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Atheist Experience
Moral Philosophy

I've been exploring theism and atheism over the last year or so, and this has now lead me begin a journey in moral philosophy. Many apologists state that Religion fulfills humankind's need for a system of moral philosophy, but I disagree. A system of moral philosophy, in my opinion, must be living and vibrant, open to continuous discussion and debate. In contrast, Religion tends to offer fixed rules that its followers are not permitted to question. Furthermore, in contrast to the reward of what might be called a Humanist approach to morality, which is goodness for its own sake, Religious morality offers unnecessary external rewards and punishments. Can anyone recommend a good book on moral philosophy or have an opinion on this topic?

A recent book in this area that has provoked a lot of discussion is Sam Harris's "The Moral Landscape". That might be a good starting point.

Thanks Don,

I've listened to Sam's lectures - I think I'll ask "Santa" for a copy of "The Moral Landscape". I wonder if its worth reading the classics in moral philosophy or if it's better to delve into contemporary stuff, which probably references the classics anyway? I'm currently working on Steven Pinker's "How the Mind Works", which is excellent so far. It follows nicely from Dan Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous Idea", a tough read (I actually skipped the last few chapters) but well worth the effort. Have you read anything by A. C. Graying?


I enjoyed Dennett, though, you're right. I had to put some effort into it. Pinker is quite respected, though I have yet to read his works. I'm not familiar with Grayling. Do you have a recommendation?

If you want to get into serious moral philosophy that actually includes the philosophy part read J.L. Mackie or D.D. Raphael. Harris is not a professional ethicist and his views on moral philosophy are not grounded in philosophy but science.

Hi Dean,

On my list of books to read is "The Humanist Bible" by A.C. Grayling. I think I'll start there. I always enjoy Youtube clips with Grayling he is so well spoken and I like his soft-spoken approach.

Cheers, Chris

Have you ever asked yourself why bother? It seems to me more than ever that being ethical or moral is the latest fad. I can not find fault in people taking advantage of stupid or pitiful people nor do I think I am obligated to. The difference between me and them is that despite my position I will do what I have to to get back on top. If over 6 billion people vanished from the face of the Earth I would not shed a tear or even blink. And not all the appeals to psychology or evil will change reality. If it is me or you, you'd better watch your back. Being ethical or moral is just a pussies way out. Besides, your position is not even founded on logic. All ethical claims are based on logical fallacies. Emotion, authority, god-- take your pick.

I guess you won't mind, then if someone robs you, beats you up, and then kills you.

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