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Science and morality

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Old Main, USU


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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Head on over to the SHAFT website to hear a TED lecture by Sam Harris on science and morality.  He basically argues against the is-ought problem and promotes an ‘ethics of human flourishing’ which can be informed by science.  I (Kleiner) posted a very long comment in which I point out the striking similarities between Harris’ view and Aristotelian/Thomistic eudaimonistic natural law ethics.  To be perfectly honest I don’t just point them out, I gloat.


  1. blood_and_ashes says:

    Always enjoy the gloating Harrison, even when brats like Hunt try to put ya down. Thanks as always for talking by the stairs.


  2. Source says:

    I wouldn’t want to call names online, but let me back Will up in assuring you that we all love you.


  3. Kleiner says:

    No need to prop me up, friends. Do I make it seem like my feelings get hurt or something? They don’t. I do get frustrated by the persistence in error when errors have been compassionately corrected. But such as it is. I am fully aware that when I engage SHAFTers I put myself deep into enemy territory. I actually like it there.


  4. Source says:

    It’s just your one-man crusade. I assume that sometimes it gets tiring. I’m glad you like it, though; SHAFTblog would be boring without you.


  5. Jake says:

    Is Harris rejecting Kant’s categorical imperative?


  6. Hunt says:

    Ha! When I’m done with Kleiner, he’s going to be the fifth horseman.


  7. Eric says:

    That’s most the reason I visit the SHAFT blog is to read what Kleiner has to say.


  8. Horsemen are fascinating figures, I wouldn’t mind, but you’ve had your ass handed to you pretty regularly thus far. I don’t know what “shotgun” you were implying about but Harrison came armed, and its clear now under your big dark coat was a spoon, that you clung to still in rigor mortis.


  9. Hunt says:

    Well, don’t worry about it B&A, from now on I’m going to leave Kleiner to his rosary beads. But instead of pestering SHAFT, I think his formidable philosophical skills would be better directed solving the seemingly insuperable problem of how to keep condomless priests out of choirboys.


    • Kleiner says:

      Thank you for the substantive and thoughtful contribution, Hunt.

      B&A, let’s not incite anything else. I’d prefer to keep our discussions free of this sort of nonsense.


      • Source says:

        I would also like to request that we all keep discussion serious and impersonal. People are not their ideas; although it’s easy to be cruel on the internet because you never see a face and never face repercussions, personal attacks lead nowhere and destroy the spirit of openness needed for philosophic discussion.


  10. Hunt says:

    Who will educate the educators?

    — Marx


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