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Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05
- Blackburn had no hand-out. My notes are not very enlightening on many points.
- Religion and Ethics: we have a metaphysical debate about religion. Has it anything to do with ethics?
- “Hotel Supernatural”: check in and out – no more baggage out than in. What do we get out? God speaks in different voices. Believers pick and mix, using their own judgement.
- "Durkheim (Emile), Cladis (Mark S.), Cosman (Carol) - The Elementary Forms of Religious Life": the function of religion is to unite society and to impress on individuals the normative structures of the society. Australian Aborigines as examples. This is a human need we find difficulty doing without; cf. the communal emotion of football crowds.
- This is a better approach than that of Dawkins, who supposes that religious people are merely taken in by dud arguments.
- Blackburn is an atheist – he thinks the metaphysical arguments go nowhere – but is not militant.
- Hume: see "Hume (David), Tweyman (Stanley), Ed. - Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion", and in particular the Natural History of Religion1. Philo – a moral atheist – has a purely verbal disagreement with Cleanthes. There is a vague analogy – a portrait versus reality – but we don’t have the reality.
- Don’t sell your soul to someone – with beard, sandals and a text – who tells you what to think.
- Can there be normativity in the natural order? “Is” versus “ought”. Are there moral particles – let’s call them morons – that impinge on our minds?
- Proto-naturalisation of ethics: dogs and the “canid bow” prior to play – promises no dirty tricks. Coyotes shun those that abuse the canid bow by pretending to play, but fight for real. This means death for a pack animal. See “Wild Justice2” – a kind of norm; maybe the canid bow is learnt as pups grow up?
- There is nothing unnatural in moral thought – values and desires are entirely natural; the deontological side – oughts etc. – comes down to conformity. Intentionality is not unnatural, and is easy to naturalise from the psychological process when in the grip of a norm. Durkheim tells us that the purpose getting a society together is to reinforce the norm.
- Adam Smith: a rare improver on Hume – good on resentment and punishment. Reproach is an inter-personal attitude that wants the appreciation that your anger is justified, so that the malefactor can be brought back into the community.
- It’s an empirical question whether we need religion to enforce morality.
- Voltaire reversed: Can believing absurdities make you stop perpetrating atrocities?
Footnote 1: In "Hume (David) - Essays & Treatises on Several Subjects - Vol II (1772 - Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding & Principles of Morals, Dissertation on the Passions, The Natural History of Religion)", but see Link (https://www.anselm.edu/homepage/dbanach/dnr.htm) for the full text on-line.
Footnote 2: A book by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce – see Link (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-ethical-dog/#) for a summary by Bekoff. I don’t have this book, but have "Bekoff (Marc) - The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter", wherein Chapter 4 treats of “Wild Justice”.
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Timestamp: 01/12/2019 16:05:31. Comments to email@example.com.