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I normally maintain a certain level of intellectual dishonesty to remain moral. I'm going to be completely intellectually honest, for a moment, and see what sort of worldview this creates.

Everything is composed of matter. That's my first conviction, and on reflection I believe this because I cannot believe in what I cannot conceive of, and I cannot conceive of the immaterial if I try to see it in my mind's eye. If I imagine there being an immaterial table, I find that what I am really imagining is a table-shaped space, not an immaterial table. So I think that my idea of the immaterial is really some sort of non-idea; and I will believe that there is nothing immaterial until I find good reasons to think that there is something immaterial. I know some arguments for immaterial things, and I cannot refute some of these arguments rationally. But these arguments are less persuasive to me than my argument from conceivability, so I guess I'm a physicalist for the sake of this article. This has some implications for the other beliefs I hold. I believe in substances, essences, and teleology; but these are all immaterial, so for the moment I'll strip these beliefs away for the sake of intellectual honesty. Physicalism simplifies my metaphysics considerably.

There is causality. Since I am a physicalist, this just means that things cause other things to move in certain ways. It seems to me that there are certain unchanging fundamental particles, and these particles just change in arrangement, not in themselves. This seems to be some sort of law of thought, and it will probably be supported by the physicists in the end. I am most strongly inclined to believe that there is a deterministic set of laws that these particles obey. This seems to be another law of thought. This rules out metaphysical libertarianism of any sort, and while I know that there are arguments for libertarianism, and I cannot refute these arguments, I think that they are probably just elegant, morally necessary sophistries. I find them less persuasive than my reason for being a determinist.

A brain, like myself, contains certain patterns of molecular movement that automatically parcel themselves off from the rest; these may be called propositions. Now the correspondance relationship of a proposition to reality just is the reception relationship between the relevant parts of the brain and the external world, though admittedly I don't have a very clear idea of how exactly this works. Now a proposition is true just in case it corresponds to the world. Now since I am a brain that may or may not yield me true beliefs, I will inevitably be led to some beliefs that are true and some that are false. I can describe what ways of thinking will most likely lead me to believe things that are true and which lead to false beliefs. The first part of epistemology is skepticism about all of my beliefs, since I am a brain that may or may not yield true beliefs. I control nothing, in an absolute sense. I may well be led by chemical reactions to believe things that are false and unreasonable. So a humble attitude is appropriate in all processes of thought, and, therefore, in every area of life.

But in the area of action, there are no true or false beliefs, as far as I can tell; no standards by which to say that I have arrived at a true or false belief evidently lie outside me. My senses don't receive anything when it comes to morality, so there can be no correspondance relationship between my beliefs about morality and the world. There are only my emotions, which lead me toward the cruel, manipulative variety of egoism if they are not checked by my deliberative reason (my deliberative reason requires a rational standard, which we do not and cannot have here). This sounds right, since on this metaphysics I am an evolved survival machine, and since it would be terribly arrogant to suppose myself an exception to the general rule among mankind, which is a brutal kind of egoism.

So if I'm intellectually honest, I end up a skeptic and egoist. Now I'm putting all of my old beliefs on like a suit of clothing: I believe in free will, substances, essences, teleology, and morality again. It seems to me though, that like clothing, society may be held together by our collective willingness to put these beliefs on, if only for the times when we are most visible to each other. Perhaps you also put these beliefs on for your personal comfort, as I do, but that is not the same as believing them because you think that they are true.

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