Thursday, October 29, 2009

Barker vs. Deen at King's College London

Adam Deen eloquently argues that if people are merely made of matter, then human moral concepts and moral feelings are utterly worthless, because there is no one up in the sky to obey and obedience to authority is self-eivdently the only sort of morality worth having. He stretches this single point out for quite a while, delving into various ideas such as moral subjectivism, accountability, personal taste, and metaphysical determinism. He appeals to several common intuitions for which he provides no evidence whatsoever, such as the idea of libertarian free will. When it all comes down to it, he is essentially yearning aloud to be liberated from the onerous task of moral reasoning by finding Someone to whom to fully submit himself. Incidentally, Mr. Deen is a Muslim, which means "one who submits."

Barker argues that moral feelings are inherent to most people and that we should work to help people not because we value obedience but because we value people themselves.

Overall, it was a satisfactory debate, but I would have greatly appreciated any attempts to drills down into the various motivations for moral action and what they imply for the competing theories of morality.

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