The San Diego Philosophy Forum is pleased to announce that Alan Mandelberg, PhD [Oregon], will speak on: "Morality without God."
This event, open to the public and free of charge, will take place 6:30-7:45 PM, Tuesday, November 25 at the North University Public Library: 8820 Judicial Dr. (near the 805 highway's Nobel Exit).
This is a food-friendly space, with light refreshments and coffee available. More information, if any, will be posted, as available, to SDPhil.org
"....Secular morality is the aspect of philosophy that deals with morality outside of religious traditions. Modern examples include humanism, freethinking, and most versions of consequentialism. Additional philosophies with ancient roots include those such as skepticism and virtue ethics. Greg M. Epstein also states that, "much of ancient Far Eastern thought is deeply concerned with human goodness without placing much if any stock in the importance of gods or spirits." Other philosophers have proposed various ideas about how to determine right and wrong actions. An example is Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative.
A variety of positions are apparent regarding the relationship between religion and morality. Some believe that religion is necessary as a guide to a moral life. This idea has been with us for nearly 2,000 years. There are various thoughts regarding how this idea has arisen. For example, Greg Epstein suggests that this idea is connected to a concerted effort by theists to question nonreligious ideas: "conservative authorities have, since ancient days, had a clever counterstrategy against religious skepticism—convincing people that atheism is evil, and then accusing their enemies of being atheists."
Others eschew the idea that religion is required to provide a guide to right and wrong behavior, such as the Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics which states that religion and morality "are to be defined differently and have no definitional connections with each other". Some believe that religions provide poor guides to moral behavior. Various commentators, such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are among those who have asserted this view...." (Wikipedia: Secular Morality)
"....Religion differs from morality or a moral system in that it includes stories about events in the past, usually about supernatural beings, that are used to explain or justify the behavior that it prohibits or requires.
Sometimes there is no distinction made between a moral code and a code of conduct put forward by a religion, and there is often a considerable overlap in the conduct prohibited or required by religion and that prohibited or required by morality. But religions may prohibit or require more than is prohibited or required by guides to behavior that are explicitly labeled as moral guides, and may allow some behavior that is prohibited by morality.
Sometimes morality is regarded as the code of conduct that is put forward by religion, but even when this is not the case, morality is thought by many to need some religious explanation and justification. However, just as with law, some religious practices and precepts are criticized on moral grounds, e.g., discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Morality is only a guide to conduct, whereas religion is always more than this...." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) See: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/, for an extensive general discussion.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Alan Mandelberg received his BA from Queens College, New York, his MA in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and his PhD in philosophy from the University of Oregon. After teaching for several years, he began a real estate and finance practice that has been going strong for over forty years: the Real Estate Investment and Exchange, where he is President.
During his PhD program, and into his teaching years, Dr. Mandelberg's main interests were the philosophy of science and Wittgenstein’s "anti-metaphysics." He has since become increasingly interested in ethics, which prompted him to resume writing in philosophy. The paper to be presented is a result of this renewed activity.
Dr. Mandelberg's stance as, "pretty much a militant atheist," led him to write the essay he'll be presenting. He debuted the paper in San Diego, has presented it twice, before two local groups of non-believers, and has "sent it to a few friends who look at the world pretty much as he does." The paper is brief enough that (for the Forum), he plans to add a section regarding G.E. Moore’s “Open Question” argument.
Whereas the original paper focused on defending non-believers against the charge of being "amoral," or even "immoral," the new section will be more on the offense -- against "uncritical thinkers, among whom I count those who think that they can base morality on faith." He expects and welcomes a spirited response at the Forum.
Dr. Mandelberg has graciously allowed us to post his paper, which is now available in the files section of this Metup, and at the SDphil.org site.