I try to convince the reader that we all too often consider our decisions more or less unreasonable â€“ and due to emotions overpowering reason. The dualism: reason/emotion may be dangerously misleading. Psychoanalysis may be said to have been the first systematic effort to help us find the real reasons for our important decisions and views. Personal maturity involves both strength of emotions and clearness of thinking.
The distinction made by Kant between 'moral' and 'beautiful' actions is relevant to efforts to counteract the current ecological crisis. Actions proceeding from inclination may be politically more effective than those depending on a sense of duty. Education could help by fostering love and respect for life.
Peter Reed has defended the basis for an environmental ethic based upon feelings of awe for nature together with an existentialist absolute gulf between humans and nature. In so doing, he has claimed that there are serious difficulties with Ecosophy T and the terms, Self-realization and identification with nature. I distinguish between discussions of ultimate norms and the penultimate deep ecology platform. I also clarify and defend a technical use of identification and attempt to show that awe and identification may (...) be compatible concepts. (shrink)
An attempt is made to find a coherent verbal expression of the intuition that reality is a manifold of more or less comprehensive wholes (gestalts), all discernible in terms of qualities. Quantitative natural science is thought to describe abstract structures of reality, not contents. The qualities are neither subjective nor objective, they belong to concrete contents with structures comprising at least three abstract relata: object, subject, and medium. Their status is that of entia rationis, not content of reality. Recent developments (...) in physics suggest that we shall look in vain for physical ?things? of which reality is composed. Adequate expressions of concrete contents form designations rather than declarative sentences. They may obviously contain value terms. The attempt to formulate an ontology along the suggested lines seems to be closely related to phenomenology of a Heideggerian rather than Cartesian kind. It serves the endeavour to change the conception of the man?nature relationship. (shrink)
There is an international deep ecology social movement with key terms, slogans, and rhetorical use of language comparable to what we find in other activist “alternative” movements today. Some supporters of the movement partake in academic philosophy and have developed or at least suggested philosophies, “ecosophies,” inspired by the movement. R. A. Watson does not distinguish sufficiently between the movement and the philosophical expressions with academic pretensions. As a result, he falsely concludes that deep ecology implies setting man apart from (...) nature-a kind of “anthropocentrism” in his terminology: humans and only humans have no right to interfere with natural processes. What the deep ecology movement insists on is rather that life on Earth has intrinsic value and that human behavior should and must change drastically-and soon. (shrink)
The sheer complexity of Spinoza's thinking makes it impossible for any movement to use him as a patron. But philosophically engaged ecologists and environmentalists may find in his system an inexhaustible source of inspiration. This holds good even if he was personally a ?speciesist? and uninterested in animals or landscapes. Underestimation of his potential help is due to a variety of factors: failure to pay enough attention to the structure of his system, belief in its close resemblance to that of (...) Hobbes, and interpretation of ?understanding love of God? as a contemplative, general attitude incompatible with environmentalist activism and interest in every living being. The system of Spinoza is compatible with activism ? like that of Jan de Witt ? and with respect for all things as ?expressions of the power of God or Nature? (shrink)
The paper assumes as a general abstract norm that the specific potentialities of living beings be fulfilled. No being has a priority in principle in the realizing of its possibilities, but norms of increasing diversity or richness of potentialities put limits on the development of destructive life-styles. Application is made to the mixed Norwegian communities of certain mammals and humans. A kind of modus vivendi is established which is firmly based on cultural tradition. It is fairly unimportant whether the term (...) 'rights (of animals)' is or is not used in the fight for human peaceful coexistence with a rich fauna. (shrink)
Ecologically responsible policies are concerned only in part with pollution and resource depletion. There are deeper concerns which touch upon principles of diversity, complexity, autonomy, decentralization, symbiosis, egalitarianism, and classlessness.
A set of basic static predicates, ?in itself, ?existing through itself, ?free?, and others are taken to be (at least) extensionally equivalent, and some consequences are drawn in Parts A and ? of the paper. Part C introduces adequate causation and adequate conceiving as extensionally equivalent. The dynamism or activism of Spinoza is reflected in the reconstruction by equating action with causing, passion (passive emotion) with being caused. The relation between conceiving (understanding) and causing is narrowed down by introducing grasping (...) (?α?????) as a basic epistemological term. Part D, ?The road to freedom through active emotion?, introduces a system of grading with respect to the distinctions introduced in the foregoing, including ?being in itself, ?freedom?, etc. Active emotions are seen to represent transitions to a higher degree of freedom, the stronger and more active ones being the more conducive to rapid increase in degree of freedom. Elementary parts of the calculus of predicates are used in order to facilitate the survey of conceptual relations and to prove some theorems. (shrink)
A brief account is given of Pyrrhonian scepticism, as portrayed by Sextus Empiricus. This scepticism differs significantly from the views commonly attributed to 'the sceptic' which take scepticism to be a view or philosophical position to the effect that there can be no knowledge. The Pyrrhonist makes no philosophical assertions, because he does not find the arguments in favor of any position to be decisively stronger than the arguments against. Objections to scepticism, for instance that the sceptic cannot consistently show (...) trust and confidence, that he must ignore the obvious achievements of science, and that he cannot distinguish between appearance and reality, are found to be indecisive in the case of Pyrrhonism. After submitting Pyrrhonism to criteria of positive mental health, the author concludes by suggesting there are cases where a sceptical bent of mind should be encouraged. (shrink)
In this article the question is raised whether philosophers, studying Humean problems, might profit from the empirical findings of contemporary psychology. A text from Hume's Treatise of Human Nature is analyzed in an attempt to find out (1) whether his problems are open to empirical testing. Each sentence in the text is classified into normative, declarative, analytic and synthetic. A prevalence of declarative, synthetic sentences is found. Further, the question is examined (2) whether contemporary empirical psychology has contributed to the (...) testing of Hume's hypotheses. The answer is affirmative for some of the statements, and it is suggested that philosophical discussions around these problems should not be carried out as if psychological research were irrelevant. (shrink)