Force and Reason

In previous posts (like Rational Passional Persuasion and On Zealously, Tentatively, and Perspectivally Holding Viewpoints) I have argued that there is a proper place for emotional appeals as part of a rational argument. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have also argued firmly against certain kinds of emotional appeals that I consider abusive, counter-productive, and hypocritical [Read More...]

What Does It Mean For Pleasure And Pain To Be “Intrinsically Instrumental” Goods?

In reply to my post, Pleasure And Pain As Intrinsic Instrumental Goods, James objects: You are defining pleasure as intrinsic instrumental good. This is obviously not intrinsic goodness as I define it at all. Instrumental goodness is not intrinsic goodness. A successful pleasure instance is an intrinsically good instance of pleasure in-itself and for-itself, just for being [Read More...]

Against Moral Intuitionism

In the series of posts I began on Sunday and which has continued through this morning, I have developed and defended my naturalistic approach to understanding value as a realist.  James Gray, despite being a moral realist, has balked at much in my attempts to do this and it has become increasingly clear that the [Read More...]

Non-Reductionistic Analysis Of Values Into Facts

I have recently been arguing that the term good: must be cashed out in fact terms lest it just be a projection of our preferences and nothing more.  [And] if it means anything objective, it means effectiveness. In reply, James Gray accuses me of reductionism: One, “good” does not have be defined in non-good terms. [Read More...]

A Video Of Me Rambling About Nietzsche

This is from 2007 and I just found that it pops right up when one Googles me. It’s hard for me to watch because it involves watching me. But I figured it might be of interest to others. Forgive the extemporaneousness of it all and enjoy some of the more hilarious hand gestures. (My favorite [Read More...]

Subjective Valuing And Objective Values

In reply to my post a week ago on the incoherence of saying that we relied upon God, or at least religion, in order to either discover or verify what was good and evil, Clergy Guy asks: Daniel, do you have some thoughts on defining good and evil apart from religion? How do we/should we [Read More...]

Why I Think Theistic Religion’s Psychological Grip Can Be Weakened Or Broken

In a recent comments section, Gregory Wahl argued to me that religion is so deeply rooted in psychological needs, specifically the longing for immortality, that there is an inherent limitation to the ability of all my philosophical arguments to dissuade the faithful.  As this line of reasoning goes, they do not believe for intellectual reasons [Read More...]

How To Both Love And Debate People (And Knock Off The Attempts To “Save” Them)

A somewhat unpleasantly hostile atheist is outraged that a nephew, with whom this atheist is admittedly not very close, announced on Facebook plans to study theology (in addition to political science).  Here is what the atheist wants to say to the nephew “in a nutshell”: “In a nutshell, I think religion is: pernicious fraud and one [Read More...]

Deciding Without Knowing It?

In the paper “Predicting Persuasion-Induced Behavior Change from the Brain” from The Journal of Neuroscience , UCLA researchers reveal that they were better able to predict test subjects’ behavior days in advance by monitoring activity in the medial prefrontal cortex than by asking them what they would do.  Psyorg.com explains: The new study by Lieberman [Read More...]


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