Let me begin by saying that I dislike and distrust most philosophy. I didn’t always feel this way, but the more philosophy I have read the greater my dislike and distrust for it has grown. The biggest problem I see is that much of it is based in the persisting historical association between subjectivism and anti-realism. This can be traced way back to dualism, when they thought that the mind and body were separate, and even further back to Plato’s essentialist ideal forms.
We now know that everything we experience, all our thoughts, feelings, desires and perceptions, is a result of physical stuff happening in our brains. There is no “ghost in the machine”, there is no “free will”. We cannot choose our experience, it is not something we create out of nothing. We experience what we experience because the universe is the way it is. Just as there are laws governing all physical systems, there are laws governing human experience and, in principal at least, they can be known. Values are facts about which we can have greater or lesser uncertainty.
stupid example of how individuals percieve things:
my siser and i went to go buy fabric from a woman in erasmia, which is an idian/muslim community.
in the basement where the stock was, was also their little prayer area, with a poster of mecca and their mats.
my sisters tells all how i walked over the mats and totally freaked the woman out.
i distinctly remembered being aware of the significance of the mats, and avoiding them.
When I first went to China, I was on cargo watch while we were discharging cargo in Canton (now called Guangdong, I think). I went out on deck and saw a whole bunch of little fires all along the edge of the deck. I freaked out because fire and ships just don’t live happily together, and I went charging around stamping all these fires out. The foreman of the stevedore gang (who spoke some basic English) explained to me that the fires were prayers that the stevedores make at the beginning of each shift, and that whatever god they were praying to would be angry. I explained to him that NO ONE lights fires on the ship, and if they wish to communicate with their gods, they can damn well do it ashore. Some bad feeling, but I prevailed and there were no more fires.