Necromancer wrote:I think the Atheists say maximal joy (of life). At least if one follows Richard Dawkins. Other than that, maybe anthropological/philantropical interest.
Two problems immediately ensue for that answer. The biggest is "why"? Why should we think that the universe, which Dawkins assures us is the product of nothing but chance, in some sense "owes" or "prefers" us to be joyful? Why shouldn't we guess, on the contrary, that we are in a "nature red in tooth and claw" battle for survival, in which "joy" has no particular place? In a Darwinian world, we should expect the latter, but never the former.
This is also why the second problem emerges. It's that on the basis of Darwin, Richard Dawkins himself
claims that there is no morality. He writes,
"In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
So to follow Dawkins is simply to follow him into this anti-moral view of everything. And "joy," well, I don't know where you'd find a moral imperative for us to seek that in his description, do you?
Now, a third problem, one even more important that the other two, remains completely unaddressed by this possible response. That is, even if we suppose that human beings DO, as a matter of fact, seek "joy" or have some sort of "philanthropical interest," it remains to be shown that these have any MORAL dimension. As Hume argued, they are then just factual statements, and do not warrant any kind of value judgment, or contain any deontological or moral gravity. So as a description of a delusory motive for good behaviour, they might work. But they wouldn't provide anything to the moral skeptic that would show he or she owes anything to respecting those values.
As a legitimation
for morality, therefore, both explanations fall considerably short of what is necessary.