Whole-Body Apoptosis and the Meanings of Lives

Daniel C. Dennett, Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University

When, if ever, should we intentionally shorten our lives? Programming our own deaths is not a subject many people seem to have thought much about. But think about it we must. For biotechnologies continue to advance, our psychological identities continue to depend on our being embodied, and more and more of us spend our last days in debilitated confused states. Were we to find a means of safely and effectively cutting short the suffering and frustration of older and older age, wouldn’t it be unethical not to use it?

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Loaves, Fishes, and the Human Side of Ecosystems

Les Kaufman

Professor Les Kaufman

Slow news days send hungry journalists back to the old springheads of mystery and metamorphosis: dark matter, how the brain really works, human cyborgs, life on other worlds. The nature of humanity’s relationship with Nature — the oldest campfire subject on the books, and kissing cousin to the meaning of life —

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The Meat Eaters

Would the controlled extinction of carnivorous species be a good thing?

Viewed from a distance, the natural world often presents a vista of sublime, majestic placidity. Yet beneath the foliage and hidden from the distant eye, a vast, unceasing slaughter rages. Wherever there is animal life, predators are stalking, chasing, capturing, killing, and devouring their

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Participants and Spectators

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There remains great controversy in philosophy over the issue of how we should make sense of what people do, of their actions, as opposed to explaining what happens to them. Some philosophers believe that if the question is: what distinguishes naturally occurring events like bodily movements in space from metaphysically distinct purposive doings initiated

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Moral Skepticism and Moral Disagreement: Developing an Argument from Nietzsche

By “moral skepticism,” I shall mean the view that there are no objective moral ‘facts’ or ‘truths.’ Moral skeptics from Friedrich Nietzsche to Charles Stevenson to John Mackie have appealed to the purported fact of widespread and intractable moral disagreement to support the skeptical conclusion. Typically, such arguments invoke anthropological reports about the moral views

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Narrative and Personal Good

It is now something of a commonplace that we think about our lives in story form.[1] According to a recent article in the New York Times, psychological research into the personal narratives we tell supports the idea that we are natural storytellers. [2] “The human brain,” the article reports, “has a natural affinity for narrative

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