Jonathan Glover On The Consciences Of Sociopaths

The moral philosopher Jonathan Glover interviewed a number of anti-social people, including psychopaths, who have committed serious crimes and live in secure hospitals in order to investigate how they think about right and wrong and what sort of conscience they have.  He thinks they have a conscience, but one unlike others’. They have strong feelings [Read More...]

Some More Thoughts On Rawls’s Maximin Principle And Fairness

A week ago, I wrote a brief primer post explaining John Rawls’s maximin principle. In that post I explained that Rawls conceives of justice as being quintessentially concerned with fairness.  In order to determine what is maximally fair politically we must imagine ourselves behind a veil of ignorance behind which we do not know what [Read More...]

Philosophical Ethics: Rawls’s Maximin Principle

In a series of posts this semester, I am going to blog all (or almost all) the lecture topics for the two Philosophical Ethics classes I am teaching this semester. Each of these posts will primarily explicate the reading or a theme that dominated class discussion in a way that should be accessible to novices [Read More...]

In Defense Of Mocking And Embarrassing Religion

Unreasonable Faith just profiled this interesting looking documentary on a tour of debates between Christopher Hitchens and Doug Wilson. In the comments section to that post, Custador wrote the following about Christopher Hitchens: Generally I find his demeanor to be too confrontational to be productive. It’s like he’s trying to embarasse theists into seeing reason. [Read More...]

What’s Wrong With Prejudice And Is It Prejudicial To Dislike Someone Over His Bad Thinking?

Over at Unreasonable Faith, guest contributor Custador thinks he is a bigoted atheist: The knowledge that my cousin is a creationist has actually made me dislike him. I wonder now if I’m any better than any other prejudiced person — a racist or a sexist or a homophobe — because I pre-judge a group of [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...]

Judge This: The Ethics and Customs Of Tipping

I love egg and cheese sandwiches in the morning.  Every once and a while I go to my local diner and order one takeout.  I never stay there to eat egg and cheese sandwiches but in the past I have gone there as frequently as once a week to eat dinner with a friend. But [Read More...]

Further Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

In reply to a recent post, Tyler writes: Your definition of ethics and morality is well taken and allows for further interesting debate on culture and moral systems but it still requires assumption of benefit. Defining phrases like “fully flourishing life” and “most excellent characters we can develop” require a standard of evaluation which I [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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