PREFACE
A PERSONAL INTRODUCTION
As
far back as I can remember, I have been enchanted by animals. For
much of my life, I have also been an unthinking consumer of their flesh
and their products. In the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, where
I grew up, we lived cheek by jowl with hunting dogs. (This is literally
true, since at least one dog generally shared my bed.) I have seen my
grandmother wring off the neck of the old laying hen who ended her
days as Sunday dinner; despite my horror at her ghoulish death, I joined
my family in eating her body. My father, one of the most wonderful
men I have ever known, loved to hunt ducks and geese, and the walls of
our home were decorated with trophy fish. I went fishing only once, as a
very small child. I can remember being unwilling to impale a worm on
a hook-Granny did it for me-and turning away as the small fish on
the end of my line gasped and flopped in the air. This did not stop me
from eating "Evelyn's fish," however, nor do I recall being upset by the
corpses mounted in our living room.
At fifteen, I decided that nothing would please me as much as a career
in philosophy. Imagine being able to earn one's living by reading, think-
ing, teaching, and writing about ultimate reality, truth, and justice! I
left rural Appalachia for college in Colorado, graduating with a degree
in philosophy, and went straight to graduate school at the University
of Michigan. I learned a very great deal from teachers like William
Alston, Richard Brandt, William Frankena, Alvin Goldman, and Jack
Meiland, especially about uncovering and questioning presuppositions.
We humans cling to these presuppositions, and we do not find their
scrutiny a very comfortable experience. Engaging in such scrutiny de-
spite our feelings is both the pain and the glory of philosophy. Any
view worthy of one's belief, I became convinced, is a view that can be
supported.
Even given my new skills and commitment to justification, however,
I did not question my attitudes toward nonhuman animals. The love
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