"Whether Atheism prevents one from possessing moral knowledge"
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In order to address the issue of whether atheism prevents one from possessing moral knowledge, we first need to pose a few fundamental questions and find satisfactory answers to them. Firstly, we need to define the term moral knowledge. Secondly, we need to establish if morality has or can have firm criteria and find out if there exists any definite or objective standard for moral behavior and knowledge. Lastly, we can address the question of how atheism fits into the picture.
Moral knowledge appears to be essentially different from the types of knowledge we encounter in other fields of life. In our experience, knowledge usually refers to empirical truths, such as two by two equals four, or cats are smaller than elephants. Knowledge of this sort has nothing to do with our particular stance, our desires, points of view, our upbringing, etc. This type of knowledge can be proven empirically or experientially, and there is usually a great degree of consensus in matters pertaining to empirical knowledge. Moral knowledge, on the other hand, is of entirely different nature. Shafer-Landau points out that moral claims do not represent neither “empirical matters of fact” nor “conceptual truths (3). David Hume, an early modern British philosopher, noted that “ought” cannot be derived from “is”. This way,...