CPBD 021: Ruth Chang – What is Morality?

by Luke Muehlhauser on February 22, 2010 in Ethics,Podcast


(Listen to other episodes of Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot here.)

Today I interview moral philosopher Ruth Chang. Our discussion may serve as a kind of “Contemporary Meta-Ethics 101” course, and will bring you up to speed on the kinds of debates moral philosophers are having today. Among other things, we discuss:

  • practical rationality: what should we do?
  • what makes something a reason for action?
  • are there more than 3 ways (better than, worse than, equal to)¬†of comparing two things evaluatively?

changDownload CPBD episode 021 with Ruth Chang. Total time is 1:41:35.

Ruth Chang links:

Links for things we discussed:

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark February 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I find it oddly pleasing that your casual atheism blog has sort of accidentally spawned one of the better philosophy podcasts out there. If you can do more two hour-long interviews with professional philosophers in which they expound on philosophical issues this intensively, it’d definitely become the best.


lukeprog February 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm


Thanks. I am rather proud of what me and my $15 production budget have achieved. Interviews like this one aren’t available almost anywhere else.


Jeff H February 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

My God, Luke, you’re on a roll with these interviews. I can’t even keep up! But keep ‘em coming :)


Landon Hedrick February 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

These definitely are good interviews. I listen to them when I go to the gym. Keep it up.


Nerf Herder February 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Great interview. Thank you for longer interviews like this one. You do a good job of leading with questions and allowing your guests ample time to explain their distinctions.


Gatogreensleeves September 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Another great interview. I presume you will address her “masochist” argument against desirism at some point in the other podcast (if you’re still doing those).

The scenario with the chocolates was interesting. I kept thinking that she was going to bring up our evidenced right sided bias and include that into the equation. How does that affect it? This is why psychology (or XPhi philosophy) is important: the nature of intention has philosophical ramifications. If desire is a normative tiebreaker in value based reasoning, how do cognitive biases fit in?


Gatogreensleeves September 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Oh, well, I guess I should have completely finished the interview before commenting- got a little too excited :-) For some reason, I thought it was almost over, but it had just started…


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