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Excellent BeautyThe Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World$
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Eric Dietrich

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171021

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171021.001.0001

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Good Without Gods

Good Without Gods

(p.82) Seven Good Without Gods
Excellent Beauty

Eric Dietrich

Columbia University Press

This chapter demonstrates two ways of having morality without religion, with the idea being that morality, ethics, and just behaving nicely are completely natural. Morality of a particularly strong sort can emerge without any help from religion at all. Over the years, philosophers have argued over the basis of morality in nonreligious terms, two of which—consequences and obligations—are outlined in detail in this chapter. A consequence view presupposes that an act carried by some person is morally right or morally wrong depending on its consequences: whether they are, in some specific sense, good or bad. However, a view focused on obligation asserts that morality is about being obligated in certain ways to other people and other living beings. This obligation arises simply because the other living beings are, in fact, other living beings.

Keywords:   morality, consequences, obligations, living beings, ethics, morality without religion

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