Saturday, May 15, 2004

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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