Ethics of Cannibalism

I should probably preface this post by stating I do not endorse cannibalism in any way. The purpose of this post is merely to inquire into the question of whether consensual cannibalism is morally wrong. I think it goes with out saying that non-consensual cannibalism is not okay. If someone does not wish to be eaten, then eating him or her is morally wrong in the context of just about any legitimate moral framework one can think of. However, take for example the case of a man who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident and decided to serve tacos made of his amputated foot to ten of his friends (yes that actually happened):

In this case, no one’s will was violated. The foot belonged to someone who openly encouraged its consumption. No one was harmed and if anything, the foot was put to use instead of merely inconsequentially decomposing. Regardless of the harmlessness of this instance of cannibalism, most people surveyed still found the consumption of the foot to be “wrong.” Can the simple act of eating certain things be wrong? It’s a difficult question; however, the original idea behind this notion may lie in Judaism’s rules of Kashrut. These rules claim that certain foods or combinations of foods may be unfit for human consumption. This is a morality that is not subject to something like the harm principle. A human foot would certainly not be Kosher.  However, aside from something like a religious rule, it is difficult to find an ethically rooted argument against eating foot tacos. In conclusion, our opposition to cannibalism in spite of its theoretical harmlessness may serve as a possible argument against consequentialism. On the other hand, our opposition may simply be a result of the societal stigma against cannibalism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s