A Democratic Philosophy of Life

Don Cupitt put together this 10-point "sketch of modern philosophy" for the UK Sea of Faith magazine. A handy guide for the start of the third common era millennium

  1. Until about two centuries ago human life was seen as being lived on a fixed stage, and as ruled by eternal norms of truth and value. (This old-world picture may nowadays be called "realism", "platonism" or "metaphysics".)
  2. But now everything is contingent: that is, humanly postulated, mediated by language and historically evolving. There is nothing but the flux.
  3. There is no Eternal Order of Reason above us that fixes all meanings and truths and values. Language is unanchored.
  4. Modern society then no longer has any overarching and authoritative myth. Modern people are "homeless" and feel threatened by nihilism.
  5. We no longer have any ready-made or "dogmatic" truth and we have no access to any "certainties" or "absolutes" that exist independently of us.
  6. We are, and we have to be, democrats and pragmatists who must go along with a current consensus world-view.
  7. Our firmest ground and starting-point is the vocabulary and world view of ordinary language and everyday life, as expressed for example in such typically modern media as the novel and the newspaper.
  8. The special vocabularies and world-views of science and religion should be seen as extensions or supplements built out of the life-world, and checked back against it.
  9. Science furthers the purposes of life by differentiating the life-world, developing causal theories, establishing mathematical relationships and inventing technologies.
  10. Religion seeks to overcome nihilism, and give value to life. In religion we seek to develop shared meanings, purposes, narratives. Religion's last concern is with eternal happiness in the face of death.