It is clear that natural entities can be preserved – they can be preserved because they can be harmed or destroyed, or in various other ways adversely affected. I argue that in light of the rise of scientism and other forms of philistinism, the political, religious, mythic, personal and historical meanings that people find in those entities can also be preserved. Against those who impugn disciplines such as fine arts, philosophy and sociology, I contend that this sort of preservation requires (...) the efforts of those whose work exemplifies the core values of the arts, the humanities and the qualitative social sciences. (shrink)
When William James spoke about belief to the philosophy clubs of Yale and Brown in 1896, he forewarned his audience of the nature of his comments by describing them as a “sermon on justification by faith” (James 13), titling the talk “The Will to Believe.” Although there is disagreement about the substance of James’s remarks, it is fairly innocuous to assert that James thought they were appropriate because of the prevalence of the “logical spirit” of many (...) of those who practiced academic philosophy that led them to the conclusion that religious faith was untenable. Aware of his audience, James presents his view on the permissibility of religious faith on the terms and grounds familiar to professional philosophers. .. (shrink)
Climate change, habitat loss, rising extinction rates - such problems call for more than just new policies and practices. They raise fundamental questions about the world and our place in it. What, for instance, is the natural world? Do we humans belong to it? Which parts of it are we morally obliged to protect? Drawing on an exceptionally wide range of sources, from virtue ethics to Buddhism, leading environmental philosopher Simon P. James sets out to answer these vitally important (...) questions. The book begins with a discussion of animal minds, before moving on to explore our moral relations with non-human organisms, ecosystems and the earth as a whole. James then considers environmental aesthetics, humanity's place in the natural world and the question of what it means to be wild. In the concluding chapter, he applies his findings to the topic of global climate change, building a strong moral case for urgent action. This accessible, entertainingly written book will be essential reading for students of the environment across the humanities and social sciences. It will, moreover, be an ideal guide for anyone keen to deepen their understanding of environmental issues. (shrink)
Ecological research and conservation practice frequently raise difficult and varied ethical questions for scientific investigators and managers, including duties to public welfare, nonhuman individuals (i.e., animals and plants), populations, and ecosystems. The field of environmental ethics has contributed much to the understanding of general duties and values to nature, but it has not developed the resources to address the diverse and often unique practical concerns of ecological researchers and managers in the field, lab, and conservation facility. The emerging field of (...) “ecological ethics” is a practical or scientific ethics that offers a superior approach to the ethical dilemmas of the ecologist and conservation manager. Even though ecological ethics necessarily draws from the principles and commitments of mainstream environmental ethics, it is normatively pluralistic, including as well the frameworks of animal, research, and professional ethics. It is also methodologically pragmatic, focused on the practical problems of researchers and managers and informed by these problems in turn. The ecological ethics model offers environmental scientists and practitioners a useful analytical tool for identifying, clarifying, and harmonizing values and positions in challenging ecological research and management situations. Just as bioethics provides a critical intellectual and problem-solving service to the biomedical community, ecological ethics can help inform and improve ethical decision making in the ecology and conservation communities. (shrink)
Collins’ method is to make an internal textual study of Spinoza’s doctrine on nature with emphasis on his general model of nature that underlies and governs his arguments on particular issues. Separate chapters are devoted to each of his early writings. Two chapters discuss the _Ethics. _Collins concludes with a unifying view of Spinoza’s perspective on nature that has a bearing upon many contemporary philosophical issues.
William James had the courage to experience the collision of European and American ways of thinking head on, and to emerge from it with a new philosophy - one displaying a remarkable vitality for dealing with the transformative issues at the core of the human condition. This easy to read introduction to his life and work explains why James' work is overwhelmingly valuable to us today in getting to grips with the spiritual dimension of human (...) experience. (shrink)
Those who have had the benefit of a reasonably lengthy familiarity with the philosophy of religion, and more particularly with the God question, may be so kind to a speaker long in exile from philosophy and only recently returned, as to subscribe, initially at least, to the following rather enormous generalization: meaning and truth, which to most propositions are the twin forces by which they are maintained, turn out in the case of claims about God, to be the (...) centrifugal forces by which they disintegrate. In simpler language, the greater the amount of intelligible meaning that can be given to the idea of God, the less grounds there would appear to be for assuming let alone asserting, that God exists, at least as a being distinguishable from all the things in this empirical world which are the source of the range of meanings available to us; on the other hand, the more we insist that God exists, a being over and above the things that make up this empirical world the less the amount of commonly available meaning we appear to be able to apply to God. Or, to put this in a manner which might obviate an obvious objection to it; either everything we know is tout ensemble , God, and then nothing in the world that we know is distinctively divine; or else nothing in this world is God, and then nothing that we appear to be able to know is God. That same formulation will work, it should be noted, even if we substitute for ‘things in the world’, ‘an aspect or aspects of things in the world’. (shrink)