Common Sense Ideas, CSI
This book has six seemingly unrelated chapters. My general purpose is to demonstrate the utility of common sense causation which is subservient to my second, and far more important, goal is to reflect upon the future of individuals and of the human culture. Chapter I connects all six chapters; beginning with common sense causation, applying 'conditional logic.' Should philosophy be only a scholarly exercise? Should the sole purpose of causation be the development of mind? Or, should logic and wisdom be instrumental in producing ideas with practical utility as well? The overall purpose of this book is to present a philosophy which yields fruitful applications in philosophy and in the real and in the social sciences. A side issue is the style and language of this book.
More than 300-years ago, John Locke attacked "frivolous use of uncouth, affected, or unintelligible terms" and "Vague and insignificant forms of speech, and abuse of language" which "covers the ignorance, and hindrance of true knowledge." About 100-years later, Emmanuel Kant wrote exclusively for scholars. In the Preface of his famous ` Critique of Pure Reason ' he wrote, " This work can never satisfy the popular taste... " No simple explanation is necessary for... the few who know... ," by whom he meant the educated elite, who “do not require...help. " I attempt to follow John Locke's views in presenting my ideas. Readers familiar with philosophy need no explanation about idealistic theories of `absolute truth', `a priori knowledge', and `innate ideas' (abstractions such as numbers, geometry, God, etc). Since Plato, (470 B.C.) idealists believed that people are born with such innate ideas. I don't speculate about what is in the mind, but demonstrate (in Chapter II) that even educated, adult; observers need refer to the material environment to express their ideas and knowledge.
Can thousands of years of accumulated wisdom be extended with something new? The answer is that previous logic neglects human 'conduct,' the role of the agent of causation; the thinking, asserting, manipulating, imperfect human being. How can such imperfection discover perfect, absolutely pure, and eternal truth? It cannot; the notion of absolute truth is just an ideal. Even if absolute truth was found in some specific instance we wouldn't be able to discriminate it from common or scientific knowledge.
In Chapter I, COMMON SENSE CAUSATION, I sharply discriminate `absolute truth' from factual `knowledge'. For reason of applicability, the first chapter, ` Conditional Logic ', presents a new method of causation. This new method asserts the ` conditional ' nature of truth. Impersonal cause- and-effect reasoning is extended by the role of the reasoner's conduct. The analysis of natural phenomena is influenced by humanly created 'conditions,' that includes human 'conduct,' it is logical analysis of all objects and subjects, that concludes in arriving at their 'consequences.' Consequently, truth is conditional upon conditions and conduct, thus not absolute. I define logic as coherent and consistent reasoning that can make valid connections between concrete manifestations of nature, including life, and human conduct. Logic can also derive specific consequences of (sometimes far-fetched) abstractions of the human intellect. The entire process of causation involves human conduct. Logic cannot verify itself, only the consequences of logic can prove their conditional validity—conditional truth—including my own theories. The arguments against the ideal of absolute truth should not be seen as an argument against the utility and reality of human knowledge. Common knowledge has been helping humans in everyday life, and scientific knowledge has been advancing human culture. Although not absolutely true, but whatever is learned under specific conditions and conduct has had factual, demonstrable, repeatable, consequences. For these reasons, the ideal of absolute truth is sharply discriminated from factual ` human knowledge '.
The notion of conditionality of truth is not a pessimistic view such as Hume's skepticism. Conditional truths are always giving us positive knowledge. One can imagine that humanly discovered truth has a spectrum. At the two unreachable ends of the spectrum lie the ideals of absolute truth, and at the negative end is absolute falsity. In between these extremes lie instances of verified and falsified findings of specific of truths. According to Karl Popper's theory, a single instance of falsification destroys truth verified under numerous conditions. Popper was still after the ideal of truth. Whereas scientific verification and falsification are the consequences of the same empirical methods, therefore, each positively contributes to human knowledge. The first application of Conditional Logic is presented in
Chapter II, ON REALITY. The reality of everyday sense experiences and scientific proofs are seen as being factual. Human knowledge reveals reality that for all practical purpose is very real, factual, and appears absolutely true to us. On closer examination, even some scientifically verified facts turn out to be true only under given circumstances.
Chapter III, ON PHYSICS, the conditional nature of truth, the evolution of scientific knowledge is illustrated. The part, On Reality presents a series of thought-experiments. The purpose of these experiments is to demonstrate the claims of Common Sense Causation, namely, that the origin and the extent of private 'understanding' of 'observers' of these experiments (the readers) becomes communal knowledge with respect to the scenarios presented.
The intent of these experiments is to demonstrate that even educated human beings are unable to express their ideas unless they can refer to something real, something directly sensible or demonstrable through scientific means. There is no need to speculate about what is in the mind at birth or later; innate, a priori, or learnt knowledge. Instead, the thought-experiment relies upon educated observers who speak different languages, therefore, initially, they cannot express their ideas that are already in their minds. Their task is to develop a meaningful common language and shared knowledge, by observing simple to increasingly complex empirical scenarios. These thought-experiments begin with a universe of void. Gradually, through increasingly expounded static scenarios, the ideas of space and other abstract concepts such as quantity, quality, numbers, find communal expression by the observers. Thus commonly observed material referents (conditions) become the sources of shared knowledge and meaningful language. The scenarios reveal the fundamental role of common sense through the observation of physical reality, first, in the development of private understanding, then the development of common and scientific knowledge and language. Subsequently, a series of dynamic scenarios are presented. The goal is to visualize thought-scenarios and select one that has some resemblance to the real universe of ceaseless, spontaneous changes.
Aristotle's concept regarding the indivisibility of matter and form that he saw as the 'primary essence,' the unity of matter and form. The final model of the thought-experiment consists of innumerable, indivisible, massless primary matter particles, moving randomly and ceaselessly with extreme speed, colliding and recoiling, sometimes creating clusters in relative rest. This final scenario yields to a clear, materialistic concept of the abstract nature of space and time, relative rest, and the problems associated with the creation of standards regarding the measurements of distance and speed. The thought-experiments demonstrate the role of common sense in the recognition of given physical conditions, the development of individual understanding which finds expression as shared knowledge through language. The thought experiments demonstrate that the idealistic presumption of 'a priori knowledge' and 'innate ideas' by themselves do not enable human beings to express those notions without reliance upon empirical knowledge. The presence of the outside material world and common sense are necessary conditions for the expression of ideas - regardless whatever dwells in the minds of human beings. In addition to the philosophical thoughts about mind and matter, hopefully, the analysis also offers new insights into the development of scientific knowledge; the essence of matter in its `primary' form, motion, and relative rest.
Chapter III, QUANTUM GEOMETRY was conceived to demonstrate the conditional nature of pure sciences. My thoughts about developing a discrete geometry indicated that a logical superstructure, based upon an arbitrarily chosen discrete unit, may demonstrate my assertion. Simple drawings make the presentation easily understandable. The founding unit of this new Quantum Geometry (Q- geometry) is defined as an arbitrarily small indivisible sphere. This discrete unit is referred to as a ’Quantum’. This foundation is an entirely different definition in comparison with the founding premises, postulates, axioms, and definitions, of all other known geometries. My main intent is the philosophical discussion of logic that takes off from freely chosen founding conditions. For this reason, the discussion compares the seemingly self-evident founding postulates and definitions of Euclid with Q-geometry. Euclidean and other known infinitesimal geometries are based upon the notion of continuum and infinite divisibility as opposed to the discrete nature of quantum geometry. This chapter invalidates the purity of formal logic; stated in symbolic form such as 'if P then Q'. Symbolic assertions are abstractions and as such have no factual meaning by themselves. A simple application of the 'Laws of Thought,' in quantum geometry results in paradoxes.
The application of these Laws to specific figures demonstrate symbolic expressions are self-referential and when applied to factual situations, they era true only conditionally. In specific applications the laws of logic can be paradoxical. Even in its philosophical introduction and elementary development, Q-geometry proves three things. First, that logical derivations and rules can be derived from an arbitrarily chosen foundation. Second, Quantum Geometry shows that its proofs and their truths are self-referential. Third, the formal sciences can be paradoxical in certain applications. Consequently, the idea of absolute truth and the phrase, `pure science' are idealized notions. Quantum Geometry may find some application in the theoretical and applied sciences, for example, in atom physics, in the theories of crystals, in the studies of single-membrane and other surfaces, and in astronomy. Theoretically, the most significant consequent of Q-geometry is that straightness can be defined more rigorously than in other known geometries.
Chapter IV, ON PHYSICS, was written to demonstrate that the laws of physics are also conditional. The word `law' invokes the notion of eternal, fixed, unchangeable, absolute knowledge. The history of physics, one of the most factual of all sciences, demonstrates otherwise; the laws of physics have changed from time to time, and are still evolving.
How are theories and laws of physics created? This chapter describes the processes of discovery, the interpretation of observations - many times upon the reliance of a simplified model - followed by the creation of a theory, and finally, summarizing the theory in verbal and mathematical law or laws. In spite of the conditionality of truth, and continuous refinements of human understanding of nature, new laws have always enlarged the body of scientific knowledge, even though previous laws have been found not to be eternal. In fact, science and technology have produced tremendous factual achievements. They have greatly contributed to the evolution of human culture through discoveries, theories, laws, practical devices, and systems.
It would be foolish to consider the present state of knowledge complete and permanent. There are many open chapters in physics and conflicting interpretations of physical events and laws. I considered, therefore, educational to briefly review the changes in the laws of reflection, refraction, heat, entropy, electro-magnetism, the ether, atomic, and quantum theories and their associated models over the years. They all have had - and many of them still have - several interpretations, and have eventually been either modified or discarded entirely. Why is so much about truth, why discriminate it sharply from knowledge? During the early decades of this century the `positivist' school of philosophers developed a theory that assertions of truth can be proven scientifically by physical experiments. Karl Popper's theory of falsification has, seemingly, defeated the theory of verification. My concept sharply discriminates knowledge from the ideal of absolute truth is eloquently demonstrated by the physical sciences.
Both verification and falsification are obtained by the same process; scientific method of demonstration, therefore, both extend human knowledge. The overview of physics shows that the laws governing the universe could well be eternal, but scientific knowledge is only human. As for truth, in an absolute sense, is just an academic issue of idealism. Some of my conjectures are also presented in the last section On Physics. Accordingly, so far undetected, indivisible, massless, ` primordial matter ' particles race randomly and interact with one another throughout the void of space. These energetic particles can became mass-bearing in certain infrequent configurations and intervals. They are supposed to account for the four known forces of nature and energy. These conjectures may contribute to the creation of a long sought `Grand Unification Theory .
Chapter V, ON LIFE and Chapter VI, On Society are considered to be more important than any other topic in this book. My research indicates that the fate of individuals and the future of humanity depend upon common sense rationality in the conduct of human affairs. What is the reason for this view?
In the present condition, the human culture is in the state of ` opposite potentials '. The positive potential could be realized if the presently available resources of humanity were utilized more rationally than they presently are. The negative holds the danger of global destruction of modern civilization and mass murder of billions of people. My ideal is to find and present a theory and methods which could eliminate the likelihood of self-destruction, create general well-being and peaceful worldwide coexistence. On Life begins with the analysis of the 'fundamental impositions' of nature upon all living species, including human beings. When the 'fundamental needs' are not satisfied then life ceases to exist. The satisfaction of the fundamental needs, therefore, becomes the minimum standard of 'survival morality.' In addition to the fundamental impositions, nature and society have their 'basic impositions'. The most important imposition is the sexual drive, which secures the survival of the race. But life in modern society cannot be sustained either unless both fundamental and 'basic needs' are satisfied. The analysis of these, collectively referred to as 'primary needs.' The struggle for the primary needs of life and ` tertiary wants ' for extra benefits are characterized by human 'drives.' The analysis of primary needs, tertiary wants and drives, have lead to new concepts of social morality. Several questions were posed: Are people equal? Does everybody have equal chances in society? Should freedom find expression by hurting the freedom of others? Contemporary societal conduct clearly indicates the need for improvements. For this reason, the relativity of moral judgments, societal standards, and the influence of politics, trade unions, and organized churches, are examined. The analysis provides new ideas for the creation of a more rational and more humane culture than the present one.
The examination of the liberal concepts of freedom indicates the need for a more rational limitation of individual liberties then presently exist. The transformation of confrontational societies into cooperative ones requires the implementation of the principle of survival morality. Several means are presented to reach that end.
Chapter VI, ON SOCIETY, attempts to arrive at a theory and some practical means which could transform the presently confrontational societies into a cooperative culture. Although, social standards have been greatly improved in democratic countries, compared with non-democratic regimes, but democracies are not free of several paradoxical aspects of politics. It is irrational to live amid of plenty while a minority is in need of the fundamental and basic requirements of life. Wouldn't it be more rational to progress toward peaceful and well-provided coexistence, rather than living in a state of opposite potentials? The answers to these questions must be positive. In order to see clearly the causes of the negative conditions of modern society, the analysis begins with ancient conditions. The contrast becomes clear immediately. Members within tribal cultures lived cooperatively with one another. Leaders emerged spontaneously by merit. Cooperation was mutual interest for the sake of survival.
My ‘Theory of Groups’ reasons why basically cooperative human beings, driven by the ‘grouping imperative’ for survival, have evolved into differentiated confrontational societies. ‘Class analysis' of society was rejected because it is too broad and incapable to uncover the real causes of the irrational paradoxes of modern culture. Group analysis has far more penetrating power into human affairs; it can uncover the causes that have been transforming the modes of societal coexistence from tribal to modern cultures. Today, innumerable groups exist within national groups. The once completely self-reliant, self-supporting, lone, human ancestor evolved and has become a completely interrelated and interreliant creature. In spite of this general cooperative tendency, the activity of groups within nations and in between national groups is grossly self-centered. The confrontational nature of modern culture can be traced back to the dominance of special interests of groups.
The great masses of the people coexist peacefully, live side-by-side in large communities, work cooperative in factories, and in general, individuals are reliant upon others in the sustenance of their lives. The confrontational nature of culture is traced to the political nature of social coexistence. Within seemingly united national groups, countless special interest protecting and promoting groups exist. The most powerful ones dominate and ultimately govern. The common character of organized groups can be defined: ` groups are representatives of special interests '. The most influential groups are the political parties. Can the representatives of special interests govern in the interest of the people? Can they govern in such manner that the primary needs and rights of each member of society are protected? They cannot; primarily, political groups advance and protect their own interests. The interest of all of the people is, at best, is secondary. Even in democratic countries, the role and the activities of political parties are the most controversial among all other groups. Their openly advocated role is to be the representatives of all of the people, or at least, they are supposed to represent the majority. In fact, their primary role is the representation of econo-political interests, who put them into the seats of power.
Other groups promote their cause with reliance upon their own skills and resources, but political parties have multiple powers beside governance, they are in a privileged position to support their own concerns. Politicians are also the lawmakers, and thereby, set the rules of conduct for all other groups and individuals in a country. No other groups can govern a country and claim to represent the primary interest of all of the people and, at the same time, be the representatives of their self-interests. The most undesirable consequence of political governance is its confrontational nature. Politics by its very nature is confrontational. Decision making is influenced by monies, paid lobbyists, bribery, and other underhanded methods and power.
These are typical features of politics, regardless of doctrines and color. Is this a neutral, rational way to govern? The answers are clear: political governance is neither neutral, nor is a rational form of governance. A good form of government must represent the ` primary needs and common interests of all of the people '. On Society presents a theory of neutral and more rational 'apolitical' form of governance; a more democratic and humane then present democracies are. This is the 'survival interest' of all of the people, even of those who are responsible for the paradoxes of our culture.