Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The World and Reality

As a practically make a division between the personal and ethical realm of existence, so I make a distinction between the ‘practical’ and ‘actual’ or ‘noumenal’ realm of existence as the Pragmatists do.  As an Anti-Realist, I would claim that the purpose of science is not to discover reality but conceive of theories that conform to our sense data – our experience.  So the same is true with aesthetics and ethics.  In the “pragmatic” realm of existence – the world that we see and hear, the world we have to live and suffer in – aesthetics is the subjective feeling of the beautiful and the ethical is how humans (or other sentient beings) are to ideally behave as to have the least possible suffering.  However, this is completely compatible with moral falibilism if we make the previously mentioned partitioned in existence.
Falibilism – the view that morality could be objective in nature, humans are simply incapable of conceiving of the external standard that exists – seems completely plausible and even reasonable when we are not dealing with this sensible world.  If we are dealing with reality with a capital ‘R,’ just as we can never know the true nature of reality descriptively, we are barred from it in-regards to normative claims.  However, just as science functions consistently as a pragmatic tool of getting an increasingly accurate account of this world via experience (and the use of instrumentation and reason), so ethics is a too humans can use to live better lives – the best lives being that which are the most freed from the agonies of this existence.  Therefore if one is to make this in-effect Kantian division, except to rename the phenomenal realm of existence the “practical” realm or dimension of existence, it is entirely possible to be both a Moral Skeptic or Falibilist in the Noumenal realm, and yet a Negative Utilitarian in the practical one.

Aesthetics is the same.  Practically speaking the study of beauty is the study of the human experience of beauty – for who else or by what standard except our own arbitrary and meaninglessness biases are we to refer?  However, in this supposed “real reality” there could be objective criteria of beauty that we human beings have no way of accessing.  However, when we deal with science, art and morality pragmatically, we are not dealing with “reality” but human beings (and other life forms to varying extents) and how we experience the world (both factually and aesthetically) and how we can improve this world morally through aiding what appears to be (but we can never be absolutely sure of the existence of) our fellow sufferers.

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