What I Think About Metaethics

To get new readers caught up and to inspire all of you to resume old conversations and to get new ones rolling, periodically I will write posts which tour you through my archive.  In each post I will briefly summarize the positions I have taken in the past and provide links to the posts where [Read More...]

Nietzsche's Immoralism As Rebellion Against The Authoritarian Tendencies Of Moralities

Nietzsche casts himself, quite provocatively, as an “immoralist”.  In this post, I want to make clear what Nietzsche means by this term as a first step towards understanding the exact nature and scope of his hostility to morality.  As should already be apparent to longtime Camels With Hammers readers, I am optimistic about philosophy’s possibilities [Read More...]

Is it Too Risky to Debate Morality’s Foundations in the Public Square?

Jean Kazez argues that the public square is not the place for atheists to be arguing that science and religion are incompatible. I strongly reject her position on this point because not only do I believe that ordinary people are quite capable of handling a vigorous, no-holds-barred debate about religion but because I believe the [Read More...]

Dawkins Against Religion’s Claim To Superiority Because It Offers Absolute Morality

This is one of the most concise, eloquent, and accurate statements on the problem with religious absolutism in morality and the superiority of secular, non-absolutist approaches to morality I have ever heard. And it is certainly Dawkins’s best 2 and a half minutes on the topic of morality I have ever heard: Thanks to Lucy. [Read More...]

TOP Q: “Do Children Have Higher Moral Status Than Adults?”

In his book Moral Status and Human Life: The Case for Children’s Superiority, law professor James Dwyer argues that children are not merely equal to adults in moral status but actually have a higher moral status than adults.  Below is a brief video in which he sketches out the broad contours of his thought on moral [Read More...]

Rejecting And Reconciling Moral Intuitionist Ideas With My Naturalist Account Of Goodness

In reply to my post, Against Moral Intuitionism, James Gray defended his moral intuitionist leanings against my attacks on them.  He starts by quoting me: But many people can be and have been persuaded that goodness is not a property of things but rather of people’s attitudes towards them. The very existence of anti-realists about the existence [Read More...]

What Does It Mean For Pleasure And Pain To Be “Intrinsically Instrumental” Goods?

In reply to my post, Pleasure And Pain As Intrinsic Instrumental Goods, James objects: You are defining pleasure as intrinsic instrumental good. This is obviously not intrinsic goodness as I define it at all. Instrumental goodness is not intrinsic goodness. A successful pleasure instance is an intrinsically good instance of pleasure in-itself and for-itself, just for being [Read More...]

Moral vs. Non-Moral Values

In a recent post I distinguished numerous times between moral and non-moral values and between different sorts of intrinsic and instrumental goods.  James Gray asks for clarifications about how I use these terms: First, I don’t know that it matters to call something a “moral value.” Of course, there are instrumental values concerning morally neutral [Read More...]

Against Moral Intuitionism

In the series of posts I began on Sunday and which has continued through this morning, I have developed and defended my naturalistic approach to understanding value as a realist.  James Gray, despite being a moral realist, has balked at much in my attempts to do this and it has become increasingly clear that the [Read More...]


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