Personal Philosophy

Introduction

This page is the root of my musings on personal philosophy. It digests my current understanding of reality and my place in it. Links from here lead to deeper treatments of each topic as I carve them out of my own ignorance.

I hope that by putting these thoughts down in writing and in public I can hold myself accountable to the principles below. I hope that major inconsistencies and unfair biases can be revealed, worked through, and resolved. I hope that I end up a better person for it.

Values – What is the Good?

Here I am looking for the very root of my philosophy, things that cannot be justified by appealing to some deeper principle, or broken down into components. The point of this list is that everything that follows should not contradict it.

I have the feeling that if I get this right, the list of values will be sortable by priority. That is, if two values change priority in different situations, then there must be deeper principles at work.

This is simply my list, not anybody else’s, though I hope that there are many others with similar values. By my definition, they cannot be defended, so I can’t advocate for them to be adopted by anyone else.

  1. Justice
  2. Autonomy
  3. Equality
  4. Predictability

Epistemology – How do I know anything?

I am a skeptic. Specifically, I am a modern scientific skeptic. I try to learn and accept the truth about all subjects to the best of my ability, recognizing that my perceptions are distorted by all sorts of biases.

Modern science has come up with methods to reduce the effects of these biases, and have implemented them to greater or lesser success. The modern scientific enterprise, for all its faults, has had unrivaled success in discovering important truths about the universe and its content.

Knowledge is built as a web, with each strand reinforcing the reliability of others. There are no absolute certainties, or foundations, but many things can be and are known to a level of great reliability.

Morality – How, then should I live?