On the Ethics of Teasing and Mocking People, in Groups, in Friendships, and in Debates and Satire

One of the difficulties in working out the civility pledge I co-wrote and signed earlier this year was addressing the use of humor and mockery in disagreements. So let me offer a bunch of points of clarification of the use of humor to persuade. I will focus on antagonistic humor—like teasing people for what they [Read More...]

A Map With A Few of My Paths to Objective Morality

Yesterday I kicked off a series called “Paths to Objective Morality”. In response to commenters vigorously challenging my choice of vocabulary in calling morality “objective”, I decided to lay out my justification for my word choice systematically and to explain how it will be justified in each of the major components of my overall account of [Read More...]

Paths to Moral Objectivity: Pragmatics

On this blog I regularly declare myself for “objective morality”. But what I mean by the term is often misunderstood. My views are a bit idiosyncratic. People typically need to read a handful of the right posts to get a full picture so that they can situate the context for any one post. Those who [Read More...]

On the Moral Value (and Dangers) of Dutifulness

What kinds of motives are morally relevant? Which are important? Why are they important? When are they important? How do they relate to one another? What are their respective places in the best overall moral framework? In a few posts I hope to answer such questions as these. I am going to distinguish various kinds [Read More...]

Hot, Passionate, Rational Sex

I posted to Facebook what I thought was a very interesting article about consent that argued it should be about asking a sexual partner whether they want something so that they have the chance to say “yes” rather than only pushing their boundaries until they say “no”. The idea was to look at consent as [Read More...]

Forward Thinking About Pride

For the latest installment of our “Forward Thinking” series, our bloggers discuss the nature and ethical value of pride. Philosophy student and feminist Olivia James (of Teen Skepchick fame) has begun her own new blog, Boredom Breeds Contempt. She is skeptical of the value of pride, wanting to distinguish most of the virtues that might [Read More...]

5 Reasons The Supreme Court, and Not Just States, Should Acknowledge Gay Marriage

With an encouraging high of 58% of Americans now supporting gay marriage, it is beginning to look excitingly inevitable that gay people will finally have full equality before the law with respect to marriage any day, year, or decade now. It is possible that this will happen as soon as this summer when the Supreme [Read More...]

Forward Thinking: What is the Ethical Relevance of Pride?

“Forward Thinking” is a blog series in which Libby Anne and I prompt bloggers and other commenters to write about their views on values questions. Two weeks ago, Libby Anne prompted posts on our responsibilities to our parents (particularly when their effect on our lives has not been all positive). See what the bloggers had [Read More...]

Oklahoma Atheists Interview Me About Why Philosophy and Civility Matter

Listen to parts one and
two of my interview with the Oklahoma Atheists about the importance of philosophy and the Camels With Hammers Civility Pledge’s origins, meaning, and opponents. Sorry have not been writing much, I will reply to more of the criticisms and insights many are offering around the blogosphere and will generally start writing on more diverse topics again soon. I’ve spent 3 months with distracting housing anxieties that are now thankfully over. [Read more...]


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