Moral Naturalism

Here is my page on Moral Naturalism!

I should break this out into a few sections.

- Why should anyone care
- The Short Version
- What is Moral Naturalism?

Why Should Anyone Care

Why should I care? Why should you care? Well.... you don't have to. I don't think anyone has ever actually asked me "so what do you believe in anyway?" but I would like to think we all have our answer. Sometimes, what people are asking about is where right and wrong come from. 

The Short Version

It seems like things being right or wrong is important, and figuring out why should be important. Most of the time we can just say things are right and wrong and talk about it. But sometimes we disagree, and in those cases we have to step back and think about why we disagree. We fall back to some underlying belief. And the more we fall back, the closer we get to our foundations.

What Is Moral Naturalism?

Moral Naturalism is an idea about moral foundations, about where right and wrong come from. And it's the idea that this natural world we live in, which includes us, as living breathing creatures, rights and wrongs are embodied in this world, and in us. And so figuring out right and wrong is about looking at the natural world, and especially at us, and that the way we know the rest of the natural world is more or less the way we can learn more about right and wrong.

And yes, this means it is sciency. And no! Don't run, come back! This is a good thing, I swear. I think the worry is that everything good, magical, poetic dies, once you apply that scalpel. But I am here to tell you that the joke does not die with the frog, and also the good is not lost for being, well, sciency. I think the book Darwin's Dangerous Idea tackles this in the most beautiful way. It starts like this:

Tell me why the stars do shine,
Tell me why the ivy twines,
Tell me why the sky's so blue.
Then I will tell you just why I love you.

Because God made the stars to shine,
Because God made the ivy twine,
Because God made the sky so blue,
Because God made you, that's why I love you.

There are, in truth, sacred things. And that's what this is all about. It's just that the G is lower-case. 

For some people, it's the most ordinary idea in the world and it goes without saying. Do you think we should not hurt animals? Well you might agree with Peter Singer, and he's the guy who wrote Animal Liberation. He is, more or less, a moral naturalist.