Oklahoma Atheists Interview Me About Why Philosophy and Civility Matter

I apologize for my slow rate of posting, especially as many blogs and commenters are doing the courtesy of offering their insights and criticisms related to the civility pledge. I hope to address more of what’s being said and clarify some of the most pressing points I don’t think I have yet addressed. I also plan to resume blogging about other topics besides civility too. Yesterday I moved apartments for the second time in three weeks. I think I’m settled for a while now but it was a stressful, exhausting three weeks in an uncomfortable living situation. It’s been 3 months total spent with anxiety and uncertainty about where I would be living and anxieties about all the financial concerns related to moving. This has combined with the demands of my 7 day work week spent at numerous jobs to make for an unstable situation in which to write or moderate the blog as quickly as I’d like. I appreciate everyone’s patience in the meantime.

The good news is that I’m settled in a new place and already feeling relieved and much happier. Hopefully this time should have regular writing time again soon. And in the meantime I was able to find an hour and twenty minutes to record a two part interview with the Oklahoma Atheists’ godcast. The beginning of part 1 of the interview briefly addresses the origins of the name of this blog. Then we talk about how I think philosophy is relevant and important. Finally we end part 1 and spend all of part 2 discussing civility and many of the most common objections I’ve received to the Camels With Hammers Civility Pledge. Take a listen and respond in the comments! My interviewers were generally very supportive of me. If you are a podcaster who would rather see me put on a hotter seat, contact me, I’d love to talk to you too. And, you know, I’ll talk to other friendly people too. I’ll talk to anyone. I love to talk.

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2

Alternative listening options (or to find more of the Oklahoma Atheists’ episodes): iTunes ] [ RSS ] [ HTML ]

All of my podcast appearances and video appearances are collected on this page if you are interested in more.

Your Thoughts?

A Moral Philosopher on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
A Moral Philosopher on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com Chris

    It seems ironic that anyone should have to ask you why philosophy is important. Atheists (which I am not one) generally try to subscribe to science for most of their values, and science rests on philosophical concepts (falsification, namely).

    But then, of course, one does not have to understand the philosophy behind a task in order to do it. And further, people like yourself do not only subscribe to science, because science is a silly way to try to come up with morality. Science tells us what is, not what we ought to do as a result.

    • Elemenope

      I’m not sure what you mean when you say that atheists subscribe to science for their (our, as I am one) values, since as you yourself point out, science is not suited for turning out useful value-laden statements, and anyone familiar with it would know that.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/ Daniel Fincke

      I’m not sure what you mean when you say that atheists subscribe to science for their (our, as I am one) values,

      I’m not sure where I said that. Where’d you hear that implication?

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/ Daniel Fincke

      Sorry, I see you weren’t referring to me. This is what happens when you read the comments from the site’s dashboard and not on the site itself. You sometimes lose track of what a comment is in response to.

    • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com Chris

      It is a general trend; See Sam Harris and fans, for example. Here on this blog, I doubt there is much poor philosophy. I just thought it strange that an atheist organization should have to ask about the value of philosophy. Philosophy underpins that which atheists value most. Really, philosophy underpins that which *everyone* values most…

    • PhysicistDave

      Actually, Chris, speaking as an atheist and a scientist, can I testify that atheists are not coming to me as a scientists to provide them with values?

      Seriously, as far as I can see, most atheists subscribe to Hume’s position that you cannot derive an “ought” from an “is,” correctly in my opinion.

      Sam Harris is an unusual case.

      Dave Miller in Sacramento

    • PhysicistDave

      By the way, Chris, your claim that “science rests on philosophical concepts (falsification, namely)” is, at least historically speaking, inaccurate. Scientists did not wait to develop the scientific method until Popper came along. Nor, for that matter, did they wait for Locke, Hume, J. S. Mill, et al. Historically speaking, we scientists just went ahead and did what we did, and then philosophers later came along and tried to describe (rather unsuccessfully) what we scientists were doing.

      Considering that – after more than two thousand years! – philosophers still cannot agree with each other about almost anything, it is indeed fortunate that scientists did not have to wait on philosophers.


  • Cylon

    Glad you’r feeling more settled, Dan. Best wishes!

  • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability D4M10N

    We had a great time, Dan. I promise next time we’ll bring a hotter seat. ;)

  • Chas Stewart

    Hi Chris,

    Sometimes as an interviewer you take a position that you don’t actually believer or ask a question that you don’t personally need answered. I’ve seen many people (not just in atheist world) bemoan philosophy as a vanity project in not so many words so I thought it would be nice to hear how a philosopher defends their trade. Sometimes you have to break the ice, too.

  • baal

    I mostly agree with your position on the word ‘slut’ but wanted to make a distinction on why it’s bad to call folks ‘sluts’. In version 1, ‘slut’ is a synonym for a bad evil behaviour and no one would ever want to be called one since to do so would be evidence of self loathing. In version 2, ‘slut’ means a more neutral term akin to ‘someone who likes sex’. With that meaning, folks can call themselves sluts as an act of reclamation and as standing up for being pro-sex. While under either definition, slut can still be used as a insult (as you described in part I). The split comes on the back end with respect to whether or not you want to reclaim the term. I listen avidly to folks whenever they discuss this word for the two usages and see conflict on exactly this distinction.
    By way of disclosure, I’m happily cis-bi-male* and a slut.

    *I got the envelope a few years back.