I am therefore inclined to embrace the heretical conclusion that we have reason to desire the extinction of all carnivorous species.
Jeff McMahan — professor of philosophy at Rutgers University and a visiting research collaborator at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University — in The New York Times.
Really, such head-shaking ignorance doesn’t even merit a post of this short length.
Join Over 5,000 Subscribers!
Get exclusive content sent directly to your inbox.
I am therefore inclined to embrace the heretical conclusion that we have reason to desire the extinction of all philosophy departments.
My take :).
Q: What do computer programmers do?
A: Turn coffee into code.
Q: What do mathematicians do?
A: Turn coffe into proofs.
Q: What do philosophers do?
A: Turn coffee into urine.
Like the parasite which insures it’s demise by killing it’s host… Are we in danger of thinking ourselves to death?
Oh. The stupidity. It hurts my head. Does he know that there is an ecosystem of interdependence?
I’m inclined to claim “not even wrong” in this instance.
I forgot who said it:
“More wrong than a very wrong thing.”
“If I had been in a position to design and create a world, I would have tried to arrange for all conscious individuals to be able to survive without tormenting and killing other conscious individuals. ”
So he is second guessing God?
”un vrai pelleteur de nuage”
Yea, shoveling BULLSHIT at least retains the virtue of possibility.
I was not able to read the whole article, but I have to said that I do agree with the authors despair about the cruelty of nature. The fact that life cannot be preserved without killing seems so incredibly cruel.
He does not seem to care about plants, as if their death is acceptable.
I would believe in god if live could be sustained from the sun.
” I have to said that I do agree with the authors despair about the cruelty of nature. The fact that life cannot be preserved without killing seems so incredibly cruel.”
Personally, I despair that the moon is not made of green cheese, and there’s no man in it. Ruined my life…
Seriously, it is so impertinent and pointless to despair or complain in the slightest way about NATURE. It is what it is: causeless and purposeless. It just rolls along, evolving, according to the perfect logic of selection. It is for you to find your own purpose in all of that.
“NATURE…causeless and purposeless. It just rolls along, evolving, according to the perfect logic of selection.”
It can’t be purposeless if selection is defined as its purpose.
Isn’t it interesting that without advanced civilization their would be nothing like a vegan philosophy professor? Our system allows not only the unproductive but the utterly clueless to not just survive but to thrive. Just imagine the material benefits this fellow has amassed all at tax-payer expense (Rutgers is a state school). This phenomenon cannot continue ad infinitum – it IS unnatural.
Selection isn’t WHY things happen, it’s HOW things happen. Not in the sense of some ethereal “purpose, ” anyways.
anon Chris, is the “purpose” of a flame to oxidize fuel?
I’m with you on this Richard. It’s that your phrase, “according to the perfect logic of selection” seems to insinuate or ascribe human traits to nature; which I know is not your intent. My point was an issue of connotation.
We know that not all evolution is from simple to complex. If it were, progress could arguably be defined as a type of purpose. This notion that evolution can actually lead to less complexity has had me thinking about human “progress” and the inevitable decline that the West is just now beginning to clearly experience.
Prof. McMahan is the poster child for this decline – ironic too that he most likely defines himself as a “Progressive”.
Buy logic, I’m referring to pure mathematical logic — like the relative movement of gravitational bodies in the universe — which is amoral and purposeless — just the way things work. …Not human reason, of which pure logic is certainly a part, as well as values, ethics and other aspects of human construct.
Off Topic: Have you hiked up St. Joseph’s Hill? The Jones trail up to St. Joseph’s offers a great variety of elevation changes. The Manzanita Trail section (overlooking Lexington) has a nice long section of pebble free dirt that’s great for bare-footing. On bike or on foot this network of trails offers lots of variety and beautiful vistas, including on a clear day, a view of SF and the Marin headlands.
Nope, Chris, but I ought to. When Bea & I hike around here it’s usually San Antonio or Quick Silver down in Almaden.
But Ill keep a mental note handy.
What about those poor hydrogen molecules in the sun? Don’t they have the right to live too?
Oh…I see, we would be consuming light…I guess I have to go back and work on my model….get rid of entropy and a few other natural laws?
I understand logically that nature is not cruel or kind, just ongoing evolution.
We humans can easily fall into the thinking trap of assuming things have human feelings.
As a former vegetarian, I can empathize with him.
Cognitive dissonance is quite the bitch, you know?
Nature is cruel? Interesting thought. Too bad you had to put ”feelings” on a natural process (natural selection).
“Evolution is not a force but a process. Not a cause but a law.” -John Morley
nature isn’t cruel. that is a human take on a system that is built to provide an amazing amount of sustenance to allow and overwhelming diversity of life. Death is. Every living thing that has ever lived has or will die. for most forms of life, other life is necessary for it to exist. Why do you think there is so much abundance in nature? Why do most prey species have large broods? Because only a few will make it to adulthood and the rest will feed the land and those upon it. It’s a beautiful process and so delicately intertwined.
Over emotional human sensitivity has no place in the ecology of the planet.
What an idiot.
Quite a remarkable statement – people like him are dangerously erroneous and misguided.
“Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.” — F. Schiller
I wanted to post something snarky but I’m so dumbfounded by this “Philosopher” that the snarky side of my brain refuses to function. Maybe it’ll be back online after I eat some dead animal.
OMG, I couldn’t finish reading the article. I stopped here:
“Yet our relentless efforts to increase individual wealth and power are already causing massive, precipitate changes in the natural world. Many thousands of animal species either have been or are being driven to extinction as a side effect of our activities. Knowing this, we have thus far been largely unwilling even to moderate our rapacity to mitigate these effects.”
Um, I guess he doesn’t see how “vegetarian” plant crops are also part of these massive changes in the natural world…is he willing to forgo his vegan meal to mitigate these effects?
“Many thousands of animal species either have been or are being driven to extinction as a side effect of our activities.”
This would be due to the fact that our world is extremely overpopulated!
What the f**k? Seriously, someone tie this idiot down and force-feed him a ribeye… I typically do not comment on blogs I read, but this guy is so mind-blowing stupid I can’t help myself.
Holy mother of god, it amazes he how supposedly educated people can swirl in a vacuum of their own mental masturbation and come up with this stuff. How disconnected from reality and how shit works can one get and still be taken seriously?
That was pretty weakly argued for all the words he used. It is kind of ironic that of all the species on the planet, the one that developled a brain big enough to spend time on philosophy did so because he became a meat eater. No eating other animals then no philosophy.
I also have heard that dolphins go around and gang-rape each other. Chimps go to war and commit murder. Maybe in his dream world we should just get rid of animals all together.
Yet another ‘intellectual’ who sees the world as a food chain rather than a self-replenishing and complete circle.
Sometimes I find it funny that there are a lot of people walking around with yin/yang symbols on their tee-shirts, etc. and don’t seem to realized that its a statement about ultimate reality (the yin/yang is referred to as the tai chi or supreme ultimate) and that statement is that the universe just is.
In response to Einstein’s question “Is the universe friendly?” It is not friendly, it is not malicious, it just is.
Anyway, Richard the above was inspired by your statement “It is what it is: causeless and purposeless. It just rolls along, evolving, according to the perfect logic of selection. It is for you to find your own purpose in all of that.”
Yea, that reminds me of Ayn Rand who wrote often about the notion of a malevolent universe. It’s not. Not benevolent either. Existence exists and A is A. You take that raw material and go for it. The universe isn’t designed, but it can be exploited (for good or bad, in the context of our ethics).
This has been a really interesting threat, that led to a long discussion at home about the morality of nature. The concept of natural selection as just being, no morality, no justice…I know you are right, but I’m struggling emotionally with this.
Yes, we all struggle. For me, Richard Dawkins said it best in _River Out of Eden_:
The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is
beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes
me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten
alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with
fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping
parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation,
thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of
plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in
the population until the natural state of starvation and misery
In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical
forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get
hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any
rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The
universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should
expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no
good, nothing but pitiless indifference.
“THE HARMONY OF OVERWHELMING AND COLLECTIVE MURDER”
We’ve already destroyed carnivore predators in the Midwest, and look at the results. A deer population out of control, ruining the vegetation with sheer numbers. You can’t find a young cedar tree in many places anymore, because they are instantly eaten. Once the food supply suffers, then the herbivores REALLY suffer. The whole lot of them.
Now let’s talk about plant based foods. Different herbivores compete for the same plants. The predator snakes, owls and foxes are gone, now you have a rodent population out of control, all wanting to eat your grain stores.
Now that just unfair, Paul C, going off and injecting cause/effect, actions/consequences into the discussion. Who do you think you are? 🙂
There are FEELINGS at stake, here. Mind your manners.
[…] This is Your âPhilosophyâ on Drugs – Free the Animal […]
I thought he was trolling the vegans, and showing the absurdity of taking the vegetarianism ethics all the way. Until I found out that he is a vegetarian, and one of the proponents of vegetarian ethics and is actually taking it all the way in a serious manner! Wooh!
I think he should argue for genetically modifying cows to be much like the cow begging to be slaughtered in “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”
Someone needs to take an Ecology 101 class. If the Biology professors at Rutgers are anything like the profs at my old school, their head must have exploded when they read that statement.
I do not believe that a vegetarian or vegan has the right to speak to “animal suffering” if he’s never had the experience of raising and processing an animal for food. The kindest of animal-lovers I’ve ever met are those who subsistence-farm and -hunt. They remain attached to the land, not detached by misguided and erroneous assumptions.
Wow, what an eggheaded fool! This guy spends too much time in his head and not enough time in reality. He clearly doesn’t understand even the rudiments of biology or ecology. I also gather from the article that he doesn’t understand that human are animals.
Biology can’t be overcome through mental masturbation. Nature always and ultimately wins.
Now hold on, less wolves means more deer to eat! I mean, don’t kill them all, but a pack or two here and there would make a nice coat.