1. On First Cause
2. First steps: The General Principle of Equivalence
3. Building a sturdy ontology.
4. The cataclysm that attends the General Principle of Equivalence
5. On the structure available to possible worlds.
6. Boundary conditions of the world - the Cartesian view.
7. On denoting and the laws of thought.
8. Something for nothing, and why this is not absurd.
5. On the structure available to possible worlds.
Having set up an appropriate and sturdy ontology that conforms to the Method of Doubt, and identified that there is a challenge relating to the bundle view of properties, now the meditator is in a position to reconsider the Cartesian system, namely, the General Principle of Equivalence and other possible elements of the ontology. Let us note some aspects that we don’t yet know about the system.
Firstly, while we have identified a problem for bundling, this does not mean that there are no bundles. The system certainly may be bundled, and it may be bundled into a whole. Our challenge is to find how this bundling might be brought to the system, given that the Totality admits no change to the Totality. A trivial solution is that there is just one bundle, the bundle that is the General Principle of Equivalence. Of course this does not account for the meditator, except in the unusual solution that the Meditator is in some way an expression of the General Principle of Equivalence.
Also, we don’t know how many assets there are. The idea of none, one and many, a foundation for concepts of number, remain as supposed denotations (ie words that refer to supposed things) of a state of affairs in the Cartesian system, presently only a part of the possible ontology (see Building a Sturdy Ontology) . A hope is that with further investigation, this idea of none, one and many may gain better meaning. By anchoring terms in the system itself, as is implied by the conditions of denotation, what we seek is to find a synthesis of meaning that provides a singular understanding of each term in the context of the system.
In so doing, we will be in a position to determine some particulars about assets of the system, which for the Cartesian Meditator seem, at least at the outset, to be windowless. By ‘windowless’ I mean that to somehow actively sample a pure asset, as we might do with a chemical, is denied us. To do so would affect its status of pure/minimal asset, which is contradictory to the General Principle of Equivalence.
Lastly, we don’t know the position of the Meditator in this system. For surely there is a Meditator, as part of the Totality, and denial of the Meditator has been proven to be impossible under Cartesian doubt, as was argued by Descartes (Broughton 2002; Descartes 1995, 2003). This aspect must be left until last, and can only be answered in a simplistic form for the present. Loosely, here stated without proof, and only because I know where this blog is going, the answer is that the Meditator exists as an evolving part of the Totality. The Meditator is a finite and connected series of states, each iteration of which is driven by the action of the GPE noumenon (the condition of the world that the GPE models).
In essence, we don’t yet know any particulars of the world. A place to start is to consider the possibility that the world is in fact empty. I do so to examine whether the methodological principle that propels the empty world to the top of the agenda (Sorensen 2004) is valid.
Sorensen explains the idea (2004, n.p. his emphasis) :
To prevent the intrusion of superfluous entities, one might demand that metaphysicians start with the empty world and admit only those entities that have credentials. This is the regime imposed by Rene Descartes. He clears everything out and then only lets back in what can be proved to exist.So the expectation of an empty world, underpinned by the method of doubt is a valid consideration. The onus of proof is incumbent upon those who would have that there is something. But we must be very careful here by what we mean empty. We have already shown that the minimal ontology includes at least the condition that the GPE models and the Meditator.
But the world may once have been empty. More formally, there is no support for the idea that the Meditator has any special relevance to the existence of the world. While the formal GPE statement relies on a Meditator to consider it, for it to have meaning, because the GPE noumenon applies to everything at every level, it exists independent of there being a Meditator to think about its existence. That is, and this is important, the condition the GPE models, necessarily exists, no matter what other actual states might be.
Sorensen, R 2003, 'Vagueness', in EN Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Fall 2003 edn, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2003/entries/vagueness/.
---- 2004, 'Nothingness', in EN Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Spring 2004 edn, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2004/entries/nothingness/.