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...]

My Perfectionistic, Egoistic AND Universalistic, Indirect Consequentialism (And Contrasts With Other Kinds)

A consequentialist assesses the ultimate worth of all the various features of our ethical lives according to whether or not they bring about some specific intrinsic good or goods that the consequentialist judges to be of primary value. All the various valuable features of our lives have their ultimate value with respect to how they [Read More...]

Gay Sex And Reality

Recently a University of Illinois adjunct professor in a course on Catholicism got into unfairly lost his job over expressing his philosophical opposition to homosexuality in an e-mail to his student in what seems to me like a pretty clear violation of academic freedom. As to the substance of his arguments though, PZ Myers does [Read More...]

How Our Morality Realizes Our Humanity

In a previous post, I discussed the intrinsic connection between being and goodness and between functional activity and being.  I argued, for example that the various components of a heart need to function as a heart to be a heart and similarly that a human being must act morally to realize her humanity.  Specifically, I [Read More...]

On God As The Source Of Being But Not Of Evil

Introduction This post is a long one but an important one for understanding what sophisticated Roman Catholic philosophers have traditionally meant when they have said that “God is good” and that the existence of evil is not to be taken as counter-evidence to their belief in God’s goodness.  Very often we atheists are dismissed as [Read More...]

On The Intrinsic Connection Between Being And Goodness

All things, insofar as they are, have goodness.  This is because, for any existent thing whatsoever, to be is necessarily better than not being (regardless of whether a given existent thing consciously acknowledges this or is even capable of thinking about it at all).  This goodness is partly a function of the fact that every [Read More...]

Contortions Of Catholic Philosophy: Eve Tushnet Argues Gay Sex Is Not OK But Sex Changes Are

Tushnet’s moral choice for herself and for other gays is celibacy or gender reassignment. Of course for some people, specifically some of the transgendered, a sex change is entirely appropriate and preferable to gay sex because from a gender (rather than a sex) perspective, those who are pre-op transgendered and are attracted to members of their [Read More...]

Dennett On Evolution

This is a terrific video in which Dennett and Dawkins get further into the weeds discussing the dynamics of evolution, responsibility, how you can make living things out of dead stuff and conscious ones out of unconscious ones, the wonder of natural processes, the idea that we have souls—but they’re made of neurons, and many [Read More...]


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