Updated on 21 December, 2016
My name is Peter Rugh and I have chosen to present this blog (and a vlog) for the sake of simplifying philosophy (reasoned belief) by virtue of contrasting ideology (unreasoned belief). This distinction is important, because its discipline is important, and its discipline is founded on logical necessity that evolves. Some may not appreciate what this means, for spite of language (and for whatever reason) that otherwise demands their acceptance of language. Language is apprehended just like any wrongdoing criminal for the analyst, like myself, because it may be logically meaningful or else rhetorically imitated, and this is not always easy to detect (although is demanded by nearly everyone one to be so easy to detect). I don’t believe I need a rhetorical introduction to everything. I don’t need pragmatism. I don’t need instrumentalism. These habits of intellectual culture, I believe, have failed logic as well as ethics, clearly due to a belief that any tradition is “old fashioned.” I am going to present the context, for what purpose is satisfied here at this website, and in as few but necessarily meaningful words as possible, mindful that the reader may be a new or used reader of philosophy.
Philosophy is an honestly serious, benevolent love of wisdom, which has a well known history and a lesser known geography. Those who learn philosophy, either from personal or literary exposure, do so because language is an attractive instrument for intellectual people who live and cooperate together. Logical necessity (rationality) guides everything they do together, not as an chauvinist master of things and activities, but as a mutual principle of shared, reciprocal understanding. If something goes wrong, something must correct error, all in a manner that is pleasant satisfactory, without so much coercion that more errors must be committed. Honesty is reciprocated and understood as a mutually sustained process of reasoning among people, usually for well known purposes of organization (e.g., marriage, raising a family, sending children to school in a culturally diverse community, training to be part of a profession of lawyers, engineers, doctors, soldiers, or acquiring marketable skills in the manufacture, service, and recycling of goods). Honesty is what people expect, and this is universal despite all the profundity to the contrary that suggests honesty is impossible, bullshit, or otherwise worth the effort of denial and rejection.
Honesty is worth its effort and philosophy is its own reward.
My illustrations orient or systematize my philosophy toward an understanding of the history and geography of science, bifurcated as either natural or artificial (or “social”), and as related to several systems of philosophy. Science is honest, and seeks ever greater honest precision in life, but in spite of the expense of its techniques, some inhibited for good reason (like bad science) and some resisted for lack of honesty (pseudoscience), science is not an end product as most non-scientists believe. Science develops knowledge, requiring participation in order to do so, too. This will be made clearer in forthcoming illustrations, but for the sake of elaborating otherwise undefined, unexplained, and thus uninformative illustrations, so far, I wanted to show what exactly is my problem and how I solve it.
My problem is idealist relativism (also known as racism, sexism, nationalism, ageism, or any segregation of any process of humanity, e.g., knowledge, based on these or other discriminatory traits) that results in either or both fatalism (denial or rejection of freewill) and pragmatism (denial or rejection of rationality and its consequences). Some people accept their own freewill but deny or reject that other people possess freewill. Some people accept that they are themselves rational, proven by their library of books (nevermind if its fact or fiction) but deny that other people are rational (which I find characteristic of “mansplaining” pragmatism, e.g., “I know you better than you do, yourself”). People don’t own people, but the kneejerk mansplainer will immediately respond, “sure we do.” How much effort should be expended to show how stupid such a response is? What does it take, an admission that people own slaves (which is illegal, everywhere) and therefore alienate slaves as people, too? Logical necessity does not dictate physical necessity, but the language used to describe it may appear to do so.
Logical necessity does not dictate physical necessity
Knowledge (or claim of knowledge) of facts apparently subjugates anything that could be claimed of value, e.g., that humans never pretend to own people, even if it is not illegal in their premodern state of capitalist laws. This is a severe problem that religion has never solved (the problem of slavery), and science has yet to do so. How, one is likely to ask, does a diehard belief in capitalism make such bold contradictions about its rival competitors (e.g., socialism as slavery) and sustain such a stadium wide celebratory popularity that makes Roman outpost coliseums look like brutal ancient dungeons? Humans persist to find ways of managing other people without slavery, but with language abuse clearly acceptable to people who basically continue to treat people as slaves, denying them freewill and rationality. Presently, they are identified as nationalists, believers in competitive international anarchy, allegedly because universals don’t exist and the only things that exist are minds and ideas.
My solution is realist (regarding meaningful language) and universalist (regarding metaphysical epistemology, with consequences for moral epistemology). It’s going to take a lot of time to show, and the reader may have questions that I can answer (especially regarding my claims to know the meaning of words, or claims of knowledge) or have questions that reading other philosophers may answer. That’s fine, so long as idealist, pragmatist, instrumentalist, relativism doesn’t expect me to lead it, even with insinuating insults, e.g., calling me “chicken,” or “postmodern.” If you think it’s impossible for smart mature people to behave the same as densely populated immature people, maybe you should give such pragmatism its due analysis, once and for all to see? Pragmatism is such a rigorous play of words that it denies rationality and cannot accept conclusive logical necessity. Any consequences pragmatism obtains from its predictions may be rejected or denied, accepted or affirmed, with no greater discipline than a “buyer beware” ideology of horribly ambiguous language. Don’t you know what pragmatism is? No? Neither do pragmatists, which is mysterious but nevertheless uninteresting.
Anti-pragmatism (or universalist objectivity, universalism for short)
Pragmatism is alleged to aspire toward a “best explanation,” presumably by obtaining information of consequences from its “fallible” predictions (perhaps, just in case esteemed science results in lackadaisical techniques, or investors make mistakes with taxpayer funding). Yes, pragmatism (the foundation of statistics) is mysterious, because its advocates are wildly derogatory toward rationality and logical necessity.
My background in science (both academically theoretical and laboratory practical) is in the field of geology, ecology, and climate science and computer science (information systems). I have no background in religion, and I do not argue for any, as religion (ideology) is less coherent and reliable to me than science (philosophy), and I make no great emphasis on either at all, except to show the difference between philosophy (reasoned belief) and ideology (unreasoned belief).
My illustrations require that a reader do some work of using a good dictionary and applying high quality logical evaluation, with the presumption that the reader is capable of high quality logical evaluation as well. If a word’s meaning is unknown, thus, a reader can use the dictionary resource to found it. If the logic of what I present is unknown, however, and the reader assumes no logic is provided (when, in fact, it is), then the reader is not applying logical evaluation correctly. So, complain as one may that logic is not necessary, especially when placing information in context, e.g., in chronological order or geographic location, these factors are not entirely subjective or lacking existence beyond one’s own mind.
Logical Necessity and Physical Necessity
Logical necessity (true conclusions, i.e., rational knowledge) follows from premises (stated or thought) where meaningfully recognizable terms (realism) sustain meaningfully recognizable synthesis of knowledge (developed consciousness or awareness). Rational knowledge has the bulk of analysis performed by humans, with a history at least as long as two millennia, since Plato; whereas rivaling “empirical” knowledge has about two centuries of analysis with ever more pervasive development, since the socalled “Age of Enlightenment.” In other words, Enlightenment conveys a peak of rational thought where it is known to be autonomous and may be equally meaningfully articulated as such, i.e., human freewill is a fact. A problem remains nevertheless for any freewill about how to accommodate physical necessity,and this is the problem of both determinism (limitation of freewill) and fatalism (denial of freewill).
Physical necessity (“laws of nature” or determinism) follows perforce natural causality, consisting of astrochemical, geochemical and biochemical processes of matter and energy (i.e., chemistry is the background context of physics, and physics is the background context of presumably everything). Gravity, for example, is a physical necessity. Strong and weak forces are physical necessities. These deterministic physical necessities includes human freewill (socalled “indeterminism”), and humans are believed morally responsible for their understanding of physical necessity. It’s as though logical necessity were inferior to physical necessity, but that is high quality nonsense to believe so, since physical necessity requires logical necessity. Rather than being an alternative to fatalism (denial of freewill), indeterminism is a denial of rationality (logical necessity), which merely makes paradox of things (denying physical necessity) for lack and resistance to better language (which pragmatism seeks and fails to delivery).
For the simple purpose of sustaining recognizable reasoning, it’s important to not confuse philosophy (reasoned belief) with ideology (unreasoned belief). Objectivity is necessarily universal (applicable to all perception or conception of extant reality), where everyone, regardless of their subjective traits and values, must perceive the same reality, e.g., these words are not any other words. While intended to describe reality in virtue of its independence from subjective traits and values, objectivity is believed to be impossible simply due to the condition of possible error (which is now the hallmark trait of any intellectual hipster who believes one’s self to have an answer, but have no argument, that doesn’t require logical necessity). Universal objectivity must be relied upon as a given condition in virtue of mutually meaningful language recognition (a principle of social science), which is entertained as inferior to the crass ideological bully hardship of knuckles rather than brains for brains (e.g., military equipped police at a flower festival).
In other words, while you may have been mistaken as an alien, every human on Earth should recognize you as another human. Nevertheless, for spite of universal objectivity (because it is not idealistic, egoistic, or relativist), skepticism (regarding objectivity) persists. Conflating facts and values, another example of knowledge measured against its usefulness, frustrates rather than clarifies science, which is not only inhibited by a historical legacy of contrast with religion and its authority, but also confused by metaphysics (or language that is decidedly “metaphysical,” rather than logical) intended to resist scientific problems.
At this point, there should be no unbearable stress for failure to identify the common resistance to philosophy, anti-intellectual and immoral though it may be, for not only denying rationality (as pragmatists do) but also denying freewill (as fatalists do). The reader may have identified it, but lack motivation forward. Keep moving forward! The solution for realism is to correctly identify the problem, recognize its contradictions, and not simply discover its errors but correct them as well. The solution for pragmatists and fatalists is to let others decide what qualifies as logically necessary or not, by attending ceremonial processes of worship on a reliably habit forming basis of fatalist pragmatism. If your first teen years did not bore you to sleep for all that, I don’t know what more time it should take. Rather than teach you logic in highschool, when you most need it to fend off bullies and their lethargia, logic is considered an option throughout ones life, even for medical doctors.
The very short history of boredom rescued by centuries of idolization
Religion (ideology) apparently inspired universalism to solve polytheistic problems (to unite all the religions), but practiced totalitarian relativism (to oppose any new religion), in so far as possible, and consistently throughout human intellectual (and therefore moral) history. Go ahead, challenge yourself to this burden of proof religions require. The alternative (which is never simply an improved conservatism, but a rather a developing fascism) for religious advocates, ideologues and participants, is not a different religion, but no religion. Religious idealism is hard to miss in human history, and so what? Well, for one thing, not only sustaining fatalist denial of freewill actually demands a defense that freewill cannot provide.
The evolution of human moral history consists of developments in both science and language. There is absolutely no record of religious change accept the abduction of advanced political processes for the sake of sustaining apolitical relativist idealism. Religion wouldn’t require converts were the effort to recognize fact as easy as seeing, or reading, but such objectivity is considered an instrument of something both unintelligible and beyond human moral autonomy to recognize. So, indeed, religion receives an appropriate severity of criticism that science doesn’t reserve for itself, as religions reserve themselves for the benefit of followers and ideologues.
So, why not write out a philosophical system, rather than illustrate it?
Well, both must be done, in order to satisfy my needs. A few details about my philosophy should precede any new or used reader of philosophy, which I will try to articulate throughout my further development of this website:
1. philosophy is a love of wisdom, not a love of ignorance (e.g., even so skepticism persists)
2. philosophy encounters logical necessity (rationality), and as a general scale of value in its good or bad quality, respectively, accepts or rejects either or both rationality and its consequences (freewill)
3. universalism accepts both rationality and freewill, whereas relativism rejects both
4. relativism (denial and rejection of both rationality and freewill) inherently diminishes any respect that may be claimed via elimination (e.g., in “fairness”) as somehow equally deserved for itself
5. universalism is a cosmology (concurring metaphysical, epistemological realism), whereas relativism is an ontology (incurring metaphysical, epistemological idealism)
6. a general problem of language abuse favors relativism to the extent idealism may be recognized as discouraging (or even so far as seeking to eliminate) realism
7. skepticism (regarding objectivity) enables relativist, idealism
8. empiricism (regarding morality) enables relativist, idealism
9. universalism accepts verisimilitude, whereas contrariwise relativism denies verisimilitude, incurring the persistent problems of both loss of logical necessity and language abuse
Philosophy aims to achieve a satisfactory system of logical necessity mutual to its participants, who do not simply adhere to an ideology of ethical, legal, or political practices, but strive to improve living howsoever made possible by both environmental awareness and self awareness (the combination of which is corollary of the history and geography of all human morality). This is best expressed as a realist doctrine, not to be confused as unreasoned belief (ideology).
Of course, human morality (which isn’t the only morality in existence), has shown global dominance, in a time period in geologic history that (far from being demonstrably “flat”) also shows poly-structural dynamic spheres with a history of >3 billions years of life, unlike any other planet ever discovered. Both heliocentrism and geocentrism have shown to be false, with subjectivism (narcissist idealism) ever more exemplary of this decreasing preponderance of mistaken attempts at generalization. The vastness of the universe, indeed, generally exceeds any criteria of pragmatic utility to understand, yet includes human intrusion (e.g., robotic extraterrestrial platforms) unlike any other life discovered, too. It may seem that philosophy (especially pragmatism and utilitarianism) has lost its usefulness, but not so in virtue of contrasting love of wisdom (reasoned belief) with mere love of belief. Love of wisdom escapes ignorance, which includes love of belief. People still try to assert the logical necessity of belief while denying the need for logical necessity.
Philosophy typically begins with a problem, like science, as well as like ideology, except that philosophy is not clearly as specialized in problem solving as any science must be, and ideology accepts rhetorically anything as an answer. A modern philosopher will recognize logic, structure, and language, as a general tendency for philosophy is deciding what to permit as meaningful, in order to sustain a consistency, coherence, or completeness of thought or speech. Philosophy is not all about thinking, nor equipped with an innate language. These otherwise unsatisfied ideals may sustain an ambition for its authors, professors, and students, but the problems of philosophers are not decided by other philosophers.
People don’t own people. So, philosophers don’t own philosophers.
The preponderance of language, itself, would seem to indicate the very object of an analytic philosophy, but not all English speakers are “analytics.” Another philosophical tendency (especially for those who customarily and traditionally call themselves Rationalists, as I do) is to require various spectrum of opposite values in order to elucidate meaningfulness in virtue of situational extremes (also known as “dichotomies”). For example, the “analytics” are often contrasted with the “continentals,” as artificially (but not arbitrarily) as “western” imperial Rome was contrasted with “Eastern” imperial Rome. Nowadays, socalled “Westerners” (thanks largely to Russian intellectuals) who familiarize with “western” Europe (allegedly opposed to the “eastern” ambitions of the Soviets), all this history and geography may lose track of its responsible philosophies and ideologies, as jealous rivaling idealists or religious ideologues seek to conquer them. Dictators persist to challenge democracy.
Philosophy is hard work, takes a lot of time, demands rigorous attention to a wide area of information, and that attention is often not available. This circumstance presented to me a problem to solve: the problem of limited attention span (because mortals have to sleep). Aside from the many relativists problems of language or rhetorical isolation, mortals also have to survive the day, cooperatively, if not peacefully. If the reader can transliterate language (via google, perhaps), then this problem is mitigated, but what if the history and geography is misunderstood? What if the language is misunderstood? What if philosophy and ideology are wholly ignored as responsible for the circumstances people must live in? This may sound like a religious question of the longevity of culture, and so be it, but I am atheist, and that should be obvious here. Religion is an ideology. Politics is a philosophy.
My solution is to illustrate philosophy, not with cartoons, memes, and other rhetorical devices, but showing the very words used by philosophy (by philosophers), and in a manner that may convey quick contrast and analysis by comparison of dichotomous meaning.
What is the meaning of life? To make life meaningful.
I would ask myself many questions, often at loss of rest, resisting any risk in asking someone (e.g., pragmatist, instrumentalist, idealist) who would suppose that I was asking something else. For me and for lack of much systematization, my problems were intuitive and frustrating, because answers I had received were either false, lies, or erroneous. When I learned to insist on asking others “do you really know something?” they would respond, honestly, “I don’t know.” So, it became apparent to me that I had to develop a philosophy for myself as well as for others, and not simply to understand my own thoughts, but to understand language. How could I understand something that lacks demonstration beyond merely thinking or saying that I understood something? For that matter, how could anyone understand something that lacks demonstration beyond merely thinking or saying that something is understood? What basis for understanding anything is there? Is that basis (or “foundation,” as in fundamentalism, turning down normative morality for meta-ethical theory based on whatever is believed) good or bad, respectively supporting systematic development or else inhibiting that development? Are its methods and practices right or wrong? Are its premises and conclusions true or false?
Many have said that these words mean things other than they are defined, beyond their definition, if not contrary to their definition, too, to include things that normally would contradict them as well. “Right is what I said, because I said it, and what I say or think is always right.” Is this sarcasm? Is this realistic? Of course, were psychics real, the problem of correcting erroneous thought (or speech like the previous example) would exhaust all of them, until their laws prohibited relativist mind reading, justified by some equally relativist group ideal of expert authority on all these matters. Could anyone perform anything correctly under the demands of such idealism? What could be so performed but the thoughts and imagination of the relativist, idealist’s own minds?
These questions preoccupied my thoughts almost throughout my youth, until I decided to look for evidence of “psychics” at the library. If I didn’t know what “psychic” meant, or if I didn’t know what to qualify as evidence of it, I would at least see whatever was known or believed about it. Eventually, I learned to study philosophy for most of my questions, which actually guided and directed my questions to other real sources in history. Since leaving the question “what evidence is there of psychics?” back in 1986 or so, and noting greater evidence of intellect in the history of philosophy (particularly epistemology and the philosophy of science), I later received a professional education in logic and philosophy from 1997 thru 2000 at Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI).
Now, I illustrate philosophy. Specifically, I have tried to visualize universalist objectivity and autonomous rational decision making as these correspond to realism, by contrast to idealism.
Thank you for visiting and reading here.