Steven Nadler

American philosopher

Steven Nadler (born November 11, 1958) is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy and Evjue-Bascom Professor in Humanities, and (from 2004-2009) Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


  • A failure to help that polar bear – or any individual animal in a comparable condition, regardless of our responsibility (direct or indirect) for that suffering – is. Nor can lack of action be defended by some alleged concern for the course of nature ('We must not interfere!') or the gene pool of the species ('Let the weak die!'). Consider someone who would use those same arguments to justify not intervening to help relieve the suffering of particular human beings during a famine or after a tsunami, or someone who would use such arguments to say that we should not give antibiotics to a child with pneumonia. Such an attitude, reminiscent of various Charles Dickens characters, would be rejected out of hand as immoral. If the only morally relevant factor is 'can they suffer?', there is no relevant moral difference when animals suffer pain that we can alleviate.

A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise (2011)

  • The Treatise is also one of the most important books of Western thought ever written. Spinoza was the first to argue that the Bible is not literally the word of God but rather a work of human literature; that “true religion” has nothing to do with theology, liturgical ceremonies, or sectarian dogma but consists only in a simple moral rule: love your neighbor; and that ecclesiastic authorities should have no role whatsoever in the governance of a modern state.
    • Preface
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