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The force of Love causes elements to be attracted to each other and to be built up into some particular form or person, and the force of Hate causes the decomposition of things. His philosophical landmark was originating the cosmogenic theory of the four classical elements. It states that all matter is basically composed of four primary elements — earth, air, fire and water. He also put forth the idea of opposite motive forces involved in building of the world — namely, love as the cause of union and strife as the cause of separation.

He also went on to become the first person to give an evolutionary account on the development of species. Thales c. He was the first to try to explain natural phenomena without the inclusion of myths, by theories and hypothesis, ergo science. Aristotle points Thales as the first person to have investigated basic principles such as origination of matter. Thales is also said to be the founder of school of natural philosophy.

Aristotle c. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle studied a wide variety of subjects, including science, ethics, government, physics and politics, and wrote extensively on them. Plato c. Plato wrote one of the first and most influential works on politics, The Republic, which described an ideal or Utopian society. Like his mentor Socrates, Plato was a critic of democracy. Socrates c. The most well-known ancient Greek Philosopher of all time, Socrates, was a master stonemason and social critic.

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He never wrote anything and most of his philosophical contributions come through his students, mainly Plato. Socrates embarked a whole new perspective of achieving practical results through application of philosophy in our daily lives. Socrates became famous for encouraging people to critically question everything. Eventually, his beliefs and realistic approach in philosophy led to his end, as he was tried and convicted for criticizing religion and corrupting the youth. Socrates then chose death by suicide over exile from his homeland of Athens.

His legendary trial and death at the altar of the ancient Greek democratic system has changed the academic view of philosophy as a study of life itself. Epicurus c. You can find aspects of vagueness in most words of English or any other language.


Out loud or in our heads, we reason mostly in vague terms. Such reasoning can easily generate sorites-like paradoxes. Can you become poor by losing one cent? Can you become tall by growing one millimetre? At first, the paradoxes seem to be trivial verbal tricks.

But the more rigorously philosophers have studied them, the deeper and harder they have turned out to be. They raise doubts about the most basic logical principles. Traditionally, logic is based on the assumption that every statement is either true or false and not both. Fuzzy logic is an influential alternative approach to the logic of vagueness that rejects bivalence in favour of a continuum of degrees of truth and falsity, ranging from perfect truth at one end to perfect falsity at the other. In the middle, a statement can be simultaneously half-true and half-false.

No one step takes you from perfect truth to perfect falsity. Fuzzy logic rejects some key principles of classical logic, on which standard mathematics relies. At first sight, fuzzy logic might look like a natural, elegant solution to the problem of vagueness. To see why, imagine two heaps of sand, exact duplicates of each other, one on the right, one on the left. Whenever you remove one grain from one side, you remove the exactly corresponding grain from the other side too. At each stage, the sand on the right and the sand on the left are exact grain-by-grain duplicates of each other.

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Thus fuzzy logic gives the wrong result. It misses the subtleties of vagueness. There are many other complicated proposals for revising logic to accommodate vagueness. Standard logic, with bivalence and excluded middle, is well-tested, simple and powerful.

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A statement can be true without your knowing that it is true. There really is a stage when you have a heap, you remove one grain, and you no longer have a heap. Although language is a human construct, that does not make it transparent to us. Like the children we make, the meanings we make can have secrets from us.

Fortunately, not everything is secret from us. Nobody ever gave us the right to know everything!

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This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons. Posted at PM Permalink Comments 0. Philosophy Sites has just launched. This is a podcast series focusing on places linked to philosophers. The first episode, available from www. The discussion ranges across issues of aesthetics, culture, and death.

Do you think racial stereotypes are false? Are you sure? That might seem like a strange question. Most philosophers of mind would agree, holding that we have privileged access to our own thoughts, which is largely immune from error. There have been exceptions, however. The midth-century behaviourist philosopher Gilbert Ryle held that we learn about our own minds, not by inner sense, but by observing our own behaviour, and that friends might know our minds better than we do. How was it for me?

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Evidence for this comes from experimental work in social psychology. For example, if offered a choice between several identical items, people tend to choose the one on the right. But when asked why they chose it, they confabulate a reason, saying they thought the item was a nicer colour or better quality. Similarly, if a person performs an action in response to an earlier and now forgotten hypnotic suggestion, they will confabulate a reason for performing it.

What seems to be happening is that the subjects engage in unconscious self-interpretation. They are not aware that they are interpreting, however, and make their reports as if they were directly aware of their reasons. Many other studies support this explanation. For example , if people are instructed to nod their heads while listening to a tape in order, they are told, to test the headphones , they express more agreement with what they hear than if they are asked to shake their heads. And if they are required to choose between two items they previously rated as equally desirable, they subsequently say that they prefer the one they had chosen.

Again, it seems, they are unconsciously interpreting their own behaviour, taking their nodding to indicate agreement and their choice to reveal a preference.

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Building on such evidence, Carruthers makes a powerful case for an interpretive view of self-knowledge, set out in his book The Opacity of Mind Carruthers argues that this same system is responsible for our knowledge of our own minds. Humans did not develop a second, inward-looking mindreading system an inner sense ; rather, they gained self-knowledge by directing the outward-looking system upon themselves.

And because the system is outward-looking, it has access only to sensory inputs and must draw its conclusions from them alone.

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