How did minds first evolve out of matter? Could consciousness have evolved more than once? How do we tell which living things have minds? Is there something it’s like to be a crab and live a crab's life? This week we’re thinking about “Minds and Matter.”
Listener Jacob B. in the UK got in touch with a question on our recent "Pet Ethics" show. He wanted to know if preventing his cat from staying out at night to make sure she is not killed by a fox means he is depriving her of an essential part of a cat's life experience. Ray responds.
Do we really have the right to own our fellow creatures? Are there some animals that should never be kept as pets? Is it okay to declaw a cat, clip a bird’s wings, or dock a dog's tail? These are some of the questions we're asking on this week's show.
Some scholars are skeptical of the claim that people dehumanize others by conceiving of them as less-than-human beings—in a literal rather than a figurative sense. However, there is evidence that those who dehumanize others conceive of them as both human and subhuman at the same time.
The Great Chain of Being—the notion that the biosphere is partitioned into ranks, with humans at the top, and every other organism at some inferior position—is a way of thinking that’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to dislodge. Most of us have a strong conviction that it’s true, but we don’t have a clue why we think that.