In this video (below), you'll discover how a debate between Albert Camus and Richard Taylor on the meaning of life might go. Camus embraces absurdism—the absurdity of life makes it meaningless. While Taylor embraces subjectivism—meaning in life is a matter of how things appear to you from a first-person perspective. If you find life satisfying because you're doing what you most desire to do, then your life is meaningful.
After getting these views on the table, Camus responds to Taylor. Taylor's tweak of the Sisyphus case doesn't make Sisyphus live a meaningful life. Instead, Sisyphus is not only condemned to an eternity of pointless toil, he's also unable to embrace the truth of his situation and actually take ownership of his fate. In Taylor's tweak of the case, the gods implant in Sisyphus a desire to roll stones. This makes Sisyphus subjectively-fulfilled, but it also makes him manipulated and deluded. Living a lie doesn't make life meaningful even if it makes life...
Suppose a man who is happily married and highly respected as a physician makes the mistake of embarking on an affair with an unmarried woman whom he meets while she is working as a flight attendant. When he tries to break off this relationship, she threatens to expose his adultery and thereby wreck his marriage and career.All he has worked for his entire life is at risk. He knows that if the affair is revealed, his wife will divorce him, his children will reject him, and the members of his community will no longer support his medical practice. Instead of being the object of people’s admiration, he will be viewed with scorn. In short, his life will be shattered....
Psychological egoism is the theory that self-interest is the only motive from which anyone ever acts. This is a challenge to morality because morality involves taking into account the interests of others. Today's video breaks down objections to psychological egoism raised by James Rachels.
Rachels identifies two arguments thought to support psychological egoism. The first argument involves the claim that all acts are selfish because the person performing the acts always does what she most wants to do. Rachels raises two objections to this argument.
The second argument for egoism I've dubbed The Rolling Stones argument. All acts are selfish because they aim at the person's self-satisfaction. People always try to attain satisfaction (i.e., a pleasant state of mind). Rachels objects to this argument as well.
This is the first part of the 8th episode of the Exploring Ethics Series. Watch a video version of this post below or scroll past the video to read the blog post.
Thomas Nagel argues against a moral skeptic that doesn't care about others. He argues that moral right and wrong is a matter of consistently applying reasons. If you recognize that someone has a reason not to harm you in a certain situation, then, as a matter of consistency, that reason applies to you in a similar situation.
In today's post, I lay out Thomas Nagel's argument, and I raise objections to it. This is the 7th installment in the Exploring Ethics Series. It will help better understand moral skepticism so you can thoughtfully address it when it arises in everyday life.
Note: For your convenience, you can watch a video version of the post, or you can read the post by skipping over the video below.
Imagine that you catch a coworker stealing a stapler from work. You know one of those red Swingline staplers like Milton had in the movie Office Space.
You think him stealing the stapler is wrong. You call him out on it and say that he...
You likely believe that certain acts are morally wrong no matter what culture a person lives in. This might include things like murder, stealing, and genocide. Cultural relativism challenges your belief. It holds there are no universal moral truths that hold across cultures. Moral truths only hold relative to particular cultures.
In this post, you’ll learn about philosopher James Rachels’ objections to cultural relativism so you can keep on believing that, say, genocide is wrong no matter what culture a person happens to live in.
This is the sixth episode in the Exploring Ethics Series. A link to the other videos in the series is in the description. My name is Christopher Michael Cloos. I have a PhD in philosophy and taught ethics at the university-level for many years. Now I teach philosophy online, and I’m glad I get to explore cultural relativism with you today. Let’s jump in.
In this post, you’ll learn how philosopher Steven M. Cahn argues that morality is independent of God. He argues that God’s existence is no guide to what’s right and wrong. It’s not a moral compass. And he argues that morality doesn’t depend on God for its justification. As Cahn concludes, “regardless of our religious commitments, the moral dimension of our lives remains to be explored.”
Yet his argument rests on Plato’s famous Euthyphro Dilemma. After discussing the dilemma a solution to the dilemma is presented. Welcome to The Philosophical Life.
Watch a video version of this post below, or scroll down to read the post.
Cahn’s opening move is worth learning from as a powerful way to do philosophy. Let’s explore it in a “methodology moment.”
Cahn’s opponent is a theist that thinks morality crucially depends on God. Instead of arguing against the theist by claiming that God...
As Coronavirus spreads throughout communities around the globe, “shelter in place” policies are being mandated to help flatten the curve of the spread of the virus. Such policies violate the moral consideration of autonomy or freedom of movement.
But I argue that shelter in place policies are likely morally justified based on 5 factors for resolving moral conflicts in imposing public health policies. The five factors are effectiveness, proportionality, necessity, least infringement, and public justification.
Welcome to this special episode in the Exploring Ethics Series. Watch the video below.