Here I Stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen. (Luther, Diet of Worms, 17 April 1521)
The purpose of philosophy is to systematize human knowledge. This entails the correct identification of reality. In order to succeed, philosophy must correctly identify the most basic principles of reality and build a theory of knowledge on that foundation. Philosophy must be built on reality in order to be sound. For a theory of knowledge to be correct, it must stem from principles that correctly identify reality. Likewise, in order to develop a correct ethical theory, philosophy must build on the foundation laid by a correct theory of knowledge which is in turn supported by correctly identified principles of reality. Misidentification of principles of reality necessarily constitutes fundamental error and inevitably leads to incorrect philosophy, regardless of consistency. In fact, commitment to an erroneous foundation will inevitably lead to further error in consistently systematizing knowledge.
The basic principles of all knowledge are that consciousness exists and existence exists. However, it is not enough to know these basic principles in order to gain sound footing. It is crucial to understand that consciousness is consciousness of something and that that something is existence, or reality. In other words, existence has primacy over consciousness. The error of giving primacy to consciousness over existence necessarily leads to the metaphysical supposition that God has primacy over reality and the epistemological suppositions that faith has primacy over reason and the heart over the mind in order to be consistent. This in turn necessarily leads to ethics founded on a commitment to the philosophical supposition that to love has primacy over life, others over self, right over good and duty over happiness in order to be consistent. Correctly identifying the primacy of existence over consciousness leads to the metaphysical supposition that reality has primacy over God and the epistemological supposition that reason has primacy over faith and the heart over the mind in in order to be consistent. This in turn necessarily leads to ethics founded on a commitment to life over love, self over others, good over right and happiness over duty in order to be consistent.