Volume 25, Issue 1 (2017)
Mind-Independent Values Don’t Exist, But Moral Truth Does
by Maarten van Doorn
The falsity of moral claims is commonly deduced from two tenets: that they presuppose the existence of objective values and that these values don’t exist. Hence, the error theory concludes, moral claims are false. In this article, I put pressure on the image of human morality that is presupposed in moving from the non-existence of objective values to the falsity of moral claims. I argue that, while, understood in a certain way, the two premises of the error theory are correct, this does not render moral discourse false, because moral objectivity is disanalogous to objectivity in empirical sciences and as such need not be characterized in terms of mind-independency. Using Dewey, I illuminate the possibility of accommodating the guiding intuitions of the error theory in a first-order account of morality.
Understanding Kant’s Ethics: From the Antinomy of Practical Reason to a Comparison with Kierkegaard’s Spheres of Existence
By Shai Frogel
The paper discusses Kant’s view concerning the nature of human existence. Its point of departure is Kant’s “Antinomy of practical reason,” where Kant confronts between the metaphysical and empirical aspects of human existence. Kant’s discussion of this issue continues in “Critique of the aesthetical
judgment,” where he considers the aesthetic experience as a synthesis between these two aspects of human existence. At the end, the paper compares between Kant’s view and Kierkegaard’s idea of the different spheres of human existence for clarifying Kant’s existential view, which is implied in his texts
but does not appear as an explicit thesis in his writings.
Pragmatic Social Justice: A Conceptual Framework for Practitioners
By Eric Hogan
To better understand engagement, I offer a perspective of social justice that understands context and history. Tying in pragmatism into social justice is a foundational step to better understand the inner working of a community. We must acknowledge we can change the environment, have dialogue and
actively reflect, and understand what works one place might not work somewhere else. In this article, the notions of pragmatism and social justice are discussed. Following is a building of a pragmatic social justice framework. This notion is in support to how practitioners can potentially engage in pragmatic social justice.
The (Overwhelming) Improbability of Classical (and Christian) Theism
By Raphael Lataster
In the analytic Philosophy of Religion, much ink has been spilt on the existence of some sort of supernatural reality. Such work is usually done by theists; those that find classical theism to be probably true. It is my contention that theism (and especially Christian theism) is unjustly privileged by many in the field (including non-theists), even when supernaturalism has been—competently or incompetently—argued for. As such, I present a series of challenges for the theist, finding them to be insuperable at present. The first such challenge concerns the challenge of polytheism. Polytheism is often very casually overlooked on the basis that monotheism is “simpler.” Recognising that such simplicity is not necessarily truth-conducive, I argue that polytheism, as a catch-all hypothesis, ought to be preferred. The second challenge proceeds from an assumption not only of supernaturalism, but also of monotheism. There are infinitely many monotheistic alternatives to theism, which can be conceived by simply tweaking the typical attributes of God. Again, simplicity is typically appealed to, and again found to be unhelpful. Furthermore, there are the deistic alternatives to consider also, many of which are seemingly more probable than theism. Finally, I consider the pantheistic god models, deciding that pantheisms are generally more robust and make fewer ad hoc assumptions about the world. As an aside, I concisely discuss the difficulties in moving from theism to Christian theism, which includes an argument against miracles, and a brief explanation of the increasing trend of questioning Jesus’ historical existence.
The Impact of Scientific Advances on Our Political, Religious and Social Views
By Guido O. Perez
In the United States most people have adopted a worldview based on the core tenets of liberal democracy, capitalism, science, religion and the social sciences. Scientific advances, though, have persuaded many individuals to revise this traditional view and adopt an alternative belief system. Thus some people embrace social democracy, regulated capitalism or a more extreme political philosophy. Others adopt non-theistic religions or break their affiliation with any religion. The latter include naturalists who reject supernatural explanations and take science as the best description of reality. Many people reject the blank slate doctrine and hold that human behaviour results from the interaction of the environment with innate biological factors.
Fairness, Dignity, and Beauty in Sport
By Jay Schulkin
Fairness is a normative ideal that runs through sports. After all, what defines our cultural evolution in general is a conception of morality, whether thought of in the context of the state, tribe, team, or individual. Human dignity is also one of the important features of sport. Sport is reality for the better part of our nature. We find inspiration for the meaning of life in sport; dignity, social contact, rising to show the “better angel” overcoming adversity, managing defeat, the wondrous sense of well-earned and arduous victory, graciousness toward others in their defeat. While human dignity and solidarity are particularly expressed in the context of the Special Olympics, adaptation, well-being, and the role of sport are important elements in the context of all sporting events. Sport remains timeless while being a lifelong activity for many.