The Richard Carrier Exists Tour: Stop 2, Salt Lake City!

Photo of the interior of the amazing Salt Lake City Library.I’ll be announcing the events along the Richard Carrier Exists Tour as they are finalized. Next in is Salt Lake City, Utah. That’s my second stop on the move across country. And that’s Wednesday night, May 25. Come verify my historicity! Feel free to seek pictures & signatures.

Sponsored by Atheists of Utah, I’ll be speaking on The Intersection of Humanism and Polyamory. Description:

Polyamory, like atheism, is becoming more open and acceptable, yet faces similar stigma and misunderstanding. Polyamory acceptance is actually a humanist cause. Ethical non-monogamy in all its forms represents part of the final breakdown of religion’s hold on how humans define and enjoy their relationships, and religion’s attempt to control human (and especially female) sexuality. Dr. Carrier will discuss his experiences with polyamory, and the social and philosophical connections between polyamory and humanism, and how the humanist community can approach the subject supportively and informedly.

Starts at 6:30pm at the Salt Lake City Public Library on 210 East 400 Street, Conference Room 4 (4th floor). You must get tickets in advance. They will not be sold at the door. And there are only sixty. So get yours as soon as possible!

I’ll also be doing Q&A, and selling and signing books there or somewhere after.

Tickets $10 (if you buy before the 23rd) or $15 (if you buy after the 22nd). Purchase here. More details and updates here.

The Richard Carrier Exists Tour: Stop 4, Omaha!

Publicity photo showing the tall buildings of downtown Omaha over a lake at dusk.I’ll be announcing the events along the Richard Carrier Exists Tour as they are finalized. Second in is Omaha, Nebraska. That’s my fourth stop on the move across country. And that’s Friday night, May 27. Come verify my historicity! Pictures & signatures welcome.

Sponsored by the Omaha Coalition of Reason, I’ll be speaking on Science as Philosophy in Ancient Rome. In which I’ll talk about “how ancient science evolved from Western philosophy, and set the foundations for modern science, whose remaining connections with philosophy remain nearly the same. What did they accomplish back then? And what has changed?”

Starts at 7:30pm at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, CPACS Building, Room 101 (6001 Dodge Street in Omaha). The CPACS Building is located immediately southeast of the iconic UNO clock tower.

I’ll also be doing Q&A and selling and signing books after.

Tickets $5 in advance, $8 at the door.

Tickets here. More details and updates here.

Kinky Sexy Stuff: Speaking in Columbus, Ohio, This June

The Space's logo, showing a circle of humanist logos around a red outline of a heart, and in small black wording around the outside the full name as stated in the article.PolyColumbus and The Columbus Space for Alternative Self Expression are hosting a new talk I’m giving this June 14th (Tuesday, 2016) at 7 – 9pm (Eastern time). The Space is located at 180 Outerbelt Street in Columbus.

I will be speaking on Polyamory, Kink, and Philosophy. I’ll be outlining the role and importance of philosophy in kink and poly life.

Topics will include:

  • What should philosophy have to say about ethical non-monogamy and kink?
  • What use does philosophy have for those pursuing either?
  • How can ordinary people become good philosophers?
  • And how can philosophy help them become better non-monogamists and explorers of kink?

From the epistemology of consent to the metaphysics of love and sex to, of course, moral theory, even politics and aesthetics, philosophy has a lot to do with polyamory and other modes of ethical non-monogamy and kink.

Note:

  • Snacks will be available for purchase. Please bring you own soft drinks.
  • All activities at The Columbus Space are open to those 19 and over only.
  • The Columbus Space is a drug and alcohol free zone.
  • Discounts for annual & lifetime members of PolyColumbus? See note here.
  • Get your tickets early; least year when I spoke, it was a packed house!

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The Richard Carrier Exists Tour: Stop 5, Kansas City!

J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, by Henri-Léon Gréber, in Mill Creek Park, adjacent to the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. From Wikipedia.I’ll be announcing the events along the Richard Carrier Exists Tour as they are finalized. First in is Kansas City. That’s my fifth stop on the move across country. And that’s Saturday night, May 28. Come verify my historicity! Pictures & signatures welcome.

In KC I’ll be speaking on The Importance of Philosophy. Here’s a tease:

Many of us understand and appreciate the value science and its associated fields of study bring to our daily lives, but what about philosophy? Is it a field relegated to the ancients, relevant only in the days of Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and Friedrich Nietzsche—a field with no impact and utility in our lives today? Is it a field only used by the likes of William Lane Craig and Sye Ten Bruggencate to further evangelical Christian apologetics?

The Kansas City Atheist Coalition invites you to join us as we host Dr. Richard Carrier in helping us understand the importance of philosophy and how we use it to navigate the problems and questions that we all face on a daily basis.

Doors open at 5:30pm and the presentation begins at 6:00pm. I’ll speak under an hour and then have a thirty-minute Q&A. I’ll be selling and signing books after. And we can adjourn afterward (to a location they’ll announce at the event) for drinks, food, and conversation. But the event itself will transpire at the Tony Aguirre Community Center on 2050 West Pennway Street Paul & Jack’s Tavern, 1808 Clay Street, Kansas City, Missouri. Details & updates here.

Learn the Science & Philosophy of Moral Reasoning: Take My May Course!

Come join my online course on moral reasoning! It starts next month. It lasks a month. Study and participate at your own pace and on your own time.

We don’t just cover the philosophy of morality and moral reasoning, and why be moral and how to get better at moral decision making. We also cover what the sciences have discovered about all this. Which is more than you might think!

You can register now. And spread the word. Let anyone know you think might be interested. Especially let your local or national clubs or organizations know (any nonprofit), because there is a discount you or they might be able tap (see end paragraph).

The only required course text you need to order is Personality, Identity, and Character (eds. Darcia Narvaez and Daniel Lapsley). To save money on that I highly recommend just renting it on kindle for the month (unless you want to buy the kindle edition or a used print copy). All other materials will be provided at no extra cost.

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Why take this course?

[Read more…]

Announcing The Richard Carrier Exists Tour!

Photo of a Penske moving truck.I may be visiting your town soon! And I may need your help. I’ll explain in a moment. But here’s the basic idea…

Because Christians don’t understand how evidence works, they’ve literally argued that there is no more evidence for my existence than there is for the existence of Jesus their Christ. Never mind that that’s already wildly false. Here is your chance to see how evidence works, and confirm for yourself, as an eyewitness, that I do indeed exist! No silly hearsay for you anymore. Oh no. This is the real deal. (Jesus, meanwhile, promised he’d be back lickity split, and it’s been nearly 2,000 years, so…)

I am moving to Columbus, Ohio, for good and all this May (2016). And I’m taking a moving truck and towing my car all the way across country from my current and soon past home in Stockton, California, with the assist of some of my girlfriends as relief drivers on different legs of the trip (that’s really above and beyond…I’m extremely grateful!).

It’s a modern day whistle stop tour. I’ll be driving each day from one major city to the next, and giving a talk, or appearing in some public fashion selling and signing my books, and happily chatting and glad-handing and posing for photos for anyone who wants to verify my historicity.

I’m developing tour stops already for Reno, Nevada (Tuesday night, May 24), Omaha, Nebraska (Friday night, May 27), and Kansas City, Missouri (Saturday night, May 28). I’ll announce those details as soon as they are finalized and there is a public page somewhere promoting them.

But here is where I need your help.

I have made all possible efforts to contact organizations and arrange tour stops for Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; and Indianapolis, Indiana. And that hasn’t worked. There is a campus group near SLC that might pull something together for my stop Wednesday night May 25, but I haven’t gotten a confirmation, so I don’t know if that will happen. Indianapolis doesn’t want to compete with Memorial Day parties that Sunday May 29. And Denver just seems not to have been interested for Thursday night May 26.

So anyone who lives in or near those three places and wants to see me make an appearance on the respective date, I’d appreciate any help you can offer to make something happen. I’d love to show up and speak about something, hang out, sell some books…and confirm my historicity with you and all, with photos, or signing odd things, or whatever. Here are some ideas…

For Indianapolis, maybe the best plan would be if there is already a large enough gathering of interested atheists for a Memorial Day party (at least thirty or so!), I could just show up and join you all. As long as I can publicly announce the location, sell books at it, and there’s any alcohol other than beer, I’m golden. So anyone who has a bead on that, let me know! It needn’t be exactly in Indianapolis. Anywhere within an hour’s drive around that epicenter. All the better if you have a place my girlfriend and I can crash for the night (not a requirement, just a hope). And BTW, given what Memorial Day is all about, do recall, as it happens, I am a veteran! Of a war even (I very importantly guarded an estuary in San Diego against Saddam Hussein’s phantom submarine). True, I am not dead. Nor have any fallen comrades. But I’ll have my National Service Medal on hand. And Letters of Commendation. And marksmanship ribbons. They’ll just be in a little box, like a Korean Toe (only Kids in the Hall fans will get that one). I’ll still make a point of calling a solemn toast to those who’ve died for us in service. Because, seriously.

For Denver, I can make anything along the I-25 that’s en route to KC (e.g. Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs). Surely some group out there wants to be in on this historic(ity) event! If you want me to deliver a lecture, my only charge is $200 (negotiable). If it’s a party, and I don’t have to work, it’s free (see Indianapolis above for requirements). And I am also looking for anyone with a guest room for my girlfriend and I to stay that night.

For Salt Lake City, or anything within an hour’s drive of SLC, the same.

Anyone who has offers, ideas, anything helpful, email me. If we can pull something together, I’ll appreciate it!

NOTE: Subjects I speak on are listed at the bottom of my booking page here.

UPDATE: I now have my completed tour-stop list, with info on each talk or appearance now linked. It’s as follows: 

(I won’t be appearing in Indianapolis this trip. But I may in future.)

Thanks for everyone’s help!

The Science of Free Will as a Gateway to Philosophy & Social Justice: Join My Online Course Next Month!

Cover of Sam Harris's Book Free Will, which is the course text we will be using next month, red puppet theatre box showing the letters of the title hanging from puppet stringsNext month (April 2016) I will be teaching my online course on the science & philosophy of free will, my favorite class! Spread the word. Or take the class yourself. Or both!

There is also a special discount this year. If you are on the staff or an active member of any nonprofit organization, you can receive a coupon code for $10 off the registration. All I need is an email from an officer of the organization (also CC’ing you) confirming you are an active member and would like to receive the discount. I’ll then send you the discount code to use during registration.

So let everyone you know who is working for or participating in a nonprofit org about this discount! (You can also let them know there is also a course you can get the same discount for that is running concurrently with mine: Why Create Humanist Community, and How To Do It, with Jen Hancock and Ann Fuller.)

Even without the discount, each course is very affordable, only $59. Register at The Secular Academy.

Why take a class on the science and philosophy of free will?

Anyone who joins in will find in it a fascinating way to introduce yourself to the whole of philosophy, as it touches on everything from semantics to metaphysics to epistemology to political and moral reasoning, even aesthetics (such as through analyzing the lived experience of feeling free or trapped). It even leads you to a better understanding of consent, justice, and responsibility, and the social role and value of personal autonomy, and the substantial reality of what it means to increase your own self actualization, and what it actually takes to do that (and what it actually means to fall short of it), and how social systems can get in our way.

I think these are really good reasons to tell people they might be interested in taking my course, especially if exploring these things with an experienced expert interests them.

You’ll also need to have or get a copy (print or electronic) of Sam Harris’s Free Will. We will engage a close reading of that throughout the course, alongside a number of documents and research articles illustrating applications of free will concepts in the real world, and other philosophical and scientific perspectives. Those other reading materials will all be provided to students for free. Only the one book by Harris you need purchase.

The course officially starts this April 1st.

For a full course description (from the topics studied to how the course works) see here.

Typos List for Sense and Goodness without God

Cover of Sense and Goodness without God, showing a spaceman in a red space suit descending from a dodecahedron shaped white landing ship onto a strange grasland under blue sky, image on a black background, author name Richard Carrier in white against red on top and title below in blue over black for Sense & Goodness and White over red for Without God and then subtitle white over black A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. The image is Richard Carrier's One and Only Oil painting, so titled and mentioned in the book. More about that at http://www.richardcarrier.info/coverart.htmlMy first book, Sense and Goodness without God, was completed in 2003 and published in 2005. Since then I have collected a long list of corrections (mostly typos, a few clarifications or improved wording, and updates to all the bibliographies) that I would certainly make if I ever do a second edition. I likely won’t, because I’m planning a new, shorter, popular market version—which will simply reference this one. And further updates will likely be separate volumes by subject (epistemology, ethics, etc.).

Nevertheless, Sense and Goodness still holds up as a really good and solid worldview survey. Nothing like it exists (by me or anyone). It’s still the place to start if you want to examine and build a complete worldview. After twelve years, none of it is relevantly incorrect, and even though its bibliographies could be updated, those updates (all the new science that has happened since 2003) simply confirm further the conclusions already reached in the book. The only thing it lacks is more attention to feminism and social justice as an integral part of moral and political philosophy, and the integration of Bayesian epistemology. But there are many minor corrections worth making.

In this post I will survey the substantive ones, then list all the known typos I and others have caught. I will also update this article as I get further notions or discover more typos. [Read more…]

Are Moral Facts Not Natural Facts? Everything Wrong with the Shafer-Landau Thesis

An old timey looking photo of a block of stone on which is written 'Nothing is written in stone'.Is moral truth a priori and not a natural property of the universe? So says Dr. Russ Shafer-Landau (as articulated in Whatever Happened to Good and Evil in 2003; and Moral Realism: A Defence in 2005). Even though I’m sympathetic to his project, he’s just wrong. And not merely wrong, but too obviously wrong for this to still be a thing in 21st century philosophy. Here I’ll explain why I think that. And in the process you’ll get a feel for how to actually think about moral realism, and how to better understand what morality actually is and how a morality is determined to be true.

This connects with a recent and very relevant interview of me on this same issue by J.J. Chipchase at Naturalistic Philosophy, titled On Moral Theory and Truth with Richard Carrier – Part I. There I outline many aspects of my take on metaethics that inform the following.

[Read more…]

Learn the Foundations of Humanism: Take My Course on What’s True in Philosophy if There Is No God

Cover of Richard Carrier's book Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. Image on cover is Carrier's One and Only Oil painting, of a spaceman on the ladder of a planetary lander somewhere with alien plant growth.Why be moral? What is moral? Does atheism have a rational foundation? If we are just atoms in motion, how can anything be right or wrong? How can rationality even exist? Christians and Muslims have been challenging atheists with these questions lately even more than ever. Learn how to answer them…and with something more coherent and well thought out than they even think their answers are! Thinking through the answers to these questions can also make you smarter, wiser, with a better grasp of the world and your place in it.

Get a leg up on both goals, by taking my course next month (this March) on Naturalism as a Worldview: How to Build a Philosophy of Life. It establishes the philosophical foundations of humanism. And I think it’s the best way to introduce yourself to doing philosophy and thinking like a philosopher!

We will get at questions like: What is the nature of reality? What is the nature of humanity? What is the nature of love? What is the nature of beauty? And what consequences do these have? How do we decide on what’s best or what’s true if there is no God? Why live? Or care? About anything? Why is faith unreliable? What is reliable? How reliable? Why? What exists? What doesn’t? How do we know?

Learn about all aspects of naturalism as a philosophy of life, and how to use it in practical ways, and improve on it, to develop a better personal philosophy of life, the world, and everything. In the process you will learn many of the basics of college-level philosophy, and how to think like a philosopher, an important skill for those who know religion is bunk, but that we still need a better way of understanding ourselves and the world.

The course is one month online. You study and participate at your own pace, as much or as little as you like, and you get to ask me any questions you want about the course topics all month long, and read and participate in online discussions with me and other students. I will direct and comment on readings each week and give weekly course assignments which consist of answering questions about what you’ve learned and what you think about it. The course text you have to buy is Sense and Goodness without God (which you should purchase in the format you want as soon as possible). All other readings and media will be provided to students free of charge (all you have to provide is your access to the internet).

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Official Course Description: Build the foundations for a practical philosophy. Learn how to develop and defend your own naturalistic worldview from studying and critiquing a model example, and how to employ it in your daily lives and your understanding of the world. Learn the basics of how to develop and test a philosophy of epistemology (theory of knowledge), metaphysics (theory of existence), ethics (theory of morality), aesthetics (theory of beauty), and politics (theory of government), using logical, evidence-based reasoning. Based on assigned readings, lectures, and weekly class discussion online with Dr. Carrier (Ph.D. in the history of philosophy from Columbia University).

Specific Topics Addressed Include: (1) “Naturalism, Supernaturalism, Philosophy, and Worldview Theory,” in which we learn what naturalism is, and how it differs from supernaturalism; what a worldview is, and the basics of how to think about and construct a worldview; and what philosophy is, and how to think like a philosopher. (2) “Naturalism and the Universe, Your Self, Your Mind, and Your Freedom,” in which we learn what naturalism can say about the nature and origins of existence, of the universe and all its contents, but also in particular of you as a person, and thus of consciousness, thought, and freedom (your personal autonomy). (3) “Naturalism on Morality, Society, and Politics,” in which we learn what naturalism can say about whether there is any moral or political truth, what it’s nature is, and where it comes from, and what this means for how we should strive to organize society. (4) And “Naturalism on Meaning, Purpose, and Beauty in Life,” in which we learn what naturalism can say about the meaning of life and its purpose or value, and about the nature of beauty and ugliness, and what value they have, what they signify, and where they come from.

Tuition: $59

The course could fill so register soon! Late registration is possible but not guaranteed. Let your local organizations know about this course, too. There may be other members interested!