Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Post of Links

First up is an argument between John Sanbonmatsu and Derrick Jensen on the issues of localvorism. First, Sanbonmatsu reviews Keith's The Vegetarian Myth. Jensen responds here, and finally Sanbonmatsu responds here. All of the posts here are long, sustained, and worth reading. I hope to make a longer post about these exchanges later. Right now I just want to add a note about the issues of plants that becomes a major bone (fiber?) of contention. The idea that plants are fully sentient beings is an increasingly popular opinion, but continues to not really be backed up by science. I want to thank Sanbonmatsu for doing some of the legwork on this issue. What we have is the gut feeling of a lead researcher, and a whole bunch of people who want an excuse to not change their behavior. What we don't have is any sort of major scientific work to back up this claim of plant sentience. I think this is something where Matt Calarco's ethical agnosticism is pretty useful. We need to be open to the changes here. But being open doesn't mean automatically accepting, either. And as I have said before, even if comes that plants are sentient, I find it highly doubtful that will change the need for vegetarianism or veganism. It will certainly complicate things, and will shift our ethical relations. However, just because it is impossible to live your life without violence, doesn't mean you get to be indiscriminately violent. We might as well say that the logical conclusion of plant sentience is cannibalism as we could say that plant sentience would mean flesh eating. Put simply, the radical ethical implications of plant sentience is far from being thought out by those who advocate it as an excuse for eating animal flesh.

The phlyo jobs info updated site is really moving at a fast clip. I was just telling someone I felt there were more TT jobs posting for continental philosophy this year. Like, at least three of them.

Clare O’Farrell has an excellent post on Foucault, scientific knowledge, and climate change. Issues of climate change are frequently forcing us to decide how we relate to scientific knowledge and authority, slow violence, and our subjectivity in relationship to the environment.

Speaking of slow violence, I missed this interview (now almost a month old) with Rob Nixon about slow violence. I agree with Nixon that part of the problem is basically an aesthetic one (aesthetics here meant in the political sense that Ranciere uses the term, one of the partition of the sensible). Slow violence covers so many things: ecological devastation, poverty, the destruction of social institutions and public works, etc. In a way this is what the Zapatistas meant every time they claimed that before they fired the first shot, they were already at war. Or likewise, whenever Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that the civil war wasn't an interruption of peace, but merely the war becoming real for white bodies as well as black bodies.

It seems there is a recent study that argues that whenever slaughterhouse work goes up in a community, so does the crime rate. The study controlled for other sorts of boring and repetitive jobs. Clearly, there needs to be further studies before one can make much use of this, but it is a fascinating find. (h/t Eccentric Vegan).

The Wall Street Journal had a recent op-ed against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and how the AETA "has emerged as a central example of how Congress has eroded the legal concept of mens rea, which is Latin for "guilty mind"—a long-held protection that says a defendant must know they've done something wrong to be found guilty of it."

The Rosebuds have a new album out. A solid, mellow, and spooky album. And because we are about animals here, I present "The Second Bird of Paradise"