Philosophical Ethics: Hobbes On The Source Of Authority

In a series of posts this semester, I am blogging all (or almost all) the lecture topics for the two Philosophical Ethics classes I am teaching this semester. Each of these posts primarily explicates the reading or a theme that dominated class discussion in a way that should be accessible to novices (such as my [Read More...]

Camels With Hammers Philosophy

After this introductory paragraph, every sentence in this post will summarize and link a different post expressing my views, primarily on topics related to atheism, philosophy, and ethics—which are the primary preoccupations of this blog. I am organizing all of these links into this one summary statement of “Camels With Hammers’ Philosophy.” This post will [Read More...]

On Unjustifiably Leveraging One’s Credibility

WIC writes this reply to recent remarks I made to him.  I am only quoting here the portion I specifically address, to read his counter to me in its entirety, click here. The question then becomes whether or not Collins is truly ‘sloppy’ outside the lab in regards to religion. You, Harris, Myers, and other [Read More...]

Disambiguating Faith: The Threatening Abomination Of The Faithless

Faith is a form of loyalty. But more than that, faith is a form of trust which does not calibrate itself to objective standards of trustworthiness but trusts people despite their limitations as provably trustworthy people or even despite counter-evidence to the notion that they are worthy of trust at all. Even more than that, however, faith [Read More...]

The Evolutionary Advantages And Present Disadvantages Of Our Conformist Minds

John Wilkins has a good post on the value of our minds’ readinesses to defer to authorities from an evolutionary standpoint: The evolutionary justification for this is, of course the following: if evolution were a designer, trying to ensure that thinking beings learned and knew what they had to to survive, a cheaper rule than [Read More...]

For God or Morality? On Those Who’d Hold Morality Hostage For Faith

In his recent critique of Francis Collins, the Christian Evangelical and geneticist recently appointed by Obama to head the National Institutes of Health, Sam Harris referenced the slides from one of Collins’s speeches.  I want to take two posts (but possibly more if there are comments or if I otherwise have extra relevant ideas on [Read More...]

Further Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

In reply to a recent post, Tyler writes: Your definition of ethics and morality is well taken and allows for further interesting debate on culture and moral systems but it still requires assumption of benefit. Defining phrases like “fully flourishing life” and “most excellent characters we can develop” require a standard of evaluation which I [Read More...]

You Are Not A Bible Character

Father Stephen Freeman gives a well-deserved epistemological and moral rebuke to the haphazard, self-serving, and hermeneutically arbitrary way that Mark Sanford, like many other religious people throughout history, has taken biblical stories as justifications for his decisions: The problem with such use of Biblical imagination is that it simply has no controlling story. Nothing tells [Read More...]

Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

In a previous post, I raised some remarks from psychologist of morality Jonathan Haidt, in which he discussed his theory that moral thinking appeals to 5 essential modules hardwired into our brains by evolution.  In the interview I cited from a couple of years ago he only referred to 4 of the 5 modules but [Read More...]


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