I want to create a list of all the books I have read in the year. This is nice way to keep a record of my reading while holding myself accountable to reading. Note that these are books I’ve read from cover to cover. This is not counting all the bits and pieces of books I read for class or for research. I will mark whatever books I am currently reading through with an ‘(in progress)’. At the end of the year, if I remember, I will mark my favorites with an asterisk.

Updated: 5/19/2017

Nonfiction

  1. Robert C. Roberts, Spiritual Emotions: A Psychology of Christian Virtues*
  2. J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler, The Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering the Disciplines of the Good Life 
  3. N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
  4. Eleonore Stump, The God of the Bible and the God of the Philosophers 
  5. James E. Dolezal, God Without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness (in progress)

Fiction

  1. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
  2. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King (in progress)

Where did time go? Well, I’m going to stop apologizing for lack of posts since this seems to be a reoccurring theme. I’ll just post what I can, when I can! But I do plan on doing some posts. I’m about to start reading David Lewis’ “On the Plurality of Worlds.” I’m just tied down a bit with weekly papers for class. But I will be doing that, and it would be cool to do a blog precise of each chapter as I go through the book outlining the argument. I also plan on doing something lighter in terms of rigor. I’m currently reading through the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I figured it would be pretty neat to blog about some of the Christian themes that I pick up on as I read and to offer some of my thoughts on its application for our lives. I’m also reading Athansaius’ On the Incarnation. I think there are some good ideas there for a theodicy or something of the sort. That’s another project that I’m about to get started on with a friend of mine. So, let us hope and pray that I actually follow through and get it started soon. 🙂

Gosh, it’s been such a while since I’ve last posted anything. Please forgive me. I was finishing up my last semester at State. I’ve been accepted to Talbot School of Theology’s (Biola University) MA program in philosophy! I should be starting that soon. I was also working a job and doing full time trying to graduate this last semester. In addition to all that I was reviewing for an undergraduate academic journal. So I was really prevented from posting anything. But I am back, and I really plan on writing more. I need ways to increase my writing skills and philosophical acumen, and this is the perfect place to do so. Expect some new material soon! They’ll probably much shorter stuff since the longer material takes more time to write. Happy new year to any of those who happen to stumble on this post!

Ayer takes subjectivism to be the thesis that actions are right or good if a person or group of persons approves of it. The subjectivist thinks, according to Ayer, that one can translate statement of value into statements of empirical fact. The subjectivist does this by banking their theory on the feeling of approval, which is a psychological judgment, i.e., it would be a claim about the feelings of the subject, and thus it has truth-value and can be verified. The subjectivist takes statements of the form ‘X is wrong’ and ‘X is right’ as ‘I disapprove of X’ and ‘I approve of X’ respectively. In another post I said that the truth value of “X is wrong/right” on subjectivism would be derived from the individual’s saying it. This is still consistent with what is being said above since the statements ‘I disapprove of X’ is a psychological judgment that is entirely dependent on me. If I were to change my belief and approve of X, then the truth value would change as well. But I digress.

Ayer’s argument against subjectivism is relatively simple and it looks like this: Take the sentence, ‘X is wrong, but I approve of X.’ On the subjectivist view, the first clause ‘X is wrong’ translates to ‘I disapprove of X,’ which renders the original sentence ‘I disapprove of X, but I approve of X,’ as contradictory. Therefore, since subjectivism leads to a contradiction, subjectivism must be false.

 

Sorry for the long absence of posts. I’ve had a very busy semester with classes. Thursday my semester officially ends. After that I’ll be working on some book reviews to post on here, and maybe I’ll share some of my thoughts on the problem of universals.

In responding to a prompt for my class, I gave the following argument:

  1. If moral subjectivism is true, then everyone is infallible about moral beliefs.
  2. Not everyone is infallible about moral beliefs.
  3. .’. Moral subjectivism is not true.

Over the course of my undergraduate career, I’ve come across many people who have espoused moral subjectivity. They basically say, “X is wrong because that’s what I believe.” If morality is subjective, that is, it is based on the individual, then it is entirely dependent on what the individual says. The truth value of “X is wrong/right” would be derived from the individual’s saying it. This almost seems like a moral subjectivist of this kind is infallible. How? Well, if my saying or believing “X is wrong/right” makes it the case that “X is wrong/right,” then that leaves out any opportunity of me being wrong about that statement.  Let P = “eating humans is morally ok”. If I say that P is true, then the truth value is of that is given by my believing or saying that it’s the case. Whatever I say goes, and there can never be room for wrong. Russ Shafer-Landau puts it this way, “If morality is in the eye of the beholder, then everyone is seeing things equally well.”[1] Hence, I am infallible. Premise one is in the bag.

But I don’t think everyone is infallible. Here’s why: We can change our minds. At one point, in this hypothetical situation, I said “eating humans is morally ok.” But suppose I change my mind to believe the statement ~P, that is, “it is not the case that eating humans is morally ok.” That presumes that I was wrong at one point in believing that P was true. But couldn’t the subjectivist retort that this doesn’t follow? They could say that believing ~P now just shows that morality changes since the claim is being made at a later point in time. The truth value of P simply changes, and they retain their infalibility. It seems this line of thought cannot work. But even without the argument, I think I can make an appeal to intuition here. It’s simply obvious that we can be wrong about moral beliefs. It’s possible that I can be wrong about my beliefs. I think this can be highlighted by the fact that there is moral disagreement. If you have two people who are making opposite truth claims, and both are moral subjectivists, they cannot both be right. So if Johnny says that P, and Sue says ~P, according to moral subejctivism, they are both right! But that means (P&~P) would be true, but that’s blatantly absurd. Moreover, there cannot be reason for the two subjectivists to disagree. Thus, in addition to the obviousness of P2, I’ve argued that at least one person, out of the two subjectivists who argue opposite truth claims, must be wrong. Hence, one cannot be infallible, and the premise that “not everyone is infallible about moral beliefs” is true. It follows by modus tollens that moral subjectivism is not true.

[1]. Shafer-Landau, Russ. The Fundamentals of Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.