TOP Q: “How Is It Fair To Question Other People’s Identity-Forming Beliefs While Demanding Respect For One’s Own Belief-Formed Identities?”

I always tell my students as they start studying philosophy that it is crucial that they not associate their ideas too closely with themselves.  They need to get used to not taking criticism of their ideas personally. I warn them that if they cannot disassociate from their ideas when they fail, they will never be [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...]

TOP Q: “Is It Unjust To Outlaw Schools, Even Private Religious Ones, From Teaching Religious Doctrines As Though True?”

Sweden is planning to make it illegal, even for private schools, to teach religious doctrines as true. Their content may be discussed, of course, but they will not be able to be presented as facts. In The Guardian, Andrew Brown explains the issues involved and the ulterior motives which may really explain the legislation: The [Read More...]

TOP Q: Where Are The Lines Between Peaceable Death Penalty Advocacy And Criminal Incitement?

Last week a heinous, conscience-shocking injustice occurred when the brave, openly gay, Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato (pictured above) was murdered shortly after a Ugandan newspaper featured him on the cover with the headline: “100 PIctures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak” and the words “Hang Them” next to it.  The AP photo of the newspaper [Read More...]

TOP Q (6): Why Should Pleasure And Pain Matter Morally?

I have already begun to explain my own view of the nature and limits of the ethical value of pleasure and pain (and I’d pleased if you considered my views there and, admittedly, a bit pained if you do not bother to!)  But I would like to throw this out as today’s open philosophical question: [Read More...]

TOP Q 4: What Obligations Is Someone Prominent Under When She Is Perceived To Speak For A Group?

Prominent leaders of political, social, religious, and even anti-religious organizations, movements, governments, etc. should not simply echo back what their “constituencies” already think and want to hear—otherwise they would not be leaders at all. But to a certain extent, once it becomes clear that a great many people do associate their views closely with certain [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...]

2nd Top Q: “Is It Unfair To Call All Religions ‘Scams’?”

According to the Friendly Atheist, American Atheists are running the ad below in Huntsville, Alabama: Is it fair to call all churches scams?  Obviously there are at least some quite sincere believers.  Do all perpetuations of falsehoods and false promises for profit (of various forms) count as scams?  Or are the only scams those which [Read More...]

1st TOP Q: “How, If At All, Can People’s Claims To Simply Intuit That There Is A God Be Rationally Refuted Or Supported?”

Today’s inaugural open philosophical question is inspired by a good question raised this summer by long time friend of Camels With Hammers George W. of the blog Misplaced Grace. I am going to slightly modify his question since it involves addressing a particularly weak and willfully illogical form of an argument for the ability to [Read More...]


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