Ethical Realism

December 20, 2013

Atheism as Nonbelief

Filed under: philosophy — JW Gray @ 6:20 am
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A lot of people are saying ‘atheism’ is what we call it when people don’t believe in gods.1 The more traditional meaning of ‘atheism’ is the belief that no gods (or certain types of gods) exist. This newer (nontraditional) type of atheism is sometimes called ‘soft atheism’ as opposed to ‘hard atheism.’ I will describe atheism, consider reasons that the newer definition of ‘atheism’ can lead to confusion, and I will consider reasons why people might prefer this newer definition. (more…)


May 5, 2013

The Problem of Evil & Objective Morality

Filed under: philosophy — JW Gray @ 12:54 pm
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The problem of evil refers to the fact that certain traditional views of theism involve contradictory beliefs. The problem is that God should be willing and able to make sure evil doesn’t exist, but evil exists. Some theists argue that atheists can’t reject the existence of God based on the problem of evil because atheists would then have to assume objective morality exists, but objective morality requires God. I will argue that the theist’s argument is irrelevant in consideration of one argument against one type of traditional theism, but it is somewhat relevant against another. Even so, both arguments are unsound. (more…)

January 29, 2013

Is Atheism or Theism The Default Position?

Filed under: metaphysics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 8:52 am
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Many atheists say that atheism is the default position, so theists have the burden of proof. I will consider the best argument I can come up with that theism is the default position and the best argument I can come up with that argument that atheism is the default position. I believe that the argument that atheism is the default position seems a little more plausible, but I am not yet convinced that either of the arguments are rationally compelling. Even so, the arguments I will present are merely food for thought and could be considered to be a starting point when considering whether atheism or theism is the default position (or perhaps neither). (more…)

September 19, 2011

Being Risk-Averse, Hedging Our Bets, and Secularism in Philosophy

Filed under: epistemology,philosophy — JW Gray @ 10:26 pm
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We should generally prefer beliefs and theories that are well justified and don’t require ambitious metaphysical or religious assumptions. “Metaphysical” beliefs are beliefs about reality, and “ambitious” beliefs are difficult to justify in a satisfying way that would lead to anything resembling certainty. We attain absolute certainty when we have a belief that couldn’t possibly be wrong. (more…)

March 24, 2011

Why Theistic Religion Might Go Extinct

Filed under: philosophy — JW Gray @ 12:50 am
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Successful religions have historically been appealing to both the educated and the uneducated. They have appealed to the greatest minds and “experts” (the most distinguished philosophers and scientists) and people who aren’t especially interested in fully understanding life’s greatest mysteries. First, I will argue that the success of religions partially depends on appealing to both of these groups because (a) the religion needs educated people to join and persuade others that the religion is probably true (b) sometimes only the greatest minds can convince educated people that the religion is probably true. Second, I will argue that religions have lost the support from the experts that they need. This doesn’t mean that all religion will die off forever, but it does mean that truly successful religions of the future will probably have to regain support from the experts. These will probably be either revised versions of current religions or entirely new religions. (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…)

May 26, 2010

An Argument Against God, a Teapot, and Garvey’s Objection (Part 1)

We want to know, Does God probably exist? Is the belief in god rational? Many people disbelieve in God because there isn’t enough evidence. Some people argue that this is no different than the fact that we think that there probably is no teapot in outer space revolving around the sun.1 We have to admit that a teapot might be revolving around the sun because we haven’t done an extensive search, but we shouldn’t just abstain from judgment. It is most rational to reject the belief of such a teapot and to think such a teapot probably doesn’t exist. In the same way it might be most rational to reject the belief in God and to think that God probably doesn’t exist.2 (more…)

February 17, 2010

Why Philosophy is Awesome

If you are thinking about learning philosophy on your own or taking a philosophy class, it can be a good idea to think about why philosophy is so important. Philosophy is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Medication, self-help books, get quick rich schemes, and religion are all rather meaningless unless they have been vindicated through philosophy. There are at least two reasons that we should learn philosophy. One, it is enjoyable. Two, it helps us live a better life. (more…)

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