This is a discussion that i feel would be useful, especially amongst those of us who are more regular to this forum; a sharing of from what or from whom we have derived the philosophies; moral, political, economic, religious, what have you. One just because i think it's neat to trade where our worldviews come from, and to whose thought we can trace them, and two just so we better understand where we're all coming from.
Myself, i've incorporated a lot of philosophical bits and parts from various locations
The root of my ethical philosophy is based on that of Immanuel Kant, who argued in favor of something called the Categorical Imperative being the root of human morality, knowledge that we have a priori, without prior experience of the phenomena. Namely he suggested that "The Golden Rule" or something akin to it was the categorical imperative, something that we humans inherently knew to be good without having experienced it, that we have an innate sense of justice that does not need to be derived from any law or divine word that must be communicated to us. This helps found my belief in how a moral system can exist in the absence of God (i feel that God's existence can neither be proven nor disproven, but doubt in any event that a deity is actively at work in us or amongst us). My godless take is where i deviate from Kant's views, as the guy was a pretty devout protestant.
For my actual moral philosophy, it's a hybrid of Aristotle and John Stuart Mill, the former of whom established the idea that the "correct" action is an action that is in accord with the pursuit of full happiness (which he distinguished from immediate happiness, the difference between someone who pigs out on pork rinds in the short term and the healthy person in the long term), and John Stuart Mill who posited an outcome-based morality called Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism gets a bad reputation for being heartless, that it simply looks at what is useful and what is not, but if you read Mill's works you find that he felt the cultivation of a good nature in a person was a worthy end-goal, incorporating some less material morality (and injecting some heart) in there, so between the two philosophies you find a morality that balances a holistic approach to human wellbeing with a practical guide to right actions in the here and now
To help quantify "human happiness" i've taken a page from the Catholic Church's views on human dignity, namely that we not only have a right to life but a right to live a dignified life, which includes economic rights such as access to food, health care, clothing, and housing, as well as a "right" to work (not in the sense of American political parlance for labor deregulation, but a right to self-fulfillment that is excercised through work). Of course, i disagree with the Catholic Church on where life begins, because i take a Descartian definition of humanity, that sentient thought is what separates human life from animal life, and that while all life should be given a degree of respect, only thinking human life is inviolable.
On historical matters, i believe in the idea of Progress, such that i do not feel that history is cyclical as such (which doesn't meant that i don't believe that history has nothing to teach us, just that in the long run things will get better as we move forward), an idea that came around from the enlightenment and was also propagated in the industrial age, first by Karl Marx and later explored by Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. I agree with Marx in a broad-strokes sense, since i feel that political change is better brought about by social consensus than violent revolution, but agree with him in the sense that society moves forward according to the prevalent economic means of production in each era.
I believe the free market is better at sorting some things out than any sort of central planning, namely where people are most productively employed and what products and services should be made, and i believe that the government's job in the economy is to fix the areas where the free market can't properly reach (protection of public goods like the environment, serving as a referee in the disputes of management and labor, and in insuring the base matters of human dignity), which i can't really seem to peg a person's name to.
Anyway, after that wall-o-text, who else wants to share why they believe what they believe, and who their philosophical sources are?
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