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Bob Fischer
Texas State University
  1. Field Deaths in Plant Agriculture.Bob Fischer & Andy Lamey - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (4):409-428.
    We know that animals are harmed in plant production. Unfortunately, though, we know very little about the scale of the problem. This matters for two reasons. First, we can’t decide how many resources to devote to the problem without a better sense of its scope. Second, this information shortage throws a wrench in arguments for veganism, since it’s always possible that a diet that contains animal products is complicit in fewer deaths than a diet that avoids them. In this paper, (...)
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  2. Don’T Demean “Invasives”: Conservation and Wrongful Species Discrimination.C. E. Abbate & Bob Fischer - 2019 - Animals 871 (9).
    It is common for conservationists to refer to non-native species that have undesirable impacts on humans as “invasive”. We argue that the classification of any species as “invasive” constitutes wrongful discrimination. Moreover, we argue that its being wrong to categorize a species as invasive is perfectly compatible with it being morally permissible to kill animals—assuming that conservationists “kill equally”. It simply is not compatible with the double standard that conservationists tend to employ in their decisions about who lives and who (...)
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  3. The Problem with Person‐Rearing Accounts of Moral Status.Travis Timmerman & Bob Fischer - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):119-128.
    Agnieszka Jaworska and Julie Tannenbaum recently developed the ingenious and novel person‐rearing account of moral status, which preserves the commonsense judgment that humans have a higher moral status than nonhuman animals. It aims to vindicate speciesist judgments while avoiding the problems typically associated with speciesist views. We argue, however, that there is good reason to reject person‐rearing views. Person‐rearing views have to be coupled with an account of flourishing, which will (according to Jaworska and Tannenbaum) be either a species norm (...)
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  4. Arguments for Consuming Animal Products.Bob Fischer - 2018 - In Anne Barnhill, Mark Budolfson & Tyler Doggett (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 241-266.
    What can be said in favor of consuming animal products? This chapter surveys the options, with special focus on it attempts to exploit pro-vegan principles for anti-vegan ends. Utilitarian, rights-based, contractualist, and agrarian proposals are explored, as well as some recent arguments that attempt to revive a form of speciesism. Ultimately, the chapter considers how such arguments might inform a broad case for consuming animal products—that is, one that might earn respect from those in a variety of moral camps—and it (...)
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  5.  12
    Modal Empiricism: Objection, Reply, Proposal.Bob Fischer - 2017 - In Bob Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Cham: Springer. pp. 263-280.
    According to modal empiricism, our justification for believing possibility and necessity claims is a posteriori. That is, experience does not merely play an enabling role in modal justification; it isn’t simply that experience explains how, say, we acquire the relevant concepts. Rather, the view is that modal claims answer to the tribunal of experience in roughly the way that claims about quarks and quails answer to it. One serious objection to modal empiricism is the problem of empirical conservativeness: it doesn’t (...)
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  6.  91
    Bugging the Strict Vegan.Bob Fischer - 2016 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (2):255-263.
    Entomophagy—eating insects—is getting a lot of attention these days. However, strict vegans are often uncomfortable with entomophagy based on some version of the precautionary principle: if you aren’t sure that a being isn’t sentient, then you should treat it as though it is. But not only do precautionary principle-based arguments against entomophagy fail, they seem to support the opposite conclusion: strict vegans ought to eat bugs.
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  7. Modal Epistemology After Rationalism.Bob Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.) - 2017 - Cham: Springer.
    This collection highlights the new trend away from rationalism and toward empiricism in the epistemology of modality. Accordingly, the book represents a wide range of positions on the empirical sources of modal knowledge. Readers will find an introduction that surveys the field and provides a brief overview of the work, which progresses from empirically-sensitive rationalist accounts to fully empiricist accounts of modal knowledge. Early chapters focus on challenges to rationalist theories, essence-based approaches to modal knowledge, and the prospects for naturalizing (...)
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  8.  73
    A Theory-Based Epistemology of Modality.Bob Fischer - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):228-247.
    We have some justified beliefs about modal matters. A modal epistemology should explain what’s involved in our having that justification. Given that we’re realists about modality, how should we expect that explanation to go? In the first part of this essay, I suggest an answer to this question based on an analogy with games. Then, I outline a modal epistemology that fits with that answer. According to a theory-based epistemology of modality, you justifiably believe that p if you justifiably believe (...)
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  9. Disassociation Intuitions.Bob Fischer & Isaac Wiegman - 2018 - Southwest Philosophy Review 34 (1):85-92.
    We should disassociate ourselves from wrongdoing. If Hobby Lobby is against LGBTQ rights, we shouldn’t shop there. If Old Navy sources their clothing from sweatshops, we shouldn’t buy them. If animals are treated terribly in factory farms, we shouldn’t eat the meat, eggs, and dairy products that come from them. Let’s call these disassociation intuitions. What explains the existence and force of disassociation intuitions? And based on that explanation, are they intuitions worth taking seriously? In other words, depending on the (...)
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  10.  55
    Focus on Fish: A Call to Effective Altruists.Max Elder & Bob Fischer - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1):107-129.
    Effective altruists call us to apply evidence-based reasoning to maximize the effectiveness of charitable giving. In particular, effective altruists assess causes in terms of their scope, neglectedness, and tractability, and then recommend devoting resources to the cause that scores best on these criteria. So far, effective altruists concerned with animal suffering have seen these criteria as supporting interventions that improve the lives of layer hens, and they now seem to think that these criteria support directing efforts toward broilers. In this (...)
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  11.  39
    In Defence of Backyard Chickens.Bob Fischer & Josh Milburn - 2017 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 36 (1):108-123.
    Suppose that animals have rights. If so, may you go down to your local farm store, buy some chicks, raise them in your backyard, and eat their eggs? You wouldn't think so. But we argue, to the contrary, that you may. Just as there are circumstances in which it's permissible to liberate a slave, even if that means paying into a corrupt system, so there are circumstances in which it's permissible to liberate chickens by buying them. Moreover, we contend that (...)
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  12.  21
    Nonideal Ethics and Arguments Against Eating Animals.Bob Fischer - 2019 - Environmental Values 28 (4):429-448.
    Arguments for veganism don’t make many vegans, or even many who think they ought to be vegans, at least when they’re written by philosophers. Others — such as the one by Jonathan Safran Foer — seem to do a bit better. Why? To answer this question, I sketch a theory of ordinary moral argumentation that highlights the importance of meaning-based considerations in arguing that people ought to act in ways that deviate from normal expectations for behaviour. In particular, I outline (...)
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  13. The Moral Complexities of Eating Meat.Ben Bramble & Bob Fischer (eds.) - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    In a world of industralized farming and feed lots, is eating meat ever a morally responsible choice? Is eating organic or free range sufficient to change the moral equation? Is there a moral cost in not eating meat? As billions of animals continue to be raised and killed by human beings for human consumption, affecting the significance and urgency in answering these questions grow. This volume collects twelve new essays by leading moral philosophers who address the difficult questions surrounding meat (...)
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  14.  56
    Hale on the Architecture of Modal Knowledge.Bob Fischer - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):76-89.
    There are many modal epistemologies available to us. Which should we endorse? According to Bob Hale, we can start to answer this question by examining the architecture of modal knowledge. That is, we can try to decide between the following claims: knowing that p is possible is essentially a matter of having a well-founded belief that there are no conflicting necessities—a necessity-based approach—and knowing that p is necessary is essentially a matter of having a well-founded belief that there are no (...)
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  15.  39
    Dignitarian Hunting.Dan Demetriou & Bob Fischer - 2018 - Social Theory and Practice 44 (1):49-73.
    Faced with the choice between supporting industrial plant agriculture and hunting, Tom Regan’s rights view can be plausibly developed in a way that permits a form of hunting we call “dignitarian.” To motivate this claim, we begin by showing how the empirical literature on animal deaths in plant agriculture suggests that a non-trivial amount of hunting would not add to animal harm. We discuss how Tom Regan’s miniride principle appears to morally permit hunting in that case, and we address recent (...)
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  16.  25
    Is Abolitionism Guilty of Racism? A Reply to Cordeiro-Rodrigues.Bob Fischer - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (3):295-306.
    Gary Francione is an abolitionist: he maintains that we ought to abolish the institutions and practices that support the exploitation of animals. He also believes that veganism is the “moral baseline” — that is, he thinks it’s morally required of nearly everyone in the developed world, and many beyond it. Luis Cordeiro-Rodrigues claims that abolitionism is guilty of racism, albeit “racism without racists.” I contend that his arguments for this conclusion aren’t successful.
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  17.  4
    Keep Your Cats Indoors: A Reply to Abbate.Bob Fischer - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-6.
    C. E. Abbate (2019) argues that, under certain conditions, cat guardians have a moral duty to allow their feline companions to roam freely outdoors. She contends that outdoor access is crucial to feline flourishing, which means that, in general, to keep cats indoors permanently is to harm them. She grants that, in principle, we could justify preventing cats from roaming based on the fact that some cats kill wildlife. However, she points out that not all cats are guilty of this (...)
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  18.  14
    Modal Justification Via Theories.Bob Fischer - 2017 - Cham: Springer.
    This monograph articulates and defends a theory-based epistemology of modality (TEM). According to TEM, someone justifiably believe an interesting modal claim if and only if (a) she justifiably believes a theory according to which that claim is true, (b) she believes that claim on the basis of that theory, and (c) she has no defeaters for her belief in that claim. The book has two parts. In the first, the author motivates TEM, sets out the view in detail, and defends (...)
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  19. Against Blaming the Blameworthy.Bob Fischer - 2015 - In Ben Bramble & Bob Fischer (eds.), The Moral Complexities of Eating Meat. Oxford University Press. pp. 185-198.
    We tend not to blame those who eat meat--even if they are blameworthy for so doing. Some think that this is a moral failure on the part of vegetarians and vegans. My aim here, however, is to argue that this isn't so. In short, I argue that if it would be unreasonable to demand that someone behave in a particular way, then we shouldn’t blame her for failing to behave in that way. But it would be unreasonable to demand that (...)
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  20.  48
    You Can't Buy Your Way Out of Veganism.Bob Fischer - 2016 - Between the Species 19 (1).
    Let’s make three assumptions. First, we shouldn’t support factory farms. Second, if animal-friendly agriculture lives up to its name—that is, if animals live good lives (largely free of pain, able to engage in species-specific behaviors, etc.) and are slaughtered in a way that minimizes suffering—then there is nothing intrinsically wrong with killing them for food. Third, animal-friendly agriculture does, in fact, live up to its name. Given these assumptions, it might seem difficult to criticize individuals who source their animal products (...)
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  21.  17
    Facsimiles of Flesh.Bob Fischer & Burkay Ozturk - 2017 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (4):489-497.
    Ed Gein was a serial killer, grave robber, and body snatcher who made a lampshade from human skin. Now consider the detective who found that lampshade. Let's suppose that he would never want to own it; however, he does find that he wants a synthetic one just like it – a perfect replica. We assume that there is something morally problematic about the detective having such a replica. We then argue that, given as much, we can reach the surprising conclusion (...)
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  22.  14
    Wild Fish and Expected Utility.Bob Fischer - 2017 - Bangladesh Journal of Bioethics 8 (1):1-6.
    Its difficult to process the number of fish killed annually by the fishing industry. Nevertheless, governments are encouraging people to eat even more fishsee, e.g., the USDA dietary guidelinesand although animal advocates certainly dont concur with this advice, they generally havent prioritized fish in their lobbying efforts. Given the influence of utilitarianism on animal advocacy, the odds are good that this is motivated by an expected utility calculation. For those concerned about fish, is there any way to defend them against (...)
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  23.  22
    What If Barron and Klein Are Right About Insect Sentience?Bob Fischer - 2016 - Animal Sentience 115.
    If Klein & Barron are right, then insects may well be able to feel pain. If they can, then the standard approach to animal ethics generates some implausible results. Philosophers need to develop alternatives to this framework to avoid them.
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  24.  7
    Shelly Kagan, "How to Count Animals, More or Less." Reviewed By.Bob Fischer - 2019 - Philosophy in Review 39 (4):180-182.
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  25.  22
    Boycotting and Public Mourning.Bob Fischer - 2019 - Res Publica 26 (1):89-102.
    Some people feel that they should boycott Israel or their local anti-LGBTQ bakery, despite it being difficult to establish these obligations based on standard consequentialist or deontic considerations. I develop a framework on which such self-reports are accurate: I propose that we see some boycotting as akin to a public mourning practice, such as the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva. Mourning practices are complex and socially recognized ways of honoring the dead, as well as expressing and directing the range of (...)
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  26.  7
    How Lewis Can Meet the Integration Challenge.Bob Fischer & Eric Gilbertson - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Research 44:129-144.
    We show that Lewis’s modal realism, and his serviceability-based argument for it, cohere with his epistemological contextualism. Modal realism explains why serviceability-based reasoning in metaphysics might be reliable, while Lewis’s contextualism explains why Lewis can properly ignore the possibility that serviceability isn’t reliable, at least when doing metaphysics. This is because Lewis’s contextualism includes a commitment to a kind of pragmatic encroachment, so that whether a subject knows can depend on how much is at stake with respect to whether the (...)
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  27.  34
    Categorical Desires and the Badness of Animal Death.Matt Bower & Bob Fischer - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (1):97-111.
    One way to defend humane animal agriculture is to insist that the deaths of animals aren’t bad for them. Christopher Belshaw has argued for this position in the most detail, maintaining that death is only bad when it frustrates categorical desires, which he thinks animals lack. We are prepared to grant his account of the badness of death, but we are skeptical of the claim that animals don’t have categorical desires. We contend that Belshaw’s argument against the badness of animal (...)
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  28.  40
    Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments About the Ethics of Eating.Bob Fischer - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (2):295-300.
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  29.  36
    The Moral Objection to Modal Realism.Bob Fischer - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):1015-1030.
    If David Lewis's modal realism is true, then there are many, many people. According to Mark Heller, this is bad news. He takes modal realism (MR) to imply that "there are at least some cases in which it is permissible to let drowning children drown when it would be easy to save them." But since he holds the reasonable view that this is never permissible, he thinks that MR is false. Here, I argue that Lewis needn't be troubled by this (...)
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  30.  1
    Quantifying the Valuation of Animal Welfare Among Americans.Scott T. Weathers, Lucius Caviola, Laura Scherer, Stephan Pfister, Bob Fischer, Jesse B. Bump & Lindsay M. Jaacks - 2020 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 33 (2):261-282.
    There is public support in the United States and Europe for accounting for animal welfare in national policies on food and agriculture. Although an emerging body of research has measured animals’ capacity to suffer, there has been no specific attempt to analyze how this information is interpreted by the public or how exactly it should be reflected in policy. The aim of this study was to quantify Americans’ preferences about farming methods and the suffering they impose on different species to (...)
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  31. How to Reply to Some Ethical Objections to Entomophagy.Bob Fischer - forthcoming - Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
    Some people have moral objections to insect consumption. After explaining the philosophical motivations for such objections, I discuss three of them, suggesting potential replies. The first is that insect consumption ignores the precautionary principle, which we can gloss here as “Don’t know, don’t farm.” In other words, while there might be evidence that insects are not conscious, we do not know that they are not; so, we should not take the moral risk associated with killing them en masse. The second (...)
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  32. Individuals in the Wild.Bob Fischer - 2018 - Animal Sentience 23 (8).
    If many wild animals have net negative lives, then we have to consider how likely it is that the good for animals, considered as individuals, aligns with the good for species, or the climate, or the preservation of wild spaces.
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  33.  24
    Moral Bioenhancement Probably Won’T Improve Things for Animals.Bob Fischer - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):141-151.
    Persson and Savulescu are advocates for moral bioenhancement—i.e., using drug treatments and genetic engineering to enhance our core moral dispositions. Among other things, they suggest that moral bioenhancement would improve how we treat animals. My goal here is to argue that we have little reason to think that moral bioenhancement will help in this regard. What’s more, it may make things worse. This is because there are cognitive mechanisms that lead us to discount animal interests relative to human interests—mechanisms not (...)
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  34.  23
    C. I. Lewis and the Benacerraf Problem.Bob Fischer - 2018 - Episteme 15 (2):154-165.
    Realists about modality offer an attractive semantics for modal discourse in terms of possible worlds, but standard accounts of the worlds—as properties, propositions, or causally-isolated concreta—invoke entities with which we can’t interact. If realism is true, how can we know anything about modal matters? Let's call this "the Benacerraf Problem." I suggest that C. I. Lewis has an intriguing answer to it. Given that we’re willing to disentangle some of Lewis’s insights from his phenomenalism, we can take the following line. (...)
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  35.  14
    Review of Nathan Nobis's Animals & Ethics 101.Bob Fischer - 2018 - Between the Species 21 (1).
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  36.  13
    Animal Rights and Incredulous Stares.Bob Fischer - 2017 - Between the Species 20 (1).
    Based on the claim that animals have rights, Tom Regan ultimately endorses some radical conclusions: we ought to be vegans; it’s wrong to wear leather; we shouldn’t care about conserving species, but about respecting the rights of individual animals; etc. For many, these conclusions are unbelievable, and incredulous stares abound. Incredulous stares are not arguments, but they do force us to consider whether it might be reasonable for some people to reject Regan’s conclusions based on their considered beliefs. My aim (...)
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  37. Animals as Honorary Humans.Bob Fischer - forthcoming - In Andrew Linzey & Clair Linzey (eds.), Ethical Vegetarianism and Veganism. New York: Routledge.
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  38.  10
    Kenneth Asher, Literature, Ethics, and the Emotions. Reviewed By.Bob Fischer - 2018 - Philosophy in Review 38 (1):1-3.
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  39. Animal Ethics — A Contemporary Introduction.Bob Fischer - forthcoming - New York: Routledge.
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  40. College Ethics.Bob Fischer (ed.) - forthcoming
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  41. Collecting Insects to Conserve Them: A Call for Ethical Caution.Bob Fischer & Brendon Larson - forthcoming - Insect Conservation and Biodiversity.
    1. We argue that while the evidence does not show that insects are conscious, moral caution is still appropriate for researchers. 2. We propose a way to adapt the 3Rs framework to guide decision regarding insect collection, which calls for replacing, reducing, and refining the use of animals in research. 3. Specifically, we consider the use of Malaise traps for insect sampling, suggesting that their use should be posted publicly so that other researchers can make use of bycatch.
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  42. Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues That Divide Us.Bob Fischer (ed.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
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  43. Rawls Goes to Church.Bob Fischer - forthcoming - Theologica.
    Many mainline Protestant communities want to be welcoming while preserving their identities; they want to be shaped by the central claims of the faith while making room for those who doubt. And crucially, they want to do this in a way that leads to vibrant, growing communities, where more and more people gather to worship, encourage one another, and live out the Gospel. How should the Episcopal Church—and other mainline Protestant denominations, insofar as they’re similar—try to achieve these goals? I (...)
     
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  44. Speech and War: Rethinking the Ethics of Speech Restrictions.Burkay Ozturk & Bob Fischer - forthcoming - In Donald Alexander Downs & Chris W. Surprenant (eds.), The Value and Limits of Academic Speech: Philosophical, Political, and Legal Perspectives. New York: Routledge.
    Universities regulate speech in various ways. How should we assess when such restrictions are justified, if they ever are? Here, we propose an answer to this question. In short, we argue that we should think about speech restrictions as being like acts of war, and so should approach their justification using just war theory. We also make some suggestions about its implications. For instance, one of the jus ad bellum requirements for a just war is that you have a reasonable (...)
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  45. Teaching for Our Good.Bob Fischer - forthcoming - In Steven Cahn, Alexandra Bradner & Andrew Mills (eds.), Philosophers in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching. Indianapolis: Hackett.
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  46. Routledge Handbook of Animal Ethics.Bob Fischer (ed.) - 2019 - New York: Routledge.
     
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  47. Be a Professional: Attend to the Insects.Emily Sandall & Bob Fischer - 2019 - American Entomologist 3 (65):176-179.
     
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