Seeking a secular ethics: “what we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without” -HHDL. (It’s amusing when they show slides to HHDL that are just his own quotes.) But how can you expect to get everyone to agree on an ethics without taking into account the different reasons people might have for valuing various outcomes? Conversations with Michael Glasgow have made it clear to me that you can’t simply expect everyone to agree on a utilitarian foundation, or any kind of argument based on the expected outcomes of the ethics. Deontological ethics are alive and well. And for that matter, whatever foundation you try to build your “secular” ethics on, how can you say that the foundation itself does not require faith? I might be a utilitarian, and I might assert that the greatest good for the greatest number is a foundation that is objective and requires no faith, but what do I say to someone who simply doesn’t believe that?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s