Ethical Materialism: Being Good Without God


For the eight of you waiting breathlessly for my fourth novel (the third one is mostly done but on hold, awaiting further plot developments), let me bless you with a new term that I just came up with five minutes ago: ethical materialism (which won out narrowly, and perhaps temporarily, over ethical naturalism).

My narrator for all four novels is Jon Mote. He has problems—lots of them. Some are more or less cognitive, in the sense of trying to understand the human condition, the world around him, and his place in it. Although all this takes place in the tangle of his mind, the struggle has lots of physical world consequences for him (from employment to trying to make his marriage work).

One of the things I might have him wrestle with in novel #4 (no, that’s not a hash tag) is what I’m calling (to myself anyway) ethical materialism. If the term is new (it might not be), the concept is not. In fact, it might well be the dominant understanding of the world in the West today. (Jon Mote would worry that capitalizing West might be a microaggression.)