Ethical Realism

February 25, 2011

Why Intrinsic Values Are Common Sense

Filed under: ethics,metaethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 5:42 am
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I will argue that the belief in intrinsic value—that at least one thing is good or bad just for existing—is common sense.1 It’s not only intuitive and compatible with our moral beliefs and emotions, but the denial of intrinsic value seems to be highly counterintuitive and lead to absurdities. (I don’t know how an alternative hypothesis could avoid being counterintuitive, but it might be possible.) (more…)

February 18, 2011

Intrinsic Values & Beliefs About Reality

Filed under: ethics,metaphysics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 3:13 am
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The belief in intrinsic values (and moral realism in general) is incompatible with certain beliefs about reality. Something has intrinsic value if it is good just for existing (perhaps happiness or human life). Moral realism is the view that there are moral facts beyond our personal interests and beliefs. If something has real value just for existing, then there are facts about what actions are better than others because some actions can promote intrinsic value better than others. For example, killing people destroys something with intrinsic value assuming human life has intrinsic value. (more…)

February 11, 2011

Philosophical Lobbying & Improved Ethics Requirements in Accounting

Filed under: ethics,outreach,philosophy — JW Gray @ 6:44 am
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I discussed the need for philosophical lobbying (philobbying), and we recently found some success in California. If you want to be a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) in California, then you might have to take 10 units of ethics classes thanks to lobbying by the Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) who hopes that such classes will help reduce the unethical behavior committed by accountants.1 I will discuss the new ethics requirement and why I think it’s a good idea. (more…)

February 1, 2011

I Created A FAQ on Intrinsic Value

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 6:30 am
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I created a FAQ on Intrinsic Value, which is now a permanent page on this site and a free ebook. Is there a meaning of life? Is there any reason for us to be moral? If intrinsic values exist, then yes. Human life, pleasure, and happiness all seem like they are good–they all seem worthy of promoting because of how important they are. This FAQ explains my beliefs and arguments concerning intrinsic value.

Much of what I say in the FAQ could be taken as a defense of Sam Harris’s The Moral Landscape. There are philosophers who agree with a lot of what Sam Harris has to say.

Go here to see the FAQ.

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