Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sean Carroll's Analysis Of Morality Agrees With Mine In Some Points -- I Think

Sean Carroll -- Sean M Carroll, that is, the physicist at Cal Tech, not Sean B Carroll, the biologist at the University of Wisconsin -- is a prominent scientist and also an outspoken atheist, which may sound as if he a New Atheist. I'm not sure whether he is, though. He has repeatedly publicly criticized positions of prominent New Atheists, which, as I pointed out in this blog post, New Atheists just don't seem to do, being much too busy attacking religion, The Cause Of All Evil Since The Beginning Of Time in their estimation.

In the case of this article, Carroll finds himself at odds with New Atheist superstar Sam Harris on the subject of morality.

And in agreement with me, I think. I study philosophy in the way which involves learning other languages so as to be able to read Nietzsche, Spinoza and Sartre, and so forth, in German, Latin and French, and so forth; whereas Carroll seems to favor the approach which requires learning English words with 5, 6 or even more syllables, many of which, frankly, I don't understand: "consequentialist." "Deontological." Horrible, horrible words like that. But I think we both agree that Harris, and, for example, John Stuart Mill, completely miss the inevitable subjectivity of morality. Mill and Nietzsche and Sartre and Harris and Carroll and I all would very likely want the same things, I think, in the vast majority of cases of what are commonly called moral choices. But Nietzsche and Sartre and Carroll and I grasp the complexity of the world somewhat better than do Mill and Harris, and the inevitable difficulties involved in "making everything right," and the necessity of putting quotation marks around phrases such as "making everything right," and so forth.

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