Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Update on Meta-ethics

This post serves two main functions. First, I wanted to update everyone on what's going to appear in my second post on meta-ethics. Second, if anyone was curious, I wanted to show people the process I go through when writing a long post. Much of it is just stream-of-consciousness: if I come up with an idea while reading a paper or working in the lab, I either scribble it down or get to my computer as soon as possible to type out a rough version of it. This leads to the stream-of-consciousness narrative you see below. And then over the course of a few days to a week or two, I type out the full post with all the ideas fleshed out and publish it. I then periodically make modifications as new ideas come to me, correct spelling errors, do re-formatting here-and-there, etc. So here's my current stream-of-consciousness (with no spelling corrections) for my second post on meta-ethics as of 6:30am, Sept 7, 2012 [feel free to compare this to the final post when it comes out]:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Morality: Realism, Nihilism, and God

Unfortunately, for some reason I can no longer update this post using the blogger program. Luckily, I can get around this problem by posting any modifications as PDFs. So the PDF containing my post is given here. Enjoy. [And thanks to Rayndeon for advising that I to do this.]

The abridged argument map which summarizes each section's argument is given here.

The abridged map is a bit outdated and the post is incomplete, much of it still in stream-of-consciousness form. It's also long. Very long. Treat as a working draft. I expect to be working on this for at least the rest of the year, and will incorporate further rebuttals to arguments against moral naturalism as time goes on.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another update and My Contempt for Paulomycin

The meta-ethics paper will be out by Sunday night. All the content is written already and now I'm just formatting the references, proofreading, and thinking things over. I normally like to give myself 2 days between when I think my final draft is done and when I actually post so that I can reflect as needed.

Anyway, I just wanted to post something that reflects my loathing for a certain presuppositional apologist I encountered. If I ever meet him on the web again, I will be sure to heap healthy quantities of disdain upon his smug, contemptuous, ignorant...thing. If you don't want to hear a pointless, angry rant, then please do not read the rest of this post. However, if you want to see what I'm like when I get pissed, continue on. So here's the rant; better I present it here than defile my paper with it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

An Update and Abridged Maps

I’m probably not going to get the meta-ethics paper done this weekend, though I made a lot of progress. For those who are curious: it’s at about 75 pages single-spaced right now; I’d be stunned if it doesn’t end up topping 85 pages. So I seem to be in the habit of making the rare extremely long post as opposed to making numerous smaller posts (at least when it comes to philosophy; I doubt it will be the same for manga, video games, etc. since my discussions there will be more self-contained).  Given the extreme length of these posts, readers may have trouble keeping track of all the arguments. As they say: “you can get lost in the weeds,” or, “you miss the forest because of the trees.”

To remedy this problem, I will include a sort of abridged argument map for any of my long posts on philosophy (no, not that kind of “abridged series”). This should allow to reader to see the core points I am trying to get at in each section. And if the reader is curious about my supporting arguments for a particular claim, they can just read the appropriate section in the full post. I will definitely make maps for both “Ontological Arguments: A Critique” and my two upcoming posts “Morality: Realism, Nihilism, and God” and “Morality: Pluralism, Naturalism, and Nihilism.”

Hope this helps.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Modal Arguments for God: A Guide

If you've been around apologists or philosophically-minded theists long enough, you've run into someone advocating an ontological argument (OA for short) or some modal argument for God's existence (MAG). Maybe it's a modal cosmological argument, an argument relating to the principle of sufficient reason (PSR), a modal epistemic argument, etc. I, along with many other atheists and some theists, tire of these arguments. MAG proponents often engage in special pleading, ad hoc re-definitions of terms, or simply lack a basic understanding of the concepts involved in their own argument. Hovwever, remember that most MAG advocates are genuine, well-meaning people who either: 1) missed out on some crucial philosophical information [happens to the best of us], or 2) were misled by the most deceptive philosopher I've ever seen: William Lane Craig. Yet as most atheists soon realize, you can explain a MAG's fallacies, equivocations, etc. and proponents still support the argument. So I am writing this brief guide to help combat this problem. Most of my advice will come from my experience with the PSR and the OA (see my exchange with Mentat1231 and my post "Ontological Arguments: A Critique"). However, this advice should aid atheists and theists in combating other MAGs as well. Here we go!

Getting things rolling again

Hello everyone.

The meta-ethics paper is beginning to eat my soul! At this point, it's taking more out of me than I expected and thus slows down my post rate. So I'm going to keep working on the paper, but meanwhile I'll be discussing other subjects as well. So I should be posting some stuff on music, manga, and video games soon. And maybe some other mildy interesting stuff as well. And if you have not already, please check out the following Youtube channels: MistyGothisTrenchantAtheistConsciousnessOnline, khanpadawanMrBtongue, and KnownNoMore, among others.

For death metal fans, or anyone who loves the sort of music I do, Archspire's released a new track off their upcoming album. Among the recently formed death metal bands, Archspire is probably my favorite and they seem to have the most potential. I think they'll be able to carry technical death metal into new directions since unlike most other TDM bands (with a few exceptions such as Atheist, Fallujah, Gorod, Son of Aurelius, and [of course] Spawn of Possession; along with metal bands outside of TDM such as Sigh and Septic Flesh), they aren't afraid to incorporate other musical styles and actually blend them well when they do (so no, Origin's new album does not count, nor does every other bands half-hearted instrumental sections that are never integrated into the rest of the song or album). Don't believe me? Listen to the last two tracks off of their debut All Shall Align, back-to-back: Rapid Elemental Dissolve and All Shall Align. One of the top 3 album closers I've ever heard. That, and they have one of my favorite vocalists; are catchier than virtually any other band, even in pop; Spencer Prewett is God; and their lyrics (especially on Rapid Elemental Dissolve) are ungodly.

Bye, and may Yuno watch you while you sleep.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Youtube PM exchange with TrenchantAtheist

I've been hard at work on my defense of atheistic moral realism against moral arguments for God. It's simply taking awhile. But here's two pieces of good news. First, my defense of moral realism will be significantly longer then my paper of the OA and will therefore be split into multiple parts. The first part will deal with moral arguments for God + Moore's open-question argument + the is/ought distinction + moral conceptual analysis + tracking of moral properties, while the subsequent posts will defend my pluralistic moral naturalism against the REAL, significant meta-ethical challenges: moral nihilism, alternative versions of moral realism, and moral non-cogntivism (none of which claim that moral realism requires God). So that should provide more content for discussion. Second, I've received permission to post another Youtube Private Message exchange. Feel free to comment and discuss.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Part D of my meta-ethical exchange with Clear404 [Moral necessity defeats God]

Part C of my meta-ethical exchange with Clear404 [The Joycean acknowledges sensei Joyce before surpassing him]

Part B of my meta-ethical exchange with Clear404 [Clear404 and NJ take off the kiddy gloves]

Part A of my Youtube discussion with the theistic reasons internalist Clear404

Being the lazy, truant person that I am (all hail Slaking!), it's taking me awhile to finish my first paper on meta-ethics. So as compensation, I'm positing this interesting back-and-forth on meta-ethics and divine command theory.

While I was acting like an idiot savant via my Youtube channel, I ran into a theistic apologist named Clear404 in late May 2012 or early June 2012 on the video "The complete idiots guide to atheism" (by strangestdude). So if you want to see the context for the discussion which follows, please go to the comments section of that video. We commented back and forth for awhile and then continued our discussions via Youtube PMs. Unlike virtually EVERY proponent of God-based ethics or divine command theory and the moral argument for God I've encountered (outside of professional philosophers), Clear404 had actually done some reading in meta-ethics and knew what he/she was talking about. He/she was still wrong, but at least they were wrong in an intelligent way. So I leapt at the chance to engage such a theist. The discussion was stimulating and allowed me to hone many of the ideas that will appear in my posts on meta-ethics. 

With Clear404's permission, I've decided to post the PMs, with the only modifications in them being the removal of personal information. Unfortunately, this will again leave me looking like a jerk in a few places. However, unlike in my discussion with Mentat1231, I think I was cordial most of the time and whenever I got pissed off with Clear404, it was justified (ex: his/her's abuse of the charge "question-begging."). At the time of the discussion, I will still deciding between moral nihilism and moral naturalism; currently, I lean more towards the latter. Hope this spurs some discussion.

Readers new to moral philosophy should probably start with my post Morality: Realism, Nihilism, and God before reading this exchange. That post serves as a useful introduction to the terminology Clear404 and I use in this exchange. For those in a rush, I'd recommend focusing on the intro to section I of that post, along with section I-B-2b, to get the gist of the terminology. Sections I-B-1a, I-B-1b-i, and I-B-1b-ii may also be helpful.

Here we go!:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Part 5 of my discussion with Mentat1231, or "the debate concludes [No seriously; I mean it this time]."

Part 4 of my discussion with Mentat1231, or "why you NEVER piss off the Joycean"

Part 3 of my discussion with Mentat1231, or "Noct shows his first signs of intelligence; Mentat concurs with this assessment"

Part 3 of a trilogy always blows... unless its "the Dark Knight Rises" or "Evil Dead" or "Pokemon" (though that's more of an installment franchise, as opposed to a trilogy) or... Anywho, here's the third installment of Mentat1231's and my Youtube private message discussion.

Part 2 of my discussion with Mentat1231, or "NJ has no life; Mentat's fulfilling personal life reminds NJ of this"

Backed by popular demand, a continuation of my Youtube private message discussion with the theist Mentat1231:

Part 1 of my Youtube exchange with Mentat1231

I decided to include this interesting back-and-forth to tide people over until I post my meta-ethics paper.

While I was acting like an idiot via my Youtube channel (if you've encountered me on Youtube, you know I can be a jerk; on Youtube I'm nothing like what I am in chat rooms or on this blog), I ran into a theistic apologist named Mentat1231 in late May 2012 on the video "Is God Necessary for Morality? William Lane Craig vs Shelly Kagan Debate" (by bdw5000). We commented back and forth for awhile and then continued our discussions via Youtube PMs. So if you want to see the context for the discussion which follows, please go to the comments section of that video. The discussion was stimulating and allowed me to hone many of the ideas that appeared in my paper on the ontological argument, and my subsequent papers (currently in the works) on meta-ethics, Kalam, and the teleological argument. With Mentat1231's permission, I've decided to post the PMs, with the only modifications in them being the removal of personal information. Unfortunately, this will leave me do I put this nicely..."immature" in a lot of my posts. Well, being 21 is no excuse. At the time of the discussion, I will still deciding between moral nihilism and moral naturalism; currently, I lean more towards the latter. Hope this spurs some discussion.

Also, please remember that ALL CAPS is the only way to add emphasis in Youtube private messages; bold, italics, and underlining are not transferred. So when I or Mentat1231 employ ALL CAPS, we are (usually) not yelling at one another; we are just trying to emphasize a point.

[I also never asked Mentat1231 to stop calling me "sir", though I never asked them to call me that either. My raging, 21-year-old ego would not allow it]:

Pokemon Noobs

I just wanted to troll Rayndeon for a bit.


Rayndeon: you may know a lot about philosophy, but your Pokemon knowledge is sorely lacking. How could you not know that there were originally 152, NOT 151 pokemon? How could you forget MissingNo? That's like discussing Platonism without knowing who Plato was! I think I'm going to have to start an informal course educating people on the nuances of Pokemon.

Anyway, with that matter out of the way, I should have a new post on meta-ethics by the end of this weekend or the end of next weekend. Hopefully, all 3 of you are looking forward to it. 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ontological Arguments: A Critique

Well this is it: my first serious blog post ever.

I'm almost as nervous as I was the first time I rode my bike without training wheels. I've tried to keep technical terminology to a minimum, and provide lots of useful examples and analogies, so my arguments should be relatively easy to follow. I still don't know how to insert links into the outline section so that readers can easily jump to the section they want (if anyone could tell me how to do this, I would greatly appreciate it). So if you want to jump to a certain section, I'd recommend just copying and pasting the section heading from the outline into the "Ctrl + F" menu. Only underlined headings appear in the body of the text. 

Given this post's length, feel free to use the shorter argument map to keep track of all the arguments or, if you're in a rush, as a substitute for the longer post itself.

Without further ado, let's tackle ontological arguments for God!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Getting started

I'll be posting something on the ontological argument very soon, along with some subsequent posts on the following subjects:

- meta-ethics (moral arguments for God, the is/ought problem, moral nihilism/naturalism, etc.)
- "function" in the context of naturalistic evolution and the Intelligent Design movement
- my take on the Kalam cosmological argument for God, especially its relation to philosophy of mind
- why I prefer seinen manga to shounen and why most popular shounen manga blow
- random insanity

Hopefully I'll learn how this new-fangled blogging system works.

See ya, and hope things go well for you.