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How Language Informs Mathematics

Bridging Hegelian Dialectics and Marxian Models

Series:

Dirk Damsma

In How Language Informs Mathematics Dirk Damsma shows how Hegel’s and Marx’s systematic dialectical analysis of mathematical and economic language helps us understand the structure and nature of mathematical and capitalist systems. More importantly, Damsma shows how knowledge of the latter can inform model assumptions and help improve models.

His book provides a blueprint for an approach to economic model building that does away with arbitrarily chosen assumptions and is sensitive to the institutional structures of capitalism. In light of the failure of mainstream economics to understand systemic failures like the financial crisis and given the arbitrary character of most assumptions in mainstream models, such an approach is desperately needed.

Eugenia Natoli, Nadja Ziegler, Agnés Dufau and Maria Pinto Teixeira

Abstract

Besides the population of pet cats, another feline population that has regular and frequent relationships with the human population, is represented by unowned, free-roaming domestic cats. It is incontestable that part of human beings is responsible for the growing number of unwanted cats. The problems raised by the existence of free-roaming cat population range from acoustic and hygienic nuisance (because of loud vocalizations during the breeding season and bad smell due to sprayed urine from tomcats) to public health threat (because of the potential spread of zoonotic diseases and of diseases to pet cats and other species), to predation of wildlife (it can cause disruption of ecosystems). Undoubtedly, unowned free-roaming cat population has to be managed but, in the third millennium, human control strategies have to have an ethical dimension. In this paper, we propose an analysis of the National Laws in France, Spain, UK, Austria, Portugal and Italy. Based on the knowledge of domestic cat behavior, we suggest that when the TNR strategy for controlling domestic cat populations is applied by law in the mentioned countries, the basic needs and welfare of the species are respected.

Kreative Gegensätze

Der Streit um den Nutzen der Philosophie an der mittelalterlichen Pariser Universität

Series:

Marcel Bubert

In Kreative Gegensätze Marcel Bubert analyses the debates among medieval scholastics on the social usefulness of learned knowledge in their specific social and cultural contexts. In particular, he shows how the skepticism towards the scholars as well as the tensions between the University of Paris, the French royal court, and the citizens of Paris had profound effects on the scientific community, and led to very different views on the utility of philosophy. Some Masters responded to the expectations of society by emphasizing the autonomy of philosophical cognition. Others departed radically from this notion of science “for its own sake”, and created decidedly “practical” concepts of knowledge. The examination of these contentious relations shows how the dynamics of mutual demarcation within this “constellation” became intellectually prolific by way of generating highly original and innovative responses to the question of the utility of philosophy.

Yasemin Salgirli Demirbas, Begum Saral, C. Etkin Safak and Gonçalo Graça Da Pereira

Abstract

Turkey is one of the developing countries facing a serious free-ranging dog problem. Although the Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return (CNVR) method has been implemented in shelters since 2004, the population of free ranging dogs continues to increase. In this review, Turkey’s control strategy for free-ranging dog population, its effectiveness and other factors affecting free-ranging dog control are discussed.

E. Natoli, G. Cariola, G. Dall’Oglio and P. Valsecchi

Abstract

The management of free-roaming dog populations is an important matter both for the local administrations that have to manage this problem and for the defenders of the animals’ rights. This review’s first objective is to analyse the legal status of the free-roaming dogs in some European countries. A second purpose of this work is to ask questions and to consider the ethical aspects of the already-existing strategies to control free-roaming dog populations. Italian Law no. 281, which was enacted in 1991, was intended to solve the problem of free-roaming dogs in Italy; at the same time, apparently in contradiction with this objective, the law called for a no-kill policy to be enforced throughout the whole national territory. Thus, for a dog that has no chances of adoption, the ethical debate has moved to the question of whether a “life imprisonment” is better than the “capital punishment”. In terms of ethical aspects of control strategies of free-roaming dog populations, we believe that the Italian national law, and its regional applications, are more functional than the other laws of Westernized countries, with the appropriate measures suggested and with a more accurate control on their application.

Sara Fragoso

Abstract

Despite the growing popularity of cats as pets, many cats end up housed for long periods of time in shelters. These shelters are increasingly under the spotlight by local communities in the way in which they deal with problematic issues, for they may be seen as an example or as target of criticism. In regards to cat (re)homing there are several relevant welfare and ethical issues. Shelters should have a proactive and well-defined strategy to improve welfare and reduce the number of sheltered cats. Those with the authority to make decisions should consider the available resources and hold in perspective the viewpoints of others, especially that of the cat. The challenge is to avoid judgments based on our own quality of life standards which may lead to decisions based on emotional factors to manage the situation. Is it moral for humans to poses the power to determine a cat’s fate? Despite not having an answer for what is the right solution, the way to proceed should be clearly defined. If there is a strategy and a plan, there is an opportunity to readjust and improve. What are the main reasons for all these problems? Most of the related questions don’t have direct answers. However, instead of reacting in order to solve the problem, we should proactively focus on prevention, mainly through population control and education, knowing that what seems good and right at that moment might be considered wrong and obsolete in a near future, in the light of the development of scientific knowledge and societal values.

Andrew N. Rowan, Tamara Kartal and John Hadidian

Abstract

The estimated populations of domestic cats in the USA, whether pets, stray or feral, vary widely and have changed significantly over the past forty to fifty years. Accurate estimates of these populations are necessary to determine appropriate policy responses to calls to control domestic cats and to determine the impact of domestic cats on wildlife populations. Domestic cat predation on wild animals is being hotly debated in Australia, New Zealand and the USA (but much less so in the UK). The paper explores some of the different policy approaches being promoted in each country and examines the status of cats in each country. For example, although there is strong movement to control cat predation in New Zealand, the country also has the highest relative (to humans) population of pet cats in the world, despite the vulnerability of native animals to predation by introduced carnivores.

Bernard Rollin

Abstract

It is important to stress at the beginning of our discussion the current nature of animal welfare in the US and Europe, because ideas that develop there tend to spread across the world, partly for cultural and partially for economic reasons. Historically, animal welfare was associated with good husbandry, treating the animals well in order to ensure their productivity. Almost until the 20th century, the only articulated social ethic pertaining to animals was a prohibition against deliberate sadistic cruelty. Good husbandry persisted, unfortunately, as an ideal only as long as it was essential for the assurance of productivity. With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, the “ancient contract” represented by husbandry was abandoned in the name of profit. Subsequently, by the 20th century, animal agriculture had become industrialized and dominated by high-technology, allowing the placing of round pegs in square holes, despite some 10,000 years of the ancient husbandry contract. In addition, animal welfare was compromised by the significant rise of animal research in a science that denied any truck with ethics. It must be recalled that despite widespread belief to the contrary among scientists and production agriculturalists, animal welfare is inescapably in part an ethical notion, not strictly a scientific one. In fact, how one views animal welfare ethically determines the shape of the science studying animal welfare, not vice versa. At least in Western societies, the consensus societal ethic will establish the dominant notion of animal welfare, achieved by extending our ethic for humans. While numerous other societies (for example Hindu or Buddhist societies) have excellent theoretical views of animal welfare, they often fail to be instantiated in practice. Latin America also lacks a robust animal ethic.

David Lamb

Abstract

Mainstream theories which argue for enhanced ethical status of animals with appeals to sentience or intelligence have depicted aesthetics in a negative sense. This paper supports a different outlook. We explore reasons why aesthetic appreciation of animals is portrayed as subjective and sentimental, concerned only with superficial and external features. Aesthetic qualities, as understood here, are not intended as criteria for admission to a moral community or as a guide for veterinary professionals when prioritizing therapy. The case for measuring the extent of an animal’s beauty or attractiveness in order to establish its entitlement to moral status or rights is a non-starter. Nevertheless, aesthetic traditions, we argue, play a significant role in our moral response to animals and objectives to protect them. As a corrective to misunderstandings regarding the status of aesthetics in deliberation about moral obligations to animals a case for the integration of ethics and aesthetics is developed.