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Another philosophy essay contest: Moral Non-naturalism

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Recently, we noted a philosophy prize for an essay on “Materialism, Non-materialism and Immaterialism” (here, October 1), from Britian’s Royal Institute of Philosophy. There’s also the Res Philosophica (journal) essay prize of $3,000 plus publication, deadline April 1, 2014, up to 12,000 wds (includes footnotes).

Topic: Moral Nonnaturalism:

The recent history of moral nonnaturalism has been both tumultuous and unpredictable. In the early 20th century, thanks to the work of philosophers such as G. E. Moore and W. D. Ross, nonnaturalism was arguably the dominant metaethical position in Anglo-American philosophy. By mid-century, however, the view had fallen into disfavor, eclipsed by various versions of expressivism and moral naturalism. Indeed, by century’s end, most philosophers had given up nonnaturalism for dead. The view seemed to be of historical interest only.

Few, then, could have predicted that nonnaturalism would receive fresh and vigorous defenses in the early 21st century. Philosophers such as Russ Shafer-Landau, Ralph Wedgwood, David Enoch, and David Parfit each offered book-length defenses of the view, developing the case that moral nonnaturalism is a far more resilient, resourceful, and plausible position than most had assumed.

While nonnaturalism is now, once again, a view that philosophers take very seriously, challenges remain. Some of these challenges concern the view’s ontological commitments: How ought we to understand what a nonnatural property (or fact) is? … More.

As with so many items that whistle through here these days, the fact that this is happening is a story in itself. Maybe a book of essays will result.

2 Replies to “Another philosophy essay contest: Moral Non-naturalism

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Not that I am anywhere near qualified to tackle that philosophical topic on morals, I would like to point out, once again, as I did the other day, that advances in science have returned a overarching sense of ‘moral’ dignity to man.

    Guillermo Gonzalez, Hugh Ross and Michael Denton

    In fact much contrary to Dawkins ‘blind, pitiless, indifference’ contention,,,

    “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”
    Richard Dawkins

    Advances in science have revealed that, ‘at bottom’, the universe we observe has, contrary to what Dawkins believes, precisely the properties that would be expected if the universe were indeed created by almighty God who cares very much for each and everyone of us and watches over us:

    The Galileo Affair and ‘life’ as the true “Center of the Universe”
    excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15]

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    Thus much contrary to the narrative told to us currently by Dawkins (and by Carl Sagan last century), science now reveals to us that man is much more special than we were originally led to believe by our science:

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…

    Related note:

    The following site is very interesting;

    The Scale of The Universe – Part 2 – interactive graph (recently updated in 2012 with cool features)

    The preceding interactive graph points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality! i.e. 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of ‘observable’ length in the universe since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than what appears to be directly in the exponential middle;

    Of course none of the preceding empirical evidence addresses exactly what we ‘morally ought’ to do in this would, but I think it is fairly obvious that it restores a moral foundation to man that was lost in the nihilism inherent in the ‘mediocrity principle’, i.e. the Copernican principle


    Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmm this is a very interesting finding:

    Human brains are hardwired for empathy, friendship, study shows, – August 22, 2013
    “Perhaps one of the most defining features of humanity is our capacity for empathy – the ability to put ourselves in others’ shoes. A new University of Virginia study strongly suggests that we are hardwired to empathize because we closely associate people who are close to us – friends, spouses, lovers – with our very selves. “With familiarity, other people become part of ourselves,” said James Coan, a U.Va. psychology professor in the College of Arts & Sciences who used functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans to find that people closely correlate people to whom they are attached to themselves. …”Our self comes to include the people we feel close to,” Coan said. …”The finding shows the brain’s remarkable capacity to model self to others; that people close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real.”


    Chris Tomlin – Whom Shall I Fear

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