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Epistemology, Ontology, Metaphysics, Moral Philosophy, Mind/Body Question, Sense Perception, Social Contract

Perception, Knowledge and The Question of Importance
Seeking Reality, Certainty and Morality in a Twenty-first Century Philosophy by Joseph S Hutchings

Where would people like Aristotle, Descartes and Kant have taken their thinking if they had had from the start the benefit of twenty-first century scientific knowledge and some hundreds or thousands of additional years of human history to consider? The project is to step back from the thought that has gone before and step away from all the assumptions that we have made about the experience of being human. This gives us the frame of reference from which to re-visit the first questions of philosophy.

One thing about the human experience is clear—we perceive. We perceive a world of ideas, and, while in this world, we can be completely free and unrestrained. We perceive another world of people and things wherein everything can be understood in terms of constraints and the power to overcome them. Is there something called reality among these constraints? One of the constraints is that our knowledge is limited and there are things that we can never know. We decide how to divide our time between these perceived worlds and we ask “Is there a right thing to do?”

Beyond these first questions of philosophy, the questions of Being, of Knowledge and of Ethics, is there a question that we are missing? There is a question that humans encounter, and answer, constantly throughout their lives. That is the question which ultimately determines human conduct. It is the Question of Importance.

The author is a retired barrister who lives on Vancouver Island.


Joseph S Hutchings

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