James Croft on Humanist Values, Opposing Religion, and Supporting Gay Marriage as Sacred

James Croft will be on the Camels With Hammers Show on Sunday morning at 10am EST. In this post, I put up two excellent speeches he gave this year. In one he explains how Humanists historically have, and in the future can, play a special role as moral reformers. In another he attempts to give a morally and politically influential speech–and succeeds. Along with the videos, I quote an illuminating section of an interview I conducted with him last summer. [Read more...]

Some Suspicions About The Superiority Of Liberal Moral Values

Earlier today, I drew attention to Greta Christina’s article formulating some ideas she picked up from Rebecca Newberger Goldstein.  If you have already read either or both of those posts, you can just skip the next two paragraphs meant to catch up new readers. The Goldstein/Greta Christina argument built off of Jonathan Haidt’s theory of [Read More...]

Are Liberal Values Objectively Better Than Conservative Ones?

In recent years, Jonathan Haidt has been influentially arguing that there are five essential modules in the mind from which human moral concerns originate.  He has made this claim in several places, most prominently among philosophers in his contribution to Moral Psychology, Volume 2: The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity (from Walter Sinnott-Armstrong’s groundbreaking [Read More...]

A Brief Overview Of My Dissertation

Nietzsche’s writings on morality are famously provocative and controversial.  His criticisms of morality in both theory and practice are so extensive and rhetorically scathing that many philosophers assume that he can offer little or nothing constructive to moral philosophy.  Additionally, his glorification of the will to power sounds prima facie like a celebration of excessively [Read More...]

Philosophical Or Psychopathic?

This made me laugh: If you are able to rise to this challenge, if you are able to honestly examine the moral arguments in favor of slavery and genocide (along with the much stronger arguments against them), then you are likely to be either a psychopath or a philosopher. Snipped from Jonathan Haidt and Fredrik [Read More...]

An Argument For Gay Marriage And Against Traditionalism

I am puzzled by appeals to history to oppose gay marriage because history is only the story of what people have done and never of itself directly tells us anything about right or wrong.  Results of history can serve as warnings about effective and uneffective approaches to goal x or goal y but what people [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...]

Sincerity, Hypocrisy, and Mark Sanford

I loathe witch hunts over people’s personal lives.  What interests me are some observations on sincerity and hypocrisy which seem apparent to me watching the bizarrely unself-aware and narcissistic way that Sanford has acted as though he is a character in the Bible or some other morality tale in which he is the star. I [Read More...]


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