Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Axiom, part II

[Author’s note: this is the eighth in a series on the process of reason and rational thought].

Everyone has a worldview, and the foundation at the base of the worldview is axiomatic. In other words, you have axioms upon which you base your view of the world.

Try to find your own axioms before we continue. Here's a clue: the axioms at the foundation of your view of the world include sources for truth (epistemology); sources for existence (ontology); sources for origins; sources for destiny (teleology); and sources for meaning. There are lots of axioms besides these of course, but these are fundamental and are interrelated.

If you have examined your thought process, you probably already know what your axioms are.


Fred said...

Hello Stan,

I'm having trouble with what you mean by 'sources' in this case.

Can you give some examples of what kinds of things might be considered sources for truth, existence, origins, etc?


Stan said...

Here's one example. The axioms that are called the First Principles are determined by observing the universe and how it is constructed and responds to stresses. For example, it can be observed that no physical object can simultaneously exist and not exist at the same time. Now our observations are very limited; but one can then ask, "how the universe look / behave if this principle is not valid?" If a principle is valid, its inverse will not be valid, so testing the inverse is a way to check.

If one takes this to be a valid principle based on observations and conclusions of non-validity of the obverse, or negation of the principle, then it is justifiable to hold a belief in the principle without further proof.

This is also called "validation upon inspection"; it is an intuition of the validity of a principle which can be used as an axiom.

The sources here are observation and an internal coherence check.