Graded absolutism is a theory of moral absolutism which resolves the objection to absolutism that in moral conflicts we are obligated to opposites. Moral absolutism is the ethical view that certain actions are absolutely right or wrong regardless of other contexts such as their consequences or the intentions behind them. Graded absolutism is moral absolutism but adds that a moral absolute, like "Do not kill," can be greater or lesser than another moral absolute, like "Do not lie". Graded absolutism, also called contextual absolutism or the greater good view, is an alternative to the third alternative view and the lesser evil view, both discussed below, regarding moral conflict resolution.
This is an attempt to give a brief case for the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, gleaned from Dr. William Lane Craig’s “Reasonable Faith” and “On Guard”. I tinkered w/ it only a bit. One example is that I took from other areas to strengthen the point that the Apparent Death hypothesis is very much contrived, even without the conspiracy twist.
Why focus on the resurrection? The “hope that is within us” stands on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection authenticates his claims to be the royal Messiah, Son of God in a unique sense, the Danielic Son of Man. It authenticates all of his teachings and prophesies. Without the resurrection, there is no Gospel, no good news. The traditional apologetic, used during the Deist controversy, involved showing that the Gospels are authentic (internal, external evidence), the text is pure and the Gospels are reliable (apostles neither deceivers nor deceived). Whereas the traditional apologetic dealt only with the “Lord, liar or lunatic” trilemma, the current apologetic deals with a fourth possibility: “legend”. We will formulate an argument by inference to the best explanation
The Scottish philosopher David Hume (May 7, 1711-August 25, 1776) lays out the is-ought problem, in book III, part I, section I of his A Treatise of Human Nature (1739).Hume says ought-statements are “entirely different” from is-statements and, in his own style, he challenges readers not to pass unthinkingly over the type of argument that switches from is-statements to ought-statements:
“In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark'd, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surpriz'd to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it shou'd be observ'd and explain'd; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.”
I actually have 'two' questions (followed by a more important 'third' question).
1. Why does Sam Harris' "Moral Landscape" have the word "moral" in it? and...
2. Why doesn't its sub-title say "How science can likely determine human values"?
Really, I think the title should read “The Landscape of Well-Being: How science can likely determine human well-being” rather than pretending to be a book about objective moral truth.
A. Harris: “Notice that I do not mention morality in the preceding paragraph, and perhaps I need not. I began this book by arguing that, despite a century of timidity on the part of scientists and philosophers, morality can be linked directly to facts about the happiness and suffering of conscious creatures. However, it is interesting to consider what would happen if we simply ignored this step and merely spoke about ‘well-being.’” (Landscape, p. 64).
B. Harris: “…if evil turned out to be as reliable a path to happiness as goodness is, my argument about the moral landscape would still stand, as would the likely utility of neuroscience for investigating it. It would no longer be an especially ‘moral’ landscape; rather it would be a continuum of well-being, upon which saints and sinners would occupy equivalent peaks,” (Landscape, p. 190).
And, here's a third question--the most important of the three:
3. What was the point of including the psychopath's statement in chapter two (p. 95-96), if Harris is cool with not calling it evil (quotes A and B above)?
He goes on to say that people are not ultimately responsible for their own immoral, evil choices when he denies free will. It is no wonder then that he is so ready to deny morality, to 'go beyond' good and evil in quotes A and B. But...what is it people are not responsible for in the first sentence of this paragraph, if there is no morality, no good and evil--why go to the trouble of pointing out they are not responsible for something that doesn't exist? And what of this quote:
C. Harris: "We can choose to focus on certain facts to the exclusion of others, to emphasize the good rather than the bad, etc. And such choices have consequences for how we view the world. One can, for instance, view Kim Jong-il as an evil dictator; one can also view him as a man who was once the child of a dangerous psychopath. Both statements are, to a first approximation, true. (Obviously, when I speak about 'freedom' and 'choices' of this sort, I am not endorsing a metaphysical notion of 'free will,')" (p. 139).
So...is Kim Jong-il's dictatorship 'really' evil or not? Are we free to focus on 'really' morally good thoughts (precursors to behavior), to the exclusion of 'really' morally bad thoughts, or not? What is the 'correct' approximation (as Harris calls it)--if the 'first' one (by calling it 'first' and an 'approximation') needs improvement? One that is more in line with quotes A and B--right, Harris?