Category Archives: Moral philosophy

Are Masturbators Intrinsically Disordered?

The point of this post is to use an analogy that reminds us that to say homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered is not to say that men who are classed as homosexuals are intrinsically disordered.

Let’s say that a masturbator is a male who masturbates at least once a week. There is a lot of masturbators in our society. With the ready availability of internet porn, the class of masturbators is growing because almost all men have inclinations at least to masturbate when sexually aroused. There are far more masturbators than men who engage in homosexual acts on the average of once a week. Let’s call such men homosexuals. If the homosexuals are not wholly included in the masturbators, the class of homosexuals certainly overlaps the class of masturbators.

An act of masturbations is intrinsically disordered. It is wrong regardless of the circumstances and reasons why it is done.

Proving that an act is instrinsically disordered is not easy. There is a long Catholic tradition of making a case, in Thomistic philosopohy, that masturbation and homosexual acts are intrinscially disorder. I have tried to make the same case, in a Kantian way, in my book: Confronting Sexual Nihilism. Here is not the place to make that philosophical case.

Here is the place to remind ourselves that just as we would not classify almost all men as instrinsically disordered because they have strong inclinations to perform intrinsically disordered acts, we should not classify that subset of men who have strong inclinations to perform intrinsically disordered acts of the homosexual style intrinsically disordered.

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.

Moral Harm and Non-being

I am beginning a series of posts the goal of which is to get some understanding of the basic Christian framework called the Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery is the teaching that the Incarnation of God as Jesus and Jesus’ subsequent suffering, death and resurrection radically transformed the human condition. These events restored the human condition from a fallen one in which at best human life had no greater destiny than that we typically attribute to bedbugs to an original one in which human beings rise after biological death to live eternally with God. Human beings were in the fallen condition because they had chosen some act which they ought not have chosen and so they were no longer as they ought to be.

The phrases with the moral terms are emphasized because they gave me the clue on how to clarify and modify concepts to become somewhat clearer about the Paschal mystery. Moral concepts will be those under closest analysis and modification. This post focuses on a notion of moral harm.

What is moral harm? Distinguish moral harm from natural harm which here I will treat as medical harm. I use “medical” to have a working definition of natural harm. The medical harm of an act is a physical or psychological condition brought about by an act for which the person has a high probability of being compensated by medical insurance. So if you assault a person and break his arm, that person can very likely win a suit for damages from you. Similarly, if a man seduces a boy into sexual acts medical professionals will almost certainly testify that the boy has suffered psychological harm for which he should be compensated.

Moral harm is not the medical harm which an immoral act causes. Certainly we cannot say that an act is not immoral if it causes no medical harm. Moral harm is the harm a person inflicts on himself when he chooses contrary to a moral law. For instance, there is a moral law that you ought not testify that you saw a man at the scene of a crime when you clearly realize that he was somewhere else. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor!” The moral harm he inflicts upon himself comes from choosing to break the moral law. Moral laws specify how we ought to be. By choosing to break the moral law he chooses to not be the kind of person he ought to be. Moral harm is not being as you ought to be. Harm can be called an evil. So a notion of harm or evil as non-being is being used: non-being as a departure from what ought to be. The non-being which is evil may be an actual state of affairs. But it is a state of non-being, moral non-being, because of its difference from what ought to be.

This notion of moral harm or evil as non-being will be fundamental in posts trying to get clearer about the Paschal mystery. This will include introduction of a notion of Satan!

My book explores the notion of moral evil in conjunction with an examination of male 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.

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.

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
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Male Masturbators are Immoral

Male masturbators are immoral because they are acting on a principle or maxim that they can enjoy up through orgasm any imaginable sexual activity. There are, of course, external constraints on enjoying these activities with any unimagined person beyond oneself. There is fear of legal and social disapproval, lack of any interested partner, etc. The masturbator, though, places no internal restrictions, beyond his sexual interest, on these activities. There is no internal restriction on expanding these sexual interests when more exciting fantasies are needed for orgiastic pleasure.

The acts of a masturbator are not as serious as the acts of a man who actually carries out the sexual fantasy of the masturbator. But their sexual characters are the same. For instance, the masturbatory act of a man imagining fellatio with a nine year old boy is certainly not as serious as the act of a man who does it. But they both share the principle that they can enjoy this kind of activity.

Accepting a practice of masturbation is the basic form of an immoral sexual character for any man. Why? It puts him in conflict with any morality because in his imagination he can flout any rule. Any sexual morality will condemn some sexual activity*. A man who accepts his practice of masturbation holds that no only imagined sexual activities can be condemned.

*(Utilitarian moral outlooks which hold that in principle any sexual activity is permissible will hold some are in fact impermissible because of the damage they do.)

If this condemnation of masturbation interests, or irritates, you, my book defending traditional sexual morality might also be of interest.
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.

Women who have abortions deserve punishment

Towards the end of March 2016, Donald Trump in an interview conceded that women who have abortions should be punished. There was outrage from all sides. He couldn’t specify what a suitable punishment should. A ten year sentence was suggested but Trump really didn’t accept that. Later his campaign headquarters clarified Trump’s remarks to say only abortion providers should be punished. USA Pro-life groups immediately dismissed Trump’s proposals. They have never advocated punishing women who have abortions. However, I am anti-abortion or pro-life and do think that women who have an abortion deserve punishment and I play a small part in inflicting such punishments.

A crucial distinction is being ignored. There is a distinction between punishing through the criminal justice system (criminalizing) and punishing by expressions of moral disapproval. In the interview Trump let himself to be lead into assuming that punishing abortions would require criminalizing abortions. I strongly object to criminalizing women having abortions. The social and economic costs of punishing through the criminal justice system would be enormous. These costs would be salient and probably lead to public outrage and sympathy for abortion while the value of the deterred abortions would remain unspecified.

USA pro life groups correctly claim that the have never promoted making abortion a crime for the women having it. However, the pro life movement constantly punishes women who have an abortion by proclaiming that having an abortion is immoral. Our saying abortion is immoral is not merely writing a statement in some book or journal. We pronounce the condemnation of abortion publicly in ways which hurt. Standing outside an abortion clinic praying certainly can make some women leaving the clinic very unhappy. Our constant efforts to keep abortion from becoming a standard medical procedure and burdening it with legal restrictions presupposes an obvious moral condemnation of abortion. We do not often dwell on whether or not women deserve to suffer from our moral condemnation. But if it does come up we should grant that they deserve some of their feelings of shame and guilt we helped cause with our moral condemnation of abortion.What can be discussed is how much shame, guilt, anguish, etc., they deserve to suffer.

In summary: Women who have abortions deserve to be punished by expressions of moral disapproval of having an abortion. However, having an abortion should not be criminalized.

If these thoughts interest you, my book on sexual morality might also be of interest.
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.

Immorality of Suicide and Physician Assisted Suicide

In this post, I lay out a moral objection to physician assisted suicide. Do not be “put-off” by the academic style of presenting a series of numbered claims linked together to draw conclusions. The numbered claims highlight crucial assumptions. This highlighting facilitates focusing on what needs to be discussed in evaluation of this moral condemnation of suicide. A full examination of the assumptions is not undertaken in this post. I make only a few supporting remarks below the argument.

1. I have a moral obligation to be morally correct human beings under any conditions.
By re-expressing (1) negatively, we get:
2. Under no conditions am I permitted to choose not to be a morally correct human being.
Now let us switch to applying the general moral law to my plans and choices.
3. If I plan to take, or have someone else take, my life I plan not to be under some conditions.
4. If I plan not to be under some conditions, then I plan not to be a morally correct human being under some conditions. (Being is a necessary condition for being morally correct.)
So, linking (3) and (4) we get:
5. If I plan to take, or have some take, my life , then I plan not to be a morally correct human being under some conditions.
Suppose
6. I plan to take, or have someone take, my life by making provisions for physician assisted suicide.
We get from 5) and (6)
7. I plan not to be a morally correct human being under some conditions.
Obviously, my plan expressed in (7) is in direct conflict with the moral law expressed in (2). This conflict is the moral condemnation of choosing suicide or physician assisted suicide.

Claim (1) brings out that my case starts from a moral claim. My argument is not based on only natural non-moral facts. I use first person singular, but the moral claim is for all people. If we do accept morality, it is quite plausible to accept an obligation to be moral, viz., a morally correct human being. A “Kantian” moral theory justifying (1) is developed in my book. If there is anything special in this condemnation of suicide it is expressed in (3). Choice of suicide is a choice not to be. It may seem that choice of suicide is a choice not to be in some miserable condition. However, a not to be is chosen as a means for not being in a miserable condition.

I have written a book in which defending traditional sexual morality using as a crucial premise that we have a moral obligation to be morally correct people. To get a sexual morality from that general moral principles, I show that there are specific ways men and women ought to exercise their sexuality. My book gets complicated because I argue that if we do not accept that there are specific ways men and women ought to exercise their sexuality – which I call the moral neutrality of sexuality- then there are no specific ways people ought to be. If there are now specific ways people ought to be, then there is no morality. Everything is permitted including suicide, of course. Nothing matters. That is nihilism.

My book arguing that sexual neutrality leads to nihilism is 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.

The Morality Trap

Suppose that you are worried that human moral ways of thinking do not express some human independent standards of what to do and how to be. You fear, or perhaps hope, that moral thinking is simply a way in which human beings have evolved to think. Moral thinking has some survival value. But that is all. So, you ask whether or not we can simply set it aside; forget about asking moral questions. Here is where we encounter the “moral trap.”

If we have doubts about the legitimacy of our moral thinking, we ask ourselves whether or not we ought to discard thinking morally. This “ought” reveals that we do not avoid thinking morally by thinking about whether or not we should take morality seriously.

We can still set aside moral thinking – be amoralists. If we want to be amoralists we have to ignore the moral ways of thinking which includes ignoring the question whether or not we can ignore morality. The price of amoralism is that we cannot find a meaning in life without moral thinking. Avoiding raising the question of whether or not we ought to be moral requires continually distracting ourselves from facing moral questions. To have a meaning for our life, we need a way we ought to be. If we hold fast to amoralism, we have to suppress all thoughts of how we ought to be with the result of becoming nihilists.

I have written a book in which I develop the theme that this moral trap is a blessing because if we turn away from distracting ourselves from morality, we start thinking seriously of morality. I make a case that taking morality seriously leads to traditional sexual morality.

My book arguing that sexual neutrality leads to nihilism is 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.