In an oft-quoted passage from The Principles of Morals and Legislation, Jeremy Bentham addresses the issue of our treatment of animals with the following words: ‘the question is not, Can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, Can they suffer?’ The point is well taken, for surely if animals suffer, they are legitimate objects of our moral concern. It is curious therefore, given the current interest in the moral status of animals, that Bentham's question has been assumed to be merely (...) rhetorical. No-one has seriously examined the claim, central to arguments for animal liberation and animal rights, that animals actually feel pain. Peter Singer's Animal Liberation is perhaps typical in this regard. His treatment of the issue covers a scant seven pages, after which he summarily announces that ‘there are no good reasons, scientific or philosophical, for denying that animals feel pain’. In this paper I shall suggest that the issue of animal pain is not so easily dispensed with, and that the evidence brought forward to demonstrate that animals feel pain is far from conclusive. (shrink)
Histories of philosophy frequently depict the later eleventh century as the scene of a series of bouts between dialecticians and anti-dialecticians — Berengar vs. Lanfranc, Roscelin vs. Anselm — preliminaries to the twelfth century welterweight contest between Abelard and St. Bernard and — dare one say? — the thirteenth century heavy-weight championship between St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure.The bouts took place — no question about that — but whether the contestants can properly be characterized as dialecticians and anti-dialecticians is less (...) certain. Dialectics is logic, the third part of the trivium, and increasingly cultivated in the eleventh century; men like Berengar and Roscelin were plainly eager to apply the logical tools with which they had been equipped to the solution of intellectual problems. In particular they undertook the solution of certain central problems of theology — Berengar that of the Eucharist and Roscelin that of the Trinity — and it was this, we are told, that aroused the ire of the anti-dialecticians: if the aim of the dialecticians was to lay bare the mysteries of faith to the light of reason that of the anti-dialecticians was to protect those same mysteries from profanation. (shrink)
Peter Abelard (1079 – 21 April 1142) [‘Abailard’ or ‘Abaelard’ or ‘Habalaarz’ and so on] was the pre-eminent philosopher and theologian of the twelfth century. The teacher of his generation, he was also famous as a poet and a musician. Prior to the recovery of Aristotle, he brought the native Latin tradition in philosophy to its highest pitch. His genius was evident in all he did. He is, arguably, the greatest logician of the Middle Ages and is equally famous (...) as the first great nominalist philosopher. He championed the use of reason in matters of faith (he was the first to use ‘theology’ in its modern sense), and his systematic treatment of religious doctrines are as remarkable for their philosophical penetration and subtlety as they are for their audacity. Abelard seemed larger than life to his contemporaries: his quick wit, sharp tongue, perfect memory, and boundless arrogance made him unbeatable in debate — he was said by supporter and detractor alike never to have lost an argument — and the force of his personality impressed itself vividly on all with whom he came into contact. His luckless affair with Héloïse made him a tragic figure of romance, and his conflict with Bernard of Clairvaux over reason and religion made him the hero of the Enlightenment. For all his colourful life, though, his philosophical achievements are the cornerstone of his fame. (shrink)
Peter Singer is probably the best-known and most controversial ethicist in the world today. He rigorously applies utilitarian moral theory to issues such as world poverty, the environment, abortion, euthanasia and, most famously, animal welfare. He has also written a book about his grandfather, David Oppenheim, who died in Theresienstadt concentration camp. He is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University.
Objectivity in historical perspective Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 11-39 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9597-2 Authors Peter Dear, Department of History, Cornell University, 435 McGraw Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA Ian Hacking, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, 170 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5R 2M8, Canada Matthew L. Jones, Department of History, Columbia University, 514 Fayerweather Hall, 1180 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027, USA Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, (...) Germany Peter Galison, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Science Center 371, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 1. (shrink)
You don't say much about who you are teaching, or what subject you teach, but you do seem to see a need to justify what you are doing. Perhaps you're teaching underprivileged children, opening their minds to possibilities that might otherwise never have occurred to them. Or maybe you're teaching the children of affluent families and opening their eyes to the big moral issues they will face in life — like global poverty, and climate change. If you're doing something like (...) this, then stick with it. Giving money isn't the only way to make a difference. (shrink)
Alan C. LoveDarwinian calisthenicsAn athlete engages in calisthenics as part of basic training and as a preliminary to more advanced or intense activity. Whether it is stretching, lunges, crunches, or push-ups, routine calisthenics provide a baseline of strength and flexibility that prevent a variety of injuries that might otherwise be incurred. Peter Bowler has spent 40 years doing Darwinian calisthenics, researching and writing on the development of evolutionary ideas with special attention to Darwin and subsequent filiations among scientists exploring (...) evolution . Therefore, we would expect that when Bowler engages in a counterfactual history—imagining a world without Darwin—he is able to avoid historical injury and generate novel insights. My assessment is that the results are mixed. Before we can see why, it is necessary to walk briskly through the main contours of his argument.Bowler begins with an apologia for a counterfactual appr .. (shrink)
Written by eminent philosophers from Britain, Europe, America, and Australia, the essays of this collection are a tribute to Peter Winch, whose work is marked by his deep appreciation of the most fundamental aspect of Wittgenstein's legacy: that we cannot detach our concepts from their roots in human life. The voices in this volume unite in different tones of sympathy and criticism by discussing the theme of human conditioning: the human conditioning of what we can find intelligible, possible and (...) impossible, and the suspicion of an illusory transcendence. (shrink)
Peter Maurin, a French, itinerant immigrant, known, if at all, as co-founder with Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker movement plies his pedagogy from the margins of society, identifying with the poor of the Depression. He believes his vocation is to awaken the poor and professionals alike to reconstruct a personalist democracy and restore its spiritual foundation, Remarkably resonate with John Dewey’s experiential learning, Jane Addams’ Hull House initiative, and the Brazilian educator and theologian Paulo Freire’s theory of humankind’s (...) vocation to humanize the world, Maurin critiques education as “knowing more and more about less and less” and not relating knowledge to the real world. Today Dewey and Freire influence progressive experiential pedagogy, but most progressive educators are unacquainted with Maurin’s radical vision. Yet, Maurin speaks as trenchantly to our own time of socio-economic, ideological, and moral crisis as he did to the crises of the 1930s. This paper seeks to recover Maurin’s pedagogy for critical theory’s work of educating today’s students—and the world, in general—to a deep consciousness of the workings of society, for restructuring the social order, and for solidarity with those who suffer from structural injustice. For Maurin, solidarity with the impoverished and marginalized is the site of both deep knowing and transformative power. This solidarity is the bedrock of Maurin’s teaching—propagated among the cast-offs at Columbus Circle to academics on Boston Commons, to the storefront and tenement schools he established, to his outdoor university, to forums, symposia, and nightly round-table discussions. With poetic phrasing, he casts his thought as “points” in what becomes known as “easy essays.” While those from the academic mainstream publish in respected journals, Maurin, from the margins, tacks up his essays in public places and even mails them to reluctant listeners. Working out the practical implications of his vision, he offers a particular angle on the world, and a prophetic pedagogy for the gravitas of our time. (shrink)
To the realists.—You sober people who feel well armed against passion and fantasies and would like to turn your emptiness into a matter of pride and ornament: you call yourselves realists and hint that the world really is the way it appears to you. As if reality stood unveiled before you only, and you yourselves were perhaps the best part of it … But in your unveiled state are not even you still very passionate and dark creatures compared to fish, (...) and still far too similar to an artist in love? And what is ‘reality’ for an artist in love? You are still burdened with those estimates of things that have their origin in the passions and loves of former centuries. Your sobriety still contains a secret and inextinguishable drunkenness. Your love of ‘reality’, for example-—oh, that is a primeval ‘love’ … Subtract the phantasm and every human contribution from it, my sober friends! If you can! If you can forget your descent, your past, your training—all of your humanity and animality. (shrink)
Peter Goldie opens the path to a deeper understanding of our emotional lives through a lucid philosophical exploration of this surprisingly neglected topic. Drawing on philosophy, literature and science, Goldie considers the roles of culture and evolution in the development of our emotional capabilities. He examines the links between emotion, mood, and character, and places the emotions in the context of consciousness, thought, feeling, and imagination. He explains how it is that we are able to make sense of our (...) own and other people's emotions, and how we can explain the very human things which emotions lead us to do. He argues that it is only from the personal point of view that thoughts, reasons, feelings, and actions come into view. This fascinating book gives an accessible but penetrating exploration of an important but mysterious subject. Any reader interested in emotion and its role in understanding our lives will find much to think about here. (shrink)
I. On the morning of 28 November 1979 flight TE-901, a DC-10 operated by Air New Zealand Limited, took off from Auckland, New Zealand, on a sightseeing passenger flight over a portion of Antarctica. The pilot in command was Captain Collins. The following are paragraphs from the official Report of the Royal Commission that inquired into the events surrounding that flight.
What is required for something to be evidence for a hypothesis? In this fascinating, elegantly written work, distinguished philosopher of science Peter Achinstein explores this question, rejecting typical philosophical and statistical theories of evidence. He claims these theories are much too weak to give scientists what they want--a good reason to believe--and, in some cases, they furnish concepts that mistakenly make all evidential claims a priori. Achinstein introduces four concepts of evidence, defines three of them by reference to "potential" (...) evidence, and characterizes the latter using a novel epistemic interpretation of probability. The resulting theory is then applied to philosophical and historical issues. Solutions are provided to the "grue," "ravens," "lottery," and "old-evidence" paradoxes, and to a series of questions. These include whether explanations or predictions furnish more evidential weight, whether individual hypotheses or entire theoretical systems can receive evidential support, what counts as a scientific discovery, and what sort of evidence is required for it. The historical questions include whether Jean Perrin had non-circular evidence for the existence of molecules, what type of evidence J. J. Thomson offered for the existence of the electron, and whether, as is usually supposed, he really discovered the electron. Achinstein proposes answers in terms of the concepts of evidence introduced. As the premier book in the fabulous new series Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Science, this volume is essential for philosophers of science and historians of science, as well as for statisticians, scientists with philosophical interests, and anyone curious about scientific reasoning. (shrink)
The primary aim of this important study is to produce a reliable account of Peter Martyr’s life before he left Italy in 1542. Earlier biographers had been content to follow the Swiss Calvinist Josiah Simler, who knew Peter Martyr in later years, delivered his funeral oration and published it in 1563. Dr McNair has tried ‘to delve beneath Simler to contemporary records’. He has discovered, for example, that Peter Martyr was born in 1499 not, as is usually (...) said, in 1500. He has been concerned to find out when Peter Martyr left his order and his Church, suggesting that there is little reason to believe that his apostasy began in his years at the University of Padua, 1518-26; it was in Naples, between 1537 and 1540, when he came to know Juan de Valdés, that Peter Martyr’s conversion took place. ‘He arrived a reformer after the order of Ximénez, he left a reformer after the order of Zwingli’, writes Dr McNair, meaning by this the Zwingli of the years immediately before 1523, when he wished to go further than Erasmus but not so far as Luther. (shrink)
How do we go about weighing evidence, testing hypotheses, and making inferences? According to the model of _Inference to the Best Explanation_, we work out what to infer from the evidence by thinking about what would actually explain that evidence, and we take the ability of a hypothesis to explain the evidence as a sign that the hypothesis is correct. In _Inference to the Best Explanation_, Peter Lipton gives this important and influential idea the development and assessment it deserves. (...) The second edition has been substantially enlarged and reworked, with a new chapter on the relationship between explanation and Bayesianism, and an extension and defence of the account of contrastive explanation. It also includes an expanded defence of the claims that our inferences really are guided by diverse explanatory considerations, and that this pattern of inference can take us towards the truth. This edition of _Inference to the Best Explanation_ has also been updated throughout and includes a new bibliography. (shrink)
Peter Abelard was one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the twelfth century, famed for his skill in logic as well as his romance with Heloise. His Collationes - or Dialogue between a Christian, a Philosopher, and a Jew - is remarkable for the boldness of its conception and thought.
The paper discusses al-Kindī's response to doctrines held by contemporary theologians of the Mu‘tazilite school: divine attributes, creation, and freedom. In the first section it is argued that, despite his broadly negative theology, al-Kindī recognizes a special kind of “essential” positive attribute belonging to God. The second section argues that al-Kindī agreed with the Mu‘tazila in holding that something may not yet exist but still be an object of God's knowledge and power. Also it presents a new parallel between al-Kindī (...) and John Philoponus. The third section gives an interpretation of al-Kindī as a compatibilist, in other words as holding that humans may be free even though their actions are necessitated. In all three cases, it is argued, al-Kindī is close to the Mu‘tazilite point of view, though he departs from them in the arguments he gives for that point of view. (shrink)
Peter Hanks defends a new theory about the nature of propositional content, according to which the basic bearers of representational properties are particular mental or spoken actions. He explains the unity of propositions and provides new solutions to a long list of puzzles and problems in philosophy of language.
The philosophers of Late Antiquity have sometimes appeared to be estranged from society. 'We must flee everything physical' is one of the most prominent ideas taken by Augustine from Platonic literature. This collection of new studies by leading writers on Late Antiquity treats both the principles of metaphysics and the practical engagement of philosophers. It points to a more substantive and complex involvement in worldly affairs than conventional handbooks admit.