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Q&A#49 Appeals to Natural Law and Scripture and the Effectiveness of Jordan Peterson

Alastair Roberts

Q&A#49 Appeals to Natural Law and Scripture and the Effectiveness of Jordan Peterson

September 15, 2018
Alastair Roberts
Alastair Roberts

Today's question:

"I guess I'm intrigued about a couple of things.

First, do you really think it's the case that there is actually any kind of moral consensus in principle among people? The kind of thing that lets pro-Natural Law folk say, "Everyone knows that murder is wrong" when, actually, a glance at our history raises at least some questions about this.

I guess this is prompted in part by the fact that what passes for sexual ethics in the public square is now moving so fast that even I feel old-fashioned, and (more to the point) I can remember a day not so long ago when "Everyone would have thought" that things now accepted as normal would have been described as abhorrent and unnatural.

Doesn't this ethical slide raise at least some questions about the stability of any kind of NL ethic?

And second, a question from the other side of the coin. Shouldn't Jordan Peterson's remarkable success in making arguments in the public square in part on the basis of an unashamed appeal to the Christian Scriptures give us rather greater optimism that some seem to have about the credibility of making such an appeal to people who aren't themselves Bible-believing Christians?

Might it not be possible to make a kind of (presuppositionally?) self-validating appeal to an unacknowledged source of religious authority like the Bible, in a way that doesn't rely on a prior commitment to its authority, but rather generates precisely that commitment by the cogency of the appeal and the argument as a whole?"

The video on biblicism that is referenced can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrTyM29XRNU.

If you have any questions, you can leave them on my Curious Cat account: https://curiouscat.me/zugzwanged.

If you have enjoyed these videos, please tell your friends and consider supporting me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/zugzwanged.

My new Soundcloud account is here: https://soundcloud.com/alastairadversaria. You can also listen to the audio of these episodes on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/alastairs-adversaria/id1416351035?mt=2.

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