• Epistemic nihilism is false. I’m not sure its truth can actually be evaluated, but at minimum, it’s useless and unproductive
• I actually disagree partially with this point, I don’t think this philosophy is useless rather we don’t know how to use it yet, but I don’t think we should give up on trying there may be an answer we’ve yet to come up with that will solve this or it may be by its very nature unprovable but even if that’s the case it can still teach us a lot about how we come to believe things and where we fall short. Its better to be aware of where our understanding is flawed so we can work around it than it is to pretend like no flaws exist. My approach is not to dismiss epistemic nihilism outright but to acknowledge that epistemic nihilism also applies to itself. If nothing can be known then we can’t know if we can’t know anything so we should still try to find a way that is most likely to attain knowledge IF such knowledge is possible. I acknowledge nothing is certain and attempt to narrow down what possibilities are more likely than others using various different epistemic perspectives. For example I start with a mild bit of pragmatism using a sort of variation of pascal’s wager to determine it is better to pursue knowledge in all circumstances than it is to give up on it, from there I find that Foundationalism and Coherentism are useful approaches and I don’t think either one is fully enough to stand on its own so I tend to use both, when one fails I reinforce it with the other. I also use pragmatism to bridge the gap from epistemic nihilism into positivism and constructivism and all this combined is in my opinion one of the most well rounded epistemologies. It recognizes the merits of each epistemic approach and uses them without falling into most of their pitfalls. I find people often get confused by how this works and like to poke and prod at it a bit but I have yet to find a question that cannot be reasonably answered by one of these epistemologies and I am always open to discussion on this just in case anyone has any objections I might not be aware of.
• God almost certainly doesn’t exist.
Highly uncertain about this, but free will probably exists.
• I agree especially when using the terminology of “almost certainly” there’s probably no way to be certain of anything but the concept of a monotheistic god specifically is too logically inconsistent and so does not seem likely to be true.
• Moral realism is probably true, though highly uncertain.
• I don’t think moral realism is logically consistent either when morality fundamentally relies on subjective perceivers to exist. For example if the universe had absolutely no life in it and never would produce it, would murder still be wrong? What about theft? These moral concepts of murder and theft wouldn’t even make sense in this context because we understand these terms to be things that sentient creatures do to other sentient creatures and we interpret these things as harmful based on how they make us feel, that’s entirely the Basis of subjectivity. If morality were objective it would exist as a truth independent of any sentient observer but it instead cannot exist in any context without this.
Now an argument could be made that while the experience of harm is subjective the path to avoiding it might be objective, essentially an objective truth about subjective states of being. And in this regard I am uncertain, It seems that the preference of people between what they deem as harmful, pleasurable, or acceptable, varies wildly from person to person and so it seems unlikely that a full consensus can be reached on what is good or bad. It would seem the only objective claim about morality would be to claim it is subjective but subjectively we want to believe morality is objective.
• Common sense morality is, all things considered, a pretty good metric.
• I mean it depends on who is using it, common sense isn’t all that common.
We can break this up into a few different variations on the golden rule which is supposed to be one of the most intuitive moral beliefs there is and you’ll see how many people might differ from each other in what they think is common sense.
The platinum rule: Treat others as they want to be treated
The golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated
The silver rule: Treat others as they treat you
The bronze rule: Treat others as you are told
The tarnished rule: Treat others as you want to treat them
Even though each of these perspectives we can intuitively understand we each have a preference for a particular rule over the others and none of them are perfect in every situation by any means. We can understand the moral actions of someone using the silver rule even if we disagree with their approach and they might think the golden or platinum rule just allows people to take advantage of you. A person with a preference to the golden rule would see the platinum rule as requiring too much information in most situations and a platinum preference person would see the golden rule as too presumptuous as to what other people would prefer. There’s a lot of nuance in morality and just going by common sense is not the best we can come up with, but it’s effective enough that society doesn’t collapse
• The best approximation of a good moral theory that I can think of is preference utilitarianism, albeit somewhat skittish, accounting for moral uncertainty with either expected choice-worthiness or a parliamentary model, and incorporating some unusually strong common sense intuitions.
• I agree only in part though, I think utilitarianism itself is a good starting point from there you can move into preference utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism, but deontology is an equally valid moral theory and so I think utilitarianism actually works best within a deontological framework by Assessing the impact an action would have on the various rights everyone has. And once we figure out how to navigate conflicts between rights using these utilitarian methods we can begin to establish specific virtues that serve as shortcuts to the most moral behaviors leading to fewer conflicts of rights.
There’s actually seemingly a whole triangular cycle of moral analysis that occurs between the three major branches of ethics in this way. Virtue ethics, Deontology, and Utilitarianism. Deontology needs a baseline to determine what a person’s rights should be and so ascribes a value to certain virtues that everyone should have. Utilitarianism assesses the impact actions have but requires an understanding of why some things are harmful and others are beneficial, so deontological rights are useful in gauging this conflict and why things are harmful or beneficial, in turn once all this is sorted out we can, as stated before, begin to establish virtues that seek to balance as many different moral situations as possible bringing us full circle.
This is another reason I don’t think morality is objective because our three best theories on it are ultimately circular and need one another to fully function properly.
• Creating new happy lives is a good thing, though not as good as making existing people happy. Creating new bad lives is a bad thing (though not as bad, other things equal, as inflicting suffering on existing people).
• I agree with the first half but disagree with the second. It is indeed better to fix what is already wrong than to introduce something else that is not broken, but Creating more problems to solve is not better than making existing problems worse.
• Countries don’t have very large special obligations to their own citizens. They should prioritize their citizens a bit more than non-citizens, for pragmatic reasons, but policy should, in general, focus a lot more on the rest of the world.
• why not both?
• Individuals have a moral obligation to assist those in need.
• within reason. The way I see it there’s a spectrum and if you fall too far to either end then you’re doing something wrong. On this spectrum there are four categories
Of these four categories the two in the middle and any space in between is morally acceptable. It is good to be selfish and take care of your needs so long as you try not to do so at the expense of others, and it is good to be selfless as long as you don’t neglect your own needs. But to be self-centered is bad because you neglect others to only serve yourself and being self sacrificial is bad because you neglect yourself to only serve others.
The middle ground is the best approach here.
• We should care, morally, as much about future generations as the current one. Of course, for practical reasons, it often makes sense to prioritize the interests of people alive today, but the moral worth of someone 300 or 3000 years from now is no different than the moral worth of someone alive today.
• this I agree with in full