What would you do if your neighbors kept their dog permanently caged, never letting her out to exercise or relieve herself, in a crate so narrow that she could not turn around or lie down with her legs outstretched? You'd probably call the police and have them charged with animal cruelty. In California, that is how the vast majority of breeding sows and veal calves are treated -- and it's legal.
A ranch owner in San Diego County disposes of 30,000 nonproductive egg-laying hens by feeding them into a wood chipper. Live hens are dumped into the shredder, some likely to hit feet first, some breast first. Sound like a scene from a horror movie? It's a true story. One would surely expect the ranchers to be prosecuted, but California humane slaughter laws do not cover unproductive egg-laying hens.
For the past month, the nightly television news has been showing us animals being slaughtered. Governments in 10 Asian countries have killed more than 25 million ducks and chickens to stem the spread of avian flu. China has drowned thousands of civet cats suspected of spreading Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the often-lethal disease usually abbreviated to SARS. Here in the United States, more than 700 dairy cows, so far, have been killed in order to contain any possible spread of mad (...) cow disease. (shrink)
The rosy dawn of my title refers to that optimistic time when the logical concept of a natural kind originated in Victorian England. The scholastic twilight refers to the present state of affairs. I devote more space to dawn than twilight, because one basic problem was there from the start, and by now those origins have been forgotten. Philosophers have learned many things about classification from the tradition of natural kinds. But now it is in disarray and is (...) unlikely to be put back together again. My argument is less founded on objections to the numerous theories now in circulation, than on the sheer proliferation of incompatible views. There no longer exists what Bertrand Russell called ‘the doctrine of natural kinds’—one doctrine. Instead we have a slew of distinct analyses directed at unrelated projects. (shrink)
In this essay I seek to show that a philosophy of modesty informs core aspects of both Nietzsche’s critique of morality and what he intends to replace morality with, namely, an ethics of self-cultivation. To demonstrate this I focus on Dawn: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality, a largely neglected text in his corpus where Nietzsche carries out a quite wide-ranging critique of morality, including Mitleid. It is one of Nietzsche’s most experimental works and is best read, I claim, (...) as an Epicurean-inspired critique of the present and an exercise in moral therapy. In the opening sections I draw attention to the wider social dimension of the text and its concern with a morality of compassion, which is rarely done in the literature. I then turn to highlighting Nietzsche’s Epicurean moment, followed by two sections on Nietzsche on the self in which I aim to bring to light his ethics of self-cultivation and show in what ways his revaluation makes central to ethics a modest egoism and care of self. In the conclusion to the essay I provide a contrast between Nietzsche and Kant and deal with reservations readers might have about his ethics. Overall, the essay seeks to make a contribution to an appreciation of Dawn as a work of moral therapy. (shrink)
This article, which is intended both as a position paper in the philosophical debate on natural kinds and as the guest editorial to this thematic issue, takes up the challenge posed by Ian Hacking in his paper, “Natural Kinds: Rosy Dawn, Scholastic Twilight.” Whereas a straightforward interpretation of that paper suggests that according to Hacking the concept of natural kinds should be abandoned, both in the philosophy of science and in philosophy more generally, we suggest that an alternative and (...) less fatalistic reading is also possible. We argue that abandoning the concept of natural kinds would be premature, as it still can do important work. Our concern is with the situation in the (philosophy of the) life sciences. Against the background of this concern we attempt to set something of an agenda for future research on the topic of natural kinds in the (philosophy of the) life sciences. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that there is an important anomaly to the causalist/compatibilist paradigm in the philosophy of action and free will. This anomaly, which to my knowledge has gone unnoticed so far, can be found in the philosophy of Harry Frankfurt. Two of his most important contributions to the field – his influential counterexample to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities and his ‘guidance’ view of action – are incompatible. The importance of this inconsistency goes far beyond the issue (...) of coherence within Frankfurt’s philosophy. I shall argue that this inconsistency represents an important anomaly within the causalist/compatibilist framework; so that we should start to seriously consider having to move on from the established paradigm. (shrink)
1. The story of Sleeping Beauty is set forth as follows by Dorr (2002): Sleeping Beauty is a paradigm of rationality. On Sunday she learns for certain that she is to be the subject of an experiment. The experimenters will wake her up on Monday morning, and tell her some time later that it is Monday. When she goes back to sleep, they will toss a fair coin. If the outcome of the toss is Heads, they will do nothing. If (...) the outcome is Tails, they will administer a drug whose effect is to destroy all memories from the previous day, so that when she wakes up on Tuesday, she will be unable to tell  that it is not Monday. (2002: 292) Let HEADS be the hypothesis that the coin lands heads, and let TAILS be the hypothesis that it lands tails. The Sleeping Beauty Problem is this. When Sleeping Beauty finds herself awakened by the experimenters, with no memory of a prior awakening and with no ability to tell whether or not it is Monday, what probabilities should she assign to HEADS and TAILS respectively? Elga (2000) maintains that when she is awakened, P(HEADS) = 1/3 and P(TAILS) = 2/3. He offers the following intuitively plausible argument (2000: 143 4). If the experiment were performed many times, then over the long run about 1/3 of the awakenings would happen on trials in which the coin lands heads, and about 2/3 on trials in which it lands tails. So in the present circumstance in which the experiment is performed just once, P(HEADS) = 1/3 and.. (shrink)
The last twenty years have seen an explosion in books and papers on Russell’s philosophy and its contemporary significance. There is good reason to think that this will continue as the contents of the Collected Papers are digested by Russell scholars and as more specialists contribute to the history of analytic philosophy more generally. Given all this good news, it is disconcerting to find a 100 page discussion of Russell, in a well-reviewed book by a first-rate philosopher, repeating many of (...) the errors and misconceptions about Russell that scholars have worked so hard against. Soames’ discussion of Russell in the volumes under review is in fact so distressing that it alone compromises the book as a suitable introduction to the history of analytic philosophy. After briefly reviewing the outline of the two volumes, I discuss the errors concerning Russell, and conclude by drawing some lessons for Russell scholarship. (shrink)
Increasingly open to question are the efficacies and timing of some traditional, conventional and current meditative techniques. Recent brain research emphasizes that it is important to distinguish between the Self-centred (egocentric) and other-centred (allocentric) streams of processing. It also proves useful to view as complementary the assets of the concentrative and receptive styles of meditation, especially when one's practices cultivate an appropriate balance between their top-down and bottom-up systems of attentive processing. From this neural perspective, Part I ventures a small (...) sample of empirical suggestions. Some of these could help practitioners engage in more open, effortless, choiceless, varieties of receptive meditation?indoors and outdoors. Part II discusses recent research that illuminates issues arising at the interface between Self and other. The evidence suggests how a balanced attentiveness might enable long-term meditators to enhance mindfulness of the present moment, while simultaneously becoming much less fearful and, ultimately, freer to openly express their most objective, innate instincts of selfless compassion. The art of Progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order. (Alfred North Whitehead 1861?1947). (shrink)
The traditional paradigm of medicine assumes that health is a natural given depending on a body's intrinsic teleology, and that medicine aims at restoring or preserving health, making a physician only an "assistant to nature." I argue that nowadays this paradigm is becoming obsolete, because the concept of health is no longer a "natural given" and interventions on the human body attempt not only to help nature's teleology, but also to change it whenever doing so can satisfy human needs and (...) wants. We should abandon the term "medicine" and adopt the term "health care" to mark such an epoch-making transition, analogous to that marking the passage from "alchemy" to "chemistry.". (shrink)
The renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views. Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on our planet. As the pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the forty "rendezvous points" where we find a common ancestor. The band of pilgrims swells (...) into a vast crowd as we join first with other primates, then with other mammals, and so on back to the first primordial organism. Dawkins's brilliant, inventive approach allows us to view the connections between ourselves and all other life in a bracingly novel way. It also lets him shed bright new light on the most compelling aspects of evolutionary history and theory: sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical dispersal, and more. The Ancestor's Tale is at once a far-reaching survey of the latest, best thinking on biology and a fascinating history of life on Earth. Here Dawkins shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world. (shrink)
: In the past five years, China has experienced increased efforts to regulate activities in biomedical research and practice. Background is provided on some of the key developments in Chinese bioethics especially in relation to genetics, stem cells, cloning, and reproductive medicine. This background sets the stage for a document entitled "Ethical Guidelines for Human Embryo Stem Cell Research," proposed by the Bioethics Committee of the Southern China National Human Gene Research Center, Shanghai, which is reprinted in this volume of (...) the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. (shrink)
Why did philosophy and the sciences in the East lose their momentum and enthusiasm in the 12th century, leaving the West to take the most importantprogressive steps from the 17th century up to the present day? Can these two intellectual traditions be separated from each other to such an extent as to justify today's theses of conflict? If they cannot be separated, how can the historical events that place these theses on the agenda can be explained? The aim of this (...) short study is to try to find answers to the above questions within the context of two representative philosophers, and to reveal the extent to which the easternand western traditions are implicated with each other, contrary to some claims, by examining the 17th century, which as a turning point is a very important historical period. (shrink)
Where’s Wilber at? That is, what is the present philosophical position of Ken Wilber, the pundit who many claim to be the world’s most intriguing and foremost philosopher? This is not an easy question to answer, for the breadth of Wilber’s encyclopedic vision is enormous and covers over a quarter century of prolific publication and continual evolution. In other words, Wilber’s work too has evolved over the years. Indeed, its progressive unfoldment in complexity and depth allows us to recognize at (...) least five consecutive and distinct phases or periods in his career to date (which we’ll discuss in depth below). Because of this, many people, reading from an array of sources, often find him hard to pin down, to really understand exactly “where he’s at.” But where he is at, stated quickly and summarily, is Phase-5 or Wilber-5 or Wilber/Phase-51 – the post-metaphysical AQAL approach (reviewed in detail in Part II and III of this essay). Therefore, by including in our understanding the important contributions and advancements of all four previous phases, we may better understand where the philosophy of Ken Wilber stands today and where it’s going during the opening years of the new millennium. From the perspective of an overview, Wilber/Phase-5 is a continuation of the AQAL (pronounced ah-quil) or the “all-quadrants, all-levels”– which is actually short for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types” – approach to integral studies pioneered by.. (shrink)
When trying to understand the medical profession, one instinctively looks at its history. Questions come to mind, such as when did it start, and who was the first physician? A practice of healing seems to be as old as the mankind (Majno 1975), so it is unlikely that one will ever find the exact answers. However, when searching for the first known physician, we come to ancient Egypt and one of Egypt’s first rulers, Athothis. In a third-century BCE history of (...) Egypt, written by an Egyptian priest, Manetho (1940), there is a passage about a ruler of the First Dynasty: “Athothis . . . built the palace at Memphis, and his anatomical works are extant, for he was a physician” (or, in another preserved version .. (shrink)