What’s the point of a rational argument? To give someone a good reason to believe something. A sufficiently good argument gives us a good reason to believe something is true. It is better for us to have beliefs that are supported by good arguments in the sense that they are more likely true based on our limited understanding of the world, but it is possible for them to be false. (more…)
June 13, 2013
February 12, 2013
At some point you are likely to hear about how giving arguments is rude and we would all get along better without arguing. Arguing is often thought to be a shouting match or hostile disagreement of some sort. However, argumentation is central to thinking rationally and critical thinking. The success of natural science could not exist without it. Yes, some arguments are disrespectful, but not all of them are. (more…)
January 18, 2012
Many people equate “justified” with “justification”—they think beliefs are justified if and only if we give a good justification for them. A sign of this attitude is found in statements such as, “We should only believe something if we can observe it’s true.” I will explain that not all our beliefs require justifications to be justified because (a) we have justified beliefs that we can’t give justifications for, (b) such an assumption is self-defeating, and (c) such an assumption would lead to an infinite regress or vicious circularity. (more…)
June 4, 2010
Is homosexuality immoral, evil, sinful, or morally wrong? If we have no reason to think that an action is wrong (a sin), then we have a pretty good reason to think that the action isn’t so wrong after all. Taking a shower could be wrong, but we don’t have any strong reason to think it could be wrong, so we have good reason to think that taking a shower is okay (morally permissible). People who don’t wear their seat belts could potentially cause significant harm to themselves through neglect, but it doesn’t seem to be particularly “immoral” overall. If we falsely identify an action as wrong, then we could end up causing guilt, oppression, and animosity towards people who don’t deserve it. I will argue that we have no reason to think that homosexuality is wrong. In particular, I will argue that the major philosophical ethical theories would not find it wrong and arguments that people present against homosexuality are not persuasive.