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Showing posts from January, 2007

On Caring About and Pursuing Truth

Aiming at having true beliefs is important for a number of reasons. Here’s a fairly obvious yet important one: truths accurately represent the way things really are; falsehoods do not. If so, then since our thoughts, feelings, and (ultimately) actions are largely governed by our beliefs, believing falsehoods can lead to thinking, feeling, and (ultimately) acting in ways that are not in the best interests of ourselves and others, since they’re not tailored to the way the world really is. And as we all know by experience, this can hurt us – sometimes badly. Think of those who buy automobiles and houses, and those who marry (let alone those who set foreign and domestic policy) on the basis of false information. Thus, at the very least, we should care about having true beliefs, if for no other reason than that it’s in our own best interests to do so.

If it’s important to aim at having true beliefs, how can we increase our chances of having such beliefs? Well, choosing what to believe…

A Nice Paper on God and Morality...

...can be found here.
The Euthyphro Dilemma is an old objection to divine command theories of ethics (i.e., ethical theories that say that what makes a type of action right or wrong is that God commands or forbids it). The objection can be expressed as follows:

1. Either God commands certain types of actions because they are morally right, or certain types of actions are morally right because God commands them.
2. If God commands certain types of actions because they are morally right, then moral standards are independent of God.
3. If certain types of actions are morally right because God commands them, then moral standards are arbitrary, and thus provide no justification for obeying them.
4. Therefore, either moral standards are independent of God, or moral standards are arbitrary, and thus provide no justification for obeying them.

The standard response is to go between the horns of the dilemma by saying that moral goodness is rooted in or identical to God's nature. Thus, actions …

Not for the Faint of Heart

Hi all,

Please do not click on the links below if you are made queasy by graphic content. Also, if you are a Christian, please understand that I am not attacking you personally. The point is to bring into sharp focus the ethical implications of some biblical passages, and ask ourselves if it's morally ok to endorse and defend such behavior and/or teachings -- no matter what its source. We do the same when we criticize the putatively unethical teachings of other religions and belief systems; intellectual honesty and consistency requires us to apply the same standards to our own views, avoiding excuses and special pleading at all costs. Our standards of evaluation shouldn't fluctuate when we turn them on ourselves.

With that said, I feel obligated to denounce what is heinously unethical. The truth isn't always pretty, and pernicious ideas should be exposed and confronted. Without further ado, then here, here, here, and here are some rather graphic illustrations of the meani…