Alonzo Fyfe Engages Professional Philosophers

by Luke Muehlhauser on February 18, 2010 in Ethics,Indexes,Resources

Alonzo Fyfe came up with Desire Utilitarianism, aka Desirism, the theory of ethics I currently defend. Though Fyfe spent over a decade studying ethics at university, he has never published in a peer-reviewed philosophy journal.

This, for me, is the most frustrating and suspicious feature of desirism: there are literally no professional journal articles that explain or defend it. There’s just a popular-level book, a bunch of blog posts, and my own very incomplete F.A.Q.

In fact, I think it’s quite legitimate for people to simply dismiss the ethical theory I defend, saying “Yeah, whatever, come back to me when you’ve got some peer-reviewed articles on it.”

Still, Fyfe does occasionally engage contemporary ethics literature. (Actually, almost all of his writing is in the context of contemporary ethics literature, but he rarely cites the philosophers with whom he agrees and disagrees.)

So here it is: my index of Fyfe’s articles that actually cite the work of a professional philosopher:

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Gregg February 18, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Thanks, Luke, for creating the indices to Fyfe’s work. I first heard of him on the Infidel Guy show a few years ago, and after some consideration also found his work to be quite valid and currently take it to be the best contender for ethical realism. I was sometimes frustrated searching his blog for a specific topic as it was quite difficult given his prolificity. I bought his book and am a casual reader of his blog, and still subscribe to DU as one of the better ethical theories out there.

I appreciate your work in creating useful indices of his work, and was shocked to be able to download your book on ethics for free (I had my credit card out when I came to your site after hearing about it on a CftPBD episode). I agree with your statement that it’s a shame that Fyfe isn’t published. I wonder if magazines such as Philo (from the Center for Inquiry) or Philosophy NOW would help get his foot in the door?

Anyway, this is definitely one of the better blogs on atheism I’ve seen. You’ve picked up my RSS subscription! Let me thank you one more time for your hard work.


lukeprog February 18, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Thanks, Gregg.

I do hope Fyfe decides to engage the philosophical community by submitting some new work for peer review.


lukeprog February 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm

BTW, Fyfe apparently contributed to this book on space development. He is also cited in this paper, which looks to me like a student paper of someone at Westminster Colllege. :)


Scott February 18, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I totally hope this idea gets more popular. Though I’m still not sure what to make of it, it’s fascinating to read, and I’d love to see it get further developed in the trenches of philosophical journals.


Bill Maher February 18, 2010 at 7:34 pm

He really needs to bite the bullet and get the Ph.D. That would make him and his very intelligent ideas be taken alot more seriously.


cl February 27, 2010 at 11:46 am

For me, the fact that Fyfe hasn’t published in peer-reviewed journals is irrelevant. It’s desirism’s inability to ground itself that keeps me suspicious.


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