As I’m reaching the end of my undergraduate education, I’m tempted to write upon the course my “education” as taken. Though my professors have been largely wonderful and helpful in the inculcation of knowledge and critical reasoning, I find that the course I have travelled is largely one of my own searching.
I first became interested in philosophy formally my junior year of high school. I read Plato’s Republic before this period but only in segments and only because I enjoyed dissecting the arguments and asking, “why do you assume this?” or “even if this is so your conclusion doesn’t follow.” The philosophy itself was unimportant.
My first major influences in philosophy were Greek Atomists, German Materialists and German Pessimists. Mainly Epicurus, Marx, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Of the four, I would consider Schopenhauer the main thinker I have any remaining affinity for and that’s with some caveats placed upon this agreement. Obviously the intellect they possess should not be tarnished, however, my skepticism has left me unconvinced by the premises they take as given.
When I wrote in the past, it was largely rushed, scatter-brained, and high-strung prose that boldly declared the absurdity of X or the self-evident nature of Y. I like to think I’m more measured in my writings now. This it seems is not as rare as I originally thought. I still however take pride in the amount I’ve written even though I’d likely dismiss much of the content contained within.
In my youth I was a Materialist, Marxist and Utilitarian. Now I’m a skeptic both in terms of descriptive and normative claims. I have political views but I realize now that they only align with my own moral sensibilities which I cannot argue for with certainty or ground in pure reason. My main philosophies now are Anti-Realism and Moral Fallibilism. I’m currently dissecting Kant and Schopenhauer’s ethics, as the only concern I have with descriptive claims remaining is the possibility of a language that is purely descriptive and have no normative assessments with it. This is to purify assessments of “the good” of any ought claims that cannot be verified. This is because there is much knowledge in these claims, however, when we make assumptions of “ought” we slip without good cause into the ungrounded territory that Hume spoke of but himself was victim to in his own way with his un-founded theory of moral sentiment.