One-Page Summary of Evolutionary Pragmatism

Metaphysics -- Where Am I? -- Non-Naive Realism -- "What there is, is what you see!"

I call this place "Reality". I recognize that "awareness", and "consciousness" are mental processes. These mental processes can not generate the contents of my awareness or consciousness out of thin air. All of my mental processes necessarily are dependent on data from my senses. The senses are what couples our mental processes to reality. What I am aware of (consciously or unconsciously), what I am conscious of, and what I think about, are the sensory inputs to these mental processes. Because our awareness of Reality is a process, whatever is processed must necessarily exist prior to, and independently of that process. Thus, Reality exists independently of any awareness of it.

  Epistemology -- How do I know? -- Pragmatism -- "What you see is what you get!"

[A "proposition" is a statement that says something about Reality.] Knowledge consists of a justified belief in a true proposition. The Truth of any proposition is determined by its correspondence with the facts of Reality. All knowledge is based on our perceptual awareness of Reality. There is no source of knowledge other than experience. Truth is an attribute of propositions. Facts are not truth - facts simply are.  Evidence from Reality must not be dependent on some privileged status of the observer. In other words, it must be possible for me to reproduce any observation that you make. (As long as I am suitably careful to reproduce the observing situation, of course.) And vice versa. Since reality exists independent of any observer, an observation that cannot be independently replicated is not evidence.   It is opinion.  In the absence of any evidence, a proposition cannot be judged to be true. In the absence of any evidence, a belief in a proposition cannot be justified.  In any situation where two hypotheses equally explain all the known evidence, the simpler hypothesis (fewest assumptions and/or special considerations) is more probably correct, and should be treated as "True Enough" for the purposes of further analysis, discussion, and operation.

  Ethics -- What ought I do? -- Evolutionism -- "To Thine Own Self Be True!"

All living behaviour is goal directed. All choices are made on the assumption that one alternative is somehow better than another at achieving our goal(s). Our genetically imparted goal is genetic survival. Our human distinction is foresight. Thus the standard of value for measuring how one alternative is better than another is the continued existence of our own genetic endowment - over the long run. All correct moral rules derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behaviour is survival behaviour above the self and beyond the now.  Happiness is better than misery. Happiness is the genetically programmed emotional response to continued survival. You will achieve a greater and more enduring happiness if you pay conscious and careful attention to maximizing the probability of your continued survival, over the long run.   The only happiness I can measure is my own. The only happiness I can control is my own. Therefore, I value things according to how much they contribute (or will probably contribute) to my own happiness.  It is better to think ahead when you can. It is better to not make serious decisions when under pressure and stress. It therefore pays to make the fullest possible use of your intellect, reason, and foresight.   The purpose of studying Philosophy in general, and Ethics in particular, is the establishment of "Rules of Thumb" for determining which behaviours are most likely to ensure the survival of my genetic endowment, over the long run.  

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