philosophy

philosophy historically and as distinct from other disciplines

Elemental inverse

Begin with elements. Elements are a very general concept: they may be either members of sets or distinctions of classes. As a set is defined by its members, so a class is defined by its distinctions. So, the elements of sets are members and the elements of classes are distinctions. Sets may be divided into …

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In the beginning is reality

In the beginning is reality. That is, reality precedes us. We discover reality. We don’t invent reality. “Wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.” (Socrates in Plato’s Theaetetus 155d) “For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize.” (Aristotle, Met. 982b12). We wonder about reality. That …

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Unity, duality, trinity

Postulates of Motion Postulate of three: There are three dimensions of the extent of motion. Postulate of two: There are two measures of the extent of motion, length and duration. Postulate of one: There is one exchange of space and time. From the postulate of three comes a non-quantitative three-dimensional geometry of motion. From the …

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Reality and belief

Reality precedes us: we discover it rather than invent it. Belief precedes knowledge, and metaphysics precedes epistemology. That is realism. Nevertheless, experience and thought can lead to revision of belief, which is the way of science. Anti-realists make the mistake of limiting reality to what they know, and so limiting belief to knowledge. But they …

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Atheist illiteracy

Antony Flew was a leading atheist who came to the conclusion that God exists. What changed his mind? “The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin …

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Principles of centrism

Previous posts on political centrism are here, here, and here. This post further develops what centrism is. There are three principles of what centrism is: (1) Centrism seeks balance in all aspects of the state and its relationship with individuals, society, and other states. (2) Centrism is non-ideological because ideologies are imbalanced: what distinguishes one …

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From natures to nature

This post follows on a previous post here. How did we get from natures to nature? In a word, nominalism. The many natures of pre-modern science have been transformed into one nature or Nature, reified if not personified as a thing or force or being. Nominalism is the teaching that universals or qualities or natures …

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Nominal breakthroughs

Modern science is quantitative, not qualitative. The top breakthroughs in modern science have broken through traditional distinctions of quality or kind. Consider the following: (1) Newton’s theory of gravitation broke through the traditional distinction between the sublunar and supralunar universe (e.g., the earth and the heavens). All motion is subject to the same laws. (2) …

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Scientific nominalism

Nominalism has three senses: A denial of metaphysical universals. An emphasis on reducing one’s ontology to a bare minimum, on paring down the supply of fundamental ontological categories. A denial of “abstract” entities. William of Ockham, the name most associated with nominalism, agreed with the first and second senses, and in a lesser way, the …

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The hierarchy of knowledge

The physical sciences, especially physics, are considered nowadays to be the pinnacle of knowledge. They are given credit for modern technology, which has far surpassed any other civilization. Maximum deference is given to the physical sciences, which then function as the paragon of all knowledge. “Physics envy” pervades the study of knowledge today. But it …

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