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"An Ethic of Truth" talk by Josiah Vanvliet

I'll be visiting Cambridge to hear Josiah speak, seeded by his recent blog post:

Josiah is an upcoming thinker in the secular community in Boston, and you're welcome to hear the long time blogger speak.

He will be speaking in Room 101.

SUMMARY: BA member Josiah Van Vliet will be giving a short talk on his idea for naturalistic ethics, after which he'll moderate a group discussion. The purpose of this workshop is to explore the feasibility of "truth" as a practical rule of thumb for ethical reasoning. EVENT DESCRIPTION. Think atheists can't have ethics? Do you know better, but don't know how to say so? Come to this workshop where we will consider some ideas from the Enlightenment as we embark on our work toward a secular ethics. During the Enlightenment some of the most powerful thinkers of the day were trying to move beyond the strictures of religious thought in their effort to conceptualize a rational world. One of these thinkers, Denis Diderot, wrote that “we need an ethic of truth for there is nothing more dangerous than to deceive ourselves about the nature of the world.” As freethinkers, we often use questions of pleasure and utility to frame our thinking about ethical decisions. In this participatory seminar workshop, we’ll follow-up on the cue from Diderot, and ask to what extent we can use “truth” as an ethical criterion. Join us for drinks and conversation afterward in Kenmore Square! About the moderator. Josiah Van Vliet is a long-time member of the Boston Atheists, a former Marine, a student of philosophy at Tufts University, and a contributing editor to Secular World magazine. He has recently begun blogging his progress on research into the development of a secular ethics, at (where an outline of his introduction to this session’s topic can be found). About the program. The Beyond Disbelief workshop series provides members of the Boston Atheists with the occasion to come together as a community to discuss ethics, morality, shared values and common interests, at sessions moderated both by guest experts and member volunteers. The program is aimed ambitiously at the target of articulating an ethics with as rational a grounding as possible—of putting together the nuts and bolts of being "good without gods.” This event is co-sponsored by the Humanists of Boston University.

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