Ethical Realism

July 30, 2010

10 Myths About Beliefs

Filed under: epistemology,philosophy — JW Gray @ 10:00 am
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There are many myths and misunderstandings that prevent clear thinking, good debate, and proper argumentation. I will discuss ten myths about beliefs, but first I will describe knowledge. (more…)

July 27, 2010

Is Atheism Immoral?

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 5:58 am
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Is atheism immoral, evil, sinful, satanic, or unholy? Atheists are one of the most hated groups in the United States. Many religious people openly admit they think that atheism is immoral. I will argue that atheism is not immoral. First, I will give some evidence that atheists are despised. Second, I will describe two ways people think atheism is immoral. Third, I will provide arguments that atheism is not immoral. Fourth, I will take a look at arguments people use to conclude that atheism is immoral. If we have good reason to believe that atheism can be morally permissible (rational from an individual’s standpoint) and we have no reason to think atheism is immoral, then we should agree that atheism is not immoral. (more…)

July 22, 2010

A Review of Commitment, Value, and Moral Realism by Marcel S. Lieberman

Filed under: ethics,metaethics,philosophy,review — JW Gray @ 11:24 pm
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Marcel S. Lieberman’s book, Commitment, Value, and Moral Realism (1998), provides us with a practical argument for moral realism. Lieberman argues that substantive commitments (such an the commitment avoid cruelty) require us to believe in values of a moral realist variety. People who deny moral realism and have stable substantive commitments are incoherent. It is impossible for them to sincerely deny moral realism and simultaneously have substantive commitments. (more…)

July 16, 2010

Intellectual Virtues, Dogmatism, Fanaticism, & Terrorism

Fanaticism can be understood as a form of irrationality, and as the worst sort of intellectual vice. Intellectual virtues include an appropriate sort of open mindedness and skepticism. Lacking open mindedness and skepticism makes a person gullible or unwilling to correct their poorly formed beliefs. Fanaticism is related to dogmatism—an unwillingness to form beliefs based on good reason. However, the fanatic is the most extreme sort of dogmatist. In order to describe my position, I will explain good reasoning, the intellectual virtues, the intellectual vices, dogmatism, and fanaticism. I will then suggest that terrorism and other horrific crimes are what we should expect from fanaticism. (more…)

July 14, 2010

A Review of Moral Realism by Torbjörn Tännsjö

One of the defenses for moral realism that makes use of common sense was given by Torbjörn Tännsjö in his book Moral Realism published in 1979 and revised in 1990. The reason that his argument makes use of common sense is because it demystifies the strangeness of morality by opening us up to the fact that moral observation is possible. Tännsjö technically mainly only defends moral realism because he argues that there is no good reason to reject moral realism of the sort he defends. If his defense succeeds and we can fully justify his beliefs, then the following argument for moral realism is implied:

  1. If we have moral knowledge, then moral realism is true.
  2. We have moral knowledge.
  3. Therefore, moral realism is true.


July 9, 2010

Does Evolution Adequately Explain Morality?

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 7:11 am
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Many people are satisfied with the idea that morality comes from evolution. This is somehow supposed to satisfy the masses, but it seems to miss the point of morality. What does it mean to for morality to come from evolution? It means that somehow moral behavior was a reproductive advantage and that’s why we have moral behavior now. (Additionally, immoral behavior was a reproductive disadvantage.) So, we care for others and help other people because that’s natural behavior we inherited from our genes. (more…)

July 2, 2010

Moral Absolutism, Relativism, and the Situation

I have been surprised to find out how many people are moral absolutists. Moral absolutists believe that the situation can’t be relevant to morality. Many people argue that either moral absolutism is true or relativism is true, but I reject both of these positions. Moral reasoning is possible because morality has a connection to reality (unlike moral relativism) and the situation is relevant to moral reasoning (unlike moral absolutism). (more…)

July 1, 2010

A Review of The Normative Web: An Argument for Moral Realism by Terance Cuneo

Many of my next posts will involve meta-ethics and moral realism. I define moral realism here and moral realism is discussed in greater detail in my ebook, Is There A Meaning of Life?

Terence Cuneo wrote The Normative Web: An Argument for Moral Realism back in 2007. Actual arguments that attempt to show moral realism to be true (or probably true) are not easy to find, but Cuneo is up to the challenge. I will describe and challenge Cuneo’s argument. I think his argument might be one of the best reasons to support moral realism, but there is much left unsaid and lingering questions. (more…)

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