Tag Archives: Ethics

Ruth Chang: How to make hard choices

The TED talk by Ruth Chang gets at some of the points I’ve made before, namely that reason only carries you so far, and that reason exists to serve intuitive goals.  This comes out in hard decisions, when reasoning by … Continue reading

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Sam Harris, the fact-value distinction, and the problem with a science of morality

A few years ago, Sam Harris published a book, ‘The Moral Landscape‘, which argued that science could determine moral values.  To say that it received substantial criticism, from scientists, philosophers, and others, would be an understatement. Late last year, Harris issued … Continue reading

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American positions on moral issues and tensions between the moral foundations

Gallup did a poll on American positions on various moral issues, finding that Americans are now more accepting than ever on a range of issues. Most of these I don’t find particularly surprising.  Of course, it turns out that Democrats … Continue reading

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My philosophy, so far — part II | Scientia Salon

Massimo Pigliucci is doing an interesting series of posts on his philosophical positions. In the first part [19] of this ambitious (and inevitably, insufficient) essay I sought to write down and briefly defend a number of fundamental positions that characterize … Continue reading

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Neil deGrasse Tyson is wrong to dismiss all of philosophy, but he may have a point on some of it

So, I reblogged Massimo Pigliucci’s post responding to Tyson’s remarks about philosophy, which appears to have generated some heated discussion.  After reading some of it, I realized that I have a few thoughts on this. First, I suspect Tyson’s blanket dismissal of philosophy … Continue reading

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Is Philosophy Obsolete? – The Chronicle Review

Rebecca Goldstein appears to be on a campaign to defend philosophy.  In this essay, she defends its ability to make progress, and questions whether it should be lumped in with the humanities.  (I wonder what the humanities folks will think … Continue reading

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The scope of objective facts and morality

Our recent discussions, particularly on the thread about Jonathan Haidt’s response to Sam Harris’s challenge, left me thinking about the various scopes of objective facts.  In retrospect, it’s a bit obvious to me now that a key question in moral … Continue reading

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Why I think Sam Harris is wrong about morality | The Righteous Mind

Several commenters  have said I should not just critique the excessive certainty of the New Atheists. I should respond directly to Sam Harris’s Moral Landscape Challenge. I should say why I think the argument he makes about a science of … Continue reading

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The foundations of morality

Last week, I made a post on the fact that we have desires, urges, impulses, motivations, that are inherently not rooted in reason or logic, that while reason and logic are extremely useful, they are tools of these desires, these … Continue reading

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Moral values aren’t absolute, but aren’t arbitrary either

I’m working on another post with details about foundational moral instincts, but after some discussion on the ‘Morality arises from instincts‘ post, I realized that I failed to make a couple of things clear.  So, I’m inserting this additional post … Continue reading

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