How much do animals matter--morally? Can we keep considering them as second class beings, to be used merely for our benefit? Or, should we offer them some form of moral egalitarianism? Inserting itself into the passionate debate over animal rights, this fascinating, provocative work by renowned scholar Paola Cavalieri advances a radical proposal: that we extend basic human rights to the nonhuman animals we currently treat as "things." Cavalieri first goes back in time, tracing the roots of the debate (...) from the 1970s, then explores not only the ethical but also the scientific viewpoints, examining the debate's precedents in mainstream Western philosophy. She considers the main proposals of reform that recently have been advanced within the framework of today's prevailing ethical perspectives. Are these proposals satisfying? Cavalieri says no, claiming that it is necessary to go beyond the traditional opposition between utilitarianism and Kantianism and focus on the question of fundamental moral protection. In the case of human beings, such protection is granted within the widely shared moral doctrine of universal human rights' theory. Cavalieri argues that if we examine closely this theory, we will discover that its very logic extends to nonhuman animals as beings who are owed basic moral and legal rights and that, as a result, human rights are not human after all. (shrink)
This text was first published in Theory, Culture & Society, May 13, 2015. For a special issue of Body & Society on ‘Rhythm, Movement, Embodiment', Paola Crespi presents two previously untranslated texts, Rudolf Bode's ‘Rhythm and its Importance for Education' and Rudolf Laban's ‘Eurhythmy and Kakorhythmy'. In the following interview she uncovers further unpublished and untranslated sources and she discusses some of the main themes of these texts in relation to the more widely known text - Danse, théâtre et (...) spectacle vivant – GALERIE – Nouvel article. (shrink)
We invited five Cavell scholars to write on this topic. What follows is a vibrant exchange among Paola Marrati, Andrew Norris, Jörg Volbers, Cary Wolfe and Thomas Dumm addressing the question whether, in the contemporary political context, Cavell’s skepticism and his Emersonian perfectionism amount to a politics at all.
In this study, Paola Marrati approaches—in an extremely insightful, rigorous, and well-argued way—the question of the philosophical sources of Derrida's thought through a consideration of his reading of both Husserl and Heidegger. A central focus of the book is the analysis of the concepts of genesis and trace as they define Derrida's thinking of historicity, time, and subjectivity. Notions such as the contamination of the empirical and the transcendental, dissemination and writing, are explained as key categories establishing a guiding (...) thread that runs through Derrida's early and later works. Whereas in his discussion of Husserl Derrida problematizes the relationship between the ideality of meaning and the singularity of its historical production, in his interpretation of Heidegger he challenges the very idea of the originary finitude of temporality. This book is essential reading not only for those interested in the philosophical roots of deconstruction, but for all those interested in the central questions of history and temporality, subjectivity and language, that pervade contemporary debates in cultural, literary, and visual theory alike. (shrink)
The paper analyses the role played by the concept of ‘common ground’ in argumentation theories. If a common agreement on all the rules of a discursive exchange is required, either at the beginning or at the end of an argumentative practice, then no violation of the rules is possible. The paper suggests an alternative understanding of ‘common ground’ as something that can change during the development of the argumentative practice, and in particular something that can change without the practice being (...) stopped, just as one sometimes violates the rule of a game without stopping playing. The analysis of some historical examples shows that the violation of rules sometimes leads to a consensual change of a set of beliefs and values. The argumentative rationality thus needs to be reconsidered in the light of the analysis of the conditions under which it would be legitimate to change the rules of an argumentative practice: ‘common ground’ and the right to disagreement, even radical or violent, could then be defended as essential components of argumentative rationality. (shrink)
The present study aims at exploring whether the level of well-being vary as a function of fertility status in different phases of the ovulatory cycle. We investigated the multidimensional well-being, including the cognitive component of subjective well-being related to judgments about one’s life satisfaction, the psychological well-being concerning the full growth and self-realization of the individual, and self-esteem, that is the personal judgment of overall self-worth and is recognized as one indicator of well-being. On the basis of the cycle phase (...) estimation at the moment of the experiment, one hundred and sixteen normally cycling women were divided into “fertile” and “non-fertile” groups and were administered the Psychological Well-Being Scale, the Basic Self-Esteem Scale and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. A Multivariate Analysis of Variance has been performed to examine whether there were differences between groups according to their ovulatory phase. All dimensions of psychological well-being, self-esteem and satisfaction with life were found to be stable in the different phases of the menstrual cycle. The implications of these results are discussed. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe paper focuses on the gradual separation between materialism and mechanism in early modern German philosophy. In Germany the distinction between the two concepts, originally introduced by Leibniz, was definitively stated by Wolff who was the first to provide a definition of the new philosophical term Materialismus, and of the related philosophical sect. In the first part I describe the initial identification of mechanism and materialism in German philosophy between the last decades of the seventeenth century and 1720. Mechanism is (...) here mostly conceived within a monistic metaphysics of body, which refers mainly to Hobbes and to some interpretations of Spinoza’s pantheism. This tight connection between a mechanical explanation of nature and the Deus sive natura issue leads to a negative judgement on mechanism and its materialistic implications, both charged with a form of more or less explicit atheism. In the second part I describe the gradual emancipation in Germany of mechanism fro... (shrink)
Cross-situational statistical learning of words involves tracking co-occurrences of auditory words and objects across time to infer word-referent mappings. Previous research has demonstrated that learners can infer referents across sets of very phonologically distinct words, but it remains unknown whether learners can encode fine phonological differences during cross-situational statistical learning. This study examined learners’ cross-situational statistical learning of minimal pairs that differed on one consonant segment, minimal pairs that differed on one vowel segment, and non-minimal pairs that differed on two (...) or three segments. Learners performed above chance for all pairs, but performed worse on vowel minimal pairs than on consonant minimal pairs or non-minimal pairs. These findings demonstrate that learners can encode fine phonetic detail while tracking word-referent co-occurrence probabilities, but they suggest that phonological encoding may be weaker for vowels than for consonants. (shrink)
The paper investigates the minimum level of individual rationality that is needed for market prices to converge toward their equilibrium level. It does so by examining the theoretical and methodological foundations of the ?zero?intelligence? (ZI) agent trading approach, with which Gode and Sunder (1993a) claimed that weak individual rationality requirements suffice to obtain equilibrium prices. The paper shows that ZI agents are endowed with a higher degree of rationality than previously believed. Though not maximizing utility, they exhibit utility?improving behavior, and (...) their decision?making rules fulfill important predictions of the theory of choice based on maximization, namely downward?sloping individual demand and upward?sloping individual supply. Additional cognitive skills would be required, were some simplifying assumptions of the basic model removed. Gode and Sunder's analysis supports a non?neoclassical rational choice theory, in which optimization can be replaced by a variety of behavioral rules, while still preserving important results on the functioning of markets. (shrink)
The article evaluates the Domain Postulate of the Classical Model of Science and the related Aristotelian prohibition rule on kind-crossing as interpretative tools in the history of the development of mathematics into a general science of quantities. Special reference is made to Proclus’ commentary to Euclid’s first book of Elements , to the sixteenth century translations of Euclid’s work into Latin and to the works of Stevin, Wallis, Viète and Descartes. The prohibition rule on kind-crossing formulated by Aristotle in Posterior (...) analytics is used to distinguish between conceptions that share the same name but are substantively different: for example the search for a broader genus including all mathematical objects; the search for a common character of different species of mathematical objects; and the effort to treat magnitudes as numbers. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine the problems facing a policy maker who observes inconsistent choices made by agents who are boundedly rational. We contrast a model-less and a model-based approach to welfare economics. We make the case for the model-based approach and examine its advantages as well as some problematic issues associated with it.
The question of the applicability of mathematics is an epistemological issue that was explicitly raised by Kant, and which has played different roles in the works of neo-Kantian philosophers, before becoming an essential issue in early analytic philosophy. This paper will first distinguish three main issues that are related to the application of mathematics: indispensability arguments that are aimed at justifying mathematics itself; philosophical justifications of the successful application of mathematics to scientific theories; and discussions on the application of real (...) numbers to the measurement of physical magnitudes. A refinement of this tripartition is suggested and supported by a historical investigation of the differences between Kant’s position on the problem, several neo-Kantian perspectives, early analytic philosophy, and late 19th century mathematicians. Finally, the debate on the cogency of an application constraint in the definition of real numbers is discussed in relation to a contemporary debate in neo-logicism, in order to suggest a comparison not only with Frege’s original positions, but also with the ideas of several neo-Kantian scholars, including Hölder, Cassirer, and Helmholtz. (shrink)
Bergson's engagement with evolutionary theory was remarkably up to date with the science of his time. One century later, the scientific and social landscape is undoubtedly quite different, but some of his insights remain of critical importance for the present. This paper aims at discussing three related aspects of Bergson's philosophy of evolution and their relevance for contemporary debates: first, the stark distinction between the affirmation of the reality of change and becoming, on the one hand, and any notion of (...) progress on the other; second, the insistence on the intimate interplay between forms of knowledge and forms of life; third, his idea that machines and organisms, technology and biology, are not separate domains but, rather, stem from and answer to the same problems and needs that living beings express. Such a Bergsonian framework may prove very helpful in reassessing the implicit assumptions of several contemporary debates on the ethical and political stakes of evolution, biosciences, and technologies, as well as the increasingly problematic boundary between “biology” and “culture.”. (shrink)
The paper discusses some difficulties that life in Anthropocene poses to our ethical thinking. It describes the sort of ethical task that individuals find themselves confronting when dealing with the planetary environmental quandaries that characterise the new epoch. It then asks what, given the situation, would count as environmentally virtuous ways of looking at and going about our lives, and how relevant virtues can be developed. It is argued that the practice of gardening is distinctively conducive to that objective. Finally, (...) some garden virtues that will be of special importance in the Anthropocene, but have so far been largely neglected by environmental ethicists, are listed and described. (shrink)
We formulate and investigate experimentally a model of how individuals choose between time sequences of monetary outcomes. The model assumes that a decision maker uses, sequentially, two criteria to screen options. Each criterion only permits a decision between some pairs of options, while the other options are incomparable according to that criterion. When the first criterion is not decisive, the decision maker resorts to the second criterion to select an alternative. We find that: (1) traditional economic models based on discounting (...) alone cannot explain a significant (almost 30%) proportion of the data no matter how much variability in the discount functions is allowed; (2) our model, despite considering only a specific (exponential) form of discounting, can explain the data much better solely thanks to the use of the secondary criterion; (3) our model explains certain specific patterns in the choices of the “irrational” people. We reject the hypothesis that anomalous behavior is due simply to random “mistakes” around the basic predictions of discounting theories: deviations are not random and there are clear systematic patterns of association between “irrational” choices. (shrink)
SUMMARYThe essay argues that Jeremy Bentham played a major role in the transitional process between the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries leading to the ‘discovery' or ‘invention of society' as an order, i.e., as an autonomous object of knowledge. By comparing Bentham's discourse with those developed by select protagonists of that transition, particularly Ferguson, Sieyès, and Mirabeau, it is shown how society emerges as the logical and historical space of a set of relationships that affects both the rationalisation and the (...) practice of government. In contrast with Michel Foucault's interpretation of Bentham's role in the genealogy of neoliberalism, recently developed by Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, this paper suggests that ‘the new governmental reason’ rose from within the discourse of law. Consequently, the problem of ‘constitution’ was not left behind by the epistemological change of the eighteenth century, as they argue. Rather, the scientific and political understanding of society as a code became the base for an innovative conception of both law and politics. (shrink)
We study preferences over lotteries which do not necessarily satisfy completeness. We provide a characterization which generalizes Expected Utility theory. We show in particular that various sure-thing axioms are needed to guaranteee the representability in terms of utility intervals rather than numbers, and to provide a linear interval order representation which is very much in the spirit of Expected Utility theory.
ArgumentThe history of Italian “popular science” publishing from the 1860s to the 1930s provides the context to explore three phenomena: the building of a scientific community, the entering of women into higher education, and scientists’ reaction to women in science. The careers of Evangelina Bottero and Carolina Magistrelli, science writers and teachers in an institute of higher education, offer hints towards an understanding of those interrelated macro phenomena. The dialogue between a case study and the general context in a comparative (...) perspective will help us understand why Italian scientists, in the last decades of the nineteenth century, unlike their British colleagues, did not close the doors of the university on women. The case confirms the history of so-called popular science as a useful tool for historians of science generally and also when dealing with the awakening of a new social actor: in this case the “new woman” who, from the 1870s, was determined to take up science in a professional capacity. (shrink)
" From the divergences between analytical and continental approaches to the relevance of posthumanist thinking in contemporary ethics, the psychology of speciesism, and the practical consequences of an antiperfectionist stance, The Death of ...
SummaryThe aim of this study was to investigate marriage behaviour from 1825 to 1924 in an Alpine valley inhabited by Ladin speakers, where the particular geographic, linguistic and economic characteristics may have influenced the level of reproductive isolation. A total of 2183 marriage acts from the two main parishes of Santa Cristina and Ortisei were examined. Birth and residence endogamy, inbreeding coefficients from dispensations and from isonymy, birth place distribution of the spouses and isonymic relationships were analysed in four 25-year (...) sub-periods. All the indicators considered point to a lower level of reproductive isolation at Ortisei, a main centre for the woodcarving industry, which appeared to be experiencing an early and effective breakdown of isolation. Marriage behaviour in the Gardena Valley between 1825 and 1924 seems to have been mostly influenced by socioeconomic factors rather than linguistic and cultural ones. (shrink)