" I think it's often not so easy for people to just leave their job and find another, especially if they have children to take care of. "
Yes, elasticity isn't absolute, but in the long run it matters a lot. In the extreme, you can walk out and be jobless rather than accepting bad conditions. That alone puts a cap on how bad conditions can be, although perhaps some risks can be hard to estimate.
" Do you care about others or their wellbeing for their own sake at all for any other reason? "
Yes, if I have positive personal relati... (read more)
Many good points.
Moral uncertainty doesn't give you what you want. It gives you everything and nothing. You don't use it to question your own values, but only as a rhetorical device to get other people to question their values, and only those that disagree with your current values. Maybe the Logic of the Larder goes through. Maybe animal farming is good for wild animals. Maybe animal suffering is intrinsically morally good. You can't point to uncertainty to privilege your current moral preference.
The costs to slaughterhouse workers are inter... (read more)
"Why would you prefer real meat over fake meat, even if they were indistinguishable and had the same price?"
Why wouldn't I? I don't believe in animal rights. Perhaps if no animal rights activists had ever condoned human rights violations against me, I might be indifferent. But they did, and the substitutes won't be indistinguishable during my lifetime anyway.
"This would mean our obligations to conscious and suffering non-person (and not future-person) humans are only (or primarily) indirect, circumstantial and sometimes comple... (read more)
What do you think of the concept that suffering and pleasure are the same phenomenon, except "sign-flipped", i.e. the same neurological/computational principle gives valence to both suffering and pleasure? If so, you could "reduce intense suffering" by creating intense pleasure. This is probably not your goal, but is there a principled philosophical or neuroscientific reason against this view?
Empirically, I think it's pretty clear that most people are willing to trade off pleasure and pain for themselves. (They also want things oth... (read more)
"Do you see this being true even if/when humans colonize space? (You and I might be long dead by then.)"
Technically yes, because there will still be animal farming on Earth. What happens in a very far future post-human civilization of course, is speculative.
"Would you still insist even if you couldn't tell the alternatives from the real thing and enjoyed them as much (under blind test), and they had the same or better nutritional quality? Why?"
This depends on the price, I would say. If it's also 50% cheaper, I would probably c... (read more)
Alternatively, you could use the scientific method to design artificial sentient systems with high welfare output per resource input and harvest the ecosystem's production to power these. Or even better, use them to maximize human welfare because we're all human.
I'm not a utilitarian, but if I were, I would emphasize quality over quantity. There are two ways in which quantity can harm quality. The first is when there's a trade-off and spending resources on quantity causes you to spend fewer resources on quality. So if you spend money and attention on implementing panspermia, you can't spend the same money and attention on improving the quality of life of sentient systems. The second is even worse: On those margins where quality is negative, quantity actively hurts the total. So you had better be rea... (read more)
Then that's begging the question. The Alienation Objection isn't to Act Consequentialism at all, but to taking impartiality for granted.
Why does Act Consequentialism imply impartiality?
The definition used here ("according to which (very roughly) you should do whatever has the best consequences, i.e., whatever produces the most value in the world") punts all the complexity into the definition of "value in the world", but that is entirely subjective and can be completely partial, as it is for many if not most people.
It seems this entire discussion is suffering from the confusion of Act Consequentialism with something more specific and impartial like a version of Utilitarianism. Or at the very least an underdefined use of terms like "value in the world".
"Another problem is shadow markets. They persist for many products and services that governments have tried to discourage, like drugs and prostitution. However, unlike with those two, there is a clear, safe and cheap substitute for animal products - plant products."
There are also substitutes for illegal drugs and prostitution, e.g. legal drugs, and masturbation, respectively. Despite this, there is still a market for illegal drugs and prostitution, though perhaps a smaller one than if those substituted didn't exist. The substitutes are alrea... (read more)
Michael Huemer has written on this here: https://fakenous.net/?p=1397
Some good counter-arguments have been raised in the comments.