A survey was administered during fall 2013 to 163 self-identified adult ethical vegans and/or ethical vegetarians in the United States to determine whether the respondents+ beliefs meet the definition of religion according to U.S. federal law. The data demonstrate that a majority of the surveyed group possesses beliefs concordant with the definition of "religion" according to federal statutes, federal judicial tests, and regulatory law. Since religion is a protected characteristic in U.S. law, and ethical veganism meets various definitions for religion, (...) then ethical veganism should be recognized as a religion and a protected characteristic under U.S. law. (shrink)
This work contributes to the development of a theoretical context of the politics of truth about animals. By applying and extending Foucault's theory of power, this work uncovers dominant and subjugated discourses about animals and describes power-knowledge associated with statements about animals that are understood to convey true things.
Human beings have a moral duty to intervene to prevent or to mitigate the suffering of free-living animals. This article focuses on that duty, particularly as it exists when an animal asks for help and when animals who need help are within the zone of a person’s ability and willingness to help. As such, people should be free to help if they choose to do so, unencumbered by legal restrictions that outlaw such conduct. However, federal and state laws in the (...) United States remain an obstacle, because they designate some activities that are necessary to help free-living animals as unlawful. Laws should not interfere with human beings’ benign interactions with nature and, in particular, people should be legally permitted to help free-living animals. People should actually assist the individual animals who want or need help, rather than trading individual assistance in favor of ecosystem “management,” policy concerns that favor expediency and budget limitations, or any other tangential issues. (shrink)
Academic philosophers who purport to help animals should write plainly. Engaging in infighting, bristling at others’ arguments, and writing in obscure and impenetrable language does little to actually help animals, and it quite possibly distracts those who might wish to help animals. This review of Elisabeth De Fontenay’s Without Offending Humans: A Critique of Animal Rights discusses these common problems in academic works.
Probability is not an unambiguous concept within the sciences or in vernacular language, yet it is fundamental to much of behavior analysis. The present paper examines some problems this ambiguity creates in general,as well as within the experimental analysis of behavior, in particular. As background material, we first introduce the three most common theories of probability in mathematics and science, discussing their advantages and disadvantages, and their relevance to behavior analysis. Next, we discuss the concept of probability as encountered in (...) the writings of B.F. Skinner and in the contemporary behavior analysis more generally, the latter being based on material drawn from the professional literature and from a questionnaire survey. Although the exercise is basically a descriptive one, we do conclude with some suggestions that may promote more effective action on those occasions when behavior analysts speak of "probability.". (shrink)