who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
philosophy in outline
2. My philosophy in key terms
This is not a crisis file.
Instead, it contains two brief items I have written that together give
a fairly brief answer to the question "what is your philosophy?".
The first is a note of yesterday, and the second the section Keyterms
from my Philosophical
As to today's file: The keyterms have been written since 2004. Most are
OK, but a few need editing. And I left the opening quotations since I
1. My philosophy in outline
This is a fair description
of my philosophical self: logical,
scientifically realistic, rather skeptical and somewhat cynical. Here
are some brief explanations.
I like mathematical logic a lot, and have studied a great
amount of it, and hold it to be critically important for real
philosophy, but I also agree this is for the few only, at least so far
as the formulas and mathematical books are concerned. Also, I know much
of it is misdirected, and little of the considerable amount of work
that has been done gets known: too technical, for one thing, or too
specific - and again technical - problems for another.
I am a scientific realist, in that I hold that all human beings
live in one natural reality, and the best - though by far not the only
- way to get to know it is by the methods of real science. The
is thrown in because considerable amounts of what is pushed as science
is in fact pseudoscience, partial science, etc. Also, there is
considerably more, but the only other road that is, in principle, valid
to find real knowledge is by way of literature, and here I mean the
great literature, and not the 99.999% that is not: Lots of things about
being human may be learned from Sophocles, Lucretius, Montaigne,
Shakespeare, Pope, Dr. Johnson, William Hazlitt,
are rare writers, of which there appears at most a few in every
Then I tend to be skeptical, mostly in an academic sense,
probably best stated by Hume:
A scientific realist knows that most he
believes is at best probable and not certain, which also means that
most that is asserted to be knowledge is not knowledge. I also think we
know things, but the empirical things we do know - lots of technology,
for example - is also partial knowledge, even though it works, and the
underpinnings also tend to be uncertain, even if what they imply very
probably is true, in some not yet fully comprehended sense.
Finally, I am somewhat of a cynic, but this needs immediate
qualification: First, I mean it in the very oldfashioned sense of the
cynical philosophers of ca. 2000 years ago - such as Lucian - who decided
that much of their civilization was based on falsehoods and maintained
by personal deceptions and pretensions of nearly everyone, which was
then true and is now true, and should be countered by doubting all and
relying on one's own strengths, though this often meant a partial
withdrawal from ordinary society. Second, I should add that the cynics
have been mostly not well understood (and much of their work
has been intentionally destroyed, especially by Christians).
My philosophy in key terms
This is a list of keyterms
These are terms for important ideas or terms with many links to other
parts of the Dictionary.
Let's start with basic philosophy:
This gives the
definition of the OED, and provides links to
Assumptions, Natural Logic,
metaphysics, and Personalism
all of which are
pretty fundamental. The last two items are worth reading if you believe
yourself to be a commonsensical sort of person. Other important items
here are Theory,
Another basic concern is logic:
Logic: This gives a
simple definition and
provides links to
Propositional Logic, Extended
Propositional Logic, Logic
Notation, Logical terms,
Deduction, and Set Theory
all of which are
important if you want to know about reasoning. Personal
gives a system that explains everyday logical reasoning
of all kinds based on probability.
Then there are human persons:
This gives a basic definition and exposition and provides links to
Ego, Hypocrisy, Personality, Role, Self, Suffering.
Other important related terms are: Brain, Self-deception,
An important aside here
- it concerns a different type of experience
than is normal - is Mysticism. In
case, it is important to be clear about one's
personal probabilities and one's capacities for
willing, for these are fundamental to all one's
believing and acting.
Then there are a number of
important illusions and delusions:
Illusion, Delusion, Self-deception,
In this context other important
terms are: Ignorance,
More specifically but still general, there are: Ideology, Religion, Wishful
their generators: Priests
Clergy. In roughly the same class are most kinds of Politics,
in which context Cant
are important, as are Propaganda and
A very normal product
and cause of much illusion and delusion is
Totalitarianism, for which also see Us, Them, We.
Then there is society:
This gives a basic logical sort of definition and provides links to
Power, Religion, Prejudice among
other things, and also to Metaphysics
Ethics and Morals.
Important here are Cooperation, Ends,
and in general terms Leaders,
There also is a useful listing of commented Politics
introductory texts, and items on Anarchism, Conservatism,
and the State
Also relevant here are Authority and Bureaucracy.
Then there is knowledge:
gives a basic logical sort
of definition and provides links to
also enter concerns like Adequacy, Wishful
and Theory and Representing.
Also relevant here are Propositional
and concerns relating to Probability
I wish you much pleasure and
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: