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...]

My Perspectivist, Teleological Account Of The Relative Values Of Pleasure And Pain

With Sam Harris doing the rounds promoting a utilitarianism that seems to take the pleasures of sentient beings to be the good to be maximized, it’s as appropriate a time as ever to flesh out my objections to prioritizing pleasure and pain as the central goods in life.  More specifically, you can read my already [Read More...]

Subjective Valuing And Objective Values

In reply to my post a week ago on the incoherence of saying that we relied upon God, or at least religion, in order to either discover or verify what was good and evil, Clergy Guy asks: Daniel, do you have some thoughts on defining good and evil apart from religion? How do we/should we [Read More...]


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