Be on the lookout for Eric Wielenberg's book, Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Here's the blurb:
Erik J. Wielenberg draws on recent work in analytic philosophy and empirical moral psychology to defend non-theistic robust normative realism and develop an empirically-grounded account of human moral knowledge. Non-theistic robust normative realism has it that there are objective, non-natural, sui generis ethical features of the universe that do not depend on God for their existence. The early chapters of the book address various challenges to the intelligibility and plausibility of the claim that irreducible ethical features of things supervene on their non-ethical features as well as challenges from defenders of theistic ethics who argue that objective morality requires a theistic foundation. Later chapters develop an account of moral knowledge and answer various recent purported debunkings of m…
Here's an argument I'm toying with. It's really rough at this stage, and it would take a good bit of work to flesh out the full reasoning, but the basic idea is that, prima facie, new stuff can only come from old stuff -- ex nihilo creation of new stuff seems not to be in the cards. But if so, then given the existence of matter, it must've either always been here, or else it must've been made from other stuff (which in turn must've either always been here or must've been made from other stuff, which in turn...). So it seems there must've always been matter (or the stuff of which matter's composed, or the stuff of which matter's composed is composed, or the stuff of which...).
Now the next step is the biggest "if" -- it's the reason why I qualified "matter is metaphysically necessary" with "if anything is". The basic idea is that if there is some temporally first, eternal, uncaused stuff (as opposed to a begi…
Two questions that contingency arguments aim to answer are: Contingent Particularity: Why does this particular universe exist (with its particular set of particles, history, laws of nature, etc.), and not some other? Contingent Existence: Why does the universe exist at all, rather than just nothing? Contingent Particularity is supposed to get at least some of its force from our supposed modal intuition that there could've been a different universe (different particles, history, laws of nature, etc.), and Contingent Existence is supposed to get at least some of its force from our supposed modal intuition that there could've been no physical universe at all. Here I'd like to set aside Contingent Existence (at least until the end. See below), and raise a quick point about Contingent Particularity. It's this: Unlike contemporary discussion of the fine-tuning argument, much of the discussion of Contingent Particularity continues to assume th…
Thursday, March 13 2014 CST - Friday, March 14 2014 CST
Department of Philosophy, Georgetown University
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