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principles
"that from which is the bases"

By definition Webster defines "Principle" as: 1. a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine or assumption.
2. as a primary source an origin, an underlining faculty or endowment. 3. the laws or facts of nature.

Philosophy: a first principle is a basic, foundational proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption

Mathematics: first principles are expressed as axioms or postulates.

The concept of Reality reveals that principles are fundamental, underlying, significant, and the primary source in which rests the laws of nature and from which provides the base for the shaping of nature.

Characteristic features:

1. Principles are the bases upon which reality springs forth.
2. Principles are immaterial and can not be perceived by human sense.
3. Principles can only be known intuitively through experience.
4. Principles are accepted as true through human experience.
5. Principles are used as the bases of reasoning or conduct.
6. Principles can Not be known directly for what they are, but only through their effects.
7. Principles are Agents of Causality. A principle of an effect is the cause that produces the effect. (Aristotle thought: "every thing that moves is moved by another"). An agent, mover can be extrinsic (external) or intrinsic (internal), such are the principles of being,

A. Principle as a Cause:

a. Principle as an Efficient Cause: a cause capable to produce a necessary effect providing the necessary and sufficient conditions prevail.

b. Principle as a Final Cause: as an end, goal or result, demands the necessity of conceiving the objective and the action required to achieve.

 

B. Principle as a Law:

a. Principle as a Scientific Law: laws of Physical, Chemical, Biological, Statistical systems and Nature. All these laws can be proven with the exception of the laws of Nature which can Not be proven explicitly. However, all can be observed in their effect and may be measured and quantified ( see 6. above).

b. Principle as a Moral Law: moral laws are represented by a set of values which orient, rule and judge the conduct of society. It establishes individual conduct as dictated by accepted cultural norms.

c. Principle as Juridic Law: juridic laws are represented by a set of values that organizes the life of society requiring the submission to authoritative powers, generally of State. Juridic law conditions the actions and limits the freedom of individuals.

 

C. Principle as an Axiom: "Laws of Thought"

(Axiom is a proposition that can Not be proven or disproved, whose truth is accepted to be self-evident)

The three (3) classic laws of - Identity, Non-Contradiction, Excluded Middle, are contributed to Aristotle and are considered to be the foundation of scholastic logic.

Gottfried Leibniz formulated two additional principles - Sufficient Reason, Identify of Indiscernibles (two or more entities are identical -- one and the same entity, if they all have their properties in common).

a. Principle of Sufficient Reason: (based upon intelligibility of a being). The intelligibility (ability to be known) of a thing, an entity, lies in the identity of the being by its properties, that it "is" (exists) in some form. The intelligible of its attributes, is known as the reason or fundament (substructure) of being. Ontologically (metaphysical study of the nature of being), "Every being has enough reason (has enough attribute), by which its identity can be known". Lacking this reason (attributes) its identity is lost and therefore, without identity of reason can only be known as a non-being.

b. Principle of Identity: a being is what it "is"(exists in its own existence), is in itself. Analytically: "A=A". Grammatically: there lies equivalence between the subject and predicate. So the sentence ""the being is the being" expresses the identity possessed.

c. Principle of Non-Con tradition: a thing can "Not Be"(not exist) and "Be" (exist) at the same time under the same conditions. A thing either "is" or "is not", i.e., either you are sitting or you are not (if sitting you can not be standing or prone).

d. Principle of Excluded Middle (also known as principle of excluded third): with any proposition, either the "proposition is true", or its "negation is true". Aristotle stated of the two contradictory propositions: "where one proposition is the negation of the other, one must be true, and the other false".

TERMS:

IDENTITY -- the sameness, oneness of a thing with itself.

It can be said that a thing is identical with itself when it is the same at two points of time, or under several considerations.

Absolute: Identity is "absolute" when all properties, attributes, characteristics, traits, etc., are the same.

Partial: Identity is "partial", limited, qualified if some attributes, characteristics, traits, etc., are the same and some are not.

Examples of several types limited identity:

Numerical -- Numerical unity is the basic sameness of one in the same entity with various minor changes, (numerical, "personal", identity of one and the same person throughout a person’s life) --entities properties, Form (structure) and Existence are the same, attributes change.

Specific -- Specific identity when two things belong to exactly the same kind of reality (geometry - identical triangles -- the properties Form is the same, Existence is not).

Material -- Material or real identity, considered in several ways;

                1. John Smith -- father of the family
                2. John Smith -- wife of Mary Smith
                3. John Smith – business man
(John's properties are the same, his attributes modified).

 

DISTINCTION – a lack of identity.

Distinction always implies plurality and division in some manner. Whenever there is a distinction, there must be more than one thing, or part, or aspect.

Distinction -- two types:

                Real -- wherever there is a distinction there are several things, parts, elements,etc., independently of any act of the mind. Real Identity and real distinction are opposed as contradictory's: that is, a real identity denies a real distinction and vice versa. A common sign of a real distinction is "separability", wherever two things or parts can be separated, such that one can exist without the other, those things, or parts are really distinct. But not every real distinction implies separability of those things or parts that are really distinct. When distinction is between complete things, or beings, there is a real major distinction. When distinction is between the parts, elements, principles of a thing, we call it a real minor distinction, such as the distinction between a man's hand and his foot, or the distinction between his color and his shape.

                Reason -- distinction of reason is not a distinction within the thing itself, but rather the lack of identity between two ways of understanding one and the same thing, example: distinction of reason can be found in the definition of -- "rational animal". The essential definition defines man as composed of two parts. What we understand when we say “animal” is different from what we understand when we say “rational”. However, the thing we understand in these two incomplete ways is one and the same. When at least one of the two concepts, (between which there is a distinction of reason), does not imply the other, the distinction of reason is a major one. For example,“rational” does not imply “animal”, nor does “animal” imply “rational”. This is clear from the inspection of these two concepts, for we all understand the fact that there are animals which are not rational. On the other hand, when both concepts imply each other, we speak of a minor distinction of reason.

 

DIFFERENCE -- difference can mean the same as distinction in some of its use, but often difference is used to express the reason for a distinction.

The term distinction will more commonly be used to indicate that one thing, part, or element, is not another, that is, “difference”  indicates the way in which things differ or sometimes, that by which things differ.

Numerical Difference – In material reality numerical difference is found between two entities belonging to the same species or kind, for example, there is a numerical difference between Tom and Jerry, between two dogs or two cats, two trees, two chairs.

Essential Difference – essential difference is the difference between two things which, in addition to being numerically different, also are of different kinds of species, a human, a star, an atom.

In metaphysics and philosophy of nature we do not work with arbitrary classifications. Rather, we try to determine as accurately as possible what things are according to their intrinsic constituents. When the constituents of one thing are different from those of another, the things differ essentially.

Example: Humans recognize many things upon first sight. However, they cannot simply look at a thing and know immediately what it is essentially. Its essence is learned through the process of experience, i.e. the status of a biological thing (alive, sleeping or dead) is apparent by it “act”. We learn the essence or specific nature of a thing from its activities or operations. Two things are discovered to be essentially different if one of them has some operations which the other does not have at all. Thus, living things have activities (nutrition, growth, reproduction) which other material things do not have. Hence, living things are essentially different from non-living things.

 

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