Nietzsche: Moral Absolutism and Moral Relativism Are "Equally Childish"

Recently Joel Marks, a career moral philosopher, concluded that the moral certitude he has felt and argued for his entire career was built as much on faith as many theists’ belief in God is. And in response he swung radically in the opposite direction and came to believe that there can be no rational objectivity [Read More...]

Defining Intrinsic Goodness, Using Marriage As An Example

The other day, I wrote a post exploring a major reason that getting away without penalties would not be enough to make at least some kinds of wrongdoing in our best interests. I was taking one of a few possible tacks at answering Glaucon’s question in Plato’s Republic as to how being a just person might be [Read More...]

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...]

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...]

Believing Too Little Is As Bad As Believing Too Much

When formulating principles and practices for forming good beliefs and avoiding bad beliefs, the first thing we must keep in mind is that consciously affirming a belief, consciously affirming a disbelief, deliberately avoiding believing or disbelieving are all actions. When we choose our standards for what propositions count as worthy of our belief, our disbelief, or [Read More...]

Santorum's Hypocrisy and Backwardness on Questions of Epistemic Authority

My thoughts: [Read more...]

TOP Q: “Do Children Have Higher Moral Status Than Adults?”

In his book Moral Status and Human Life: The Case for Children’s Superiority, law professor James Dwyer argues that children are not merely equal to adults in moral status but actually have a higher moral status than adults.  Below is a brief video in which he sketches out the broad contours of his thought on moral [Read More...]

Moral vs. Non-Moral Values

In a recent post I distinguished numerous times between moral and non-moral values and between different sorts of intrinsic and instrumental goods.  James Gray asks for clarifications about how I use these terms: First, I don’t know that it matters to call something a “moral value.” Of course, there are instrumental values concerning morally neutral [Read More...]


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