Blog Profile / Atheist Ethicist

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:646
Posts / Week:1.5
Archived Since:February 23, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Desirism Book - Part 0019 - A Belief in Goodness

Through several postings, we have had a universe with one person (Alph) with one desire (to gather stones). This is a universe with a limited number of stones, so Alph needs to spend half of his time scattering stones so that he canShow More Summary


I am not a citizen of Great Britain, but I do have an opinion regarding Brexit - Britain's referendum on whether to remain in or leave the European Union. First, I want to object to the idea that, "Simply because you are not a citizen,...Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0018 - Incentives and Deterrence

In my last post, I introduced Bett - a person with no desires - into a world that originally contained Alph with his one desire to gather stones. I also gave Alph the ability to give Bett a desire - either a desire to gather stones or...Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0017 - Introducing Bett

We have a universe with one person (Alph) and one desire (to gather stones). Recall that his desire to gather stones is a motivating reason for him to make or keep true the proposition "I am gathering stones." Let us assume that there...Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0016 - Summary of One Person with One Desire

I am about to add a second person to this imaginary universe. Before I do, I would like to review what we have. We have a universe with one person (Alph) who has one desire (to gather stones). Desires are propositional attitudes. That...Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0010.5 - Hume's Destruction of the World

[Author;s Note: This is intended to be inserted between posts 0010 and 0011. It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. It is not contrary to reason for me to chuse my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me. Show More Summary

Philippa Foot's Morality as Hypothetical Imperatives - Part 3 - What Ought We to Desire

In "Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives" (The Philosophical Review Vol. 81, No. 3 (Jul., 1972), pp. 305-316), Philippa Foot identified three relationships between doing the right thing and the motives of the agent. Two of these relate to the traditional distinction between hypothetical and categorical imperatives. Show More Summary

The Case for Super-Delegates

In his address to supporters, Bernie Sanders listed some objectives for his followers to work on in the years ahead. Many have merit, but a few deserve some second thought. One of these is to abolish the system of super-delegates. In...Show More Summary

Philippa Foot's Morality as Hypothetical Imperatives - Part 2 - Reasons to Act Morally

Typically, in discussions regarding the relationship between right action and motives, we encounter a contrast between two types of reasons. There are those who do the right thing because they find it useful, like the person who makes...Show More Summary

Islam vs The West: Trump vs. Obama

In this post I want to present my understanding of the position that the Obama administration takes on the use of rhetoric regarding the conflict against ISIL and al-Quida. First, Obama asserts that ISIL and al-Quida wish to frame the...Show More Summary

Putting Good Before God

There are people who tell me that I need to "find God" or seek religion if I am going to understand morality. However, I do not see how that is going to work. For this discussion, let us assume that there is a god and that the God wants...Show More Summary

The Left and the Problem of Criticizing Islam

There are voices, some of them liberal, who assert that liberals do not have a proper attitude towards Islam. These critics accuse (other) liberals of being warm and welcoming of those who slaughter homosexuals, kill blasphemers andShow More Summary

Welfare for the Wealthy - Climate Change

In an earlier post I discussed how much of the law is concerned with transferring wealth from the poor and middle class into the pockets of the wealthy. Climate change provides a useful illustrative example of this process. There isShow More Summary

Those Who Are Guilty

Question: Are you seeking to use the massacre in Orlando to promote a hatred of and hostility towards people who would not engage it even condone those activities? If so, you are not the defenders of peace and goodness that you may think yourself to be. Show More Summary

Moral Clubs

I am beginning to suspect that a proper understanding of our moral life is going to require room for something like a "moral club". A moral club is not to be understood as a club that is moral, or even a club that concerns itself with the discovery and practice of that which is moral. Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0003.5 - Sisyphus and Alph

I fear that my example in the previous chapters might bring to mind a potential objection that will prevent the reader from putting their mind to the ideas that follow until this objection is set aside. The account that I gave of Alph doing nothing but gathering stones may cause the reader to call to mind the fate of Sisyphus. Show More Summary

Philippa Foot's Morality as Hypothetical Imperatives - Part 1 - Morality, Etiquette, and Club Rules

Philippa Foot's article, "Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives" should be listed as one of the most important articles in philosophy. (The Philosophical Review Vol. 81, No. 3 (Jul., 1972), pp. 305-316). Before this, as she...Show More Summary

A Proposed Committee to Monitor Political Exploitation by the Wealthy

It would be a good thing if the Clinton campaign offered Sanders and his supporters some concessions. Not for the sake of party unity or winning the November elections. For the good of the country. I fear, however, that Sanders and his supporters are going to waste time instead on trivial matters of no real-world significance. Show More Summary

The Role of Reason in Morality

It's a rainy night, you are out on some back road with no cell phone coverage, and you have a flat tire. Reason and a few true beliefs will tell you how to change the tire so that you can continue the trip. You will also need a few tools...Show More Summary

Peter Railton's Naturalistic Reductionism - Part 6 - Moral Realism Itself

Here, we take a look at Railton's moral realism. Recall, in Railton's argument for non-moral value realism, he used an example of a dehydrated tourist, Lonnie, facing an option of whether to drink milk or water. ("Moral Realism", The Philosophical Review, Vol. Show More Summary

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