Came across this and thought it would a good thing to share and have comments on, maybe even be something for a “Book Review”.
The title of the article is “Does anything really matter? ”
“Among philosophers, the view that moral judgements state objective truths has been out of fashion since the 1930s, when logical positivists asserted that, because there seems to be no way of verifying the truth of moral judgements, they cannot be anything other than expressions of our feelings or attitudes. So, for example, when we say: “You ought not to hit that child,” all we are really doing is expressing our disapproval of your hitting the child, or encouraging you to stop hitting the child. There is no truth to the matter of whether or not it is wrong for you to hit the child.”
“On What Matters is a book of daunting length: two large volumes, totalling more than 1,400 pages, of densely argued text. But the core of the argument comes in the first 400 pages, which is not an insurmountable challenge for the intellectually curious – particularly given that Parfit, in the best tradition of English-language philosophy, always strives for lucidity, never using obscure words where simple ones will do. Each sentence is straightforward, the argument is clear, and Parfit often uses vivid examples to make his points. Thus, the book is an intellectual treat for anyone who wants to understand not so much “what matters” as whether anything really can matter, in an objective sense.”
This part really appeals to me:”in the best tradition of English-language philosophy, always strives for lucidity, never using obscure words where simple ones will do. Each sentence is straightforward, the argument is clear, and Parfit often uses vivid examples to make his points.”
“When Parfit does come to the question of “what matters”, his answer might seem surprisingly obvious. He tells us, for example, that what matters most now is that “we rich people give up some of our luxuries, ceasing to overheat the Earth’s atmosphere, and taking care of this planet in other ways, so that it continues to support intelligent life”.
Now if only those who think they know better than the masses would see the obvious.
And those who favor elitism over egalitarianism need to be reminded of Francis Galton and crowd sourcing.