Discussion:
  1. What Do Philosophers Believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
    What are the philosophical views of contemporary professional philosophers? We surveyed many professional philosophers in order to help determine their views on 30 central philosophical issues. This article documents the results. It also reveals correlations among philosophical views and between these views and factors such as age, gender, and nationality. A factor analysis suggests that an individual's views on these issues factor into a few underlying components that predict much of the variation in those views. The results of a metasurvey (...)
    Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   38 citations  
Back    All discussions

2013-05-02
No surprise: a substantive comment about the survey
One of the correlations I find interesting in the survey is of a predominance (among the target group) of atheists with a predominance of moral cognitivists. This conforms to the several books that have come out in the last decade by so-called New Atheists who nevertheless continue staunchly to defend morality (and often as well their particular moral take on things). While the correlation in the survey is therefore not surprising to me, it is surprising to me in a kind of normative sense, in that I have latterly come to see morality as but a relic of "that old time religion." Of course the correlation has an honored and ancient pedigree, beginning with Plato's "Euthyphro." But isn't it about time that the analytic consensus moved towards a robust moral abolitionism, in the manner of, say, Richard Garner, rather than forever attempting to salvage a way of speaking that perpetuates attitudes we seem more than happy to discard in the case of religion?

2013-05-03
No surprise: a substantive comment about the survey
Reply to Joel Marks
Greetings Joel. I know we are not familiar with each other but I just felt compelled to give my two cents in regards to your stance on morality. Now if I interpreted your post accurately, you seem to be of the position that morality has all but become a vestigial organ in the body of Philosophy. When you said: " But isn't it about time that the analytic consensus moved towards a robust moral abolitionism, in the manner of, say, Richard Garner, rather than forever attempting to salvage a way of speaking that perpetuates attitudes we seem more than happy to discard in the case of religion?" That terminology leads me to believe that you find any discussion of morality to be a never ending run within the same circle. If I have interpreted you correctly, than I just wanted to say that I agree with you wholeheartedly. One of the earliest essays I posted on here was about how I believed moral conceptions such as right&wrong as well as good & evil lacked a uniform existence and instead existed solely in a linguistic capacity. To illustrate, someone who claims that women who get abortions are vile and evil people really have no way of objectively quantifying or qualifying what evil actually is. So all terms like good & evil or right & wrong really amount to are mere linguistic tools to communicate support or opposition to certain actions or social issues. I guess that is why Kant asserted that the morality of an act should be derived from its intent and not its consequences though that too has its complications. As far as religion is concerned, I too am an Atheist and have friends who take a hard lined position against religion and its institutions. I would not say I am as extreme as a Denis Diderot however who believed quote: "The people will truly be free when the last King is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." I believe religion should be a private practice and that churches should be permissible but what I am against is how close religion seems to mingle with politics and government affairs. The last thing Atheists or people who are just in an ideologically different camp (Buddhist, Hindu, etc.) need to worry about is a Theocracy being thrust upon them. Well Joel, I hope to hear back from you! If I speak from a misinformed position or I examined your views incorrectly in any way please do inform me. The best discussions are ones completely purged of ignorance!

2013-05-03
No surprise: a substantive comment about the survey
Reply to John Altmann
Thank you for your comment, John, and, yes, you do interpret me correctly, although I don't think I agree with all of your own subsequent assertions. But if you want me to contact you, I will need your contact information, which I have been unable to locate.

2013-05-04
No surprise: a substantive comment about the survey
Reply to Joel Marks
I am elated that you responded back to me! Seeing as how I am almost finished my education I want to immerse myself as deeply into the Philosophical community as much as possible. I certainly wish to continue correspondence. You can reach me at FerrumIntellectus@yahoo.com

2013-05-05
No surprise: a substantive comment about the survey
Reply to Joel Marks
Speaking as a theist, I too was puzzled that people claiming to be atheists were somehow also moral realists/cognitivists. If I believed that we were solely a product of neo-Darwinian evolution in a materialistic reality, I would think that our 'moral' (also aesthetic) inhibitions and priorities were simply those that had survived the cull, as having been slightly more successful in helping our ancestors to survive and reproduce. I would see no reason to expect them to form a consistent set, nor to be shared by creatures of another ancestry. Nor would I have any good account of what sort of being such moral or aesthetic norms could have (if all that 'really exists' is material). What this suggests to me is that a lot of philosophers really have no idea what 'theism' is, and are simply voicing their anti-clericalism or their dislike of Nobodaddy!

2013-05-05
No surprise: a substantive comment about the survey

First, thank you for making explicit the cognitivist/realist connection, since that is what I had in mind. Some semantic cognitivists, of course, are anti-realists; but I felt it fair to pounce on the atheist/cognitivist correlation as a stand-in for atheist/realist since epistemic cognitivists are surely in the majority, as survey data also attest.

 

            Although I belong to the atheist majority, we agree about the oddity of the atheist/cognitivist correlation. I was following your comment until the part about “a lot of philosophers really have no idea what 'theism' is.” I would have expected you to say, “a lot of philosophers really have no idea what 'morality' is.” Of course these and many more balls are up in the air. We won’t really know which is more central in the (to change the metaphor) web of belief until the end of time.

 

            But for now I myself am content to embrace an anti-realism and even an abolitionism of morality to go along with my similar views about God, based again, of course, on particular conceptions of what each is. This strikes me as useful for helping to bring about a kind of world I would prefer to live in (so far as I can tell from my vantage in the present world).

 

            And even though the reality I dimly discern is indeed materialist in some sense, I am confident that genuine and strong commitments would remain possible in my desired world. Thus, regarding, to take an example near and dear to us both, a commitment to addressing the plight of nonhuman animals at human hands, an atheist/amoralist/determinist could, it seems to me, quite aptly proclaim, "I am compelled to be a vegan and to try to influence others to be vegans" at least as coherently as could a theist/moralist/libertarian.