Richard Schoenig’s New Paper: “Objective Ethics Without Religion”

Abstract: Theists frequently aver that atheism is incompatible with moral realism (the view that there are objective moral facts). This paper defends a justifiable objective moral code, termed ethical rationalism (ER), that does not depend on the existence of any supernatural being. ER is a seven-principle moral code comprising two general prescriptions: do not harm others and help them whenever feasible. It is argued that ER (and hence objective morality) is justified by the fact that all moral … [Read more...]

Really Handy Survey of Metaethics

I have no idea if the site posting this actually has the copyright permissions to do this or not, but there is a site with the entire copy of Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's book, Moral Skepticisms, available as a PDF file.For those of you with an interest in learning more about metaethics--such as the distinction between "moral metaphysics" (moral ontology), "moral linguistics" (moral semantics), and so forth, check out pages 5-7 of the PDF file, especially the diagram on page 6. … [Read more...]

Louise Antony on Divine Goodness

I'm reading Debating Christian Theism, based on Keith Parsons's recommendation. I just finished reading the essays by Paul Copan and Louise Antony debating moral arguments for God's existence. Antony's essay ends with a very interesting point. In a way, it’s puzzling why, of all God’s attributes, moral goodness is the one held to be constituted merely by God’s possessing it. God is omniscient, but what’s true is not held to be true in virtue of God’s believing it; God is omnipotent, but somethin … [Read more...]

A Quick and Easy Refutation of Theologically-Grounded Ethics?

According to many skeptics, including many philosophers, the idea that God is the foundation of morality can be refuted according to the Euthyphro dilemma (ED). Socrates, in Plato's Euthyphro dialogue (10a), asked: "Is what is holy holy because the gods approve it, or do they approve it because it is holy?" In modern times this has been rephrased in various ways. Here's one: "Is what is good good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good?"Is this a good objection? It … [Read more...]

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...]