Diagram of Options in Moral Success Theory

Success Theory Diagram

This diagram is an excerpt of a much larger and more complete taxonomy of metaethics. The branch shown here is for moral success theory, which may be defined as the combination of the following views:Cognitivism: moral judgments express beliefsSuccess theory: at least some of those beliefs are true   … [Read more...]

Kahane on Cosmic Insignificance

This paper is an absolute must-read. Abstract: The universe that surrounds us is vast, and we are so very small. When we reflect on the vastness of the universe, our humdrum cosmic location, and the inevitable future demise of humanity, our lives can seem utterly insignificant. Many philosophers assume that such worries about our significance reflect a banal metaethical confusion. They dismiss the very idea of cosmic significance. This, I argue, is a mistake. Worries about cosmic insignificance … [Read more...]

Alonzo Fyfe’s Alternative Answer to “Where Do Atheists Get Their Morality?”

Back in 2008 Alonzo Fyfe blogged about the question, "Where do atheists get their morality?" As an alternative to "the standard attempt to defend some moral theory," he proposes the following answer. "A lot of theists want to know where atheists get their morality because theists are bigots looking for an excuse to hate their atheist neighbors, and 'You are morally inferior to us' has long been a favorite dehumanization technique of the hateful bigot. Clearly, atheists do quite well when it … [Read more...]

Atheistic Moral Realism – Part 11

If I understand William Craig's third objection to AMR, then he is basically offering an inductive  teleological argument for the existence of God (similar to how Richard Swinburne argues for God)  based on the assumption that there are objective moral values plus the claim that humans and the circumstances in which humans find themselves are such as to allow humans to live morally significant lives (we have free will, are able to grasp moral principles, are able to reason from moral principles t … [Read more...]

Atheistic Moral Realism – Part 10

When I argue against the resurrection of Jesus, I generally take a two-pronged approach. First, I argue that there are various good reasons to doubt the claim that Jesus was alive and walking around on the first Easter Sunday. Second, I make a concession for the sake of argument; I grant the supposition that Jesus was alive and walking around on the first Easter Sunday. Then I point out that this assumption, an assumption that Christian apologists work very hard to try to prove, actually … [Read more...]

Atheistic Moral Realism – Part 9

I have argued previously that Craig's first two objections to AMR are weak at best. The third objection might not be as weak as the previous two. However, the third objection is the most unclear of the three, so if it turns out to be a strong objection, that will be because we help Craig to clearly formulate his third objection.William Craig’s third objection to AMR is given in a single brief paragraph:Third, it is fantastically improbable that just the sort of creatures would emerge f … [Read more...]

Atheistic Moral Realism – Part 8

I am not impressed by Richard Taylor's appeal to etymology as an argument for the claim that all duties and all obligations are 'owed' to some person or persons (see part 7 for my objections to that line of reasoning).However, to be fair to Craig, Taylor's appeal to etymology is not specifically and explicitly quoted by Craig in his essay 'Why I Believe God Exists' (WIAC, p.62-80). Perhaps Craig is aware of the weakness of Taylor's appeal to etymology, and so he avoids quoting such appeals … [Read more...]

Atheistic Moral Realism – Part 7

Richard Taylor's book Virtue Ethics: An Introduction (formerly published as Ethics, Faith, and Reason) provides a very readable and interesting defense of the view that the modern conception of morality originates with religion, especially with Christianity.William Craig quotes from Chapter 11 of this book as his primary support for his second objection to AMR. So, in order to evaluate Craig's second objection, we need to evaluate Taylor's argument(s) for the claim that duties are always … [Read more...]


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