If I correctly understand Amanda's point, then it seems to me that Thomson's pro-choice arguments (violinists, people seeds, and such) should be more persuasive than Tooley's (the kittens). Does anybody have any thoughts on whether that's actually the case (or on whether I'm applying Amanda's theory correctly, for that matter)?
I thought I should draw attention to the interesting post by PZ Myers; as another godless liberal who also happens to be a white male, I feel like I also perhaps don't give this issue as much of my attention as it deserves. I don't even know what the situation is around these parts, but I've heard that the heavy Catholic population has made Rhode Island surprisingly conservative on the abortion issue for a state that is overwhelmingly Democrats.
I'd like to contribute to the fund to prevent Fafnir and Giblets from starving to death or dying from preventable ailments (the Medium Lobster is, of course, above such petty concerns as food and health care). However, I am presently a bit unemployed myself, so all I can do is direct any more prosperous readers I might have to the wonderful opportunity to get a tote bag. Or at least something that looks like a tote bag. Maybe with adequate health care, the boys will feel well enough to join the Battlestar Galactica viewing tonight.
I must admit to being shocked at the anti-American bias in the academy revealed in a recent survey, reported here. At least, I believe Lyotard is French, and I know Habermas is some kind of European. No Americans even got enough support to be mentioned? Or perhaps the survey itself is biased against America! The rot goes deep.
I am somewhat sensitive to the doubt that philosophers have our intuitions corrupted by our training and so are not to be trusted, so I sometimes try to check what the inuitions of the more philosophically innocent are like. I never much liked Putnam's water/H20 case, so I tried that out on an innocent victim. Apparently, according to a detailed survey of a large sample size (1) which I assume is representative, XYZ is not water. Heavy water is water. Water ions are not water.
I introduced heavy water and ions into the equation because I alway found the view that water is H20 because we always intended to mean stuff having the same microstructure to be dubious in light of the fact that not all water has the same microstructure. Varying the number of neutrons doesn't matter. I had previously thought that varying the number of electrons didn't matter either (I thought it was generally held that water ions are water), but based on my exhaustive survey, both electrons and protons matter. But neutrons don't. So it's a matter of sufficiently similar microstructure, not a matter of the same microstructure.
That leads nicely into my theory that we don't identify natural kinds in the world, in the way that all these new realists and reference theorists like to insist; instead, we identify similarity clusters, which we like to have as big as possible. The more different similarities we can bundle together, the happier we are with a concept, and we tend to assume that once we've got a bunch of them together, there are probably more we don't know about, and we get unhappy when there turn out to be unexpected lacks of similarity in new areas (as with jadite and nephrite). But there's just a continuum of more and less extensive bundles of more and less tight similarities, not any sharp distinction between natural kinds and anything else.
Oh, my extensive surveys have also concluded not only that Gettier was wrong, but so was Plato. True belief is apparently enough for knowledge. No justification needed, and obviously accidents are just fine. Lots of philosophical problems are solved by that one.