A Free Man's Worship By George Mavrodes

1106 Words5 Pages
George Mavrodes’ 1986 paper titled Religion and the Queerness of Morality attempts to prove that moral obligations are rational only in a Theistic world. Consequently, he says that moral obligations are absurd in a non-theistic world. To prove this to be the case, he first describes the features of a non-theistic world; he then goes on to show why it would be absurd for moral obligations to exist in a such a world. While I agree with his description of a non-theistic world, I disagree that it would be absurd for there to exist moral obligations in one. To show that “morality…depends on religion” (Mavrodes 214), Mavrodes first describes a world in which there is no God; he calls this the “Russellian world,” named after Bertrand Russell for his essay “A Free Man’s Worship.” Mavrodes says that the “most relevant features of a Russellian world” (215) are that: (1) mental activity and consciousness are caused by, as Russell put it,…show more content…
A useful definition of egocentric is in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which defines it as “concerned with the individual rather than society.” In the context of this argument, an egocentric view of morality would align with Mavrodes’ idea that it would be irrational for a person to have a moral obligation that would cause him a net loss of Russellian benefits. Next, the concept of morality in this argument has already been addressed by Mavrodes: once all things have been considered, “morality ‘includes [...] judgements of the form ‘N ought to do (or to avoid doing) ________’” (216). Finally, Merriam-Webster’s law dictionary’s definition of rationality defines being rational as “relating to, based on, or guided by reason, principle, fairness, logic... or a consideration of fact.” In other words, a person acting rationally is doing so based on reason, logic, and
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