What Is Happiness And Why Is It Good?

In this post, I explore the meanings and worths of two phenomena recognized by our language as  “happiness”, in reply to remarks by James Gray on my most recent post.  For a little background for those joining late and who would like to catch up: I have been arguing in several posts now that goodness factually means [Read More...]

Effectiveness Is The Primary Goal In Itself, Not Merely A Means

In a recent post I argued that goodness, objectively speaking, means effectiveness.  Of course we use the word “good” for numerous purposes, to express that we find something pleasant, desirable, useful, advantageous to our interests, etc.  But I want to argue that when it comes to the facts of reality, goodness has only this one essential [Read More...]

Grounding Objective Value Independent Of Human Interests And Moralities

In my most recent philosophical post, I have finally explained one of the most fundamental premises necessary for explaining and justifying my overall views on ethics.  I explained my view that goodness objectively means effectiveness and that all further true ideas of “good” should be understood only as derivative from the basic good of effectiveness.  Also [Read More...]

Deriving An Atheistic, Naturalistic, Realist Account Of Morality

Tom Gilson thinks that theism accounts for moral realism better than atheism does.  My reasons for rejecting that view are here (though I am interested in tailoring a future post specifically to Gilson’s particular way of arguing for a theist basis for moral realism). For now, however, rather than counter Gilson’s positive claims for theism’s [Read More...]

How Morality Can Change Through Objective Processes And In Objectively Defensible Ways

Jason of Lousy Canuck thinks I am quibbling over semantics in complaining about his characterization of morality as essentially “subjective” and he wants me to clarify how my position diverges in substance from his own.  Answering his questions and his formulations may prove a fruitful way to clarify my own positions.  So, here goes.  He [Read More...]

3rd TOP Q: Can Virtues Conflict Or Must Every Truly Virtuous Action Be Approvable According To Every Other Virtue As Well?

Would you ever call a terrorist brave?  Were there brave Nazis?  Does fighting using unjust tactics or fighting for an unjust cause make one’s own willingness to face mortal threats less brave or can one have the virtue of bravery even though one resorts to evil techniques or serves evil purposes? Assuming the soldier or [Read More...]

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...]

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...]

Barry Schwartz’s Urgent Call For Practical Wisdom

I love how he sums up Aristotle’s notion of practical wisdom, to paraphrase, “practical wisdom is about having a moral will and a moral skill”. The entire talk is a great defense of wisdom, the skill of moral judgment, against cultural overemphases on bureaucratic reliance on rules at the expense of all thinking: Schwartz’s books [Read More...]


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