Hamlet tells Horatio that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in his philosophy. In Double Vision, philosopher and literary critic Tzachi Zamir argues that there are more things in Hamlet than are dreamt of--or at least conceded--by most philosophers. Making an original and persuasive case for the philosophical value of literature, Zamir suggests that certain important philosophical insights can be gained only through literature. But such insights cannot be reached if literature is deployed merely (...) as an aesthetic sugaring of a conceptual pill. Philosophical knowledge is not opposed to, but is consonant with, the literariness of literature. By focusing on the experience of reading literature as literature and not philosophy, Zamir sets a theoretical framework for a philosophically oriented literary criticism that will appeal both to philosophers and literary critics. Double Vision is concerned with the philosophical understanding induced by the aesthetic experience of literature. Literary works can function as credible philosophical arguments--not ones in which claims are conclusively demonstrated, but in which claims are made plausible. Such claims, Zamir argues, are embedded within an experiential structure that is itself a crucial dimension of knowing. Developing an account of literature's relation to knowledge, morality, and rhetoric, and advancing philosophical-literary readings of Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and King Lear, Zamir shows how his approach can open up familiar texts in surprising and rewarding ways. (shrink)
Many people think that animal liberation would require a fundamental transformation of basic beliefs. We would have to give up "speciesism" and start viewing animals as our equals, with rights and moral status. And we would have to apply these beliefs in an all-or-nothing way. But in Ethics and the Beast, Tzachi Zamir makes the radical argument that animal liberation doesn't require such radical arguments--and that liberation could be accomplished in a flexible and pragmatic way. By making a case for (...) liberation that is based primarily on common moral intuitions and beliefs, and that therefore could attract wide understanding and support, Zamir attempts to change the terms of the liberation debate. Without defending it, Ethics and the Beast claims that speciesism is fully compatible with liberation. Even if we believe that we should favor humans when there is a pressing human need at stake, Zamir argues, that does not mean that we should allow marginal human interests to trump the life-or-death interests of animals. As minimalist as it sounds, this position generates a robust liberation program, including commitments not to eat animals, subject them to factory farming, or use them in medical research. Zamir also applies his arguments to some questions that tend to be overlooked in the liberation debate, such as whether using animals can be distinguished from exploiting them, whether liberationists should be moral vegetarians or vegans, and whether using animals for therapeutic purposes is morally blameless. (shrink)
Is nonhuman animal-assisted therapy a form of exploitation? After exploring possible moral vindications of AAT and after establishing a distinction between "use" and "exploitation," the essay distinguishes between forms of animal-assisted therapy that are morally unobjectionable and those modes of it that ought to be abolished.
This paper formulates and defends a version of moral vegetarianism. Since eating animals is not causally connected to their death, I begin with analyzing the moral status of consumer actions that do not, taken on their own, harm animals . I then formulate a version of moral vegetarianism . Three different opponents of moral vegetarianism are then distinguished and criticized . I then take up the argument according to which eating animals benefits them . I close with the question of (...) the desirability of collective vegetarianism from the point of view of animals. (shrink)
abstract I distinguish between four arguments commonly used to justify experimentation on animals (I). After delineating the autonomy of the question of experiments from other topics within animal ethics (II), I examine and reject each of these justifications (III–VI). I then explore two arguments according to which animal‐dependent experimentation should continue even if it is immoral (VII). I close with the way in which liberationists’ strategic considerations modify the moral conclusions of my analysis.
A "welfare-based defense" of a practice involving nonhuman animals presents the examined practice as promoting the animal's own interests. Such justifications surface in relation to various interactions between human and nonhuman animals. Sometimes such arguments appear persuasive. Sometimes they form self-serving rationalizations. This paper attempts to clarify and specify the distinction between plausible and dubious applications of such arguments. It then examines a detailed welfare-based defense of zoos.
By way of attempting to explain comic pleasure, this paper proposes an outline for an inclusive theory of comedy — ‘inclusive’ in the sense of amalgamating various past contributions that tend to be thought of as mutually exclusive. More specifically, this essay will (a) propose a teleological definition of comedy, (b) integrate seemingly competing accounts of laughter into a relatively unified explanation, (c) clarify the connection between laughter and comedy, (d) defend a flexible ontology of comic response that enables the (...) coexistence of genuinely competing paradigms of the mind (which, in turn, underlie seemingly competing theories of comic reception), and (e) will suggest how comic pleasure forms an indispensable addition to a theory of comedy. (shrink)
In this article I attempt to present an explanation that integrates the five features needed for the cognitive (knowledge‐yielding) linking of philosophy and literature. These features are, first, explaining how a literary work can support a general claim. Second, explaining what is uniquely gained through concentrating on such support patterns as they appear in aesthetic contexts in particular. Third, explaining how features of aesthetic response are connected with knowledge. Four, maintaining a distinction between manipulation and adequate persuasion. Five, achieving all (...) this without invoking what David Novitz has called “a shamelessly functional and didactic view of literature.”. (shrink)
“Speciesism” accords greater value to human beings and their interests. It is supposed to be opposed to a liberationist stance, since it is precisely the numerous forms of discounting of animal interests which liberationists oppose. This association is mistaken. In this paper I claim that many forms of speciesism are consistent with upholding a robust liberationist agenda. Accordingly, several hotly disputed topics in animal ethics can be set aside. The significance of such clarification is that synthesizing liberationism with speciesism substantially (...) modifies some of the coordinates of the debates over animal ethics. Secondly, defusing some counterintuitive implications of liberationism may make liberationism more popular than it currently is. Liberationism would no longer demand the eradication of ingrained speciesist intuitions. The paper finally presents a form of speciesism that does oppose liberationism, but is too strong and (fortunately) shared by few. (shrink)
Adaptations have varied relations to their source material, making it hard to formulate a general theory. Avoiding the attempt, we characterize a narrower, more unified class of reflective adaptations which communicate an active and sometimes critical relation to the source's framework. We identify the features of reflective adaptations which give them their distinctive interest. We show how these features are embodied in Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, an adaptation with a radically shifted perspective on the relation between character and situation (...) compared to its Shakespearean source. We identify some of the artistic choices through which this response to the source is conveyed, such choices being a characteristic feature of reflective adaptations. (shrink)
Engaging with heady topics such as knowledge, meaningful agency, vitality, and gratitude, Ascent advances an argument regarding Milton's Paradise Lost and the role of the imagination in religion. Miltonists are offered not a contextualization of Milton's views relative to his contemporaries or predecessors, but rather an attempt to bring him into conversation with pressing topics of contemporary philosophy.
This book assembles a team of leading literary scholars and philosophers to probe philosophical questions that assert themselves in Shakespeare's Hamlet, including issues about subjectivity, knowledge, sex, grief, and self-theatricalization.
I attempt to explain Plato's choice of dialogue through an analysis of what he regarded as the conditions of knowledge acquisition. I see the main contribution of the paper in exposing the way in which time and pain are, for Plato, conditions of knowledge acquisition. Plato endorsed the “learning through suffering,” or pathei mathos, convention, central to Greek drama, and did so not through theory but through the praxis some of the dialogues employ. This addition of experiential components to the (...) more cognitively oriented definitions of knowledge that Socrates uses complicates what these works may say about human knowledge. I analyze these tensions and the bearing they may have on the question of Plato's choice of dialogue, that is, on his rhetoric in practice. The requirements for actual persuasion, as Plato specifies them in the Seventh Letter,, are only partially met by the fictional scenes of argumentation and knowledge conveying that Plato presents. However, such scenes permit transcending some of the limitations of written, systematic, nonpersonal discourse. The presentation of such interactions to a real reader through dialogue turns into a mode of writing that is closer to meeting the demands of actual communication of knowledge – at least knowledge regarding what Plato envisaged as being the highest sort of epistemic communication. (shrink)
Olfactoric imagery is abundantly employed in the Bramhall-Hobbes controversy. I survey some examples and then turn to the possible significance of this. I argue that by forcing Hobbes into the figurative exchange Bramhall scores points in terms of moving the controversy into ground that is not covered by the limited view of rationality that Hobbes is committed to according to his rhetoric (at least as Bramhall perceives it). Bramhall clearly wants to move from cool argument to a more affluent rhetorical (...) appeal. I argue that choosing such a richer epistemology coheres with Bramhall. (shrink)
This response to “Morality or Moralism?” by Emilie Hache and Bruno Latour takes issue with their distinction between two kinds of morality. Hache and Latour see a difference between morality as sensitivity and morality as principled claims regarding moral considerability. They then argue for form-content contradiction/harmony between these purportedly opposing senses. In responding, Zamir argues that these operations can be construed as distinct kinds of sensitivity. Arguments that advocate bringing nonhuman animals into moral consideration can be abstract and general. But (...) this does not mean that such arguments or those who make them are insensitive. Some kinds of sensitivity are attuned to general facts rather than to particulars. Hache and Latour thus err by reducing moral sensitivity to a response to particulars, which leads them to perceive form-content tensions where these do not exist. Zamir's response also argues against a tendency in posthumanist animal ethics—a tendency shared by Hache and Latour's article—to refuse descending to discuss the actual practical questions regarding animals that Anglo-American animal ethics explores. Zamir examines (and rejects) some possible posthumanist arguments that might support remaining philosophically uninvolved in these discussions. (shrink)
The first thought that comes to mind when reading Richard Shusterman’s The Adventures of the Man in Gold is how refreshingly unorthodox its author is. Shusterman is a respected aesthetician, responsible for books such as Surface and Depth: Dialectics of Criticism and Culture, Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics, and Pragmatist Aesthetic: Living Beauty, Rethinking Art —all disciplined, carefully argued contributions to the philosophy of art and/or the body. The new book steps off path. It presents a different (...) kind of philosophical intervention, one that encourages reconsidering philosophical methodology and its less-explored possibilities. You will be reading a work... (shrink)