The symbolism of meat-eating is never neutral. To himself, the meat-eater seems to be eating life. To the vegetarian, he seems to be eating death. There is a kind of gestalt-shift between the two positions which makes it hard to change, and hard to raise questions on the matter at all without becoming embattled.
When some portion of the biosphere is rather unpopular with the human race-a crocodile, a dandelion, a stony valley, a snowstorm, an odd-shaped flint-there are three sorts of human being who are particularly likely still to see point in it and befriend it. They are poets, scientists and children. Inside each of us, I suggest, representatives of all these groups can be found.
What great philosophers do for us is not to hand out such an all-purpose system. It is to light up and clarify some special aspect of life, to supply conceptual tools which will do a certain necessary kind of work. Wide though that area of work may be, it is never the whole, and all ideas lose their proper power when they are used out of their appropriate context. That is why one great philosopher does not necessarily displace another, why there is room for all of them and a great many more whom we do not have yet.
It is this claim to a monopoly of meaning, rather than any special scientific doctrine, that makes science and religion look like competitors today. Scientism emerged not as the conclusion of scientific argument but as a chosen element in a worldview - a vision that attracted people by its contrast with what went before - which is, of course, how people very often do make such decisions, even ones that they afterwards call scientific.