on the insignificance of the word “morality”

The Atheist Ethicist ponders the insignificance of the concept of “morality”.

He argues that since people make words mean what they want, he won’t trifle about how they use this specific word. However, constructing meaning takes a long time and we usually all have to agree on the new meanings – lest we stop understanding one another. Hence, i wouldn’t want to let anyone use the word “morality” however they want. Moreover, some words are more powerful than others, and morality has to be one of the more powerful ones (along with freedom and democracy). Powerful words are dangerous and should be wielded with care.

The problem is rather that “morality” means too many things and the solution is rather to get people to agree on a narrower, more useful definition.

But whatever that definition is, the Atheist Ethicist is right to insist that we must be able to justify our reasons and not simply stomp our feet and say “God said so”.

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