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Moral Philosophy and its Discontents

Can science determine moral values? An Exchange with Michael Shermer, Massimo Pigliucci, and Kevin McCaffree

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Editorial note: The following debate unfolded organically when moral philosopher Massimo Pigliucci wrote a critical analysis of Michael Shermer’s Scientific American essay on utilitarianism. Shermer responded to Pigliucci, who in turn replied to Shermer’s rebuttal. When the sociologist Kevin McCaffree wrote an analysis of the entire exchange we decided to bundle all articles into this special section of Skeptic:

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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