Posts Tagged ‘ Metaethics ’

Since you consider yourself greater than God

Sep 15th, 2013 10:19 am | By

Sometimes the aphoristic compression of Twitter can be useful.

Noel McGivern @Good_Beard

The Ten Commandments are a useless code of morality they ignore rape and child abuse and put the vanity of an imaginary deity before murder.

Harper @Irishbloke

@Good_Beard Would you mind giving me your 10 commandments since you consider yourself greater than God?

Harper’s reply sums up a lot of what’s so wrong and terrible about religious thinking, in just those few words.

One part is the circularity that enables the firmly closed mind. He assumes that there is god and that god is moral and “great,” and thus that it’s an outrage to think about “The Ten Commandments” at all.

Given this firmly closed mind and … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

We need educated feeling

Jul 9th, 2012 3:35 pm | By

My copies of Thinking towards humanity: themes from Norman Geras arrived a couple of hours ago. (It took me about half an hour to open the package – you’d think it was plumbing or a box of plutionium, the way it was wrapped up. It was soldered, welded, wrapped around with chains – it was hard to open.) I get copies because I’m a contributor, as are David Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen, Michael Walzer, Damien Counsell, Shalom Lappin and other swell people.

My piece is about morality and caring, and blogging. It’s about blogging as a good and useful new genre, and how at its best (exemplified by Norm Geras, for one) it can help educate the feelings in … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

If natural compassion

May 13th, 2010 3:02 am | By

Lynn Hunt asks a pertinent question in Inventing Human Rights:

Voltaire railed against the miscarriage of justice in the Calas case, but he did not originally object to the fact that the old man had been tortured or broken on the wheel. If natural compassion makes everyone detest the cruelty of judicial torture, as Voltaire said later, then why was this not obvious before the 1760s, even to him? Evidently some kind of blinders had operated to inhibit the operation of empathy before then.

The facts aren’t enough. Science isn’t enough. There has to be emotion too. People have to care. It’s that simple. If people don’t care, the facts are just facts, they’re inert.

This is also why … Read the rest

As though

May 9th, 2010 12:26 pm | By

A more central part of Harris’s argument:

…it also seems quite rational for us to collectively act as though all human lives were equally valuable. Hence, most of our laws and social institutions generally ignore differences between people.

Ah but they don’t. One big social institution doesn’t, at least not necessarily: the family. Some parents believe in equality, but some don’t; sometimes it’s a matter of what the male head of household believes, because that determines the rules for everyone else.

This is why the claim that maximizing well-being for all can be scientifically shown to be moral or good does not (as far as I can see) get off the ground. It’s because some people’s well-being partly depends … Read the rest

Is there anyone who would?

May 9th, 2010 11:47 am | By

Sam Harris has a new article on a science of morality at the Huffington Post. There’s a lot there, but one observation in particular snagged my attention.

I wonder if there is anyone on earth who would be tempted to attack the philosophical underpinnings of medicine with questions like: “What about all the people who don’t share your goal of avoiding disease and early death? Who is to say that living a long life free of pain and debilitating illness is ‘healthy’?

Wonder no more! There is indeed. There is the anthropologist Frederique Apffel Marglin, who once wrote* that

In absolutely negativizing disease, suffering and death, in opposing these to health and life in a mutually exclusive manner, the scientific

Read the rest