Blog Profile / Atheist Ethicist

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:735
Posts / Week:1.6
Archived Since:February 23, 2008

Blog Post Archive

A Moral Aversion to Harming the Innocent

306 days until the first day of classes. Motivated by comments made by David Jocquemotte, I have made a couple of attempts to get my previous post, Sam Harris and Peter Singer's External Moral Reasons out in the world a bit - so that...Show More Summary

Sam Harris and Peter Singer's External Moral Reasons

A member of the studio audience pointed me to a podcast of a discussion between Sam Harris and Peter Singer, where they spend the first few minutes discussing meta-ethics. It takes place in the first 30 minutes or so of Episode 48 of...Show More Summary

Punishment: Deterrance vs. Moral Aversion

Classes start in 307 days. I am still working on Dr. Boonin's book, The Problem of Punishment. In previous posts, I presented what I am now calling a moral aversion theory of punishment. The purpose of punishment is to create moral aversions. I then explained how this theory fits within Dr. Show More Summary

Boonin's Definition of Punishment

308 days until my first class. In our top story today, Atheistically Speaking has posted the podcast interview in which I comments on how implicit biases are impacting the election. Atheist Ethics and Implicit Biases with Alonzo Fyfe. Show More Summary

A Theory of Punishment

311 days until classes start. I have officially started my project to have a paper written for Dr. Boonin on Punishment by the time I visit the philosophy department on November 4. It is practice for writing papers as a graduate student. Show More Summary

Free Will and the Praise and Condemnation of Moral Projects

312 days until classes start. On November 4, I shall go to the University to attend a "Center Talk" (put on at the Center for Values and Public Policy). At that time, I would like to present Dr. Boonin with a paper on punishment. Boonin wrote the book, The Problem of Punishment. Show More Summary

The Pragmatic Error of Undefinable Terms

What definition can we give of 'ought', 'right', and other terms expressing the same fundamental notion? To this I should answer that the notion which these terms have in common is too elementary to admit of any formal definition. (Henry...Show More Summary

Desirism: Talking Points

I had an opportunity over the weekend to address the question, "How would you describe and defend Desirism in quick and simple terms that would fit into the opening segment of a podcast?" I began with the assumption that I was givenShow More Summary

Comments on Implicit Biases and the 2016 Election

315 days until the start of classes. Yesterday, I was interviewed by Atheistically Speaking on my views regarding the 2016 election as expressed in A Moral Philosopher's View of the 2016 Presidential Election I am a very harsh critic of myself and I seldom give an interview, or even write a post, that I find less than cringeworthy. Show More Summary

Taxing the Rich

Taxing the Rich 317 days until classes start. The Spring 2017 classes were posted today. I made a tentative schedule just to see what my days will be like when I return to school. They will be very busy. Though I will not be taking classes until the fall, I used this information to create a hypothetical schedule. Show More Summary


Classes start in 321 days. I have requested official transcripts, and now need to start working on verifying my in state status. Meanwhile, the more I read about pragmatism, the more I seem to like it. I want to offer a word of warning. Show More Summary

The Ethics of Public Discourse

321 days until my first class. This morning I listened to a discussion on Reason and Rhetoric: The Ethics of Public Discourse from the London School of Economics. An "ethics of public discourse" in this day and age is an ethics of blog posting (this article, for instance), facebook and twitter postings, emails, comments, and comments. Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 29 - Prescriptivism

There is a view that holds that moral statements are commands - statements like "close the window" or "go stand in the corner." This view is commonly found in religious morality where right and wrong are described as a set of divine commands. Show More Summary

Desirism: Catching Up

IT is time to return to my presentation on desirism. First, let's just remember where we left off. I wrote a summary piece on the first section of my presentation: Desirism Book: Part 1 - Table of Contents". In that section I imagined...Show More Summary

Pragmatism and the Meanings of Moral Terms

322 days (a.k.a. 46 weeks) until I will be sitting in my first university class in 24 years. I have been on vacation. I hoped to do some writing, but I at least got some reading in. I have been reading about pragmatism. I was hearing...Show More Summary

Pride and Power

325 days until the start of class. I recently encountered a meme on Facebook that compared the Wikipedia entries for Black Pride, Gay Pride, and Asian Pride with that for White Pride. While the first three were presented in substantially positive terms, the last was presented in negative terms linking it to white supremacy and racism. Show More Summary

Implicit and Explicit Biases

327 days until classes start. I have finished Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, and I have begun Henry Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics. As a defender of classic utilitarianism, Sidgwick is not as famous as John Stuart Mill or Jeremy Bentham, but he is considered a better philosopher in terms of the quality and consistency of his arguments. Show More Summary

A Moral Philosopher's View of the 2016 Presidential Election

I have been looking at this year's presidential election through the eyes of a moral philosopher, and have found it distressing. First, there is the issue of basic moral wrongs - issues about which it would be difficult to argue that there is a principled partisan difference. Show More Summary


Yesterday, as my wife and I walked to the grocery store, we walked over a footbridge that has a "fence" over it - probably to prevent kids from throwing things down onto the cars below, or performing the types of dangerous antics that...Show More Summary

Smith vs. Hume on Evaluating Moral Sentiments

Class begins in 329 days. What can I accomplish in 329 days? I would actually like to write a couple of papers - papers that I can later turn into presentations. I have discovered that graduate students do have opportunities to giveShow More Summary

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