Being Personally Moral Is Not Enough, Atheists Need A Coherent Metaethics

Atheists can be as moral as anyone else.  When theists imply that atheism by itself entails that people will either likely or necessarily be less moral, they trade in oblivious, self-satisfied, prejudicial thinking which besmirches atheists unfairly. But it is not mere prejudice for theists to demand atheists give an account of their metaethical positions. [Read More...]

Moral Luck, Sarah Palin, And The “Targeting” Of Gabrielle Giffords

Contrary to first impressions, it does not seem at this point that Jared Lee Loughner’s shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and nineteen other people was directly inspired by the Tea Party movement or by Sarah Palin. What has dribbled out so far about Loughner’s ideas seems closest to anarchism in ideology and there are amateur diagnoses [Read More...]

TOP Q (7): When, If Ever, Are Intellectual Mistakes Morally Culpable?

Can we morally blame people for failing to pursue the truth well enough or for employing irrational methods of belief formation?  Is belief something not in our volitional control at all?  Is it an entirely passive thing to “just believe” something?  Or even if we have some volitional control over what we believe, does it [Read More...]

On Defending True Spirituality And Taking The Word Back From Spiritually Bankrupt Fundamentalism

So Chris Mooney’s article in Playboy about the spirituality of scientists has sparked some interesting debate in the atheist blogosphere. His new post on the subject explicitly interprets his aims and themes in the piece as essentially saying what I interpreted them to be—to defend the idea that you can have completely sufficient spirituality without [Read More...]

TOP Q (6): Why Should Pleasure And Pain Matter Morally?

I have already begun to explain my own view of the nature and limits of the ethical value of pleasure and pain (and I’d pleased if you considered my views there and, admittedly, a bit pained if you do not bother to!)  But I would like to throw this out as today’s open philosophical question: [Read More...]

Against Accommodationism: Religion Has NO Rightful Claim To An Unencroachable “Magisterium” Of Its Own

Chris Mooney is an accommodationist.  In the conflict between science and faith, he is the sort of atheistic science defender who wants to minimize all appearance (and existence) of conflict between religious and scientific ideas because he thinks that vital public policy on matters like climate change hinges on scientists’ abilities to garner trust, cooperation, [Read More...]

3rd TOP Q: Can Virtues Conflict Or Must Every Truly Virtuous Action Be Approvable According To Every Other Virtue As Well?

Would you ever call a terrorist brave?  Were there brave Nazis?  Does fighting using unjust tactics or fighting for an unjust cause make one’s own willingness to face mortal threats less brave or can one have the virtue of bravery even though one resorts to evil techniques or serves evil purposes? Assuming the soldier or [Read More...]

On Good And Evil For Non-Existent People

Kyle, from the video blog Serptopia writes the following to me in reply to my posts from the summer, “On The Intrinsic Connection Between Being and Goodness”: Oh my, you seem quite the Aristotelean. From a certain angle, yes, I am very Aristotelean.  But in the broader picture, I see myself as situating all of [Read More...]

Judge This: Surrogate Refuses To Abort Baby At Parents’ Request

A moral and legal dilemma: When a B.C. couple discovered that the fetus their surrogate mother was carrying was likely to be born with Down syndrome, they wanted an abortion. The surrogate, however, was determined to take the pregnancy to term, sparking a disagreement that has raised thorny questions about the increasingly common arrangements. Get [Read More...]


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