Writing is a way of clarifying my thoughts. And my opinions change over time.
This is an update to my previous post, What’s my philosophy? Metaphysics has seen the most revisions.
The short of it is:
- Ethics: Stoicism
- Metaphysics: Logos
- Logic: Empiricism
Stoic ethics—practical wisdom, justice, moderation, and courage—centers on the idea that the only things I really control are my chosen values, goals, and my deliberate thoughts and actions. Nothing else is up to me, and I must accept that.
Related to this is knowing what belongs to me and what does not belong to me—and not touching what’s not mine while guarding what is mine.
But I’m not a Sage. Stoics say the mythical Sage only needs virtue to flourish—and no one has ever achieved Sage status. I also need basics such as food, shelter, and safety (per Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) to flourish.
God is a loaded word. It means different things to different people. The ancient Greek idea of the Logos—the organizing principle of the universe—is what I mean by God. Neither I nor anyone else can claim special knowledge here—we must always admit a degree of uncertainty.
And I choose to believe that the Logos entails a moral order. I have no special knowledge of the specifics. Like everyone I must strive to be a good person, and primarily this means rigorous self-criticism. The key issue for me is that without universal morality we can’t say certain things are inherently wrong regardless of what some people might think. This is not proof of universal morality, but a rationale for belief.
But none of this implies that God is all-powerful or intervenes in mundane affairs. There’s too much suffering in the world for me to believe in an interventionist God.
To understand the operations of the natural world we must use our sensory perceptions to test theories, and then draw logical conclusions. Certainty is proportional to evidence.