Blog Profile / Atheist Ethicist

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:899
Posts / Week:1.7
Archived Since:February 23, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Western Culture: Truth, Wisdom, and Justice

The attached video shows how Fox's Tucker Carlson uses language that white supremacists love. A part of this video concerns the interest in "preserving our culture". For example, the video shows clips in which Carlson says: This is a...Show More Summary

Natural Law Theory

The first topic we will be discussing in the Philosophy of Law course is "Natural Law Theory". I have to admit that, when it comes to the philosophy of law, I tend to think that all major positions are correct. They do not have any substantive difference. Show More Summary

Trump and the Loss of Virtue

I fear that one of the biggest long-term costs of the Trump reign as President is going to be the loss of virtue. The moral foundation of our society had to have some serious cracks in it anyway for Trump to have even been considered...Show More Summary

Economics: Wealth Without Money

Economics is also known as "the science of value". However, it fails miserably. Before I explain that statement, I should let you know that my current project is taking the six Darwinian Dilemma posts (Street 01-06) and turning intoShow More Summary

Street 06: Acquired Ends

In my last posting, The Value of Individual and Species Survival I argued that it is unlikely that our ancestors evolved to have a natural "desire that I survive" or "desire that the species survive". This is unlikely because, untilShow More Summary

Street 05: The Value of Individual and Species Survival

This post in the series does not need a lot of background, because it makes a stand-alone point. I am going to argue that animals generally - probably (though not certainly) including humans - do not have a natural desire for personal survival or, even less likely, a desire for species survival. Show More Summary

Street 04: Desires-as-Means

I know what you're thinking. "We're already well into this discussion. There's no way I can make any sense of this. I had best go away and do something else." I will try to catch you up quickly. Sharon Street wrote a very good article...Show More Summary

Street 03: Sharon Street's Proto-Evaluative Judgments

Context: In my readings, I am currently going through Sharon Street's "Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value." In this posting, I want to argue for using "desires" as I defined them in Part 02 "What Are 'Desires-as-Ends'? to play the role that Street gives to "proto-evaluative judgments" in her Darwinian Dilemma. Show More Summary

Sam Harris: Deriving "ought" from "is"

Allow me to briefly interrupt my critique of Sharon Street's "Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value" to critique Sam Harris on deriving "ought" from "is". Sam Harris has made another failed attempt to derive “moral ought” from “is”. His attempt fails at exactly the same spot utilitarian attempts have failed at for 200 years. Show More Summary

Street 02: What are "Desires-as-Ends"?

This post is going to repeat some information I presented just a few days ago. I am repeating it because, in my revised revision of Sharon Street’s “Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value,” this is where the information becomes...Show More Summary

Street 01: Starting Over - Evolutionary and Desires-as-Ends

I am starting over. I found my attempts to present Sharon Street's arguments in, "A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value" to be confusing. Consequently, I devoted some time to coming up with a way to do a better job of presenting my position on her argument. Show More Summary

Desires vs. Evaluative Judgments: Critique of Darwinian Dilemma - Part 02

This is a Critique of Sharon Street's "Darwinian Dilemma for Moral Realism" - Part 02 You can read Critique of Sharon Street's "Darwinian Dilemma for Moral Realism" - Part 01, but it should not be needed to understand the argument below. I...Show More Summary

Critique of Sharon Street's "Darwinian Dilemma for Moral Realism" - Part 01

I intended to examine the difference between my thesis: The right act is the act that a person with good motives and lacking bad motives would have done in the circumstances: And Rosalind Hursthouse's thesis: An act is right iff a virtuous...Show More Summary

Mill on Motives and Right Action

I have objected against Henry Sidgwick that the criterion of right action is not utility. It is whether a person with good motives and lacking bad motives would have performed that action. I combined this with the standard objectionShow More Summary

Moral Objectivity and Moral Realism

In the paper that I am writing on Rosalind Hursthouse's theory of right action, I am going to disagree with her on what she calls a second spring of human action - reason or rationality. I am going to side with David Hume. Desires provide the only "spring of action" - nothing is an end except that desire makes it so. Show More Summary

Summary of Thesis Project

I have finished Hursthouse’s book On Virtue Ethics. My next project will be to write a commentary on it, using the research notes that I wrote into the previous 18 posts. The key difference between my proposition... The right act is the act that a person with good motives and lacking bad motives would have performed in the circumstances ... Show More Summary

Naturalistic vs. Manufactured Ends

It turns out that, in the last chapter of her book, On Virtue Ethics, Rosalind Hursthouse responded to the Darwinian objection to her theory. In her response, she seems to see only three options: (1) Darwinian theory underwrites theShow More Summary

The Neurathian Procedure for Moral Justification

The Neurathian Procedure applies to attempts to answer the question of how we can know something to be true. If "It is wrong to lie under oath" is true (or, more precisely, under conditions where it is true), the Neurathian Procedure...Show More Summary

Acting Virtuously

In my last post, I promised to say something about "acting virtuously". I have been discussing Rosalind Hursthouse's thesis that: An action is right iff it is what a virtuous agent would characteristically (i.e. acting in character)Show More Summary

Does Virtue Benefit the Virtuous?

A key claim of Aristotelian virtue is that virtue benefits the virtuous. Indeed, the very reason to become virtuous is to live a good life. I find a curious inconsistency in this way of talking. Is one being virtuous for the sake ofShow More Summary

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