All posts by kielkopf1

About kielkopf1

I am Professor philosophy (emeritus) of the Ohio State University. I am blogging to promote a book on sexual moral philosophy and to develop further themes not fully developed in the book. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife Marge. My three sons: Charles P., Mark S. and Andrew J. live in Columbus. My daughter Judy lives in Rhode Island while my daughter Susan lives in Fresno, CA. My wife and I are daily Mass goers at our Catholic parish: Immaculate Conception. Marge is an active Lay Cistercian and I am very active in the works of the Society of St. Vincent dePaul.

Pope Francis’ Nominalistic Defense of Reception of the Eucharist by Catholics Not in a State of Grace

How can Pope Francis’ suggest that some divorced Catholics who have remarried outside the Church might receive the Eucharist? Interpreting Pope Francis as a nominalist explains how he can offer his suggestion. For the interested reader, a brief discussion of the problem of universals is at the end of the post

Cardinals Burke et al. have challenged Pope Francis’ position in his recent Amoris laetita. The controversy focuses on reception of the Eucharist by Catholics legally divorced from a spouse in a valid Catholic marriage, legally married to a spouse in a subsequent marriage without a Catholic annulment of the former marriage. A footnote 351 in §305 suggests that under certain conditions in consultation with a priest a person in such a marriage may find it helpful for his or her spiritual life and salvation to receive the Eucharist.
Pope Francis has claimed that his stance in Amoris laetita proposes no change in Catholic moral theology. The cardinals challenge Pope Francis to explain how his suggestion about reception of the Eucharist can be consistent with Catholic moral theology because such a couple are living in a habitual grave sin according to Catholic moral theology and cannot receive sacramental absolution. The challenge confronts Pope Francis with a dilemma: Change Catholic moral theology or teach that on occasion reception of the Eucharist by people in a situation of grave habitual may work for the salvation of their souls. Pope Francis grasps the dilemma by the horn to admit that reception of the Eucharist by people not in a state of grace can work for their salvation.
How can Pope Francis consistently make such a suggestion? If he offers guidelines for the conditions under which it would be spiritually profitable to receive the Eucharist, these guidelines would be new rules in conflict with present Church rules. Francis has claimed that no rule changes are proposed. The resolution is to give no rules or guidelines. Take a nominalistic stance Rules or guidelines use general terms and combine several individuals into a group as if they formed a class. However, general terms mislead us about reality. In reality there are only separate individuals and there are no similarities combining them into groups. The best language for talking of reality is to use only names; utter no sentence and give no rules. So, when prompted by the Spirit a person just recognizes that the Eucharist is to be received but the recognition cannot be put into words since words always distort reality. Just receive the Eucharist. Talking about it will only distort what is being done.

My book on sexual morality takes a conceptualist position to defend a traditional sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Here is my naïve synopsis of the problem of universals. Universals are whatever it is we are talking about when we use common terms. Common terms can be applied to different locations in space and time. They are as simple as the color term “yellow” and as complex as the sophisticated term “justice.” The problem of universals is what if anything outside the mind corresponds to these universal terms? Realists hold that our universal terms when well defined correspond to a universal feature of extramental reality.
For instance, a realist hold that a proper definition of “justice “ presents to us what justice is in and by itself. Realist hold a correspondence theory of truth for definitions of universal terms. Conceptualists hold that we use universal terms as a result of our capacity to think as if something exactly the same is located in different regions of space and time. There is no need to believe that there is anything corresponding to our best definitions of terms which makes them the true definitions. All that is needed is to assume that reality is such that it allows our use of terms to have successful science and daily life. For instance, a conceptualist holds that a “true” definition of “justice” is one which helps construct flourishing communities. Conceptualist hold a pragmatic theory of truth for definitions of universal terms. Nominalists hold that our use of universal terms is fundamentally misleading about the way reality is in itself. In reality, there are only individuals. There are no features which they share with other individuals as realists hold. There are no vague similarities which make it useful to think as if there were shared features as conceptualists hold. Mere names are all that can be said without distorting what is. For nominalists there are no true sentences about extra mental reality – not even a statement of nominalism.

What is Moral Corruption?

This post sketches out a condition of a person’s moral character in which the person needs moral help. The person does not know how to move out of a condition of being in fact in conflict with the moral law, is aware of being in conflict with the moral law, regrets being in conflict with the moral law despite having excusing conditions. He does not feel justified in what he is doing although he feels that he is doing the best under the circumstance.

I frequently wondered why a government in which bureaucrats regularly required bribes for performance of duties which they are paid to perform is called “corrupt.” I associate “corrupt” with rotten meat, wood or some material object ready to fall apart. These so-called corrupt governments or systems last for long periods of time: even centuries. So I needed to develop a concept of corruption which brings to the forefront that it is regular intentional law breaking. Such a concept is proposed in this post. I can focus on moral law. Accepting bribes is in violation of the legal laws of a society and breaking the legal laws, for the most part, is contrary to moral law.

Corruption is a negative feature of a person’s moral character. Particular acts are right or wrong: In compliance with the moral law or in conflict with the moral law. Corruption qualifies the whole of a person’s character even if there is only one kind of moral law being regularly violated. Corruption is not sufficient for making someone a morally bad person

A person has a corrupt moral character if that person knowingly, intentionally, regularly violates a moral law and has no intention to stop the practice. Thus a bureaucrat who regularly takes bribes in a system where that is the practice and who intends to keep his position is morally corrupt. This bureaucrat may be an exemplary person in all other respects; yet he is morally corrupt. A married man who is a womanizer is morally corrupt even if he has the charm and talent to be an otherwise good husband, father and citizen. If he is satisfied with his womanizing he is harden in his moral corruption. The opening paragraphy of this post calls attention to the plight of people not hardened in their corruption. A corrupt person who wishes to get out of the corrupting practice and keeps alert for ways to get out of the practice has weak moral corruption.

Much more could be written to elaborate this notion of moral corruption. But here I want to extend it to apply to Catholic moral marital law discussed in a previous post on controversy about Pope Francis’ hints that certain divorced Catholics could receive the Eucharist. A civilly married Catholic couple, at least one of whom has been divorced from a valid Catholic marriage, is living contrary to Catholic moral law unless they abstain from sexual relations. From the Catholic perspective both are morally corrupt. Pope Francis has suggested that if the corruption in such a couple is weak corruption reception of the Catholic Eucharist may be a spiritual aid for helping them overcome their corruption.

A problem is that there are sacramental laws specifying that people in such a corrupt state ought not receive the Eucharist. We need to be concerned that such married couples and their spiritual advisors not become corrupt with respect to the laws for reception of the Eucharist. This problem of not becoming corrupt by coming in conflict with other laws while trying to heal another type of corruption needs to be discussed in subsequent posts.

My book on sexual morality emphasizes the importance of character formation in sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

One Catholic Layman’s response to Dubia of Cardinal Burke et al.

This post assumes some familiarity with the controversy about Pope Francis’ position in his recent Amoris laetita. The controversy focuses on reception of the Eucharist by Catholics legally divorced from a spouse in a valid Catholic marriage, legally married to a spouse in a subsequent marriage without a Catholic annulment of the former marriage. A footnote #351 in §305 suggests that under certain conditions in consultation with a priest a person in such a marriage may find it helpful for his or her spiritual life and salvation to receive the Eucharist. Pope Francis has claimed that his stance in Amoris laetita propose no change in Catholic moral theology. I will state the Dubia from an article in the
National Catholic Register.
Then I give a short answer which could, but do not go into much depth and length. Dubia are to be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” My answers have no standing as Catholic teaching.

Dubia 1] It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (§300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio,§84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, §34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, §29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 §(305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

My answer to 1] Is a qualified No. First note some important qualifications. The “valid marital bond” should be read as “unannulled Catholic marriage bond”. To more uxorio add “in a legally valid either secular or of some reglious denomination.” It is still not possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion . However, the footnote leaves open the possibility of confessors counseling penitents still objectively and subjectively in a sinful condition to receive the Eucharist.

Dubia 2] After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, §79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

My answer to 2] The simple answer is Yes. The challenge is not precise enough. It should have focused on sexual morality. For all that was written in Amoris leatitia there was no challenge to moral absolutes for other areas, eg. Justice.
The thesis of my answers is that the ambiguity raised by Pope Francis is a call for Catholic theologians to work in sacramental theology on the role the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist can play in bringing sinners still immersed in sin into a sinless life. Hold moral theology constant in these investigations. How can sacraments be medicine in the “field hospital for sinners?”

In Chapter VIII of my book, Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism I investigate similar problems for Catholics practicing artificial birth control.

Dubia 3] After Amoris Laetitia (§301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

My answer to 3] My answer is Yes even when “a person” is explicitly read as “all persons.” Nothing in Amoris Leatitia changes the conditions for being right with respect to the moral law or the more stringent laws of Catholic moral theology.

Dubia 4] After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (§302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, §81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

My answer to 4] My answer is Yes because the issue is not about changing what is or is not in accord with the moral law or Catholic moral law. The issue concerns conditions for reception of the Eucharist for people living in conflict with the law!

Dubia 5] After Amoris Laetitia (§303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, §56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

My answer to 5] is Yes. As noted in my answer to [4] the issue is not about making exceptions to the moral law. The issue is about the role reception of the Eucharist can make in the progress, if any, of people living in conflict with exceptionaless moral laws. Can the Eucharist help people intentionally living in sin gradually grow out of sin. The question is not about gradualism of the law but whether or not there are sacramental means for gradually growing in compliance with the law. Rules are not to be provided for these decisions. See also my post Gradualism of the Law and “Eucharistic” water stops.

I personally struggled with this topic. In my “internal forum” I decided that I should long for reception of the Eucharist but not receive the Eucharist until I was in complete compliance with the traditional teaching of the Church on reception of the Eucharist. I look back on those years of longing for the Eucharist as a period of my richest understanding of this mystery.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Confession of a Truth Skeptic

A truth skeptic doubts whether or not there are any truths. In a Catholic Register column in the November 27, 2016 issue Francis X. Cronin confronts such a skeptic. He points out that a skeptic about truths contradicts himself if he were to claim that it is true that there are no truths. Cronin goes further to criticize the typical way this skeptic tries to avoid the contradiction by neither affirming nor denying the statement “There are truths.” The typical way is to call attention to all the ways in which intelligent people have contradicted one another. The skeptic hopes consideration of the set of contradictory statements intelligent people have made, will lead us to despair of accepting any statements as true.

In rebuttal, Cronin cites the set of contradictory statements as evidence which should set aside this despair because that set provides a proof that there are some true statements, even if we do not know which ones are the true beyond the one provable true statement “There are truths”.

In his rebuttal, Cronin introduces the term real possibility. Introduction of this term is crucial for a rebuttal of a serious skeptic about truth. A serious skeptic about truth has doubts about whether or not any of our statements can present things as they are independently of our ways of thinking and perceiving. The doubt arises because trying to prove that we can represent things apart from our thinking and perceiving them seems to require us to think and perceive them apart from thinking and perceiving them to compare with how we think and perceive them. Cronin does not successfully set aside this serious skepticism about truth if he defines “real possibility” as I do below

A statement expresses a real possibility if it represents how things can be apart from our ways of presenting them.

Cronin notes that the set of all statements expressing real possibilities contains contradictions, viz., every statement and its negation. Call this set ALL. The set ALL can be a model for that set of statements which is supposed to justify despairing skepticism about truth. However, for every statement in ALL which in fact does not represent things as they actually are, its negation does. So, the set ALL contains the subset TRUTH which is the set of the negation of all of the false statements in ALL. So, there is TRUTH even if no one can pick out each and every member from ALL.

My disappointment with Cronin’s argument is that he does not address the issue of how we can tell whether or not a statement expresses a real possibility. The serious skeptic about truth has despair about ever being able to establish that a statement represents thing as they could be apart from our ways of representing, viz., oub ability to represent real possibilities.

In my book, I argue that we cannot use theoretical reasoning to establish real possibilities, let alone truths. Ultimately we need to use practical reason to confront reality as it is apart from our thinking. Intelligent acting is needed to get the truth which we can always doubt using theoretical reasoning alone.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Pragmatic Arguments to Support the Paternal Principle

In this post I lay out an abstract schema for ultimately using a pragmatic argument to justify the primary thesis of my book. The thesis is the Paternal Principle that a man ought never intentionally seek an orgasm except in intercourse open to conception with a woman to whom he has made a lifelong commitment to be faithful while caring for her and their children.

Here is the schema.

1. If after following all guidelines for reasoning well, viz. careful reasoning, I have doubts about whether or not my reasoning represents reality as it is apart from my careful reasoning,viz. things in themselves then my careful reasoning is not compelling to me.
2. If my careful reasoning is not compelling to me, then my careful reasoning is not compelling.
3. If my careful reasoning is not compelling, then there are questions about how well careful reasoning represents things in themselves.
4. If there are questions about how well careful reasoning represents things in themselves, then I take the critical stance of investigating careful reasoning to judge how well it represents things in themselves. (This is the critical stance originated by DesCartes.)

In Chapter IV of my book I admit to doubts about my reasoning because of assumptions made and have really tried hard –perhaps while boring readers- to follow guidelines for careful reasoning. So, I concede that my argument for the Paternal Principle is not compelling simply on the basis of my argument for it in Chapter IV. So, putting what I just admitted together with lines (1)-(4), we get (5) whose ideas I expand in Chapter XI.

5. I take the critical stance of investigating careful reasoning to judge how well it represents things in themselves; especially with regard to the Paternal Principle and the reasoning for it.

6. If I take the critical stance of investigating careful reasoning to judge how well it represents things in themselves, especially with regard to the Paternal Principle and the reasoning for it.
then there are theoretical and practical alternatives.
7 If take a theoretical alternative a theory of things in themselves is developed and then careful reasoning is compared with the theory of things in themselves for accuracy
8. If I take a practical alternative, I continue to use careful reasoning while setting aside questions about its correctness, keeping in mind a conclusion reached by such reasoning while acting as if such a conclusion represented things in themselves with the intention of letting things in themselves convince me that the conclusion represents reality as it is apart from careful thinking. These practical alternatives are called pragmatic arguments.
9. Satisfactory theoretical alternatives cannot be developed without begging the question at issue. Development of a theory of things in themselves would use careful reasoning. However, the question at issue is whether or not careful reasoning can develop an accurate theory of things in themselves.
Hence, (10).
10.I develop a pragmatic argument for the Paternal Principle and the reasoning for it.

Much needs to be said about what is permissible in this process of a pragmatic argument and I try to spell it out in Chapter XI The main task is to show how careful reasoning is not violated while letting ourselves be convinced by factors which cannot be expressed as reasons which can be stated in words. Not much can be said in support of the assumption that we can encounter things in themselves in ways which show us things in themselves but which cannot be said. This is a realistic assumption I make but cannot justify in words. But after all, it is not a foolish assumption. I am a thing in itself. In all sorts of ways I encounter things in themselves. The reality in which I am emeshed can teach me in many ways without words. In particular, it has taught me that traditional sexual morality for men as taught by the Catholic Church is true. This is what I defend in my book.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

What is the Fundamental Moral Principle of Female Sexuality?

Do you know of a Fundamental Moral Principle of Female Sexuality?

In my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism , I argue for a basic feature of traditional sexual morality. I call it the Paternal Principle. An elaborate statement of this principle is quoted below

A male may intentionally attain a sexual climax only in sexual intercourse with a consenting woman to whom he is bound by a life-long monogamous socially recognized union for procreation, In addition he should:(1) intend to cooperate with his spouse to protect and promote the lifelong natural development of any conception resulting from this intercourse and (2) strive to appreciate with his spouse the natural value of their sexual satisfactions and cooperate with her to enhance those satisfactions.

But this principle is only for men

The principle is intellectually accessible to women. Women, though, cannot think of it as founding their sexual morality. Of course, most aspects of humanity are common to men and women. So mutual collaboration is possible and needed for a full human sexuality. The paternal principle focuses almost exclusively on the distinctive feature of male sexuality: sperm dispersal. My thinking with male sexuality shows me that proper control of sperm dispersal can be the foundation of male sexual morality. I do not know how to think with female sexuality to locate a foundation for female sexual morality on such a single event.

We need input from women on a moral principle for female sexuality.

Readers of this post may be interested in my book on sexual morality.

Readers who email an attempt to state a fundamental principle of sexual morality for women to kielkopf.1@osu.edu will be mailed a free copy of my book.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

A Catholic Examination of Conscience for a Catholic struggling to rationalize voting for Hillary Clinton

Catholic bishops have published pamphlets on making moral choices in voting. They are readily available in churches and Catholic publications. These statements disappoint some Catholics. The bishops bring out several truths of Catholic moral theology and point out that some legislation, such as permission for abortion, is immoral. But they do not tell us how to vote. The bishops tell us that we must form our conscience in light of the statements and then vote in accordance with our conscience. How do we form our conscience?

Pope Francis has said that the confessional should not be a torture chamber. Our conscience during an examination of conscience is and ought to be a torture chamber.

Let me outline an examination of conscience focusing on the issue of abortion only. I won’t focus solely on the act of voting because political activity involves much more than voting. For instance, there is contributing to campaigns and putting up yard signs.

To start, search yourself on whether or not you actually condemn abortion as intrinsically immoral, viz., immoral regardless of the circumstances and consequences. Perhaps you simply do not care whether or not abortions are performed. You might want abortion to be legally available if a family member has an unwanted pregnancy or a diagnosis of a defective child? Or worse, might you not implicitly support pro-choice to reduce the population of certain kinds of people? An examination of conscience can be ugly.

In any event, as a Catholic you have an obligation to act as if you think abortion is intrinsically evil because you have an obligation to form your conscience in conformity with Church teaching. A long term project is working to align your sentiments in accordance with Catholic teaching.
Can you make a contribution to the Democratic National Committee or the Clinton National Committee? The morally safe answer is” No.” These committees represent the Democratic platform as a whole or Ms. Clinton’s views as a whole outlook. As a total outlook these views explicitly endorse the permissibility of abortion. Because you have accepted abortion as an intrinsic evil it cannot be offset by any other part of the programs regardless of how laudable they may be. There is no way to designate your contribution as simply to the laudable planks of the platform.
A “yes” answer would require doing something to mitigate the possible harm by supporting pro-choice programs. Perhaps, it would help if you would donate an equal amount of money to pro-life organizations or women’s centers for alternatives to abortion. Or you could become dues paying member of a caucus of pro-life Democrats called “Democrats for Life.”

The same kind of alternatives present themselves when you consider working in Clinton’s campaign , putting up yard signs or simply trying to persuade family and friends to vote for Clinton. In these cases, though, you have to worry whether or not you are showing other people that an allegedly good Catholic is indifferent to Catholic teaching. Here you should admit to others that you are at least uncomfortable about being in apparent conflict with Catholic teaching. You should not say “I can vote for Clinton with a clear conscience.” You should be visibly conflicted!

Before coming to the last step of voting, we have to consider whether or not it is permissible to compensate supporting a pro-abortion policy by performances of pro-life activities. Is not supporting a pro-abortion policy cooperating in the acts of abortion? It is intrinsically wrong to cooperate in the performance an abortion. I do not think that simply supporting practices under which abortions may, and certainly will, be performed is materially cooperating in the completion of any of those abortions. There can be no specifiable abortion of which it can be said “but for my support that abortion would not have occurred.”

Now we come to the voting booth. If throughout the campaign you have been tormenting yourself with the above kind of examination of conscience, you have not been an enthusiastic participant in this presidential election. I think that in the voting booth, you are entitled to ask yourself the very narrow question: Which of the two serious candidates is most likely to administer the national government most effectively? To me the answer to the narrow question is “Clinton.” That is how I will vote; but not with a clear conscience after I have let my conscience be my guide.

I have plenty of compensatory work to do.

Readers of this post may be interested in my book on sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Learning Sexual Morality from Nature

In my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism, I defend traditional Catholic sexual morality. Actually the label “Catholic” is a misnomer. As recent as two hundred years ago it was the sexual morality taught by almost all the Christian churches and synagogues. Even if it was biblical it was not taught as being based on the bible alone. It was taught as the morality given by God to all people through His creation of human reason. Indeed the traditional sexual morality provided support to biblical teachings because it showed how, in this case, reason and scripture were in harmony.

In my book, I do not defend traditional sexual morality as Catholic, Christian, biblical or traditional. I defend traditional sexual morality using only human reason. But I do not use the traditional way of basing sexual morality on reason. The traditional defense relies on an erroneous assumption. The erroneous assumption holds: It is wrong to inhibit a natural system from fulfilling its natural end. Nature shows us the natural end of systems by showing us what, for the most part, the systems accomplish in nature. From such an assumption, arguments are easily given that sexual acts such as masturbation, homosexual acts and contraceptive acts inhibited the natural function of sperm dispersal which was conception.

For someone who is seriously trying to defend traditional sexual morality from reason, the above apparent oversimplification of the traditional use of reason to defend sexual morality is valuable. It highlights the problems confronting such an effort. The problems are hard to solve. My book is hard to follow.

How does nature, by showing us how systems function, ever tell us what is right or wrong?
Why is it wrong to inhibit the functions of some systems?
In particular, why is it wrong to inhibit the functions of sexual systems?

An effort to answer such questions without relying on any ideology assuming contempt for any type of human beings is an appeal to reason which deserves to be in the “market place of ideas” in a civilized society. It deserves this place even if a consequence of this line of reasoning leads to a conclusion “Homosexual acts are morally wrong.”

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Love requires moral rules to found the moral law

Jesus agreed, Lk 10:27 that the principles: “Love the Lord your God above all things and your neighbor as yourself” provides a foundation for all the laws of morality and religion. This agreement may suggest to Christians that love alone is sufficient foundation for morality. However, proper love is only a necessary condition for morality. There needs to be knowledge, or awareness, of rules on how we ought to act and how we ought to be. To modify an aphorism of Kant: “Love without rules is blind but rules without love are inoperative.”

Proper love is to choose the good for the beloved. But what is the good for God and for others? The good for God is what God wills. God wills what ought to be. So loving God is to choose what God wills, or what ought to be. Now, because the good is what God wills, loving ourselves and others is to choose what God wills for them and ourselves, or what ought to be for ourselves and others. So the problem of how to love our neighbors as ourselves becomes the problem of finding out what ought to be and developing the will to choose what we have found out what ought to be.

For humans, because we choose particular acts at particular times, what we ought to be is bipartite. We ought to choose those particular acts we ought to choose and become the kind of people who regularly choose the acts we ought to choose. So morality requires knowing the rules for the particular acts in particular circumstances we ought to choose and struggling to become people who keep those rules. If we are making that struggle we are loving. That struggle is building moral character. So, if we are struggling to form our moral character, we are loving God and our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps grace of God is necessary to motivate us to start and persevere in the struggle to build moral character. By hard thinking throughout the ages humanity has uncovered the basic rules on how we ought to act in regard to controlling our basic passions and inclinations.

I wrote a book on sexual morality using the above notion of character morality.
Read more about character sexual morality in my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Sexual Morality in Nature

In my book supporting traditional sexual morality I have a model of how sexual morality could have been a result of natural evolution. I’ll sketch out how this mode.

In our non-human predecessors there were emotional inhibitions against attaining orgasms –sperm dispersals- outside of intercourse with a female with whom there would be pair-bonding for her protection and off-spring protection. Call them chastity inhibitions. Of course, there would be inclinations to have orgasms through self-stimulation, contact with other males and in intercourse with just about any available female. The evolutionary function of chastity inhibitions is to hamper the wasteful dispersal of sperm. The chastity inhibitions would be strong negative feelings against the ways of wasting sperm. There would be feelings of disgust, shame and, yes, homophobia. Of course, the chastity inhibitions would not always successfully inhibit masturbation, homosexuality, promiscuity and rape. But they would stop enough useless and detrimental sperm dispersal to have survival of a pair bonding species.

As a non-scientist I am reluctant to suggest that I have any worthwhile knowledge of brain science. Nonetheless, let me suggest that the main brain regions operative in chastity inhibitions are in the amygdala.

As the various species of homo evolved some, viz. sapiens, developed brain regions giving them the capacity for thoughts which could be expressed in sentences both indicative and imperative. Let me say that the regions for these thinking capacities are in the pre-frontal cortex. Amongst these imperative thoughts are those with the semantics of moral thought. Here the significant semantic feature of moral imperatives is that they override all other imperatives and suggest that there is harm in the mere disobedience to them and a value in simply obeying them. These are categorical imperatives: Do this regardless of the consequences! Never do that regardless of any inclination to do otherwise! For instance: Never seek an organism exception with a woman with whom you have a commitment to care for her and your off-spring regardless of any inclination to do otherwise.

In my model of evolution of moral thought, I assume that the chastity inhibitions evolved to become expressible in moral imperatives. Assuming chastity inhibitions are helpful for survival, they would be strengthened by being expressible with moral thoughts. Also how moral thoughts can motivate action is explained by thinking of them as having evolved to, amongst other things, to express emotions.

So, in brief, moral rules are natures’, evolutions, way for us to commands acts we are naturally inclined, to some degree, to promote.

This model shows that it is not implausible for me to write of the moral code for which I argue as natural. I do not need to write of it as having a source in some supernatural or metaphysical realm. I do think that many who try to understand human beings as naturally developed beings would accept something like my model as an explanation of traditional morality or even what they call moral intuitions.

However, I am not entitled to claim that the morality I defend has originated in nature and is thereby justified. I cannot say that what is taken as right is right. I cannot go from “is” to “ought.”

On the other hand, the moral code I defend cannot be set aside by saying that it is a mere product of nature and rather primitive nature at that. It has to be taken seriously in our moral thinking whether we choose to defend it or argue to set it aside. Why? It is moral thinking and the moral thinking whereby we defend it or challenge it is of the same kind. At least those who believe that moral thinking is a result of natural development – evolution- have to accept that the moral thinking whereby they seek to set aside traditional morality is of the same kind as the moral thinking of traditional morality. They cannot regard their moral thinking as coming from some higher source outside of nature.

This line of thought supports one of the goals of my book which is that the moral thinking traditional sexual morality needs to be treated with respect in the current market place of ideas and not be dismissed as “hate speech” because it dares to condemn promiscuity, masturbation, homosexuality etc..

Read more about sexual morality in nature in my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
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Columbus, Ohio 43214
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