Is morality objective, yet relative?

Jason Mckenzie Alexander at iai.tv makes an interesting proposition, that morality is a social technology, one that goes out of date and frequently needs to be upgraded. He first describes the common sentiment that morals are objective in some timeless platonic sense.   I discussed the problems with this view in a post a while back … Continue reading Is morality objective, yet relative?

Changing what makes us happy

from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (click through for the hovertext and red button caption) Greg Egan in his novel Incandescence posits an alien civilization whose ancestors, in order to survive, establish a series of space habitats.  In order to ensure their descendants will be happy, they bioengineer those descendants to feel satisfaction and bliss working within … Continue reading Changing what makes us happy

Is there a moral arc to history?

The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. As someone who isn't able to find an objective basis for morality, I've often wondered what that means for the above statement from Martin Luther King.  It certainly feels like we're making moral progress, that the status of previously oppressed or marginalized people … Continue reading Is there a moral arc to history?

The unavoidable complexity of morality

I've written before on why science can't determine morality.  This isn't a particularly controversial position (even if many of Sam Harris or Michael Shermer's followers find it so).  No one seems to have found an intellectually rigorous answer to David Hume's is/ought divide, that you can't derive an ought from an is.  To logically determine … Continue reading The unavoidable complexity of morality

Students showing up at college understanding the fact value distinction is a good thing.

Justin P. McBrayer, an ethics and philosophy of religion professor, has an opinion piece in the New York Times bemoaning the fact that students are showing up for college not believing that moral rules are facts. What would you say if you found out that our public schools were teaching children that it is not true … Continue reading Students showing up at college understanding the fact value distinction is a good thing.

Wealth may have driven the rise of moralizing religions

One of the things that a lot of people are often surprised to hear, is that most scholars don't believe that religion was always concerned with morality, that moralizing religion didn't exist to any significant extent before the 'Axial Age' circa 500 BC.  Psychologist Nicolas Baumard has a theory about what may have led to moralizing … Continue reading Wealth may have driven the rise of moralizing religions