#277 Aaron Rabinowitz: Moral Realism, and Objective Morality


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Jan 03 2020 85 mins   12

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Aaron Rabinowitz is an Adjunct Professor (PTL) in the Rutgers Philosophy department and the Rutgers Honors College. He specializes in ethics, metaethics, and AI. His work focuses on developing a secular moral realism that is compatible with the problem of moral luck. He also hosts two philosophy podcasts: Philosophers in Space and Embrace the Void. The goal of both shows is to make philosophy accessible for everyone, using science fiction and existential horror.

In this episode, we discuss metaethics, and moral realism. We first go through the definitions of moral realism and objective morality. Then we get into several different issues, like our conflicting moral intuitions, moral foundations, and the limitations of our evolved morality. We also talk about moral nihilism, and moral relativism. We discuss the differences between knowledge produced by science and moral truths (and value judgments). In the latter part of the conversation, we discuss to what extent moral axioms also apply to people’s decisions about their own wellbeing; the fact that we don’t have direct access to other people’s minds and its moral implications, when it comes to paternalism; and also to what extent we should care about how we treat other animals and, in the future, advanced AI systems.

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