Nietzsche and squirrels

by Chris Bertram on April 19, 2004

The second of BBC Radio 3’s philosophers and places series aired last night, with a broadcast on Nietzsche and Basel (which you can “listen to on the web here”: ). Not as good as the previous week on Rousseau (or so I thought) but still interesting. I hadn’t appreciated what a fearsome teaching routine poor Nietzsche had to undergo, 7am lectures six days a week plus teaching Greek at the local grammar school! Roger Scruton featured prominently on the programme, immediately after Radio 5 had been discussing “his advocacy of squirrel-eating”:,6761,1191383,00.html . (One text message suggested that feeding Scruton to the squirrels would be a better idea.)



Claire 04.19.04 at 1:44 pm

Poor thing. I thought I had it hard when I had to teach at 8.30 two mornings a week.


David 04.19.04 at 2:45 pm

Did you notice that one of the pigs that Scruton consumed was named “Singer” and that Scruton makes a point of saying that it’s better to butcher your pig yourself than to have it factory butchered?

What a demented riposte to Peter Singer, who on other issues is equally demented.


Luke Weiger 04.19.04 at 4:31 pm

Singer would agree that raising and slaughtering animals in humane fashion, or taking game animals, is much better than eating your typical factory farmed chicken or pig.


luke weiger 04.19.04 at 4:35 pm

Of course, a problem for utilitarians such as myself is that it could be conceivably morally better to birth and raise “surplus” people for food than to refrain from producing them in the first place.


Zizka 04.19.04 at 10:35 pm

Published in the Guardian that’s all transgressive and shit, but in 90% of the US (geographically) it would just be long-winded. What he says about preparing pheasants doesn’t strike me as accurate, though perhaps they’re different pheasants.

Squirrel brains cause something like mad cow disease, as do your dead ancestors’ brains if you live in New Guinea. Induction in action: how many different species of brains must be shown to be prionic before we can scientifically conclude that it’s not good to eat brains of any kind?

My own feeling is that the scientific ethic requires us to be very cautious about leaping to conclusions based on inadequate evidence, and should continue eating all kinds of brains, merely keeping a careful written record so that if the disease shows up twenty or thirty years later, the data will be usable.


ken 04.20.04 at 11:35 am

If you want to hear more Nietzsche on the radio, check out our Philosophy Talk episode on Nietzsche here:


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