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The Theory Of Evolution Advances To Evolutionary Ethics

The Philosophy Of Freedom (POF) answers the question of today's thinkers seeking evolutionary ethics that extends from the theory of evolution.

“The same Ethical Individualism which I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles, might be equally well developed on the basis of the theory of evolution.” Rudolf Steiner, Philosophy Of Freedom 12.7

Morality is human flourishing
Popular Atheist and islamophobe Sam Harris gave a Ted talk about a science of ethics based on the "facts" of human flourishing. What was missing is that Sam didn't have these facts. 

Science of freedom
The highest human flourishing is freedom, unique to humans. A science of ethics must be a science of freedom. 

Atheists should embrace a science of freedom (The Philosophy Of Freedom), from there a new ethics can grow to include everyone else.

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Atheism United Posts Link To Our Blog Article

Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom, published in 1894, is a humanist philosophy of knowledge and ethics based on the empirical observation of the mind. So it has value to anyone interested in science more so than blind belief, whether conservative or progressive, spiritualist or atheist, idealist or realist. This includes the secular, agnostic and atheist community, which has a strong interest in science. We have been using twitter, "Ethical Humanism" to reach this community. 

A new atheist online magazine called Atheism United posted a link to our recent blog post "First Impression Judgments Are An Error In Thinking". It is exciting to have attracted interest from the atheist community.

A recent poll shows a 13% decline in the U.S. in those who say they are "Religious" while Atheism is rising around the world. This decline would be expected in our age of science as "We no longer want to believe; we want to know." Philosophy Of Freedom 0.3

Well known atheists/agnostics include Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozaniak, John Lennon and Mark Twain.

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The Values We All Stand For

Society consists of a wide variety of individuals. How can we get along if each is asserting their own individual aims? Moralists believe unity is possible only if we are held together by a common moral code. This leads to the belief in a higher authority, a God, to bestow upon us a moral code that will unite us. (such as Moses and the 10 commandments)

The moralist does not understand that we all share a common world of ideals. The ideals that inspire me are the same that inspire others. We differ because we select different ideals from our common world of ideals. We each desire to live out our chosen ideals. POF 9.10

The America we love welcomes a diversity of individuals striving to express their highest ideals. During the cold war a fearful America retreated more to the Moralist authoritarian view “In God We Trust” as the source of morality, leaving out many humanists --ethical individualists who have a deeper understanding that the human being is the source of morality. This video explains:

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Review of Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom Chapter 11 

Purposeless Universe
The universe is ruled by a harmony of laws that we can discover. But there is no purpose to the universe because cause and effect is neutral and without purpose. Purpose is only possible when we have an idea and envision the action before we act.

Only human action is purposeful
Everything is formed causally and lawfully, including the stars, plants, animals and machines. Because something is formed according to law does not make it purposeful. Only human action is purposeful when the human being sets the laws of operation, the idea, the motive, of the action. We envision the result, as an idea (law), before we act. Only we can determine the law of our action, while everything else is merely determined by law.

How Do You Find Meaning In A Purposeless Universe?

13.1 Believe in a God
You can believe in a wise God who knows what is best, then all you need to do is find out what God intends for the world and act accordingly. Or you can give up childish superstitions that supernatural beings are looking over you and will take care of you, deal with reality as it is, find meaning and live a purposeful life.

11.4 Avoid Imagining Purpose In Nature
It is very easy to invent imaginary purposes in nature. The naive mind knows how we bring about an event, and from this he concludes that nature must do it in the same way.

11.5 Laws Of Nature
Purpose is only found in human action. Look for laws of nature, but not for purposes of nature.

11.6 Purposes Of Life
Life purposes which are not set by humans for themselves, are not legitimate. Nothing is purposeful except what the human being has first made so, for there is purposefulness only through the realization of an idea.

11.7 Human Destiny
Human life has only the purpose and the destination that the human being gives it. To the question: What is my task in life? The only answer is: the task we set for ourselves. My mission in the world is not predetermined, but at every moment is the one I choose. I do not enter upon life's voyage with a fixed route mapped out for me.

11.8 Only Human Beings Realize Purposeful Ideas
Ideas are realized only by human agents. Consequently, it is illegitimate to speak of the embodiment of ideas by history. All such statements as "History is the evolution of human beings towards freedom," or "the realization of the moral world-order," etc., and so forth, are untenable.

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A “Humanist” is someone whose world-view gives special importance to human concerns, values and dignity. If that is what a Humanist is, then most of us qualify as Humanists. But those who organize under the label “Humanism” tend to sign up to a narrower view.

Accepts the methods of science
A key humanist value is the high importance set on scientific method and reason as the proven route to secure knowledge about the universe. Humanists understand that science is a method, not a set of facts. Scientific method is the best way of finding reliable knowledge.

Rejects transcendental realm
Many Humanists narrow their view further to include Naturalism. Naturalism is the belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world. Naturalism can be similar in certain ways to Materialism or Physicalism that finds insufficient evidence and reasons to accept the existence of a non-material transcendental realm. This distinguishes them from the religious who believe in a celestial realm of existence.

Is it possible to practice the methods of science and still reject the existence of a transcendental realm?

Transcendental realm of concepts
There can be no science without entering the transcendental realm of pure concepts. Whatever theory a scientist proposes, it must be explained in clear conceptual form so it can be rethought by others. Communication between scientists is only possible because the universal concept of a triangle that my mind grasps is the same as the concept which someone else's mind grasps.

To explain the science in a billiard shot we, we find the right concepts and add a second process in the conceptual realm.

"The purpose of my reflection is to construct concepts of the process. I connect the concept of an elastic ball with certain other concepts of mechanics, and consider the special circumstances which obtain in the instance in question. I try, in other words, to add to the process which takes place without any interference, a second process which takes place in the conceptual sphere." POF 3.0

The universal concept of triangle is not derived from the material world because it is not sense-perceptible. It is an ideal that contains all possible triangles. We can find and observe particular triangles in the world but not the universal concept triangle. The concept triangle is found in our mind as part of the transcendental realm of pure concepts.

Not everything in our mind is a pure concept. We have to make an effort to rise to the level of pure concepts just as the scientist, mathematician and philosopher do who must think in pure concepts to accomplish anything. Many mathematicians believe a non-natural mathematical realm exists. They suppose that 2 + 2 = 4 is made true by how things stand in this universal, non-natural, mathematical reality. If such a mathematical reality exists, then the limitations of naturalism are false.

Does this make reality dualistic?
Does the existence of a transcendental world in addition to the sense-perceptible world mean reality is dualistic? Not at all. Mathematics is expressed in the world and it also exists in the realm of pure concepts. This is true of other concepts. We experience the full reality from two sides, an observable part in the world and a conceptual part that arises in our mind.

"It is due, as we have seen, to our organization that the full totality of reality, including our own selves as subjects, appears at first as a duality. Knowledge transcends this duality by fusing the two elements of reality, the percept and the concept, into the complete thing." POF 7.0

The concept is the unifying rule or principle that unites the separate parts we perceive in the world. 

“All attempts to discover any other principle of unity in the world than this internally coherent ideal content, which we gain for ourselves by the conceptual analysis of our percepts, are bound to fail. Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind will (of Schopenhauer and Hartmann), can be accepted by us as the universal principle of unity in the world.” POF 5.9

To remain true to the principles of Humanism such as scientific inquiry requires the acceptance of a transcendental realm.

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© Tom Last 2017