God, Objective Morality, and the Difference Between Knowing and Accounting For

Many theists think, and argue, that God must exist for objective morality to exist.

This claim can be interpreted more than one way. When arguing with theists, it is shrewd, for purposes of honesty, clarity, and strategy, to point this out. One reason is the following: Psychologically it seems that quite often people are committed to certain propositions more than they are committed to particular interpretations of those propositions. So, a given theist may be adamant about affirming that God is necessary for there to be objective morality but persuadable that some things that could be meant by that statement are not necessary. What ultimately matters to them to maintain, psychologically and theologically, in order to not feel like they are losing a key, identity-forming belief, is that something about morality requires God. Getting someone to abandon their belief in God is very difficult. Getting them to moderate their interpretation of their faith or to interpret an aspect of their faith they had not thought through yet in a more rational, rather than less rational, way is much easier by comparison. And this is a perfect topic to attempt to do that with. [Read more...]

The Soul is the Form of the Body

This is a guest post by Eric Steinhart. According to the Wiccan theory of reincarnation, your soul leaves your body at death and enters a new body at conception.  The Wiccan theory of reincarnation thus presupposes that human beings are soul-body composites.  It is a type of soul-body dualism.  Cunningham writes “The soul is ageless, [Read More...]

Podcast Series Covering The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps

Earlier today, I posted a link to an exceptional, accessible podcast introduction to the philosophies of the ancient cynics. The whole series that that podcast comes from is a marvelous idea and the few I’ve listened to are just great. It’s called “The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps” and it’s a must listen, basically a [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...]

Michael Sandel On “The Lost Art Of Democratic Debate”

A good video from Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, who recently wrote a book on justice for a popular audience, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, and who last year released on YouTube high production value videos encapsulating his lectures for his standard introductory level ethics class at Harvard. You can start watching those videos here. [Read More...]

Blasphemy Day Posters

Blaghag has photos of all the posters from her Non-Theist Society’s “Blasphemy Day” during which students were given poster board to say whatever they wanted about whatever they wanted, as a celebration of free speech.  Here’s just one of the 16 students filled up: Ouch for Aristotle.  Who saw that coming on a blasphemy poster? [Read More...]

Biblical Scholar—Western Ethics Come From The Greeks, Not The Bible

Biblical scholar and professor emeritus at the University of Sheffield, Philip Davies writes that the idea that religion bestows ethical value on human life is the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard.  First he lays into the divine command theory throughout the Torah and proverbs as genuine routes to proper (or even defensible) moral motivation [Read More...]

Call It Volitional Love Rather Than Unconditional Love

Earlier today I posted Brendan Palla’s reply to my posts on unconditional love and love in general.  In what follows, I have interspersed my replies to him within the stream of his argument. I want to open with a bit of a critique. I don’t think you’ve captured very well the notion of unconditional love [Read More...]

Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

In a previous post, I raised some remarks from psychologist of morality Jonathan Haidt, in which he discussed his theory that moral thinking appeals to 5 essential modules hardwired into our brains by evolution.  In the interview I cited from a couple of years ago he only referred to 4 of the 5 modules but [Read More...]


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