Arguments for the existence of something that sounds kind of like a god

A close cousin of god-of-the-gaps arguments are arguments that argue for something that sounds kind of like a god, but which wouldn’t actually have to be a god. A good example of this is the argument from design, which claims that we can somehow show that the life on Earth and/or the universe was designed, [Read More…]

What a graduate-level philosophy seminar is like

Last week’s discussion of what philosophical arguments everyone should know about gave me a lot of ideas for posts, but reading the comments, it occurred to me that there is a very big gap between me and almost all of you readers. The gap is this: even if you’ve read a good bit of philosophy, [Read More…]

Moral theory isn’t as helpful as many people think

I actually have some nice things to say about moral theory, but I’m saving them for another post because I’ve been kept up late doing other things, and a purely negative post is easier to dash off late at night. Let me begin by quoting a great bit from Eliezer Yudkowsky: [Read more…]

Abortion is about the right of women to control their bodies

This is something I’m posting on Facebook, in part for the benefit of a high school friend, but I’m posting it here so non-Facebookers can see it. To some extent it’s a rehash of this post, but I’m going to see if I can make the points made in that post even clearer. [Read more…]

Ross Douthat promotes myth about religious basis of morality

Ross Douthat, who inexplicably has job as a columnist at the New York Times, is doing an exchange with William Saletan at Slate that looks to be full ‘o all kinds of fail, but this entry (HT: Julian Sanchez) especially caught my eye: [Read more…]

A position statement on metaethics (or, the package deal fallacy)

“Metaethics” means taking a step away from standard ethical-slash-moral questions (is abortion morally permissible? is it permissible to bomb civilians if it will end the war sooner and prevent a greater number of deaths?) and asking questions about the questions. Do we know the answers to any moral questions? If so, how do we know [Read More…]

Post-hoc rationalization among philosophers

What are philosophers good at? Eric Schwitzgebel reports on the results of an experiment which suggests the answer is “not the things they’d like you to believe they’re good at”: [Read more…]

The under-rated “famous violinist” defense of abortion

The view taken by the Catholic Church, and other anti-abortion extremists, that a single fertilized human egg cell is a person, has always struck me as bizarre. Well, since I was old enough to think about the issue anyway. And I’ve realized for just as long that there isn’t going to be a magic moment [Read More…]

Empirical poltics, also abortion

I’m always baffled by how ready many people are to declare anything and everything “not an empirical issue,” without any kind of argument, as if it were just obvious what things are not empirical issues. It’s one thing to say that about, say, ethics, but I have no idea why anyone thinks that’s a sensible [Read More…]