Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 340+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 30000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at $14.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade for $1.48
Then just $14.99 / month. Cancel anytime.
Learn more
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Australia version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

Are Human Rights Natural Rights?

HISTORIAN OF SCIENCE MICHAEL SHERMER AND philosopher Massimo Pigliucci have recently disagreed publicly over whether morality and human rights are a part of the natural world.

Massimo has maintained that human rights are not a component of the natural world capable of objective investigation; ultimately, he thinks that “human rights” and “morality” are mere social constructs. Massimo also attempted, unsuccessfully, to belittle and patronize Michael’s argument and credentials, even calling Michael’s writing on matters of morality a “crescendo of nonsense.”1

As someone with a professional interest in the science of morality—I’m a sociologist who wrote the 2015 book What Morality Means: An Interdisciplinary Synthesis for the Social Sciences (Palgrave Macmillan)—I want to set aside Massimo’s exasperated hand-waving and insults and consider the possibility that moral realism may be true. Human values, I contend, are a component of the natural world, fully investigable under the purview of an emerging science of cognition and culture.

Nonsense on Stilts?

This exchange all started when Michael published a Scientific American column titled “You Kant be Serious” (in the print edition), and “Does the Philosophy of ‘the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number’ Have Any Merit?”2 (in the online version), in which he described the results of a peer reviewed psychology paper3 where researchers had provided evidence of two distinct forms of utilitarianism.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Skeptic - 23.3
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Digital Issue
This issue and other back issues are not included in a new Skeptic subscription. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription.
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.75 per issue

View Issues

About Skeptic

SCIENCE AND MORAL VALUES Jordan Peterson Phenomenon; Thought Crimes: Jordan Peterson and the meaning of the Meaning of Life; Special Section on Science & Morality. Getting Real About Right and Wrong; No, Being Religious Will Not Save You from Suicide; Lessons from Behavioral Science in a Warzone: How Reason, Skepticism, and Compassion Can Win Hearts and Minds; Moral Philosophy and its Discontents: Can science determine moral values? An Exchange with Massimo Pigliucci, Michael Shermer, and Kevin McCaffree; Facilitated Communication Redux: Persistence of a Discredited Technique; The Mystery of Elite Religious Scientists: A Cognitively Impenetrable Illusion; Five Questions About Human Errors for Proponents of Intelligent Design; The SkepDoc: Beware Stem Cell Clinics that Offer Untested Treatments; Junior Skeptic: Astral Projection