The Objective Value of Ordered Complexity

I argue that the word goodness should be interpreted to mean, in the most fundamental sense of the word, “effectiveness”. I also argue that since effectiveness is a factual issue, goodness is a factual issue. These controversial positions of mine raise a lot of thought provoking questions and challenges from readers. I am using this [Read More...]

What It Means To Me To Be Free

I think that in some meaningful ways, human beings are free. In a couple of previous posts and in subsequent comments in their comments sections, I have been arguing for the ways that we are not free in a libertarian sense, i.e., our actions are not “undetermined” by forces outside our fundamental control. We are [Read More...]

What A "War on Terror" Should Mean vs. What it Has Meant

Princeton’s emeritus philosophy professor Michael Walzer is co-editor of Dissent. He is not a George W. Bush yes-man. But he thinks that “war on terror” is a legitimate concept even as many leftish thinkers oppose it as a confusion. People argue that terrorism is a tactic, not a specific enemy you can target. In “Terrorism [Read More...]

Internecine War At Freethought Blogs: Philosopher vs. "Redneck" Edition: Free Will And The Real World Smackdown

As far as I have noticed, there has not been a blog war between any of the Freethought Blogs (or, er, since we all moved here anyway) so I was a little trepidatious of going and picking apart the every word of a quick comment on one of my posts by my new favorite blogger, Hank [Read More...]

The "Moral Argument" For Free Will Is A Morally Troubling, Hypocritical, Faith Position

Many who believe that we have free will are what philosophers call “libertarians”. These are not necessarily libertarians in the political sense but in a metaphysical sense. Libertarians conceive of free will as incompatible with determinism. Their notion is that to the extent that our actions are determined by forces or factors which are beyond [Read More...]

Can Good Teaching Be Measured?

In recent posts I have been arguing that if only we interpret the word “good” to mean “effective” we can ground our discussions of values (moral and otherwise) in facts about effectivness. I argue that in that context we can have greater and lesser degrees of goodness, measurable in terms of greater or lesser degrees [Read More...]

The Contexts, Objective Hierarchies, and Spectra of Goods and Bads (Or "Why Murder Is Bad")

I wrote a post which laid out the cornerstone of my theory of objective value. In it I argued that “goodness equals effectiveness”. Wherever one uses the word “good”, one could substitute the word “effectiveness” and the sentence would mean the same thing. My view is that since effectiveness is clearly a measurable and factual matter [Read More...]

The Simpsons, Family Guy, and The Trolley Problem

Tomkow explains the famous “Trolley Problem” using the aid of characters from The Simpsons and Family Guy: TROLLEY A runaway trolley is coming down the track. It is headed towards five people who cannot get out of its way. A Passerby realizes that he can save the five by throwing a switch and diverting the trolley down [Read More...]

Offer Nominations for 3 Quarks Daily's Prize for Best Blog Writing in Philosophy

For the third straight year, 3 Quarks Daily will award a prize for blog writing in philosophy.  Nominate what you think is the best philosophy blog post from the last year by 11:59pm EST on Monday night (September 5). Below the fold are both the full details of the contest and a very good video interview [Read More...]


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