Empowerment Ethics: “Is Morality Just Culturally Relative?”

This is a new installment of my “Empowerment Ethics” series. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, social psychologists, and other academics are all very interested in accurately describing different culture’s de facto systems of moral practices and norms. Famously these vary quite a bit. And good science requires not letting one’s own culture’s value judgments compromise one’s ability to accurately [Read More...]

I Am A Moral Naturalist, Not A Subjectivist

In a long comment on my post from this morning, George raised the question of usage of “subjectivism” beyond my own interpretation of the word.  Let’s look to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which should be as neutral an adjudicating source as the English-speaking philosophy world has.  I selected this source for its independent, encyclopedia character [Read More...]

A Dictatorship Of Relativism?

BBC Radio 4 analyzes the pope’s catchphrase, “a dictatorship of relativism”, used for describing the secular West.  Here’s the program description: The idea that no one has a monopoly on the truth seems to be fixed in the modern Western psyche. But it’s an idea that is under attack. Pope Benedict claims that we are [Read More...]

Philosophical Ethics: A.J. Ayer And The Emotivism Of A Positivist

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...]

Moral Integration, or the Pros and Cons of Moral Absolutism and Ethical Pluralism

Aaron writes this wonderfully thought provoking reply to my post about moral motivation apart from reference to God: I had an argument a few years back with someone over this. She thought I’d go to hell for not believing in Jesus, even thought she thought I was a great person. I found that troubling. It [Read More...]


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