Rawls, Shelley Shelly, Ben Shapiro discussed on Science Salon

Science Salon


Sorry Shelley Shelly. Kagan fact you have a blurb from Shelly I think on your near death. Experiences is book. Kelly says on that particular quote this strikes me as an outrageous thing to suggest. It doesn't really matter he's here talking about the Nazi tortures. It doesn't really matter. Surely it matters to the torture victims. When they're being tortured it doesn't require that this makes them toz MC difference Princeton the turtles significance of the universe for it to matter whether a human being tortured it matters to them? Manage their family matters to us right and imagine if the Nazi told the victim. Look I'm doing this but it really doesn't matter because eventually it'll be over eventually. We'll all be dusk. That would be a terrible argument. Doc and Wayne craigslist similarly terrible. Yeah well that's the arguments made Just a couple of other examples. Ben Shapiro's new book The right side of history. I had been on my podcast. He's a friend. I I really like Ben. But he and he's much more intellectual than than most Theissen on this regard but he takes on pinker myself and Sam Harris that the argument that moral values can be derived through reason. And you know the the whole enlightment project and so on. And so you know. Ben's argument in this book is that it's it's Athens and Jerusalem that is pinker and Harrison Ir depending any non Athens Greek reason and all that but but Jerusalem and so he's really leaning here on this biblical idea that humans were remain in God's image and that's what gives us dignity and that's what grounds moral values and something beyond just survival and flourishing of human beans means or the or the wellbeing of conscious creatures Osam defines it. He wants something more again. It's that there's some outside source that says this is valuable right well exactly so. The argument sometimes pertain to ethics moral values but also to meaningfulness list or meaning in life and obviously some people argue that without God that would be no meaning in life and again. I think that argument is problematic. Attic and one way of putting it is if we are made in God's image what exactly is that but what it's got or who is God what his properties that we mirror. What exactly What specifically could give us guidance? So as you now another southern Californian Rick Warren famous minister in China has yeah right right. Has Written a book about the purpose driven life. Hyphen says his arm. Meaning comes from fulfilling God's mission from us God God's purpose for us but now the question is what exactly is purpose. What exactly is it to live in accordance with God's mission for us if if it's very abstract then it doesn't really give us any specific guidance and we have the same problem we would have if we were secular and didn't believe in God but if it's very specific so God has specific concrete person purpose for each individual my purposes to be of last week Preveza. Your Rep assist us to be a public intellectual and very interested in philosophy by the way you say. You're not but I've seen some of your Oregon podcast you're very interested in philosophy and some people's purposes to be a painter some s to be a brick layer. That just seems then to to leave very little room for free will and also raises the question. How do I know my specific purpose? So my own view is. It doesn't really help much deposit. Is it that God has purpose for us or that. We are living in God's image I mean how exactly does that help I would also any also many people employ God as an inference and inference to the best explanation. How do we explain certain nominee while we have to invoke God? How do we explain morality? How do we explain? Explain meeting in Life God had we explain causation. How's ation or design in the universe? Got But my question always is. Is that really the best inference. I agree for some. It's a very good comforting idea that there is a got and I would never want to dissuade them. I'm in my I'm not in the business. snus of removing people's comfort about their lives and about death. I don't really want to do that but I would argue that. The people who say we couldn't have meaning in life are we couldn't have ethics without God. That is wrong. That's just wrong. Well they're I guess they're counter to that is that you you must then be a moral relativist even if you say well. Our constitution guarantees these rights or we have a bill of rights or we have a social contract that can all be removed. Yeah we we get a new regime that topples the current regime and it's just human convention. There's no there's no truth of the capital T. or objectivity behind signed therefore you're a moral relativist right but you're not a moral relativist are you. I'm not in a way I am in a way I'm not. I Follow Philosophers Light John. Ross who believes that what we do is we reflect critically on our evaluative or moral judgments where they might call are considered sittard. intuitions not just our you know our views when we have had a few beers. We're talking to our friends or when we're in a panic or whatever. Whatever or where enraged are reflective intuitions about moral matters in cool rational place? And then we systematize those Schmitz. We look for principles. We Prune the judgments we adjust the principles. We adjust everything. So where in what. He called reflective equilibrium. And that does mean that we start from certain starting so I am a raw to this in the sense that I understand. Stand if you started with very different intuitions or berry different principles that you're attached to. You'll probably come up with a different reflective give equilibrium rawls talked about an overlapping consensus in which different groups will have a core of shared views. So I'm not a radical relativists relativists. But I do think we have to start from certain starting point if you posit objective truths then you avoid that kind of relativism awesome but then you create the pistol logical problem. How do we know what those objective And as you know religious use according to which there is one objective. Truth can't in. Its in themselves. Solve this episode product so many of the wars and conflicts in the world both are precisely between religious groups each of which they have the objective trick so yes we all have our problems in philosophy. You can't avoid in my view. Certain starting on since a certain kind of relativism. Broadly construed unless you adopted view which creates at the static problems that are just as deep. I think if not deeper because as human beings we need to coordinate our behavior we need to eliminate or at least reduce war and strife and pain and intolerance and to move to a an end objective truth about ethics or meaning. Doesn't solve any of those problems rawls is position of ignorance or the original condition. Where if I don't know which group I'm going to be in? I want to write the law in such a way that if I'm in the bag the minority group of the group is likely to be discriminated against. I want a lot of protect protect me. That's kind of a to me. It's kind of a scientific argument. Inasmuch as it assumes that human nature is universal. We'd all rather be alive than dead. The free than enslaved you know rather than starving and so on and from there you can build certain characteristics. That civil society should have these kinds of things. Now we may. He ended up in disputes. About what is the right tax rate to support those kinds of programs are universal healthcare. Whatever but fundamentally we all want the same thing we we you WanNa be alive than dead we want to flourish and so forth from there you can build something like that and there's a and the Copernican principle that I'm not special that my brain is designed nine the same way as your brain therefore I can suffer? You can probably suffer and if that hurts me it'd probably hurt you from there. You can kind of build some kind fine of maybe. You don't want to use the word objective moral values but something like derive moral values derived from not just philosophy but also empirical science. We can observe what people want exactly. And that's why rawls uses the term wide reflective women. So it's not just our intuitive judgments even cool reflected our but we incorporate the best science as well and It is a kind of objectivity it may not be objectivity with a a large O or maybe it has a capital o but the rest of the letters are capitalized. But it is a kind of objectivity Susan Wolf and her interesting work on the meaning of alive and on free will does think of consensus of a rosy in kind as a kind of objectivity may be the only kind of objectivity that we really can get. Let me also emphasize. It's not just the religious views we believe in objective. Truce if you look at conference argues that there are objective truth in con- from the fact that we're all similarly rational beings and what he wants to do is derive objective crews from our nature as rational creatures. Now I think there are problems with this kind of secular objectivity as well. But you don't don't have to be religious truth right then in that in that kind of savings into the discussion the afterlife and immortality inasmuch as is one aspect that seems to be important a lot of people is that the afterlife also is the source of cosmic courthouse where all wrongs are righted and evil. People are punished and Hitler didn't get away with it. Stalin didn't get away with it. I can see the appeal of that. There's a tremendous appeal. I think has been something about human nature and human beings that wants our that is very very attracted to religion if you think religion as a way of solving problems one of the problems we have is The injustice that we see in our actual worlds and our desire to see at rectify. And I think that's a very powerful force. The early Jews did not really believe in an afterlife. Or there's nothing in early Judaism that corresponds to the Christian Ocean of an Acolyte but in the Middle Ages. Jewish people were really struggling with author's idea of injustice and so the rabbis added some at some material about the acolyte but the idea was to rectify the injustices that we see in in this world and the Black Church in America has been very important in imparting hope to people that this unjust world will conventionally be fixed and it will only be this will be a blip or a grain of sand in a in a large beach of tranquillity injustice. So we we we want that and we also want an explanation for what happens around us.

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