Why do we think differently from one another? Why do religious people adhere to their faith even against reason, whilst atheist thinkers label it “nonsense”? Why do some judges turn more to moral values and others less? Why do we attach different meanings to the same words?
These questions can be tackled on psychological or sociological levels, but we can also analyze the subjects on the epistemological level. That is the purpose of this book.
Thoughts and Ways of Thinking offers Source Theory as a single explanation for epistemic processes and their religious, legal and linguistic derivatives. The idea is simple: our senses, our understanding, our memory, the testimonies that we trust, and many other objects transmit data to us and so shape our beliefs. In this function they serve as our truth sources. Different beliefs stem from different sources or different hierarchies between same sources. This notion is formalized here through the new tool of Source Calculus, and, after balancing its relativistic consequences by adding pragmatic constraints, it is applied to the philosophies of religion, law and language. With this unified theory, old doubts are framed in new perspectives, and some of them even find their solution.Book Details
In this book, Jan Deckers addresses the most crucial question that people must deliberate in relation to how we should treat other animals: whether we should eat animal products.
Many people object to the consumption of animal products from the conviction that it inflicts pain, suffering, and death upon animals. This book argues that a convincing ethical theory cannot be based on these important concerns: rather, it must focus on our interest in human health. Tending to this interest demands not only that we extend speciesism—the attribution of special significance to members of our own species merely because they belong to the same species as ourself—towards nonhuman animals, but also that we safeguard the integrity of nature.
In this light, projects that aim to engineer the genetic material of animals to reduce their capacities to feel pain and to suffer are morally suspect. The same applies to projects that aim to develop in-vitro flesh, even if the production of such flesh should be welcomed on other grounds.
The theory proposed in this book is accompanied by a political goal, the ‘vegan project’, which strives for a qualified ban on the consumption of animal products. Deckers also provides empirical evidence that some support for this goal exists already, and his analysis of the views of others—including those of slaughterhouse workers—reveals that the vegan project stands firm in spite of public opposition.
Many charges have been pressed against vegan diets, including: that they alienate human beings from nature; that they increase human food security concerns; and that they are unsustainable. Deckers argues that these charges are legitimate in some cases, but that, in many situations, vegan diets are actually superior.
For those who remain doubtful, the book also contains an appendix that considers whether vegan diets might actually be nutritionally adequate.Book Details
The public is generally enthusiastic about the latest science and technology, but sometimes research threatens the physical safety or ethical norms of society. When this happens, scientists and engineers can find themselves unprepared in the midst of an intense science policy debate. In the absence of convincing evidence, technological optimists and skeptics struggle to find common values on which to build consensus. The best way to avoid these situations is to sidestep the instigating controversy by using a broad risk-benefit assessment as a risk exploration tool to help scientists and engineers design experiments and technologies that accomplish intended goals while avoiding physical or moral dangers.
Dangerous Science explores the intersection of science policy and risk analysis to detail failures in current science policy practices and what can be done to help minimize the negative impacts of science and technology on society.
Available February 2020