I am eager to pick up our discussion of meaning and morality where it left off a week or so ago. It paused on what I thought was a promising note: a comment by Peter Lupu that aptly summarized the tasks a naturalist account must accomplish.

There are in fact two convergent threads underway here: in addition to the one recently at hand, we also have been looking, in occasional posts, at the issue of free will. A better understanding of human morality is of central importance to that investigation as well, as one of the direst concerns people express regarding questions of causality and the will is a perceived threat to moral responsibility. I maintain that this is not the problem people make it out to be — but to make a persuasive case it will be necessary first to get a closer look at what morality consists of, and indeed why we should even care about moral responsibility at all. I’ll be arguing that the possibility (or near certainty, in my opinion) that we are causally embedded beings need make no difference whatsoever to our expectations regarding personal responsibility, if we are willing and able to take a good hard look at some of our vaguer and more cherished notions about ourselves.

I must confess, however, that I am still not quite myself after last week’s indignities — and that the demands of work, and Gotham’s wretched summer heat, have kept me from bouncing back quite as quickly as I had hoped. So I think it might be a few days, or even a week or two, before I am able once again to give this important discussion the care and attention it deserves. We’ll be spending the latter half of this month by the sea in Wellfleet, and that should provide ample opportunity for contemplation, for writing, and most of all for considering the pointed criticism that is bound to come my way once I get the ball rolling again. Until then, we may lean a little more heavily than usual on “Shameless Filller”, “Tomfoolery”, and related categories, and posting will probably be somewhat spotty.

Thanks again to all for your kind words of support last week, and, as always, for making blogging here at waka waka waka such a wonderfully rewarding and instructive experience.

Related content from Sphere