Culture & Literature
Philosophy Now

Philosophy Now April/May 2017

Philosophy Now is a magazine for everyone interested in ideas. It isn't afraid to tackle all the major questions of life, the universe and everything. It tries to corrupt innocent citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics. It contains articles on all aspects of philosophy, plus book reviews, film reviews, news, cartoons, and the occasional short story.

United Kingdom
Anja Publications Ltd
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$9.20(Incl. tax)
$33.75(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
club bio-med

This issue of Philosophy Now deals with the very stuff of life, namely bioethics and medical ethics. Bioethics is the analysis of ethical problems arising out of advances in biotechnology, especially genetic engineering. Medical ethics deals specifically with the problems and dilemmas that arise from treating patients, so the two terms overlap. Given that doctors and scientists are striving to save lives, ease suffering and make the world a better place, and are constantly discovering new ways of doing so, you might think that the only ethical problems here would concern which medals and honours we should heap on their heads and in what order. I concur with the sentiment, but have to inform you that some of the problems are a little more serious and intractable than that. Medical…

4 min.

Tom Regan Dies The prominent American moral philosopher Tom Regan died on 17 February, aged 78. He taught for thirty years at North Carolina State University and was an expert on the philosophy of G.E. Moore, but he is best known for his contributions to applied ethics, notably his book The Case for Animal Rights (1983). Regan argued that animals can be rights holders because an animal is a ‘subject-ofa- life’. Consequently, Regan, himself a vegan, strongly advocated abandoning all form of animal exploitation. In a speech he once said: “We are not merely trying to change a few old habits about what people eat and wear. Billions of people will embrace animal rights only if billions of people change in a deeper, more fundamental, a more revolutionary way… They must…

8 min.
are designer babies our future?

Sally: I’ve decided to have a baby! I’m sure that won’t surprise you, Pat. But the real news is, I have no intention of rolling the dice over the health and characteristics of my baby. The old–fashioned way was to choose your mate wisely. Instead, I want to leave nothing to chance. I want to decidemy baby’s traits. Genetic engineering is making that possible. Pat: That sounds ambitious, Sally. Maybe too ambitious. I immediately picture ‘mistakes’ – mistakes that get ‘sidelined’, or are handed a disadvantaged life. But before we get ahead of the game, just how do you anticipate pulling it off? Sally: The buzzphrase is ‘gene editing’. The tool goes by the name ‘CRISPR’ [pronounced ‘crisper’]. It stands for a mouthful: ‘Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats’. The name is…

6 min.
eating stupid pigs

Pigs are exceptionally intelligent animals. They’re able to solve odor quizzes, recognize themselves in mirrors, and even play rudimentary video games. One Cambridge University Professor, Dr Donald Bloom, has even claimed that pigs “have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly [more so than] threeyear- olds” (‘New Slant on Chump Chops’, Cambridge Daily News, 29 March, 2002). Despite their intellectual powers, 110 million pigs are slaughtered for food every year in the US alone, the vast majority of them after short, miserable lives on factory farms. The abuses on these farms are well documented, and the conditions in which such pigs are placed are widely acknowledged to be deplorable and unethical. Sows are forced into ‘gestation crates’ too small for them to even turn…

9 min.
informing people about their genetic risks

Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease is the commonest cause of dementia, and one of the most prevalent diseases in those over 65. It must be distinguished from familial (early onset) Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for less than 5% of Alzheimer’s, and which manifests itself earlier in life. Clinicians in relatively affluent countries can now take blood from patients suspected to be at risk of Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease and send it over to the lab for genetic analysis. The gene most commonly associated with SAD is APOE. APOE provides instructions to make a protein that transports fats within the brain. Everyone has 2 co affluent countries can now take blood from patients suspected to be at risk of Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease and send it over to the lab for genetic analysis. The gene…

12 min.
can we trust medical science?

It is said that philosophy is driven by concerns about mortality. If there is even a small grain of truth in this, then from a purely self-interested perspective the philosopher has good reason to be supportive of the work of doctors and health scientists. After all, it is rather useful to have access to headache pills and other over-the-counter medicines to help clear the mind to think when sitting huddled in an armchair and suffering from a cold; and having paramedics on the end of a phone, and a wellequipped hospital at the end of the ambulance ride are particularly useful when more serious ailments strike. Philosophers are reliant upon modern medicine to stave off their demise at least long enough to have the chance to write about it. We all…