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Learning Morality from Bill and Ted


Early in this review series, I mentioned how Sean Carroll's new book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, 2016), gradually becomes weaker as you move through the chapters. It starts off strong and invigorating as he talks about cosmology and fundamental physics, his specialities. But as he moves into the philosophy of mind, meaning, and morality, he gets a bit wobbly. Moving From Ought to Is That's evident especially in his chapter on "What... Read More

Moral Relativism, Conscience, and G.E.M. Anscombe

G.E.M. Anscombe

What should we make of the proposal that there's no such thing as objective morality, that morals are just determined by cultures or by individuals? That's what I'd like to address in this post. I specifically engage the cultural relativism advocated by Ruth Benedict, who claimed that “good” and “evil” are socially determined. I argue instead for the moral absolutism advocated by the British Catholic analytical philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe (G.E.M. Anscombe). This post will proceed... Read More