“[Moral] relativism, the anthropologist’s heresy, [is] possibly the most absurd view to have been advanced even in moral philosophy. In its vulgar and unregenerate form … it consists of three propositions: that ‘right’ means (can only be coherently understood as meaning) ‘right for a given society’; that ‘right for a given society’ is to be understood in a functionalist sense; and that (therefore) it is wrong for people in one society to condemn, interfere with, etc., the values of another society.

Whatever its results, the view is clearly inconsistent, since it makes a claim in its third proposition, about what is right and wrong in one’s dealings with other societies, which uses a nonrelative sense of ‘right’ not allowed for in the first proposition.”

    — Bernard Williams (1993). Morality: An Introduction to Ethics. Cambridge University Press.



“That is how a Christian will understand his duty in relation to this small, but very important, part of married life. It’s so important in marriage, and quite generally, simply because there just is no such thing as a casual, non-significant sexual act.

Contrast sex with eating—you’re strolling along a lane, you see a mushroom on a bank as you pass by, you know about mushrooms, you pick it and you eat it quite casually—sex is never like that.

Those who try to make room for sex as mere casual enjoyment pay the penalty: they become shallow. At any rate the talk that reflects and commends this attitude is always shallow. They dishonour their own bodies; holding cheap what is naturally connected with the origination of human life.”

— G. E. M. Anscombe (2008). Faith in a Hard Ground: Essays on Religion, Philosophy and Ethics. Edited by Mary Geach & Luke Gormally, Imprint Academic.



“.. And if we now assume, reasonably enough, that for B to be justified for a particular person (at a particular time) it is necessary, not merely that a justification for B exist in the abstract, but that the person in question be in cognitive possession of that justification, we get the result that B is not basic after all since its justification depends on that of at least one other empirical belief. If this is correct, strong foundationalism is untenable as a solution to the regress problem (and an analogous argument will show weak foundationalism to be similarly untenable).”

— Laurence BonJour (1978). “Can Empirical Knowledge Have a Foundation?”, American Philosophical Quarterly. 15(1): 1-14.




“A definition is nothing else but an explication of the meaning of a word by words whose meaning is already known. Hence it is evident that every word cannot be defined; for the definition must consist of words; and there could be no definition if there were not words previously understood without definition. Common words, therefore, ought to be used in their common acceptation; and, when they have different acceptations in common language, these, when it is necessary, ought to be distinguished. But they require no definition. It is sufficient to define words that are uncommon, or that are used in an uncommon meaning.”

— Thomas Reid, Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785/1941), p. 2


The theory focused on the truth-ratios of the process types used in belief formation, and generally goes by the name “process reliabilism”. In its simplest form, it says that a belief’s justificational status hinges on the psychological processes that produce it, e.g., perception, memory, introspection, or various inference patterns. Beliefs formed by highly reliable processes are justified; beliefs formed by insufficiently reliable processes are unjustified.

— Alvin Goldman, A Companion to Epistemology (2010), p. 144



“The colour ceases to exist if I shut my eyes, the sensation of hardness ceases to exist if I remove my arm from contact with the table, the sound ceases to exist if I cease to rap the table with my knuckles. But I do not believe that when all these things cease the table ceases. On the contrary, I believe that it is because the table exists continuously that all these sense-data will reappear when I open my eyes, replace my arm, and begin again to rap with my knuckles.”

— Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (2001): Oxford University Press.


[In my station and its duties] I realize myself morally, so that not only what ought to be in the world is, but I am what I ought to be, and find so my contentment and satisfaction. If this were not the case, when we consider that the ordinary moral man is self-contented and happy, we should be forced to accuse him of immorality, and we do not do this; we say he most likely might be better, but we do not say that he is bad, or need consider himself so. Why is this? It is because ‘my station and its duties’ teaches us…that a man who does his work in the world is good.”

— F.H. Bradley, Ethical Studies (1876): p. 183




“[L]et us imagine a man who … would say to himself: ‘It is six o’clock in the evening, the working day is over. Now I can go for a walk, or I can go to the club; I can also climb up the tower to see the sun set … All of this is strictly up to me, in this I have complete freedom. But still I shall do none of these things now, but with just as free a will I shall go home to my wife.’ This is exactly as if water spoke to itself: ‘I can make high waves (yes! in the sea during a storm), I can rush down hill (yes! in the river bed), I can plunge down foaming and gushing (yes! in the waterfall) …; but I am doing none of these things now, and am voluntarily remaining quiet and clear water in the reflecting pond.’ “

— Arthur Schopenhauer, Essay on the Freedom of the Will [Ch. III], Translated with an Introduction by Konstantin Kolenda. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2005, p. 43.


 “Our assurance in any argument [that a claim is true because other people have witnessed it to be true] is derived from no other principle than our observation of the veracity of human testimony, and of the usual conformity of facts to the reports of witnesses… The reason why we place any credit in witnesses and historians is not derived from any connexion, which we perceive a priori, between testimony and reality, but because we are accustomed to find a conformity between them.”

— Hume, D., An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Edited by Eric Steinberg. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1977, p. 74-75.


 “Every skill and every inquiry, and similarly every action and rational choice, is thought to aim at some good; and so the good has been aptly described as that at which everything aims. . . . So if what is done has some end that we want for its own sake, and everything else we want is for the sake of this end; and if we do not choose everything for the sake of something else . . ., then clearly this will be the good, indeed the chief good.”

— Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. [I, 1, 1094a] Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy. Translated and edited by Roger Crisp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 3-4.


 “How can a blind multitude, which often doesn’t know what it wills because it rarely knows what is good for it, carry out for itself such a great and difficult enterprise as a system of legislation?…..The general will is always in the right, but the judgment that guides it isn’t always enlightened. It ought to be made to see objects as they are…shown the good road it is in search of, secured from the seductive influences of individual wills…For this there has to be a law-maker.”

 — Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, The Social Contract. Translated and edited by Jonathan Bennett. https://www.earlymoderntexts.com/assets/pdfs/rousseau1762book2.pdf. December 2010, p.19.




“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and the beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

    -Aldo Leopold [From ‘The Land Ethics’ in A Sand County Almanac (Oxford University Press, 1949]


“Scientific men are under definite obligation to experiment upon animals so far as that is the alternative to random and possibly harmful experimentation upon human beings, and so far as such experimentation is a means of saving human life and of increasing human vigor and efficiency.”

     -Dewey, 1926


“Human can think about ultimate: they can espouse worldviews, indeed, they are not fully human until they do. No one can form a comprehensive worldview without a concept of nature, and no one can form a view of nature without evaluating it in the world…In that sense, one of the highest cultural values, an examined worldview, is impossible to achieve without wild nature to be evaluated as a foil to and indeed source of culture.”

      -Holmes Roston, Conserving Natural Value, 1994, p.15


“The presence of an ethical symbol in a proposition adds nothing to its factual content. Thus if I say to someone, ‘You acted wrongly in stealing that money’, I am not stating anything more than if I had simply said, ‘You stole that money’. In addition that this action is wrong I am not making any further statement about it. I am simply evincing my moral disapproval of it. It is as if I had said, ‘You stole that money’, in a peculiar tone of horror, or written it with the addition of some specific exclamation marks.”

-A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic, with an introduction by Ben Rogers. Penguin Books, 2001. p.110