Professor Michael Allen Fox is a very special person. (See background on this philosopher in my entry for January 15, 2010.) He has given me permission to quote freely from his Foreword. It brilliantly sets the stage for an in-depth discussion of the moral status of animals, and also gives the reader his estimation of the value of my book, which he describes as "excellent and original...so rich in insights and reasonings...David deserves enormous acclaim...David's "best caring ethics"..."advocate[s] what is best all beings considered," as the ideal by which we should always act. Expounding what this means, leads through a fascinating and incredibly wide range of topics, each of interest in itself and also for what it contributes to the argument of the book as a whole. David takes the reader through nothing less than a review of the entire field of ethics, various attempts to exclude animals from it or to include them within it, and finally to a result that embraces animals and nature and, in the best Hegelian sense, subsumes yet surpasses all other ethical views. This is no mean accomplishment...[this book] is a magnificent and provocative work that not only challenges us to abandon rigid thought-patterns and change our ethical view about animals, but also creates a new starting-point for the philosophical discussion of animal rights. In an equally significant achievement, David shows us that an ethics which includes animals is a better, stronger one for humans as well. One could hardly ask for more." [emphasis added]
I would like to clarify that I am not a Hegelian, as anyone familiar with my work would know. It would also be clear if my book will one day find its way into your hands. Dr. Fox is a Hegel scholar who wrote a book on said philosopher. He is referring to Hegel's theory of the historical progression of ideas, such that new ideas ideally will improve on the old while also capturing what is best about previous notions. Hegel himself is an intuitionist who believed that the highest state of knowledge is a kind of intuition. I am an anti-intuitionist as you might have gathered from my blog and other writings.
Michael Fox is no casual observer of ethics. He has been a professor of moral philosophy for some three decades at one of Canada’s top research institutions: Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Students are not even admitted there without an ‘A’ average. He has tried to articulate his own ethical view on various issues in a professional capacity, and has written many books and articles on well-known philosophers such as G. W. F. Hegel and Arthur Schopenhauer, including a study of their moral thinking. Dr. Fox has plumbed the depths of moral skepticism, doing a book-length study on the existentialists. He has taught thousands of undergraduate and graduate students in classroom and seminar settings. He is esteemed as one of the leading scholars in animal ethics. Therefore we should really value what Professor Fox has to say about matters ethical in philosophy. Certainly it means a lot to me.
I hope this will enliven your curiosity to read this, my main life's work so far! Fox's comments surely encourage me as my next book is planned to be a book on ethical theory.
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