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...]

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...]

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...]

On The Incoherence Of Divine Command Theory And Why Even If God DID Make Things Good And Bad, Faith-Based Religions Would Still Be Irrelevant

The claim that all value, whether moral or otherwise, requires a God is a familiar one.  But what this claim either means or how it is supposed to be apparent to us is far from self-evident. The claim could mean something along the lines of a divine command theory interpretation of value according to which [Read More...]

Reflection And Moral Behavior

In the video below (via Pete Mandik), philosophers Josh Knobe and Eric Schwitzgebel discuss the extent to which thinking about morality can make them behave more morally by measuring whether ethics professors, who presumably think about morality the most often and the most systematically, are any more consistently moral or at least act more consistently [Read More...]

Just Another Raving Socialist…

Now, according to the natural order instituted by divine providence, material goods are provided for the satisfaction of human needs. Therefore the division and appropriation of property, which proceeds from human law, must not hinder the satisfaction of man’s necessity from such goods. Equally, whatever a man has in superabundance is owed, of natural right, [Read More...]


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