Saturday, July 9, 2011

Induction of Aristotle’s Theory of Four Causes

The aim of this essay is to retrace the steps Aristotle had to reach in order to induce his revolutionary theory of causality, second only to his theory of logic in philosophical importance. In presenting these steps, we’ll also see several philosophical problems he solved in the process of reaching his theory of four causes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Reduction of Aristotle's Theory of Four Causes

Let’s start with the definition of “causality”: “the principle that agents bring something about; a person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.”

In Aristotle’s mature view, there were four ways for something to be a cause, to be an explanation of a fact: the material, formal, efficient, and final. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Advances in Baconian Induction: John Herschel (Part 3 of 3)

(Previous posts:
Advances in Baconian Induction: John Herschel (Part 1 of 3)

Advances in Baconian Induction: John Herschel (Part 2 of 3))

John Herschel’s theory of induction is a kind of empiricist epistemology rooted in analogies, from which we can generalize to hypotheses, theories, and the laws which are the foundations for theories. This essay will present Herschel’s views on the higher-stage inductions he believes comprises true scientific theorizing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Induction of "Reason is Man's Only Means of Gaining Knowledge"

[Previous Post in this series: "Induction of 'The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False'" ]

In this essay, we’ll cover the inductions needed to reach the Objectivist principle that “reason is man’s only means of gaining knowledge.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Induction of "The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False"

[Previous post: "Induction and Reduction of 'Values as Objective'"]

The aim of this essay is to induce the Objectivist principle that arbitrary claims are neither true nor false, but are in a third class: non-cognitive. Ayn Rand said in regard to arbitrary assertions that, “it is as if nothing had been said, because nothing of cognitive value or validity has been said.”

The outline of this essay consists of three inductions and two clarifications:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Induction and Reduction of “Values as Objective”

[Previous post: "Induction and Reduction of 'Sex is Metaphysical'"]

The point of this essay is to induce and reduce the principle that “values are objective,” and we’re going to use Ayn Rand’s own life to reach this, since it was her identifications that led to the objective theory of values in the first place.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Induction and Reduction of “Sex is Metaphysical”

[Previous post: "Induction of 'the Initiation of Physical Force is Evil'"]

The goal of this essay is to very nearly reach the Objectivist principle that sex is metaphysical, which is the essential part of Ayn Rand’s theory of sex. Keep in mind that by “metaphysical,” I mean “that which pertains to reality, to the nature of things, to existence,” so I’m reaching the idea that sex has some important relationship with us and the reality around us.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Induction of “the Initiation of Physical Force is Evil”

[Previous post: "Reduction of 'the Initiation of Physical Force is Evil'"]

Having gone through the reduction, it’s time to induce the Objectivist principle that “the initiation of physical force is evil.”

The induction will consist of three steps:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Reduction of “the Initiation of Physical Force is Evil”

[Previous post in the series: "Induction of Objectivity (Ayn Rand)"]

The aim of this essay is to reduce the principle that “the initiation of physical force is evil.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Induction of Objectivity (Ayn Rand)

[Previous post in the series: "Reduction of Objectivity (Ayn Rand)"]

The reduction of Rand’s idea of “objectivity” complete, we can now work through how she induced her redefinition of objectivity as involving both facts about the world and facts about human consciousness.

The induction will take two series of steps:

The first, basic series:

1. Assuming Aristotle’s knowledge, discover that knowledge has an order.
2. Discover that knowledge involves integration.
3. Find out that measurement is the essential means of moving beyond percepts.
4. Discover that consciousness has identity.

The second series:

1. From Aristotle’s discoveries and the above four, reach Ayn Rand’s theory of concept-formation.
2. Integrate her theory of concepts with Aristotle’s view of objectivity, and note the amendments that this involves, which include a reformulation of what it means to “follow logic,” and what it means to “be objective.” Two elements of knowledge that Aristotle only implicitly recognized, that knowledge is formed in a context and it exists in a hierarchy, will be explicitly included in logic, as it was in Rand’s view. This is the way that we’ll know how to adhere to reality by following a certain method, because we’ll be explicating that very method further than it was explained before by Aristotle.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Current Plans for My "Inductive Quest"

So here's a preview of what will be appearing on the blog in the next few months (and years)!

Induction of Objectivity (Ayn Rand) -- I'll present how Ayn Rand used her knowledge of concept-formation to reformulate Aristotle's theory of logic and conception of "objectivity."

Part 3 of John Herschel's theory of Baconian Induction -- I finish my series on the famous astronomer/philosopher of science, recounting his views on inductions of causal laws, the role of hypotheses, and analogical reasoning.

The rest of the lecture course, "Objectivism Through Induction" -- I only have three lectures left to cover, so I'm really excited about nearing the end, which leads to...

Inducing all of the principles of Objectivism -- one of my "Big Projects": I plan on working through all of the principles of Objectivism, and putting them together so that the result will be what the philosophy actually is--not words or books, but a system of inductive principles, axioms, theorems, and deductive conclusions. I'm guessing that this will take quite a few years, and "Objectivism Through Induction" is just the starting point.

William Whewell's "History of the Inductive Sciences" -- a three volume work describing how various sciences rose up from their beginnings, a work from which Whewell built his theory of induction. My second "Big Project," as I plan to work through and understand the inductions he will present in this work. I can't wait!

Whewell's "The Elements of Morality, Including Polity" and "Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences" -- These two present Whewell's inductive moral-political theory, as well as his theory of induction, "Discoverer's Induction."

John Stuart Mill's theory of induction -- presented in his work "A System of Logic," this is the theory that gave induction a bad name in science, and ended the view that the true scientific method was some form of induction. I don't think anyone should endorse this view, but it is important in the history of induction.

Induction of Mathematics -- at some point, I want to work on inducing the branches of mathematics, with a view toward understanding why we have the fields of mathematics that we do have. What problems were these fields created to solve? "Big Project" #3.

Induction of Economics -- "Big Project" #4 is working through four schools of economics: the Classical, Marxist, English Historical, and Austrian schools.

Karl Popper and the Logical Positivists -- their negative view of induction permeated 20th century philosophy of science, and thus post-modern science was further disconnected from the inductive past of modern science.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Reduction of Objectivity (Ayn Rand)

[Previous post in the series: "Induction of Objectivity (Aristotle)"]

Now that we’ve reduced and induced Aristotle’s idea of “objectivity,” we can start the reduction of Rand’s concept of “objectivity,” which is an important advancement over his idea.

Let’s start with Ayn Rand’s definition, though presented in Leonard Peikoff’s words: “volitional adherence to reality by following certain rules of method, a method based on facts and appropriate to man’s form of cognition.”

The “rules of method” is Aristotelian logic, but there are important epistemological discoveries within Rand’s version of objectivity that we need to focus on. Aristotle wouldn’t have focused on man’s form of cognition as something worth analyzing in order to understand how we reach knowledge.

Whereas, for Ayn Rand, it wasn’t enough that our method is based on facts; our consciousness offers something in the acquisition of knowledge, concepts are partly human, and as a consequence, objectivity has to take this element into account. So, to reduce the idea of “a method based on facts and based on human consciousness,” we need to understand Rand’s theory of concept-formation, specifically why it is that concepts require both reality and human consciousness.

There’s some kind of element involved in forming concepts, and recognizing this element will allow us to learn something that is inherent in all concepts, to then form Rand’s theory of concept-formation, and after that we can amend Aristotle’s view of objectivity.

The next step down is: how did Rand reach her theory of concept-formation? What observations did she need to reach it?

There four elements of consciousness that we need to know before reaching her theory of concept-formation:

1. We need to know beforehand that consciousness has a specific identity, the principle that identity is the means to knowing reality, not the impediment.
2. The identity of concepts includes the fact that it does something with measurements, and this is the means by which concepts can surpass and rise above percepts.
3. An understanding of cognitive integration is necessary before we notice that aspect of the identity of concepts; we need some general awareness that integration plays a crucial role in gaining knowledge.
4. Of course, before we can put things into a sum, integrate them, we must be able to take things apart, go through a certain sequence, a series of steps. This leads to our earliest understanding that knowledge inherently has a certain kind of sequence—concept-formation involves a process of forming one concept, and then forming another based on the earlier one, etc. To understand integration, we need to reach the idea that there’s an order to knowledge.

And this is where we’ve reached the end of the reduction, since below “an order to knowledge” are specific items of knowledge that we later relate as being in a certain sequence or pattern, and these are available to introspection.

[Next post in the series: "Induction of Objectivity (Ayn Rand)"]

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Advances in Baconian Induction: John Herschel (Part 2 of 3)

(Previous post: Advances in Baconian Induction: John Herschel (Part 1 of 3) )

This essay will focus on the aspects of John Herschel’s Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy that discuss his ideas on causation and induction. Before presenting his rules of philosophizing, which amounts to his theory of how induction works, John Herschel discusses the characteristics of cause-and-effect.