Philosophy Phriday: Metaethical Implications of Myrmecology

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the thirty-ninth contribution in the series, submitted by Joshua Blanchard.


The Metaethical Implications of Myrmecology

Metaethics is the subfield of moral philosophy having to do with the metaphysics, epistemology, semantics, and psychology of the moral domain. Whereas familiar questions of normative moral philosophy include, “What are the basic moral principles?” and “Do the basic moral principles demand that I move to Canada?”, a representative question in metaethics would be, “Is morality objective?”

Metaethics is often confused with myrmecology, but for administrative purposes it is essential to keep the two apart. Myrmecology is the subfield of natural philosophy having to do with the smallest of animals – ants. In what follows, we will consider what myrmecology tells us about three debates in metaethics.

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Formicid Form: Be Beautiful, Noble, Like the Antique Ant

The Daily Ant maintains “Formicid Form”, a Sunday ant poetry series. When possible, our Verse Correspondant, Natalia Piland, provides a short commentary at the end of each poem. Enjoy!


Be Beautiful, Noble, Like the Antique Ant

By Jose Garcia Villa

Be beautiful, noble, like the antique ant,
Who bore the storms as he* bore the sun,
Wearing neither gown nor helmet,
Though he was archbishop and soldier:
Wore only his own flesh.

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Philosophy Phriday: Value Free Ideal for Scieants

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the thirty-eighth contribution in the series, submitted by Liam Kofi Bright.


The Value Free Ideal for Scieants

It’s not easy running a colony. Eggs need to be laid, food needs to be gathered, tunnels need to be dug – lots of work, by lots of ants, over lots of time. Of course as Antistotle taught us, the ant is by nature a political insect, so such living together is something we are generally well adapted to. But despite our generally being a eusocial bunch, we still occasionally have our disagreements, alas, and where we do we often form political factions based on our competing visions of the world. Should any ant ever be allowed to disobey the Queen’s slightest whim? Should we ruin that picnic? Does the zombie threat justify marshal law until our soldiers can get this threat under control? These are matters about which reasonable ants can disagree, and such sociopolitical debates among those who take rival views on these matters are a mainstay of colony life.

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Formicid Form: “Departmental: The End of My Ant Jerry”

The Daily Ant maintains “Formicid Form”, a Sunday ant poetry series. When possible, our Verse Correspondant, Natalia Piland, will provide a short commentary at the end of each poem. Enjoy!

Also, contribute to our ongoing GoFundMe campaign to bring classic ant tunes to life, and support music therapy!


Departmental: The End of My Ant Jerry

By Robert Frost

An ant on the tablecloth
Ran into a dormant moth
Of many times his size.
He showed not the least surprise.
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Philosophy Phriday: Ants in Time

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the thirty-seventh contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Ross Cameron.


Ants in Time

The A-Theory (short for ‘Ant Theory’) says that there is a special moment in time: NOW. Harry the ant has just found a delicious crumb of bread. According to the A-Theory, there is something special about present events (like Harry’s finding the crumb), as opposed to past ones (like the crumb’s having been dropped by the race of clumsy giants), or future ones (like the congratulations Harry will receive from the colony). The dropping of the crumb has been and gone, and the congratulations of the colony are as yet simply something to look forward to: what is now is merely the finding of the crumb. Ants believe in the specialness of the now: there is some sense in which the present happenings are more real than past ones which merely happened, and future ones which merely will happen.

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Anika Hazra Interviews Myrmecologists on Collective Intelligence

In a recent episode of the (wonderfully named) Science for the People podcast, University of Illinois – Chicago PhD student Anika Hazra interviewed myrmecologists Stephen Pratt and Simon Garnier. You may remember Hazra, also a myrmecologist, from her great antforgraphic on ant colony optimization! Now check out her engaging and informative interview of Pratt and Garnier, on ant intelligence, here.

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Formicid Form: “I Light the House on Fire and Lie Down”

The Daily Ant recently launched “Formicid Form”, a Sunday ant poetry series. When possible, our new Verse Correspondant, Natalia Piland, will provide a short commentary at the end of each poem. Enjoy!

Also, contribute to our ongoing GoFundMe campaign to bring classic ant tunes to life!


I Light the House on Fire and Lie Down

By Natalie Scenters-Zapico, in The Verging Cities

on my kitchen floor to feel the ants march
the hidden sugars on my body. They are
a crown at my head. Above me, leaves

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BREAKING: Daily Ant Launches GoFundMe Campaign: “AntSongs”

The Daily Ant is thrilled to report that we have launched a historic GoFundMe campaign: “AntSongs: A Daily Ant Experience“.

Bring such remarkable tunes as Tom Waits’ “Army Ants”, Frank Sinatra’s “High Hopes”, and Calle 13’s “El Hormiguero” to life! The Daily Ant will partner with Jordan Blanchard, a singer-songwriter from Michigan, to produce interpretive covers of these underappreciated classics.

If you would like to support this formicid-forward campaign, donate today!

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