Human beings find themselves sharing the world with a great variety of other animals. Besides using them in various ways, we think about them and compare ourselves with them, and it is hard to envisage the difference it would make to our understanding of ourselves if they were not there. For one thing we should not have the concept of the human species, and that human beings should be thought of, however theoretically, as all belonging to one species is of (...) momentous importance for morality. The existence of other species might be significant in that way, however, even if we did not pay much attention to them and even if more particular thoughts about or observations of them did not form part of the fabric of our moral thinking. It is with some particular ways in which other species enter our moral thinking and our thinking about morals that I intend to concern myself. There are three of these that I shall discuss: first, the use of animal characters in moral tales, secondly the description of human characteristics in terms of real or supposed analogies with the characteristics of beasts; and thirdly much more briefly the application to human beings of behaviour patterns established in studies of other animals. (shrink)
Presupposing no prior knowledge of philosophy, JohnBenson introduces the fundamentals of environmental ethics by asking whether a concern with human well-being is an adequate basis for environmental ethics. He encourages the reader to explore this question, considering techniques used to value the environment and critically examining 'light green' to 'deep green' environmentalism. Each chapter is linked to a reading from a key thinker such as J.S. Mill and E.O. Wilson. Key features include activities and exercises, enabling readers (...) to monitor their progress throughout the book, chapter summaries and guides to further reading. (shrink)
In this multi-faceted volume, Christian and other religiously committed theorists find themselves at an uneasy point in history—between premodernity, modernity, and postmodernity—where disciplines and methods, cultural and linguistic traditions, and religious commitments tangle and cross. Here, leading theorists explore the state of the art of the contemporary hermeneutical terrain. As they address the work of Gadamer, Ricoeur, and Derrida, the essays collected in this wide-ranging work engage key themes in philosophical hermeneutics, hermeneutics and religion, hermeneutics and the other arts, hermeneutics (...) and literature, and hermeneutics and ethics. Readers will find lively exchanges and reflections that meet the intellectual and philosophical challenges posed by hermeneutics at the crossroads. Contributors are Bruce Ellis Benson, Christina Bieber Lake, John D. Caputo, Eduardo J. Echeverria, Benne Faber, Norman Lillegard, Roger Lundin, Brian McCrea, James K. A. Smith, Michael VanderWeele, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Nicholas Wolterstorff. (shrink)
Investigators surveyed 30 U.S. military veterans with PTSD who reported having benefited from living with a dog. The subject population included men and women aged 34 to 67, with a mean of 56.9 years , who were being treated at two Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics. Participants received a questionnaire packet designed to assess aspects of their mental and physical health and relationship with a canine companion, which they completed at home and returned either in person or by mail. (...) The packet consisted of the PTSD Checklist-Military Version ; Beck Depression Inventory, Second Edition ; Veterans Short Form Health Survey and Health Behaviors Questionnaire ; Dog Information Sheet; Dog Relationship Questionnaire; and Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale. Respondents indicated that since adopting their dog they had experienced improvement in several areas, including feeling calmer, less lonely, less depressed, and less worried about their and their family’s safety. These results suggest that living with a companion dog may help relieve some of the psychological distress associated with PTSD in some veterans. (shrink)
Non-human animals are as a matter of routine used as means to human ends. They are killed for food, employed for labour or sport, and experimented on in the pursuit of human health, knowledge, comfort and beauty. Lip-service is paid to the obligation to cause no unnecessary suffering, but human necessity is interpreted so generously that this is a negligible constraint. The dominant traditions of Western thought, religious and secular, have provided legitimation of the low or non-existent moral status of (...) beasts. The rival tradition, which includes the Neo-Platonists, Plutarch and Montaigne, is eccentric and archaic. But the teleologies and hierarchies of orthodoxy are equally incredible now and owe their greater respectability and influence to the inertia of custom. Disregard for beasts is supported partly by the vestigial and unowned belief that they are intended for our use, partly by a more recent piece of lore which is not only thought to be compatible with, but is sometimes held to be integral to, an enlightened scientific outlook, namely that beasts are mere complex stimulus—response mechanisms. The latter is a vexatious obstacle to progress but despite that the state of scientific and philosophical knowledge is now enormously more propitious for a re-appraisal of the moral status of beasts. Two moral philosophers, Peter Singer and Stephen Clark, have recently published books in which such a re-appraisal is attempted. Here I try to compare and assess some of the main features of their very different approaches. (shrink)
The paper discusses some relationships between aesthetic and non-aesthetic reasons for valuing rural landscape, i.e., landscape shaped by predominantly non-aesthetic purposes. The first part is about the relationship between aesthetic reasons and considerations of utility and argues for an intimate connection between them. The next part considers the relationship between aesthetic and other non-instrumental reasons for valuing landscape and argues that there are important contingent but no essential connections between them. The third part considers the strength or weakness of aesthetic (...) reasons for resisting landscape changes that would result from changes in land use. (shrink)
Frank Sibley was one of the most important philosophers of aesthetics of the last fifty years, whose published papers are required reading for serious students of the subject. Approach to Aesthetics will be welcomed both for bringing together these well known papers, and for its inclusion of new, previously unpublished papers. This timeless body of work will continue to demand and reward the attention of scholars and students.