Force and Reason

In previous posts (like Rational Passional Persuasion and On Zealously, Tentatively, and Perspectivally Holding Viewpoints) I have argued that there is a proper place for emotional appeals as part of a rational argument. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have also argued firmly against certain kinds of emotional appeals that I consider abusive, counter-productive, and hypocritical [Read More...]

Nietzsche: We Cannot "Selflessly" Investigate Morality

Nietzsche writes a lot of things which attack the ideal of selflessness. Yet he does not make any blanket call for an ideal of unmitigated, small-minded selfishness. He calls for certain kinds of self-concern and in some cases certain kinds of self-denial in the pursuit of higher purposes or higher ideals of self-cultivation. Rather than [Read More...]

Nietzsche: "'Good' Is No Longer Good When One's Neighbor Mouths It"

I argued yesterday that Nietzsche believes that there are objective standards of value for assessing divergent moralities. In reply, Juno (of the blog Letters from Le Vrai) asks what I would make of Section 43 of Beyond Good and Evil which reads, in full, as follows: Are these coming philosophers new friends of “truth”? That is probable enough, for [Read More...]

Can Good Teaching Be Measured?

In recent posts I have been arguing that if only we interpret the word “good” to mean “effective” we can ground our discussions of values (moral and otherwise) in facts about effectivness. I argue that in that context we can have greater and lesser degrees of goodness, measurable in terms of greater or lesser degrees [Read More...]

Believing Too Little Is As Bad As Believing Too Much

When formulating principles and practices for forming good beliefs and avoiding bad beliefs, the first thing we must keep in mind is that consciously affirming a belief, consciously affirming a disbelief, deliberately avoiding believing or disbelieving are all actions. When we choose our standards for what propositions count as worthy of our belief, our disbelief, or [Read More...]

Mostly True, Not Mostly False

I wrote a post where I effectively argued that any genuine truth in art and in myths (including religious art and myths) could be essentially translated into, and defended in the form of, philosophical propositions.  James counters: my question regards the notion that myths or art can be “true” or not, and that the way [Read More...]

Addressing Skepticism About Atheism's Value To Skepticism

In reply to my post last week about why atheism is important to advancing proper skepticism, Armchair Skeptic writes: You touch on some good points here. It would help, I think, if you start by defining what you consider to be “proper” skepticism; I didn’t really get a clear understanding of that from this post. [Read More...]

Disambiguating Faith: How Religious Beliefs Become Specifically *Faith* Beliefs

Faith is the deliberate will to believe, in advance of all future evidence and investigation, what one perceives to be either unsupported by evidence or even outright undermined by evidence. In this way faith is essentially a matter of will and not just belief.  Simply having a belief that is unsupported or undermined by evidence [Read More...]

Disambiguating Faith: Naturalism, Materialism, Empiricism, And Wrong, Weak, And Unsupported Beliefs Are All Not Necessarily Faith Positions

Here at Camels With Hammers Eric Steinhart recently accused popular atheism with being guilty of faith in versions of naturalism, materialism, and empiricism on the grounds that their particular positions are “based on  weak arguments or no arguments at all”. But believing a position based on a weak argument is not the same thing as believing [Read More...]


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