Posts tagged ‘ethics’

November 30th, 2015

A few lives for a thousand… What do you do?

by Max Andrews

Suppose you go back in time to 1941 Germany or anywhere occupied by the Nazis. You have the same memories and knowledge that you have now. You are capable of disabling or shutting down a concentration camp but the only way of successfully doing so requires the 5 Nazi soldiers and doctors must die. Do you kill the Nazis or let them murder the prisoners?

Remember, these soldiers are executing people regularly and these doctors are performing human tests and forced sterilisation at best. However, if you do kill the Nazis, it’s still likely that the prisoners will still die whether it’s because they die of exposure out on their own or they’re killed by others in the near future. It seems you have four choices:

  1. Kill the Nazis and save the prisoners
  2. Do nothing
  3. Help the Nazis
  4. Try to change the laws so the prisons are illegal (it may take decades)

August 10th, 2015

My E-Books: From Molinism to Existentialism

by Max Andrews


I have gathered my four e-books that I’ve published through Amazon in one convenient spot. Although it would be advantageous to set up a proper author’s page with Amazon but I have yet to do that and simply searching ‘Max Andrews’ isn’t sufficient for finding all the literature (unless you type in another keyword or the title).

If you haven’t already, please share and/or buy these books that you or a friend or a family member may be interested in. The profits go towards keeping this site up and running.

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 11.45.38 PMAn Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1)
    • The task of a Molinist perspective of middle knowledge is to remove the perceived dilemma between human freedom and divine foreknowledge. Middle knowledge is the second logical moment of God’s omniscience. There are three logical moments, the first being natural knowledge. With natural knowledge God knows everything that could logically happen. The third moment is God’s free knowledge; God knows all true propositions of the actual world. Middle knowledge lies logically in between these, which affirms that God knows all true counterfactual propositions, or possess hypothetical knowledge of future contingents. The following is an attempt to provide reasonable grounds for affirming divine middle knowledge.

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June 5th, 2015

Explaining Middle Knowledge Without Being Complicated

by Max Andrews

In the beginning, there was God. Just God. No one or nothing else (“prior” to creation). Now, for the sake of taking some of the language down a few notches, let’s suppose God is deliberating between which worlds he wants to create (I deny divine deliberation, but work with me here).

Let's Make a Deal

Behind door number 1 is an option for a world and universe for God to create. Let’s concoct what this world would look like:


  • Cassidy owns a ginger cat named Basil
  • Hugo won $156,000,000 in the lottery
  • James got a haircut on 09 November 2004
  • Desmond went to prison

May 20th, 2015

New EPS 2015 Conference Paper on the Moral Argument

by Max Andrews

column_leftDave Beck and I have had another paper accepted for this year’s Evangelical Philosophical Society’s annual conference. This year the conference is in Atlanta so I may try to attend it this year but if I’m unable to (contingent on funds and teaching schedule) Dave will be presenting the paper on behalf of both of us.

Date: November 18 at 9:20am

All of my [and our] previous papers have been concerning, primarily, the philosophy of science with the philosophy of religion in tow. Ethics is a new area of professional research for me but the paper will focus on both the ethics/metaethics of the argument and the logic and rationale.

Here’s the abstract to our paper “The Internal Logic of the Moral Argument”:

All of the theistic arguments have the following logical pattern: (1) identify a particular in need of explanation. (2) Eliminate all natural explanations. (3) Conclude to a non-natural alternative. The uniqueness of the Moral Argument, as an attempt to explain moral obligation, is that the non-natural alternative only emerges in the course of the argument and in two phases: (a) A best explanation phase in which neither natural/causal nor the human/free model works. (b) This, in turn, sets up the following dilemma: a fitting explanation must be personal (not causal) but it cannot be other persons because all persons are free and equal in relation to moral obligation. This forces the abduction to the conclusion that there must be a superperson somehow authorized to obligate persons.

The logic of the argument itself forces us to an inference to the best explanation that avoids the aforementioned dilemma: another person, but who is authorized to legislate ethics. In defending our argument we will construct a clear abductive argument, which factors in the set of all explananda. The explanans that we will infer to is a morally capable person and what is of paramount note is that this explanation does not take us fully to the Anselmian God. That is a task for further arguments and sub-arguments.

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).