February 28, 2012

What is this “self-sacrifice” so beloved of ideologues?

What the world needs is people who look after others and themselves.

Ethics and Philosophy

January 25, 2012

Here’s a sentence guaranteed to baffle those enamoured of idées reçues:-

Although philosophy has shaped the ethical teachings of the main Western religions, many of the most influential ethical thinkers have been dedicated to explaining and defending principles in ways that are entirely independent of religious doctrine.

Kitcher rightly asserts the primacy of philosophy over religion in matters ethical.

How Not Why

October 18, 2011

It is infuriating listening to Start the Week hosted by Andrew Marred. How tiresome to listen to Richard Dawkins and a cosmologist argue with Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi. What is the point of having a science OR religion debate? Who really thinks that is a real choice? Why is it so rare to hear someone mention secular ethics in such a debate? Sacks made the laughably hackneyed point that, “science takes things apart to see how they work; religion puts things together to see what they mean.” Dear, oh dear … what gibberish! And then he started waffling on about left and right brain languages. Pitiful. Can you imagine Michael Walzer explaining the history of political philosophy in terms of left and right?

There are only two big questions:-

How did things come to be as they are?
How should we live?

Science attempts to answer the first question, as does history. Secular ethics attempts to answer the second, and the answer includes love, politics, work, art, literature, nature, sport and so on.

Religionists’ pretence to deal in Big Why Questions is an outdated impertinence.