Jadehawk has some good comments about A. C. Grayling’s philosophy, in her wrap-up of the Copenhagen Atheists’ Conference. Grayling suggests that we work to build a skeptical, rational, secular framework for ethics based, I imagine, on empathy and fairness. She writes:
He talked about atheism as more than just the disbelief in deities; rather, he talked about it as part of a secular/skeptical/rational ethical framework. The first time I encountered this idea was in a completely different context: a video by Greta Cristina about secular sexual ethics, which boiled down to “we don’t need to accept authoritarian morality/ethics, because there’s no super-being above us; instead, we’re free to construct sexual ethics based on a rational view that focuses on consent and human needs”. AC Grayling’s talk was a broader, wider applicable version of this: making rationality and skeptical thinking the basis for a person’s (and a community’s) entire moral and ethical framework in all situations. And certainly, such a framework is sorely needed, since even atheists and skeptics usually function within the already-present religion-based frameworks, merely with minor modifications.
Read the whole article for more about Grayling’s talk and about Lone Frank’s talk about brains and religion and Richard Wiseman’s talk about luck and personal narratives as well.