Posts tagged ‘ethics’

January 1st, 2015

Evidence Against Moral Relativism [Only]

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.

Character Strengths and Virtues

October 31st, 2014

10 Things That Annoy Philosophers

by Max Andrews

If you want to get under the skin of a philosopher there are a few ways to irk us. There’s more that just the annoyance of telling someone you’re a philosopher and they respond, “Oh, I took a psychology course in university!” Yes, that type of misunderstanding warrants the philosopher’s incredulous stare… just as these will:

10. “So, how will you make money? What do you do?”

Okay, so I’m not an engineer. I’m not a research chemist for a Fortune 500 corporation and I may not be able to work most blue collar tasks… However, I, and other philosophers, think (but there’s more!). For the philosopher, the act of philosophizing is not a mere intellectual exercise that could exist solely in consciousness. To the contrary, philosophy is a procedure and inquiry to the self, a “discovery and self-liberation.” The intellectual and cognitive acts of philosophy are participatory in their inquiry of the world. This would be very similar to the understanding that Socrates is the philosopher. He not only taught and philosophized, but he understood that the very act of philosophizing was an act of engagement with the world and it was a way of life.

9. The university administration putting philosophy in the periphery

Philosophy departments aren’t typically the big money-makers at university–typically. However, the university system needs to understand that the philosophy faculty, the philosophy students, and the discipline of philosophy in general is an investment rather than a moneymaker. I’ve seen firsthand that a university can divest in the philosophy department. Academia, the provost, the administrators, et al, need to view philosophy as the foundation by which a university is built and sustained.

September 13th, 2014

Podcast: What if God Commanded Rape?

by Max Andrews

Podcast Audio

If the Divine Command Theory (DCT) proponent is to defend his position he must demonstrate the necessary falsehood of the counterfactual: If God did command rape then there would be a moral obligation to rape. There will be an assumption of ethical realism since ethical anti-realism is argued for and against in completely different arguments. The ethical realist objector [to DCT] claims that it is possible for God to command rape in some possible world, or in an impossible world close to the actual world, making it obligatory for all moral agents, whereas rape is still morally bad in that same world, thus, making DCT arbitrary and is defeated.

Here are the symbolic references:

(RIGHT) ∀ϕ☐(Rϕ ≣ Cgϕ)
(WRONG) ∀ϕ☐(Wϕ ≣ Cg~ϕ)
(CONTCOM) ∀ϕ[(◊~Cgϕ) ∙ (◊Cgϕ)]

May 19th, 2014

The Spread of Molinism

by Max Andrews
I’ve been off of Facebook for a while [for several reasons] and apparently there is now a Molinist group. I don’t know how many people are in it but it’s nice for like-minded individuals to share and exchange ideas with one another (likewise, of course, interacting with opposing views).

I recently spent an afternoon with Tyler McNabb[1] in Glasgow. Later that day Tyler sent me an email of encouragement. Part of it was below. Apparently, someone asked, “Just out of curiosity, how many here were introduced to Molinism by WLC?” Below are a few responses.

Dwight Stanislaw WLC and Max Andrews. Max led me to Keathley’s book, which was the first treatment on Molinism I’ve read. Now I’m reading Freddoso’s intro to Molina’s own work and it’s destroying every last brain cell I have left.

Chad Miller Dwight literally took the exact route I did. I was intrigued by WLC but still Calvinist. I got to know Max via social media and communicated a lot with him. I asked him THE book on Molinism that gave the best argument and he recommend S&S by Ken Keathley, and now I’m here in this group and shall remain as long as Facebook is around…

Jonathan Thompson WLC, Plantinga, and Max Andrews. I first came in contact with this view upon hearing WLC’s lecture “Is One True Religion Possible?”.

May 13th, 2014

Virtues are Bygone and Vices Have Triumphed

by Max Andrews

In light of recent circumstances I thought it all too prudent to re-post a previous post on the seven deadly sins. These sins originated by spiritual vice and a lack of spiritual virtue. Personally, I see too many people, even in the church…, who hold to vice over virtue and don’t seek truth for truth’s sake. Truth for truth’s sake is God’s sake. All truth is God’s truth. Too many people are content with injustice and dishonesty.

As for me, where there is truth, there I will be. Should you find me absent you’ll find me repenting my way back to truth. Should I stand alone against the myriads in the battlefield… if I know truth is on my side I would stand my ground for the sake of virtue, truth, justice, and that which is right.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–No more–and by a sleep to say we end. The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–

(I wonder how many people will know the reference above without looking it up and know what this person is actually talking about…)

Most of us are quite familiar with the seven deadly sins: Pride, Greed, Wrath, Luxury/Lust, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth. However, these are much more profound then they seem to be at face value and they go much, much deeper, penetrating the depths of our soul to bring about a conviction and guidance needed during some of the darkest times of our lives. This brings us to John of the Cross…

John of the Cross (1542-1591) was committed to Catholic reform and was imprisoned, or put in confinement, by those who opposed the reform. During this time he wrote his most famous work, The Dark Night of the Soul. The concept of the dark night is key to one’s spiritual journey. It’s not when one is experiencing joy and light but rather sorrow and darkness.

May 12th, 2014

Desire and when the evidence goes where you don’t want it to go

by Max Andrews

I would consider my epistemic position to be a moderate evidentialist. (This is just a brief outline).  There is a sense of deontology to it in that one ought to base their beliefs corresponding to the evidence; however, there is a sense in which one may hold a belief without sufficient evidence and still be rational.  The source of truth is the objective prime reality and our knowledge should correspond to the truth of reality.  My epistemology yields my theology in the sense of scientific theology.  What I know about reality is what I know about God.[1]

Excursus: One thing I’ve noticed about being an evidentialist is that we all have desires and wants and wills. The problem [or psychological down side] with this is that sometimes I want X to be true but I find out that X is not true or that the probability or likelihood of X is stronger in favor of ~X. I don’t think this is a problem for evidentialism as a system.

Cont.: I’ve had this several times in my pursuit for truth. If I had to be as succinct as possible about why I’m an evidentialist it’s because the truth leaves a trail. That trail could be empirical, intuition [a priori knowledge as well], and other forms. Also, theologically, God desires us to pursue truth… if we cannot draw valid and sound conclusions from the data before us then we live in an intrinsically irrational world, incapable of being known. Likewise, evidentialism is self-affirming. The evidence for evidentialism is likely to be a methodology that leads to the truth. It is akin to coherentism (See this paper). 

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


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