Ethical Realism

May 14, 2010

Emergence: A New Worldview of Reality

Filed under: metaphysics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 11:10 pm
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I believe in timeless elements of reality and irreducible elements of reality. Minds, morality, and mathematics seem to be beyond the reality as described in physics, but the view that only material reality exists is also very attractive. The solution that some philosophers have come up with is to combine the two. The only reality is physical and everything is connected to the reality as described by physics, but some elements of reality is more than the sum of their parts. (more…)


March 12, 2010

What is Emergence?

Filed under: metaphysics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 4:53 am
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Scientists want to find out what causes minds and morality even though these things seem clearly different from the rest of reality. Philosophers have thought of three main answers to explain their existence: One, they are non-natural. Two, they are reducible to physics (atoms and energy). Three, they are emergent phenomena. I will discuss each of these possibilities. (more…)

November 6, 2009

Objections to Moral Realism Part 3: Argument from Queerness

If morality is irreducible to nonmoral facts, it might still be part of the materialist worldview like any other domain, but we would merely be unable to fully describe morality in nonmoral terms. (To say that moral facts are reducible is to say that we can find out that moral facts “are really something else.”) I have argued that morality must be irreducible, but this is a substantial metaphysical claim. Such a metaphysical claim must be especially justified due to Occam’s razor—We must not multiply entities beyond necessity.1 (Or, more specifically, we shouldn’t multiply irreducible domains of reality beyond necessity.) I will present three objections against the claim that morality is irreducible, then I will attempt to reply to those objections in order to show them to be unconvincing. In particular I want to show that morality’s irreducibility is just as justified as psychology’s irreducibility, that we have reason to believe psychology is irreducible, and that we have more reason to accept that morality is irreducible than to reject it. (more…)

October 19, 2009

Objections to Moral Realism Part 1: The Is/Ought Gap

Although I have already discussed several objections to moral realism, some of them are worth discussing in more detail. In particular, the is/ought gap has proven to be a source of confusion. The is/ought gap is ambiguous and there are at least two main interpretations: One is ontological and one is epistemological. In other words, one says that the is/ought gap is a description of reality and another says that it is a description of our evidence. (more…)

July 24, 2009

Chapter 3.11 “Moral Theory and Explanatory Impotence” by Geoffrey Sayre-McCord

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord argues that we can confirm moral facts through observation, and that moral facts can be confirmed in a meaningful way. He admits that there is still some room for doubt. In order to justify moral facts, he takes a close look at epistemology in general. He suggests that theories must be able to explain our observations better than alternatives. In order to do this pragmatic considerations seem relevant, and if so, moral theories could be justified.

In the final section of Sayre-McCord’s article, he suggests a strategy to argue that moral values exist: If we accept epistemological values, then we might be able to prove that we also have to accept moral values. (more…)

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