Posts tagged ‘ethics’

March 5th, 2014

“Under Our Skin” – The Must See Documentary

by Max Andrews

Under Our Skin is an amazing documentary about Lyme Disease and those who suffer from it. It’s available to watch for free on Hulu (I know many places around the world don’t stream Hulu so you may want to try to find it somewhere else). It doesn’t talk about the conspiracy behind Plum Island (US government animal testing facility off the coast of Lyme, Connecticut… There may be good reason to blame the government for this disease but I won’t discuss that issue here). It focuses on the problem of healthcare in the US, the imbalance of the government and insurance companies, the corruption of policy makers, and the greed of those who patent advances and not make it available for others to benefit from. Here’s the trailer.

February 18th, 2014

Q&A 39: Ethical and Epistemic Dilemmas in Education

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion

Dear Max,

I understand you are very busy but this is very serious and if you could please spend some time reading this email it would be appreciated. You helped me about a year ago greatly through Reasonable Faith with regard to philosophy of the mind. I truly appreciated your words.

Please allow me to share a little about my background before I get to the point. I am a Christian who lives in Australia, I have a deep passion for apologetics and philosophy and have been teaching myself in my spare time for almost 2 years nearly every day. I have worked as a software developer for almost 20 years, these skills have greatly honed my analytical thinking.

Recently I learned that our school is implementing the PYP & MYP program from the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) also known as the World School. I had suspicions of this program because of its heavily secularized origin. This alerted me to do some research and suffice to say my findings are alarming. The problem with it is illustrating its deceptiveness via its pragmatic methods.

February 3rd, 2014

Q&A 37: Homosexuality and Ethical Semantics

by Max Andrews

Question

Hello. I just read your answer concerning whether homosexual acts are sinful even if homosexual attraction is innate. I agree that the question of innateness doesn’t touch the moral issue. Your main reason for regarding homosexual acts as sinful appears, in that essay, to be scriptural.

My question is this: Do you think that in all cases, moral imperatives indicated in scripture also have an adequate secular defense? The current problem about homosexuality appears to be the difficulty of formulating a reason to condemn it that doesn’t rest on scripture. People will argue, correctly, that homosexual acts are no more harmful than other behaviors that no one regards as immoral. And harm, or the clear potential for harm, appears to be the tripwire that makes an act subject to moral scrutiny in the first place.

December 8th, 2013

Love, Philosophy, and Love

by Max Andrews

264207_10150227244710163_6694857_nWhen you say “I love you” to your fiancé[e], spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend the profundity behind that declaration is incredible.  So, if my beautiful wife asks, “Why do you love me?” what do I say?  Well, I give her my reasons of course… but at what point do I originate my reasons?  Yes, God has orchestrated the world that it be this way but what factors are involved in God’s providential molding?

I believe the question of love ultimately comes down to the individual’s agency, their free desire and choice to love.  If all my reasons to love are external then that would seem to imply that there could be external reasons for me to stop loving.  Here’s a few examples. I love my wife because:

  • She has a beautiful smile.
  • She is fun.
  • She is intelligent
  • She has gorgeous eyes.
  • Her personality complements mine.
  • She is kind and gentle.
  • We have memorable moments.
  • She makes me happy
  • Etc.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but I chose features and examples that a lot of people will say up front.  All of these are external features and reasons.  What if these change and

November 17th, 2013

What if God Commanded Rape?

by Max Andrews

One of the common objections to theistic, deontological ethics is the Euthyphro dilemma. Does God command something because it’s good or is it good because God commands it?  The first horn makes goodness apart from God and the second makes goodness arbitrary. This inevitably brings up questions like:  What if God commanded you to strap a bomb to your chest and blow other people up or rape others?  As an advocate of divine command theory the response to this question is a bit more nuanced then any prima facie answer.

The proponent of divine command theory (DCT) claims that whatever God commands to any moral agent becomes a moral obligation.  Formulations of the commands are given symbolic form by David Efird as:[1]

(RIGHT)                      ∀ϕ☐(Rϕ ≣ Cgϕ)

(WRONG)                   ∀ϕ☐(Wϕ ≣ Cg~ϕ)

(PERMITTED 1)            ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ)[2]

(PERMITTED 2)            [(∃ϕ☐Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐Cg~ϕ)] ∙ [(∃ϕ☐~Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐~Cg~ϕ)]

November 7th, 2013

CS Lewis’ Idea of Heaven

by Max Andrews

Pleasures are to last forever in some form or another.  According to Lewis, a pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.[1] This full knowledge and complete fruition of pleasure will only be in the fulfillment of one’s telos.  This lapse in knowledge, the separation between the subject and object (the epistemic gap between the subject and the object of desire that full one’s pleasures) is removed in heaven.  In Narnia, The Last Battle is the battle of the real forms—a draw to a close between this epistemic gap.  Digory, looking at the new Narnia, seeing that it is a fuller, more real version of the old Narnia, comments that, “It’s all in Plato, all in Plato.”[2]  Lewis’ Platonism is one in which ideas becomes concrete forms.  In heaven, Lewis says, is where heaven is a place where subject and object come together: thought and form become one when subject experiences object.[3] 

November 7th, 2013

An Ethic of Love

by Max Andrews

This is an ethic proposed by Søren Kierkegaard based out of 1 Pt. 4.8.

Hiding by Not Discovering

Hiding:  “[Love] does not discover sins; but not to discover what still must be there, insofar as it can be discovered—that is hiding.”

Discovery:  Reveals sin and increases the multitude of sin.

“To make discoveries even with regard to evil, with regard to sin and the multitude of sins, to be the shrewd, sly, foxy, perhaps more or less corrupt observer who can really make discoveries—this is highly regarded in the world.” It is not that any discovery of sin is bad or itself a sin, but rather the attitude that seeks out sins in others and relishes in their discovery is.

October 7th, 2013

Universal Virtues – A Problem for Ethical Relativism

by Max Andrews

Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman are psychologists who’ve done research concerning the underlying virtues of societies and cultures. Their conclusion was that there are several key virtues that every culture recognizes. The problem that many observers will notice is that the cultures’ attempt to display or act out these virtues may be misplaced, which often results in the ethical relativist’s denial of objective ethics.

September 8th, 2013

What Does it Mean to Live the “Good Life”?—Counterpoints with PZ Myers

by Max Andrews

Summa TheologicaAtheist biologist PZ Myers recently shared his thoughts on how an atheist is to live the good life. He constructed his opinions as counterpoints to many Christian disciplines and virtues. In the end, the happy atheist is the one who is free from religion, whose ethics are framed around societal responsibilities. Sure, helping and loving one another is good but Myers lacks a purpose or end goal for the good life.

Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas are the leading thinkers when it comes to answering the question, “What is the good life?”  Both Aristotle and Thomas agreed that the good life is fulfilling one’s purpose in life but Thomas was the one who grounded the good life in divine love and purpose.

One of the common misconceptions of Christianity is that the goal of human life is happiness.  The chief end of man is to love and know God—fulfilling God’s purposes for each individual. Man’s end is not happiness in this world, but the knowledge of God, which will ultimately bring humanity to it’s intended purpose and end.

June 6th, 2013

Q&A 25: Assessing the Harm Principle

by Max Andrews

Question:

Mr. Andrews,

Often when using Dr. Craig’s version of the moral argument, the humanist will object that God is not necessary for at least one objective moral value: the harm principle, i.e. pain is bad. While I’m tempted to retort back that naturalistically speaking, there is nothing to say pain is objectively bad, the humanist will say that the harm principle is an objective moral value by which other things can be measured. This is so because no humans like pain and those that do only take pleasure in mild forms of pain. How might I solve this problem?

Thank you,

Nolan

Answer:

Hi Nolan,

It’s difficult for me to see why the naturalist (or humanist) will place this principle above every other moral fact. It’s nothing more than an attempt to make a categorical exception to objectivity. If this harm principle is objective then certainly it still falls within the parameters of requiring explanation within the moral argument.