Unabashedly Self-Promoting Blurb

John Loftus' latest anthology, The End of Christianity has been printed by Prometheus and is now being distributed. I have an essay in the book titled "Hell: Christianity's Most Damnable Doctrine." (BTW, John and Victor Reppert are having a knock-down-drag-out squabble on their respective blogs--Debunking Christianity and Dangerous Idea--about what John calls 'the outsider test of faith.' The imbroglio now seems to be generating rather more heat than light.) I really enjoyed doing the piece on … [Read more...]

Son of Naturalism and Norms

First, apologies if I am boring the hell out of everyone but a few of us fanatics with yet another sequel on naturalism and norms. It is just that I think the issues are very important, and I have gotten such terrific feedback on these points, that I am going to post a couple more replies to Philip K. and Dianelos.Philip K, Your commentary raises a good many deep issues, so many that pursuing them all would take us far afield and far exceed the space we have to address matters here. I think that … [Read more...]

Religious Reminiscences

We usually debate weighty issues on SO, but I thought I would offer something a bit lighter. For fun I am writing a memoir (I was inspired by Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) of growing up in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia in the '50's and early 60's. These are my religious reminiscences. Names have been changed. Mom and Dad were both practicing Christians. Grace was said before every meal. Mom read us Bible stories at bedtime. We were church members and regular attendees. … [Read more...]

Naturalism and Norms (Postscript)

Philip K asks some very probing and incisive questions about ethical naturalism (EN) in his comment on my post “Naturalism and Norms.” These questions raise issues too large and too important to be addressed in the very limited space of a comment box, so I am making a new post. He puts two questions to the ethical naturalist:Here are two questions, then. First, is it an empirical discovery that the members of each species have a natural purpose, a proper endpoint? Second, is the ethical nat … [Read more...]

Naturalism and Norms

My recent exchange with Taner on ethical naturalism (EN) prompted a good bit of stimulating comment and criticism. I’ve been out of town for a couple of weeks and away from blogging, so I have not been able to reply to each comment as it arrived. Rather than attempt to do so now, I would like to address the issue that seems to me to be at the heart of much of the discussion: How do naturalists justify norms? The prima facie problem is this: Norms tell us what should be, not what is. Many p … [Read more...]

Response to Taner

Taner, Thanks for the long post and the many insightful points and queries. Since Aristotle is the founder of naturalized ethics, it is really important that we get him right. Aristotle does not base his ethics upon “human nature,” but what he calls “the human function.” (Sorry, I don’t know the Greek) The human function comprises the way of living for which nature has suited humans. That is, just as the Great White Shark is suited (as the Richard Dreyfus character says in Jaws) to swim, eat, … [Read more...]

Rupture, er, Rapture May 21

A little comic relief from all the heavy-duty philosophizing on this site. This is one of the more amusing of these types of stories:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-preacher-warns-end-of-the-world-is-nigh-21-may-around-6pm-to-be-precise-2254139.htmlYou sinners have only a few days to mend your ways if you don't want to be left behind! I enjoyed the idea that God sent the gay pride movement as a sign of the end times. Best, though, was the guy at the bottom of the story who … [Read more...]

Understanding Our Differences (Maybe)

I hesitate to respond to Victor Reppert’s latest riposte (April 19) on his Dangerous Idea blog, since BDK and others have already hashed it out with considerable sophistication and subtlety. My aim here, however, is not to refute Victor (knockdown refutations in philosophy occupy a shadowy ontological niche somewhere between very rare and nonexistent), but to understand as clearly as possible just where our differences lie. In my experience, intractable disagreements come down to ground-floor, … [Read more...]


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