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Blog Profile / Atheist Ethicist

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:1242
Posts / Week:3.7
Archived Since:February 23, 2008

Blog Post Archive

The "Values" Found in the Republican's Proposed NASA Budget

There is more Republican idiocy going on in the House of Representatives concerning NASA's budget. Among the elements of the Republican NASA plan, they explicitly prohibit NASA from spending money on a mission to capture a small asteroid...Show More Summary

False Beliefs

Many atheists, perhaps proving their human nature in spite of their claims of superhuman rationality, get excitedly defensive when somebody challenges the groupthink. In my last post, I questioned some common claims about religion, and got a strong reaction from some. False beliefs are bad. Desirism accounts well for the badness of false beliefs. Show More Summary

Religion Poisons Everything?

There is a fundamental inconsistency in the way many atheists relate religion to good and bad actions. When a theist does something bad, religion is to blame. "What do you expect? You give a person a desire to please god and a belief...Show More Summary

Effective Altrusim

I have been looking into the movement known as “Effective Altruism” recently, particularly in the light of Peter Singer’s presentation at TED. To a large extent, this is substantially consistent with my interests since high school. I wanted to make the world a better place. Show More Summary

Why you should not kill yourself and why we should try to stop you if you do try.

Yesterday, I wrote that if you want to talk a person off the ledge, you need to tie that action to current desires. Future desires do not work because future desires cannot reach back in time to influence current actions. You can mention...Show More Summary

Talking Somebody Off a Ledge

I have been presented with the following scenario: Imagine a healthy, intelligent, priveleged young guy with the entire life ahead of him. Say he becomes deeply depressed for some reason and wants to die. Let's also imagine that he is completely atheistic and believe in no intrinsic values or meaning. Show More Summary

Procreation and Reasons for Action that Exist

If desires is the thing that tells us what is morally right / wrong, doesn't that impose upon us to procreate as much as possible? So that we have more entities that can form desires and fulfill them? No. Desires tell us what has value. Show More Summary

On Having a Purpose

Another question from the studio audience. Given the premise that determinism is correct, how can you say that the universe has no purpose? The universe is exactly as it had to be given it's deterministic evolution and consequentially the purpose was to give rise to living entities like you and me.... Show More Summary

Using People

I have been provided with another set of questions to answer regarding desirism. I will start with this one: A guy drugs a girl. She passes out. He rapes her in her sleep because he desired to. She is passed out during the entire ordeal and wake up without ever knowing about it. Show More Summary

Population Ethics: Bringing More People Into the World

Last week, I posted several articles on population ethics - the question of "How many people should there be?" Before moving on, I want to post an article that addresses this question more directly. It does not give an answer, but it...Show More Summary

The Nonidentity Problem

There is a problem in the philosophy of morality called The Nonidentity Problem. A member of the studio audience, Evan Dawson-Baglien, asked that I discuss it in the context of future desires. that a member of the studio audience put...Show More Summary

Future Desires Do Not Count

Future desires do not count. This is not to say that future desires do not matter. They matter to some people. In fact, they happen to matter to many of us. When I say that future desires do not count, this is to be taken as reporting the real-world fact that a future desire is not a reason for action that exists. Show More Summary

The Value of More Possible Worlds

As a follow up to my last post, I gave been asked to compare another pair of possible worlds. [B]etween the following [pair] of worlds, which would desirism recommend ("neutral" or "toss a coin" is also an option)? (A-life = almost all...Show More Summary

The Value of Possible Worlds

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I have been asked [B]etween the following [pair] of worlds, which would desirism recommend ("neutral" or "toss a coin" is also an option)? (A-life = almost all desires fulfilled; B-life = hardly any...Show More Summary

On Population Ethics

I have been asked the following question from the studio audience. What's your view on it? Should we maximize fulfilled desires in the world; fulfilled desires minus unfulfilled ones; or should we minimize the number of unfulfilled ones?...Show More Summary

On Guns and Drugs

I have been asked, What is the [desirism] perspective on gun control? Which is a subject I have been thinking about recently along with... What is the [desirism] perspective on marijuana legalization? Because it strikes me that the two questions are similar. Show More Summary

Some Thoughts on Criminal Justice

I am going to use a comment I got from my previous post to continue my discussion on criminal justice. I have been questioning the "right to remain silent" - arguing that where it is permissible to compel Person A to provide information...Show More Summary

The "Right" to Remain Silent

I am having trouble coming up with a moral case for a "right to remain silent". If Person A can be compelled to come to court and provide information relevant to the guilt or innocence of Person B, from where comes the moral objection...Show More Summary

Miranda Rulings, Plea Bargaining, Justice, and the 5th Amendment

I am going to do something new with this blog for a while. I am accustomed to writing about things which I have considered, and about which I have drawn conclusions. I want to spend done time on issues where I am puzzled to some extent. Let us begin with the issue of Miranda rights. Show More Summary

Boston Bombings: Do Not Exploit

Boston Bombings: Do Not Exploit The second principle I would like people to keep in mind in the wake of the attacks in Boston is, "Do not exploit the attacks to promote a personal or tribal agenda." Already, as the Friendly Atheist shows,...Show More Summary

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