blasphemy And Virtue Ethics

Florida Philosophical Review 8 (1):41-50 (2008)

John Hacker-Wright
University of Guelph
In this paper I argue for a secular conception of blasphemy as a grave moral wrong. I argue for this conception on the basis of a neo-Aristotelian conception of virtue ethics. Specifically, I argue that there is a virtue of intellectual fidelity to matters of great importance: morally permissible ends. In order to structure our lives around such ends, which is essential to living a characteristic human life, we must consistently bear in mind what we know to be true about our ends and not succumb to a temptation to belittle our ends when we struggle in our attempts to realize them. Conversely, a disposition to believe falsehoods about morally permissible ends is a vice, and acts that express that character trait are blasphemous and wrong. Likewise, I argue that it is wrong to belittle or promote falsehoods about the morally permissible ends of others, for we must recognize that in pursuing morally permissible ends of various sorts, people are realizing their humanity in worthwhile ways
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