The Contents of a Universal Belief System


First, let us review, briefly, the structure of our belief system. We have seen we need to recognise a priori concepts arising from the characteristic architecture of our brain and senses and its innate cognitive characteristics.

Our analytic beliefs (not dependent on empirical evidence) are based on a priori: reason and an ontological account of ‘being’. For our analytic beliefs our ontological ‘is’, our ‘reality’, is congruent with reason.

Our synthetic beliefs (dependent on empirical evidence) are based on a priori: causality; space-time, and an epistemological account of our sense experiences. For our synthetic beliefs our epistemological ‘truth’ is congruent with empiric experience.

Our analytic and synthetic a priori together give us the basis for our ‘hard’ beliefs; our mathematical, scientific and historical facts. We have noted that our hard beliefs alone are without value, without meaning. To identify value and meaning we must introduce additional social a priori: autonomy (a ‘self’), and universality (a species-specific cognitive essence). This a priori, is recognised here as providing the basis of our ‘soft’ beliefs; our human values, ethics, and secular narratives.

We can identify, as a sub-set, some soft beliefs that are universal. These arise from a common human cognitive ability reacting with an evolved universal human culture producing some universal human beliefs, values and behaviour.