Socrates urged upon his fellow Athenians and, in effect, upon us all, when he said that the unexamined life is not worth living.
My philosophy. The decision about examining philosophy is between: 1) to make your philosophy explicit, or 2) to be a slave to the subconscious notions, principles, and other people's philosophies picked up throughout life. To ignore the topic of philosophy is to be doomed to the second choice.With that being stated here is the system of my beliefs.
Metaphysics: Reality is absolute. It has a specific nature independent of our thoughts or feelings. The world around us is real. It has a specific nature and it must be consistent to that nature. A proper metaphysical worldview must aim to understand reality correctly.
The physical world exists, and every entity has a specific nature. It acts according to that nature. When different entities interact, they do so according to the nature of both. Every action has a cause and an effect. Causality is the means by which change occurs, but the change occurs via a specific nature.
Epistemology: Our senses are valid, and the only way to gain information about the world. Reason is our method of gaining knowledge, and acquiring understanding. Logic is our method of maintaining consistency within our set of knowledge. Objectivity is our means of associating knowledge with reality to determine its validity. Concepts are abstracts of specific details of reality, or of other abstractions.
Ethics: A proper foundation of ethics requires a standard of value to which all goals and actions can be compared to. This standard is our own lives, and the happiness which makes them livable. This is our ultimate standard of value, the goal in which an ethical man must always aim. It is arrived at by an examination of man's nature, and recognizing his peculiar needs. A system of ethics must further consist of not only emergency situations, but the day to day choices we make constantly. It must include our relations to others, and recognize their importance not only to our physical survival, but to our well-being and happiness. It must recognize that our lives are an end in themselves, and that sacrifice is not only not necessary, but destructive.
Politics Reason is man's prime means of survival. A human being can not survive in an environment where reason is ineffective, and will thrive or starve to a degree in proportion to the effectiveness of reason. This means that the prime goal of a political system must be the preservation and enabling of the faculty of reason.
Reason does not function under coercion. A man can be forced to act at the point of a gun, but he can not be forced to think. Likewise, in an environment where might makes right, reason can not function because the fruits of rationality can not be enjoyed. Why plant crops and domesticate animals if any raider can come by and take them from you?
A moral political system must ban coercion. Or put another way, a moral political system must ban the initiation of force, since retaliatory force is both just and necessary. This means there must be some way to keep one person from killing, threatening, or robbing another. This is accomplished by bestowing on government a monopoly on retaliatory force and objectifying laws.
Esthetics:Art is a selective recreation of reality. It's purpose is to concretize an abstraction to bring an idea or emotion within the grasp of the observer. It is a selective recreation, with the selection process depending on the value judgments of the creator. These value judgments can be observed and evaluated via the field of ethics.