Best ethics & moral philosophy books according to redditors

We found 917 Reddit comments discussing the best ethics & moral philosophy books. We ranked the 361 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Philosophy of Ethics & Morality:

u/jakonny · 61 pointsr/me_irl

If someone is advocating for metacharities like Givewell, they have probably heard of effective altruism.

Although, if you haven't, I recommend Peter Singer's book The Most Good You Can Do. Its a pretty light read and is very approachable.

u/Ibrey · 35 pointsr/askphilosophy

I think you will learn the most by reading five textbooks, such as A History of Philosophy, volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; or something like Metaphysics: The Fundamentals, The Fundamentals of Ethics, Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, and An Introduction to Political Philosophy.

If what you have in mind is more of a "Great Books" program to get your feet wet with some classic works that are not too difficult, you could do a lot worse than:

  • Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo, often published together under the title The Trial and Death of Socrates. Socrates is so important that we lump together all Greek philosophers before him as "the Presocratics," and this cycle of dialogues is a great window on who he was and what he is famous for.
  • The Basic Works of Aristotle. "The philosopher of common sense" is not a particularly easy read. Cicero compared his writing style to "a flowing river of gold," but all the works he prepared for publication are gone, and what we have is an unauthorised collection of lecture notes written in a terse, cramped style that admits of multiple interpretations. Even so, one can find in Aristotle a very attractive system of metaphysics and ethics which played a major role in the history of philosophy, and holds up well even today.
  • René Descartes, Discourse on the Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. Descartes is called the father of modern philosophy, not so much because modern philosophers have widely followed his particular positions (they haven't) but because he set the agenda, in a way, with his introduction of methodological scepticism.
  • David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. I think Elizabeth Anscombe had it right in judging Hume a "mere brilliant sophist", in that his arguments are ultimately flawed, but there is great insight to be derived from teasing out why they are wrong.
  • If I can cheat just a little more, I will lump together three short, important treatises on ethics: Immanuel Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, and Anscombe's paper "Modern Moral Philosophy".
u/theothergreenmeat · 22 pointsr/KamikazeByWords
u/mrzackbot · 19 pointsr/personalfinance

Adding to that, if you have utilitarian-leaning tendencies, you may want to consider researching effective altruism. In a nutshell, it suggests that when attempting to do good for the world that you should take an evidence-based approach. So rather than donating to a charity because it sounds nice and tugs at your heartstrings, you should figure which (possibly unsexy) organizations are doing the most good. It's very possible for a charity to have a high Charity Navigator rating because its administrative overhead is very low while the actual charity work it does is ineffective.

Relevant organizations/resources:

u/Sawagurumi · 16 pointsr/theredpillright

George Orwell: 1984. Essential to understanding the Totalitarian Left, and ideas that have now entered our language and are becoming more relevant by the day, such as doublethink, thoughtcrime, and newspeak.

Donald J. Boudreaux: The Essential Hayek. (also Hayek's original works, eg The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty, but they are much more expensive. This is a good introduction to the Austrian School of economics).

Carroll Quigley: Tragedy & Hope: a history of the world in our time.
> One of these persistent questions is typical of the twentieth century rather than of earlier times: Can our way of life survive? Is our civilization doomed to vanish, as did that of the Incas, the Sumerians, and the Romans? From Giovanni Battista Vico in the early eighteenth century to Oswald Spengler in the early twentieth century and Arnold J Toynbee in our own day, men have been puzzling over the problem of whether civilizations have a life cycle and follow a similar pattern of change. from this discussion emerged a fairly general agreement that men live in separately organized societies, each with its own distinct culture; that some of these societies, having writing and city life, exist on a higher level of culture than the rest, and should be called by the different term "civilizations"; and that these civilizations tend to pass through a common pattern of experience.

Carroll Quigley: The Evolution of Civilizations.
> In this perceptive look at the factors behind the rise and fall of civilizations, Professor Quigley seeks to establish the analytical tools necessary for understanding history. He examines the application of scientific method to the social sciences, then establishes his historical hypotheses. He poses a division of culture into six levels, from the more abstract to the more concrete—intellectual, religious, social, political, economic, and military—and he identifies seven stages of historical change for all civilizations: mixture, gestation, expansion, conflict, universal empire, decay, and invasion.

J.C. Unwin: Sex and Culture
> With care-free open-mindedness I decided to test, by a reference to human records, a somewhat startling conjecture that had been made by analytical psychologists. This suggestion was that if the social regulations forbid direct satisfaction of the sexual impulses the emotional conflict is expressed in another way, and that what we call 'civilization' has always been built up by compulsory sacrifices in the gratification of innate desires.

Sir John Glubb: The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival.
> d) The stages of the rise and fall of great nations seem to be:

>The Age of Pioneers (outburst)

> The Age of Conquests

>The Age of Commerce

>The Age of Affluence

>The Age of Intellect

>The Age of Decadence.

>(e) Decadence is marked by:





>An influx of foreigners

>The Welfare State

>A weakening of religion.

>(f) Decadence is due to:

>Too long a period of wealth and power


>Love of money

>The loss of a sense of duty.

>(g) The life histories of great states are amazingly similar, and are due to internal factors.

E. Belfort Bax: The Fraud of Feminism. (written in 1913, it clearly shows that there was no 'golden age' of feminism, and that feminists can never be satisfied).
> Though women have been conceded all the rights of men, their privileges as females have remained untouched, while the sentimental "pull" they have over men, and the favouritism shown them in the courts, civil and criminal, often in flagrant violation of elementary justice, continues as before. The result of their position on juries, as evinced in certain trials, has rather confirmed the remarks made in Chapter II. anent [concerning] hysteria than otherwise. The sex-bias of men in favour of women and the love of the advanced woman towards her sex-self show no sign of abatement.

And two recent important works in political philosophy that are therefore not available for free.

John Rawls. A Theory of Justice. A seminal book providing an alternative to Utilitarianism. "Rawls's "Theory of Justice" is widely and justly regarded as this century's most important work of political philosophy. "

T.M. Scanlon. What We Owe to Each Other. Following on from Rawls' insights, and applying them more broadly than only to justice, to what underpins a society working together. "What do we owe to each other? What obligations of honesty, respect, trust and consideration exist between people?"


Jonathan Haidt: Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. Haidt shows that there are at least 6 foundations of what people see as social good. Of these, the Left see 'Caring' as the good, almost to the exclusion of everything else. Libertarians see 'Liberty' as the good, almost to the exclusion of everything else. Conservatives are fairly evenly balanced across the 6, and have the easiest time understanding the perspective of the others as a result. See also and You might know Haidt from this talk:

u/SchurkjeBoefje · 16 pointsr/europe

I've always enjoyed this confrontational quote by playwright Bouke Oldenhof, from David Winner's curious-yet-delightful book Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football:

> "Did you ever go to Auschwitz? It is very interesting: every country has its own barracks where it tells its own history. If you want to hear all the lies a nation tells about itself, you should go there: Holland is the most tolerant nation - we have a long history of tolerance; Austria was the first victim of the Nazis; Yugoslavia liberated itself; Poland won the Second World War; and only the Germans are honest. All lies!"

u/AnotherMasterMind · 14 pointsr/askphilosophy

Think by Simon Blackburn.


Five Dialogues of Plato.

u/blargh9001 · 11 pointsr/DebateAVegan

I'm not sure I accept that we're hardwired to eat meat. We're hardwired to eat, and yes, we're physiologically equipped so that meat is one of the many things we can chose to eat, but surely you see that that is in a completely different category than the drive for self-preservation?

>OK, so should you give all money to charity after expenses or after earning a certain amount since you could survive?

You're conflating aversion to inflicting harm with proactively preventing harm. I would argue that, yes, there is a responsibility to do both, but to different degrees. Interestingly there is indeed a movement advocating exactly what you suggest: that you should maximise your positive effect by working to earn as much as possible and give away everything you can to carefully selected recipients, once your basic needs are covered (see effective altruism).

>I alao take issue with saying meat is not needed

It always baffles me that people can say this to people that are living proof that it's not. Let me guess, you have a rare undiagnosed condition that demands meat and live in rural Mongolia where charred meat and yaks milk is all that's available?

>So you consider the potential to kill to be unvegan? What do you do about the consequences of that philosphy?

I'm not sure what you mean by 'potential to kill' or what consequences you have in mind.

u/NukeThePope · 10 pointsr/atheism
u/[deleted] · 9 pointsr/askphilosophy

Your friend's argument is not unknown in metaethics. A popular argument for the subjectivity of moral truth is that moral knowledge comes easy if the individual or one's society determines what is morally right and wrong; all one needs to do is examine what oneself (or one's culture) believes about what is right and wrong, and these are things that are easily accessible, epistemically speaking.

However, objective moral properties would be another thing altogether. (Your friend talks about "absolute moral truth", which I take him to mean "objective moral properties.") The most popular argument of the sort you friend mentioned is one version of Mackie's Argument from Queerness. (source: Mackie, J.L. 1977. Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. Harmondsworth: Penguin.) Mackie states that if there are objective moral properties, then they would be utterly odd and weird properties that would require an utterly odd and weird cognitive faculty to detect them. Perception, memory, rational intuition, and the like would all fail to detect these queer properties. Since we shouldn't postulate such a weird cognitive faculty (like an ethical intuition), we should be skeptical about these moral properties. So even if there are these objective moral properties, we would not know of them.

Two responses to Mackie: (1) The most common contemporary response to Mackie is the ethical naturalist's. Naturalists believe that in some way moral properties are reducible to or even identical to natural properties. Since natural properties are not odd properties that require odd cognitive faculties to detect them, we can come to know what is right and wrong by knowledge about natural properties, which we come to know via our quotidian cognitive faculties. Thus, objective moral properties are knowable. (2) A response that is coming back into vogue is from the ethical non-naturalists, which are those that think that the moral realm of properties is wholly non-natural. The non-naturalist claims that Mackie's argument begs the question. We should not be all that surprised by the existence of an ethical intuition because moral properties are easily knowable. What do I know more certainly than that it is morally wrong that torture small children for my own enjoyment? I certainly know that claim more certainly than any of Mackie's premises in his argument. So postulating such a faculty isn't all that detrimental.

u/UmamiSalami · 9 pointsr/askphilosophy

Peter Singer has a book called The Most Good You Can Do which is all about having an impact on how readers live their lives.

u/RedditConsciousness · 9 pointsr/television
u/thelonecabbage · 9 pointsr/Shitstatistssay

People are too selfish to live in a libertarian society with volunteerism.
Socialism doesn't need to use violence, because everyone shares voluntarily.


u/TychoCelchuuu · 8 pointsr/askphilosophy

/r/askphilosophy is for asking questions about philosophy as an academic discipline, which is a different usage of the word 'philosophy' than you're referring to here. (See this post for more information.) Philosophers in the first sense are, by and large, not in the business anymore of suggesting philosophies in the second sense.

There is, though, some work on these topics, like this book.

u/A_pfankuchen_Krater · 8 pointsr/socialism

Two modern and more "moderate" books, considering that your brother goes to DSA meetings:

"Why not Socialism?" by G.A. Cohen

"Why Marx was right" by Terry Eagleton

And two firecrackers, one marxian, one anarchist:

"The Communist Manifesto" by Marx/Engels

"The Conquest of Bread" by Kropotkin

Before you go and buy any of this stuff for a dozen bucks or so, consider that they are all available online, "Manifesto" and "Conquest" even legally.

u/Pseudo-Plutarch · 8 pointsr/vegan

/r/ethical_living does have some interesting posts, but I'd also like more resources!

Free bonus: some other possible compassionate choices

u/Mentalpopcorn · 7 pointsr/TrueAtheism

> Morality is subjective and there are NO moral absolutes.

Honest question: have you ever taken an ethics class? I ask because there is an entire class of people - ethicists - whose task it is to study exactly the question of right and wrong and very few of them hold your position. This is not an argument that democracy determines truth, but rather that when 99% of experts think X and random Joe Shmoe thinks Y, you have to consider that Joe Shmoe is probably wrong (an appeal to authority, which contrary to popular belief is a valid inductive argument and not a fallacy, as opposed to appeal to false authority).

If you're interested in the arguments against moral relativism - of which there are many - ethicist James Rachels deals with them nicely in The Elements of Moral Philosophy(free pdfs online if you don't care about piracy). If you were to be able to demonstrate that his reasoning and proof against relativism was wrong you'd become pretty famous pretty quickly.

But basically, to say that all moral statements are equal is to say that we cannot consider reason when determining ethical answers. That is, if I were to ask you why it's wrong to steal you could probably come up with a good argument. If, however, you were a radical Muslim who believed that subjugating women was right, your argument would have to contain some sort of fallacious reasoning (e.g. an unproved premise such as god, or an appeal to tradition, etc).

The major ethical systems - utilitarianism, deontology, etc - are not based on whims but on well reasoned, deductive arguments. If you want to argue they are invalid then you must find a flaw in the reasoning. You cannot simply state that all morality is subjective without first dispelling the arguments for moral systems which already exist.

u/Chapo_Trap_House · 7 pointsr/askphilosophy

This is subjective, but in the moral philosophy course I'm taking right now we are currently covering what is called ethical intuitionism, and W.D. Ross and Michael Huemer (perhaps even Huemer more so than Shafer-Landau and Audi) can be considered some of the best here due to their innovative expositions. Ross is usually taught in intro classes, and Huemer even wrote a book called Ethical Intuitionism.

u/JoshSimili · 7 pointsr/vegan

So I just finished reading Peter Singer's The Most Good You Can Do and he talks a lot about the ethics of working for an unethical business. The basic conclusion is that if you don't do the work there, somebody else will, and the person who is replacing your position there won't use their money in such an ethical way as you. So just take the job and use the money from your wages to support charities and ethical businesses.

Also, he kinda jokingly discusses the idea that technically you should do your job as poorly as you possibly can without getting fired, so you are less help to this unethical business than the person they would hire to replace you.

u/Coltorl- · 7 pointsr/askphilosophy

This book, The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten, is a very easy read. Others can vouch for its readability (I know /u/TychoCelchuuu has mentioned this book in the past) alongside me, but in regards to me recommending something like this to you: I've been a native speaker for all my life so I may not be the best in determining how well a non-native reader can understand a foreign text. Hope someone can come along to recommend you some reading from a place of similar experience, good luck!

u/SpeakItLoud · 7 pointsr/TheGoodPlace

There's a book with the same title as Chidi's lecture, What We Owe To Each Other. I've always been of the mindset that we are here for each other. When a friend lost his house and cats to fire, something truly devastating to him, he had a breakdown about how he could possibly move forward. If everything can be taken from you in a moment, what's the fucking point?

The point is to be there for each other. The point is that we're not really here for any reason. We just are. And that's okay. Make the most of it. Make someone smile. Do any small thing. It could mean nothing to anyone. And it could mean everything to just one.

Give a little love.

The Book

u/aboundedfiddle · 7 pointsr/changemyview

You should check out a book by Peter Singer called The Life You Can Save. He goes into some detail addressing your point that "You can be an ethical person by simply doing things that aren't unethical."

For example, say you were walking in a park next to a lake. You see a young child drowning in the lake and you are the only one who can do anything about it. Do you have a positive obligation to save that child? By your logic, as long as you did not actively push the child into the lake, you are in the clear morally. But I think in a direct example like this, you would agree that you do in fact have a positive obligation to help.

That is the moral obligation to give to charity, but because the starving child is not in front of us we don't feel like we are on the hook.

u/Poka-chu · 7 pointsr/worldnews

> I'd rather get moral and spiritual advice from some random rabbi or imam.

"The sheep gives shitty advice - I'll talk to the goose or the dog next time, that'll be so much better."

Why not try to figure shit out on your own. Read a book on ethics or two. Or talk to Humanists. Relying on friends and family for advice is OK too. Actually, doing just about anything will result in better things than following the advice of organized religion.

u/Dmitrius22 · 6 pointsr/IAmA

So, there are several things you could mean by "an objective moral standard exists." I'll assume that you're talking about moral cognitivism, which is the view that ethical propositions, like "Rape is bad," are capable of being either true or false.

How this "works" is a difficult and subtle question. It's not immediately obvious how there could be truth in a realm like ethics. Perhaps this is because most people (and most philosophers) are walking around with an implicit Correspondence theory of truth in the back of their minds. The correspondence theory claims that a proposition is true just in case it corresponds to the world - and this requires some feature of the world to which "rape is bad" can correspond. But that seems incompatible with the picture of the world that we get from the natural sciences. They tell us about muons and bosons - but there's no talk of "morons" (or moral particles). The world doesn't seem to have "to-be-doneness" built into it (as Mackie says).

So, then, why not just throw in the towel and say that, since there's no reality to which our ethical propositions can correspond, there's no ethical truth? Well, there are a couple reasons.

First and foremost, you might be a hell of a lot more confident in the truth of the proposition "Rape is bad" and the falsity of the proposition "genocide is noble" than you are in the correspondence theory of truth. If so, better to reconsider what exactly truth consists in than to lose the ability to say that the person who claims "genocide is noble" has spoken falsely.

Secondly, naive correspondence truth and a naturalistic world-view is going to destroy far more than ethical truth and falsity once you get it going. It's going to run roughshod over mathematical truth and falsity (surely there aren't mathematical entities out in the world according to our best scientific theories) - it's going to leave you without any way to say that "If I drop out of school, my job prospects will be dim" is true, while "If I drop out of school, the sky will rain money" is false (because I don't actually drop out of school, so there's no part of the actual world to which the "if"-clause can correspond). Also, you won't be able to say that it's true that "I could have been an economics major" (because there's no feature of the world which is my possibly being an economics major). You also won't be able to say that it's false that "I could have been a phrenology major."

So, there's good reason to think that the intuitive reason for thinking that there isn't ethical truth (or, the one that I've always found intuitive) has got to have gone wrong somewhere along the line.

If you're asking me how to fix things, that's the subject of a dissertation or a book. One new and exciting proposal is constructivism about reasons, which has been spear-headed by Sharon Street, and which you can read about here and here.

u/NoIntroductionNeeded · 6 pointsr/askphilosophy

From the /r/philosophy sidebar: Think, by Simon Blackburn. I've read it, and it's exactly what you're looking for.

u/1066443507 · 6 pointsr/askphilosophy

It depends on what you want to get out of it. If you want a clear, intro-level overview of the subject, check out Shafer-Landau's Fundamental's of Ethics. It's a fantastic place to start, and it is the book I recommend if you really want to understand the subject and plan to read outside the context of a class.

If you want primary texts, I suggest that you get the book's companion, The Ethical Life.

If you want a textbook that is a little shorter and more engaging, check out Rachels' The Elements of Moral Philosophy.

If you want an introduction that's informative and fun to read but less informative than the Rachels or the Shafer-Landau, check out Sandel's Justice. You can also watch his Justice lectures online. This book, as opposed to the other two, is written for a popular audience.

u/selylindi · 6 pointsr/slatestarcodex

Ok. I haven't read his most recent books:

2015: about effective altruism

2014 coauthored: The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and Contemporary Ethics

I'll look into the 2014 one.

Edit: Here's a quote from the blurb.

> The authors also explore, and in most cases support, Sidgwick's views on many other key questions in ethics: how to justify an ethical theory, the significance of an evolutionary explanation of our moral judgments, the choice between preference-utilitarianism and hedonistic utilitarianism, the conflict between self-interest and universal benevolence, whether something that it would be wrong to do openly can be right if kept secret, how demanding utilitarianism is, whether we should discount the future, or favor those who are worse off, the moral status of animals, and what is an optimum population.

So I was wrong, on account of outdated info. Thanks for letting me know!

u/GWFKegel · 6 pointsr/askphilosophy

Peter Singer, to me, is the absolute clearest writer in philosophy, and I think he has an incredible knack for interesting theses. As a result, I think you can start pretty much anywhere with him.

I do work in ethics, metaethics, and applied ethics, though. The two articles I see referenced over and over again are "Famine, Affluence, and Morality" and "Ethics and Intuitions". The former is a valid, tight, and incredibly fun-to-discuss argument about how we should donate all unnecessary funds to end abject poverty. The latter is an evolutionary debunking argument against intuitions and in favor of the practical reason that standard utilitarian views use. If you're into the former, he wrote a very accessible book recently, stemming from lectures at Yale, called The Most Good You Can Do, which I can recommend to pretty much anyone as an easy and provocative read. But if you're interested more in the theoretical stuff, as in how objective ethics is and how much it might regulate our lives, check out The Expanding Circle.

Overall, if you're interested in almost any applied ethical debate, Singer has written something relevant. You might just start there out of interest. But I really don't think you can go wrong with anything.

u/pocket_queens · 6 pointsr/Showerthoughts
u/classicalecon · 6 pointsr/DebateReligion

A lot of philosophers think something like Pruss's rendition of the Leibnizian cosmological argument is the most likely to be successful. You can see Pruss discuss it here at considerable length and depth. The basic logical structure is something like:

  1. Whatever is contingent has an explanation.
  2. The BCCF is contingent.
  3. Therefore the BCCF has an explanation (from 1, 2).
  4. This explanation must involve a necessary being.
  5. Therefore there is a necessary being (from 3, 4).

    P1 is PSR, which Pruss defends in that article. He also gave it a book length treatment. The BCCF of P2 stands for big conjunctive contingent fact, which is just a conjunction of all the contingent facts. The BCCF is contingent because all the conjuncts are contingent, and so any / all of the conjuncts could have failed to exist, so the BCCF could have failed to exist. P4 should be intuitive. Either the explanation of P3 is necessary or contingent. Say it's contingent. This means the explanation of the BCCF is itself a conjunct of the BCCF, in which case the BCCF explains itself. But nothing contingent can explain itself, otherwise it would be necessary. So the explanation of the BCCF must be necessary, not contingent.

    Most of the debate will be about whether or not PSR is true, and that's what Pruss focuses most of his argumentation on as well. You could also debate what exactly the necessary being the argument concludes with is. Pruss gives a few reasons in that paper to think it's the God of classical theism.
u/josephsmidt · 6 pointsr/latterdaysaints

> I want an answer unique to you


> What gives you such strong conviction that what you believe is true?

The same reason you said your mother loved you. It feels right and makes the most sense. It could be she doesn't actually exist outside of your mind. (This cannot be proven wrong objectively. You have to believe it without objective evidence.) Or it could be that she has no free will and loves you no more than a robot who was programed to think and act like it loves you loves you. (Again, you cannot objectively prove your mother has any free will to actually love.)

There are more examples I can give but the point is: at the end of the day, you cannot know your mother is an actual person that actually loves you (beyond just determinism forcing her to act and think so like a robot) without exercising some faith in the Heb. 1:1 sense. (You much choose to believe some things that cannot objectively be proven. Like Solipsism is wrong. For you they are "obvious" but same for me.)

With that said, my two reasons are: 1. It makes the most sense intellectually and 2. It feels right (as if I am receiving spiritual assurances.)

First: Let me start out with noting: though most philosophers are atheist, most philosophers of religion are theists. My point is only, the intellectual case for God and religion must be quite strong if those that study it professionally using the methods of the secular academic world emerge theists. If anyone tells you there is no rational basis for God and religion have obviously not studied the issue in any actual depth.

Want some examples? Well you can start with the argument from contingency + principle of sufficient reason. Even atheists have admitted Pruss has made a formidable case with this argument here. Or you can go the The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics and show the universe is more rational and coherent than you have any right to believe assuming random and purposeless. The NY Times have a lay version here. Or there is the observation that evolution optimises on survivability not truth. (And we know the two are different) This would imply, if there is nothing more than brute, random evolution producing brains, there is no reason to think our brains find truth in what is actually true, only in what it takes to survive. Thus, any "rational" conclusion we ever make, we need to be suspicious actually has anything to do with actual truth. (IE... lack of something like God forces you to admit you might be completely irrational pertaining to any and all your beliefs.)

There are more, and said right they are stronger that I presented, but I am writing a book! So will provide more if you ask.

Second: It feels right. I feel the spirit when I pray. (Just like you feel "love" when your mother hugs you. They both may be no more that chemicals fooling you what is actual, but you trust in at least one is real while trust both are.) I feel the spirit when I read the scriptures. I feel the spirit when I keep the commandments. Like Alma 32 says, when I nourish the seeds of the gospel, I see them grow. I see how the gospel blesses myself and my family. I, etc... So, by this second method I also know it.

So, just like you believe your mother is an actual person who actually loves you (something you must believe without objective proof) because it makes the most sense and feels right I likewise believe there is an actual God who actually loves me because it makes the most sense and also very much feels right (the spirit).

u/WorldOfthisLord · 6 pointsr/askphilosophy

Michael Della Rocca defends the PSR, as already mentioned. Alex Pruss also defends the PSR, both at book length and in more informal fashion at his blog.

Both men are theists, and Pruss has also blogged about the problem of evil, although I don't believe he's defended the premise that this is the best possible world (just check the "problem of evil" tab on the side of his blog to find out more).

u/clqrvy · 6 pointsr/askphilosophy

I think the question "why should I do good?" can be interpreted in a couple of ways.

One might interpret the question as saying something like, "I don't give a shit about other people; convince me to do good instead of completely ignore the needs and wishes of others!" If you're in that kind of situation - if you don't actually care about anybody or anything but yourself - then I don't think I philosophy can do much to help you. Maybe you're a psychopath.

A different way to interpret the question is something like this: you may care very much about other people and try your best to be a nice and friendly person, but there are times when the demands of morality can be extremely daunting - you might find yourself in a situation where you feel morality requires you to risk your job, your fortune, your relationships, or even your life. In these situations, it's pretty understandable for someone to ask himself, "Should I sacrifice so much for this 'moral' compulsion I feel?"

How you understand morality can affect your answer to this question. If it turned out that the demands of "morality" were nothing more than what the majority of your culture currently expects you to do, then I think it would be quite reasonable to say, "If that's what morality is, then fuck morality! I'm not going to sacrifice my life (or job, relationships, etc.) just because people expect me to do such-and-such!" (EDIT: Note that I'm not saying it would then be reasonable to act like a total jerk. You might still continue to be a nice and generous person, but not because "morality" demands it.)

The question now becomes whether there is some explanation of morality which wouldn't give you that reaction.

This is basically what Christine Korsgaard calls 'the normative question'. I think she does a great job of articulating it in her book The Sources of Normativity. Her newer book Self-Constitution explores very similar themes. Maybe you will find them interesting.

>why should I continue to strive to selfless?

Don't conflate being selfless with doing the good/right/moral thing. For example, in situations where fairness is a chief concern (like sharing a pie amongst a group of people), doing the right thing isn't a matter of being selfless, but is rather a matter of treating everybody equally - including yourself. Even in the situations I discussed above (where you might feel that morality requires you to make a huge sacrifice), I don't think being selfless is a good attitude to have.

u/ayvictor · 6 pointsr/soccer

Brilliant Orange by the famous Dutch team of the 70s. Haven't read it but it's really popular among the football community. I know I'll read it first chance I get.

u/shark_to_water · 5 pointsr/DebateAVegan

Wish I had time to engage properly today but I don't. Here's some well regarded arguments for realism you can look into if you haven't already.

Enoch's Taking Morality Seriously Shafer-Landau's [Moral Realism: a Defense] (, Oddie's Value, Reality and Desire, Huemer's Ethical Intuitionism, Parfit's On What Matters Wedgwood's The Nature of Normativity, Cuneo's The Normative Web: An Argument for Moral Realism.

And here's some free papers you can read (too lazy to name them all, sorry):

u/PolitePothead · 5 pointsr/askphilosophy

Peter Singer has a new book out about that called The Most Good You Can Do.

u/OLSq · 5 pointsr/books

Practical Ethics by Peter Singer

Although I disagree with many things in this book it made me reconsider every choice in my life, rethink my moral framework, and my goals in life. For me, no other book has been more thought provoking.

u/knownworld · 5 pointsr/DebateAVegan

This is easily my favourite question from this sub - "surely we are all too lazy?" In fact I don't have any meaningful comeback to you. I think you're largely right at the moment thanks to general inertia of the population. It's harder going against the norm than it is to go with it.

So let's put your question aside and I want to write to you personally. For me, the path to veganism involved being an addict, being 60kgs (120lbs) overweight, being in chronic pain, being chronically depressed and anxious. I didn't become vegan specifically to stop those things (except to help me lose weight), they were just part of my partying lifestyle for 30 years. In fact, the catalyst for me was one day telling my friend that if I had any self control I would be vegan. I was explaining to her about bobby calves after she asked. I was not even a vegetarian. I realised after then that the story of my life was one in which I had no self control. I literally didn't even want to do my basic self-care (washing, eating properly) every day. I realised that my work was based around reducing suffering for poor people, but my personal life was entirely concerned about increasing suffering to myself. That really ate away at me. I realised that knowing about and agreeing with the ethical aspects of veganism but not being a vegan was just another element of not having any self-control. Once I decided to become vegan, it really helped me with the other issues I had because it's something that can keep me steady despite myself. Like an anchor - I can float away to some extent but it will always keep me from harming myself too much. I realised that veganism was actually the easiest thing to manage compared to all the other shit I had created for myself. But luckily the healthy eating aspect that I choose to follow has helped me with most of my problems. I am still working on my addictive personality, but my addictions are far less destructive now.

The other thing I want to tell you is that we all have cognitive dissonance about our lifestyles but that shouldn't stop us from making some good steps towards positive change. I mentioned above that I work to reduce suffering. I have always donated a substantial amount of money to charity and am a researcher working specifically to improve poverty around the world. I'm also a gamer btw. Noone in their right mind would ever call me a monk. As I mentioned I have lived this lifestyle for a lot longer before I became vegan. So you don't have to be an extremist in order to live a decent life.

The way I see it is that I am always going to make some bad choices but the main elements of my life are anchors that mean that when I do have trouble with decisions, I know I'm not far off where I need to be. This has been helpful for me for a long time.

If you want to figure out how to walk a more ethical path when making decisions about charity, I really recommend reading The Life You Can Save. If you want to just shoot the breeze with me about poor life choices, feel free to PM me.

u/poliphilo · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

If you're interested in Harris's take on it in particular, I suggest looking at this blog post, and also follow the links to some philosophers' reviews of his book, The Moral Landscape. I'm glad Harris responded to his critics, though I don't think he rebutted the most important criticisms.

If you're interested in the underlying question about how ethics might be rationally derived, you could work your way through the SEP page on Kant's Moral Philosophy and investigate others from there. It's pretty dense though! Sidgwick's book that I mentioned above is good and very relevant if you want to trace through the history of these ideas.

If you want to skip to more recent discussion, Simon Blackburn has two books on the topic: Being Good is very accessible and meant to introduce the topics to non-philosophers; Ruling Passions is more technical but IIRC, Chapters 5 and 6 are very relevant to this exact debate and reasonably approachable.

u/whothinksmestinks · 4 pointsr/atheism

I was 34. Yeah, pretty late by /r/atheism standards. ex-hindu.

Had my doubts about certain parts of Hinduism and I was vocal about it too, confronting friends about it. But, I carried out lot of rituals none the less and did believe for the most part. I was god believing Hindu.

When I was 34, I distinctly remember the day I came to the final conclusion that there was no God, not just Hindu but the claims of any of the big religions, Christianity, Islam etc. of existence of God were false. I celebrated that day by eating a Wendy's burger. As a Hindu, I would not have eaten beef. Told wife on the same day. She remains Hindu but respects my decision.

Shaking off some of the remaining superstitions took some time e.g. the rings, chains that I took to be good luck charms. But in about 4-5 months I was free off it all. I use to park in a certain direction. Not any more. Lot more of parking space has opened up for me now. :-) Lot more of life has opened up as well. I couldn't be happier.

I rationalize my actions and try to hold myself to a higher moral standard. Any graduate level ethics course can teach you much more about morality than any of the religions. Thinking that there has been no progress on this front or that religion has monopoly on morality is just not correct any more. This is a pretty good book on the topic:

u/drofdarb72 · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

Hey man. I am in the same shoes as you. I am going into junior year, and I just started reading Philosophy this summer. I would recommend Simon Blackburn's Think. I am two thirds into it, and its great. He touches on variety of questions and different answers to those questions and arguments for and against those answers, and what effect they have on the world. Here is the link.

u/Youre_A_Kant · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

As a follow up, Simon Blackburn's [Think](Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy does a great job at providing a wide landscape of philosophical inquiries and possible solutions.

As well as Bertrand Russell's [Problems Of Philosophy](The Problems of Philosophy , which does the same.

u/Metathinker · 4 pointsr/aww

Yeah. My ethics doesn't exclude eating meat now, but if lab meat becomes a thing I will absolutely support that to eliminate the ethical grey all together. By chance, have you read The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten?

u/Riddla26 · 4 pointsr/MadeMeSmile

It'll probably get deleted so I'm saving this for posterity, but don't worry, I don't care if it's a troll or just someone really that disillusioned, this only took 2 minutes to write:

>White privileged male owning a company, living in a 2 story house and owning an expensive phone... Need more clues honey? :) It's obvious he and his family voted for the idiot.

You've just described the worst case of racial / social profiling I've ever heard, not to mention some Olympic level assumptions. This is the ignorance on display when brown people get searched for bombs at the airport for wearing a turban (a non-Muslim Sikh symbol of their devotion to peace, no less). This is every story about a poor black youth legitimately scared for his life, gunned down "just to be safe" by a redneck cop.

Your comment is everything wrong with America. Voting doesn't change you. Only how you treat other people. You're so sucked into the red vs blue nonsense, the us vs them mentality, you're both working towards your own destruction. You don't even give a fuck what the issues are any more or what the actual best outcome for America would be. It's just about the hate now. Both sides, of every fight, are filled with people so fervently wanting to avoid any kind of personal responsibility and feel vindicated that their own actions and kneejerk viewpoints are "right" that they block out any semblance of critical thought, any meagre flirtation with logical reasoning, of changing your own minds based on the reality of the situation.

Political trolls and other people currently surfing that wave of anxiety, depression and self-loathing that should be directed towards improving their own lives and becoming better people, it seems are only getting far too angry and stressed out by political waffle, allowing them to internalise their own turmoil and place the blame and direct their anger firmly towards those who think even the slightest bit out of line with themselves on the arbitrary scale of politics.

I highly recommend you read "What We Owe Each Other" by American philosopher T.M Scanlon, followed closely by a dig into Me vs We and Us vs Them. I mean the list on that article focused on business leadership styles basically outlines exactly what the American political landscape has achieved over the last 10 years and specifically outlines almost everything wrong with your comment:

  • A culture of paranoia
  • Posturing and intimidation as standard workplace behavior
  • Vindictive communication
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Short-lists of “good” and “bad” that foster more rivalry than collaboration
  • Hyper-competitive actions in the marketplace with loose moral standards
  • Slander and malice as everyday tactics
  • Disloyal culture

    Once war has been undertaken, no peace is made by pretending there is no war.
u/satanic_hamster · 4 pointsr/CapitalismVSocialism


A People's History of the World

Main Currents of Marxism

The Socialist System

The Age of... (1, 2, 3, 4)

Marx for our Times

Essential Works of Socialism

Soviet Century

Self-Governing Socialism (Vols 1-2)

The Meaning of Marxism

The "S" Word (not that good in my opinion)

Of the People, by the People

Why Not Socialism

Socialism Betrayed

Democracy at Work

Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA (again didn't like it very much)

The Socialist Party of America (absolute must read)

The American Socialist Movement

Socialism: Past and Future (very good book)

It Didn't Happen Here

Eugene V. Debs

The Enigma of Capital

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism

A Companion to Marx's Capital (great book)

After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action


The Conservative Nanny State

The United States Since 1980

The End of Loser Liberalism

Capitalism and it's Economics (must read)

Economics: A New Introduction (must read)

U.S. Capitalist Development Since 1776 (must read)

Kicking Away the Ladder

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Traders, Guns and Money

Corporation Nation

Debunking Economics

How Rich Countries Got Rich

Super Imperialism

The Bubble and Beyond

Finance Capitalism and it's Discontents

Trade, Development and Foreign Debt

America's Protectionist Takeoff

How the Economy was Lost

Labor and Monopoly Capital

We Are Better Than This


Spontaneous Order (disagree with it but found it interesting)

Man, State and Economy

The Machinery of Freedom

Currently Reading

This is the Zodiac Speaking (highly recommend)

u/Themoopanator123 · 4 pointsr/PhilosophyTube

There's been a lot of discussion in political philosophy about how resources, power, and money (capital) ought to be distributed in a just society. Any good introduction to political philosophy will give you a chapter or two discussing Rawls' theory of justice and how we ought to apply it. Most interpretations of the theory lend themselves to more socialist ways of doing things (details will vary). Jonathan Wolff's An Introduction to Political Philosophy does just that. The chapter about just distribution also gives a very brief look at Marx. He also talks about Rousseau's views on the existence of private property. Rousseau was influential to early socialist movements but he was also from the 1700s so he might not be of interest to you.

I'd also recommend The Communist Manifesto. Although you clearly want something more modern, this is a very short book and is super digestible and pithy. Straight to the point and it's a good place to start if you wanted to learn about Marx.

But here's a list of more modern books that I want to read soon on this topic in no particular order:

  1. Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism
  2. Why Not Socialism?
  3. Introduction to Socialism
  4. PostCapitalism: A Guide to our Future (Olly recommends this one)

    Since you say you're a "thoroughly indoctrinated capitalist", I'm sure you'll do this anyway but I just thought I'd say that it's always good to read critically. Make sure to go out of your way to find responses to the arguments made in any of these books. If you did find what Rawls had to say interesting, for example, you should also look at the stuff that Robert Nozick has written in Anarchy, State and Utopia which is a direct response to the Rawlsian theory of justice where he claims that people have intrinsic rights to ownership and that whether or not the distribution of resources is just has nothing to do with who has what but is more to do with whether the means by which they acquired them is just.

    Also, I'd like to help with recommending books that will teach you how to be "good" at philosophy. Think you could explain what you mean?

    As it stands, the only way to get "good" at it is probably to just make sure you take plenty of notes explaining the arguments made and look at them through a critical lens. Even when you agree with an argument, it's good to know how one could challenge it if your values or underlying intuitions are different.


    Left is best.

u/s_all_goodman · 4 pointsr/exmormon

this is exactly what i do. don't know what i believe right now, but i do believe in tithing/some version of the law of consecration. could no longer bring myself to pay tithing to the church, but still wanted to donate to a real charity. GiveDirectly seems like about as good as it gets.

The best part is, I'm on the verge of convincing my amazing TBM spouse to agree with it. She and I read "The Life You Can Save" by Peter Singer, and it really opened her up to the idea. Really a great book, I'd encourage anyone to read it. Singer's Effective Altruism movement is essentially a secular form of the law of consecration.

Just in case anyone is in a remotely-similar situation, here are the points I made in our conversation after we had both read the book:

  • The church only donates $40 mil per year in humanitarian work, which is abysmal for a church that brings in at least $5-7 BIL in tithing

  • The Church has no measurement of the impact of their humanitarian work, it's all outputs (i.e you can't tell how much good your donations actually do)

  • They spend much of their money on malls, for profit businesses, and expensive real estate. We are vegetarians (sometimes vegans, but not always), and she was really sad to learn the church owns one of the largest cattle ranches in the US, as well as for-profit hunting preserves. Why spend our money on things we don't support?

  • They are not transparent in their use of tithing funds, which is contrary to the D&C's "common consent" requirement

  • Singer talks about considering "Room for Growth" when choosing where to donate, i.e. is this charity maxed out with donations, or could they still put them to good use? Even though my TBM wife believes that much of what the church does is helpful, i.e. printing and distributing BoMs, I argued that if they can afford to build mega malls with tithing money, they probably don't need our $ to print more BoMs. Therefore, our money would go farther with GiveDirectly than by donating to the church.
u/Reddit4Play · 4 pointsr/rpg

> I would like to create this book, but don't know where to start.

That's alright, largely because such books actually exist. This is one of many such works created by real world thinkers within the philosophical field known as ethics.

Specifically, you are probably interested in material from what Wikipedia deems Normative Ethics, which as the page says are ethical theories dealing with figuring out general rules for defining right and wrong (for both actions and the agent that performs those actions; that is to say, to define what is the right thing to do, and what it means to be a good person). This is about as close to real world guidelines for what good and evil are as you can probably find, so it's probably the best place to start.

Word of warning: philosophy written by actual philosophers can be a touch dry for pleasure reading, so you may want to find and stick to the cliff notes (or equivalent) version when and where you can. That said, I think you'll find the ideas expressed by the history of normative ethics as precisely the sort of ideas you'd like to lift for your own use.

u/Crunkenstien · 3 pointsr/CampingandHiking

Here's a starter guide.

What I meant about the logic part, is that two people might disagree about what is right or wrong. One of them might still be incorrect. The disagreement doesn't mean that both people are right.

And what I mean about not criticizing, is that the one rule or moral relativism is that no one's moral philosophy is incorrect. If you tell me I have it wrong that there are universal moral laws, you just did relativism wrong. In fact, if my culture punishes you for something, you just have to accept that.

u/moreLytes · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

At the outset, please note that this topic is exceedingly slippery. I am convinced that the most efficient way to understand these issues is through the study of philosophy of ethics.

> Where do atheists get their [sense of] morality?

Nature, nurture, and the phenomenological self-model.

> What defines the "good" and "bad" that has
permeated much of human society?

Easy: notice that personal definitions of morality between individuals immersed in the same culture tend to strongly overlap (e.g., most moderns consider rape to be "bad").

From this considerable volume of data, it is fairly simple to construct principles that adequately generalize these working definitions, such as "promote happiness", and "mitigate pain".

> [If you're not caught, why not murder? Why donate to charity? Does might make right?]

These questions appear to have both practical and intuitive solutions.

What are you trying to understand?

> How do atheists tend to reconcile moral relativism?

What do you mean?

> Barring the above deconstructions, how do atheists account for morality?

Moral theories largely attempt to bridge the gap between descriptive facts and normative commands:

  • Kant argued that norms are not discovered via our senses, but are simply axiomatic principles.
  • Rawls argued that norms are the product of a hypothetical agreement in which all ideally rational humans would affirm certain values (Social Contract) if they didn't know their fate in advance (Veil Of Ignorance).
  • Mill argued that norms are best expressed through the need to increase pleasure and decrease pain.
  • Parfit argued that these three approaches don't really contradict one another.
  • Nietzsche argued that norms and artistic tastes are the same.
  • Mackie argued that norms are human inventions that include social welfare considerations.

u/Celektus · 3 pointsr/BreadTube

At least for Anarchists or other left-libertarians it should also be important to actually read up on some basic or even fundamental ethical texts given most political views and arguments are fundamentally rooted in morality (unless you're a orthodox Marxist or Monarchist). I'm sadly not familiar enough with applied ethics to link collections of arguments for specific ethical problems, but it's very important to know what broad system you're using to evaluate what's right or wrong to not contradict yourself.

At least a few very old texts will also be available for free somewhere on the internet like The Anarchist Library.

Some good intro books:

  • The Fundamentals of Ethics by Russ Shafer-Landau
  • The Elements of Moral Philosophy by James and Stuart Rachels
  • Ethics: A Very Short Introduction by Simon Blackburn

    Some foundational texts and contemporary authors of every main view within normative ethics:

  • Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotles for Classic Virtue-Ethics. Martha Nussbaum would be a contemporary left-wing Virtue-Ethicist who has used Marx account of alienation to argue for Global Justice.
  • Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel (or Emmanuel) Kant for Classic Deontology. Kantianism is a popular system to argue for anti-statism I believe even though Kant himself was a classical liberal. Christine Korsgaard would be an example of a contemporary Kantian.
  • The Methods of Ethics by Henry Sidgwick for Classic Utilitarianism. People usually recommend Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill, but most contemporary Ethicists believe his arguments for Utilitarianism suck. 2 other important writers have been R. M. Hare and G. E. Moore with very unique deviations from classic Utilitarianism. A contemporary writer would be Peter Singer. Utilitarianism is sometimes seemingly leading people away from Socialism, but this isn't necessarily the case.
  • Between Facts and Norms and other works by the contemporary Critical Theorist Jürgen Habermas may be particularly interesting to Neo-Marxists.
  • A Theory of Justice by John Rawls. I know Rawls is a famous liberal, but his work can still be interpreted to support further left Ideologies. In his later works like Justice as Fairness: A Restatement you can see him tending closer to Democratic Socialism.
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche for... Nietzsche's very odd type of Egoism. His ethical work was especially influential to Anarchists such as Max Stirner, Emma Goldman or Murray Bookchin and also Accelerationists like Jean Baudrillard.
  • In case you think moralism and ethics is just bourgeois propaganda maybe read something on subjectivism like Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong by J. L. Mackie
  • Or if you want to hear a strong defense of objective morality read Moral Realism: A Defense by Russ Shafer-Landau orc
u/jez2718 · 3 pointsr/philosopherproblems

I think my favourite introductory book was Blackburn's Think, which was just a good all-round explanation of lots of areas of philosophy. Another excellent book was The Philosophy Book which goes through the history of philosophy and explains the (or one of the) 'big idea' of the major philosophers. One really nice thing they do is for each of these they do a flow chart of the philosopher's argument for their view, which I found a really useful thing for understanding. Other very good introductory books are the philosophy-related books in the Very Short Introductions series by OUP, for example they have ones on lots of the big philosophers, as well as on ethics, free will, philosophy of science, existentialism, metaphysics, logic, the meaning of life etc.

For non-book stuff, I highly recommend the Philosophy bites podcast. Basically these are reasonably short (10-20 min) highly accessible interviews with professional philosophers. There have been so many now that there's one for practically any topic you find interesting and they are all very high quality philosophy.

What might also be useful to you are the resources on the Routledge site for the UK Philosophy A-Level (i.e. in the last two years of our equivalent of high school we do 3-5 A-Level qualifications, and one of the ones you can choose from is Philosophy) which Routledge publishes a textbook for. There are lots of pdf documents on there written to help students understand the various topics which are worth looking at. N.B. AS refers to the 1st year of A-Level and A2 to the second year, so the AS resources will be simpler than the A2 ones.

u/NewW0rld · 3 pointsr/philosophy

There have been many threads asking the same question; you should search or you haven't searched well. Anyway, I popular recommendation in another post was Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy by Blackburn. I downloaded it and it's pretty lay (compared to the Kant and Nietzsche I tried to read xD), but still pretty interesting.

u/Rope_Dragon · 3 pointsr/samharris

>And I don't pretend that I have anything more than a populist's understanding of these topics. I'm surely just scraping the surface of most topics, misunderstanding things, and I would never think I can be part of an academic conversation because I listen to a couple podcasts.

And I respect you understanding your own ignorance in a topic, because that shows intelligence. Philosophy, interestingly, is the subject that most makes me feel more stupid the more I've studied it, so you're definitely not alone! That being said, many people from the new atheist / "skeptic" community act like this gem

>Yeah, I just say "this is interesting, I'd even like to talk about it with strangers", but I acknowledge the second part of your sentence and am OK realizing my understanding is often limited and quite possibly wrong.

And I think you should use that understanding as motivation to maybe go directly to the sources that these podcasts engage with :) Philosophy is a subject with so many fantastic, but extremely accurate introductory books and I go back to them every now and then to refresh myself on the basics. My favorite example is Prof Simon Blackburn's - Think and another really good piece which goes into a lot of informal logic as well as the jargon: The Philosopher's Toolkit

I find both of those to give an excellent simplification of some of the bigger elements of philosophy without overstretching and misrepresenting their subject matter! :)

u/reversedolphins · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

I've heard this one is good. Haven't read it though.

Currently reading Bertrand Russell's The Problems of Philosophy which I've been told is a good introduction. So far it seems to do a good job of explaining in plain language the more confusing aspects of philosophy, which itself can become confusing. I can only take it in like 10 pages at a time.

Also maybe Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?

u/Mauss22 · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

You might find some inspiration in this David Chalmers' interview. It's a success story of a math whiz who would, late in his education, switch to philosophy.

>It had always seemed my destiny to be a mathematician and for the most part I didn't question it.  I've always loved computers and I suppose the obvious alternative was something in that area....  I did keep thinking about philosophical problems, though mostly for fun on the side rather than as a serious career possibility. 
>...I had still hardly read any analytic philosophy.  I had come across a few things in Hofstadter and Dennett's collection The Mind's I -- notably Dennett's "Where am I?", which I loved, Searle's "Minds, Brains, and Programs,” which was interesting and infuriating, and Nagel's "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?,” which I found difficult to read but which must have had some influence.  Later on that year I encountered Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons, which I loved and gave me a sense of how powerful analytic philosophy can be when done clearly and accessibly.  I also read Pat Churchland's Neurophilosophy, which gave a nice overview of contemporary philosophy of mind as well as neuroscience, and provided a lot to disagree with.
>Around this point I thought that I needed a proper education in philosophy, and I started thinking seriously about switching programs...

You might consider advice from Eric Schwitzgebel regarding MA/PhD:

> Some, including very good, PhD programs will consider non-philosophy majors if they have strong undergraduate records and have background in areas related to philosophy, for example, math, linguistics or psychology. However, even if a PhD program is willing to consider such students, it is often difficult for them to evaluate the student’s philosophical abilities from their undergrad records, letters, etc.

>In general, I think it most advisable for students who fall into this first category to consider seriously the MA route.

u/PM_MOI_TA_PHILO · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

The Fundamentals of Ethics by Russ Shafer-Landau. Note it's a two volume edition in which one book is the theory with exercises and the other is an anthology of excerpts from ethical texts.

Hands down best intro to ethics I ever had.

u/___OccamsChainsaw___ · 3 pointsr/Christianity

> In other words, you're contributing to a Christian sub when you are closed-minded to all Christian ideas. Why? To educate all of us dumb Christians?

I don't think you're dumb. I mean some of you definitely are, but that applies equally much to the atheists here as well (although I haven't yet been blitzed with homophobic PMs by one of them).

As to why.

> A great place to start, then, would be to explain why it's objectively wrong to be a "Bigot!" It's something you feel strongly about--and by the way, I happen to agree that real bigotry is wrong--so I'm sure you can explain in a way that won't appeal to the supernatural (since you're an atheist) or the subjective.

If you want me to prove moral realism and an egalitarian ethical theory, you're going to need to give me some time. If you want to skip my sad undergraduate reformularizations of them, see (1) and (2)^(1).


^(1. Expecting a single ethical theory to cover all moral situations is to my mind pretty foolish [you need multiple ones for different problems the same way chemistry, physics, and biology all study the natural world but are suited to different environments] but I think this gives the broadest coverage. Which theories are suited to what environments and questions is an important thing to discuss in itself.)

u/jscoppe · 3 pointsr/DebateAnarchism

>You have yet to justify that just because you control your body means you ought to have exclusivity over it

I forget exactly how it was put, but I heard it described one time that we typically recognize ownership based on people's willingness to defend their preferences. So if I prefer to own my body so much that I'm willing to go to extreme lengths to exclude its use by others, and others don't want to risk as much to take control of it, then the aggregation of the calculations that take place in people's heads tend to align themselves with a 'right to self-ownership'.

I think I heard it from David Friedman, and then a similar thing described by Michael Huemer in his book Ethical Intuitionism.

u/Sherbert42 · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Thanks for mentioning you're seventeen; it does make a difference (to my mind!). M'colleagues below have recommended some pretty heavy reading, which I don't think is what you're really looking for on the face of it. If I were to recommend a book about philosophy to a seventeen-year-old, I wouldn't recommend a textbook, I'd recommend the following:

Plato and a Platypus walk into a bar. This is a book of jokes about philosophy. They're not very funny, but it's a good way to learn some ideas. Doesn't talk about people (old dead white men, for the most part); focuses on ideas.

The Pig that Wants to be Eaten. This is a little less frivolous; it's 100 little thought experiments. I'd say this is a bite-at-a-time book; read one, put the book down and think about it for a bit, then read another. I really enjoyed this.

Philosophy 101. This little volume is a pretty decent intro to some of the key ideas and thinkers of philosophy. No, it's not a textbook and it's not written by a professional philosopher, which is why I've recommended it. Its mistakes are small enough that if you get interested and start reading some more about the topic you'll pick up where the author went wrong pretty quickly. Again, this is a bite-at-a-time book.

Hope that helps, and of course if you find an idea and you have questions about it: ask away. :)

u/mleeeeeee · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Contingent things need explanations for their existence by the definition of contingent. It doesn't need to be deduced since "needing an explanation for its existence" is the definition of contingent. It's just a tautology to say that contingent things require explanations for their existence, like "all bachelors are unmarried"

No, it isn't. You're wrong about this.

To be 'contingent', in philosophy, is simply to be not necessary. Is it a controversial question whether all contingent (i.e. non-necessary) things have an explanation for their existence. That's why the Principle of Sufficient Reason is so controversial.

If you want some quick examples, start with a look at Alexander Pruss's book. I'm pretty sure it's the best-regarded work on the PSR and cosmological arguments from contingency. His whole book is dedicated to defending the principle that "necessarily, every contingently true proposition has an explanation". He doesn't just shrug and say it's a tautology. He spends 110 pages considering objections to the PSR, and then 221 more pages trying to justify the PSR.

Or take the SEP article linked above. It briefly discusses an interpretation of Descartes, where he holds that God's willing of the eternal truths is an unexplained contingency. Is Descartes simply contradicting himself? No, he's saying some contingent truths have no explanation.

Or take the SEP article on the cosmological argument. Here it sketches a version of the argument from contingency. It has a separate premise for "This contingent being has a cause of or explanation for its existence", and correctly notes that this premise "invokes a version of the Principle of Causation or the Principle of Sufficient Reason". It then notes that the premise is challenged by Russell and Hume:

>Interpreting the contingent being in premise 1 as the universe, Bertrand Russell denies that the universe needs an explanation; it just is. Russell, following Hume (1980), contends that since we derive the concept of cause from our observation of particular things, we cannot ask about the cause of something like the universe that we cannot experience. The universe is “just there, and that's all” (Russell, 175).

Can we respond to this view by blithely citing the definition of 'contingent' and accusing Russell of denying a tautology? Of course not. After all, it's simply not part of the definition of 'contingent' that something contingent has an explanation.

u/DJSpook · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Glad to see an interest in the philosophy of worldview comparison (what I like to call "phil. of religion"). As arguments for the existence of God, moral arguments have made up one of the significant research programs in the field of Natural Theology.

Like the cosmological argument, philosophers refer to a family of arguments intended to establish theologically significant conclusions united under the indicated common theme (in this case, morality) when referring to "the moral argument". There is no single moral argument, it can be said. Appeals to conscience go quite a ways back (John Henry Newman, Kant), but I think you would get a lot out of Robert M. Adam's formulation and defense of various appeals to conscience he makes in addition to his theory of normative ethics which many now take as a clear option outside of the so called "Euthyphro Dillemma".

Here are some lecture notes by Alvin Plantinga which roughly sketch out a few of such arguments a few pages down I won't give any synopsis beyond that because it's a reality far too often ignored that there are many moral arguments which independently argue from moral intuition to various conclusions.

I'll commend you some resources which I think will be helpful in pursuing an informed opinion regarding them:


The Moral Argument, a long essay (combining two shorter essays) explicating two relatively independent arguments appealing to moral intuition by Mark D. Linville. These two essays are some of the best I've read on the subject, the first regarding what he calls The Moral Poverty of Evolutionary Naturalism wherein he argues for the inconsistency of naturalism and the belief in moral truth, the second dedicated to establishing a theistic foundation for moral truth by refuting all other salient moral theories in contemporary analytic philosophy. Linville has emerged as one of the moral argument's most prominent defenders, and uses much of his essay to attempt to answer its main lines of objection.

J.P. Moreland--whom I mention particularly because his book may be more approachable.

(try not to spend too much time going to apologetics popularizers for your assessment of theistic arguments, though. They can help lay some of the groundwork, but you'll get a lot more out of your study if you work your way up towards the prominent defenders and opponents of theism today.)

The Moral Argument, a shorter essay mainly concerning only one moral argument which infers from moral truth a morally perfect God like that of Western (Christian) Monotheism.


J.L. Mackie's The Miracle of Theism

Antony Flew--really any of his books

Graham Oppy--his latest book Arguing About God's devotes some portion to the moral arguments. He intends to spend more time on this subject in a later publication.

A "neutral"-ish essay

In recent years, the philosophy of religion has become one of the most prolific fields in philosophy. With the arguments and their responses becoming more creative and interesting today, I think you would find these edifying:

In Two Dozen Or So Theistic Arguments: The Plantinga Project, scheduled to come out later this year from Oxford U Press, several independent moral arguments will be developed in detail.

Alexander Pruss (forthcoming Necessary Being), mathematician and analytic philosopher whose work on the cosmological argument has made him one of its most prominent defenders. (see also his book The Principle of Sufficient Reason and Dr. Robert Koon's Epistomological Foundations for the Cosmological Argument)

Graham Oppy is co-authroring a book on the contemporary objections to theistic moral arguments. Being one of the imminent atheist philosophers of religion today, it will definitely be worth the read.

For a completely different perspective, Edward Feser's Five Proofs of the Existence of God will also come out later this year. I mention him because he represents one of many theistic philosophers who don't find the moral arguments all that important. It's worth noting that the arguments for theism are meant to "stack up"--as is standard practice in science. If a hypothesis can explain 24+ problems, that's significant evidence in its favor, so theist philosophers today tend to defend their arguments as being part of a collective case for theism.

Further resources on arguments for and against the existence of God, as orthodoxly conceived

u/TheTripleDeke · 3 pointsr/CatholicPhilosophy

Hey! These are good questions and if I am understanding you correctly, they are questions that are very relevant to contemporary analytic philosophy.

Let's first try and clarify the problem: does Aquinas, by endorsing a specific cause and effect theory of causation, endorse determinism about human creatures? Is this compatible with Catholicism? Or even Christian theism for that matter?

I read Aquinas as a compatibilist; he thinks that determinism is compatible with free will. So it seems you are correct in thinking that he finds determinism to be true, but also that free will is real and that it is compatible with the former.

The problem is seen in contemporary philosophy with two premier philosophers in Peter van Inwagen (an Anglican) and Alexander Pruss (Catholic). van Inwagen, so it seems, is a libertarian concerning free will and so is Pruss. There is this idea called the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) which says that every contingent thing must have a reason, ground, or cause for its existence. But if this is true, like Pruss thinks (he uses it skillfully to defend a contingency argument), how can there be libertarian free will? Doesn't the PSR, if true, rule out all contingency in the world? It seems we cannot say a choice is free if it is not contingent. van Inwagen thinks precisely this case and thinks it is worrisome for the theist and thus he rejects it; Pruss disagrees.

Pruss wrote a fantastic book where he argues that the PSR (Principle of Sufficient Reason) is true.

If you want a fantastic book about free will, God and evil I would recommend these two books: this book by Alvin Plantinga (which I think should be read by every Christian--it's that important) and this book.

u/radula · 3 pointsr/WTF

Plants are also just as alive as cows and pigs.

Some people who stop eating meat do so for primarily moral/ethical reasons. Why would eating meat be unethical? Because many non-human animals (dolphins, dogs, cats, pigs, octopuses, etc.) seem to have a degree of self-awareness/"consciousness" that makes using them as merely an means to an end and not an end-in-themselves ethically problematic. (No plants or fungi exhibit anything like this.)

Not eating something simply because it belongs to the kingdom Animalia doesn't make much sense. Sponges are animals but are more similar to plants in many ways. It seems to me that if sponges were tasty, then there would be no ethical problem with eating them, even though they are animals.

But then you are left with an entire spectrum of animals with varying degrees of intelligence/concept-of-self/consciousness: sponges, corals, worms, anemones, snails, insects, most fish, snakes, chicken, cows, pigs, octopuses, dogs, apes, dolphins, humans (that's very roughly from least to most intelligent).

So the question is where, along the spectrum, does using the animal for food become ethically problematic, i.e. less like eating a plant and more like eating a person. Some people put that line between fish and other commonly eaten animals, like cows and pigs. More likely there is no distinct line, it simply becomes less ethical to use animals as you move up the spectrum, even if it is difficult to quantify how unethical it is. Then it becomes a case of wagering personal benefits and desires against potential but uncertain levels of wrongness, and some people find their comfort level puts fish on one side of that and mammals on the other.

As it is, fish seem pretty uniformly dumb, but they are a large and heterogeneous group. We may find that some are relatively smart, though, the way that corvids (crows, ravens, bluejays) are significantly smarter and more aware than other orders of birds, or the way that some octopuses are also pretty smart, while most other cephalopods and molloscs are dumb as rocks.

So there's your answer. It's not an arbitrary cultural distinction with no basis in reality.

This book provides a pretty good (neo-Kantian) account of how and why the structure of the rational mind both makes ethical considerations possible and makes things separable into "things that can be wronged" and "things that can't be wronged". She even has a chapter on animals, although she refrains from making any strong conclusions.

u/ProblemBesucher · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook

well. A book that changed my life back when I was 15 was Walden from Thoreau. I threw away everything I owned. yeah I mean everything even my bed. I own nothing that dates from before I was 15. Would this have the same effect today? who knows.

back then, the book Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche had something to to with me ''taking a break'' from school, contributing too did: genealogy of Morals, into the wild, Adorno - dialectic of Enlightenment ( had no idea what that guy was talking about back then but made me real queasy about the world nonetheless.)

books that changed my life recently: Lying from Sam Harris. Steven Pinker - Enlightenment now made me pick a lot of fights with people who like to hate this world.

Insanity of Normality made me forgive some people I had real bad feelings toward, though I'm sceptical now of what is said in the book

unless you understand german you won't be able to read this: Blödmachinen , made me a snob in regards to media. Bernard Stieglers books might have the same effect in english

oh and selfish gene by Dawkins made me less judgmental. Don't know why. I just like people more


oh lest I forget: Kandinsky - Concerning The Spiritual in Art made me paint my appartement black blue; Bukowski and the Rubaiyat made me drink more, Born To Run made me run barefoot, Singers Practical Ethics made me donate money and buy far less stuff.

u/putnut00 · 3 pointsr/videos

This is a good chance for you to get into ethics/morality. Try 'Practical Ethics' by Peter Singer. It will make you think more deeply and understandingly about morality, including this issue.

u/Mtarumba · 3 pointsr/AmItheAsshole

If anything, modern philosophers argue that we owe kindness to those around us. This is a good book about it.

u/wap1971 · 3 pointsr/soccernerd

Okay, yeah was just wondering so I could compile a list. I've read a few.

These are probably books you'd find more interesting:

Behind the curtain

Tor! The Story of German football

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football (especially good for learning more about the culture within the Netherlands).

Feel free to PM for any others or questions you may have, I feel these are the main ones that come to mind but perhaps you've read them?

u/archaic_entity · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

In Utilitarianism by Mill there is a distinction drawn between the intent of the action and the motive of the action. Unfortunately, the PDF version I can find does not have this exact response of Mill's to a criticism, but it is found in Chapter 2 under the objection against utilitarianism's standard.

In this exchange, the scenario is laid out "What if a tyrant's enemy throws himself into the ocean to keep from being captured by the tyrant? The tyrant saves him from drowning, however, with the motive of torturing him. Then we can see that the act of saving the person is a bad act, because of the motive." Mill disagrees, drawing a distinction between intention and motive. The tyrant's intention of recoverying the drowning man is to save him. Therefore, this act is, by itself, a good act. The intent to save someone is a good intent. However, the tyrant's motive, which is beyond that single intention speaks to the worth of the agent regardless of the action. And, in that way, we can say that the motive of saving the person is bad.

Going to your example under a similar lens, the act of murder is a bad one. It does not matter whether or not it is to save others. Your motive may be good, but your intent to murder is bad. One thing to think about with these sort of hypothetical examples is that we often do not actually think them all the way through; that is: we assume things we couldn't possibly know and ignore things we ought to know. In your example, how do you know that the person will murder other people and how is it such that your only recourse is to murder them first? There are a lot of assumptions drawn into this situation that make it not really a moral question, just a thought experiment that comes about maybe only as useful to define things, e.g. intent vs motive.

As to utilitarianism in general, /u/gildor1 links good resources. I'd also suggest the book Utilitarianism, this is the copy I own with that same exchange. It's really, really short. 64 pages. It's a good primer into what utilitarianism is and isn't from one of the most prominent utilitarians ever.

u/CrimsonCuntCloth · 3 pointsr/minimalism

Thanks for sharing your story.

As far as book recommendations go: (Marie Kondo)[] gets a lot of praise, although I haven't actually read her myself (There was an interesting episode of the Tim Ferris podcast featuring her that was some good listening, and I like the systematic approach to decluttering).

Slightly tangentially: stoic philosophy fits well with minimalism, with other related ideas about how to live. Both Seneca's Letters and Epictetus' Handbook are good introductions.

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ”
― Seneca

u/GroundhogExpert · 2 pointsr/tumblr

There was a very long debate about psychological egoism, a debate ended by an American philosopher James Rachels in this book:

Philosophy doesn't lend itself very well to bumper sticker wisdom.

u/Snow_Mandalorian · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

Absolutely. Even as a non-believer I acknowledge the Euthyphro as the starting point of an interesting conversation regarding DCT, not where the conversation ends.

Most intro to ethics books don't say the above. For example, the best selling intro to ethics book of all time has a chapter on morality and religion and it treats the dilemma as decisive. Whether that's an okay thing to teach intro to ethics students or not may in part be based on what we think we ought to be teaching them in the first place. Most philosophers aren't egoists, so the textbooks teach the main objections to egoism and move on. Most philosophers aren't relativists either, so we teach the main objections and move on.

Sure, we could say "but, things get a little trickier, because there are certainly some interesting and sophisticated defenses of these views that avoid these objections" but I'm not sure what value that would be to intro to ethics students who aren't really interested in a philosophical career. So I guess it depends on whether you think we should be giving a general overview of the field and the main objections to the views or whether we should give them more details and exceptions than they actually really need to know.

u/Notasurgeon · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Take your time, don’t be too worrried about needing to have all your opinions in order and arguments to back them up. Ethics and morality is a complicated subject, and if you study it in depth your opinions are going to evolve over time through life experience and discovering nuanced ways of thinking about tough questions. For an intro I highly recommend this book:

Again dont worry about making decisions about what you think and why. Just read from a variety of sources, have engaging conversations (not arguments) with other people who find the topic challenging, and keep an open mind as you continue to grow and learn. People have spent whole careers wrestling with these questions, there’s no rush!

u/fiskiligr · 2 pointsr/cscareerquestions

> Not beyond philosophy of science and picking up the occasional book (Singer, Nieztche, some Eastern oriented stuff) and a decent amount of political philosophy.

Ah, OK. You should maybe consider reading Think, an introduction to philosophy by Simon Blackburn. It's a good read, but more importantly, it's short and accessible.
If you want something more focused on ethics, I suggest Blackburn again with Being Good. Also short and accessible.

> The claim that 2 + 2 = 4 seems much more concrete than the claim that 'killing is bad.'

I would agree ("2 + 2 = 4" is a priori, the other is most likely a posteriori), but I am not arguing that killing is bad, I was just demonstrating that something relatively uncontroversial, like "killing is wrong", cannot be applied in a world where ethics is just subjective.

> Can one choose to just not care about right/wrong?

Sure - what one does is separate from the discussion of theory. One could believe 2 + 2 = 60 even! :D

> instead choosing to focus on the result of such behavior and how it ultimately harms oneself.

Sounds a lot like utilitarianism :-) You should read up on ethical theory - I think you would enjoy it.

u/Americanathiest · 2 pointsr/politics

Personally I skipped around quite a bit, because some books cover certain topics better than others. However this particular book is pretty short and sweet, but gives you a great solid intro tot he topic (which I find absolutely fascinating).

Edit: I really think you should read the intro, which is available to view. It's very engaging.

u/theclapp · 2 pointsr/atheism

"Health is the slowest possible rate at which you can die."

You should read a little bit. Simon Blackburn has an interesting chapter on death in Being Good. Basically: humans enjoy lots of things that nevertheless end, and imagining a world where they don't end doesn't make them better, it makes them worse. Life is not much different.

u/the_real_jones · 2 pointsr/Christianity

hmmm, it depends, do you have any background in philosophy? If so I would recommend some more academic theological work like Kathryn Tanner, Leonardo Boff, Borden Bowne, Edgar Brightman, Jurgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Karl Barth, etc... if not I would recommend a book like this to help you understand the philosophical framework most theologians use.

As for Biblical studies, Michael Coogan has a really good intro to the Hebrew Bible and Mark Powell has a great intro to the New Testament you can supplement those readings with work focused on the historical context like Richard Horsely's work Jesus and Empire I haven't found a good book that offers a comprehensive overview of the context of the Hebrew Bible, mostly because that covers a large span of history. From there you can go on to read people like E.P. Sanders, William Herzog, Richard Bauckham, Jon Levenson, John Collins, Adela Collins, Carol Meyers, etc.

There is a ton of great academic work out there, unfortunately many seem to shy away from it because its 1) intimidating or 2) challenges embedded theological assumptions or 3) they buy into the myth that learning about theology and biblical studies only causes people to lose faith.

u/MyShitsFuckedDown2 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

Do you have a specific interest? Otherwise a general introduction like Think, Problems of Philosophy, or Justice are all well regarded. Though, all have their strengths and weaknesses. There are tons of accessible introductions though and depending on your interests it might be better to use one rather than another. All of those are fairly general

u/Quince · 2 pointsr/books

The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist

A Secular Age, Charles Taylor

Reasons and Persons, Derik Parfit

u/chase1635321 · 2 pointsr/SeriousConversation

Readings on Metaethics

  • Beginners Book (Normative ethics, not metaethics): Russ Shafer-Landau The Fundamentals of Ethics
  • Short article overview of metaethics:
  • Short article on moral realism:
  • Short article on anti-realism:
  • Metaethics overview book: Andrew Fisher's Metaethics: An Introduction. 2011.
  • Metaethics in depth book: Mark van Roojen's Metaethics: A Contemporary Introduction. 2015
  • Metaethics Youtube Playlist:
  • More recommendations on the philosophy reddit

    Defenses of God/Christianity

  • William Lane Craig is essentially the Christian counterpart to Sam Harris. If you haven't heard of the cosmological argument, fine tuning, etc he's a good place to start. Not a great destination though if you're looking for something in depth and I don't think some of his arguments work in the end.
  • Alvin Plantinga is a philosopher known for his contributions to modality, and is also a Christian. He's written some books on his faith, including "Warranted Christian Belief". He's basically the Christian counterpart to Daniel Dennent.
  • David Bentley Hart is what I would consider the Christian counterpart to Nietzsche. His book "Beauty of the Infinite" is written in a similar style and has a long discussion of the will to power. That book is pretty dense though. An easier starting point is "The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss". Which attempts to disentangle an informed view of God from the somewhat corrupted popular conception of it. He has also written a response to the new atheists called "Atheist Delusions"
  • Edward Feser is probably my favorite on this list. He's written good intros to the Philosophy of Mind and to Aquinas. He defends the existence of God in "Five Proofs of the Existence of God". His magnum opus, however, is probably "Aristotle's Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science". This book is a (dense) defense of Neo-Aristotelian metaphysics, which is central to his defense of the existence of God. He has also written an intro to Scholastic Metaphysics, and a response to the new atheists called "The Last Superstition"

    Many of the people listed above have done interviews and talks if you're not inclined to read an entire book.

    Let me know if this does/doesn't help or if I should narrow the list.
u/bames53 · 2 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

> So most an-caps would agree that the societies would be run with natural rights as the rule of the land, how though does one prove that humans even have rights?

Not all an-caps derive their beliefs from natural rights, and there are different understandings of the term 'natural rights.' In any case, here are what I think are some good resources:

u/SDBP · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

Glad you found it interesting. My favorite philosopher (Michael Huemer) wrote a piece in that book (although I am unsure of his argument's soundness -- I can't exactly fault it, but I can't help but feel something went wrong somewhere.) Anyways, he has two other really great books out there about meta-ethics and political philosophy, if you are interested in those topics. He is a very clear writer. The books are Ethical Intuitionism and The Problem of Political Authority.

u/aduketsavar · 2 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

AFAIK most of the philosophers are moral realists whether they're atheist or theist. Also Michael Huemer's Ethical Intuitionism may be change your view on morality.

u/wizkid123 · 2 pointsr/philosophy

The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher is a fantastic book for a beginning philosopher. It explores some really deep topics in a very accessible way. Even if you don't understand all the explanations, the stories will really make you think (and you can mess with your friends by asking them what they would do). Good luck!

u/andrew_richmo · 2 pointsr/philosophy

For those new to philosophy, I'd recommend The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher, as well as Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. I'm not all the way through the second one but it seems interesting. These are fairly simple but interesting introductory books that teach you some of the issues philosophers deal with.

Hope this helps!

u/captainNematode · 2 pointsr/rational

Referring to them as "Friend 1", "Friend 2", and so on seems a bit dehumanizing/clinical, no?

I any case, I think lists of questions are great under the right circumstances -- I've made ample use of them on long road trips and hiking trips on occasion, and they've provided a springboard for plenty of 10-15 hour long conversations. I think one issue with the ones you're using is that a lot of them are really boring and don't really provide fertile ground for followup discussion. I've probably most enjoyed going through Greg Stock's books (e.g. 1, 2, 3, which you can pick up used for a few bucks each), as well as the "If..." series and books of thought experiments. Each question usually provides 5-120 minutes of conversation, with median time being, I dunno, 15ish minutes.

And I'll second recommendations on getting out and doing other things while conversing with people in person. It doesn't have to be too active -- a walk will do.

u/punkerdante182 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

do you have any light reading philosphy books? So far all I've read is "The pig who loves to be eaten"

u/j-j-j · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Try The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten by Julian Baggini. Link here

u/zukros · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

Baggini's The Pig That Wants to be eaten is an excellent and fun start for thinking about general philosophical problems, which is, naturally, an excellent introduction to philosophy.

If you're looking for something more rigorous, Russell's The Problems of Philosophy is a tiny and very well-written guide to philosophy almost up to the modern day by arguably the greatest thinker in analytical philosophy of the last century.

u/AtheismNTheCity · 2 pointsr/CatholicPhilosophy

> This is seriously one of the weakest objection I've ever heard against the PSR. What does this even mean? Of course God is not obligated to create our universe or any anything for that matter. How does this affect the PSR? There is no explanation other than the 'because'.

It shows that the PSR is self refuting because even a god cannot satisfy it. To put it into a more logical form:


Please feel free to refute that.

> Next: the brute fact response. This still leaves our most basic thirst about understanding reality unquenched. The universe is contingent; there is no way around even when involving science, math, etc--whatever. If it is possible for it to not exist, it is contingent.

Our thirst is technically irrelevant, since we can thirst for things like the color of jealousy, which obviously has no answer. What matters is part of logic. Regarding the possibility of the universe not existing, that assumes it is logically possible that the universe not exist. But so too is god. It is not logically necessary that the god theists believe in exist because other conceptions of god are possible. Why does god timelessly and eternally exist with desire X rather than desire Y, when neither desire X or Y are logically necessary or logically impossible?

Logical necessity cannot explain this scenario. There is no way to show in principle why god had to timelessly and eternally exist with the desire to create our particular universe, and not one just slightly different, or even radically different, or no universe at all. The theist would have to show that it was logically necessary for god to desire to create our universe in order to avoid eventually coming to a brute fact. He can try and say "It's because god wanted a relationship with us," but that wouldn't answer the question at all. Why did god want a relationship with us? Is that logically necessary? Could god exist without wanting a relationship with anyone? And still, even if god wanted a relationship, why did he have to desire this particular universe? There are an infinitude of logically possible universes god could have desired that would allow him to have a relationship with someone else that for no reason god didn't timelessly and eternally exist with the desire to create. A theist can also try to argue that "our universe is the best of all possible worlds, and therefore god had to desire it." But this claim is absurd on its face. I can think of a world with just one more instance of goodness or happiness, and I've easily just thought of a world that's better.

The theist is going to have to eventually come to a brute fact when seriously entertaining answers to these questions. Once he acknowledges that there is no logically necessary reason god had to timelessly and eternally exist with the desire to create our particular universe, and that god could have timelessly and eternally existed with a different desire, he's in exactly the same problem he claims the atheist is in when he says the universe is contingent and could have been otherwise, and therefore cannot explain itself. Hence, even positing a god doesn't allow you to avoid brute facts. There is no way to answer these questions, even in principle, with something logically necessary.

> God, on the other hand, is an entirely different kettle of fish; if God exists, he must exist necessarily. Merely saying it is a brute fact does not get around this; it's getting at that the universe is not contingent. Some think that there could be an infinite chain of causes to get us here. Maybe so. But how does this help? The chain is still contingent.

Nope. If god with eternal contingent (non-necessary) desire X exists, there cannot in principle be a logically necessary reason why that god exists, since a god with another non-necessary desire is just as possible. Hence god is just as contingent as the universe, lest you want to resort to special pleading.

>This is more of the New Atheism that is pure sophistry. 'Simple Logic'. Yikes. There are good objections to the PSR; this is obviously not one of them.

Not at all. This is serious logic showing how even you cannot answer the basic questions of why does god timelessly and eternally exist with desire X rather than desire Y, when neither desire X or Y are logically necessary or logically impossible? The only possible answer must be contingent, since a necessary one is off the table.

>I am not a Catholic but here is a very sophisticated defense of the PSR. Pruss is a Catholic. Pruss is brilliant here as well.
>Timothy O'Connor has my favorite book on the topic here

It is impossible to defend the PSR and all attempts to claim otherwise depend on false arguments from consequence.

u/reubencogburn · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

I just mean they're not stipulating PSR to be an axiom such that it is taken to be self-evident (in the sense that it can be assumed without argument). Philosophers that defend the cosmological argument usually aim a significant portion of their argumentation toward justifying the PSR. Pruss, for example, wrote an entire book defending it.

u/slickwombat · 2 pointsr/philosophy

Note that this is the lecture, not the book (which is apparently longer, edited, and with commentaries).

u/IzzySawicki · 2 pointsr/csshelp

Never done this one before but going from what /r/bookclub has, it looks like you need to change your sidebar text from this:

> The Sources of Normativity By Christine M. Korsgaard

to this:

> |The Sources of Normativity|
> |:--:|
> |By Christine M. Korsgaard|

Then go to the stylesheet and upload an image of the bookcover, keeping it close to the size width 100px, height 150px:

Try this one for your current book,

make sure to name the image 'modern'

Then add this to your code:

.side a[href*=""] {
background-image :url(%%modern%%);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
background-position:0 0;
font-size: 0px;
cursor: default;
border: 1px solid #876824;

When you want to change it to a new book, in the sidebar you need to just change that amazon link but make sure to keep the #modern at the end of the link, then upload a new book picture, and then change the link in that code to the new amazon link.

It should end up looking like this /r/izzytest3/ (not including your other formatting)

u/Darth_Dave · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

Have you read any of Peter Singer's books? He's a utilitarian philosopher who doesn't just stick to atheism, but covers all sorts of very challenging ground including abortion, euthanasia, animal rights and so on. I don't agree with every position he takes, but he's the best introduction to those squirming issues that I've ever found.

If you're interested, start with Practical Ethics. It's the one university Ethics papers use as an introductory text.

u/Benutzername · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

A New Stoicism by Lawrence Becker (if you are interested in ethics). It's not an easy read, but you don't need any external references to understand it.

u/envatted_love · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

Lawrence Becker's A New Stoicism is an example of an attempt to revive stoic ethical philosophy in a rigorous academic manner.

u/barsoap · 2 pointsr/nottheonion

Yes. The one about ethics. Here. Or, well, fuck it, here.

u/runeaway · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

> There's been quite a few posts lately about why virtue is actually good. What is the concrete argument in favor of virtue being good?

I have not yet read it, but Lawrence Becker's A New Stoicism attempts to formally answer this question.

> and although Stoic principles still function well as a way of living, the moral impetus seems to be lost

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here by the moral impetus being lost.

> Why are we supposed to be virtuous and to follow reason and the like? It is because logos is the first principle of the cosmos

This was my response to /u/anaxarchos:

"I don't see how the claim that virtue is the sole good is dependent on the claim that the universe is providentially ordered. If living virtuously results in the best possible life, and if we want the best possible life, then it makes sense to live virtuously. Or if having the most money resulted in the best possible life, then it would make sense to do whatever it takes to acquire the most money."

(Of course, the claims that either "living virtuously results in the best possible life" or "having the most money results in the best possible life" would still need to be defended. But neither necessarily depends on Providence existing.)

u/oneguy2008 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

Cohen's Why not socialism? and some of the literature around it have been getting press lately.

u/mefuzzy · 2 pointsr/soccer

I assume it is The Damned United which the movie was based on?

You might also enjoy Walking on Water, Clough The Autobiography and I personally look forward to this, Nobody Ever Says Thank You.

> Any suggestions of other soccer related books is appreciated as well.

Would highly recommend Fever Pitch, Miracle of Castel di Sangro, Inverting the Pyramid, Brilliant Orange and Behind the Curtains.

u/poplex · 2 pointsr/fulbo

Yo leí el famoso inverting the pyramid, si no te jode leer en inglés (es lo que más se consigue en internet) te recomiendo: Brillant Orange y why england lose. Bien bien táctico leí hace poco attacking soccer y está bueno, aunque a algunas de las ideas se les notan los años.

u/TheSciences · 2 pointsr/soccer

Not a website but, depending on what you mean by 'cultural', you may be interested to read Brilliant Orange by David Winner.

It draws connections between Dutch culture (including visual art, architecture, and urban planning) and the football philosophy that developed in the Netherlands in the second half of the 20th century. It's not an academic piece, and there's lots of football anecdotes in case it sounds too dry or academic. It really is a wonderful book: ambitious in scope, but accessible. Can't recommend it highly enough.

u/HP18 · 2 pointsr/soccer

This is the book "Brilliant Orange" I was referring to. For anyone with an interest in Dutch football, I'd suggest giving it a read.

u/mullsork · 2 pointsr/soccer

I'm halfway through A Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football right now. I'm absolutely loving it!

u/silverdeath00 · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

Marcus Aurelius, is not something you read and go "FUCK YEAH, I CONQUERED THAT BOOK. I'M A BADASS!!!!"

It's an investment that will pay dividends years to come. It's not the simplest stoic text to read. However if you want the feeling of reading the words of a Roman Emperor from 1,000 years ago, and also actually use his words to change and live your life by, here are a few ideas:

  • Read and skim through it. Get a general sense of the book. Read the Gregory Hays translation. READ THE GREGORY HAYS TRANSLATION. READ THE GREGORY HAYS TRANSLATION (shout out to a hero of mine /u/ryan_holiday for this)

    (I'm trying to emphasise this and I might not get this point across, but honestly you can read a translation written by someone who knows the english language and the worldview context in 2002, or by someone from the 19th century. Your choice.)

  • You won't really understand the book. But you'll get a sense of the general philosophy he was trying to remind himself. They're called The Meditations. Aphorisms and pieces of advice written in a specific format to remind himself how to live. We actually don't have any modern equivalent to this.

  • Now, you're ready for the golden treat. The princess at the end of the castle. The goose that will keep laying golden eggs. Pick up a copy of The Inner Citadel by Pierre Hadot. Think of it as the guide to read the Meditations. The cheat guide to the crossword puzzle. The How-To Manual on how to understand Marcus Aurelius' mindset as he wrote that beast throughout his life. It's with this book that you'll understand Meditations. You'll understand the 3 central tenets he wrote by, and just why he wrote them in a codified mysterious way. You'll get a glimpse into the man. You'll understand just what role Philosophy actually played in ancient times. (Hint: it wasn't the circle jerking that modern philosophy is) And you'll come away with a deep understanding of Stoicism. Heck, it might just change your life.

    Honestly it's not the greatest introduction to Stoicism. Personally I prefer Seneca (I've gifted a short version of his On The Shortness of Life to 4 different friends), because he was writing for a wider audience as opposed to just himself. But if you want to go down the rabbit hole. If you want to take the red pill, read it like I've just suggested.
u/van_Niets · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

I found the ISBN: 0753820161

Amazon US

eBay US

u/HappyBritish · 2 pointsr/LifeImprovement

These are some great books I've read recently:

Influence: Psychology of Persuasion. How salespeople use psychology tricks on you.

Power of now. The present moment is the only thing that exists. Very deep book and not too hard to get through.

Psycho-cybernetics. A book about psychology, more about improving your self-image and confidence.

Think and grow rich. A good book that will motivate you to work harder.

Way of the superior man. Great book on relationships with women and what it means to be a man.

Mediations by Marcus Aurelius, nearly 2000 year old book! Great wisdom in here but I'd read some of these other books first. Make sure you get this version (Gregory hays translation) if you do buy the book, as apparently it has the best translation.

u/THANE_OF_ANN_ARBOR · 2 pointsr/GetMotivated

I started with the Gregory Hayes translation of Meditations. That seems to be the one that many people recommend.

Still, I heavily recommend not starting your exploration of stoic thought with Meditations. Read instead Epictetus' Handbook. The reason for this is that Meditations is more of a journal - it's these meandering thoughts of Marcus Aurelius on how one should live life in accordance with stoic doctrine. A large portion of the book is him repeating himself. The Handbook, however, is a concise overview of the stoic approach to fulfillment. It's focuses on much more fundamental elements of suffering and fulfillment than Meditations does. It's more logical, I think, and provides more justification for some stoic views. In addition, it's shorter. This is the translation that my Ancient Phil professor told our class to get, and it was a good one.

u/Human_Evolution · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

Don't expect him to care much about Stoic principles. It's definitely worth a shot but don't be surprised if it doesn't help. I have tried Stoic concepts on many people, with limited success. If Marcus Aurelius couldn't get through to Commodus, what chance do we have?


I'd recommend a modern translation of Meditations and maybe the Enchiridion since it's so short. You can get a little booklet of just the Enchiridion online. I just bought one from a local bookstore for $2 a few days ago. Kind of cool, here's the one I have. The translation is from the 80's which is modern. It seems solid, easy to read. The entire book is 18 pages

u/CharlestonChewbacca · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

> How do you have a purpose in life if you don't believe in God?

Why do I need God to have a purpose? Why do I need a purpose?

I find that in life, you must find your own purpose. And that can differ from person to person. I find purpose in three things: Family, Fun, and Impact.

  • Family: Spending time with family and friends brings me great joy, and I would do anything for them.

  • Fun: It is a short life, so I do what I can to minimize my own suffering, and do the things I enjoy.

  • Impact: Whether it's through work or charity, I seek to leave an impact on the world and make it a better place.

    > What's the point of you being here then?

    I could ask a Christian the same thing, and I don't think I would get a clear answer backed up by passages in the Bible. Nobody knows why we're here. You're literally asking for the meaning of life. To which I must reply "42."

    > How can you believe in other things or anything, but view God as an abstract or not real?

    I only believe in things that I can test. I know you don't want me to say Science, but that's literally the reason. Science involves the practice of being able to repeat something and figuring out what rules it follows. The only things in which I believe are things that I have found from testable evidence. (regardless of if my interpretation is correct)

    > She does not want you to answer "science" because she says science cannot explain everything.

    But science CAN explain everything. It just hasn't yet.

    > She wants an answer that doesn't involve science I guess.

    Without science, it is not an answer .

    > so her questions might sound a little sheltered to you.

    They do. But I was there too. Heck, I was baptized 7 years ago. It was my increased interest in affirming my beliefs that led me to lose them. I ventured out to different church services every week. I visited Catholic churches, Baptist, Methodist, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, etc. and began reading about these belief systems. Then I started challenging my beliefs by talking with athesists, and reading books like "The God Delusion," "God Is Not Great," "The Portable Atheist," "Breaking the Spell," and many more.

    It was my increased exposure to other religions and the book "A History of God" that led me to my current conclusions. "A History of God" discusses who wrote the books in the bible, why they were written, the political motivation behind them, who compiled the bible, etc. It was then that I realized there is no reason I should believe that these texts are divinely inspired. Especially if the only reason I believe the Bible is Divine and the Quran isn't is because that's how I was raised.

    Christians are atheists in terms of thousands of gods. I only go one god further.

    How do you compare?

    And this may sound rude (I really don't mean it that way) but I would encourage your roommate to take a few important classes. 1. A class on world religions, 2. A class on ethics, and 3. A class on the Scientific Process (Chemistry and Physics would also be a big plus)

    > she said a lot of your responses regarding a purpose sounds like, "Moralism".

    Forgive me, but this seems like an oversimplification of a grander issue. I would highly encourage you both to do some more study on ethics and moral theory. I suggest starting with something like "The Elements of Moral Philosophy" which goes over most of the primary methods of deducing morality. "Moralism" is kind of a weird umbrella term that doesn't really mean anything. I think you'll find that atheists incorporate a wide variety of these theories to deduce morality on a day-to-day basis. And while most Christians would subscribe to "Divine Command Theory" I think you'll find yourself supplementing using other theories as well. For instance, nothing in the Bible tells you who to choose if you are going to accidentally kill either 2 people or 10 people. You would have to resort to utilitarianism to deduce that you should pick the 2 (or look deeper into the surrounding circumstances and incorporate another theory).

    Anywho, I think it's great that your friend is branching out and seeking to understand. It's sometimes hard to respect Christians who stay in their own little bubble their whole life and believe what they were told to believe. So, good on ya mate! And I hope I didn't come across as rude or pretentious in any of this, I was trying my best to describe the things that I didn't understand when I was a believer.
u/grammar_counts · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

> What does it mean for a truth to be relative to something else?

Well, my entire post was an attempt to answer this question of meaning (see the second sentence, starting with the phrase 'meaning that...'), and it directly addresses the example of your second paragraph, but maybe what I said was unclear.

The relativist thinks that to say "X is wrong" full stop is either incoherent or short-hand for something of the form "X is wrong according to framework F", where the relevant framework is implicitly determined, maybe by criteria of salience.

Again, the analogy to speed is instructive. Suppose a baseball is traveling at 90mph relative to frame F but at 5mph relative to frame G. The question, "but what is its real speed?" is incoherent. If someone at rest in frame F says "the ball is traveling at 90mph", we take him implicitly to be saying that the ball is traveling at 90mph relative to frame F.

Now, suppose someone at rest in G is evaluating the statement of the person at rest in F. Is it true or false? It's true that the ball is moving at 90mph in frame F, but false that it's moving at 90mph in frame G. What should this person at rest in G say?

Answer: he should say that it is traveling at 90 in frame F, traveling at 5 in frame G.

The question of moral truth is analogous, according to relativists.

Other views may use the label 'relativist', but the one I describe is a standard view in philosophy, as defended by Gilbert Harman (in the link I gave above) and criticized by Judith Thomson (same link) as well as by James Rachels in the popular introductory reader, Elements of Moral Philosophy.

u/bearCatBird · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

I just finished reading this book.

And I'm 100 pages into this book.

The first says:

> Morality is the effort to guide one’s conduct by reason - to do what there are the best reasons for doing - while giving equal weight to the interests of each individual affected by one’s decision. Moral Philosophy is the study of what morality is and what it requires of us. There is no simple definition of morality. But there is a “minimum conception” of morality - a core that any moral theory should accept. What do we know about the nature of Morality?

>1. Moral Judgments must be backed by good reasons.

>2. Morality requires the impartial consideration of each individual's interests.

The second book compares morality to art. While all art is subjective, people still practice and study art and become knowledgeable. It would be foolish to think we couldn't learn something from those who devote much time and energy to the subject. In the same way, we can learn about morality.

u/thetourist74 · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

Well, if you want a concentrated course of study you might consider looking for secondary sources that focus on particular areas of research in philosophy rather than trying to read very few (5-10) authors in real depth. I see Kant has been suggested, for example, and while I would never doubt his importance as a philosopher, if you set out with the intention of reading the bulk of his works as you say you might you would have to tackle a great deal of dry, technical material which I think would prove to be a lot more work than you could expect. Same could be said for Aristotle, Plato, Hegel, Descartes, nearly anyone you really might care to list. I don't know if you've read much philosophy, but you might instead look at something like an introduction to philosophy, an intro to ethics, or an intro to the philosophy of mind. These are only some examples, there are books like this for pretty much any area of study that attracts your interest. I'm sure others could provide suggestions as well.

u/CapBateman · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

Short answer: yes, maybe besides a few less common philosophical positions if you expend the definition of moral nihilism.

Long answer: This question is kinda tricky, because moral nihilism is such a broad (and often misused) term with a long history, while error theory is a relatively new term, originating in J.L Mackie's Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. If you confine yourself to contemporary meta-ethics, than yes, error theory is the only form of moral nihilism, but it must be said there are different types and variations, the only thing common to all of them is the idea there is an "error" in the common-sense view of mortality, manly that humans refer, in speech and action, to moral properties and facts that don't really exist.

But if we take a more broad view, there may be different types of moral nihilism. For example, it can be argued that existential thinkers like Nietzsche and Sartre are favoring a view that one may call "Atheistic Divine Comand Theory"^(*) because they claim that without God there are no moral values ("If God is dead then everything is permitted"), in other words, arguing for moral nihilism. This view is different from error theory, because it claims that if God existed there would be moral properties, but because he doesn't exist there aren't ones. Another possible view is that certain forms of Ethical Egoism might be seen as forms of moral nihilism, been a logical conclusion to take after reaching a nihilistic view of morality for some. It's hard to think about philosophers who have defended this sort of view, and the only one that comes to my mind is a 19th-century German philosopher by the name of Max Stirner (although some may object to the common characterization of him as a moral nihilist).

So to sum up, there might be different types of moral nihilism besides error theory, but there are not very common in the history of philosophy. And in the context of contemporary meta-ethics, error theory is the only type of moral nihilism.

*it must be said that this is an analytical interpretation of continental philosophers, who never worked under this framework and might have objected to this interpretation of their views.

u/AlchemicalShoe · 1 pointr/atheism

Also, utilitarianism, ethics of care, and prima facie duties work fine in a materialistic system, and there are even modern versions of virtue ethics and Kantianism that eschew their teleological and numinal parts and can be materialistic. If materialists have a hard time explaining morality that's not an issue particular to materialism, but just a sign that ethics is difficult in it's own right.

Divine command theory and natural law theory also have their difficulties, in addition to the difficulties brought about by the theistic basis. For example, divine command theory has enough of an issue describing how we can know god's commands are moral, and that's not even getting into the general theistic issue of knowing that's we've even received such commands in the first place.

Your teacher sounds like he's making good, difficult to challenge points because he's educated in the subject matter in a way that you, the student, are not. I assure you that there are atheistic philosophers on the other sides of these issues with similarly logical rebuttals. It's just that you're not getting told what these rebuttals are, or who those philosophers are.

Once you know what arguments are being presented I recommend looking them up on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which has pretty solid overviews of things beyond the bias of one particular instructor in one particular school.

Atheist philosopher of religion J. L. Makie has a good book on ethics, and I bring him up because the theistic philosophers I know still consider his arguments an issue that needs to be dealt with. Those specifically are the Argument from Relativity, and the Argument from Queerness.

In any case, just expect that really getting into this stuff is going to involve a lot of studying on one's own, and good luck.

u/wazzym · 1 pointr/changemyview
u/J_de_Silentio · 1 pointr/Fantasy

You're in dangerous territory. I'm not a fan of moral relativism myself. While I certainly don't have all the answers, I can't see the actions of the demons as ever being good. I'd rather not say that from one "species" point of view enslavement, torture, murder, etc. of beings capable of higher order thinking, autonomy, and morality is "good". If we go down taht road, then there is no good and evil, only good and evil relative to a certain culture. My intuition is that that understand of good and evil is inherently flawed and misses the point of what I understand good and evil to be.

Sounds to me like your interest in moral philosophy has been piqued. If you're into reading non-fiction, grab a book or two.

This one might be good, though I haven't read it (I know of Blackburn)

This was one of my introductions to moral philosophy and I think it covers things well. Find a used copy or your local library might have a copy.

u/Torin_2 · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

> I would really like to start reading some real philosophy, but find a lot of philosophical jargon to be very confusing (For example, I still don't exactly understand what a priori is supposed to mean)

You might benefit from spending some time with a philosophical dictionary. These are books that list a bunch of philosophical terms, with each of them given a definition and a few paragraphs or pages of explanation by a philosopher who specializes in that field. So, for example, the entry on "a priori" would be written by an epistemologist who has published on a priori knowledge.

> I was wondering if there was like an "Ethics for Dummies" out there.

Yes, there are a bunch of books like that.

Here's one that has a good reputation:

u/drunkentune · 1 pointr/samharris

Are causal readers discouraged from reading introductory ethics texts because there is the vocabulary used by ethicists? Do you know that using this language discourages the causal reader?

I mean to say, some sort of vocabulary is necessary to get enough specificity, and many philosophers that write introductory texts use the traditional vocabulary after introducing how they will use these terms.

Take, for example, Simon Blackburn's Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics. It uses most of these terms that Harris thinks are incredibly boring, but it's a huge seller and highly rated by both professional philosophers and the public press (you can't say that about Harris's books).

u/blackstar9000 · 1 pointr/atheism

Here, play with these for a while. Or pick up a book on ethics. Not that I think either will change your mind. If you start from the premise that any answer you come up to must be the obvious one, then you'll never be disappointed or conflicted.

u/modenpwning · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

I'll let some of the other people on here direct you where to dig in and answer your questions more directly, but this was by far the most compelling introductory book for me:

I can't recommend it enough to begin, and from there you can branch out with what you find enjoyable

u/KingTommenBaratheon · 1 pointr/changemyview

There's a few issues with Peterson's approach to philosophy. The foremost is the extent to which he pretends to be an expert in philosophical issues without actually having well-defended philosophical positions. His pragmatism, for instance, wouldn't pass muster in a graduate class on pragmatism -- and University of Toronto has some leading pragmatist scholars that he could talk to about the subject. This is unfortunately typical of Peterson's approach. His original commentary on Bill C-16 was ignorant and ultimately misled the public. His commentary on dominance hierarchies is also speculative, outside his ken, and misleading.

So while it's great to make philosophy more public there's plenty better people to do it and plenty better ways to do it. Simon Blackburn is a great example of a well-regarded philosopher who offers informed, accurate, work to the public in an accessible way. Dan Dennett is also stand-out example of a great philosopher who does great professional and public work. Or, also from the University of Toronto, there's Joseph Heath, who is now one of Canada's foremost public intellectuals on political and economic subjects.

Contrast that with Peterson's extremely polarizing and error-prone approach. I'd be glad to have fewer Petersons and more Heaths or Nussbaums.

u/Wisdom_Bodhisattva · 1 pointr/Frozen

This is a deep question, and not one that can be easily answered in a Reddit post, but one place to start might be to consider what is necessary, though perhaps not sufficient, for a life to have a chance at being meaningful. Barring extreme views on the matter, I think that any meaningful life would need to include a sufficient amount of "well being." But what constitutes well being? There are three classical positions here.

The first is the hedonistic view, which basically states that pleasure is what matters for well-being. Egoist Hedonists would say that pleasurable experiences for oneself is what matters most, while Utilitarian Hedonists would say that maximizing the pleasurable experiences for everyone is what should be done.

Desire satisfaction theory states that pleasure alone is not sufficient. Rather, fulfilling one's aim's or central life projects is what is really matters for a person's well being, and this could involve what someone desires to see in the life of another. This is easily seen in the example of parenting, or creating great works of literature. Perhaps putting in a little less effort and relaxing a bit more would lead the parent or writer to be happier, but because their central life project would suffer, desire satisfaction theory would say that they are "less well off." It would only be the case that they could be better off if they cared less about their projects. So long as they value them greatly, then achieving these aims trumps happiness or pleasurable experiences.

Lastly, there is Objective List Theory. This is the doctrine that there are some things that are objectively good, regardless of whether any individual aims at them or not. The exact goods on the list will vary, but common items include things like "true friendship, skill mastery, knowledge, virtue, etc." An objective list theorist who puts true friendship on the list will say that someone who's life lacks this element is less well off, even if they do not feel that way themselves, because true friendship is objectively good whether or not the individual in question realizes it.

So all these are theories of well being. Understanding how they work and shape our thinking is probably good groundwork for being able to go on to construct ideas about what it is to live a life that is "meaningful." Well being and meaning are not identical properties. Could it be possible to have a life that is less well off but more meaningful? I'm not sure. It's interesting to think about. Right now I'm currently reading about theories of personal identity, and how our understanding of what it means to be a person can shape our ethical views. I'm currently reading Parfit's Reasons and Persons. His view is that there is no "deep further fact" about identity. Your relationship to your future self is similar to your relationship to your friend. You are different people. It's interesting to consider these ideas. There is no end to the rabbit hole, as I'm sure you know.

What is your area of interest?

u/seanstickle · 1 pointr/CGPGrey

The go-to text on this whole idea is Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons, a book-long analysis of the ethical implications of this line of thought. It is both brilliant and disturbing, and his analysis ends with a problem he calls the "Repugnant Conclusion," a feature of his utilitarian calculus that I leave to the reader to discover and delight (or despair) in.

Representative selection:

> There are two kinds of sameness, or identity. I and my Replica are qualitatively identical, or exactly alike. But we may not be numerically identical, or one and the same person. Similarly, two white billiard balls are not numerically identical but may be qualitatively identical. If I paint one of these balls red, it will cease to be qualitatively identical with itself as it was. But the red ball that I later see and the white ball that I painted red are numerically identical. They are one and the same ball.
> Though our chief concern is our numerical identity, psychological changes matter. Indeed, on one view, certain kinds of qualitative change destroy numerical identity. If certain things happen to me, the truth might not be that I become a very different person. The truth might be that I cease to exist — that the resulting person is someone else.

u/KrazyA1pha · 1 pointr/news

You're still wrong about how "experts" view this problem. If you want an "expert" to explain it to you, instead of reading it on the internet, then read this book:

Again, I wish you the best of luck.

u/Lacher · 1 pointr/Destiny

I think that if the person reports it was her duty so save other soldiers, it's not really a classical case of altruism. So in that case I agree. But that's unique to the reported reason of someone handling out of "duty" rather than "empathy".

On an act being egoistic as soon as some pleasure is derived, allow me to quote these nicely written paragraphs from this book.

> The egoist might respond: if you are doing what you really want, aren’t
you thereby self-interested? It is important to see that the answer may well
be no. For all we know, some of us deeply want to help other people. When
we manage to offer such help, we are doing what we really want to do. Yet
what we really want to do is to benefit someone else, not ourselves.
Now, if people get what they really want, they may be better off as a
result. (But they might not: think of the anorexic or the drug addict. Or
think of the cases of disappointment discussed in chapter 4.) Yet the fact
that a person gains from her action does not prove that her motives were
[1]. The person who really wants to help the homeless, and volunteers
at a soup kitchen or shelter, may certainly derive pleasure from her efforts.
But this doesn’t show that pleasure was her aim. Her aim may have been to
help those in need. And because her aim was achieved, she thereby
received pleasure.

> As a general matter, when you discover that your deepest desires have
been satisfied, you often feel quite pleased. But that does not mean that your ultimate aim is to get such pleasure. That’s what needs to be shown; we can’t just assume it in trying to figure out whether our motives are
always self-interested.

I also think describing altruistic behavior as epigenetically, deterministically or evolutionarily is as useful as describing love as an influx of dopamine and oxytocine. It's scientifically nice but also kind of restricting in understanding humans.

[1] If I reward you with a cookie for taking the shortest path to work, and you enjoy that reward, that does not prove you took the shortest path to work because of my reward--you would have taken it anyway and under what I understand to be your conception of human behavior there is no accounting for this possibility.

u/bloodymonkeys · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

This is a really difficult question and people disagree, you could also ask the fine people over at r/asksocialscience. More philosophically, Michael Huemer has written a book on Ethical Intuitionism. My own thought is that if there need to be philosophical arguments for it, it cannot be said to exist innately, though social science may also return different answers from different studies. As I said, this is a difficult question that different people have different opinions on in the philosophy world.

u/aggrobbler · 1 pointr/philosophy

Ah good. But you've got an MA, no? Whereas both mine are undergrad and in subjects I don't care about (study science, they said. Commit crimes against the lower mammals. Study law, they said. Hang out with lawyers. Become a lawyer, do paperwork. What a dumbass.)

Yeah, I've got R&P. I just ordered The Groundwork earlier tonight. I ordered Practical Ethics yesterday, actually as well, I thought that was supposed to be the Singer? I'll get the other two when I get paid.

Also have you read Huemer's Ethical Intuitionism? Someone told me it was the best defence of moral realism of recent times.

u/TrontRaznik · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

If you would like a broad overview of metaethical theory that presents the various viewpoints in a fairly simple to understand format, while also offering extra material covering more complex aspects, see Michael Huemer's Ethical Intuitionism. He does have a moral objectivist thesis in the book, but he covers all the various viewpoints very fairly, and he has a special talent for breaking complex arguments down into simple chunks. I think his argument is weakest against moral nihilism, but he demonstrates fairly conclusively that subjectivism is untenable.

u/wordboyhere · 1 pointr/philosophy

>I am the first to say that libertarian authors have frequently relied upon controversial philosophical assumptions in deriving their political conclusions. Ayn Rand, for example, thought that capitalism could only be successfully defended by appeal to ethical egoism, the theory according to which the right action for anyone in any circumstance is always the most selfish action. Robert Nozick is widely read as basing his libertarianism on an absolutist conception of individual rights, according to which an individual's property rights and rights to be free from coercion can never be outweighed by any social consequences. Jan Narveson relies on a metaethical theory according to which the correct moral principles are determined by a hypothetical social contract. Because of the controversial nature of these ethical or metaethical theories, most readers find the libertarian arguments based on them easy to reject.

>It is important to observe, then, that I have appealed to nothing so controversial in my own reasoning. In fact, I reject all three of the foundations for libertarianism mentioned in the preceding paragraph. I reject egoism, since I believe that individuals have substantial obligations to take into account the interests of others. I reject ethical absolutism, since I believe an individual's rights may be overridden by sufficiently important needs of others. And I reject all forms of social contract theory, since I believe the social contract is a myth with no moral relevance for us...

~ Huemer from Problem of Political Authority. (The book argues in favor of anarcho-capitalism, but will also give you a strong foundation for minarchism)

His moral philosophy is intuitionism. I also highly suggest his other book Ethical Intuitionism - it's a great intro to metaethics and spurred my interest in philosophy to begin with.

If you can't afford either, he has some chapters over at his faculty page.

It asserts a moral realist position (objective moral facts) on the basis of our intuitions - essentially common sense morality (see: GE Moore, and WD Ross). It is a respectable academic philosophy (as opposed to Objectivism) and has recently seen a resurgence.

Here is a good summary of what Huemer's approach lends itself to

u/PeaceRequiresAnarchy · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

I come in from David Friedman's angle: Here's his Amazon review of Huemer's book Ethical Intuitionism:

> Like another reviewer, I started out agreeing with Huemer's basic claim, having concluded some forty-five years ago that the intuitionist position provided the most satisfactory explanation of normative beliefs. I read the book in part in the hope that he could provide better arguments than I had come up with, in particular a better rebuttal of what I view as the most serious challenge to our position. Unfortunately, he doesn't.

> He does do a very good good job of demonstrating that ethical intuitionism is a defensible position and offering arguments to show that most of the alternatives, including ones that are much more widely accepted, are not. But he does not provide an adequate response to the one challenge I am concerned with, the view that combines ethical nihilism with evolutionary psychology.

> The claim of that view is that there are no normative facts, that nothing is good or bad and there is no moral reason to do or not do anything. It explains our moral beliefs, the intuitions that Huemer views (and I view) as imperfect perceptions of normative facts, as explainable by evolution--they were beliefs that increased the reproductive success of those who held them in the environment in which we evolved, and so got hard wired into their descendants.

> That approach challenges intuitionism in two ways. First, it explains the evidence, my ethical intuitions, on the basis of facts of reality I already believe to be true. Once we have one explanation there is no need for another. Second, it raises the question of how, if there are moral facts, we could have acquired the ability to know them, since at least some of them would presumably have led us to modify our behavior in ways that reduced our reproductive success--make us less willing, for instance, to slaughter the men of a neighboring tribe and take their women.

> Despite these problems, I have not yet abandoned my current moral position, in part because the alternative position fails to answer the questions I want answered, indeed implies that they are unanswerable, that there are no actual oughts. In part also, I fail to adopt the nihilist position because I am unable to believe it. That inability is psychological, not logical. I cannot actually believe that there is nothing wrong with torturing small children for the fun of it or murdering large numbers of innocent people, both conclusions that follow from the view that nothing at all is wrong or right.

I differ from Friedman in that I'm not unable to believe that there is nothing wrong with torturing small children for fun--I'm fine with taking the moral nihilist position.

When I use moral language I am talking about my values/preferences.

Still, I think Huemer's moral intuitionism comes very close to what I value and I still think it's useful to have such a system of ethics.

u/QuasiIdiot · 1 pointr/Destiny

> It is entirely permissible in logic to hold that something can neither be proven nor disproven, this is the entire reason that we come up with new axioms to add on to our old ones in mathematics.

It might be permissible in logic, but that doesn't mean that there aren't propositions that are either true or false.

> Assuming a strict dichotomy of truth -- and further extending that to provability -- is a fallacy.

I don't know about provability and how that's relevant here, but I don't think that assuming that a proposition like "I have two hands" is either true or false is a fallacy in any way. You might argue that the proposition is somehow not truth-apt, or that there's not a fact of the matter about how many hands I have, but that would be an extremely hard argument to make.

> While it appears that there can be no argument for hard determinism based within the author's definition of "rational discourse", that does not on its own serve as a proof that it is false.

Of course there can be. You deny one of the premises and then provide your own argument for hard determinism.

> The meat here is in the question of whether hard determinism is possibly true, not MFT specifically, but assuming that choices are possible in premise 1 already assumes that hard determinism is false. So the author gets away with technically not begging the question while also already assuming the entire meat of the argument in one of the premises.

He addresses this in Objection #1, especially BQ2 and the last two paragraphs.

> What we must be interested with primarily then is their argument for the first premise, since that's where the actual meat is hidden, and that appears to me to be merely a pragmatic argument, and thus not actually demonstrating proof of veracity.

He doesn't make any 'deep' arguments for P1, because the fact is that there are not many people who are willing to deny it. If he still doesn't "believe that there exist these different senses of 'should'" as he writes there, then I guess the first part of his defense of P1 is his whole 2007 book and the second part is so obvious that what he wrote in the free will paper should be enough.

I think you might still be under the wrong impression that this is supposed to be some kind of a mathematical proof, and that the premises must then be a priori true with 100% certainty, but that's not how philosophical arguments work. Typically, all you would need to accept a premise would be to believe that it's more likely true than false. And this doesn't make the argument "practical" in any way.

u/Eu_zen · 1 pointr/Vulpyne

>Well, what's your argument for the "maybe not"? Where else would you propose moral intuitions come from?>

I personally wouldn't make any argument for it yet as I'm not informed enough to, but I plan to read a few books on the topic in the coming months. Have you ever checked out this article?

>we probably find a case where your emotional response/moral intuition can be shown to be a bad reference for value judgments. Or would you disagree?>

I wouldn't disagree. But again, I'd like to look a little more into the issue.

>I don't think that's a good thing, but it shows me how my moral intuitions/emotions/empathy doesn't reflect the reality of what's right and wrong because I know the pig is every bit as morally relevant as a dog.>

No, I think you're right actually. I'd probably get extra upset if I read that someone was abusing a white bulldog. And that makes sense, but not a lot of sense.

>Usually when people talk about ethics/morals they're talking about intentional choices to do some sort of good. This is a bit of a tangent, so probably no important. Just thought I'd mention that.>

I was kinda joking about the vultures and rats. I don't think they can be ethical like humans can be. That said, we're learning more about animal cognition all the time and I think we still have a lot more to learn. Have you ever read this article before? That and the other related SEP articles about animals are certainly worth checking out.

>Pulling the lever is what saves more people than simply leaving it, right?>

Right. A lot of people belittle this thought experiment but I think it's fun.

>So you'd argue that the conductor shouldn't save the several people on the tracks at the expense of the one fat guy or whatever?>

Right. And I think you phrased it right by saying shouldn't save. It boils down really to what one thinks about doing vs allowing harm. I think a consequentialist would say the difference between the two isn't morally relevant, right? If so, I understand where the consequentialist is coming from, but I might disagree. Again, I'm giving opinions about things like this when I shouldn't be, not having done my due diligence by reading more into ethics.

>Cute... In a hideous sort of way!>

That's the English Bulldog for ya. The English have a weird sense of humor.

>I haven't really thought about non-cognitivism specifically, but I have thought about moral anti-realism. It seems like non-cognitivism is a subset of that.>

There are some differences. The biggest being that moral anti-realism is a cognitivist metaethical theory and non-cognitivism theories like Emotovism are, obviously, non-cognitivist moral theories. I don't know if you require this, but I'll copy and paste something here for you:

>The cognitivist argues for two claims. The first is that when someone makes a moral claim they are expressing a belief. The second is that moral claims can be true or false; this is part of cognitivism because beliefs are the sort of thing that can be true or false. Philosophers call the potential for a claim to be true or false truth-aptness . Because beliefs are thought to be descriptions, cognitivism is sometimes called descriptivism.>

>Potential misunderstandings • Cognitivism is not the view that moral claims are true, since it is quite coherent for the cognitivist to hold that all moral claims are false (see Chapter 3 ). This is a common mistake and it is best avoided by remembering that cognitivism is a view about truth-aptness and not about truth.>

>Non-cognitivism The non-cognitivist argues that if a person makes a moral claim they are expressing a non-belief state such as an emotion: for example, to say that “killing is wrong” is to express disapproval towards killing. Put crudely, it is as if you are saying “Boo! Killing!” Consequently, because expressions of approval or disapproval are not the sort of things that can be true or false, the non-cognitivist thinks that moral claims are not truth-apt in the way that the cognitivist thinks moral claims are truth-apt.>

>Potential misunderstanding • Non-cognitivism is not the view that moral claims are about our own mental states. For example, it is not the claim that “killing is wrong” really means “I disapprove of killing”. In fact, this would be a form of cognitivism, which asserts that when we make a moral claim we are describing a mental state, in this case my disapproval of killing>

>Error theory in morality derives from three plausible views. The first is cognitivism, the view that moral judgements express beliefs and aim to describe some sector of reality and are consequently truth-apt. The second is non-realism , the view that there are no moral values that correspond to our moral beliefs. The third is that truth involves correspondence to facts. These three views lead to the radical conclusion that moral claims are systematically and uniformly false.>

>Moral error theory is a radical position. It is the view that all these statements are false : • Abducting and torturing children is morally wrong. • Providing famine relief to starving families is morally good. • Locking people in a church and throwing petrol bombs through the window is evil. • It is morally right to save the boy trapped in floodwaters. The error theorist would be quick to remind us that he is not saying that it is right to torture children, bad to give money to charity, wrong to save a boy trapped in floodwaters. For he argues that there is no moral truth at all.>

Moving on now.

>I think there is also factual evidence for morally relevant values. Those values being, as I mentioned before, positive and negative mental experiences.>

I think, but don't quote me on this, that another way of saying this is moral properties can be reduced to natural properties, and by "natural" philosophers mean the subject matter of the natural sciences, which include psychology.

Moral psychology would be an interesting project to look into.

>Here's a little thought experiment: Suppose we lived in a universe with no positive or negative mental experiences. So no suffering, no depriving another of happiness, no ability to be distressed or stressed. All mental experiences (if they existed) would be neutral. Could morality or ethics still exist? You couldn't hurt or help anyone. I'd take the position that it couldn't, there would be no morally relevant way to affect anything.>

I mean, I think that sounds certainly plausible.

>since we naturally will value our own positive/negative mental experiences, if we're being objective we couldn't discount another individual's positive/negative mental experiences. To be consistent, we'd have to value them similarly to our own. To place value on our mental experiences and discount another's, even though the experiences are comparable would be irrational. I don't think that helps with the "should", it just works with a motivation that already exists. There's no traction on people that aren't committed to being rational in the ways I described.>

Right. The only thing to my mind at this point is to say -- one ought to be rational. But I couldn't give you a decisive reason right now why we ought to be rational. As Walt Whitman said defiantly, "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." He practically made a (rather benign) ethos out of that statement.

u/thegoo280 · 1 pointr/CGPGrey

CGP Grey mentions the teleport thought experiment in this episode.

If you enjoy those sort of discussions I very highly recommend the pig that wants to be eaten

A fantastic collection of similar thought provoking excerpts from novels. You might recognize the title from the Hitchhiker's Guide series.

u/nolsen01 · 1 pointr/politics

I used to be "pro-life" but recently flipped because of something I read. I will transcribe it here and see what you think:

>Dick had made a mistake, but surely the price he was paying was too high. He of course knew that level six of the hospital was a restricted area. But after he had drunk one too many glasses of wine with his colleagues at the finance department Christmas party, he had inadvertently staggered out of the elevator on the sixth floor and passed out on one of the empty beds.

> When he woke up he discovered to his horror that he had been mistaken for a volunteer in a new life-saving procedure. Patients who required vital organ transplants to survive were being hooked up to volunteers, whose own vital organs kept both alive. This would continue until a donor organ could be found, which was usually around nine months later.

> Dick quickly called over a nurse to explain the mistake, who in turn brought over a worried-looking doctor.

>"I understand your anger," explained the doctor, "but you did behave irresponsibly, and now you are in this position, the brutal truth is that if we disconnect you, the world-renowned violinist who depends on you will die. You would in fact be murdering him."

> "But you have no right!" protested Dick. "Evenif he dies without me, how can you force me to give up nine months of my life to save him."

> "I think the question you should be asking," said the doctor sternly, "is how you could choose to end this violinists life."

  • Julian Baggini, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten, (Credit is given to "A defense of abortion," by Judith Jarvis Thompson

    Firstly, you have to understand that when I read this, I didn't realize I was approaching the issue of abortion, which makes me feel that I was less biased and more honest in my assessment of this scenario. You are "primed" so to speak because you understand that this scenario it supposed to make a point about abortion. All I ask is that you try your best to be as honest with yourself as possible.

    When I read the scenario, I felt that is was pretty open and closed. Even if your own personal morals tell you that, if you were in Dick's position then you should stay connected to the "violinist," they still have no right, in my opinion, to force him to stay connected.

    The scenario also allows for a lot of things that are normally taken for granted in arguments about abortion. For instance, Dick is unarguably connected to another, clearly sentient human being. In fact, the human being he is connected to has memories and experiences, things we cannot attribute to a fetus. Also, in the scenario, Dick ended up in the situation through an irresponsible act of his own.

    Despite all of these things, I still feel that Dick should not be forced to stay connected to this other person against his will.

    It took me a couple weeks, but I eventually had to admit that I see no relevant difference between this scenario and abortion and therefore, in order for me to remain consistent, I either had to change my stance on libertarianism (which would change my position on a huge amount of other issues), or assume a libertarian position on abortion. I chose the latter and I am now pro-choice.
u/idioma · 1 pointr/technology

I could offer you a reading list to elucidate my points about Russia and the negatives of imperialism within burgeoning industrialist society. Right now however, I'm actually very stretched thin. I'm on a business trip that looks like will now be extended. I'm working just under 100 hours per week now that I've inherited two more projects that were supposed to be assigned to others. It's kind of a cop-out to not further expand on my earlier statements. But since I don't perceive you as being particularly close-minded (if anything you seem appropriately honest about what you do and do not know) it might actually be beneficial to simply provide you with the data as it was presented to me, and then let you draw your own conclusions.

For starters I'd recommend reading about the history:

This book gives a very wide-angle approach to Russia, Russians, and their governments.

This book offers a bit more of an intimate perspective about perhaps the most relevant generation of Post-Soviet influence.

This book offers some insight into America's foreign policy during the 20th century. In particular the negative impact of crafting foreign policy through an aggressive campaign of global occupation. The latter chapters talk about China and the former Soviet Union and draws many disturbing parallels with the United States defense spending habits in the last decade.

This book will perhaps be the most controversial read out of the list. It deals with the very unfortunate relationship between corporatism and American politics as well as the various stages of civil rights and labor movements. There is also a great deal of additional facts about imperialism in America which expands many of the points made by Chalmers Johnson.

There are several areas of agreement in this book between the views expressed by Chalmers Johnson and Howard Zinn. While the principles certainly come from different places, there is a well-reasoned, and thoughtful common ground. It is challenging from any perspective to completely agree or disagree with these narratives, but the contrast is most refreshing.

This book is basically a breath mint. The subjects being tackled in the rest of these books can often be somewhat troubling. This book will offer you short thought experiments that will prove entertaining as well as provocative. They will also help provide some lightheartedness to the mix.

u/kingpomba · 1 pointr/agnostic

The pig that wants to be eaten (collection of philosophical thought experiments with short commentary, i dont think its useful for someone with 0 background in philosophy except maybe as a taster but the more experienced people will see what they know and appreciate it).

[Contemporary debates in the philosophy of religion] ( (looks at arguments from both sides which im sure us agnostics looking for the truth will appreciate)

Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions

And for some (thought provoking) philosophical humour:

Antitheism - A reflection (essentially they turned the problem of evil on its head, they said all the good in the world disproves an all evil God in humour)

*Pascals Mugging

u/lisatomic · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Hey me too :) But Biochem. Which UC (if you don't mind my asking)?

Let's see, what to read... How about this? Or personally I recommend The Mind's I by Dennet and Hofstadter or Godel, Escher and Bach by Hofstadter. They are really good philosophy/science/intelligence books, and are largely well-formed and thoughtful arguments on various philosophical questions.

u/backmask · 1 pointr/philosophy

Like this?

u/phylogenik · 1 pointr/rational

My usual "recipe" for conversations is:

  1. start with observational humor on environmental banalities (weather, pop culture, interesting buildings/statues, recent festivals, etc.) and explore basic biographical details (where are you from, have you lived here long, etc.)

  2. eventually pivot to FORD (family, occupation, recreation, dreams), which can easily fill a few dozen hours

    2.5) actively listen to your conversation partner in addition to thinking about what to say next, e.g. split your attentions 65/25, respectively. Ask them questions about the stories they tell, but if your question is too much of a digression keep it in mind for later (earlier you mentioned X, I think Y, what do you think of Z?)

    2.75) have a bunch of relevant stories of your own in your back pocket that you can retrieve at a moment's notice, but beware one-upmanship; instead, seek to find or build common ground. Helpful to have explored lots of hobbies yourself here

  3. you mentioned grad school -- people usually study stuff they're interested in, so dredge up relevant memories of old articles you've read and questions you had while reading them, and have them clarify tricky concepts for you. If you're not quite right it's just all the more opportunity for them to swoop in and show off, and at least signals your interest in whatever subject they're studying

  4. another poster mentioned lists of questions -- I actually think these can be useful conversational aids! But don't, like, memorize the questions and completely break the flow of conversation asking one. Maybe during a quiet moment when all prior conversation threads have terminated you can pop in with a random "what's your favorite dinosaur" (and why?), but otherwise I've found these best for e.g. long drives together. Also, the linked questions maybe aren't the best -- I'd recommend getting one of these (personal faves have been Greg Stock's books, and I think I've tried most at this point; something like this also works). Each question has usually afforded around half an hour of conversation, though some took us a few hours and some a few minutes. Also, these are great for building a relationship off an existing foundation, which is to say that I've only ever tried the books of questions thing after I'd already talked to the person “organically” for 50-100 hours. But collectively they've probably given me many hundreds, if not thousands of hours of conversation, so I wouldn't be so quick to discount them!

  5. bring it back to local entertainment -- listen to a podcast or audiobook together or watch a movie or documentary and pause to discuss points
u/Teilhard_de_Chardin · 1 pointr/askphilosophy
u/scarydinosaur · 1 pointr/Christianity

This is good theological justification of the type of ideas that Peter Singer has written about. I'm about half-way through right now, and I gotta say... I'm almost a vegitarian...almost.

u/succulentcrepes · 1 pointr/Ethics

> Where can i learn about ethics?

Reading about different ethical philosophies online. Reading books on ethics. Even getting involved in discussions here, /r/askphilosophy, /r/philosophy, /r/smartgiving, etc.

Practical Ethics is the book that has had the biggest impact on the way I reason about ethics. Before that, whereas I saw that reason could help us identify contradictions in our ethical views, I didn't see how any particular ethical philosophy had a solid ground to build its conclusions from beyond coming "from the heart" as you said. This book was the one that gave me hope that we can do better than mostly guessing when picking our starting point.

However, I'm still an ethics noob and there's a lot more for me to read before I can have a very substantiated opinion on what is best.

> How do you KNOW what is right or wrong?

I doubt we can know with 100% certainty. We can't empirically test our meta-ethical beliefs, but we can still apply reason to it, like we do with many other aspects of our life to try to work out the truth.

> Does it really just come "from your heart"?

I assume by this you mean from our intuitions or subconscious? I think that's where most ethical decisions are made from, but it probably shouldn't be entirely from there. The more we learn in general, the more we realize that our intuitions provide rules-of-thumb at best, but can often be wrong. For instance, it seems unintuitive to me that planes can fly, or massive ships can float. So if I really want to know the truth about the world, I don't think I should rely only on my intuitions. Plus, thought experiments like the trolley dilemma show that our ethical intuitions can be contradictory.

> Do you carry the same beliefs that your parents have implanted?

No, but I would expect this to be a major factor, just as it is for people's beliefs about anything.

> Have you learned from an institution of higher education?


u/bserum · 1 pointr/humanism

Sounds like a decent start. If you haven't already read Peter Singer's Practical Ethics, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy. Based on the road you've set for yourself, I think you would really, really like to hear the philosophy of a guy who's spent his entire life thinking about this.

u/yuzirnayme · 1 pointr/MurderedByWords

There are a couple ways I envision this conversation could go and I don't know which you'd prefer (if any)

  1. I respond to your direct comments
  2. We investigate what you seem to believe

    I'm going with 1 since 2 is more personal and only partially on topic.

    > How is this done without defining the parameters for morals and ethics?

    This was defined up front as in the context of utilitarian ethical system. If you don't subscribe to a utilitarian ethical or moral framework, then this won't be convincing. That is independent of the fact that you used the word human for something that Singer wouldn't use the same word for. One is a human on a biological categorization level, the other is a different classification that has to do with moral status. Using the same word for both would be confusing and lead to miscommunications.

    > This is a value problem that's a trick question

    No its not. It is an extreme hypothetical meant to clarify what you believe. From there you investigate what lead to your decision. If your answer is they have the same value, I have a follow up question to tease out what you mean by that (or if you really mean that). And if it is really true, what the consequences of that belief would be that I (and maybe you) would find surprising.

    > Answer: They all deserve to live...

    This doesn't answer the question. It says a fair amount about what you believe anyways (no one on earth is qualified, etc) but doesn't answer the question. And how you feel about a situation, generally, doesn't hold a lot of weight by comparison to action. Letting them both burn to death but feeling twice as guilty would not, I imagine, be thought of as the moral thing to do by most people.

    > Their high utility is from an unspecified unmeasurable potential, thus judging morality from a potential, not a concrete.
    A concrete answer, is that all of them have the same limitless potential, and to decide someone's potential is murder
    Just like abortion

    This is just nonsensical. You have decided that all people have the same unlimited potential, and that the potential matters more than or as much as the actual. And simply deciding someone's potential is murder. There are just so many problems with this statement. I'll list a few:

  3. Not all people have unlimited potential, even if I'm very generous in interpreting what you mean by "unlimited". The brain dead person does not have unlimited potential. The 106 year old does not have unlimited potential. Certainly their potential is different than that of a newborn child.
  4. Using "potential" as the measure of the importance of a thing has ridiculous consequences. The old arguments of condoms destroying potential futures is a classic. But even things like people not living up to their potential would be morally wrong. Is it unethical to be lazy? Or would it be unethical to give up on your own dreams in favor of your family member's dream? How do you compare two "unlimited" potentials? How do we maximize for the most moral good in the "potential" regime? It would seem that maximizing the number of humans would maximize the pool of potentials. Should we create breeding factories to accomplish this? Is rape justifiable as it has the potential to create a child?
  5. Deciding potential is murder? If two people come into the ER after a car accident, both are dying, and the Dr makes a judgement call as to which he has the best chance to save, did he murder the other person? When college admission boards choose who to accept or give scholarships to, did they murder those they decided had less potential? Job interviews? Guidance counselors? If a parent requires one student to work so the other can go to school, murderers?
  6. How does one know what is right and avoid murder if both decisions are bad? This is why I asked the fire question. Situations exist where two people's lives are at stake, and you can save 1, but not both. And no decision results in death of both. This is actually not entirely rare in pregnancy.
  7. How does someone know when potential exists? For example, if you believe that human level intelligence AI is possible, how do you know what machine AI will result in this new AI? (this assumes you think a human level intelligence AI would have moral standing, if you don't think this that is yet another interesting tangent).
  8. Can someone be forced to give up autonomy in all cases to maximize potential for others? Forced kidney donations? Forced bone marrow donation? Forced organ donation on death? Forced egg and sperm donation?

    This response has gotten quite long. Please feel free to respond or not, or we can delve into your beliefs. I'm not personally a staunch utilitarian, so I'm mostly providing the argument as I understand it. If you find the argument interesting but don't want to argue on the internet, I would suggest you either read

u/blah_kesto · 1 pointr/Ethics

"Justice: What's the right thing to do?" by Michael Sandel is a good book for an overview of different approaches to ethics.

"Practical Ethics" by Peter Singer is the one that really first made me think there's good reason to pick a side.

u/NukeGently · 1 pointr/atheism

Ethics for dummies.

Absolute morality:

There is exactly one set of rules by which God expects you to live, and if you do that's good and if you don't that's evil.

This approach suffers from the following problems:

  1. God is unchanging, the Bible doesn't rewrite itself, so those rules are eternal, unchanging and incapable of improvement. To illustrate this,
  2. God is a genocidal psychopath. He doesn't care about large-scale suffering and thinks nothing of killing or otherwise punishing innocents. He condones punishment by proxy and appreciates human sacrifice. Aspects of God's behavior as presented in the Bible strike most sane people as intolerable and incompatible with a respect-worthy moral standard.

    This is a bit of a conundrum: because Christian apologists inform us that our sense of morality is God-given. If our God-given sense of morality tells us that God is an asshole, something must be wrong.

    As a result of this, Christians all over the world cheerfully ignore most of God's absolute morals as set out in the Bible. This raises the interesting question: what gives them the authority to override God's alleged word? If societies agree that socially evolved morals are "better" than those in the Bible, then where does that leave God and his unchanging, absolutely authoritative word?


    A majority of sane people, even those who pay lip service to God's rules, apply a follow a Consequentialist ethic: if your contemplated action is likely to harm someone, or do more harm than good, then don't do it! If you could do something to make others (and maybe yourself) lead a better, happier life (even if only a bit) then give positive consideration to doing that thing!

    As a start, it's really that simple. This principle allows people to talk about the pros and cons of any contemplated action, and to make, in a flexible and universal manner, an informed decision about whether an action should be undertaken or not.

    There is some devil in the details, and the basic idea of Consequentialism has a number of branches, the best known of which is probably Utilitarianism. The thing to note is that different schools of ethical thought may lead to different conclusions for difficult moral dilemmas, but they mostly reach a consensus about the big things: murder is bad, as is slavery, rape, discrimination and so on.

    Philosophers of ethics write books about this stuff. They are widely ignored by the American public because simple-minded religious folk think that the Bible is a suitable source of moral instruction.

    My recommendation for an educational and thought-provoking secular treatment on ethics is Peter Singer's Practical Ethics.

u/naraburns · 1 pointr/slatestarcodex

> What constitutes an permissible objection (e.g. is a poor person asking for welfare justifiable?) and how does one determine its weight? How does one account for the number of people with objections?

Your answers can be found here.

> Defining murder as tautologically wrong isn't a particularly compelling answer to the question.

That part wasn't me answering the question, but pointing out a problem with the way it was asked.

u/BestForkingBot · 1 pointr/TheGoodPlace

You mean:

>There's a book with the same title as Chidi's lecture, What We Owe To Each Other. I've always been of the mindset that we are here for each other. When a friend lost his house and cats to fire, something truly devastating to him, he had a breakdown about how he could possibly move forward. If everything can be taken from you in a moment, what's the forking point?


>The point is to be there for each other. The point is that we're not really here for any reason. We just are. And that's okay. Make the most of it. Make someone smile. Do any small thing. It could mean nothing to anyone. And it could mean everything to just one.


>Give a little love.


>The Book

u/EbDim9 · 1 pointr/socialism

Although I can't think of any free articles or videos off the top of my head, this is a nice, short book that covers a lot of what you have questions about. Cohen is an amazingly clear writer, and while it is certainly not comprehensive, it will give you a good overview of the issues, and some further places to start looking for these answers.

u/AS76RL76 · 1 pointr/neoliberal
u/scg30 · 1 pointr/soccer

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football and Those Feet: A Sensual History of English Football by David Winner were both very well-written and enjoyable reads.

I personally didn't care very much for Franklin Foer's How Football Explains The World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, just found it to be a bit glib in its characterization of the game in different parts of the world, and somewhat reductive in its treatment of specific clubs and their supporters.

Also, I haven't read Soccernomics myself, but have heard/read many rave reviews so that's probably a good bet as many ITT have already mentioned it.

u/the_solution__ · 1 pointr/askpsychology

> Username checks out with response.
(no comment!)

  1. Get yourself a copy of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations - this is a nice readable paperback you can carry with you daily

  2. Pick it up daily and read a paragraph

  3. That's all you need to do for now. A master or mentor is helpful, but they are in short supply these days
u/doctorflipy · 1 pointr/Stoicism
u/horse_killer · 1 pointr/financialindependence

Peter Singer's arguments concerning extreme poverty convinced me to donate a portion of my income to highly effective charities a long time ago, long before I started pursuing FI. And while I view FIRE as a goal worth striving for, I view donating to charity as a moral imperative. That's my reason for continuing to donate to charity. It's just more important to me.

If you'd like to learn more, check out this TED Talk by William MacAskill.

u/Sich_befinden · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

David Benatar is pretty well known for explicitly arguing that having children is unethical (see his *Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence)

Peter Singer is phenomenal for his breadth of topics, he does discuss the ethics of overpopulation and consumption fairly regularly (see this little speech or his book The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty).

Other than that, as TychoCelchuuu suggests, the SEP is a good place to start.

u/theluppijackal · 1 pointr/Christianity

Peter Singer talked about this in 'The Life You Can Save'

I'm sure some people here have some strong opinions on him [I do too] but I actually do recommend this book.

u/MarkTheDead · 0 pointsr/slavelabour

Still looking for a PDF of

Shafer-Landau, R. (2015). The fundamentals of ethics (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0199997233 | ISBN-13: 978-0199997237 

Paypal, $3.

u/securetree · 0 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

I know you don't want any Huemer facts...but I thought it was cool that Stuart Rachels wrote a back cover review for Michael Huemer's book on Ethical Intuitionism.

I had that Elements too, though unfortunately I'm in the same boat as you so no recommendations. Just...please don't dogmatically adopt ethical theory that leads you to the conclusions you want to be true, m'kay? (cough Ethics of Liberty)