Ethical Realism

October 21, 2011

My Review of Lawrence Becker’s A New Stoicism

Filed under: ethics,philosophy,review — JW Gray @ 9:21 am
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In A New Stoicism Lawrence C. Becker attempts to develop a new form of Stoicism compatible with current scientific assumptions concerning reality—without the Ancient Stoic metaphysical or psychological assumptions (such as the existence of a deity). Becker argues that his new Stoicism will agree that virtue is the greatest good and that all virtuous people are happy. Becker does not spell out his new Stoicism’s moral psychology in detail, but he does describe his new Stoicism’s understanding of virtue as “ideal agency.” I will discuss his understanding of virtue and offer my objection to it. In particular, I find this understanding of virtue to be impractical. (more…)

October 19, 2011

A Second New Kind of Stoicism: Common Sense Stoicism

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 8:12 am
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This is part 2. Go here to see part 1.

I have created a new form of Stoicism that doesn’t require a god that I call “Neo-Aristonianism.” I will now present a second new form of Stoicism (that doesn’t require a god) that I call “Common Sense Stoicism.” Neo-Aristonianism is a skeptical form of Stoicism that requires as few assumptions as seem necessary for a potentially comprehensive virtue ethics. Nonetheless, many assumptions are very plausible and many of us will prefer a more ambitious virtue ethics that involves some of these assumptions. (In particular, the existence of certain intrinsic values.) That’s where Common Sense Stoicism comes in. (more…)

October 16, 2011

A New Kind of Stoicism: Neo-Aristonianism

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 6:25 am
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Stoicism is one of the most neglected philosophical traditions, but I think it’s informative and helpful. I also think it’s likely that Stoicism’s been neglected in recent times because the Stoics believed in a deity, and now philosophers shy away from any philosophy involving God. For these reasons I will present a new form of Stoic ethics I call “Neo-Aristonianism” that doesn’t require us to believe in a deity. (more…)

November 11, 2010

Virtue Ethics

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 6:38 am
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The virtue ethics of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, and the Stoics were very individualistic and primarily concerned with helping one person become a better person though self-improvement. This is a sharp contrast to the current popular moral theories—Kantianism and consequentialism—that tend to be concerned with categorizing actions as right and wrong. These moral theories provide us with a set of rules to follow. They are much like computer programs invented to determine which actions are (or tend to be) right or wrong. The personal requirement of “thinking for yourself” would ideally be dispensable because the moral theory can think for us. (more…)

August 31, 2010

How to Become Moral

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 12:52 am
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Philosophers are mainly concerned with moral reasoning and knowledge, but even when we know right from wrong we still might decide to do wrong. Becoming moral is a challenging task and requires us to find motivation to be moral. I suggest that the following are aids in our quest to find moral motivation and become better people: (more…)

February 18, 2010

How to Become a Philosopher

Filed under: philosophy — JW Gray @ 7:06 pm
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Whether you want to read philosophy, argue well, have a philosophy hobby, become a philosopher, or help others learn philosophy, you should start with the basics. Why try to reinvent philosophy entirely on your own when you can learn quite a bit of the basics from other philosophers? They have spent two millennium cataloging and analyzing many common pitfalls and “words of advice.” To introduce yourself to philosophy, you could take some philosophy classes, but it is also possible to try to teach yourself. If you want to teach yourself or others, I recommend using the following six steps: (more…)

February 5, 2010

A Moral Realist Point of View Part 3

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 7:43 am
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In this installment, I will discuss how the following moral concepts can relate to moral realism:

  1. Virtue
  2. Justice
  3. Rights

(more…)

January 15, 2010

What is the Meaning of Life?

“The meaning of life” actually refers to various intrinsic values—various values that “really matter.” To live a meaningful life is to attain and promote intrinsic goods. I have argued that at least one intrinsic value exists, but I believe that there are more. Let’s consider what philosophers believe to have intrinsic value:

  1. Pain
  2. Pleasure
  3. Happiness
  4. Virtue
  5. Good will
  6. Human existence
  7. Consciousness

(more…)

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