Apparently illegal cases of animal rescue can be either open or covert: ‘open rescue’ is associated with organizations such as Animal Liberation Victoria and Animal Liberation New South Wales; ‘covert rescue’ is associated with the Animal Liberation Front. While the former seems to qualify non-controversially as civil disobedience I argue that at least some instances of the latter could also qualify as civil disobedience just so long as various norms of civility are satisfied. The case for such a move is (...) defended against objections that covertness is inherently suspect; a failure to accept responsibility; and inconsistent with civil disobedience as a form of communication. Against such objections, the paper emphasizes the importance of respecting the open texture of the concept of civil disobedience if it is to be of continuing relevance against the backdrop of changing forms of non-violent dissent. (shrink)
What is love? What is it to be loved? Can we trust love? Is it overrated? These are just some of the questions Tony Milligan pursues in his novel exploration of a subject that has occupied philosophers since the time of Plato. Tackling the mood of pessimism about the nature of love that reaches back through Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard, he examines the links between love and grief, love and nature, and between love of others and loving oneself. We love too (...) few things in the world, Milligan concludes, adding that we need to be loved too, to appreciate our own value and the worth of life itself. (shrink)
This book aims to contribute significantly to the understanding of issues of value which repeatedly emerge in interdisciplinary discussions on space and society. Although a recurring feature of discussions about space in the humanities, the treatment of value questions has tended to be patchy, of uneven quality and even, on occasion, idiosyncratic rather than drawing upon a close familiarity with state-of-the-art ethical theory. One of the volume's aims is to promote a more robust and theoretically informed approach to the ethical (...) dimension of discussions on space and society. While the contributions are written in a manner which is accessible across disciplines, the book still withstands scrutiny by those whose work is primarily on ethics. At the same time it allows academics across a range of disciplines an insight into current approaches toward how the work of ethics gets done. The issues of value raised could be used to inform debates about regulation, space law and protocols for microbial discovery as well as longer-range policy debates about funding. (shrink)
My primary concern will be to cast light upon the relation between animal guardians ('pet owners') and pets as a deep relation. I will proceed with a degree of indirectness by explaining why animal guardians can have an epistemically-privileged position when it comes to end-of-life decisions concerning pets. My contention is that they are best placed to grasp the relevant narrative considerations upon which end-of-life deliberation in marginal cases ought to depend. Such narrative-appreciation is built into the practice of treating (...) animals as pets. By virtue of having such a narrative appreciation, animal guardians can be best placed to grasp the life-role of pain and suffering. (shrink)
Animal Ethics has long been a highly contested area with debates driven by unease about various forms of animal harm, from the use of animals in scientific research to the farming of animals for consumption. Animal Ethics: The Basics is an essential introduction to the key considerations surrounding the ethical treatment of animals. Taking a thematic approach, it outlines the current arguments from animal agency to the emergence of the ‘political turn’. This book explores such questions as: Can animals think (...) and do they suffer? What do we mean by speciesism? Are humans special? Can animals be political or moral agents? Is animal rights protest ethical? Including outlines of the key arguments, suggestions for further reading and a glossary of key terms, this book is an essential read for philosophy students and readers approaching the contested field of Animal Ethics for the first time. (shrink)
If X loves Y does it follow that X has reasons to love a physiologically exact replacement for Y? Can love's reasons be duplicated? One response to the problem is to suggest that X lacks reasons for loving such a duplicate because the reason-conferring properties of Y cannot be fully duplicated. But a concern, played upon by Derek Parfit, is that this response may result from a failure to take account of the psychological pressures of an actual duplication scenario. In (...) the face of the actual loss of a loved one and the subsequent appearance of a duplicate, how could we resist the inclination to love? Drawing upon duplication scenarios from Parfit and from Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, this paper will argue that there could be reasons for X to come to love a duplicate of Y but that these would not be identical with the reasons that X had (and may still have) to love Y. Nor (in the case of an agent with a normal causal history) could they be reasons for a love that violates the requirement that love is a response to a relationship and therefore takes time to emerge. (shrink)
Novels and thought experiments can be pathways to different kinds of knowledge. We may, however, be hard pressed to say exactly what can be learned from novels but not from thought experiments. Headway on this matter can be made by spelling out their respective conditions for epistemic failure. Thought experiments fail in their epistemic role when they neither yield propositional knowledge nor contribute to an argument. They are largely in the business of ‘knowing that’. Novels, on the other hand can (...) be an epistemic success by yielding ‘knowledge how’. They can help us to improve our competences. (shrink)
This article sets out an account of false emotions and focuses upon the example of false grief. Widespread but short-lived mourning for well known public figures involves false grief on the part of at least some mourners. What is false about such grief is not any straightforward pretence but rather the inappropriate antecendents of the state in question and/or the desires that the relevant state involves. False grief, for example, often involves a desire for the experience itself, and this can (...) be satisfied. By contrast, real grief is utterly without hope. (We cannot have the deceased back again.) However, because false emotions involve some desire, they can be motivating and may lead us to engage in actions and efforts of discernment that can result in the emergence of the real emotion that they mimic. For this reason, they are not always unwelcome. (shrink)
For sexual purposes, animals are off limits. But if we regard attributions of species membership as unimportant in familiar ethical contexts, then it may be difficult to explain why this is the case. Someone who is unimpressed by appeals to species membership as a basis for favoring humans over non-humans may remain similarly unimpressed by such appeals when sex becomes an issue. Species barriers may seem to be beside the point. Peter Singer’s attitude toward human sexual relations with non-humans leans (...) heavily in this direction. In a notorious book review where more was perhaps implied than said, Singer advanced the claim that, in the absence of any cruelty or physical harm, sexual relations with non-human animals would not be “an offence to our status and dignity.” And, insofar as we do not regard status and dignity as the main issue here, we may be inclined to agree. However, what follows will lean in the opposite direction to Singer and will argue that once we have set aside any consideration of status and dignity, we will still have significant grounds for ruling out familiar forms of sex with familiar, terrestrial, non-human animals under ordinary circumstances that fall short of the fictionally-extreme. However, the grounds in question turn out to concern something other than species membership simpliciter. (shrink)
Acknowledgements: thanks go to Margarita Mauri who arranged for an earlier version of this paper to be delivered at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Barcelona in 2011. I have incorporated several useful and improving comments made by Margarita and colleagues.
Space exploration and off-world commercial activity engage both skeptics and its enthusiasts. What does seem clear, however, is that such activity has increased and is set to expand further during the present century. This book explores some of the emerging ethical issues of the space frontier and evaluates the prospects for the medium-range future.
This volume brings together a collection of essays on the philosophy of love by leading contributors to the discussion. Particular emphasis is placed upon the relation between love, its character and appropriateness and the objects towards which it is directed: romantic and erotic partners, persons, ourselves, strangers, non-human animals and art. It includes contributions by Aaron Ben Ze’ev (‘Ain’t Love Nothing but Sex Misspelled?’), by Angelika Krebs (‘Between I and Thou – On the Dialogical Nature of Love’), Aaron Smuts (‘Is (...) it Better to Love Better Things?’) and Jan Bransen (‘Loving a Stranger’). By focusing upon the different objects of love, and how the lover enters into a relation with them, the collection pushes beyond the recent debates on reasons for love and breaks new and important ground. (shrink)
To desire is to want, but not necessarily to be disposed to do anything. That is to say, desiring does not necessarily involve having any disposition to act. To lend plausibility to this view I appeal to the example of whimsical desires that no action could help us to realise. What may lead us to view certain desires as whimsical is precisely the absence of any possibility of realizing them. While such desires might seem less than full-blooded, I argue that (...) we can have full-blooded desires concerning such matters because of our (non-whimsical) concern for others. That is to say, whimsical desires can have a borrowed seriousness. The article goes on to strengthen the separability of dispositions and desires by narrowing down the concept of triggering conditions for a disposition. If we allow the triggering conditions to be too broad then it will always make sense to say that someone with a desire simply must have a disposition because, all other things being equal, they would bring about what they desire if they were able to do so. (shrink)
The following paper sets out a view of humility that is derived from Iris Murdoch but which differs from a strict Murdochian approach in two important respects. Firstly, any association with self-abnegation is removed; and secondly, the value of a limited form of pride (recognition pride) is affirmed. The paper is nevertheless strongly continuous with her work, in the sense that it builds upon her rejection of universalizability on the specific grounds that we have varying moral competences. A liberal commitment (...) to equality should not be allowed to spill out of the political domain. We are not all equal when it comes to the demands of morality. Humility is treated as a just discernment of our own limited moral competences. As such, it is a recognition of our particularity and not a form of radical self-effacement. (shrink)
This book describes the state of astrobiology in Europe today and its relation to the European society at large. With contributions from authors in more than 20 countries and over 30 scientific institutions worldwide, the document illustrates the societal implications of astrobiology and the positive contribution that astrobiology can make to European society. The book has two main objectives: 1. It recommends the establishment of a European Astrobiology Institute (EAI) as an answer to a series of challenges relating to astrobiology (...) but also European research, education, and society at large. 2. It also acknowledges the societal implications of astrobiology, and thus the role of the social sciences and humanities in optimizing the positive contribution that astrobiology can make to the lives of the people of Europe and the challenges they face. (shrink)
Gilbert Harman claims that we would be better off if we abandoned appeal to character in order to explain action. He argues that the idea of character is a hangover from folk psychology and conflicts with the more reliable evidence of experimental psychology. The cash value of abandoning any appeal to character is given in the following terms: appeals to character reinforce our stereotyping and general misunderstanding of others, abandoning it will help to improve the quality of our understanding of (...) others. What follows will be part contrast and part argument. My concern will be to reject Harman’s character scepticism by resisting his account of what it is to have a character trait. He fails to give desire its due. To set out a contrasting desire-centred view I will draw upon Iris Murdoch. The paper concludes by challenging Harman’s treatment of the experimental evidence. (shrink)
A broadly liberal politics requires political compassion; not simply in the sense of compassion for the victims of injustice, but also for opponents confronted through political protest and (more broadly) dissent. There are times when, out of a sense of compassion, a just cause should not be pressed. There are times when we need to accommodate the dreadfulness of loss for opponents, even when the cause for which they fight is unjust. We may also have to come to terms with (...) the irreversibility of historic injustice and reconcile. Political compassion of this sort carries risks. Pushed too far, it may weaken our commitment to justice through too great a sympathy for those on the other side. It would be convenient if such compassion could be constrained by a clear set of political principles. But principles run the quite different risk of promoting an 'ossified dissent', unable to respond to change. In this book, Tony Milligan argues that principles are only a limited guide to dissent in unique, contingent circumstances. They will not tell us how to deal with the truly difficult cases such as the following: Should the Lakota celebrate Thanksgiving? When is the crossing of a picket-line justified? What kind of toleration must animal rights advocates cultivate to make progress within a broadly liberal political domain? And how should we respond to the entangling of aspiration towards social justice with anger and prejudice (such as the 'anti-Zionist' discourse)? We may be tempted to answer these questions by presupposing that alignment (the business of choosing sides) is ultimately more important than compassion, but sometimes political compassion trumps alignment. Sometimes, being on the right side is not the most important thing. (shrink)
Are time machines philosophically possible? Is there something fundamentally illogical about the very notion of time travel? Tony Milligan introduces some of the key arguments in this amusing dialogue.
There are strong links between astrobiology and environmental concern. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe—including Earth. Understanding life, and in particular the basic conditions for life, is important for our ability to create a sustainable future on Earth. The connection goes both ways, however. The preservation of biodiversity and of pristine environments on Earth is of the greatest importance for our ability to study life, its origin, distribution and future. Of special (...) interest from an astrobiology perspective is the preservation of areas with conditions that can serve as analogues to extraterrestrial environments, areas with conditions similar to those under which life originated on Earth, and in general environments where extreme adaptations can be studied. Astrobiology also presents some direct environmental challenges that need to be considered, namely in the form of forward and back contamination. Both issues need to be approached from a technical perspective, but also from a societal perspective. And both must be understood within a broader context of ensuring the sustainability of practices, both scientific and commercial. (shrink)
Iris Murdoch's philosophical texts depart significantly from familiar analytic discursive norms. (Such as the norms concerning argument structure and the minimization of rhetoric.) This may lead us to adopt one of two strategies. On the one hand an assimilation strategy that involves translation of Murdoch's claims into the more familiar terms of property-realism (the terminology of ethical naturalism and non-naturalism). On the other hand, there is the option of adopting a crossover strategy and reading Murdoch as (in some sense) a (...) philosopher who belongs more properly to the continental tradition. The following article argues that if familiar Quinean claims about ontological commitment and Murdoch's account of metaphor are both broadly correct then the assimilation strategy must fail to produce a faithful translation. Nonetheless, Murdoch's connection to the analytic tradition is more than genealogical, it is more than a matter of her writing (initially) in response to analytic contemporaries before branching off in a more continental direction. While she departs from familiar analytic discursive norms, she continues to accept most of the epistemic values (such as clarity and simplicity) that the norms embody. (shrink)
There are a number of candidate rationales for the settlement of Mars. These are considered in Sect. 10.1. At least one of them is economically plausible: its use as a base of operations for asteroid mining in the Main Belt. This rationale suggests that environmental protection on Mars needs to be considered in a broader context than that of the planet alone. More specifically, the authors argue in Sect. 10.2 that planetary environmental protection is partly a matter of containment and (...) so requires a framing principle. Section 10.3 supplies such a principle for protection, “the 1/8 principle”: while economic growth in space remains exponential and comparable to historical patterns on Earth, we should use no more than 1/8 of the available resources, in order to secure a reasonable ‘breaking distance’ before we reach a point of super-exploitation. Section 10.4 examines the difficulties of applying such a principle to Mars, the need for trade-offs and special weighting for special strategic resources such as uncollapsed lava tubes. Section 10.5 points out the ease with which the principle can be turned into policy options and its good matchup with human practices of valuing and use. The latter considerations may not be decisive, but they do count strongly in its favour. (shrink)
In analytic moral philosophy it is standard to use unrealistic puzzles to set up moral dilemmas of a sort that I will call Lockean Puzzles. This paper will try to pinpoint just what is and what is not problematic about their use as a teaching tool or component part of philosophical arguments. I will try to flesh out the claim that what may be lost sight of in such Lockean puzzling is the personal dimension of moral deliberation—for example, moral problems (...) differ from technical problems in the sense that they are non‐transferable, we cannot hand them over to others for solution. (shrink)
Iris Murdoch holds that the best sort of life is a figurative death of the self. This figurative death is informed by an acceptance of real mortality. A recognition of mortality is supposed to help redirect our attention away from self and towards others. Yet these others are also mortal but (unlike the self) remain worthy of love, care and consideration. That is to say, the significance of mortality for Murdoch depends on whose mortality is at issue, whether it is (...) the mortality of the self or of the other that is in question. My rejection of two ways of making sense of this self/other asymmetry is used to motivate the view that her attitude towards death requires a prior commitment to unselfing. And this is a problematic moral project. (shrink)
In analytic moral philosophy it is standard to use unrealistic puzzles to set up moral dilemmas of a sort that I will call Lockean Puzzles. This paper will try to pinpoint just what is and what is not problematic about their use as a teaching tool or component part of philosophical arguments. I will try to flesh out the claim that what may be lost sight of in such Lockean puzzling is the personal dimension of moral deliberation—for example, moral problems (...) differ from technical problems in the sense that they are non-transferable, we cannot hand them over to others for solution. (shrink)