What is an acceptable way to put forward a commonly held moral view in an academic essay?
Here's an essay on writing a philosophical essay which might help. I particularly like Graziano's comment about not using metaphor to describe a position.
I want to put forward the commonplace view that:
• We have the right to use animals for their meat
• We have a moral obligation to maximise an animal’s welfare
• Eating meat is permissible
Is that two premises and a conclusion?
- Analyze the logic and articulate working through the reasoning.
- Per Graziano's article, he would suggest using numbers instead of
bullet points. That way you have the option of referring to "premise
1" or "premise 2" or simple (1), (2) or (3).
In the latter case of (2), I personally dislike the use of too much short-hand, especially in short papers (acronyms like JTB for justified, true belief or CToT for correspondence Theory of Truth), but it is a good consideration to have the option.
In the former case of (1), explicitly articulate the analysis when warranted. Sometimes in short papers you don't have the space to devote to formally symbolizing an argument, drawing truth tables, stepping through the details of syllogistic inference/deduction and such.
...see what I did there with (1) and (2) and "former"/"latter" ;^)
Is the best way to put this across by using survey data and other empirical means?
Empirical support can certainly focus your argumentation. Facts such as how many wild animals vs livestock exist. How much meat is produced vs consumed annually/globally and such. It is great not only to cite the source of the empirical facts, but it is critically important to not only cite verifiable facts, but to actually verify those facts. In the case of statistics especially, it is more convincing to cite several statistics which concur.
are there any other ways people use to show that a particular view is widely held?
You can always conduct your own research. Take a poll, cite the popularity of things which reference the view (e.g. the popularity of BBQ's or cooking shows which focus on preparing meat, etc...)
I'm not looking to discuss the view above, I'm merely providing it as an example to make my question clearer.
For whichever view you examine - have you accurately described the view? For example, is the "maximizing animal welfare" bit part of the common view? Familiar with the work or biography of Temple Grandin? Seems like "adequacy of husbandry" or "minimal intentional and systematic suffering" is a better description.
Ask yourself if proponents of this view would be sympathetic to your description of it?
If you think your formulation of the view is better and proponents might have a problem with it, explain how your description is informed by the proponents criticism of such a formulation.