Problems with philosophers and theologians

This looks like an interesting book: The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks. He delivered this year’s Science and Democracy Lecture at Havard University’s School of Design (see Learning to love the irrational mind | Harvard Gazette).

The other day, in , I referred to a problem some philosophers have with understanding human morality. So these quotes from the report of the lecture appealed to me:

“In a wide-ranging talk, Brooks laid out the conclusions he found while searching for an explanation for “this amputation of human nature” in politics and everyday life. What he found, he said, is that scientists who study the mind, rather than theologians or philosophers, are yielding the most interesting answers to questions of what constitutes character, ethics, and virtue.”

And, according to Brooks:

“If we base policy on a shallow view of human nature … we will design policies that are not fit for actual human beings,” he said. “We will have child-rearing techniques which continue to underemphasize the most important things in life. And we will have moral discussions that will remain vague and inarticulate.”

Definitely another book I will have to read.

Circular theological arguments

Local Christian apologists have tried to outdo each other with their partisan reviews of the recent debates between their hero, WL Craig, and Lawrence Krauss and Sam Harris. Interesting that they feel the need to debate scientists to justify their god beliefs.

However, Matt Flannagan, from the blog MandM, provided a nice little example of the sort of circular arguments theologians get into in their attempts to offer a divine foundation for human morality. He wrote:

“Goodness is best understood in terms of an exemplar, that good is identified with the perfect paradigm of a good person and that the goodness of everything else is measured by its resemblance to this paradigm. An analogy to this idea is the official “metre stick” that exists in France today. The metre stick is exactly one metre long, and the length in metres of every other length is determined by comparison with it. In the same way, God is both perfectly good and is the standard of goodness for everything else. . . . To claim God is good is to claim that he is truthful, benevolent, loving, gracious, merciful and just, and that he is opposed to certain actions such as murder, rape, torturing people for fun and so on.”

So humans have designated a standard metre. At one period this was defined by the distance between two lines on the International Prototype Metre kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures near Paris, France. In 1960  the metre was redefined in terms of the wavelength of light emitted by the krypton-86 isotope. And then in 1983 in terms of the speed of light. (I wonder if theologians have bothered updating their god as the standard of goodness over the years?)

Just as the International Prototype Metre was defined as the standard for a useful measurement unit by humans  our theologian has defined his god as a standard defined by humans for useful human moral values. This theologian has, along with most people, concluded that honesty, benevolence, mercy and opposition to murder, rape and torture are good human values. So he has invented an artificial “person”, an “International Prototype Good Person,”  to enable calibration!

But notice – this theologian knew these human values were good well before he constructed his prototype. The same  the rest of us know these values are good – because they are based on  human nature. As I said in Foundations of human morality humans are effectively wired for The Golden Rule.

For the life of me, though, I can’t see why this theologian needs to define an “International Prototype Good Person.” Values are qualitative, not quantitative. It’s not as if we have to transfer a measurement from one person to another. Morals are not like height or girth.

If we already know what is good, and use that knowledge to define a fictional good person, so that we can then use that fictional character to find out what is good aren’t we needlessly creating a middle man? And don’t all middlemen exploit the rest of us by clipping tickets, taking a percentage or a tithe?

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21 responses to “Problems with philosophers and theologians

  1. “But notice – this theologian knew these human values were good well before he constructed his prototype. ”

    You’ll see the word “know” in this sentence, which means that knowledge of these values is prior to knowledge of a meta-ethical theory.

    The meta-ethical theory however contends that good is identified with and hence ontologically grounded in, Gods nature.

    So there is no circularity here at all. Unless you confuse ontology with epistemology. Thats the problem with fertiliser scientists, they don’t understand basic philosophical distinctions, yet the try and write on the topic anyway.

    Interestingly, as has been pointed out by secular ethicists, scientists actually recognise this distinction elsewhere. Take the example of water, people knew what water looked like, tasted like and so on, long before they knew what H20 was. Yet today they tell us that water has these properties because</I< its H20. By your logic we would have to argue this was circular, after all we knew water had these properties prior to our knowledge of H20 therefore we can't claim it has these properties because its H20.
    The same reasoning you use would show that big bang cosmology is also circular, after all we knew the universe exited before we knew about the big bang, so obviously its circular to claim the universe exists because of the big bang?

    Obviously no scientist would accept this critque, because they recognise that we can know the effects of something before we know the cause. Even though metaphysically a cause precedes its effect. I have pointed this fallacy out before here http://www.mandm.org.nz/2009/01/on-a-common-equivocation.html

    and here

    http://www.mandm.org.nz/2010/09/walter-sinnott-armstrong-and-the-moral-scepticism-objection-to-divine-commands.html

    Moreover almost every significant paper on a divine command theory points this out. Thats the problem with fertiliser scientists, they don’t familarise themselves with topics out side there field they just make claims about other fields and assume that because they are scientists what they say stands up.

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  2. Matt – that is just bafflegab to cover up for the fact you used a circular argument. And why you should drag fertiliser scientists into it is another mystery? Seems like you are going off half-cocked again or have some obsession with fertliser!

    1: Regarding water. People of course knew about water since way back. Most people still don’t understand the structure of water at all (H2O really is naive – it doesn’t explain the porperties you attribute [perhaps relgious philosophers should stop being dogmatice about chemistry]).

    But that doesn’t matter – this knowledge is not required for ordinary purposes. And when we started theorising about the structure of water our concepts were largely instrumental. Being wrong about water being a fundamental element didn’t stop us from using it. Being naive about water being HO, and then H2O doesn’t stop us from using it and recognising it. But notice – as we build these provisional concepts of the nature, structure of water, we do so by looking at evidence, applying reason and checking, validating our ideas against reality. We don’t say water is wet, therefore the nature of water is wetness, therefore we only know about wetness because we have invented a theory of water. Without that theory of water we would never know that water was wet (Which parallels your circular agrument). And there is a huge difference between an evidence based, validated scientific concenpt and a never tested myth.

    2: Regarding morality. Humans had a morality and used it long before we developed any mythology to explain or rationalise it (gods) or science to really explain and understand it (anthropology, evolutionary science and neuroscience). When one uses a mythology as an “explanation” it is inevtiably naive. Theologians end up saying we get our morality from their god, without their god there would be no morality. And that god is good because in our myth we have attributed to her all the good things we know are good and have always done so before we invented the myth. Spinning in circles. And explaining nothing.

    The scientific approach helps explain why we have moral intuitions and why they are as they are. Why we have extremely strong intutions of good and bad. And why the details actaully change over time. Your myth can’t do any of that. (“God did it” never explains anything). We can provide a very firm objective basis for human morality within our human nature – we are a sentient, conscious, intelligent, social and empathetic species. That provides a basis of our moral behaviour.

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  3. Richard Christie

    H20 ??
    Whats that? a long chain hydrogen molecule?

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  4. Richard Christie

    You see, that’s the problem with theologians, they wade into areas they just don’t understand.

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  5. To claim God is good is to claim that he is truthful, benevolent, loving, gracious, merciful and just, and that he is opposed to certain actions such as murder, rape, torturing people for fun and so on.”

    Somebody needs to read the bible and not skip the icky parts.

    the atheist experience #578 – god’s moral standards [part 01 of 02]

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  6. Richard Christie

    part two of that clip cuts to the chase.

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  7. Cuts to the chase?
    Where’s your sense of sportsmanship? ;)
    Matt Dillahunty gives John (the caller) every chance in the world to explain what he is actually claiming. It’s true that he has little patience for the evangelical preaching waffle but the John’s actual argument itself is laid bare for all to see in John’s own words.

    Then Matt move in and kills it stone cold dead.
    It’s a thing of beauty. You just can’t rush quality workmanship.

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  8. Though Part 2 does stand alone quite nicely….

    “…and yet you think I am going to Hell.”
    No, I don’t.
    “You don’t think I’m going to Hell? Why not?”
    What I think is…is that it’s not my (inaudible) on you to make that determination.
    “Do you (interuption) do you (interuption) hang on, I understand your theology that only God can judge. Do you think there is a Hell?”
    Yes.
    “Do you think that based upon your theology that God is going to send me to that Hell?”
    I don’t know. I can’t make that judgement.
    “Oh yes, you can. Do you think God sends anybody there?”

    (As the conversation continues, the awkwardness and discomfort of John is genuinely painful to listen to. John’s not a bad guy but he can’t bring himself to confront the whole “God is good” yet there is this Hell bit thingy. There’s a part of John that protests against the very injustice of Hell but it can’t assert itself in the face of religious mind-control.)

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  9. Ken, sorry but calling a distinction “bable gaff” is not an argument. To refute an argument you need to show the premises are false or the conclusion does not follow from premises by the rules of argument. “
    You write : “Regarding water. People of course knew about water since way back. Most people still don’t understand the structure of water at all (H2O really is naive – it doesn’t explain the porperties you attribute [perhaps relgious philosophers should stop being dogmatice about chemistry])”. great so you concede my point, One can know and recognise instances of water prior to developing an account of the nature of water, and this does not make these accounts of the nature of water circular. So one can also know what things are good and morally obligatory prior to developing an account of what is the nature of moral obligation, and this does not mean these accounts are circular. So your claim that doing this was circular is false.

    ”Being wrong about water being a fundamental element didn’t stop us from using it. Being naive about water being HO, and then H2O doesn’t stop us from using it and recognising it”

    I agree and being mistaken about the nature of moral obligation does not stop us being able to recognise our obligations or live in accord with obligations. So again, this shows my point one can know that something is an X without knowing the nature of structure of X, and there is nothing circular about this. So again stop using an argument which is clearly mistaken.

    . But notice – as we build these provisional concepts of the nature, structure of water, we do so by looking at evidence, applying reason and checking, validating our ideas against reality.

    Yes and if you looked at how meta-ethics proceeds, instead of simply making assertions you’d it has an analogous method.

    We can recognise cases of moral obligation and effectively use moral concepts such as being obligated, being good and so on prior to knowing the nature of moral obligatoriness. We can then analysis how these concepts function in our discourse, look at what moral obligatory things have in common and so on, and then test hypothesises about the nature of moral obligation against this. That’s exactly how meta-ethicists including divine command meta ethicists typically proceed.

    We don’t say water is wet, therefore the nature of water is wetness, therefore we only know about wetness because we have invented a theory of water. Without that theory of water we would never know that water was wet (Which parallels your circular agrument).

    I agree that is a circular argument, but that is not the argument Craig, or leading divine command meta ethicists like Adam’s Robert argue. welcome to point to any peer reviewed article on divine command ethics which actually makes the argument you claim is made if you want to refute this. I have read pretty much all of them.

    What they actually argue is more like this. (a)We can recognise what moral goodness that moral obligations are without having an account of what there nature is, we also can compently use these terms (b). When we analysis carefully these concepts and examples we note they have features X Y Z. (c) Divine commands have features X Y Z , If moral obligations are identified with divine commands we can explain how moral obligations would have these features. (c) No other property we know of has X YZ or can explain these features of morality as well. Therefore (e) that claim that moral obligations are identical with divine commands is the most plausible account of the nature of moral obligation.

    Note the analogy with water here with (a) We can recognise what water is and can use water we also without an account of its structure (b) by carefully observing and experimenting with water we can see it has features X Y Z. (c) the claim that water is H20 explains why water has these features (d) no other theory of the nature of water can explain these features as well. Therefore (e) that claim that water is identical with H20 is the most plausible account of the nature water.

    If you bothered to read the literature on meta ethics you’d see this is how the argument actually proceeds. Of course I am well aware most of your readers and most scientists particularly those who specialise in fertiliser research have not read the literature and so its quite easy for you and them to say “divine command theorists argue A BC “ and then ridicule it. All one has to do however is actually read the published articles to see this is false.

    Like I said that’s the problem with scientists who write on ethics or theology or philosophy. They don’t know the subject, pretend they do and simply put up silly straw men.

    “Seems like you are going off half-cocked again or have some obsession with fertliser!”

    No I can just read your “about page” and use google scholar and see what field your actually qualified in, as opposed to what you pretend to be an authority in. And like I said Ken attacking a persons motives attributing obsessions to them is a text book logical fallacy.

    You can keep making a fool of yourself or you can actually try and learn a bit about a subject. The choice is yours.

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  10. Matt, distorting the word “bafflegab” does nothing to change the fact that it is a real word and does describe your justification for the circular quote. And my reference was to your circular reasoning – “To claim God is good is to claim that he is truthful, benevolent, loving, gracious, merciful and just, and that he is opposed to certain actions such as murder, rape, torturing people for fun and so on.”. Not to “Craig or leading divine command meta ethicists like Adam’s Robert”. This name dropping is another typical example of diversion.

    But lets deal with your attempt to place a theolgocial argument on the same level as science – your claim that your “meta-ethics” is analogous to the scientific method I described.

    “We can recognise . . “, “We can then alnaylse . . “, “and then test hypotheses . . ” This is just more bafflegab. Its an attempt to jsutify a subjective and unscientific approach by makinhg it sound “sciency.”

    At which stage have you actually touched base with reality?

    But, I think this sort of thing is irrelevant. Just as in Galileo’s day the power of emperically based and tested reason defeated the relgious philosophy of the church, today we have an emerging science of morality which is making this bafflegab completely superfluous. Anthropology, evolutionary science, social psychology and neuroscience have made suffficient progress for use to start developing a relaistic understanding of human morality. There is a lot of interest in this now. And alongside the science the relgious philosophy of morality looks pathetic.

    Hence, I guess, the silly attack on scientists for discussing such important human topics.Your attempt to deny scientists a voice in discussing issues of morality because they are not theologically trained backfires on you. Now that we have a science of morality should we deny theologians any role in this discussion because they don’t have the relevent qualifications or experience? By the way, such an approach would also deny me a role because my scientific training is not in those required areas.

    Such attmepts at exclusion are really a sign of weakness or lack of confidence in your own knowledge of the area, aren’t they?

    Perhaps I should put you out of your misery about my qualifications, (your researchy skill seem poor to me). My doctorate is actually in chemistry – not “dirt” or “fertiliser.'” That is why I object to your naive comments about water.

    It is just not correct to claim “(c) that water is H2O explains why water has these features (d) no other theory of the nature of water can explain these features as well.” [I would certianly be itnereste din your detailed justification for such claims]. We need a far more developed understanding of the subject than just simply chemical compostion.

    I guess this boils down to the fact that in dealing with reality, where we are insisting on validation against reality, such naive reasoning just isn’t adequate – but is well accepted in theology where reasoning is aimed at confirming a pre-conceived idea.

    Now, notice Matt, I am not denying your your right to make chemical claims just because you have no chemical qualification. Not at all. I am quite happy for you to do so. And where you are wrong, or I think you are, I will show you the mistake.

    So forget about qualifications and name dropping – discuss the relevant issues.

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  11. Am I the only one that struggles to understand what Matt is saying in his last post?

    Is this meant to be an example of logic or reasoning in action? For me, his argument fails at premise (a). This is just a statement that morality is what our gut instinct says. Empirically (sorry, evil post priori reasoning in action) speaking, people can clearly have differing conceptions of what moral goodnes or obligations are. I would suggest that these differences are much harder to reconcile or judge than any (are there many?) differences in peoples naive musinfs on the nature of water. I thought that the differentiation of ought from is was kinda big with you philosophy types, or?

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  12. Sorry about the typos, typing on an ipad is not my strength.

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  13. Richard Christie

    Am I the only one that struggles to understand what Matt is saying in his last post?i>(a)We can recognise what moral goodness that moral obligations are without having an account of what there nature is, we also can compently use these terms
    etc

    That said, I think the argument boils down to his confusion of correlation with causality.

    It’s bafflegab Jim, but not as we understand it.

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  14. Richard Christie

    sorry, the caps lock played havoc with html code, comment should have read

    Am I the only one that struggles to understand what Matt is saying in his last post?

    This is a rhetorical question, right?

    Before consideration of the arguments one has to get past his convoluted grammar.

    (a)We can recognise what moral goodness that moral obligations are without having an account of what there nature is, we also can compently use these terms
    etc

    That said, I think the argument boils down to his confusion of correlation with causality.

    It’s bafflegab Jim, but not as we understand it.

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  15. Ken
    I did not distort the word “bafflegap” I pointed out that simply labelling a position “bafflegap” is not a cogent argument against it. To refute an idea you need to actually offer an argument against it.

    The same is true with your claim
    “We can recognise . . “, “We can then alnaylse . . “, “and then test hypotheses . . ” This is just more bafflegab. Its an attempt to jsutify a subjective and unscientific approach by makinhg it sound “sciency.”
    Again name calling does not count as a refutation. I pointed out you did not understand how conceptual analysis and meta ethics proceeds. Responding by name calling really does not count for much.
    Your points again amount to no more than caricature. First you claim my reference to Craig or “Adams Robert” ( actually its Robert Adams) is “name dropping” This is mistaken look at the context you stated

    ” We don’t say water is wet, therefore the nature of water is wetness, therefore we only know about wetness because we have invented a theory of water. Without that theory of water we would never know that water was wet (Which parallels your circular agrument)”.

    Here you stated the argument that Philosophers and Theologians who defend a divine command theory offer an argument parallel to the one you provide here, Craig in particular was being refered to in your post. But, Craig actually is popularising the view of Robert Adams ( if you actually had read anything on this topic before you wrote you’d know that) My reference to Adams and Craig was to ask you where in fact they have ever offered an argument parallel to this one that you attribute to them. That’s not name dropping its pointing out you either misunderstood or distorted the argument. Where have Craig or Adam’s argued “God is good , therefore the nature of goodness is God , therefore we only know about goodness because we have invented a theory of God, without a theory of God we would never know what is good” ?

    In fact where anywhere in the literature has any defender of the meta-ethical position you attack offered an argument like this. Its not name dropping to point out that you distort the philosophical arguments actually made.

    You can try and impress your scientist mates all you like, you have misrepresented the arguments philosophers actually make.

    You then add your objection was to my to your circular reasoning –“To claim God is good is to claim that he is truthful, benevolent, loving, gracious, merciful and just, and that he is opposed to certain actions such as murder, rape, torturing people for fun and so on.”.” Unfortunately there is no circular reasoning in that quote, all that quote does is say that when one claims God is good one means to attribute certain descriptive properties to him and I spell out what those properties are. To be circular there would have to be an argument where the conclusion is contained in the premises. A definition of terms is not an argument.

    Like I said Ken, it helps to know about what philosophical terms mean before you use them.

    (By the way pointing out that you use good in a descriptive way to attribute to a being certain properties and then claiming a being with these properties provides a basis for goodness understood in a normative or evaluative sense is not circular. Because the word goodness is being used in a different sense at different points in the argument.)

    But, I think this sort of thing is irrelevant. Just as in Galileo’s day the power of emperically based and tested reason defeated the relgious philosophy of the church, today we have an emerging science of morality which is making this bafflegab completely superfluous. Anthropology, evolutionary science, social psychology and neuroscience have made suffficient progress for use to start developing a relaistic understanding of human morality. There is a lot of interest in this now. And alongside the science the relgious philosophy of morality looks pathetic.

    Again we have a string of assertions, where you use pejorative terms to describe positions you disagree with and positive terms to describe those you do and throw in a historical sterotype for good measure. Unfortunately that’s not an argument. I don’t know about fertiliser science but in normal ethical discussion we actually need arguments and reasons not assertions or pejorative terms.

    Hence, I guess, the silly attack on scientists for discussing such important human topics.Your attempt to deny scientists a voice in discussing issues of morality because they are not theologically trained backfires on you. Now that we have a science of morality should we deny theologians any role in this discussion because they don’t have the relevent qualifications or experience? By the way, such an approach would also deny me a role because my scientific training is not in those required areas.

    Sorry, but I never said “scientists” cannot discuss morality because they are not theologically trained. I said scientists should not attack positions in meta-ethics or make claims in meta-ethics or about meta-ethical arguments unless they actually have studied these positions and arguments and understand them.

    Such attmepts at exclusion are really a sign of weakness or lack of confidence in your own knowledge of the area, aren’t they?
    Perhaps I should put you out of your misery about my qualifications, (your researchy skill seem poor to me). My doctorate is actually in chemistry – not “dirt” or “fertiliser.’” That is why I object to your naive comments about water.

    Great, my PhD is in ethics which is why I object to your naïve comments about ethics. Now perhaps you can address my arguments instead of attacking things I did not say and trying to attribute insecurities to me.

    I guess this boils down to the fact that in dealing with reality, where we are insisting on validation against reality, such naive reasoning just isn’t adequate – but is well accepted in theology where reasoning is aimed at confirming a pre-conceived idea.

    Well given we are talking about meta-ethics not Theology your opinion about how theology proceeds really has no relevance here.

    But like I said simply asserting things about the methods used does not prove much. I pointed out you totally misunderstood both the method and the argument used, and responding with “thats bafflegap” does not address this.

    ”Now, notice Matt, I am not denying your your right to make chemical claims just because you have no chemical qualification. Not at all. I am quite happy for you to do so. And where you are wrong, or I think you are, I will show you the mistake.

    Yes Ken, and I did not deny your right to male claims about ethics just because you have no qualification in it. I just pointed out your mistakes.

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  16. Nick I have dyslexia, so sorry. But your welcome to contact me at MandM with any questions on these issues if you wish.

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  17. Actually, Matt, I think I have made my point about circular arguments and really aren’t interested In responding to your self justifications. I think we should be more adult and move beyond that – enough has been said and quoted for readers to come to their own conclusions.

    However, as you claim an interest and expertise on ethics I think it would be useful to get a response from you on the sort of scientific approach to morality I am suggesting. I am finding the critiques that have been made by others, from all directions, very useful in developing my ideas and improving their presentation. Even Bnonn’s little rave had some useful question I could clarify. And I have had useful critiques from non-theist directions. That is why I am currently doing a series of answers to questions and criticisms.

    So get stuck in. I think I have provided sufficient argument for an objective basis for morality but opposing theist concepts of “objective” morality  for you to find points of agreement or disagreement

    Your thoughtful responses will be appreciated

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  18. Hi Ken, I think we should develope the idea of

    “International Prototype Good Person”

    but your scope is too restricted, it should be

    “Universal Prototype Good Person”

    I’ve used a similar concept of the “Idealized God”, the God we’d like to have if we were designing a deity today.

    He’d be a jolly nice chap and throughly decent and if you listen to Craig’s definition of the moral God – he’s sounds strangely familiar, and nothing like that Christian God.

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  19. I agree, Paul.

    Perhaps it’s in our nature to idealise things and invent ideal things.

    In romantic realtionships it seems that, at least for a while, an individual actual creates an ideal image of the other. Attributing to him or her all the ideal characteristics of honesty, wisdom, etc. It can be quite a shock when the bubble bursts and one has to come to terms with the real partner.

    Similarly, I noticed amongst some of the NZ left over the years a creation of ideal socialism. Consequently the Soviet soceity was idealised – until the revelations of the Stalin Terror forced an appraisal (and often a blaming of the Soviets for bursting the bubble!). Pro-soviet communists changed allegiences to China, and Maosim. When that bubble burst allegiences went to Albania.

    The advantage of a really mythical being is that one can attribute anything ones wishes to it and not have to deal with the dissapointment of reality.

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  20. Paul,

    you have just summarised two very common approaches in contemporary secular ethics. One is virtue ethics which looks at a paradigmatically good person and attempts to determine what is right and wrong on the basis of how that person would act. The other, which is extremely influential is the ideal observer theory which attempts to identify moral obligations with what an ideal observer would enjoin or prescribe, this is a person who is fully informed , rational and impartial. Various social contract theories have a similar position, they ask what contract a rational informed person would consent to under conditions of impartiality.

    Its odd you think this is a parody, because your actually describing mainstream contemporary secular approaches.

    For what its worth I am inclined to think these approaches are far more plausible than Harris’s is. Contemporary secular ethicists recognise that moral obligations function like imperatives in various contexts, but also are objective. They recognise that moral obligations constitute reasons for acting so that if you have an obligation to do X that means you have a reason to do X. Identifying obligations with the dictates of rational and informed people therefore makes sense. Identifying them with causal properties such as “bringing about well-being” does not makes sense of this aspect of moral obligation.

    These theories also address to some extent the arguments divine command theorists have made to the effect that obligations are plausibly understood as social relationships and as demands made by people and so on.

    I don’t accept them as I think they have serious draw backs, I don’t think for example they can maintain the rational authority of moral obligation, and I am also not sure there is an objective fact of the matter about what a person in these ideal circumstances would enjoin.

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  21. @ Matt:

    Thanks for your post – I’m actually not advocating the Ideal God as a moral position myself. I’m merely commenting on what I understand to be a bit of a flaw in William Lane-Craigs line of DCT argument.

    As you comment

    “One is virtue ethics which looks at a paradigmatically good person and attempts to determine what is right and wrong on the basis of how that person would act. The other, which is extremely influential is the ideal observer theory which attempts to identify moral obligations with what an ideal observer would enjoin or prescribe, this is a person who is fully informed , rational and impartial. Various social contract theories have a similar position, they ask what contract a rational informed person would consent to under conditions of impartiality. ”

    ie Craig is advocating DCT based on an Idealized God. This is not the same as advocating DCT based on the Christian God.

    However the conflation seems to be deliberate.

    I’d be more than happy for you to correct me if you think my analysis of Craigs position is wrong.

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