Moral Perfectionism, Moral Pragmatism, Free Love Ethics, and Adultery

Kelly: You are a moral absolutist, Jaime. Jaime: Nonsense. You are the one who wants to impose monogamy on everyone, whether they like it or not. Kelly: No, when we talked the other day, I conceded it was your right to have whatever kinds of open relationships you wanted. I only said that, given human [Read More...]

A Debate About The Value of Permanent Promiscuity

Jaime: I think monogamy is a mistake as an ideal. I believe in permanent promiscuity. Kelly: You’re saying people should cheat on each other? Jaime: No, if there were no monogamy there would be no cheating. We do not have monofriendamy do we? We do not say you are “cheating” on one of your friends [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...]

In Honor of Firefighters

Today, remembering 9/11, I have been thinking about parts of two posts I wrote in 2009 which mean a lot to me, in which I meditated on the bravery of the firefighters. One of the posts is about my father, a retired New York City firefighter and fire marshal, and the other is about the [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...]

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...]

The Role Of Honor In Moral Revolutions

Kwame Anthony Appiah explores a thesis I’ve never heard before in his new book, The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen summarized by Matthew Pianalto: Judged by contemporary Western standards, honour has a mixed moral record. On the one hand, a sense of gentlemanly honour underwrote the practice of duelling, long after it had been [Read More...]

The Religious Conservative’s False Choice: “Big Brother” Or “Heavenly Father”

In an e-mail to me, Caroline proposes thought provoking reasons for non-believers to encourage (or at least to not actively discourage) religious beliefs: It would also be nice if people would carry out actions in good conscience of just being decent human beings rather than in fear of reprisal in the afterlife, but as there [Read More...]

What Can An Atheist Love In People’s Religiosity?

Earlier today, I argued that atheists can vigorously and outspokenly oppose bad faith-based ideas, values, and behaviors, but still love other aspects of the religiosity of their religious friends (and of religious people in general). I argued that religion can be as central to personal identity formation as sexuality is and that to indiscriminately hate [Read More...]


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