Is Anything Intrinsically Good or Bad? An Interview with James Gray

James Gray blogs at Ethical Realism. He is passionate about advancing philosophy education and exploring moral realism both in ways accessible to beginners and engaging for advanced philosophy students. The interview below was done as part of a blogathon to support the Secular Student Alliance. Please donate to this worthy organization! And see more links [Read More...]

On Unintentionally Intimidating People

While most of us rightly want to be exceptional in some way or another, we often feel a lot of social and moral pressure not to think of ourselves as generally better than others. And, even more urgently, we feel pressure not to convey to others that we think ourselves superior and not to be [Read More...]

Deriving a Naturalistic, Realistic Account of Morality

This is a repost from January 2011. The post is a nice overview of my account of moral philosophy, written as a reply to Christian doubts about the possibility of an atheistic moral philosophy. I have worked out a number of important nuances since writing this but it should serve as a nice introduction for [Read More...]

How Faith Theoretically Makes People Less Likely To Be Trustworthy

I am learning that there are a lot of people out there who are surprisingly willful in believing whatever they want and who actively resist information or ideas that they highly suspect (or outright know) would have the power to disabuse them of their errors. We all probably do this to one extent or another [Read More...]

The Dubious Value of Interpersonal Charity

I am reading Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion chapter by chapter and blogging about it as I go. In the book he is trying to collect insights from religions that might inform the lives of convinced atheists. There are several points of contention I have about his analysis [Read More...]

No, Not Everyone Has A Moral Right To Feel Offended By Just Any Satire or Criticism

4 Misconceptions About the Nature of Offense Here are four common sense assumptions about giving and taking offense that I think are fundamentally mistaken and which atheists need to argue against: “You have every right to be offended, but you don’t have the right to censor others just because you’re offended.” “You cannot blame people [Read More...]

Is Emotivistic Moral Nihilism Rationally Consistent?

Taylor: I know you’re bothered that I don’t believe in objective values, Pat, but I assure you I still care about the same things that you do. I just don’t say I’m being “objective” when I do so. Pat: I don’t know why you think I would be impressed by that. Taylor: Well when you [Read More...]

Baby Morality

Yale psychologist and author of How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like, Paul Bloom discusses the evidence that certain behaviors, dispositions, and feelings on which morality is built are innate in us and present already in babies: Relatedly, Alison Gopnik’s The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About [Read More...]

The Case Against Literature As Moral Education

The other day, Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism From Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin, eviscerated Christopher Hitchens over two morally dubious comments he made. Robin concluded from them that, contrary to his reputation, Hitchens was not at all an internationalist but rather “a narcissist, the most provincial spirit of all”. Robin ended his post quoting [Read More...]


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