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A follow up of my question

Cannibalism - Does Eating other sentient creatures makes you a cannibal

What would be the moral implications and Ethics violated when you eat other sentient races.

Given that you are out of food, behind enemy lines and the body of your enemy is the only thing that you can eat in the amount needed for your body to continue fighting your way to the enemy capital or demi human capital

Or just in general way of life in that particular world. These creatures would have been probably a rare to be cooked like elves for example

Yes you can reproduce with these demi human races excluding goblins, imps and snagas.

Here is the question on how will you probably cook those sentient beings

Moral implications or ethics violated of eating other Sentient races in a fantasy world

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Mołot, James, Azuaron, kingledion, Cort Ammon Jan 24 '17 at 21:56

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Shouldn't you be asking this on Philosophy? $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jan 24 '17 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ This Q seems rather plot specific, rather than about building a world. IMHO, you and your Qs will do better here if you adjust to what worldbuilding means, as defined on this SE. Taken at the right 'altitude,' I can see interesting world issues when species are both intelligent, carnivorous and there's nothing else handy.... $\endgroup$ – Catalyst Jan 24 '17 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ Your second link points to this same question. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jan 24 '17 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ There are no question marks in this post. I don't see a question, so I am voting to close as 'unclear what you are asking.' $\endgroup$ – kingledion Jan 24 '17 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ Is there a reason you assume any ethical or moral rules would be violated at all? Are you starting from the assumption that the "correct" set of ethical rules are indeed the ones we have in our culture? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 24 '17 at 21:56
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Impossible to tell without more information about the world.

Cannibalism is typically considered a human on human crime, adding into the mix other sentient species has the potential to change that. But how that changes entirely depends on the situation / world composition.

Situation 1: If the world is made up of multiracial nations or federations of nations where there is some degree of equality, cultural exchange, religious parity, or racial origins then yes cannibalism would likely include all sentient species and not just your own. This situation is one in which the species can relate to one another either through religious and cultural ties or they all descended from a common ancestry, and there is no real racism.

Situation 2: If the above situation does not hold true, and the world is fractured into incompatible cultures, religions, and states, then cannibalism is likely species dependent. After all, a human eating a dirty elf may be gross but it is not like they are actually eating a real person.

The ability to cross breed opens up interesting possibilities, but it really depends on what results from that union and how said progeny is perceived. If a human male impregnates a dwarf, is the child a mix, a dwarf, or a human? If the child is a mix is it a distinct race or is it just a mix and eventually you end up with MongrelFolk?

If the child is a dwarf or a distinct race, I believe it really comes down to the first 2 situations. The ability to interbreed likely does not make a whole lot of difference. In Situation 2, sure you have a dwarf son but he is just a dirty dwarf. His mother is little more than livestock you use for fun. In Situation 1, he would have a higher degree of acceptance, which would be influenced by and in turn influence the culture. So cannibalism's definition would likely start from interbreeding sentients and potentially spread to all sentient beings.

If the child is a human, it still relies on the 2 situations. Whether the mother is breeding stock or considered equal factors in. Although the ability to bear human children probably wouldn't hurt dwarves' case.

If the child spirals towards MongrelFolk, it is still dependant on the 2 situations, but the child likely hurts the case for equality in cannabalism. This child would likely be the one most likely to be perceived as an abomination from an alien species.

Ultimately, it comes down to how the other races are perceived, social equality, and societal views. The more aligned and equal the races, the more likely cannibalism crosses species.

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Since it is your story, you can reduce it to a cultural factor: in our real life we see that some culture find horrible, while others find perfectly acceptable, eating cows / cats / dogs / horses / pigs / etc.

So, just as example, in your story if your nation has a long history of good relationship with the goldfish-man race, you may not like the idea of having one for dinner, unless he is alive.

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The moral implications depend on the morals of your society. The western world has a strong, irrational taboo against eating human flesh. If you are willing to kill a sentient being, which has rather more relevant moral implications, then there is absolutely no reason not to eat the remains of that being, too.

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  • $\begingroup$ I beg to differ with this. You mention that we have a strong values against eating humans in our western society. You then completely contradict this though by stating if you can kill a sentient being (or if we kill another human) then there is no reason why we shouldn't eat that being. So are you stating that you find human eating to be ok if you can kill humans? Then that runs into another moral issue about murder. Murder then would need to be ok for the rest to follow. $\endgroup$ – ggiaquin16 Jan 24 '17 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ @ggiaquin I do not seem to have stated my point clearly enough. I meant to say: Western society has a strong taboo against eating human flesh. Western society does not have an equally strong taboo against killing people. In many circumstances (especially war), killing people is considered acceptable or even encouraged. In my opinion, this is the wrong way around. Killing a living being is always worse than consuming a dead being. This applies to animals, and even plants, as well as people. Therefore, if you are willing to kill a living being, why should you let its biomass go to waste? $\endgroup$ – Michael Vehrs Jan 26 '17 at 11:41
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Once again, life is stranger than fiction. There are many examples of one group of humans eating another, especially during or after a battle. It show dominance! I have never heard of a society practicing cannibalism for food source. I know short term it is for food such as the example you gave (ex: Donner Party, Andes plane crash) The moral implication is that one species thinks themselves superior to the other. The ethics only matter if the species that is eaten can fight back and stop the custom.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm pondering the implications when the predation can go both ways, biologically: how can one make peace with 'aliens' who have eaten one's own kind? Does it really make a difference whether the species can/cannot interbreed? $\endgroup$ – Catalyst Jan 24 '17 at 16:28
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Not that much information provided about your world or even about the character/ character traits...but... I will try to answer. Based on your first question linked, you can conclude that it is not considered cannibalism as long as it isn't someone of human descent. Being that Orcs and elves are demi-humans, they contain partial human DNA. To me this would constitute as cannibalism.

Now for the question here now that we established the first part, it depends how you want to take the story. You could make it perfectly acceptable that the justification for his actions are based on survival instincts and Social Darwinism. That being, if he can kill it, he therefore is socially superior and he survives another day.

You can make it so he goes bonkers from guilt that he has killed other sentient beings/demi-humans and his own personal set of moral code becomes conflicted. If he is behind enemy lines, chances are, society doesn't have a the ability to play a factor in judging his actions unless he confesses about how he survived upon returning. Again this would then depend on how you want the story to go.

Does he feel morally obliged to confess this act(s) when he returns? Does he feel any sense of morality at all? Since it seems to be set in a war, does he even care or would his own society care because it was someone who was the enemy? Would society reject him because he ate a species that his society deems as inferior and therefore he is now contaminated by this inferior species by eating it and is outcasted?

These are questions you need to ask yourself that none of us can answer with the information you provided. This comes down to character creation where you provided very little about the character traits, and a world that we know little about. Is this world civilized? Do they merely have the ability to critically think but otherwise behave barbarically? The answer to this question lies in what kind of world you want to create and what direction you want the story to go.

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To revert back to a classical D&D type world with multiple sentient races that basically kill one another on sight (like orcs or goblins and humans), it is very common to criticize the humans for killing orcs on sight, but it is far less common to read the original descriptions of these sentient races. In most of the early influences that led to this type of fantasy world (and the old D&D books, etc) the typical crime listed that made a sentient species inherently evil was that they ATE humans. Humans, on the other hand, never ate orcs or goblins, or what have you.

In other words, in the most classical type of multi-sentient race world, the "unforgivable sin" that would make your race an outcast was to start eating the other sentient races. This leads to an interesting discussion about morality in this kind of setting, but it has a basic justice to it. If you resort to eating sentients, other sentients will kill you on sight. You then become a "monster" no matter how smart you may be.

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