Saturday, May 15, 2004


Yesterday was a light blogging day, as you may have noticed. I did a bike rally in Flower Mound in the morning (my fifth of the year), graded Ethics examinations in the afternoon, and attended a commencement ceremony in the evening. I didn’t spend a lot of time at the computer. The weather here in Fort Worth is gorgeous. It’s warm and sunny, but we haven’t experienced high relative humidity yet. I need to mow my front yard this afternoon. I’ll be done grading by Tuesday morning, at which time my fourteen-week summer break begins. (Usually I have fifteen weeks, but I had an extra week during winter break this year.) I’m looking forward to blogging this summer, as well as doing scholarly research and writing. I’m writing an essay entitled “Taking Egoism Seriously.” I hope you visit my blogs regularly and keep those letters coming. Bear in mind that I’m always open to questions. If you have a philosophical question, ask away. I may or may not be able to answer it, but I’ll try. Think of me as Mr Philosophy Person. From Today's New York Times To the Editor: Re "U.S. Training African Forces to Uproot Terrorists" (front page, May 11): Do we learn nothing? We are now fighting in Afghanistan the warriors we trained there two decades ago. How long will it be before the ones we are training in the Sahara turn against us? Why do we go around the globe training our future enemies how better to fight us? MARK GARRETT Maitland, Fla., May 11, 2004 Harlan B. Miller on Philosophical Paralysis The ethical incoherence of our customary treatment of nonhumans has been demonstrated time and again by [Peter] Singer, [Tom] Regan, [S. F.] Sapontzis, [David] DeGrazia, [Evelyn] Pluhar, and others. Almost every member of the American Philosophical Association would agree that all mammals are conscious, and that all conscious experience is of some moral significance. But somehow this has no connection with one’s choice of food. Like the undergraduate who listens to, and actually understands, the refutation of naive relativism, and still writes in the final exam that “no one can judge another person’s morality,” many philosophers suffer from a sort of inferential paralysis. (Harlan B. Miller, review of Ethics into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement, by Peter Singer, Ethics: An International Journal of Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy 110 [January 2000]: 441-3, at 443 [italics in original]) From the Mailbag Hey, your article isn't a philosophical argument, and it doesn't explain or refute liberalism at all--it's a bunch of invective in which the terms 'liberal' and 'conservative' are interchangeable (I've seen the same exact things written of conservatives by liberals, except for 'desert' and the extremely simplistic part about greed). Somebody who teaches philosophy really ought to do better than this. If I were a conservative I'd ask you to get off my team--go back to the liberals! With all due respect - JF

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