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John_s_wilkins
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There are older logical diagrams utilising circles, of course. And one might think of the square of opposition and related diagrams as a form of Euler diagram. In particular I think Raimondo Lull's woodcuts are fancy such diagrams.
All ethical choices are pick and choose; you simply cannot give all your resources to everyone equally and live. So you choose to treat your children as a special responsibility, etc. Animals play a role in the ethical life of most societies, sure. Often they play it, though, as ritual icons rather than interest bearers (the famous paper "Why the Cassowary is not a Bird" shows this), and so they partake of human ethical concerns by proxy as role players in society. This doesn't automatically imply that all, or even some, animals have ethical considerations attached to them by all societies. There is an inferential step one might almost call an informal fallacy in animal rights arguments: that moral weight attaches in virtue of some natural property (the capacity to plan, feel pain, etc.). We might call it the naturalistic fallacy. But if moral weight attaches in virtue of paying a role in a society that constructs moral choices and obligations (i.e., a symbolic apes society like ours) then the inference fails to project much beyond that society. it has, in other words, almost nothing to do with ontology and everything to do with function. And that is itself a pretty good indicator of why animals should not be treated badly - it leads to socialised cruelty in humans.
"How like us is that very ugly beast, the ape" - Ennius (c. 239 – c. 169 BC)
Gigerenzer's work does not assume that fast and frugal heuristics are truth delivering so much as it defines them that way. He and his colleagues specifically state that they are considering environmental beliefs, that is to say, beliefs about the world that have determinate truth values. What he does not discuss are social beliefs, and ethical beliefs are at least in part beliefs about what other people think is right. On the machiavellian hypothesis, such beliefs are fitness enhancing, but have no environmental truth value.
Why must the west do anything at all? These people should settle their own polity without interference and without regard to the strategic interests of western oligarchies. As they, in fact, are. The basis for democracy is the sovereign will of the people, not the economic and military interests of the US administration and congress.
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Feb 24, 2011