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Re: Striking a blow against the predatory guilds
I apologise on behalf of my profession. A considerable number of philosophers,
both in ethics and metaphysics, fail to understand that one cannot pull
biological examples out of one's... intuitions. This is especially true of
those who think language is a guide to the world.
Not all philosophers do this, of course. I suspect this particular one was
chosen just to be provocative in the NYT, as several others have been.
On 21/09/2010, at 12:30 AM, Lee Hall wrote:
> "...it would be instrumentally good if predatory animal species were
> to become extinct and replaced by new herbivorous species, provided
> that this could occur without ecological upheaval involving more harm
> than would be prevented by the end of predation."
> He hasn't really thought this through all the way has he? That last
> part of his thought above shows just how poorly he understands
> population ecology. Herbivores, without natural predators, would not
> exist in some Eden-like state (complete with cherubs and pan flutes)
> and would certainly require culling. So what's more horrific: natural
> predators processing animals into carcasses and introducing nutrients
> into an ecosystem, or do we want another 1800's style Bison slaughter?
> Lee Hall
> Paleontology Undergraduate
> Museum of the Rockies
> Montana State University
> Bozeman, MT
> On Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:47 AM, evelyn sobielski <email@example.com> wrote:
>>> "Here then is where the matter stands thus far. It would be
>>> good to prevent the the vast suffering and countless violent
>>> deaths caused by predation. There is therefore one reason to
>>> think that it would be instrumentally good if predatory
>>> animal species were to become extinct and replaced by new
>>> herbivorous species, provided that this could occur without
>>> ecological upheaval involving more harm than would be
>>> prevented by the end of predation. The claim that existing
>>> animal species are sacred or irreplaceable is subverted by
>>> the moral irrelevance of the criteria for individuating
>>> animal species. I am therefore inclined to embrace the
>>> heretical conclusion that we have reason to desire the
>>> extinction of all carnivorous species, and I await the usual
>>> fate of heretics when this article is open to comment."
>> How about starting with that pesky scavenger-turned-hyperpredator, _Nudipan
>> narrans_ (or would that be "Nudo-"?), often known by another name which was,
>> however, apparently never typified.
>> Get rid of these obnoxious critters, one at a time, and when we're though
>> with that I'd guess there won't be any more such complaints.
John Wilkins, Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Bond Uni
Associate, Philosophy, University of Sydney
"Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows
suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'."