Tag Archives: philosophy of language

Physicalism, not atheism

I don’t like atheism.

I don’t like atheism because it drags God, god or gods in the conversation as if they exist. It assumes first that there is a god or gods then proceeds with the argument to deny it. Atheism is the trap that theists have set for the unsuspecting.

The better approach is physicalism. Conclude that everything is physical, then to proceed to see what is a god or gods means we can deal with it like the fiction that it is. The concept of god is then seen as ordinary like Harry Potter and purple unicorns. The verbalisation or iteration of these do not make them real. Physicalism allows us the possibility to deal with concepts.

To talk of nihilism is meaningless

If everything is meaningless (or if nothing has meaning) then to talk of nihilism is also meaningless. Is there not a tautological trap here?

“Philosophy”, East and West

Like all terms in any language there is no full presence of meaning.

Here are the three definitions of “philosophy” from LDOCE. They are distinct but related as all polysemy are.

1 [uncountable] the study of the nature and meaning of existence, truth, good and evil etc
2 [countable] the views of a particular philosopher or group of philosophers
3 [countable] the attitude or set of ideas that guides the behaviour of a person or organization

I think the first two terms are fairly straightforward (the first one at least) but it is the third which is of interest here.

One often uses the third meaning in sentences like, “my philosophy on life is …” or “his philosophy on the matter is that …”.

Interestingly this does not translate across languages.

When learners try to ask a question like “what is your philosophy on X” they often fail by literally translating the words.

In Japanese, for example, “X in taisuru anata no tetsugaku wa nan desu ka” sounds strange and unnatural. More natural would be “X ni kanshite wa dou omoimasu ka“, which would be literally close to “what do you think of X“, which would sound like asking for an opinion.

The term philosophy then entails some degree of objectivity, whatever that may be. This is not true of what do you think of X. The point being the possible structure of the language and the influence of it upon you must be taken into consideration.

Going back to the other two meanings too it would be hard to use the same structure as “the philosophy of Confucius” or “his management philosophy”. Different words would replace philosophy for this usage in Japanese and Chinese, and presumably in many other languages as well.

I know of no other existence

I know of no other existence other than this one. We may speak of souls and spirits but we may only speak of them from this existence, and none other. Whether souls or spirits exist or not is really not the point. What we should be noting is that the possible existence of or as souls and spirits has no direct bearing on this existence other than through that kind of thought and discourse.

Be, being, becoming

I don’t like the to in to be or to with any other infinitive for that matter. It entails movement when the infinitive indicates anything but movement or change. I am or it is are to indicate a state that in reality does not exist.

Being is to indicate a state over time. So this is closer to what is true of the reality.

Becoming is what is what we always do. But that too is an illusion. Becoming is what we perceive when the reality “sees” none. Becoming is therefore a value.

Concepts

1.
Our being has the characteristic of data creation with-in and with-out the mind. We create concepts at every turn. We replace the real things with its concepts. We also mistake concepts for the real things.

Plato was one of the first to create the idea of ideal forms that all else is based upon. Real cats are but shadows of the ideal cat, where the ideal cat is the model for the cats of the world. But Plato did not have the benefit of current understanding. Cats did not always exist. It would be safe to say cats did not exist two billion years ago. Did the ideal form already exist then without a single cat to be in existence? What is the point of having the ideal form of cats if there were none to be?

The more likely answer would be that our ideal form of cats comes from our experience and observation of cats by way of blending all that is considered ideal of a cat, rather than something like an ideal form existing before we start.

2.
This is like the present state of Apple’s App Store. It is far from ideal but we keep bits we like here and there and remove other bits that don’t seem to work. Call it “tweaking”, “evolution” or some other term you like. Ideal forms are not there. Only the concept of ideal forms exist. We must not mistake the concept for the real thing or for the verbal form of it.

Stasis of form

The physical stasis of the form of the word creates the illusion of the stasis of the thing.