the requirements of life of normal healthy people, not extreme cases. That's basic to the Objectivist ethics.

The question was about "a reasoning being that can only survive by eating men." Such beings would morally respect each others rights, but would see eating us as a regrettable but necessary way to maintain their own lives. I would see our relationship with such beings as similar to the Objectivist position on emergency situations (aka "lifeboat ethics"): a social context in which everyone can survive and prosper is not possible, so it's kill or be killed.

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If it is a less advanced species then they are stuck morally. In order to survive they must eat us, but if they attempt to do so they will be whiped off the face of the earth. So it makes it impossible to persue their own interests.

But my major issue is, what if they are more advanced then us, what if they had the power to enslave us and feed upon us. What your saying seems to mean "It's morally good that they are eating us because they require to survive" and then go about saying(meaning) this. "It's morally good to stop them because a requirment of our lives is to not be eaten".

This seems to me at least to paint morality as subjective.

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David, why does it "presuppose something that could not actually happen"? After all, there are animals now that have only one food source (eg pandas can only eat bamboo). Suppose another sentient species had evolved on Earth, but could survive only by eating humans. Speculative, sure, but not impossible.

I'm making a claim about carnivores in general. I could imagine an animal that was allergic to shellfish or even fish, but human flesh isn't so different from cow or monkey that I think such a critter could not live off of monkey meat as well. As a matter of fact, bamboo is the favorite food of pandas, but not their only food: they also eat grass, fruits, roots, nuts, and even bugs and birds. Zoo food often includes carrots and apples. Basically, I think a creature that had such a restricted chance for survival would have had an overwhelming evolutionary disadvantage, and would die out: I cannot imagine such a creature being stable enough for a million years to evolve a reasoning faculty. If you've got other examples, let me know.

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David, I see your point. I didn't know that about pandas. I think koalas can only eat eucalyptus leaves. But in any case being restricted to a single food source is not a big deal evolutionarily as long as that food is plentiful. Pandas were doing fine until we came along and started destroying their habitat (I mean that purely as a scientific statement, not an environmentalist moral statement). Humans being omnivores was not critical to our evolving a rational faculty.

But my major issue is, what if they are more advanced then us, what if they had the power to enslave us and feed upon us. What your saying seems to mean "It's morally good that they are eating us because they require to survive" and then go about saying(meaning) this. "It's morally good to stop them because a requirment of our lives is to not be eaten".

This seems to me at least to paint morality as subjective.

It's not subjective, but it is contextual. Human ethics are based on the requirements of life of human beings within a social context. Your critters would not have the same ethics and it would not be possible to share a social context with them. (just as a group of people on a life raft without enough supplies would not have a social context in which ethics applies, and therefore could morally attack others for control of the supplies) The requirements of life of the 2 species would not be compatible, so we would have to fight each other.

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I know this borders on the arbitrary

Good. Knowledge is the first step.

The next step is to act on what you know, which in this case is very easy, since all you have to do is abstain from wasting your--and our--time on such borderline-arbitrary questions!

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There are in fact rational beings whose survival depends on “eating” others: cripples, communists, and organ-transplant candidates.  Is it moral for them to “eat” us?

cripples' and organ-transplant candidates' survival does not depend on the use of force against us. It might depend on our good will, or on charity - but it does not depend on government intervention.

And how do communists figure in? Their physical survival only depends on getting a job.

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I know this borders on the arbitrary but I was wondering, if there is a reasoning being that can only survive by eating men, would it be moral for them to do so? If it does wouldn't it contradict our morality?

...You haven't been watching Stargate: Atlantis, have you? :)

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...You haven't been watching Stargate: Atlantis, have you?
Actually I have, but that's not where I got the idea from;)

Good. Knowledge is the first step.

The next step is to act on what you know, which in this case is very easy, since all you have to do is abstain from wasting your--and our--time on such borderline-arbitrary questions!

Then shouldn't you have glanced at the title, dismissed it as arbitrary, and not waste any of your time on responding? :)

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There are in fact rational beings whose survival depends on “eating” others: cripples, communists, and organ-transplant candidates.  Is it moral for them to “eat” us?

That's one hell of a package deal you've constructed. I'm a cripple. I'm not able to produce my own living. I do not, however, accept any government subsidy of any kind. I live by the good graces of a husband who loves me enough that he chose to support me. I do everything that I can to support myself within this relationship. How does this make me a cannibal?

A communist chooses his path; I have no such luxury. Am I condemned as a moral outcast because of something I did not choose?

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