ویلنبرگ در کتاب " ارزش و فضیلت در جهان بدون خدا" طبیعتگرایی را به عنوان یک روایت بیخدا از گیتی در مدنظر قرار داده است. او ابتدا بیمعنایی زندگی در شرایط نبود خدا را با چهار روایت معرفی و سپس با استعانت از سه دیدگاه، آن را به چالش میکشد. در ادامه او سراغ راههای ابتنای وجودشناسانه اخلاق بر دین میرود و سعی دارد نشان دهد که این راهها بنبست است. او در این کتاب دیدگاه جایگزین خود را روشن نساخته لیکن در کتاب" اخلاق نیرومند"، مشخص میشود او یک ناطبیعتگراست. او در پاسخ به این پرسش که چرا بایستی اخلاقی زیست؟ میخواهد نشان دهد فارغ از خدا هم امکان انگیزش اخلاقی هست هرچند خدا هم میتواند یک پشتیبان خوب برای اخلاق باشد. او در مقام معرفی فضایل در زیست بوم پیشنهادی خود، دیگر به صرف ارائه دیدگاه اثباتی بسنده نکرده و تلاش دارد نشان دهد برخی از فضایل در نبود خدا متولد میشوند و یا حداقل معنای ژرفتری دارند. مهمترین نقد وارد بر او یکسان انگاری خداباوری با مسیحی بودن است.
عنوان مقاله [English]
Review and critique of the view of Eric J. Wielenberg in The Value and Virtue in a Godless World
A Review and Critique of Eric J. Weillenberg’s Point of View on Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe
In Value and Virtue in in a Godless Universe, Weillenberg considers naturalism as an atheistic account of the universe. He first introduces the meaninglessness of life in the absence of God with four narrations and then challenges it with the help of three perspectives. He then takes up the ways of the ontological basis of morality on religion and tries to show that these ways are dead ends. In this book he does not clarify his alternative view, but in the book Strong Ethics, it is revealed that he is an anti-naturalist. In response to the question at to why one should live morally, he wants to show that there is a possibility of moral motivation apart from God, although God can also be a good supporter of morality. In introducing virtues to his proposed ecosystem, he no longer suffices to present a positive view and tries to show that some virtues are born in the absence of God, or at least have a deeper meaning. The most important criticism which can be leveled at him is the identification of theism with being a Christian.
Keywords: meaning of life, atheism, virtue, realism, theory of the divine
Introduction and Methodology
Eric J. Weillenberg is a moral realist who seeks to portray this moral reality in a world without God. While stating his atheistic arguments (which are generally arguments against Christian beliefs), he first seeks to explain the meaning of life in a world without God and then critiques the ontological and epistemological relationship between religion and morality. He then introduces moral duties and motives for moral action in such a world, using selfishness and utilitarianism.
Chapter One: God and the Meaning of Life- In the first chapter of the book Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe, Weillenberg first outlines and then critiques four arguments that life without God has no esoteric meaning. Of course, the first three arguments are answered in the first chapter through the three escape routes by Richard Taylor, Peter Singer, and Aristotle, and the fourth argument is left to the next chapter. The four arguments for the need for God to make life meaningful are as follows:
1- Argument of the final consequence: Weillenberg, referring to the speech of William Len Carrigg, says that according to this argument, because according to scientists, the end of the world is not all human beings, so if there is no God, we are like prisoners waiting to be executed.
2- Argument of aimless existence: Life without supernatural meaning is a life without mission. Therefore, we will not have any criteria for happiness.
3- Argument without concern from a valuable person: This argument is taken from the article The Meaning of Susan Wolf's Life. Life has an inner meaning only when a worthy and valuable being is attached to it; or, in other words, caring about it. Who is this precious being other than God?
4- God's argument as the source of morality: Without God, there is no value in the world (Wielenberg, 2005, pp. 15-18).
Richard Taylor Solution: Create the meaning of your life: He outlines Taylor's solution, citing an example from the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus, which Taylor cites at the end of his book, Good and Bad (called the Meaning of Life) (Taylor, 1970, pp. 187-202). Citing quotes from Leo Tolstoy in My Confession, and quotes from Stephen Drol about Aristotle, Weillenberg goes on to say that such a life is not worth living if the meaning of life is merely satisfied with the difference between Sisyphus and those interested in it (Wielenberg, 2005, pp. 18-23).
Peter Singer's solution: Make life meaningful by eliminating suffering Using the George test method of Moore (Moore , 1903, p. 91). Singer argues that if something is still independent of anything else, it has intrinsic value. According to Singer, suffering has an inherent evil, and therefore the removal of suffering will have intrinsic value, whether it is God or not (singer, 1995). Weillenberg says that if the whole universe could be destroyed without any pain, it would naturally reduce the total suffering, and in fact the problem of negative suffering would lead to the elimination of the subject. But Singer certainly does not consider this to have intrinsic value (Wielenberg, 2005, pp. 23-31).
Aristotle's solution: in his book Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle says that all virtues, as inherently good actions, have the value of a means to attain happiness, which he calls eudaimonia. According to Aristotle, virtue means the activity of the soul according to the highest virtues (Aristotle, 2021, p. 46). Wellinberg writes that Aristotle introduces the highest actions of intrinsic value as deep thinking. In this way, Aristotle introduces a meaning to live independently of any transcendental being (Wielenberg, 2005, pp. 31-37).
The author's critique of the proposed views in Chapter One:
1- Using the modified version of Moore's open-ended argument formulated by Michael Ridge, the definition of the meaning of life to the satisfaction of living lacks the necessary conditions of a definition. At the same time, the meaning of every human being's life must be commensurate with his or her innate talents. Basically, no minimum can be imagined to preserve the meaning of life for human beings, and therefore the argument to prove something that is not possible otherwise would be meaningless.
Peter Singer pinpoints conflict between the suffering of the minority and the pleasure of the majority.
The third proposed way that Weillenberg derives from Aristotle's Nicomachean ethics is in fact a misunderstanding of Aristotelian ethics. Aristotle writes in the most important verse of Lambda about God that "actuality is the intellect of life and God is this actuality." Apart from that, Aristotle, by defining the movement of passion, actually tied the meaning of life to the desire for existence in the beauty of God (Safari, 2015, pp. 380-394), so such an interpretation of Aristotle seems fundamentally incorrect.
Chapter Two: God and Morality- Weillenberg's main approach in this chapter is to reject all the views that make morality (in the realm of ontology) somehow dependent on God. He proposes two propositions and divides the competing views (pro-DCM) based on the acceptance of both propositions, or only the second proposition, into strong and weak views, and refutes both views.
Chapter 3: God as the Guarantor of Perfect Justice- The subject of the third chapter is more related to the psychological relationship between God and morality. In fact, this is a kind of attention to the gap between must and is, which David Hume spoke about. In fact, this discussion is one of the main ways to enter the issue of introversion or extroversion in ethics. Weillenberg seeks to solve the problem of the motivation of moral action in the absence of God, while retaining his unnatural realism, which he referred to in the previous chapter. In his first answer, using the views of Aristotle and Hume separately, he shows in two ways that the best kind of bio-human is bio-moral (Wielenberg, 2005, pp. 70-79).
Chapter 4: Moral character in a world without God- The fourth chapter deals with the consequences of accepting naturalism (narrated by Weillenberg). He has tried to show how in the world of a true naturalist, good sources are explained. He first shows why pride is a great sin in Christianity by quoting Christian scriptures and the works of people like Lewis and Milton. But on the other hand, for a true naturalist (who Aristotle thinks is the best representative of this view), the desire to rise to a higher position and to have a high-minded spirit is not only a mistake but also the basis of man's attainment of bioethics (Wielenberg, 2005, p. 103). In the meantime, two different views on virtue are shown: On the one hand, Julia Driver, who considered humility as a result of negligence (Jahed, 1393, p. 85), and McIntyre, who called the image of the Aristotelian metaphysician horrible (MacIntyre, 1998, p. 79), and on the other hand, Aristotle, who considered pride as a virtue. it is introduced with the approach of conscious desire to improve one's position and know one's true position (Aristotle2, 1999, pp. 94، NE 1123b10-15). Weillenberg's narrative is critical from two perspectives. First, what he narrates about religiosity is merely a kind of perversion with a superficial and second-hand reading. But apart from this view, Weillenberg wants to remain both realistic and atheist. In such a situation it is easier to fall into the view of John Mackey and believe in the theory of error. Something that Weillenberg himself considered possible in his book, Powerful Ethics. Another critique of Weillenberg's extraterrestrial approach to the motivation of moral action can be found in the book Value and Goodness in a Godless World by Bernard Williams's critique of moral extraversion in the realm of action motivation. Williams argues that reasons that are independent of a person's mental state are incapable of explaining a person's actions (Wielenberg, 2005, pp. 35-45).
Conclusions and discussions:
In the first chapter, Weillenberg tries to challenge the claims that want to make the meaning of life unique to God, and he succeeds. At the same time, his alternatives, as he himself has criticized, are not strong enough. He goes on to critique the views of the proponent of the theory of the divine. Although in many cases Weillenberg's critiques of the claims about the ethics of theism are commendable, both ontologically and semantically, his circle of encounters in this, in particular, is very limited, thus impairing his conclusion. Of course, in his book Strong Ethics, he was able to use evolutionary theories to solve the problem of motivation of moral action to a great extent.
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