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In October 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a report classifying processed meat as a type 1 carcinogen. The report prompted headlines and attracted immediate public attention, but the economic impacts remain unknown. In this paper, we investigate the impacts of the IARC report on selected processed meat prices and purchases using retail scanner data from US grocery stores. We compare changes in prices and sales of selected processed meat products to a constructed synthetic control group (using a convex combination of nonmeat food products). We find a significant decrease in bacon prices in the wake of the IARC report release, but we find no evidence of a sales reduction. We find no significant changes in price and sales for ham and sausage. The pattern of price and quantity changes are consistent with downward shifts in demand and outward shifts in supply for bacon and sausage following the release of the IARC report.
Epistemology is in many ways important for Spinoza’s philosophy. It underlies his metaphysics, as well as his ethics and his political theory, and it also connected in many interesting ways with his psychological views on the mental life of human subjects. It is against this background that the present chapter discusses several key concepts and doctrines that Spinoza establishes in his epistemology, such as his views on truth and adequacy, the definition of idea and the denial of the notion of innate ideas, the famous distinction of the three kinds or rather “genera” of knowledge, the cognitive psychology underlying the discussion of the process of the imagination, humanity’s capacity for rationality, and finally the idea of our being blessed by intuitive knowledge. Moreover, regarding Spinoza’s denial of skepticism as the basic motivation driving his epistemology, the chapter also shows how his epistemological views develop over time. Altogether, it is argued that Spinoza manages to establish an epistemology that is both quite consistent on its own terms and successful in providing a stable foundation for his metaphysical, ethical and political views.
Historians consider the “Scientific Revolution” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the period in which the foundations of modern scientific practice and methodology first took shape. Francis Bacon (1561-1626), sometimes known today as the creator of the scientific method, inspired the formation of the first scientific societies, including the Royal Society of London and the French Académie Royale des Sciences, and their members made experiment and empiricism central to the study of nature. More recently, however, historians have had to wrestle with an interesting conundrum: some of those long hailed as pioneers of scientific experimentalism, such as Robert Boyle (1627-1691) and Isaac Newton (1643-1727), were also committed alchemists. Their dedication to this mysterious and misunderstood art led some modern biographers to deny or even suppress evidence of their alchemical pursuits. Yet, alchemical ideas were central to how Boyle, Newton, and others understood nature. In fact, Newton’s groundbreaking scientific achievements owe a particular debt to alchemical theories, without which his revolutionary vision of the cosmos would not have existed.
Chapter Four, “The Elusiveness of the Divine William” traces how nineteenth-century Biblical criticism and theological controversy brought about the so-called “authorship controversy” by bringing to light the uncertainty of Shakespeare’s personal history. In it, I demonstrate how Shakespeare’s person becomes a great mystery in the aftermath of D. F. Strauss’s Das Leben Jesu, translated by George Eliot in 1846 as The Life of Jesus. Nineteenth-century Biblical studies had by this point progressed to the point that their philological and textual tools were widely applied to other distant figures, from Homer to Sappho, and – more importantly – Biblical scholars’ conclusions had also become publicized enough that they were irresistible for Shakespeare scholars. Strauss’s epoch-marking work, for instance, carefully unfolds just how little reliable evidence we have for saying anything historical about Jesus. At just this moment in the history of Biblical criticism, suddenly Shakespeare, too, loomed as an exalted figure about whom real questions lingered.
This chapter explores the emergence of a new kind of anatomical knowledge in the early modern period, arguing that such anatomical knowledge inaugurates a new conception of the relation between the body and the state. This conception can be seen in the work of Hobbes, Descartes and Locke and is also bodied forth in the art and literature of the period. The chapter reads this emerging prosthetic imagination as it is pictured in Rembrandt’s images of anatomised bodies, and in the development of a novelistic account of interior being, as it imagined in More, Francis Bacon and Margaret Cavendish. The chapter ends with an exploration of the prosthetic imagination as it is given its fullest early modern expression in Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
Once early Enlightenment writers and their predecessors, such as Bacon, Hobbes, and Spinoza, had exposed many religious notions as mere superstitions, at least four different types of critique came to be widely adopted. The three Critiques, however, all investigate basic human abilities and the strictly a priori laws that underlie them. Immanuel Kant's basic philosophical and religious idea is also speaking against a fourth Critique, namely, the idea that religion is obliged to morality. One could assume that the Religion simply extends Kant's pure philosophical theology. He takes a closer look at one specific religion, thereby adding a new element to the debate, with respect both to its contents and to its methodology. The content deals with the four building blocks of Christianity: original sin, Christ, judgment day, and the Church. Even a superficial reading of Kant's text on religion reveals eight particularities.
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