Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quiz Feb.17

1. Who consoles Boethius in his prison cell but also reprimands him for having forgotten her? LH 41

2. (T/F) Nigel writes that if you believe in an omniscient God it's also plausible to believe your choices are free, despite the seeming paradox. LH 44

3. How does Lady Philosophy resolve the paradox of divine omniscience coupled with human free will? (OR: How, according to her, does God see things?) LH 44/45

4. Name an important philosopher who denied that animals are capable of feeling pain. P 68

5. (T/F) "Speciesism" is a neutral, non-pejorative term. P 71

6.(T/F) For Kant, harming animals is wrong because it damages OUR character and relationships. P 75

Image result for bentham animals suffer

BONUS: Which utilitarian is cited as disagreeing with Kant's view of animal suffering? P76


Peter Singer (@PeterSinger)
Are we making progress on animal welfare? My thoughts, briefly, in The Guadian:


1. How hard would you find it to take consolation from Philosophy, if you were awaiting your execution? Do you think you could become more "mindful" and less fearful, by studying and reflecting philosophically on the vicissitudes and randomness of fortune?

2. Is it in fact plausible to believe that your choices are both free and determined?

3. What's your definition of free will? Even if you could not have acted otherwise, in any particular situation, are you still free just because you did not know that?

4. If you agree that animals can feel pain, do you think it matters ethically how they process those feelings (or if they process them differently than the way humans do), or that they don't treat one another with a human form of regard?

5. Are you a speciesist? Why or why not?

6. Why do you think it's wrong to harm animals? Why do you think some people engage in blood sport with animals (cockfighting, dogfighting)?


  1. In response to: 4. If you agree that animals can feel pain, do you think it matters ethically how they process those feelings (or if they process them differently than the way humans do), or that they don't treat one another with a human form of regard?

    I feel that they do treat each other with a human form of regard. They clearly make friends, like and dislike certain individuals. They kill each other in light of their best interests: food, territory, mates. We kill for these things as well. We like and dislike certain people.

    In reality, they just do these things in another way that we see as barbaric because we have developed tools. I argue that we have stunted their ability to do so through domestication, widespread slaughter and our "ownership" of the world at large. We simply evolved, adapted to our environment and developed tools first. We then used these tools to our advantage.

    Many animals build homes, communities, some are even tribal. We simply choose not to see it to avoid a moral dilemma.

    We use other terms to make us feel more special, but here is a listing of what we call the groups and communities animals form..there are many that live in this fashion.


  2. On the topic of Lady Philosophy, I find it difficult to accept her position on true happiness. According to Nigel, she argues that a person can be truly happy, even locked in a prison cell awaiting death, if he or she refuses to abandon his/her philosophy and keeps everything in perspective. I think that though maintaining a personal philosophy even in the most difficult of times can help a person cope, it cannot produce true happiness. Restriction of freedom, violation, unresolved injuries and anger--all of these things are undeniable obstacles to happiness. While the circumstances that cause them are ongoing, stable, genuine happiness cannot be achieved. However, I think a personal philosophy will always help to ground people in difficult times and encourages healing when the difficulty passes.

  3. The reading in Philosophy the Basics about animals really got me thinking about my stance on the matter. I eat meat regularly, and I don't feel very much remorse about it, even though it really contradicts some of my major beliefs. I for one believe that all living beings are valuable, but that we do come above animals on a social hierarchy. My values conflict because I am okay with eating meat, even when I know that it was more than likely not humanely raised, but I'm very much against outright animal abuse or fighting for personal enjoyment. Cruelty to any being is never okay, but I feel for sustenance, as long as the suffering of the animal is minimal, eating meat can be justified. I'm not exactly certain my stance on the matter at the moment, but maybe discussion today will help me figure it out :)