In an influential essay published in 1980, J. Baird Callicott argued that animal liberation and environmental ethics are distinct and inconsistent perspectives. Callicott had harsh words both for animals and animal liberationists. He referred to domestic animals as "living artifacts" and claimed that it is "incoherent" to speak of their natural behavior (30). He wrote that it is a "logical impossibility" to liberate domestic animals and that "the value commitments of the humane movement seem at bottom to betray a world-denying (...) or rather a life-loathing philosophy" (31). All of this is in distinction to Aldo Leopold's "land ethic" which, according to Callicott, is holistic. (shrink)
In this paper I make the following claims. In order to see anthropogenic climate change as clearly involving moral wrongs and global injustices, we will have to revise some central concepts in these domains. Moreover, climate change threatens another value (“respect for nature”) that cannot easily be taken up by concerns of global justice or moral responsibility.
This collection gathers a set of seminal papers from the emerging area of ethics and climate change. Topics covered include human rights, international justice, intergenerational ethics, individual responsibility, climate economics, and the ethics of geoengineering. Climate Ethics is intended to serve as a source book for general reference, and for university courses that include a focus on the human dimensions of climate change. It should be of broad interest to all those concerned with global justice, environmental science and policy, and (...) the future of humanity. (shrink)
In his classic article, Famine, Affluence, and Morality (Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1972), pp. 229–243), Peter Singer claimed that affluent people in the developed world are morally obligated to transfer large amounts of resources to poor people in the developing world. For present purposes I will not call Singers argument into question. While people can reasonably disagree about exactly how demanding morality is with respect to duties to the desperate, there is little question in my mind that it is (...) much more demanding than common sense morality or our everyday behavior suggests. Even someone who disagrees with this might still find some interest in seeing what a demanding morality would imply for well-off residents of the rich countries of the world. I proceed in the following way. First, I survey humanitarian aid, development assistance, and intervention to protect human rights as ways of discharging duties to the desperate. I claim that we should be more cautious about such policies than is often thought. I go on to suggest two principles that should guide our actions, based on an appreciation of our roles, relationships, and the social and political context in which we find ourselves. (shrink)
In their marvelous book, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, Sober and Wilson identify two distinct problems of altruism.’ The problem of Evolutionary Altruism (EA) “is to show how behaviors that benefit others at the expense of self can evolve;” (17) group selection is the key to the solution of this problem. The problem of Psychological Altruism (PA) is to determine whether people “have altruistic desires that are psychologically ultimate.” (201) After carefully considering the arguments of both (...) psychologists and philosophers, Sober and Wilson render the verdict “not proven.” But just in the nick of time, evolutionary biology rides to the rescue; it succeeds where psychology and philosophy fail in vindicating our good nature. In this paper, I will discuss Sober and Wilson’s treatment of PA. (shrink)
I argue that the trivial neuron doctrine as characterized by Gold & Stoljar is not trivial; it appears to be inconsistent with property dualism as well as some forms of functionalism and externalism. I suggest that the problem is not so much with the particular way in which Gold & Stoljar draw the distinction as with the unruliness of the distinction itself. Their failure to see this may be why they misunderstand the views of the Churchlands.
In recent years both philosophers and scientists have been sceptical about the existence of animal minds. This is in distinction to Hume who claimed that '...no truth appears to me more evident, than that beasts are endow'd with thought and reason as well as men'. I argue that Hume is correct about the epistemological salience of our ordinary practices of ascribing mental states to animals. The reluctance of contemporary philosophers and scientists to embrace the view that animals have minds is (...) primarily a fact about their philosophy and science rather than a fact about animals. The recognition of this fact is the beginning of any serious effort to develop a science of cognitive ethology. (shrink)
In recent years the idea of geoengineering climate has begun to attract increasing attention. Although there was some discussion of manipulating regional climates throughout the l970s and l980s. the discussion was largely dormant. What has reawakened the conversation is the possibility that Earth may be undergoing a greenhouse-induced global wamring, and the paucity of serious measures that have been taken to Prevent it. ln this paper Iassess the ethical acceptability of ICC, based on my impressions of the conversation that is (...) now taking place. Rather than offering a dispassionate analysis, I argue for a point of view. I propose a set of conditions that must be satisfied for an ICC project to be morally permissible and conclude that these conditions are not now satisfied. However, research on ICC should go forward.. (shrink)
The first anthology to highlight the problems of environmental justice and sustainable development, Reflecting on Nature provides a multicultural perspective on questions of environmental concern, featuring contributions from feminist and minority scholars and scholars from developing countries. Selections examine immediate global needs, addressing some of the most crucial problems we now face: biodiversity loss, the meaning and significance of wilderness, population and overconsumption, and the human use of other animals. Spanning centuries of philosophical, naturalist, and environmental reflection, readings include the (...) work of Aristotle, Locke, Darwin, and Thoreau, as well as that of contemporary, mainstream figures like Bernard Williams, Thomas Hill, Jr., and Jonathan Glover. Works by Val Plumwood, Bill Devall, Murray Bookchin, and John Dryzek comprise a radical ecology section. Featuring insightful section introductions by the editors, this comprehensive and timely collection of philosophical and environmental writing will inform, enlighten, and encourage debate. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of essays in appreciation, analysis and honor of Paul Ziff, one of the leading American philosophers of the post-World War II period. The essays address questions that loomed large in Ziff's own work. Essays by Zeno Vendler, Jay Rosenberg, and Tom Patton address topics in philosophy of language: understanding, misunderstanding, rules, regularities, and proper names. Michael Resnik examines the nature of numbers, Rita Nolan addresses `mutant predicates', and Peter Alexander discusses microscopes and corpuscles. Douglas C. (...) Long ruminates on Ziff's claim that machines can neither think nor feel. The essays of Dale Jamieson, Bill E. Lawson, Douglas Dempster, and Joseph Ullian address various questions in aesthetics: aesthetic appreciation and morality, expression, the scope of appreciation, and the aesthetics of sport. In the spirit of Ziff, Douglas Stalker criticizes some of the `mush' that looms large in our intellectual lives. The volume begins with a reminiscence by Paul Benacerraf, and ends with selections from an unpublished volume of plays by Paul Ziff. The volume should appeal to anyone whose work has been influenced by Ziff, or is interested in central philosophical problems concerning language, mind, and art. (shrink)
Jan Narveson has suggested that rational egoism might provide a defensible moral perspective that would put animals out of the reach of morality without denying that they are capable of suffering. I argue that rational egoism provides a principled indifference to the fate of animals at high cost: the possibility of principled indifference to the fate of “marginal humans.”.