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From Psychology to Morality: Essays in Ethical Naturalism

2019.05.08 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews John Deigh, From Psychology to Morality: Essays in Ethical Naturalism, Oxford University Press, 2018, 275pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190878597. Reviewed by Karsten R. Stueber, College of the Holy Cross Since ancient times, philosophers have wondered how exactly to account for the status of morality in the lives of human beings. Ancient philosophers were very much concerned with understanding how our moral lives are grounded in the structure of our psyche and how its various parts, specifically reason and emotions, contribute to making us moral agents who feel bound by the demands of virtue and justice. Yet merely integrating psychological considerations within the context of one's moral philosophy is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for counting as an ethical naturalist. Plato certainly had some interesting things to say about moral psychology, but he argued that the objectivity of moral judgments and the authority of moral norms are ultimately... Read [More]

What If There’s Nothing You Should Do?

You probably think that lying is wrong. But according to the philosophical view known as the error theory, you ascribe a non-existent property - that of being wrong - to lying. This means that lying is not wrong. If you buy into the error theory, you may then conclude that lying is permissible. But according to the error theory, you then ascribe the non-existent property of being permissible to lying. So, lying is neither wrong nor permissible. The error theory can be applied to anything else you could, or might want to do. The theory may seem completely crazy at first glance but the arguments for it are strong.Suppose that you are convinced by the arguments for the error theory. If so, what should you do? Should you stop believing that lying is wrong? Should you just tell lies whenever you feel like it?Defenders of the theory give different answers to this question. Some think that you should simply stop believing that lying is wrong. Others agree that you should stop believing this, [More]


[New Entry by Anya Plutynski on May 7, 2019.] Cancer is a worldwide epidemic. It is the first or second leading cause of death before age 70 in ninety-one countries, as of 2015. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, "there will be an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths in 2018," and cancer is expected to be the "leading cause of death in every country of the world in the 21st century" (Bray, et al., 2018). While overall [More]

Schiff’s Schubert

I can’t let one standout recent double CD release pass without the warmest recommendation. András Schiff has recorded more late Schubert — this time the Four Impromptus D899, the Drei Klavierstücke D946, and the Piano Sonatas D958 and D959. Schiff … Continue reading → The post Schiff’s Schubert appeared first on Logic [More]

How Would David Hume Explain Our Political Divisions?

“Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them,” Scottish philosopher David Hume famously said in his Treatise of Human Nature. He also offered a theory about the way that emotions spread among people, which helps explain the divisiveness of our current politics.How Actions are ProducedAccording to Hume, all our intentional actions are the immediate product of passions -- or emotions, feelings, or desires, as we would say today. He does not think that any other kind of mental state could, on its own, bring about an intentional action, except if it first generates a passion. Not all the passions can become motives for action, however. Beyond instincts such as hunger and lust, only desire and aversion, hope and fear, joy and grief, or combinations of these, generate action. How? A feeling of pleasure or pain, whether physical or psychological, or a belief that pleasure or pain may or will come from [More]