• TheGreatArcanum
    222
    Of course, all philosophical systems have first principles, but the difference between one system of philosophy and another is that they have differing first principles. What I am asking is, however, is if it is the case that all first principles are presuppositional in the sense that they may or may not be true at this present moment in time, or may or may not be true in some future or past moment of time, or may or may not be true from one perspective and not another; or, if there are eternally true propositions (i.e. eternal truths) that are not presuppositional, but absolutely necessary (i.e. First Principles?) If not, why not? And if so, why, and what are they?
  • Pfhorrest
    1.6k
    A first principle by its nature is supposed to be a necessary truth. So whatever a given philosophy takes to be first principles, it takes those to be necessary (and therefore eternal) truths.

    I thought this thread was going to be about something much more interesting, and in case it actually is and I just don't see it in there, I'll say what I expected: what are the first principles assumed by philosophy as an activity, not by any particular philosophical systems? I.e. what are the principles held in common between people doing philosophy, violation of which means whatever you're doing is no longer philosophy?

    I think those principles are:
    - There are no unanswerable questions
    - There are no unquestionable answers

    Violating the first principle, we end up doing nothing, at least nothing even vaguely resembling philosophy. Violating the second principle, we end up doing religion (because we're appealing to faith), not philosophy (which by its nature appeals to reason).

    I think that an entire philosophical system can be built out of just those two principles.
  • TheGreatArcanum
    222
    A first principle by its nature is supposed to be a necessary truth. So whatever a given philosophy takes to be first principles, it takes those to be necessary (and therefore eternal) truths.Pfhorrest

    It is supposed to be a necessary truth, but are there necessary truths that are not simply believed to be necessary, but necessarily necessary?
    thought this thread was going to be about something much more interesting, and in case it actually is and I just don't see it in therePfhorrest

    It could be more interesting, because I've found the First Principles, and could have posted them. but I want to see what others think.

    I think those principles are:
    - There are no unanswerable questions
    - There are no unquestionable answers
    Pfhorrest

    Sure, but these are statements concerning epistemology; what about statements concerning ontology? Is epistemology contingent upon ontology, or is ontology contingent upon epistemology? Which is prior to which? Further, I am looking for necessary truths here, or rather, truths that are eternal, the truths that you posted are presuppositional. How are we supposed to know if there are unanswerable questions or not? Doesn't the truthiness of both this statement and the other (i.e. "there are no unquestionable answers") necessitate other truths and other questions? If they do, they are not general enough to be used as the First Principles of a Perennial Philosophy of Being.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.6k
    Sure, but these are statements concerning epistemology; what about statements concerning ontology? IsTheGreatArcanum

    Those aren't just statements concerning epistemology. The "no unanswerable questions" one is more ontological than epistemological: a full half of that principle is just equal to realism, and the other half is moral objectivism. The "no unquestionable answers" one is more epistemological, but it has direct implications that are again more ontological: if every answer must be questionable, then no appeals to things that can't be questioned are acceptable, ruling out the supernatural, i.e. the non-empirical. Between those two things you have a robust ontology of empirical realism. And on the moral side of things, the analogue of that, a kind of hedonic moral objectivism. Conversely, the "no unanswerable questions" principle has direct epistemological and deontological implications as well: justificationism would, through Agrippa's Trilemma, lead either to foundationalism or coherentism (which violate the "no unquestionable answers" principle), or else to rejecting all opinions out of hand, violating the "no unanswerable questions" principle, so contra justificationism we have to have a critical rationalist epistemology, and the moral equivalent of that, a liberal deontology (where you're allowed to do what you like until reason can be shown not to, rather than forbidden from doing anything until you can justify that there is a good reason to).

    All of those things then have far-reaching implications on things from philosophy of language, art, and mathematics, mind, will, education, governance, and so on.
  • TheGreatArcanum
    222
    the problem is that you’re trying to use a priori truths as the foundation for an a posteriori system of philosophy (empirical realism), that is, for a school of thought that denies the existence of non-empirical truths. the problem with empirical realism is that the notion that ‘all truths have empirical justifications,’ has no empirical justification. the implications of your philosophy stop right here; only a fool would build a philosophy on top of a contradiction and call himself rational.
  • Gregory
    850
    Void = lacking of

    Being = existence

    Truth = the reality

    Goodness = that which answers "Why"

    Beauty = ?
  • Gregory
    850
    An empiricist has to answer what an object is. That is a philosophical question. Is a forest an object?
  • Pfhorrest
    1.6k
    I never denied the existence of non-empirical truths, I said an implication of those first principles is that one’s ontology should be empirical realism, i.e. one should not make claims about what exists that are non-empirical or non-realist. We can talk about things besides just what exists or not, though, and those claims are not confined to empiricism or realism by those principles.
  • 180 Proof
    898
    IMO one of two (or both) candidates for western philosophy's 'first principle' are

    (A) the principle of non-contradiction (PNC), or ~[x = ~x]

    or

    (B) the principle of insufficient reason (PIR), or random (i.e. acausal) events occur and are ineluctable (i.e. unbounded);

    thus, by virtue of which, reflective criteria (for judgment) and adaptive methods (of decision-making) have been cultivated / are regulated.

    Anyway, just my 2 drachmas.

    :death: :flower:
  • Benkei
    2.7k
    (A) the principle of non-contradiction (PNC), or ~[x = ~x]180 Proof

    If you mention this one, why not also include the law of identity and the law of the excluded middle? If not, why not?
  • 180 Proof
    898
    If you mention this one, why not also include the law of identity and the law of the excluded middle? If not, why not?Benkei
    I think each one presupposes (or, otherwise, supplements) the PNC. Also, 'contradiction' has modal ontological implications (re: 'impossibilty' e.g. impossible objects / worlds) which, to my mind, the others lack.
  • Gregory
    850
    Hegel's whole philosophy was an expansion in Aquinas's themes that there is truth IN objects. That is.not an empirical question. Philosophy is not language games
  • sime
    491
    PNC is either rejected or violated in the works of many philosophers, e.g. Heraclitus, Kant, Hegel, Wittgenstein... There isn't much evidence to support the logical consistency of philosophy, especially in epistemology. If philosophy is considered to be primarily a normative activity, this doesn't matter. The loss of PNC isn't a great blow, it just means that philosophers are unstable hypocrites with alternating beliefs.
  • Gregory
    850
    Its not about logical atomistic consistency. Wittgenstein should not be in your list sime.
  • Gregory
    850
    Hegel had a far richer intellectual life than poor Wittgenstein. That's what counts
  • Gregory
    850
    Whether objects just have existence, or also goodness and maybe truth in them, is a logical question. What is beauty? That which pleases? But that is what it does, not what it is. If we keep the questions to the world instead of going outside like Socrates, we have valid questions
  • sime
    491
    Its not about logical atomistic consistency. Wittgenstein should not be in your list sime.Gregory

    I wasn't specifically thinking of logical atomism, i was referring to his consciously self-refuting Tractatus, as well the latter Wittgenstein's philosophical investigations, that isn't logically consistent. For example, his apparent reliance on the imagination to refute the idea of private language. This isn't a criticism, it's just a general feature of philosophical arguments. For many other examples see Graham Priest's "Beyond the Limits of Thought".
  • Gregory
    850
    I wasn't specifically thinking of logical atomism, i was referring to his consciously self-refuting Tractatus, as well the latter Wittgenstein's philosophical investigations, that isn't logically consistent. For example, his apparent reliance on the imagination to refute the idea of private language. This isn't a criticism, it's just a general feature of philosophical arguments. For many other examples see Graham Priest's "Beyond the Limits of Thought".sime

    The Tractatus is consistent, although maybe not with the Investigations. That would be Wittgenstein changing his mind (maybe from the limits he had put himself in). If he used imagination to find out that we can communicate as a species across cultures and languages, I don't see that inconsistent either
  • Gregory
    850
    We know HOW is beauty (for it pleases us), but WHAT is beauty, and WHY is it? Those are valid concerns. No language games here
  • tim wood
    4k
    My two cents:
    Philosophy is an engine powered by a usually unexplicated dynamic. The ground, then, of inquiry being unclear or entirely unseen, the inquiry itself is never complete.

    The idea is that what something is depends on how it is perceived or taken. If that preliminary occurrence of perception/taking is not laid out and laid bare, then the entire process remains incomplete.

    First activity, then, is the inquiry - the question, whatever it is. First principle should be a complete excavation of the ground of the question. In particular and especially not the furniture and immediate surroundings of the question, but instead its presuppositions and purposes. These latter, properly understood and examined, give the greatest chance for knowledge, and absent which, knowledge can only be accidental or incidental, or impossible.
  • Gregory
    850
    Philosophy is an engine powered by a usually unexplicated dynamic. The ground, then, of inquiry being unclear or entirely unseen, the inquiry itself is never complete.

    The idea is that what something is depends on how it is perceived or taken. If that preliminary occurrence of perception/taking is not laid out and laid bare, then the entire process remains incomplete.

    First activity, then, is the inquiry - the question, whatever it is. First principle should be a complete excavation of the ground of the question. In particular and especially not the furniture and immediate surroundings of the question, but instead its presuppositions and purposes. These latter, properly understood and examined, give the greatest chance for knowledge, and absent which, knowledge can only be accidental or incidental, or impossible.
    tim wood

    Maybe a little too Cartesian. Don't underestimate the "movement of philosophy" (Hegel).

    Here is a good start for ye guys:

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=days+like+these+hegel+school+of+life&view=detail&mid=7206E3217DBBCB3809417206E3217DBBCB380941&FORM=VIRE
  • TheGreatArcanum
    222
    PNC is either rejected or violated in the works of many philosophers, e.g. Heraclitus, Kant, Hegel, Wittgenstein... There isn't much evidence to support the logical consistency of philosophy, especially in epistemology.sime

    There's a difference between using words to denote objects or relationships between objects in the world, and the objects and relationships between objects in themselves that those words represent. The Law of Non Contradiction is thought to be violated only because it can be shown that a contradiction in terms of the relationships between the symbols (i.e. words) that point the objects, can be true. This results for the false equivalence that the symbols that represent objects and the objects themselves are the same, or rather, have the same logical form which they do not. In an actualized sense, nothing can ever exist and not exist at the same and in the same respect. However, in a state of potentiality, the actualized possibility of x and -x exist at the same time and in the same respect, according to my philosophy anyways.
  • TheGreatArcanum
    222
    Philosophy is an engine powered by a usually unexplicated dynamic. The ground, then, of inquiry being unclear or entirely unseen, the inquiry itself is never complete.

    The idea is that what something is depends on how it is perceived or taken. If that preliminary occurrence of perception/taking is not laid out and laid bare, then the entire process remains incomplete.

    First activity, then, is the inquiry - the question, whatever it is. First principle should be a complete excavation of the ground of the question. In particular and especially not the furniture and immediate surroundings of the question, but instead its presuppositions and purposes. These latter, properly understood and examined, give the greatest chance for knowledge, and absent which, knowledge can only be accidental or incidental, or impossible
    tim wood

    Take a truth, any truth, and then ask yourself, what must first be true for it to be true, and keep going and going until you find an undeniable truth. When you find it, ask yourself, can this truth change and how? You claim that it can be changing, why? Because the world is changing? But is there not some underlying unchanging aspect that grounds it all? Isn't change contingent upon the lack thereof? Isn't all change for the purpose of that which changes not? Can Existence and Non-Existence both Exist and Not Exist at the same time and in the same respect? Is not the truth that "Existence is" (in the absolute sense), eternal? If not, whence did it come into being?
  • TheGreatArcanum
    222
    (B) the principle of insufficient reason (PIR), or random (i.e. acausal) events occur and are ineluctable (i.e. unbounded);180 Proof

    How is it that you think teleology and acausality can co-exist? Is not all chaos, controlled chaos, and thus bounded by order? Aren't all infinities bounded by some a priori set, or concept? In a world of infinite randomness, how is that things in the world never become anything other than what they have the a priori potential to become? A seed can become a tree, and out of the tree, a fruit, and out of a fruit, another seed, but none of these things, without the interference of a subjective will, can become anything other than that, like for example, a pumpkin, or a home, etc...How is that you reconcile the ap priori orderliness and limitedness of Nature with the notion that all events are "unbounded" and "random?"
  • A Seagull
    344

    What are the First Principles of Philosophy?

    Implicit in this question is the assumption that philosophy has first principles.

    I think that that assumption needs to be clearly identified so that a philosophy that has first principles is not conflated with general philosophy.

    While it may be the case, empirically speaking, that most, if not all, clearly expressed philosophy requires foundations, these may not neccessarily be expressible as principles.
  • TheGreatArcanum
    222
    licit in this question is the assumption that philosophy has first principles.A Seagull

    each truth is contingent upon a higher truth, this is pretty much self-evident, for if there were not hydrogen atoms, nor oxygen atoms, there could not be H20, and thus neither water, nor ice, nor, nor water vapor, and of course, if there were no protons and electrons, there could be no atoms as such...the question is whether or not this chain of contingency is infinite or not. To say that there are no first principles is to say that the chain is infinite, and to say that there are first principles is to say that it is not. But of course, the number of truths that are necessary for each descendent truth in the hierarchy of contingency becomes less and less a we ascend upwards in the hierarchy of contingency, and since we dealing with wholes (i.e. all truths are wholes and not irrational numbers), the chain must end.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    PNC is either rejected or violated in the works of many philosophers, e.g. Heraclitus, Kant, Hegel, Wittgenstein.sime

    If PNC is rejected, that can be shown to be wrong by PNC. If it is violated, the perpetrators should be punished.

    I don't believe Heraclitus, Kant, Hegel and/or Wittgenstein rejected or violated PNC. You'd have to show this in more detail, Sime, than just stating it as a claim.
  • sime
    491
    There's a difference between using words to denote objects or relationships between objects in the world, and the objects and relationships between objects in themselves that those words represent. The Law of Non Contradiction is thought to be violated only because it can be shown that a contradiction in terms of the relationships between the symbols (i.e. words) that point the objects, can be true. This results for the false equivalence that the symbols that represent objects and the objects themselves are the same, or rather, have the same logical form which they do not. In an actualized sense, nothing can ever exist and not exist at the same and in the same respect. However, in a state of potentiality, the actualized possibility of x and -x exist at the same time and in the same respect, according to my philosophy anyways.TheGreatArcanum

    I agree that contradictions are properties of sentences rather than of matters-of-fact, for I cannot understand what could be meant by contradictory matters of fact. I would also say the same about truth, for I cannot fathom a false matter-of-fact. The principle of non-contradiction is certainly critical to the practice of science, but I see neither justification nor practice of non-contradiction when it comes to philosophy.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    What are the First Principles of Philosophy?

    Implicit in this question is the assumption that philosophy has first principles.
    A Seagull

    The first principle of philosophy is that philosophy has a first principle.

    (That ought to be right.)
  • Gregory
    850


    "all truths are wholes and not irrational numbers"

    Who says?

    "Take a truth, any truth, and then ask yourself, what must first be true for it to be true, and keep going and going until you find an undeniable truth. When you find it, ask yourself, can this truth change and how? You claim that it can be changing, why? Because the world is changing? But is there not some underlying unchanging aspect that grounds it all?"

    Order is in the eye of the beholder

    "Isn't change contingent upon the lack thereof?"

    Contingent upon contingency? Maybe

    "Isn't all change for the purpose of that which changes not?"

    But existentialism!

    "Can Existence and Non-Existence both Exist and Not Exist at the same time and in the same respect?"

    That's a word game

    "Is not the truth that "Existence is" (in the absolute sense), eternal? If not, whence did it come into being?"

    From nothing
  • TheGreatArcanum
    222
    Who says?Gregory

    if there is a partial truth, it is still whole. all parts are wholes, this whole distinguishes them from other wholes, and also from the whole in which it is a part.

    Order is in the eye of the beholderGregory

    order is prior to the brain and thus the eye, and if this were not, it would be impossible for parts to become synthesized into wholes for a purpose. purpose implies reason, reason implies order.

    Contingent upon contingency? MaybeGregory

    no, the hierarchy of contingency is pyramidal shaped, not cylindrical.

    But existentialism!Gregory

    is nonsensical.
    That's a word gameGregory

    I'm talking about the ground of being, the non-spatial substratum in which all things exist, persist, originate from, and return to upon their apparent death. That's what the word "Existence," spelled with a capital 'E' denotes. It has nothing to do with semantics.

    From nothingGregory

    quite simply the difference between nothing and something is that something possesses the potential to become and nothing does not.
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