Sam Woolfe

Blaise Pascal (1623–62) was a French mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and Catholic theologian. One of his most influential contributions to the philosophy of religion is a philosophical argument known as Pascal’s wager. This idea was published posthumously in Pascal’s Pensées (“Thoughts”).

This post will describe how Pascal’s wager can be usefully applied to animal ethics, namely, by helping to support a vegan ethic that eschews certain practices where animal sentience or immorality is uncertain. Both Pascal’s wager and ‘erring on the side of caution’ with respect to moral grey areas in animal ethics can be viewed as risk-based approaches or a form of risk-benefit analysis.

Continue reading…

Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on October 31, 2022.

--

--

Ecotourism, a term that emerged in the 1980s, refers to a niche segment of tourism in natural areas. According to David E. Fennell, “Ecotourism is a sustainable form of natural resource-based tourism that focuses primarily on experiencing and learning about nature, and which is ethically managed to be low-impact, non-consumptive, and locally-oriented (control, benefits, and scale). It typically occurs in natural areas, and should contribute to the conservation or preservation of such areas.”

Continue reading…

Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on October 24, 2022.

--

--

The Fire Within (1963) is a drama film written and directed by Louis Malle, which goes by the title Le Feu follet in French, meaning “The Manic Fire” or “Wil-o’-the-Wisp”. It’s based on the 1931 novel Will O’ the Wisp by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, which itself was inspired by the life of the French surrealist poet Jacques Rigaut. The latter’s works frequently talked about suicide and, in 1929 at the age of 30, as Rigaut had announced, he shot himself, using a ruler to make sure the bullet would pass through his heart.

Continue reading…

Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on October 17, 2022.

--

--

While psychedelic medicine has been a part of human history for thousands of years, the modern history of psychedelics dates back to the 1930s when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann synthesised LSD. Following Hofmann’s discovery of LSD’s hallucinogenic properties, research continued in the United States through the 1950s and 1960s as scientists and psychotherapists studied the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of drugs like psilocybin, MDMA, and LSD.

Continue reading…

Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on October 10, 2022.

--

--

Dr Rick Strassman, currently an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, is one of the leading pioneers of modern psychedelic research. His studies on DMT, which took place between 1990 and 1995, broke the 20-year gap in psychedelic research. This halting of prolific and promising inquiry was because the US Controlled Substances Act (1970), which placed all classic psychedelics in the Schedule I category, increased the difficulties in doing controlled trials. This legislation was also preceded by the post-60s backlash against these compounds (LSD in particular), so scientists were less inclined to study them.

Continue reading…

Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on October 3, 2022.

--

--

John Koenig’s book The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows takes its name from the website and YouTube channel that Koenig set up for defining neologisms. Koenig’s dictionary compiles these new words for obscure emotions — extremely specific feelings that are commonplace but which we have not yet seen articulated. Koenig is a keen and brilliant writer, and his masterful use of language, analogy, and real-life examples really helps those unexpressed emotions — which you might have felt alone in feeling — come to life, making you realise that others out there experience the world as you do.

Continue reading…

Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on September 26, 2022.

--

--

The impulse to travel can be cryptic; sometimes it seems to be a kind of knee-jerk escapist tendency, while other times it is based more on a wish for expansion — for broader and more novel experiences. Actually deciphering the impulse can be tricky, though, as it’s not always clear if it — and the fulfilment of it — is based on escapism or not.

Continue reading…

Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on September 12, 2022.

--

--

Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe

I'm a freelance writer interested in philosophy, ethics, psychology, and mental health. Website: www.samwoolfe.com