Blog Profile / Atheist Ethicist

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:598
Posts / Week:1.4
Archived Since:February 23, 2008

Blog Post Archive

The Myth that Atheism is the Lack of a Belief in God

I have been in discussion with some atheists recently regarding two of their more popular myths. By "myth", I mean false feel-good beliefs brought into a culture and embraced against all evidence. These myths are: (1) Atheism is theShow More Summary

On the Charge of Being an "Intellectual Lightweight"

Against both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, I have claimed that being an intellectual lightweight is a fault. I placed it in a list that also included hate-monger get bigotry and a disregard for the humanity of those who are not Americans. Yet,...Show More Summary

The Three Failings of Trump

It seems that the Republicans have selected Trump as their candidate for President of the United States. I was caught entirely by surprise - as were a great many others. The reason for my surprise is because I did not think people would actually vote for such poor candidate. Show More Summary

Heathwood's Theory of Well-Being - Part 1

I did not make it to Chris Heathwood's presentation on Friday... ... Or, actually, I did and saw that the presentation was being given in a small conference room - a table with about 12 chairs surrounding it. This gave me the impression...Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0012 - The Reader's Point of View

I suspect that there are a number of readers who look at this life we are imagining in which Alph gathers stones, scatters them, and gathers them again with dread. It is absurd to say that there is any value here - to say that Alph has a life worth living. Show More Summary

Well-Being and the Resonance Constraint

I have been doing some homework recently... some advanced reading. Tomorrow (Friday, April 29) I intend to go to the University of Colorado and attend a lecture by Chris Heathwood on "The Resonance Constraint". I'm using this as an excuse...Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0010 - GE Moore's Beautiful World

Let us imagine one world exceedingly beautiful....And then imagine the ugliest world you can possibly conceive. Imagine it simply one heap of filth, containing everything that is most disgusting to us, for whatever reason, and the whole, as far as may be, without one redeeming feature. Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0009 - Pushpin and Poetry

Prejudice apart, the game of push-pin is of equal value with the arts and sciences of music and poetry. If the game of push-pin furnish more pleasure, it is more valuable than either - Jeremy Bentham (Jeremy Bentham, from The Rationale of Reward, excerpted and reprinted in: The Classical Utilitarians: Bentham and Mill, ed. Show More Summary

How Bigotry Works - Presidential Edition

There are people who say, "I will not vote for a black person" or "Women are not fit to be President." However, this is not the way bigotry works in most cases. Bigotry also and often works by making a person feel uncomfortable about certain things. Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0008 - Desire (Preference) Satisfaction

In the model I am using, we have one person (Alph) with one desire (to gather stones). This means that there is only one reason for intentional action that exists (to realize a state in which Alph is gathering stones), and only one kind...Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0007 - Reasons

A has a reason to ? iff A has some desire the satisfaction of which will be served by his ?-ing. This is Bernard Williams’ theory of reasons, and it fits quite snugly in the current account. (Williams, B., 1979. “Internal and External...Show More Summary

"Discovering" Morality in Personal Advanage

Because Bernie Sanders lost the primary election in New York on April 19, there are people declaring that independents have a moral right to vote in party primary elections. The relationship between those two facts comes from the observation that independents who tend to support Sanders tend to vote in the Democratic primary where they are able. Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0006 - Nozick's Experience Machine

To the regular readers of my blog, I am sorry. I addressed Nozick's experience machine in a post outside this series just a few days ago. However, I have come to realize that it has a place in this series, right about here. Much of what...Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0005 - Intrinsic, Instrumental, and End Values

Goodness Let me put some of my cards on the table so people can see where this is going. We have one person, Alph, with one desire, to gather stones (or, expressed as a propositional attitude "a desire that I am gathering stones" (spoken...Show More Summary

If I Were a Senator: Honesty in Politics

I have a long standing fantasy of being a legislator. Since I was quite young, I have wanted to do good in the world - to leave the world a better place than it would have otherwise been. This little blog that I run in my own dark corner of the internet hardly suffices to fulfill that particular desire. Show More Summary

Closing a Factory

There is a significant moral difference between shutting down a factory in a wealthy country which has the resources to take care of those who would be harmed, and shutting down a factory in an impoverished country which has nothingShow More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0004 - Ultimate Ends

We have, in our imaginary world, a person with the name of Alph with a single desire - a desire to gather stones. This desire, expressed in terms of a propositional attitude, is a "desire that I am gathering stones". The desire provides Alph with a motivating reason to gather stones - to make or keep true the proposition "I am gathering stones". Show More Summary

Pitfalls in the Defense of Freedom

The claim that one is fighting for freedom sounds like a noble claim - which is probably why people use it a lot. However, it is far too easy to claim that one is fighting for freedom when one is, in fact, not fighting for freedom at all. Before the French Revolution, the King of France had the authority to create "Lettres de Cachet". Show More Summary

Desirism Book - Part 0003 - Means, Ends, and Unintended Consequences

In my previous post in this series, I imagined one person (Alph) with one desire (to gather stones) alone in the universe. Almost immediately, I had to supply Alph with a set of beliefs so that he could act on this desire. His desire to gather stones describes what he wants - he wants to be gathering stones. Show More Summary

What Is An Obligation?

What does it mean to say that a person has an obligation to do something? Alph has borrowed $50 from a co-worker. Alph has promised to pay her back the next day. Alph has an obligation to go to work the next day with $50 that he will...Show More Summary

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