'If you had to choose, would you rather eat poo-flavored-chocolate or chocolate-flavored-poo?' First, I had to clarify some of the background conditions. Would the poo make me sick? No. Would it be human poo? Yes. Would the poo really taste like chocolate, and have the consistency and texture thereof? Yes. Would the real chocolate taste just like real poo, and look like real poo? Yes. Would the real chocolate make me sick? No (except for possible attendant nausea of course). Would the poo be yours? Maybe. Would the poo be like dark or milk chocolate? Just answer the question!
The answer is obvious, and goes down easy. I'd eat the poo. Why?
Because it tastes like chocolate, and it won't make me sick, whereas the chocolate would taste like poo.
I'm in full agreement with Mark. But there were a few people who commented that they think it would be better to eat the poo-flavoured chocolate. I don't think this makes any sense. As I commented there:
As I see it, the only bad things about poo are the nasty properties (smell, taste, sickness) that have been removed in the present scenario. There's nothing intrinsicly bad about poo. In fact, like I said before, I'm not even sure that what's left is 'poo' at all. So the chocolate came out of someone's anus. Who cares?
The opposing camp just doesn't make any sense to me. They clearly have strikingly different values - perhaps what Jeremy describes as the view that "our body has some kind of moral or aesthetic value that gets diminished in certain ways if it's put to wrong uses"... I just can't see why anyone would think that claim is true.
The one motivation I've seen for this view is that we already seem to hold it with certain things. The sex with a dead chicken example is one sort of thing that many people think is morally wrong or at least objectively bad in an aesthetic sense. Yet there's no harm that can be attributed to the chicken, since it's dead, and presumably any harm to the human already has happened, or they wouldn't be considering such an act...
Die-hards against this sort of view aren't going to be convinced, of course. Those opposed to intuitionism probably won't accept the very business of using such examples, and some might resist the particular examples by pointing out that people actually do both and so some see it as fine, but most people do think there's something wrong with both actions.
I guess I'm one of those 'die-hards'; having sex with a dead chicken is disgusting, for sure, but I don't see it as a moral issue. Unless, perhaps, the act would cause further mental harm to the troubled agent. But grossness alone is insufficient (indeed, I would say entirely irrelevant) for moral judgment.
No-one else in that thread made any serious effort, that I noticed, to defend choosing the poo-flavoured chocolate. Many just seemed to assume that eating poo was somehow intrinsically bad/disgusting. But I'd like to hear more reasons behind such a view, so if anyone reading this can think of one, please do let me know.
One other comment I made that I'd like to copy across to here:
Irem asked: "I wonder whether there are some poo-eaters who wish they were not so weak" [for choosing the 'easy' way out, even though deep down they know it's the wrong choice].
I'd like to turn this around, and ask whether there are some chocolate-eaters who wish they were not so irrational.
It strikes me as plausible that some chocolate-eaters might be like someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The victim of OCD is irrational: they feel a compulsive need to (say) wash their hands for a whole hour, despite knowing that - rationally speaking - this is a waste of time, and so not good for them. But they do it anyway.
I wonder if some chocolate-eaters might be like that? They just can't bear the thought of eating "poo", even though they know (rationally) that it would do them no harm. So they suffer through the poo-flavoured chocolate, an awful experience - but they do it anyway, because their disgust is so overpowering that they can't help but be irrational in this case.
Does that sound plausible? Do you think it's irrational to prefer the poo-flavoured chocolate? If not, why not?