Philosophy is an interesting pursuit. It causes us to search for truth, ethics and ask the question “why?” more often than we would otherwise. However, I have found that philosophy itself rather distracting. It leads to false answers to what might sometimes be false questions. It leads to radically held beliefs that can be destructive, difficult to understand, and often contrary to reality. Worst of all, it often answers questions that we as humans have no business answering with any certainty. I don't believe that philosophy itself is bad, however I do believe that we need to look at it much more pessimistically than most perspectives allow.
As it seems to me, most philosophical perspectives are in some way faulty. Having caught a glimpse of various viewpoints, I have witnessed a tremendous amount of sound reason and logic gone awry. These ideas have built up into worldviews that are mostly complete, but contrary to what is good or real. As a hopeful and pessimistic engineer-type geek, it is in my nature to dissect everything, find out what's wrong with it, and figure out the best thing to replace it with. Here lies my feeble attempt to work outside what is known and work with the philosophies of today.
I will start with Aristotle, as I was rather fond of his empiricism. The idea of how everything is substance and form is intriguing. I understand it, but I disagree. I believe that everything in the tangible universe is matter, but that its form is part of the matter, not separate. I also agree that knowledge of reality is gained in part by senses and experiences. Additionally, I agree that there is an underlying purpose to the change that surrounds us. His idea of an Unmoved Prime Mover is pretty cool as well, aside from the impersonal nature of it. I have seen the Unmoved Prime Mover concept used in many dialogues to facilitate common ground between Christians and the “faithless,” so I keep the it for it's utility at the very least.
Where I began to get confused is when we began to discuss virtue. I don't think I ever had a solid definition of the word, but I did not expect it to mean one's well-being. When asked if I believe that humans are inherently “virtuous,” I now have to clarify weather the asker means “good” or “seeking well-being.” I would say that humans seek well-being by default, but I would not say they are good from the beginning. A child will naturally seek the best food, toys and warmth, however the child will not be “good.” One does not have to teach a child to lie, cheat, steal or bully. These are all inherent traits, traits that Christians naturally attribute to the fall.
Another interesting springboard for discussion is Zeno's Stoicism. Stoicism says that fate controls your life and the only thing we really control is our attitude towards our circumstances. This makes me turn to whatever misconception I harbor regarding the “predestination” versus “free will” debate. I refuse to adhere to either side of the debate. This...