Re: [asa] Dawkins new book - objective

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Mon Oct 26 2009 - 00:32:01 EDT

hi Tom, don't think we've met or dialogued before, so just want to first say: hello!) yes, i'd say you're missing something in your 'analysis'. first, maybe you could answer a question: is the reality of the Holy Spirit 'objective'? if so, then how do you 'know' it? (and please feel free to treat this as a rhetorical question and just to answer to what is written below) i think you've missed Schwarzwald's main point about materialism-naturalism, by focussing on some particular phrases. perhaps you could add what you mean by those 'ideologies' in order to meet the point more directly? do you accept the 'reality' of such ideologies in the minds/hearts/bodies of people today? what if we called such values, purposes, meanings, etc. as 'extra-natural' or 'extra-material,' 'supra-natural' or 'supra-material' instead? also, it seems the discussion of 'subjective/objective' by Georg Simmel might help here (e.g. "On Individuality and Social Forms"). this might offer new language for your view that 'objective' means 'public.' i'd suggest there is much more to speak about than to make such an equivocation. it is as a sociologist that i suggest this, noting with respect your background in history and philosophy given in your 'signature'. warm regards, Gregory ________________________________ From: Thomas Pearson <> To: Sent: Mon, October 26, 2009 6:58:35 AM Subject: RE: [asa] Dawkins new book On Saturday, Ocotber 24, 2209, "Schwarzwald" wrote: >>>For materialist-naturalism, objective moral values, purposes, and meanings are not available even potentially.<<<   I don't see why not -- unless, of course, you have inflated the meaning of "objective" to include particulars that don't belong to a strict definition of "objective," such as (1) grounded in an unassailable source and/or (2) universal in scope and application.  But neither of those are required in order to achieve objectivity.  I'm assuming that "objective" means something like "public," or "not simply residing in, or justified by, the subjectivity of a particular individual."   >>>And by this I mean, insofar as someone says "Well, perhaps there are objective and external/fundamental moral values, purposes, and meanings to life and reality", they are rejecting the materialist-naturalist worldview. To even search for these things is to question or reject the truth of the stated philosophy.<<<   But why should anyone believe that anything such as "external/fundamental moral vlaues, purposes and meanings to life and reality" is necessary for something to be objective?   For example: on our campus, as on most university campuses, we have a policy against plagiarism.  It is a public, objective policy, justified by its connection to other university policies, and to roughly similar policies at many other schools.  But its objectivity is not based on the fact that it has a universal application (it doesn't), nor on possession of any sort of "fundamental/external values, purposes and meanings to life and reality" (it certainly isn't).  It is objective because it is a promulgated rubric that governs our common life together in this particular community.   It's not at all clear to me why a "materialist-naturalist" cannot lay claim to objective moral values, purposes and meanings in approximately the same way.  They may not be universal or grounded in an unassailable source, but that doesn't disqualify them from being objective.   Am I missing something here?   Tom Pearson ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ Thomas D. Pearson Department of History & Philosophy The University of Texas-Pan American Edinburg, Texas e-mail: __________________________________________________________________ Looking for the perfect gift? Give the gift of Flickr!

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Received on Mon Oct 26 00:32:29 2009

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