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Old 03-02-2001, 12:44 AM   #1
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Post A Philosophy which might be useful for discussions of religion

Philosophical Problems: (1) The Concept of the Universe; (2) The Concept of The Source of Causality.

Here are some thoughts from my personal philosophy for thoughts/comments/discussion.

This “stuff” is from my website: www.bobkwebsite.com

I get cranky about either a lack of definitions or otherwise the use of ineffective definitions in various discussions of complex subjects/issues.

I suspect that people develop conflicts over many issues/subjects when they do not define effectively the terms/phrases they use.

In my personal philosophy I prefer to define terms/phrases by means of operational definitions.

Operational definitions are descriptions of the observations and measurements of people, things and events.

To create an operational definition, you simply list the term(s)/phrase(s) you want to define and the description of the observed/measured people/things/events who/which are relevant [included in the description].

By means of operational definitions abstract concepts/principles can be given concrete descriptions [of the relevant people/things/events].

Children often use sentence structures of “_____ [The term/phrase being defined operationally] is when ____ [The description of the observation/measurement of the relevant people/things/events].” Example: Love [term/phrase being defined operationally] is when someone says nice things to you and does nice things for you [description of the observations/measurements of the relevant people/things/events].

I believe that if we cannot define terms/phrases operationally, then we do not know what we are thinking about/talking about; but if we can define terms/phrases effectively by operational definitions, then we can begin the process of creating effective discussions that could lead to ultimate knowledge about any subject/issue. The necessity alone of operational definitions often causes individuals with foggy ideas that cannot be operationally defined to realize that they do not know what they are thinking about/talking about or/and that they are thinking about/talking about people/things/events who/which do not exist. On the other hand, often the requirement for operational definitions helps individuals focus upon logical relationships between/among people/things/events which can be observed/measured and that focus often helps them create the descriptions of the observations/measurements of people/things/events which make concrete/real many abstract concepts/principles.

I am therefore offering these ideas to see if they are useful to other human beings in various philosophical endeavors to determine truth.

Philosophy

Philosophy is defined as the love of knowledge.

A philosophy is an individual's set of concepts, principles and techniques he has developed from the learning resulting from the interaction of his desires with his environmental choices and, later, his mental choices for achieving his desires.

An individual's mind is his personal set of desires, fears and priorities.

An individual's mind as his personal set of desires/fears/priorities causes his behavior including his feelings [his reactions to realizations of his desires/fears/priorities], his personality [his desires/fears/priorities as revealed by his actions/reactions], his mental problems [his unrealistic/inappropriate desires/fears/priorities], and his mental health [his realistic/appropriate desires/fears/priorities].

A desire = Wanting a person, a thing, or an event. Evidence of a desire = approach behavior to a desired person/thing/event.

A fear = Not-wanting a person/thing/event. Evidence of a fear = avoidance behavior of a feared person/thing/event.

Desires and fears are interrelated by being opposites. Example: The desire to live is the interrelated opposite of the fear of dying.

A priority = The importance of a desire or a fear compared to all other desires and fears. Evidence of a priority = choosing to achieve one desire instead of any other desire/choosing to avoid one fear instead of any other fear.

The term "desire(s)" can be used to designate desires/fears/priorities for convenience.

A person is a person. [Actually, a person is a thing, but some people do not like to think of themselves as things, therefore we can give them their own special category of "people" to keep them happy.]

A thing is an object, a unity which retains its identify over a period of time. Examples: Jane, a ball, and Dick.

An event is a relationship between/among things which occurs over a specific period of time. Example: Jane throws the ball to Dick at Timepoint T1 and Dick catches the ball at Timepoint T2, at which Timepoint the event of Jane's throwing the ball to Dick is over; the event of Jane's throwing the ball to Dick is the relationship among Jane, the ball, and Dick occurring at Timepoints T1 to T2.

A concept is a mental representation [idea] of a thing.

A principle is a mental representation [idea] of an event.

A technique is a practical application of a principle. Example: Concept: Lifting Weights; Principle: Lifting weights increase muscle size and strength; Technique: To increase muscle size and strength, lift weights.

A true concept is an accurate mental representation of a thing; a false concept is an inaccurate representation of a thing.

A true principle is an accurate mental representation of an event [a relationship between/among things]; a false principle is an inaccurate mental representation an event [a relationship between/among things].

A true technique is a successful application of a principle; a false technique is an unsuccessful application of a principle.

All reality can be conceptualized as things and events [people/things/events for cranky people].

Natural phenomena = People/Things/Events.

To exist is to be real/actual in contrast to being the content [concept(s)/principle(s)/technique(s)] of an idea/mental representation.

The Concept of the Universe

If the universe is the location/arena/theatre/geography/space within which all things/events exist/happen, then there can be only one universe.

Physicists are fond of talking about "multiple universes" and "parallel universes" as if they believe that there could actually be more than one universe.

Physicists who claim that such multiple/parallel universe are real are forgetting Einstein's caution that “The mathematics must not get in the way of the physics,” which ultimately means that mathematics must describe/not dictate physics/reality.

If there are multiple/parallel universes, what, then, is the name of the location/arena/theatre/geography/space in which all these universes exist? Superuniverse?

It appears that common sense will tell us that there is indeed only one universe.

If so, then all things/events which are real in contrast to being the content of ideas/imagination would have to exist within the one universe, including gods/goddesses/demons/demonnesses/etc.

This would mean that there was no beginning and will be no ending to the universe. Gods et al did not cause it, nor could they destroy it.

The Concept of The Source of Causality

Causality is the description of the people/things/events who/which as causes cause/create other people/things/events as effects [who/which are effects].

Causality is the foundation of logic; causality requires the specification of the causes of effects--the description of the people/things/events who/which cause other people/things/events.

A causal explanation is the description of the causality of a person/thing/event.

Physicists have shown us that matter and energy cannot be destroyed, only changed in form. Einstein's E = mc2 shows that energy can be converted into matter and matter can be converted into energy. This equation has been verified by observations/measurements and in laboratory experiments.

The principle that matter/energy cannot be destroyed but can only be changed in form means that matter/energy is infinite in duration, never having been created/caused, never having an ending. Hence, no beginning and no end to matter/energy.

The quantity of matter/energy is shown by physicists to be finite. That means there is a finite number which is the sum total of matter and energy in the universe.

If instead of a first cause there is a source of causality, then within the universe it would have to be matter/energy.

Being infinite/eternal, never having a beginning and having no end, there was never a first cause, a first action from which all other actions progressed, but, instead, there has been the source of causality. Thus, no infinite regression to a first cause, but a regression from things/events as effects back to the matter/energy which is the source of causality and which therefore is the cause of the present things/events.

Without realizing it, people have actually been searching for the source of causality instead of the first cause. The concept of a first cause is an absurdity because of the necessity to answer this begged question: Who/what caused the first cause?

If, however, we focus upon an unbegun and unending process of causality, then we can conceive of the concept of the source of causality, and it becomes perceivable as the matter/energy of which all things/events in the universe are comprised, even the gods et al, if they exist.

With the concept of the source of causality and the principle that the source of causality is the matter/energy of which all people/things/events are comprised, we can see that there is no necessity for gods et al to have created/caused or otherwise be the first cause.

With the concept of the universe and the principle that the universe is the location/arena/theatre/geography/space within which all people/things/events exist/happen [including gods et al, if they exist], we can see that there is no necessity for gods et al to have caused/created the universe. We can also see that the gods et al, if they exist, are comprised of matter/energy of some kind [even if it is a different matter/energy from that of which we are no aware] and are thus natural things/events and subject to the natural relationships among the things/events of reality [scientific or natural laws of the universe/matter/energy].

With the concept of one universe and its related principle that all things/events who/which are real exist in one location/arena/theatre/geography/space to which we might as well give the name "universe," and the concept of the source of causality and the principle that all causes have one source, the matter/energy of the universe, then we can begin to create a philosophy [a set of concepts/principles/techniques] which can and will help us all understand reality/by which we can/will understand reality.
 
 

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