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Articles on philosophy, ethics, aesthetics and history of ideas.


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Milindapañha tells that King Milinda, an Indo-Greek king, talked with Nāgasena, a Buddhist sage, embraced the Buddhist faith and abandoned the household life to attain to Arahatship. The book is known to insist that the Buddhist philosophy of nothingness should be superior to the Western philosophy of substances, but actually Nāgasena’s theory was not so sophisticated as the Greek philosophy at that time. King Milinda did not abandon the household life and it is not certain whether he really understood Buddhism. Still he and his successors protected Buddhism, possibly because propagation of Buddhism could contribute to the stable reign.


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The original sense of “paradigm” is “exemplar” and Kuhn’s “paradigm” signifies such a textbook theory or an experiment method as students imitate as an exemplar in their scientific education. Normal science engages scientists in puzzle-solving based on a paradigm, which is more economically rational than the frequent revolutions. Even in scientific revolutions new paradigms succeed to the old ones continuously. What changes drastically in a revolution is not the paradigm itself but the balance of power between paradigms. Like political revolutions, scientific revolutions are the struggle for existence and paradigms do not shift to copy the reality better.


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Gottfried Leibniz named his metaphysics the system of pre-established harmony, which presupposed the ontological argument. The ontological argument resulted in pantheism. The law of continuity applies what is true of God to every substances, which resulted in monadology. The principle of sufficient reason prompts us to ask why this universe exists, which resulted in optimism. Leibniz thought God is intelligent enough to know the best of all possible universes, benevolent enough to select it and powerful enough to realize it as the existing one, but this being is more than the mere amount of universes whose existence alone the ontological argument can prove. We cannot identify them and apply the system of pre-established harmony to our cognition, benevolence and fulfillment, because we experience mistake, evil and failure.


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An ontological argument for the existence of God defines God as the greatest perfect being and states that He must exist because He would not be perfect or the greatest, if He remained only in thought. Anselm and Descartes proposed it, and Kant pointed out that this argument was wrong in deducing a synthetic judgment from an analytic one, but the real problem of this argument is that the greatest perfect being whose existence it proves is quite different from what Christians regard as God, namely the omniscient and omnipotent supreme being.


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David Hume, a Scottish philosopher in the 18th century, is famous for skepticism on the objectivity of causality and validity of moral judgment. But his assertion that causes and effects, "is" and "ought" are distinct and the connections between them are uncertain because of their subjectivity puts the cart before the horse. The fact is that, as the subject encounter uncertain affairs, it must divide them into causes and effects or "is" and "ought" so as to reduce uncertainty.


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Philosophy began in ancient Greece by inquiring what arche, namely the origin of everything is. Systemics as philosophy must also answer the question. The conclusion of our systemics is arche of the world and philosophy is uncertainty. The assertions made by the previous philosophers that arche is this or that element or the subject as substratum have come from forgetting the original arche. The uncertainty precedes everything historically and theoretically.


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The predicates prefixed with the definite article that refer to one and only one individual are definite descriptions, while those prefixed with the indefinite article, some, all and so on that can refer to more than one individuals are indefinite descriptions. Can the definite descriptions identify the essence of individuals and take the place of proper names?


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If the handicap was unavoidable, then what s/he should resent is not the handicap itself but the way of society that robs the handicapped persons of freedom.


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What is the difference between reason and cause? Have you thought these are similar terms to explain something? Philosophically these two should be distinguished.


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Philosophers often use the adjective transcendental, for example, when they speak of the transcendental consciousness, the transcendental intersubjectivity and so on. I will explain this seemingly difficult technical term as plainly as possible.