James Croft on The Varieties of Oppression

Last week Kaveh Mousavi talked with me on the topic of Liberty to inaugurate a new series of such interviews. Today he published the second in the series, an interview with James Croft. In the excerpt below James makes a point that is all too often not understood or internalized, to our detriment: [T]here are many [Read More...]

My Systematic, Naturalistic Empowerment Ethics, With Applications to Tyrants, the Differently Abled, and LGBT People

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If you only ever read one thing I write about ethics. Let it be this.

This is a long, comprehensive, systematic defense of a naturalistic atheistic ethics, grounded in an attempt to be rationally coherent, consistent, and developed based on objective, factual premises that should not be very controversial in themselves.

This post also features an explanation of how we can say ethics is rooted in nature without coming to anti-LGBT conclusions that Catholics claim “natural law” would dictate. It also includes an explanation about how we can talk about power as a good thing (contra-Christian messaging) without endorsing abuses of power. And it has an explanation of how we can talk aspirationally about an ethics of maximizing human greatness without being ableists who throw the “disabled” under the bus in the process.

This is one of the longest posts of my original writing I have ever put up. I think it’s worth it though. It unites what could have been 8 separate posts together for the sake of putting my arguments about crucial applied topics in a relatively full context. [Read more...]

How To Live Happily: Have No Expectations

This is the first of what I am thinking will be a series of occasional “How To Live Happily” posts on what I have learned, through studying, living, introspecting, and contemplating, about how to live a joyful and happy life. [Read more...]

Power, Language, and Obscurity in Judith Butler

With Judith Butler slated to receive Frankfurt’s Adorno Prize next week, Kenan Malik summarizes controversies related to her work, focusing on Martha Nussbaum’s criticisms of her philosophy and others’ criticisms of her politics on Israel. I have never read Butler, but Malik’s selections make her sound more interesting than her reputation for obfuscation would indicate: In 1998 [Read More...]

On Good And Evil For Non-Existent People

Kyle, from the video blog Serptopia writes the following to me in reply to my posts from the summer, “On The Intrinsic Connection Between Being and Goodness”: Oh my, you seem quite the Aristotelean. From a certain angle, yes, I am very Aristotelean.  But in the broader picture, I see myself as situating all of [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...]

Rightful Pride: Identification With One’s Own Admirable Powers And Effects

Pride is essentially the personal identification with something admirable.  When I am rightly proud of my traits, I rightly take the traits themselves each to be admirable in one way or another and rightly take myself to be admirable insofar as they are part of me and expressions of me.  When I am rightly proud [Read More...]

The Christian Logic Of Power, Pride, Humility, Free Will, Original Sin, And All-Consuming Divine Narcissism

Pride has traditionally been disparaged by Christianity as not only a vice but as the chief vice. Christianity has gone so far as to recommend humility as one of the highest virtues for a human being. The theological reasons for this begin with the way that traditional Christianity understands human beings primarily relationally, as in [Read More...]

Differences In Power Correlated With Differences In Moral Judgment?

Interesting study: Those who were pre-programmed to think in terms of having power “had a stronger preference for the rule-based more considerations, compared to participants in the low-power condition, who had a stronger preference for the outcome-based moral considerations.” The researchers did find one exception to this pattern. In a final test, which was constructed [Read More...]


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