Get Animals, Rights and Reason in Plutarch and Modern Ethics PDF

By Stephen T. Newmyer

ISBN-10: 0415240468

ISBN-13: 9780415240468

ISBN-10: 0415240476

ISBN-13: 9780415240475

This groundbreaking quantity explores Plutarch's precise survival within the argument that animals are rational and sentient, and that we, as people, needs to take observe in their interests.

Exploring Plutarch's 3 animal-related treatises, in addition to passages from his moral treatises, Stephen Newmyer examines arguments that, strikingly, foreshadow these present in the works of such trendy animal rights philosophers as Peter Singer and Tom Regan.

Unique in viewing Plutarch’s critiques not just within the context of historical philosophical and moral via, but additionally as a substitute within the heritage of animal rights hypothesis, Animals Rights and Reasons issues out how remarkably Plutarch differs from such anti-animal thinkers because the Stoics.

Classicists, philosophers, animal-welfare scholars and readers will all locate this e-book a useful and informative addition to their reading.

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Autobulus here ignores the knotty problems that trouble modern ethologists who ask whether a behavior that would in humans be acknowledged to be a particular emotion is in fact that emotion when similar behavior is witnessed in animals, and he chastises the Stoics for allowing only that a deer “as it were” ( σανε , 961F) feels fear, or a lion “as it were” shows anger. By the same token, he charges, one would have to conclude that an animal only “as it were” sees or even lives at all. Such assertions on the part of the Stoics, Autobulus concludes, are contrary to the clear evidence of the senses (παρ τ ν ν ργειαν, 961F).

The concluding reflections of Autobulus and Soclarus (962B–965D) that immediately precede the comparative analysis of the lifestyles of land and sea animals, and incorporate as well the discussion of the possibility of justice toward animals, serve to recapitulate a number of salient points in Plutarch’s case for rationality in animals, in particular his fundamental thesis that the reasoning faculty in animals differs from that in humans quantitatively rather than qualitatively. Foreshadowing the manner of argumentation employed in the comparative chapters, Plutarch now relies more heavily on specific examples of animal behaviors to support his observations.

99 In Plutarch’s view, common sense itself suggests that animals are rational, for to assume the opposite leads one into logical absurdities, as happens to the Stoics when their assumptions on animal rationality are followed to their conclusions. The Stoics held that the rational must be counterbalanced in the universe by the irrational, just as all would agree that the mortal must be 34 THE NATURE OF THE BEAST counterbalanced by the immortal and the destructible by the indestructible (960B). 100 Autobulus counters Soclarus’ reliance on the theory of opposites by admitting that no one would deny that there are irrational creatures in nature, but these are such entities as are not endowed with soul, while every besouled creature possesses at birth the intellectual faculties of sensation and imagination (π ν τ μψυχον α σθητικ ν ε θ ς ε ναι κα φανταστικ ν π φυκεν, 960D).

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Animals, Rights and Reason in Plutarch and Modern Ethics by Stephen T. Newmyer


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