Qualia Soup on Morality Part 3: Of Objectivity and Oughts

Qualia Soup makes the case for a J.L. Mackie sort of subjectivism in ethics against William Lane Craig. I think more can be said for objectivity than he allows. As I summarized last week, in my own objections to Craig’s positions: I, for one, am convinced atheists can have a perfectly fine naturalistic ontology of objective goodness, which allows us [Read More...]

Some People Live Better As Short-Lived Football or Boxing Stars Than As Long Lived Philosophers

I have argued in several posts that our good is to maximally flourish in our powers and recently I wrote that “it is a practical contradiction to destroy (or reduce on net) the preconditions of one’s own being.” In reply, Russell Turpin writes: There are myriad examples of people committing suicide or sacrificing their lives [Read More...]

Natural Functions

I have argued several times that objective goodness, factually speaking, tracks objective effectiveness. To say that something is good, in objective terms, is to say that it effectively (i.e., in fact) functions in such a way that it realizes a kind of being (such that it is a good instance of that kind of being), [Read More...]

Force and Reason

In previous posts (like Rational Passional Persuasion and On Zealously, Tentatively, and Perspectivally Holding Viewpoints) I have argued that there is a proper place for emotional appeals as part of a rational argument. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have also argued firmly against certain kinds of emotional appeals that I consider abusive, counter-productive, and hypocritical [Read More...]

From Is To Ought: How Normativity Fits Into Naturalism

In a previous post, I laid out a number of reasons that people think values cannot be grounded in naturalistic ways or that if they were they would be values which would threaten vulnerable groups. In this post, I want to address the charge of the naturalistic fallacy: i.e., the claim that you cannot derive [Read More...]

Fighting The Dictionary

Ophelia wrote an insightful, controversial paragraph: Churches don’t do education. Religion doesn’t do education. Churches and religion do religion, which is different from education. Education is what schools do. It is fundamentally secular – it is about the world, and exploring and learning about the world. Like newspapers, like forensics, like medicine, like so many human institutions, [Read More...]

Nietzsche: We Cannot "Selflessly" Investigate Morality

Nietzsche writes a lot of things which attack the ideal of selflessness. Yet he does not make any blanket call for an ideal of unmitigated, small-minded selfishness. He calls for certain kinds of self-concern and in some cases certain kinds of self-denial in the pursuit of higher purposes or higher ideals of self-cultivation. Rather than [Read More...]

Homosexuality As Naturally Good Part 1: Laying Out Objections To Ethical Naturalism, Some On Behalf Of Gays

I intend to lay out the case for the ethical goodness of homosexuality for homosexual people in a way that is consistent with my funadmentally naturalistic ethical theory. Many philosophers, natural scientists, social scientists, and laypeople alike are averse about trying to base ethical judgments on appeals to nature. And there are a number of [Read More...]

Nietzsche: "'Good' Is No Longer Good When One's Neighbor Mouths It"

I argued yesterday that Nietzsche believes that there are objective standards of value for assessing divergent moralities. In reply, Juno (of the blog Letters from Le Vrai) asks what I would make of Section 43 of Beyond Good and Evil which reads, in full, as follows: Are these coming philosophers new friends of “truth”? That is probable enough, for [Read More...]