It seems to me that everything we do is for one purpose and one purpose alone, and that is to survive. We eat, sleep, exercise, work, play, wear clothes, buy houses, read, write, speak, listen, study, teach, sing, have sex, defecate, pretty do everything as a way to survive.
We create institutions to survive. Health care, education, science, philosophy and religion are just some of the institutions we have as a way to survive as a group rather than as an individual.
Seen this way, religion is no different to the ballroom dancing club, tennis club, academic associations that we create in order to survive. Religion, God, souls, mind and self, therefore, are concepts to help us, and should be studied as a biological and anthropological necessities. It should be off-limits to scrutiny.
If we are to take nominalism as 1) the rejection of universals, or 2) the rejection of abstract objects (of the mind) then I am neither.
What I reject is that universals or abstract objects are things in the conventional sense, or even real objects (of the mind). This sentient/animate being conceptualises universals, abstract objects and concrete objects, that is, conceptualisation is a process of a thing, this thing, and not a thing-in-itself. A process is a “characteristic” of a thing.
The communicative symbol is the only “thing” in common between a universal or abstract object (of the mind) in mine and another person’s mind.
So I was pushing with it with the example I gave on deductive reasoning earlier. But there was a point to this – that it does have much to do with the type of subjects and predicates you choose. Here are some mixed examples from here with my commentary:
- All numbers ending in 0 or 5 are divisible by 5. The number 35 ends with a 5, so it must be divisible by 5.
Here we have an abstract system which is completely based on artificial rules. But also will this work in, say, base-6? Why do we assume base-10?
- All birds have feathers. All robins are birds. Therefore, robins have feathers.
Built into the definition of birds is feather. So we have a tautology.
- It’s dangerous to drive on icy streets. The streets are icy now, so it would be dangerous to drive on the streets.
Judgment and a matter of degrees, the kind of tires you may have and who is driving or a combination of these.
- All cats have a keen sense of smell. Fluffy is a cat, so Fluffy has a keen sense of smell.
A matter of degrees.
- Cacti are plants, and all plants perform photosynthesis. Therefore, cacti perform photosynthesis.
Part of the definition of plant so a tautology again.
- Red meat has iron in it, and beef is red meat. Therefore, beef has iron in it.
- Acute angles are less than 90 degrees. This angle is 40 degrees, so it must be an acute angle.
Self defining term.
- All noble gases are stable. Helium is a noble gas, so helium is stable.
- Elephants have cells in their bodies, and all cells have DNA. Therefore, elephants have DNA.
The major premise is reversed with the minor one.
- All horses have manes. The Arabian is a horse; therefore, Arabians have manes.
This is an unusual case with naked foal syndrome but mutations may occur for better or worse. The question remains does a mane define a horse?
Admittedly, this is not the best page for examples. The point though is formal logic is highly restrictive in its use and content. It also says much about language as a medium for communicating truth, particularly when tautological definitions are used. Mathematics seems a better medium but then it is formed upon an abstract system not apply in reality. For this attempts have been made with set theory.
I do not mind enumerative and eliminative induction methods, and probability in the shape of abduction. It only needs to be stated from the outset. Rigour is possible with these if used carefully.
I have yet to touch upon apoha, Saussurean system of difference, fuzzy logic or even prototype theory as a methodologies, but I will.
Consider this common example for an argument of deductive reasoning.
All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
We start with a major (general) premise, move to a minor (particular) premise, then draw a conclusion. Not so difficult. But let’s look at the major premise again.
All men are mortal.
I have met many men. Hundreds, perhaps thousands. But to be sure I have not met all men. Every time I go shopping I see someone I have yet to meet. So what am I basing this statement upon, if it is not based upon observations of the men I have met until now. Where do I find the universal truths? I may ask my wife, children, relatives, friends and co-workers too “have you met any man who isn’t mortal?” and usually (there is always one wisecrack who would claim “yes, I have!”) get a favourable answer (does hearsay count?), but I still have not confirmed that all men are indeed mortal.
What I really have done is enumerated (enumerative induction) all of my experiences with men and come to a probable conclusion that this statement ‘all men are mortal’ is a “truth”. What I really should be saying is that “all the men I have met (and heard about) are mortal”. It would not be truthful to make that major premise. It seems, then, all deductive reasoning is based on an assumption from an experience of high-probability without acknowledging itself to be doing so. There is no true deductive reasoning that can be true as such, only probable conclusions.
Now I am not saying probability are not good. I am saying exactly the opposite, that we only ever have most-probable-answers and likely-to-be-true statements to work with. I am saying, deductive reasoning is flawed, therefore, we should move on.
Yes, I have privileged access to my thoughts, words and actions.
But what access do I have of someone else’s thoughts, if it is not only their words and actions. Equally, no one has access to my thoughts except for my own words and actions.
The concepts in one’s head remains in there until it reveals itself in the form of matter as representation to me or as representation to them.
As I work through my philosophy it is slowly becoming clear that it is best named Object Philosophy. I had considered “concept philosophy” as well but because my philosophy is about fully engaging with the physical world in a meaningful way it seems more accurate a name than concept philosophy, even though concepts play a huge part in it.
Object Philosophy explains how the ontology of things, and the processes of conceptualisation (concepts) and symbolisation (signifiers) relate, and how many of our fundamental assumptions have been wrong, leading to many of the problems and dead-ends in current philosophy, thinking and way of life.
forever, we come in
“halfway through the show”.
never to go back
to the beginning of time,
to our parents’ birth or
even to the last minute
or second that had just past.
for that is time’s character.
there is neither reverse to reality,
nor fast forward, but only ‘play’
we must live with it, deal with it,
but also enjoy the show while it’s on.