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Comments for Practical Ethics

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Last Build Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2018 20:44:07 +0000


Comment on Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics: Why We Should Genetically ‘Disenhance’ Animals Used in Factory Farms by Jonathan Latimer

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 20:44:07 +0000

Hi Scott, I'm not very familiar with work on disability, so I really appreciate this tip. Thanks! OP, JL

Comment on If You Had to Choose, Would You Say Chimpanzees Are Persons or Things? by GordonCrori

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:54:34 +0000

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Comment on Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics: When is Sex With Conjoined Twins Permissible? by JUDY MARSHALL

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 19:07:13 +0000

It seems to me that this is a no win, stalemate. I would say that if two people are sharing the same room, a very small cramped room, there are considerations they each share more-so than a large multi-room mansion. I would lean toward the right of the one not to have sex than the one that does. The lesser damage would be done to the one wanting sex than the one that would be traumatized not wanting sex. The one not wanting sex would be frustrated at the very least and probably recover quickly. While the other could have far greater effects causing longterm mental and emotional damage. As the old saying goes, "the lesser of two evils." The answer could be , get married and ride off into the sunset!

Comment on If You Had to Choose, Would You Say Chimpanzees Are Persons or Things? by scblog

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 21:02:18 +0000

Thank you Kay, it's a favourite outfit!

Comment on If You Had to Choose, Would You Say Chimpanzees Are Persons or Things? by Tristian

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 17:40:15 +0000

While I wholly support the goal, this Brief exaggerates the relevance of philosophical material to the legal questions at hand. Pace the Brief, the exclusion of non-human animals from full or equal membership in the community governed by law isn’t arbitrary at all—for every legal purpose imaginable it is quite simple to identify humans and distinguish them from other animals, including chimpanzees. We do not need to resolve the philosophical worries about species lines in order to be able to do this, nor is the ability to identify species typical traits of interest to the law challenged by Darwin. Nothing in evolutionary theory challenges our ability to identify formal education as beneficial to human children but not chimpanzees, the importance of voting rights to human but not chimpanzees, and so on. The three other arguments against chimpanzee personhood the Brief attempts to counter strike me as variations on the first, but a couple of comments are in order. Pace the Brief, the argument is not that entering into a social contract makes one a person; rather it’s that the ability to enter into a social contract is a necessary condition of personhood. That something depends on human attention for its livelihood, or enters into relationships with humans, does not suffice for membership in the community governed by New York laws, unless the philosophers mean to include house plants and pets. The arguments from autonomy strike me as the most compelling, but mostly in identifying important but often under appreciated ways in which chimpanzees can be harmed. This points to what I think is the better legal remedy: better animal welfare laws and better enforcement.

Comment on The Psychology of Speciesism: How We Privilege Certain Animals Over Others by Ronnie Hawkins

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 02:35:03 +0000

In response to “confused reader”— Well, I’m not a reductionist, so I don’t actually believe that “blind natural forces came together by chance” to create the world we live in, nor do I believe that “there is nothing else to the universe besides a bunch of atoms bouncing around”—though you are correct that many people do seem still to hold on to that outmoded metaphysical cartoon, a legacy of the mechanistic paradigm embraced following the success of Newtonian physics several centuries ago. We are still far from understanding what Life is, though we have made great progress in recognizing its enormous complexity in recent times, much of it since the turn of the millennium, following great leaps forward in genomics, proteomics, molecular and cell biology, neural connectivity, et cetera. While many subdisciplines in the biological sciences still tend to be locally “mechanistic,” other subdisciplines necessarily take the opposite approach, notably ecology, organismic biology, ethology, psychology, and so on, moving toward a global holism. There is a robust “re-emergence of [interest in] emergence,” to quote the title of a fairly recent book, and a growing number of studies are starting to show evidence of what is sometimes called “top-down causation” operative at the same time as “bottom-up causation” within living organisms. “Causation,” however, seems to be an increasingly problematic term, since it does tend to conjure the mindlessly bumping billiard balls, and—thanks to our culture’s ingrained anthropocentrism— it often gets treated as an exclusive contrast class, dualistically opposed to linguistically formulated, belief-desire human “action,” leaving all nonhuman organisms still conceived in the mold of mindless Cartesian machines, as if never the twain shall meet. Fortunately, thanks to newer generations of field biologists, primatologists, cognitive ethologists, and others willing to pay close attention to nonhuman lifeforms with an openness to their potentialities, we are discovering among them some remarkable powers of communication and awareness that are steadily undermining the stultifying reductionistic-mechanistic-deterministic paradigm that has for so long stoked our species-ego, allowing us to go on clinging to the delusion that we are the only intelligent beings in the known universe. I have thus come to hold a very different metaphysical picture than the one left over from the days of Newton and Descartes. I believe that Life is an inner-directed, self-organizing phenomenon that has unfolded on Earth over the last three to four billion years, diversifying into our magnificent Biosphere, each living organism being, in the words of Paul Taylor, a “teleological center of life,” pursuing its own good in its own way, and that “mind”—the awareness needed to grasp one’s environmental context and devise an appropriate response to it—is coextensive with life (Evan Thompson’s Mind in Life provides a good exposition of this view). I also reject the “survival of the fittest” cartoon that considers competition to be the exclusive “mechanism” driving the evolutionary process, since there is a great deal of mutualism, cooperation, and yes, even empathy and compassion that can be discerned in nature, once you break out of the old machine-model. I do, however, recognize that our own species’ evolution has produced an organism that is cognitively unique in certain respects, one of them being that it is capable of prospectively evaluating its intended actions and making moral decisions about them weighing their effects on other living beings—i.e., that human individuals have moral agency. But I disagree with Kant’s assertion that the possession of moral agency is necessary for the possession of moral worth, rather recognizing a large class of “moral patients,” including human infants, humans with mental i[...]

Comment on Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics: Why We Should Genetically ‘Disenhance’ Animals Used in Factory Farms by Al Mari

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 16:22:05 +0000

You're 100% right that, as long as all parts of the process for growing your own tissue were not taken from others, including the growth serum, then it would be morally justifiable. However, it would not be healthy. The evidence that any animal flesh or secretions in our diet is not optimally healthy has been able to form a small mountain for some time. It's now as big as Mount Everest. Veganism is about non-harm, and that includes harm to oneself. Time to do away with these old notions about animal flesh completely (human or otherwise). It's time for a new paradigm. A Vegan paradigm.

Comment on Faster, Higher, Stronger…Happier? Olympic Athletes and the Philosophy of Well-Being by Fondateur

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 04:03:40 +0000

The critics are panning Red Sparrow. I"ll wait for RedBox. Larry, My daughter and I went to see Black Panther yesterday. Enjoyed it immensely. The little sister and leader of Pretorian Guard were standouts. Your critique was very good. Stan Lee and Vaughn Bode are still my favorite cartoon/comic book artists. Good to see Stan doing well. Sad but understandable what happened to hedonist Bode.

Comment on The Psychology of Speciesism: How We Privilege Certain Animals Over Others by confused reader

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 00:38:41 +0000

How can someone simultaneously uphold the idea of evolution and the idea that 'speciesism' (or ANYTHING else) is morally wrong? If you believe in evolution, you believe that every living creature in the universe merely evolved through the processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest (according to Darwin). If you ALSO believe that 'speciesism' is somehow morally wrong, you are committing two fallacies: One, the idea that blind natural forces came together by chance to form the world does not leave any room for the existence of a moral standard that humans are somehow not living up to. What standard are you comparing us to when you condemn anything as 'wrong' if there is nothing else to the universe besides a bunch of atoms bouncing around? Two, if you were to say that natural selection and survival of the fittest were not only INEVITABLE but NECESSARY for the progression of nature, you would then have no problem with one species prioritizing their own kind over another. In fact, this is to be expected if survival of the fittest is indeed the predominant factor in evolution. How in the world could a species survive if they didn't put more importance in their own safety than in the safety of another species? Lastly, if speciesism really is wrong, every single animal on the face of the planet is a perpetrator. there isn't one species on earth that does not prioritize its own kind over another. The continuation of any species depends on this, in fact. DISCLAIMER: i do not necessarily agree with natural selection or evolution, or that 'speciesism' is justifiable. I am merely pointing out that the two points you are arguing are mutually exclusive.