An excerpt from the online hypertext Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits.

Necessary Questions

Philosophy asks the questions: The first two questions face anyone who cares to distinguish the real from the unreal and the true from the false. The third question faces anyone who makes any decisions at all, and even not deciding is itself a decision. Thus all persons practice philosophy whether they know it or not.

Autocosmic Answers

What is existing? Reality consists ultimately of matter and energy and their fundamentally lawlike and unwilled relations in space-time. To exist is to have a causal relationship with the rest of the universe. The universe is the maximal set of circumstances that includes this statement and no subset of which is causally unrelated to the remainder. Humans do not know why the universe exists or what it is for. The universe operates without supernatural intervention and according to lawlike regularities that can be understood through empirical investigation and without special intuition. Humans have no credible evidence of any supernatural agency or unity. Humans have no credible evidence that any minds enjoy eternal existence.

What is knowing?  Knowledge is justified true belief. Truth is logical and parsimonious consistency with evidence and with other truth. Meaning is the context-sensitive connotation ultimately established by relevant denotation and use.  All synthetic propositions (including this one) can only be known from experience and are subject to doubt. A synthetic statement is propositionally meaningless if it is in principle neither falsifiable nor verifiable.  A mind is any volitional conscious faculty for perception and cognition. Minds and ideas consist ultimately of matter.  Mental states are functional states consisting of causal relations among components for processing information. Consciousness is awareness of self and environment. Intelligence is the ability to make, test, and apply inductions about perceptions of self and world.  There are no forms of reasoning or kinds of knowledge that are in principle inaccessible to regular intelligence.

What is good?  As autonomous living intellects, we persons value intelligence and life and the autonomy they need to flourish. A person is any intelligent being with significant volitional control over how it affects other beings. All persons have the right to life and liberty. All beings have the right not to suffer torture or extinction. Liberty is volition in the absence of aggression. Aggression consists essentially of 1) coercion or 2) damage to a person's body, property, or rightful resources. Coercion is compulsion of one person by another through force or threat of aggression. Justice is the minimization, reversal and punishment of aggression. The purpose of the state is to effect justice, provide aid and sustenance to persons in mortal danger, protect species in danger of extinction, and prevent torture.

Autocosmology is a synthesis of metaphysical naturalism, ontological materialism, epistemological empiricism and positivism, mental functionalism, theological atheism, axiological extropianism, political libertarianism, economic capitalism, constitutional federalism, biological evolutionism, evolutionary psychology, and technological optimism. Autocosmology is the worldview asserted by this text.