Beginning with a critique of the Enlightenment human/nature dualism, this essay argues for a new conception of human agency based on culturopoeia and an application of an ecofeminist dialogic method for analysing human-nature relationships, with the idea of volitional interdependence replacing ideas of free will and determinism. Further, it posits that we need to replace the alienational model of otherness based on a psychoanalytic model with a relational model of anotherness based on an ecological model, and concludes by encouraging attention (...) to developing bioregional natured cultures in place of nation states and multinational corporations. (shrink)
Between people who unabashedly support eating meat and those who adopt moral vegetarianism, lie a number of people who are uncomfortably carnivorous and vaguely wish they could be vegetarians. Opposing animal suffering in principle, they can ignore it in practice, relying on the visual disconnect between supermarket meat and slaughterhouse practices not to trigger their moral emotions. But what if we could have the best of both worlds in reality—eat meat and not harm animals? The nascent biotechnology of tissue culture, (...) originally researched for medical applications, holds out just such a promise. Meat could be grown in vitro without killing animals. In fact, this technology may not just be an intriguing option, but might be our moral obligation to develop. (shrink)
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the use of the term “hero” has been widespread. This is especially common in the context of healthcare workers and it is now unremarkable to see large banners on hospital exteriors that say “heroes work here”. There is more to be gleaned from the rhetoric of heroism than just awareness of public appreciation, however. Calling physicians and nurses heroes for treating sick people indicates something about the concept of medicine and medical professionals. In this essay, I (...) will examine three aspects of the social role of medicine exposed by the language of heroism. One, if a hero is someone who goes above and the call of duty, then does that mean exposing oneself to risk of infection is no longer a duty of physicians? If so, does that mean the “profession” of medicine is much like any other business? Two, physicians and nurses are not the only “heroes” this go-around. Anyone deemed essential to the US “infrastructure” is designated by the US government as having “special responsibilities” to remain at their posts for the public good, which explicitly puts physicians in the same category as sewage workers and grocery store cashiers. Three, what does it mean to belong to a profession that does have self-sacrifice and risk-taking as part of its mission—especially a profession that rarely gets called upon to practice these obligations? (shrink)
Prompted by the lack of attention by sociologists and the challenge of materialist explanations of warfare in "precivilized" societies posed by Keeley (1996), this paper tests and finds support for two materialist hypotheses concerning the likelihood of warfare in preindustrial societies: specifically, that, as argued by ecological-evolutionary theory, dominant mode of subsistence is systematically related to rates of warfare; and that, within some levels of technological development, higher levels of "population pressure" are associated with a greater likelihood of warfare. Using (...) warfare measures developed by Ember and Ember (1995), measures of subsistence technology originally developed by Lenski (1966, 1970), and the standard sample of societies developed by Murdock and White (1969), this study finds evidence that warfare is more likely in advanced horticultural and agrarian societies than it is in hunting-and-gathering and simple horticultural societies, and that it is also more likely in hunting-and-gathering and agrarian societies that have above-average population densities. These findings offer substantial support for ecological-evolutionary theory and qualified but intriguing support for "population pressure" as explanations of cross-cultural variation in the likelihood of warfare. (shrink)
In reexamining the "sex war" debates between radical feminists and lesbian feminist sadomasochists, I find that the actual practice of sadomasochism provides the basis for a philosophically more complex position than has been articulated. In response to the anti-SM radical perspective, I develop a distinction between simulation and replication of patriarchal dominant/submissive activities. In light of this important epistemological and ethical distinction, I claim that the radical feminist opposition to SM needs reassessment.
All worldviews have some sort of moral vision for why and how they pursue their goals, though these moral visions may be more or less explicitly stated. Transhumanism is no different, though sometimes people forget that transhumanism is not the alien dream of a posthuman mind but is instead a very human ideology driven by very human interests and moral ideals. In this paper, I lay out some of those ideals in very general terms, advocating a high-minded moral vision for (...) transhumanism that is born of and extends the desire for human flourishing. Though taken to new heights, transhumanism coheres with age-old views of ourselves as our own projects. What the end and direction and scope of those projects can be, however, is generated by, but not limited to, human nature. (shrink)
Ecofeminist philosophy and literary theory need mutually to enhance each other's critical praxis. Ecofeminism provides the grounding necessary to turn the Bakhtinian dialogic method into a critical theory applicable to all of one's lived experience, while dialogics provides a method for advancing the application of ecofeminist thought in terms of literature, the other as speaking subject, and the interanimation of human and nonhuman aspects of nature. In the first part of this paper the benefits of dialogics to feminism and ecofeminism (...) are explored; in the second part dialogics as method is detailed; in the third part literary examples are discussed from a dialogical ecofeminist perspective. (shrink)
Gerhard Lenski's ecological-evolutionary theory of human societies, originally presented and tested in Power and Privilege (1966) and Human Societies (1970), makes a number of general and specific predictions about the impact of subsistence technology on the fundamental features of societies, as well as identifying constraints that the techno-economic heritage of currently industrializing societies continue to exercise on their development trajectories. This paper reviews the strategies adopted for presenting and for testing the theory, critically analyzes and extends some important results of (...) its empirical tests, and explores issues confronting the future development and presentation of the theory. (shrink)
Two general approaches characterize current theories of sociocultural evolution. The "external selection" approach stresses the importance of intersocietal selection; the "adaptive change" approach, the importance of intrasocietal selection. This chapter identifies and critically evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches and outlines strategies for integrating these divergent approaches into a single evolutionary perspective.
An illuminating and often unsettling picture of the ethical, moral, and legal issues that shape experience, culture, and identity in the late twentieth century emerges from this thought-provoking collection.
In the Decalogue, a foundation is laid for the order of the community, a foundation that continues in perpetuity to be the touchstone for all actions on the part of God's people as they seek to live in community and order their lives.
The ecology movement has recently attempted to reinvigorate the image of Earth in terms of Lovelock and Epton’s “Gaia hypothesis.” I analyze the shortcomings of using Gaia imagery in the works of Lovelock, deep ecologists, feminists, and ecological poets, and conclude that while the hypothesis serves to alter consciousness, naming it Gaia reinforces the oppressive hierarchical patterns of patriarchal gender stereotypes that it opposes. We are moving toward a new paradigm of nonpatriarchal pluralistic co-evolution, but if deep ecology is going (...) to promote fully its development, it needs to recast or cast aside Gaia imagery. (shrink)
The field theoretic approach of the target article is simplified by setting the parameters of the dynamical field equation so that the system is near the critical point between cooperative and non-cooperative dynamics. However, embodiment of cognitive development would require a closer connection between the dynamical field interactions and the physiology of the cerebral cortex.
Government has played a pervasive and largely overlooked role in journalists' ethical decision making. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules governing program content, and a libel law system run amok, are only two wats government influences journalists' behavior. This substitution of government ethics for private ethics creates minimum standards of conduct rather than challenging journalists to an ethical ideal. More subtly, government erects structural barriers to the development of the very technologies (like cable TV) that can offer journalists a more ethically (...) hospitable environment. In the information age, ethicists will need to be aware of, and wary of, government attempts to control development of the very media that hold the greatest ethical promise. (shrink)
An historical overview of the United Nations sustainable development initiative reflects a convergence of political and ethical concerns, and a need to incorporate business and the ethics of business into an inclusive perspective. Underlying all of the resolutions and recommendations ensuing from that initiative is the age-old question of “the one and the many,” with which theology and philosophy have grappled for centuries, and sociology and politics in more recent times. Inherent to sustainable development is a need to overcome that (...) question, especially with respect to the power of the wealthier nations. Good old American Pragmatism offers a solution which, at once, respects individual and communal sovereignty while positing a dynamic interaction between the two. That interaction offers an optimistic approach to global business and to global business ethics. (shrink)
Over the last two decades, the various attempts to “radicalize” Levinas have resulted in two interesting and often separated debates: one the one hand, there is the debate regarding the relationship between Levinas and colonialism and racism, and on the other hand, there is the debate regarding the relationship between Levinas and Judaism. Whether scholars interested in issues of colonialism disregard Levinas's Judaism or use his "subaltern" identity to challenge European hegemony, they do not take seriously the Jewish content of (...) Levinas's thought. In this essay, I challenge the prevailing postcolonial orinetation of the Levinas-colonialism conversation, approaching Levinas's phenomenology from an anticolonial perspective. I will use Frantz Fanon’s dualistic understanding of the colonial world to evaluate the adequacy of Levinas’s phenomenology in describing the ontological structure of the colony and the historical experience of the colonized within it. Levinas’s incomplete understanding of the Holocaust as colonialism contributes to his failure to recognize the dividing line of colonial ontology, the zone of nonbeing, the non-human status of the colonized, and ultimately contributes to the insufficiency of his phenomenology to describe the colony. Because my purpose is not to reject Levinas’s thought in general but to encourage a new approach to his work, in the conclusion I will gesture toward the need for an anticolonial reading of Levinas’s project for Jewish education. (shrink)
Beginning with a critique of the Enlightenment human/ nature dualism, this essay argues for a new conception of human agency based on culturopoeia and an application of an ecofeminist dialogic method for analysing human- nature relationships, with the idea of volitional interdependence replacing ideas of free will and determinism. Further, it posits that we need to replace the alienational model of otherness based on a psychoanalytic model with a relational model of otherness based on an ecological model, and concludes by (...) encouraging attention to developing bioregional natured cultures in place of nation states and multinational corporations. (shrink)
Melinda Vadas rejects my claim that there are morally relevant differences between simulations of unjust events and actual unjust events on the ground that I overlook the connection between simulations and that which they simulate. I argue that this purported moral connection can only be understood as either the result of a necessary psychological disposition or as a "magical," metaphysical attachment, neither of which is defensible or satisfactory.
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