Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Definitive Website for Metaphysical Naturalism

The Academy Blogger is my own outlet for daily ruminations, thoughts, pronouncements, and rational examinations of metaphysical naturalism in our every day lives.

I enjoy the blogs I write. I sometimes get so deep into the subject that I know they will interest only the most ardent student of philosophy, and then only the ones who wish to follow my logic through to the end.

But I have become aware that more is needed than a daily blog from a working-class philosopher who is without a degree, no matter how objective and epistemologically reasonable my logic is.

So I have begun working on a new web site devoted to metaphysical naturalism that will stand as a reference on the subject without daily need of commentary. It will contain a glossary of terms as the Academy defines them.

Why is this important, to use definitions that I myself have culled from various other sources that may be divergent, or altered or enhanced definitions from other authors, or authored them myself?

Because I have a world-view that seems to be very different from other naturalists, yet I know there are other people in the world who agree with me. I come from the world of Objectivism, where everything is concrete and black-and-white, in the sense that the underlying epistemological principles are not subject to revision, but the subject matter under consideration is revisable based on new information.

  • Objectivism is a closed system, and one thing that is not revisable is the nature of things that are "self-evidential." Here, I mean specifically the sensory emotion involved when one has cognizance of his/her soul; and I mean specifically the rationality behind the argument for free will.
It is important to define words for a glossary because as many of you may have noticed, the Academy's Definition of Naturalism is not the loose, flexible, new-age "compassionate", altruistic view of man as "fully caused" and without "libertarian" free will or soul.

Denying free will on the grounds that it is not contra-causal is a fairly recent argument. It is one that is metaphysically evil if man is not to be made impotent by its implications. The human race did not rise from the soot of the Dark Ages to the shining light of the concept of individual sovereignty and the responsibility ascribed to such sovereignty by the original thoughts of the Founders of the United States. I mean "original" in the sense that they had not been identified in the past, at least not in such a concretized system as the Constitution.
Individual sovereignty is upheld by an Originalist reading of the Constitution, and by understanding all the learned attempts by America's Founders to guarantee this nation's people all the unalienable rights given them by nature at birth. They understood man in his natural state; but they understood the nature of and the need for law. The Constitution is unique in its integration of both, and unique in the annals of law in that it gives to the individual citizen the benefit of the protection of his sovereignty, while at the same time insuring that civil society is served, not at the expense of the individual but as an integration of all the individuals living at the time, as expressed by the protection of their sovereignty rather than the sovereignty of the society over the individual.
  • The Academy's metaphysical natural is a refutation of scientific naturalism, which states that man cannot take full credit for his actions, nor full responsibility for them, and that we must feel compassion for the man who did not use his (un)free will to his best advantage and who is "caused" to be what he has become because of his genes, his nurturing, his own constitution, the rain, the breakfast he ate, memes, the blister on his thumb, and the fact that he did not get the job he so badly wished for.
The metaphysical naturalism of this Academy refutes those ideas and stands for man's ability to think, to ponder, to make decisions, and to act on his own behalf without concept of any coercion of the fates, the muses, the memes, or the gravity that holds him to his natural estate.

Man in his natural state is man acting on his own behalf, but in concert with others when it is to his advantage, or when it simply suits his pursuit of happiness. Working in concert with others as he sees fit to act is the reason civil society is shaped by the protection of individual sovereignty. There are few demands placed on the citizen, and consist only of such demands necessary for law to protect citizens' natural rights.

Man in his natural state owes no other men anything but the respect of acknowledging their identical natural state to their own freedom from his interference, just as he demands that they not interfere in his life without his permission to do so.

  • Man in his natural state is not a pawn of the forces of nature, which are the facts of existence because it is only in existence that he may himself exist. Existence is not his enemy, nor the "full cause" of his psychological and moral existence. He is the "full cause" of them, when he chooses to know what they are and take control of them.

These ideas do not seem to be "natural" to naturalism, as conceived and practiced--in law, in psychology, in education, in art, and in all other things of which naturalism can have an effect that alters them from the "naturalism" of the natural state of man.

The new site will stand as a referential testament to anyone who may wish to know why it is metaphysically important to acknowledge that free will certainly does exist; and why the human soul is man's greatest possession aside from life itself, even though his soul is extinguished with his life, existing only so long as he has consciousness of it. The soul provides the conscious confirmation that a man or woman is properly using reason to remain integrated in his/her epistemological bearings and is accting in accord with them.

Consciousness dies with the mind, which dies with the brain; the soul is an object of man's cognition, not a figment of his imagination, and as an object of cognition it necessarily dies along with the powers of cognition.

Man does not live for the sake of other men. When he gives of himself to others, it is for his own sake, not theirs. Anything else is self-crucificial and certainly not in his own best interest, and not should not be accepted when offered.

Rational self-interest is man's natural state, and is his inheritance, the gift of being the rational animal. Other forms of naturalism do not uphold the individual sovereignty of the individual, sometimes actually negating it through the acceptance of such ideas as non-contra-causal, non-libertarian will, and through the altrusim of compassion over justice, and through the scheme of declaring that reason alone is not enough because the influences of existence itself cannot guarantee the outcome of reason.
Naturalism that denies mans' mind in this fashion often uses the word "reason" to describe its own logic; but reason does not deny man's efficacy, it affirms it. Otherwise, man is metaphysically impotent, and this often makes him impotent in the practical, objective world.
The practical outcome of reason is not a thing that can be guaranteed, but the rationality and integrity of the outcome of reason is guaranteed to be moral. To deny that free will is anything more than the use of one's power to think or not, is not rational and therefore cannot be said to be within the nature of reason--even when its adherents invoke reason and say it is on their side.
The new website will stand alone, with out need of being journalized on a daily basis. In the meantime, and for a long time to come, I hope to continue writing my way through the daily, topical events of existence as the naturalism of Objectivism guides me. Growing statism, criminal acts of murder and mayhem by religious zealots of all stripes, and the distancing of American law from Originalist readings of the Constitution give me much to write about.
Just as the characters in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" were epistemologically character-driven, so can we read the behavior and the probably outcomes of the epistemological drives of the public figures who run our nation today.
I think I won't have trouble finding material for the Academy Blogger. I only hope that I do a reasonable job of analyzing that material. Let me know by your comments when you disagree with me.

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