What are the intellectual origins of the ecological crisis? Which approach can offer an alternative? In the first part of this paper, I argue that the crisis was caused not by faith in reason as such, but instead by distortions of reason. Further, I consider the intellectual prerequisites for ecological destruction, the ultimate cause of which can be seen in the transitional state of our civilisation from a dependent to an interdependent mode of interaction with the biosphere. A possible remedy (...) to this can be the reconciliation of humankind with the biosphere by means of the Gestalt approach. (shrink)
Fictional realism, i.e., the view that because fictions exist, fictional characters exist as well, has recently been accused of leading to inconsistency generated by phenomena of indeterminacy and inconsistency in fiction. We examine in detail four arguments against fictional realism, and present a version of fictional realism which can withstand those arguments.
In recent work, Louis deRosset (Philosophical Studies 149:73–97, 2010) has argued that priority theorists, who hold that truths about macroscopic objects can be metaphysically explained without reference to such things, cannot meet an independently motivated constraint upon good explanation. By clarifying the nature of the priority theorist’s project, I argue that deRosset’s argument fails to establish its conclusion.
As a member of the British Oxford Group, psychologist Richard Ryder marked the beginning of the modern animal rights and animal welfare movement in the seventies. By introducing the concept “speciesism.” Ryder contributed importantly to the expansion of this movement. Surprisingly little attention has been paid to Ryder’s moral theory, “painism”, that aims to resolve the conflict between the two predominant rival theories in animal ethics, the deontological of Tom Regan and the utilitarian of Peter Singer. First, this paper examines (...) the kernel and historical sources of Ryder’s painist theory, linking it to the work of John Rawls and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Second, it examines Ryder’s critique of utilitarianism. It is argued that his critique of Singer’s use of the word “sentience” is unconvincing and that his critique of utilitarian aggregation as not taking a full account of the metaphysical separateness of persons, has already been countered and dealt with. Finally this paper looks at some of the counterintuitive implications of Ryder’s theory and argues that utilitarianism might have more resources for dealing with its own alleged counterintuitive implications than Ryder acknowledges. (shrink)
The many well-publicized food scandals in recent years have resulted in a general state of vulnerable trust. As a result, building consumer trust has become an important goal in agri-food policy. In their efforts to protect trust in the agricultural and food sector, governments and industries have tended to consider the problem of trust as merely a matter of informing consumers on risks. In this article, we argue that the food sector better addresses the problem of trust from the perspective (...) of the trustworthiness of the food sector itself. This broad idea for changing the focus of trust is the assumption that if you want to be trusted, you should be trustworthy. To provide a clear understanding of what being trustworthy means within the food sector, we elaborate on both the concept of trust and of responsibility. In this way we show that policy focused on enhancing transparency and providing information to consumers is crucial, but not sufficient for dealing with the problem of consumer trust in the current agri-food context. (shrink)
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive beverage that is mostly used in ritualized settings (Santo Daime rituals, neo-shamanic rituals, and even do-it-yourself-rituals). It is a common practice in the investigated socio-cultural field to call these settings “healing rituals.” For this study, 15 people who underwent ayahuasca (self-)therapy for a particular disease like chronic pain, cancer, asthma, depression, alcohol abuse, or Hepatitis C were interviewed twice about their subjective concepts and beliefs on ayahuasca and healing. Qualitative data analysis revealed a variety of motivational (...) patterns, subjective effects, and user types. Most participants were convinced that ayahuasca had influenced their illness positively or improved their coping with their illness. More importantly, it had enhanced their well being in general. As a result, we concluded that the effects of ayahuasca should not be reduced to a pharmacological model. The substance should be conceptualized as a psychological catalyst that unfolds within different fields of sociocultural ideas. (shrink)
The article examines whether state officials may shoot down a hijacked airplane which carries uninvolved passengers, if it is known that the plane will be used against the lives of other human beings. In its first sections, it explains the German Federal Constitutional Courtâs verdict against such a permission, and it scrutinizes the crucial arguments in this ruling (restrictions on the use of military weapons; human dignity arguments). The author then extends the discussion beyond the path taken by the court. (...) She examines the defensive claims of passengers aboard the plane and the protective claims of potential victims who are present at the hijackersâ target zone. In contrast to the German Federal Constitutional Court, she concludes that state officials must take the claims of both groups of potential victims equally serious, and that such conditions allow applying a consequentialist calculus ( save the greater number ) because it is the only way out of a genuine dilemma. (shrink)
In general, the Sartrean concept of the subject as "being-for-self" and "being-for-others" is read as if Sartre had sketched these structures as given "a priori" and therefore as unalterable . One of the consequences of this interpretation lies in calling Sartre's theory contradictory, especially with regard to his ethics, because of the assumption that, based on this concept, changing the inauthentic structures of the subject into authentic ones would be impossible. Contrary to this interpretation, I argue that Sartre's philosophical theory (...) is by no means contradictory, neither in its relation to ethics nor as it relates to the complete edition of Sartre's philosophical writing, if one tries to understand what kind of theoretical requirements Sartre considered to be relevant and necessary . From this point of view, it is possible to work out an adequate and consistent interpretation. In order for me to argue for the immanent consistency of Sartre's theory and for the resulting possibility of an ethical theory based on it, I will discuss some aspects of the relation between epistemological, ontological and ethical elements within Sartre's philosophical system. (shrink)
The paper is devoted to applications of algebraic logic to databases. In databases a query is represented by a formula of first order logic. The same query can be associated with different formulas. Thus, a query is a class of equivalent formulae: equivalence here being similar to that in the transition to the Lindenbaum-Tarski algebra. An algebra of queries is identified with the corresponding algebra of logic. An algebra of replies to the queries is also associated with algebraic logic. These (...) relations lie at the core of the applications.In this paper it is shown how the theory of Halmos (polyadic) algebras (a notion introduced by Halmos as a tool in the algebraization of the first order predicate calculus) is used to create the algebraic model of a relational data base. The model allows us, in particular, to solve the problem of databases equivalence as well as develop a formal algebraic definition of a database's state description. In this paper we use the term "state description" for the logical description of the model. This description is based on the notion of filters in Halmos algebras. When speaking of a state description, we mean the description of a function which realizes the symbols of relations as real relations in the given system of data. (shrink)
Anatomical exhibitions, online atlases and televised dissections have recently attracted much attention and raised questions concerning the status of and the authority over the human body, the purpose of anatomical education within and outside medical schools and the methods of teaching in the digital age. I propose that for understanding the current public views of anatomy, we need to gain insight into their historical development. This article focuses on anatomies accessible to non-medical audiences in the capital of the Habsburg Empire, (...) Vienna, at the time when the city was the seat of a world-leading medical school. Anatomy at the University of Vienna was famous for its research, instruction and the abundant provision with dissectible corpses. Public anatomies were equally rich and ranged from exhibitions at the Präuscher’s Panoptikon und Anatomisches Museum , established in 1871 in the Prater amusement park, lectures on human and comparative anatomy by the university professor Carl Bernhard Brühl (1863–1890), to displays of anatomical objects at the World Exhibition in 1873. I finish by discussing a collection of letters written by the prospective ‘cadaver donors’, offering an insight into the ways in which medical encounters and anatomical knowledge informed the working-class views of their bodies. By looking at the kinds of anatomy in circulation, as well as at the participants in these exchanges, I want to illuminate the relationship between academic and public anatomies, as well as to reveal the purposes to which public anatomy served. (shrink)
One distinctive phenomenon in which Christianity differs from all other religions is the custom of naming and honoring those considered blessed and saints. Generally, they are real people, whose lives were characterized by Christian virtues and who “died in sanctity,” and also the people who, in the course of their lives and after their deaths, performed miracles. Consequently, specific protective capabilities are attributed to most of them and they are thus considered to be patrons by certain groups. One hundred and (...) fifty of them are established as patrons of certain diseases or as aids in certain critical situations. The reasons why the pious people accepted individual saints as patrons of certain .. (shrink)
Wittgenstein ist auf vielschichtige Weise mit Rußland verbunden: als Kriegsfreiwilliger an der Ostfront, als eifriger Leser von Tolstoi und Dostojewski, als Freund Nikolai Bachtins und als Reisender in der Sowjet-Union. Wittgensteins Verhältnis zu Nikolai Bachtin - eine Geistesverwandtschaft vor dem Hintergrund humanistischer Bildung, Religiosität, Askese, Patriotismus und Weltbürgertum - und zu dessen Bruder Michail sowie beider Einfuß auf seine Philosophie, speziell in den Philosophischen Untersuchungen, werden im Detail untersucht. Seine Kontakte zu anderen Exilrussen (bes. Fanja Pascal), die Beziehungen der Bachtin-Brüder (...) zum Brenner-Kreis und Wittgensteins Motive für seine Rußlandreise sowie seinen vagen Plan, sich dort niederzulassen, werden anhand von Tagebuchaufzeichnungen und Korrespondenzen rekonstruiert. (shrink)