Saturday, October 11, 2014

On Naturalistic Principles

Intregrationist thinkers are principled thinkers. More, their moral system and social regulation is built on naturalistic principles rather than on guilt,shame, or responsibility. But this means we have to have some sort of understanding of what we mean when we talk about principles.

Principles are rules that provide the foundation for a system, which in the case of psychological and social systems includes systems of beliefs and moral systems. These rules are the discovered rules of nature, including human nature and society. Of course, this requires a recognition that nature has rules, that there is such a thing as human nature for which we can discover and apply the rules, and that social systems themselves have rules which can also be discovered and applied.Out of this, one develops the concept of naturalistic principles.

Given this definition of naturalistic principles, we can see that my book, Diaphysics, is an integrationist work, insofar as what I do in it is investigate the rules of nature, human nature, and society. For various reasons I mostly hint at the latter while focusing mostly on the former. But I have had several readers make the connection.

Of course, if one does not believe there is such a thing as human nature or social laws, then one cannot be a principled thinker. One necessarily rejects principles to the degree one rejects human universals. Egalitarian thinkers are deeply unprincipled in their morals, relying on collective guilt to regulate their behaviors. This explains their combination of permissiveness and political correctness.

The recognition that there moral rules that apply to all human beings equally everywhere at all times and is a quality of the species itself is necessary before principled ethics can emerge.

Of course, the idea of principles has been around for a long time; however, those principles have been "conservative" principles, or religion-based principles. Such people do believe that there are moral rules that apply to all human beings equally everywhere at all times, but they believe those principles come from God. One is not socially regulated by those principles, but rather feel guilt at violating God's principles. There is thus an internal regulator against violating external principles.

Naturalistic principles are different. With naturalistic principles, you realize that the principles driving your moral decisions are internal -- deeply internal -- having been created through the process of evolution. You fulfill those principles because you realize those principles are, in fact, a part of you. One does not feel guilt for violating those principles, because they are not external to oneself. However, one equally does not want to violate those principles precisely because they are a part of you.

Here the dictum to "know yourself" means you have to come to a fuller understanding of the nature of human universals, the natural of our evolved moral rules, and the rules that govern our social interactions. One's principles improve upon learning things like evolutionary psychology, evolutionary morals, economics, sociology, etc. Especially if one learns those fields with the aim at learning about the rules of human nature and human social orders. It is certainly possible to have naive naturalistic principles; that would mean that you are generally ignorant of the research explicating the naturalistic rules of human morality and our social rules. But one becomes even more principled if one does take it upon oneself to learn the laws of economics and other spontaneous social orders, for example.
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