Ethical Realism

July 19, 2011

The Is/Ought Gap: How Do We Get “Ought” from “Is?”

The is/ought gap illustrates the difficulty in understanding what it means to say that we ought to do something, and how we can know what we ought to do. What is the is/ought gap and what’s it all about? I will describe the is/ought gap, discuss its implications in meta-ethics, and discuss various solutions to the is/ought gap. (more…)

July 15, 2011

How Philosophy Changed My Life

Filed under: philosophy — JW Gray @ 5:02 am
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The popular idea of philosophy is that it’s just an academic discipline involving arguments and esoteric forms of reasoning. However, in What is Ancient Philosophy? Pierre Hadot argues that philosophy was originally meant to be a “way of life.” This isn’t shocking when you realize that one of the main fields of philosophy is ethics, and ethics is meant to be put into practice. To abstractly discuss and contemplate ethics without trying to live ethically seems very strange. If someone finds out that “killing people indiscriminately is wrong,” then we might think there’s something unphilosophical about that person killing others indiscriminately. (more…)

July 14, 2011

Do We Experience That Pain is Intrinsically Bad?

Filed under: ethics — JW Gray @ 4:55 am
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We experience that our pain (or suffering) is bad, but is everyone’s pain bad? Is it wrong to cause other people pain (at least some of the time) because their pain is bad? Many philosophers think that (at least some) pain is “intrinsically bad”—bad just for existing and worthy of being avoided for its own sake. If so, it seems reasonable to say that everyone’s pain is bad and it’s wrong to cause needless pain to others. However, this is an interpretation of our experience of pain and not everyone agrees with it. I will discuss various interpretations of what it means to experience that pain is bad: (more…)

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