Ernest & Noble has finally been published!

Nature & the Environment, Philosophy & Ethics, Politics & Public Debate
A.C. Stark

I am exceptionally delighted to finally announce that my very first printed publication, Ernest & Noble, is now available to purchase online for the small price of £3.99.

“To be a contented atheist you cannot believe in the truth absolutely, but must sometimes believe in lies.”

£3.99

In an age when ideological divides are so clearly and ceaselessly widening, Ernest & Noble aspires to elicit the importance of human understanding and tolerance by obliging the reader to reflect upon the fragility of their own ideologies. It shines a light on the gratuitous hubris of absolutist belief-systems, specifically militant atheism, and admits of the probable reality of moral nihilism. However, unlike the existentialists of old, it seeks to reveal a possible solution to these issues by evoking the significance and versatility of faith, resilience and compromise.

“Look, just as in order to live we tend to deny the reality of our impending and inevitable death, in order to live well we have to deny the meaninglessness of the universe.”

The idea that our lives are inherently meaningless terrifies us all. So much so that for decades the public consciousness has, possibly to its own detriment, repressed the very concept of moral nihilism. Yet, in our pursuits for meaning, we attach ourselves to opinions, projects and political ideals which, if moral nihilism is true, provide our lives with little more than illusory veils of meaning. These attachments of ours become obsessions, for which many of us argue dogmatically and some will even physically fight. In doing so, we stoke anxieties and inflict suffering for the sake of literally nothing. Others of us attempt to peek beyond the veil and when we do so we become philosophers. Albeit, this can equally be fraught with difficulties, especially when we discover our own redundancy; that our lives are inherently meaningless.

In an attempt to break this damning dichotomy, Ernest & Noble is devised to both liberate philosophical atheists from nihilism’s labyrinth and to coax militant atheists in. Whoever you are, whatever your creed, faith, resilience and compromise will undoubtedly be necessary.


A.C. Stark

Why Ethics Should Centralise Around Nature

Philosophy & Ethics

Call me a misanthrope, but there isn’t one ethics that is universally valid. The Golden Rule, in all its forms, has proven time and time again to be problematic. Even the principles laid down by Kant are tenuously justified, as he puts the cart before the horses at the earliest stages of his Groundworks in order to give personhood centre stage. A similar error is made by Mill when he prescribes welfare as the primary subject of any truly ethical endeavour. The problem is, in order to discover an ethics you need something to deduce it from. And that something is invariably described as intrinsically valuable, worthy of eternal pursuit. But, I dare to say, it’s never sufficiently justified as being so. Why? Well, precisely because nothing is, nor can anything be intrinsically valuable. Not personhood, not consciousness, not welfare, not happiness. So far as the universe is concerned, everything just is. Nothing is more significant than anything else. Value is allocated, not discovered. This is why no ethics is universally valid.

So, the story of ethics is different to how we’ve been led to believe. No subject of an ethics, nor any ethics itself is intrinsically valuable. They are, for all intents and purposes, valuable only instrumentally. They are valuable for the sake of a concept. In the case of knowledge, intellect, consciousness, that concept is personhood. In the case of happiness, that concept is well-being. This is why contending ethical principles are inherently contradictory. From differing ambitions arise conflict. So maybe we’re asking the wrong questions. Indeed, searching for a universal ethics seems entirely futile.

Maybe what we ought to ask is whether anything is fundamental to the essence of all conceivable ethical paradigms. Is it possible that we might discover something which is valuable for the sake of ethics itself? Well I believe some such thing exists. Where is it? What is it? It’s glaring us all in the face. Just how ethicists and philosophers over the past few millennia have managed to miss it bemuses me. Nature. It’s nature! Surely nature is the ground from which the groundworks of any ethics ought to start.What is essential to performing an ethics? What is essential to personhood, to well-being? Nature. The existence of ethical agents, subjects and concepts themselves require it. Well-being and happiness do too. Nature, in its fragile contingent state, provides the conditions necessary for them to subsist. So nature must be the fundamental foundation to all ethics.

It is plain to see, for me at least, that the existence of all ethical paradigms, however valid or invalid, are attributable only to nature. Nature allows them to exist. The principles and paradigms that have been discovered are attributable to the specific natural conditions of this world from which their manufacturers were born. To uphold the values of any ethics we must enable the continued existence of those specific natural conditions. Far from being a universal ethics itself, that is just a fact. The delicate equilibrium of nature’s properties preserve us; they’re integral to our being. As Derek Parfit and many other contemporaries would undoubtedly agree, any ethics which is self-defeating is repugnant. So, any ethics which contradicts this fact is repugnant also.

Whatever your perspective on life, however you see the world – left-wing, right-wing, theist, atheist, optimist, pessimist, whatever! – in order to realise an ethics,  in order to do ethics, you must first embrace nature. The catalogue of reasons to pay reverence to nature has a new member. Nature gave ethics. It’s time to give ethics nature.

A.C. Stark