Category Archives: ethics

Disability activists call for Peter Singer’s resignation

Two days ago I posted a piece about how Princeton philosopher Peter Singer was disinvited from a philosophy conference in Germany because of his views on euthanasia of newborn infants having horrible diseases or deformities (he’s long been in favor of that form of mercy killing). His disinvitation was prompted by a recent interview in a […]

Peter Singer disinvited from philosophy meeting in Germany for views on euthanasia of sick or deformed newborns

I’m not sure where or when Princeton University philosopher Peter Singer first suggested that it may not be unethical to euthanize newborns if they have a terrible deformity or disease, but that view has caused tremendous controversy.  Apparently, almost all people see the moment of birth as some irrevocable line beyond which “assisted dying” is unethical, both because birth […]

Is there moral responsibility?

I’m travelling today and have little time to post, but I wanted to add one comment  to what I said yesterday.  That is this: I favor the notion of holding people responsible for good and bad actions, but not morally responsible. That is, people are held accountable for, say, committing a crime,because punishing them simultaneously acts as […]

Troy Jollimore: how do we replace religiously-based ethics with secular ones?

Alert reader Dennis called my attention to a new article in aeon Magazine (free online) by poet/philosopher Troy Jollimore.  The piece is on secular ethics, is called “Godless but good,” and has the subtitle, “There’s something in religious tradition that helps people be ethical. But it isn’t actually their belief in God.” Jollimore’s thesis is […]

On morality and moral responsibility: a final response to Uncle Eric

I wasn’t going to prolong my interchange with Eric MacDonald about “ways of knowing,” as I think we’ve both made our disagreement clear (and let me emphasize again the affection and respect I have for the man), but I want to make a few points connected with Eric’s latest response to me at at Choice […]

Andrew Brown goes badly wrong on assisted suicide

I’ve been saying for a while that Andrew Brown’s public and painful slide into incoherence suggests that it’s time for the Guardian to let him go.  His latest example, a post called “Assisted suicide is never an autonomous choice,” shows the peculiar combination of stupidity and obstinacy that is Brown’s forte. His argument, as far […]

Maybe my philosophy isn’t so unsophisticated after all

All kinds of ticked-off Christians have been giving me flak for raising the Euthyphro argument in my USA Today piece criticizing the religiously-based assertion that morality comes from God.  (Just to refresh your memory, that’s the argument that what is morally good cannot be so just because it’s commanded by God, because God could command […]

Another rabbi embarrasses me

You might remember Rabbi Adam Jacobs, who proved God by using the god-of-the-gaps argument with respect to the origin of life. That, in turn, led to the appearance on this site of another rabbi, Moshe Averick, who apparently thinks that the origin of life by natural means was impossible since the first fossil organisms we […]

Secular ethics classes a success in Oz

I reported a while back that ten public schools in New South Wales, a state where by law the students have a weekly hour of “special religious education” (SRE), were trying out classes in secular ethics as an opt-in alternative. I noted, many Christians didn’t like this at all—they claimed the classes drew people away […]

Michael, we hardly knew ye

The Templeton Foundation has two major goals, promoting capitalism and blurring the line between science and faith. So it’s hardly surprising that their Big Questions online magazine would publish an article claiming that capitalism is an important source of human morality.  And it’s not that surprising that they’d also claim an evolutionary basis for this […]