Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nominally Yours


William of Ockham advocated nominalism. It's a variety of conceptualism known as terminism:

A universal is an intention of the mind. And the objects of science are statements, not things. Only the term has universality. Knowledge of things must be intuitive, and in understanding things you must not use more concepts than necessary. This is Ockham's Razor, which cuts off superfluous things. Also, the limitations of human reason implies that the principles of morality cannot be proven to be necessary. Both are matters of faith. (See his Commentary on the Books of Sentences)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Survival System

To have an sensible world-view through which I can act, predict and communicate to live even the most mundane life, I have to look at the world as somewhat stable and regular, with regular and predictable connections between different situations, And as a perceiver and communicator I have to be able to distinguish between different things in shared experience, to identify those items, and to generally refer to them and describing them.

Any perceptual judgment is inside this system and assumes it. In saying 'This is a table', I am implicitly claiming that here in my perceptual environment is a spatio-temoral continuant, with all that that implies, and that I have perceptual access to it.

I am explicitly claiming that this object is to be classified according to the everyday procedures for sorting objects based on my interest. And this would be impossible without assuming the system.

Monday, May 08, 2006


The truth-value of any statement depends on verifying or falsifying background beliefs of some kind. And yes, it is also true of the previous statement as well as the present one.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Usual Self-Contradiction

"Truth isn't merely truth with respect to some standpoint. Trying to explain truth-from-a-standpoint itself involves the notion of objective truth beyond all standpoints."

Alvin Plantinga

Friday, May 05, 2006


The nature of ideas is perhaps the central problem of philosophy.

Josiah Royce

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Sides of Understanding

"Anyone who knows only their own side of the case doesn't know much about it."

John Stuart Mill