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Morality


Overviews of naturalized morality are here and here.

Can science justify universal human rights? - a reply to Sam Harris's Moral Landscape Challenge.

Letter to seniors at Heritage Christian School - on the Holocaust and naturalistic moral objectivity.

Empiricism and Equality - allegiance to scientific empiricism tends to support the progressive value of universal human rights.

Medicine and Morality: Reconciling the Conflicts - medicine and morality can be understood as mutually constraining paradigms that can work together in a reformed crime prevention and treatment system.

Review of Walter Glannon's Bioethics and the Brain, for the American Journal of Bioethics, V7 #5, May, 2007.

Holding Mechanisms Responsible - a response to bioethicist Walter Glannon's "Free will and responsibility in the age of neuroscience." The conscious mind needn't be an exception to causality for us to be morally responsible agents.  11/06

Naturalism and Normativity - a sketch of how to get from is to ought without committing either the naturalistic or supernaturalistic fallacies.  3/06

The Ethics of Empiricism - because it ignores the empirical evidence that grounds good medical practice, the supernaturalism of Christian Science has harmful consequences. 9/05

Materialism and Morality - This paper defuses the seeming threat of naturalistic materialism to morality, using some passages from Harvard cognitive scientist Stephen Pinker's How the Mind Works as a target.  Pinker, like his former colleague Marvin Minsky, supposes that we must "idealize" ourselves as uncaused creatures in order to have morality.  That is, he thinks we must pretend to have free will, even though science shows we don't.*  Naturally, and naturalistically, I take issue with this and try to show that we need not compartmentalize science and ethics.  I suggest that this is not merely an academic issue, but has real world consequences for how we approach social deviance and destructive behavior (for an example, see On Addiction: The Science of Stigma). This essay originally appeared in the Humanist.  Note: Pinker no longer believes free will is a necessary fiction, but his earlier view is still widely held.  8/98

A Naturalistic Lexicon of Morality - moral terms naturalized using some examples from the Clinton era.

Secularism and Sexuality: The Case for Gay Equality - Since there are no objective harms of being or acting gay, there are no reasons to withhold any constitutional right from homosexuals, including marriage.


External link to neuroethics:

Neuroethics Portal - Established by the Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Mainz (IFZN), this platform contributes to the neuroethics community by delivering a centralized and downloadable bibliography (including direct export into reference managing tools), plus simultaneously offering the technical means for the whole community to keep it up to date - a "Wikiography" (thanks to Thomas Metzinger).

 

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