According to the traditional bundle theory, particulars are bundles of compresent universals. I think we should reject the bundle theory for a variety of reasons. But I will argue for the thesis at the core of the bundle theory: that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts about universals. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to this thesis (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility (...) of distinct qualitative indiscernibles. Here, the key idea appeals to a non-standard theory of haecceities as non-well-founded properties of a certain sort. I will then defend this theory from a number of objections, and finally argue that we should accept it on the basis of considerations of parsimony about the fundamental. (shrink)
An analysis of the counter-intuitive properties of infinity as understood differently in mathematics, classical physics and quantum physics allows the consideration of various paradoxes under a new light (e.g. Zeno’s dichotomy, Torricelli’s trumpet, and the weirdness of quantum physics). It provides strong support for the reality of abstractness and mathematical Platonism, and a plausible reason why there is something rather than nothing in the concrete universe. The conclusions are far reaching for science and philosophy.
Plato’s depiction of the first city in the Republic (Book II), the so-called ‘city of pigs’, is often read as expressing nostalgia for an earlier, simpler era in which moral norms were secure. This goes naturally with readings of other Platonic texts (including Republic I and the Gorgias) as expressing a sense of moral decline or crisis in Plato’s own time. This image of Plato as a spokesman for ‘moral nostalgia’ is here traced in various nineteenth- and twentieth-century interpretations, and (...) rejected. Plato’s pessimism about human nature in fact precludes any easy assumption that things, or people, were better in the old days. (shrink)
Predication is an indisputable part of our linguistic behavior. By contrast, the metaphysics of predication has been a matter of dispute ever since antiquity. According to Plato—or at least Platonism, the view that goes by Plato’s name in contemporary philosophy—the truths expressed by predications such as “Socrates is wise” are true because there is a subject of predication (e.g., Socrates), there is an abstract property or universal (e.g., wisdom), and the subject exemplifies the property.1 This view is supposed to (...) be general, applying to all predications, whether the subject of predication is a person, a planet, or a property.2 Despite the controversy surrounding the metaphysics of predication, many theistic philosophers—including the majority of contemporary analytic theists—regard Platonism as extremely attractive. At the same time, however, such philosophers are also commonly attracted to a form of traditional theism that has at its core the thesis that God is an absolutely independent.. (shrink)
A problem for Aristotelian realist accounts of universals (neither Platonist nor nominalist) is the status of those universals that happen not to be realised in the physical (or any other) world. They perhaps include uninstantiated shades of blue and huge infinite cardinals. Should they be altogether excluded (as in D.M. Armstrong's theory of universals) or accorded some sort of reality? Surely truths about ratios are true even of ratios that are too big to be instantiated - what is the truthmaker (...) of such truths? It is argued that Aristotelianism can answer the question, but only a semi-Platonist form of it. (shrink)
This article examines Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the simulacrum, which Deleuze formulated in the context of his reading of Nietzsche’s project of “overturning Platonism.” The essential Platonic distinction, Deleuze argues, is more profound than the speculative distinction between model and copy, original and image. The deeper, practical distinction moves between two kinds of images or eidolon, for which the Platonic Idea is meant to provide a concrete criterion of selection “Copies” or icons (eikones) are well-grounded claimants to the transcendent (...) Idea, authenticated by their internal resemblance to the Idea, whereas “simulacra” (phantasmata) are like false claimants, built on a dissimilarity and implying an essential perversion or deviation from the Idea. If the goal of Platonism is the triumph of icons over simulacra, the inversion of Platonism would entail an affirmation of the simulacrum as such, which must thus be given its own concept. Deleuze consequently defines the simulacrum in terms of an internal dissimilitude or “disparateness,” which in turn implies a new conception of Ideas, no longer as self-identical qualities (the auto kath’hauto), but rather as constituting a pure concept of difference. An inverted Platonism would necessarily be based on a purely immanent and differential conception of Ideas. Starting from this new conception of the Idea, Deleuze proposes to take up the Platonic project anew, rethinking the fundamental figures of Platonism (selection, repetition, ungrounding, the question-problem complex) on a purely differential basis. In this sense, Deleuze’s inverted Platonism can at the same time be seen as a rejuvenated Platonism and even a completed Platonism. (shrink)
Contemporary platonism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. One is the belief in a fundamental cleavage between intelligible but invisible Platonic forms that are real and eternal, and perceptible objects whose confinement to spacetime constitutes an inferior existence and about which knowledge is impossible. The other dogma involves a kind of reductionism: the belief that Plato’s unhypothetical first principle of the all is identical to the form of the good. Both dogmas, I argue, are ill-founded.
According to Quine’s indispensability argument, we ought to believe in just those mathematical entities that we quantify over in our best scientific theories. Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment is part of the standard indispensability argument. However, we suggest that a new indispensability argument can be run using Armstrong’s criterion of ontological commitment rather than Quine’s. According to Armstrong’s criterion, ‘to be is to be a truthmaker (or part of one)’. We supplement this criterion with our own brand of metaphysics, 'Aristotelian (...) (...) realism', in order to identify the truthmakers of mathematics. We consider in particular as a case study the indispensability to physics of real analysis (the theory of the real numbers). We conclude that it is possible to run an indispensability argument without Quinean baggage. (shrink)
Contrary to popular opinion, non-natural realism can explain both why normative properties supervene on descriptive properties, and why this pattern is analytic. The explanation proceeds by positing a subtle polysemy in normative predicates like “good”. Such predicates express slightly different senses when they are applied to particulars (like Florence Nightingale) and to kinds (like altruism). The former sense, “goodPAR”, can be defined in terms of the latter, “goodKIN”, as follows: x is goodPAR iff there is a kind K such that (...) x is a token of K, and K is goodKIN. Now if x and y are descriptively exactly similar, then they are tokens of exactly the same kinds, so x is a token of a goodKIN kind if and only if y is. Therefore, by the definition, x is goodPAR if and only if y is. Supervenience just falls out of the definition of “goodPAR”. (shrink)
In the section “Validity and Existence in Logik, Book III,” I explain Lotze’s famous distinction between existence and validity in Book III of Logik. In the following section, “Lotze’s Platonism,” I put this famous distinction in the context of Lotze’s attempt to distinguish his own position from hypostatic Platonism and consider one way of drawing the distinction: the hypostatic Platonist accepts that there are propositions, whereas Lotze rejects this. In the section “Two Perspectives on Frege’s Platonism,” I (...) argue that this is an unsatisfactory way of reading Lotze’s Platonism and that the Ricketts-Reck reading of Frege is in fact the correct way of thinking about Lotze’s Platonism. (shrink)
Platonism in the philosophy of mathematics is the doctrine that there are mathematical objects such as numbers. John Burgess and Gideon Rosen have argued that that there is no good epistemological argument against platonism. They propose a dilemma, claiming that epistemological arguments against platonism either rely on a dubious epistemology, or resemble a dubious sceptical argument concerning perceptual knowledge. Against Burgess and Rosen, I show that an epistemological anti- platonist argument proposed by Hartry Field avoids both horns (...) of their dilemma. (shrink)
The Quine/Putnam indispensability argument is regarded by many as the chief argument for the existence of platonic objects. We argue that this argument cannot establish what its proponents intend. The form of our argument is simple. Suppose indispensability to science is the only good reason for believing in the existence of platonic objects. Either the dispensability of mathematical objects to science can be demonstrated and, hence, there is no good reason for believing in the existence of platonic objects, or their (...) dispensability cannot be demonstrated and, hence, there is no good reason for believing in the existence of mathematical objects which are genuinely platonic. Therefore, indispensability, whether true or false, does not support platonism. (shrink)
Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity examines the various ways in which Christian intellectuals engaged with Platonism both as a pagan competitor and as a source of philosophical material useful to the Christian faith. The chapters are united in their goal to explore transformations that took place in the reception and interaction process between Platonism and Christianity in this period. -/- The contributions in this volume explore the reception of Platonic material in Christian thought, showing that (...) the transmission of cultural content is always mediated, and ought to be studied as a transformative process by way of selection and interpretation. Some chapters also deal with various aspects of the wider discussion on how Platonic, and Hellenic, philosophy and early Christian thought related to each other, examining the differences and common ground between these traditions. -/- Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity offers an insightful and broad ranging study on the subject, which will be of interest to students of both philosophy and theology in the Late Antique period, as well as anyone working on the reception and history of Platonic thought, and the development of Christian thought. (shrink)
In the opening chapter of the Monologion, Anselm offers an intriguing proof for the existence of a Platonic form of goodness. This proof is extremely interesting, both in itself and for its place in the broader argument for God’s existence that Anselm develops in the Monologion as a whole. Even so, it has yet to receive the scholarly attention that it deserves. My aim in this article is to begin correcting this state of affairs by examining Anslem’s proof in some (...) detail. In particular, I aim to clarify the proof’s structure, motivate and explain its central premises, and begin the larger project of evaluating its overall success as an argument for Platonism about goodness. (shrink)
In this dissertation I examine the NeoFregean metaontology of mathematics. I try to clarify the relationship between what is sometimes called Priority Thesis and Platonism about mathematical entities. I then present three coherent ways in which one might endorse both these stances, also answering some possible objections. Finally I try to show which of these three ways is the most promising.
This paper revisits Derrida’s and Deleuze’s early discussions of “Platonism” in order to challenge the common claim that there is a fundamental divergence in their thought and to challenge one standard narrative about the history of deconstruction. According to that narrative, deconstruction should be understood as the successor to phenomenology. To complicate this story, I read Derrida’s “Plato’s Pharmacy” alongside Deleuze’s discussion of Platonism and simulacra at the end of Logic of Sense. Both discussions present Platonism as (...) the effort to establish a representative order (of original ideas and authorized reproductions of them) with no excess or outside (simulacra, or ideas that cannot be tied to an eidos). Since such pure representation is impossible, Platonism functions by means of the violent suppression of the simulacra and pharamakoi that exceed its eidetic structures. To overcome Platonism is thus not to reverse it, but to establish something like a practice of counter-memorials: detecting, exhuming, and writing back textual traces of what Platonism excludes. I then briefly apply this practice to narratives about the history of deconstruction, and suggest that they tend to occlude precisely the materialist elements of that history, as (for example) the importance of Spinoza as an interlocutor. In other words, the emerging canonical narrative about deconstruction runs the risk of repeating the Platonic gesture that Derrida spent his career writing against. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend traditional Platonic mathematical realism from its contemporary detractors, arguing that numbers, understood as abstract, non-physical objects of rational intuition, are indispensable for the act of counting.
This examination makes the case that the tradition of Christian Platonism can constitute a valuable resource for addressing the long-running and increasingly-acute environmental crisis that threatens the global ecosystem and all who inhabit it. More than a scientific, technological or political challenge, the crisis requires a fundamental shift in the way humans understand nature and their place within it. Key to implementing this shift is the need to address the problematic anthropocentric conceptualisation of nature characteristic of the contemporary social (...) imaginary that determines a wide range of present day economic, religious and scientific perspectives. The case made here is that Christian Platonism, and in particular its participatory ontology, can offer a radically non-anthropocentric alternative to the present-day understanding of nature, reconceptualising the way we understand the meaning, value, and way we know nature. (shrink)
Traversing the genres of philosophy and literature, this book elaborates Deleuze's notion of difference, conceives certain individuals as embodying difference, and applies these conceptions to their writings.
According to Hartry Field, the mathematical Platonist is hostage of a dilemma. Faced with the request of explaining the mathematicians’ reliability, one option could be to maintain that the mathematicians are reliably responsive to a realm populated with mathematical entities; alternatively, one might try to contend that the mathematical realm conceptually depends on, and for this reason is reliably reflected by, the mathematicians’ (best) opinions; however, both alternatives are actually unavailable to the Platonist: the first one because it is in (...) tension with the idea that mathematical entities are causally ineﬀective, the second one because it is in tension with the suggestion that mathematical entities are mind-independent. John Divers and Alexander Miller have tried to reject the conclusion of this argument—according to which Platonism is inconsistent with a satisfactory epistemology for arithmetic—by redescribing the second horn of the dilemma in light of Crispin Wright’s notion of judgment-dependent truth; in particular they have contended that once arithmetical truth is conceived in this way the Platonist can have a substantial epistemology which does not conflict with the idea that the mathematical entities exist mind-independently. In this paper I analyze Wright’s notion of judgment-dependent truth, and reject Divers and Miller’s argument for the conclusion that arithmetical truth can be so characterized. In the final part, I address the worry that my argument generalizes very quickly to the conclusion that no area of discourse could be characterized as judgment-dependent. As against this conclusion, I indicate under what conditions—notably not satisfied in Divers and Miller’s case, but possibly satisfied in others—a discourse’s judgment-dependency can be successfully vindicated. (shrink)
Augustine′s conversion to Christianity in A.D. 386 is a pivotal moment not only in his own life, but in Christian and world history, for the theology of Augustine set the course of theological and cultural development in the western Christian church. But to what exactly was Augustine converted? Scholars have long debated whether he really converted to Christianity in 386, whether he was a Platonist, and, if he adhered to both Platonism and Christianity, which dominated his thought. The debate (...) of the last thirteen decades spans an immense body of literature in multiple languages. In this literature, four major views on Augustine′s conversion may be discerned. The first view is associated with Gaston Boissier and Adolph von Harnack, and was famously championed by Prosper Alfaric: that Augustine in 386 converted to neo-Platonism but not to Christianity. Second, there is the view recently promoted by Catherine Conybeare: that Augustine in 386 converted to Christianity and rejected neo-Platonism. Third, there is the view that he converted to Christianity and was also a neo-Platonist; the most famous adherents of this view are Robert J. O′Connell and Pierre Courcelle. Finally, there is the view recently promoted by Carol Harrison: that Augustine committed to Christianity in 386, yet did not utterly reject neo-Platonism; rather, he aimed to develop a Christian faith that was informed by neo-Platonic insight. In this article, I first explain and distinguish these four general views, and then I explain why I prefer the fourth view. -/- More Info: This is the pre-peer reviewed version of Boone, Mark, "The Role of Platonism in Augustine's 386 Conversion to Christianity," Religion Compass 9.5 (May 2015), 151-61. This article has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rec3.12149/abstract. (shrink)
This is the first volume to offer a systematic consideration and comprehensive overview of Christianity’s long engagement with the Platonic philosophical tradition. The book offers a detailed consideration of the most fertile sources and concepts in Christian Platonism, a historical contextualization of its development, and a series of constructive engagements with central questions. Bringing together a range of leading scholars, the volume guides readers through each of these dimensions, uniquely investigating and explicating one of the most important, controversial, and (...) often misunderstood elements of Christian intellectual history. (shrink)
This essay explores the use of platonist and nominalist concepts, derived from the philosophy of mathematics and metaphysics, as a means of elucidating the debate on spacetime ontology and the spatial structures endorsed by scientific realists. Although the disputes associated with platonism and nominalism often mirror the complexities involved with substantivalism and relationism, it will be argued that a more refined three-part distinction among platonist/nominalist categories can nonetheless provide unique insights into the core assumptions that underlie spatial ontologies, but (...) it also assists in critiquing alternative uses of nominalism, platonism, and both ontic and epistemic structural realism. (shrink)
This paper concerns an epistemological objection against mathematical platonism, due to Hartry Field.The argument poses an explanatory challenge – the challenge to explain the reliability of our mathematical beliefs – which the platonist, it’s argued, cannot meet. Is the objection compelling? Philosophers disagree, but they also disagree on (and are sometimes very unclear about) how the objection should be understood. Here I distinguish some options, and highlight some gaps that need to be filled in on the potentially most compelling (...) version of the argument. (shrink)
The demonstration of a loophole-free violation of Bell's inequality by Hensen et al. (2015) leads to the inescapable conclusion that timelessness and abstractness exist alongside space-time. This finding is in full agreement with the triple-aspect monism of reality, with mathematical Platonism, free will and the eventual emergence of a scientific morality.
Vetter (2015) develops a localised theory of modality, based on potentialities of actual objects. Two factors play a key role in its appeal: its commitment to Hardcore Actualism, and to Naturalism. Vetter’s commitment to Naturalism is in part manifested in her adoption of Aristotelian universals. In this paper, we argue that a puzzle concerning the identity of unmanifested potentialities cannot be solved with an Aristotelian conception of properties. After introducing the puzzle, we examine Vetter’s attempt at amending the Aristotelian conception (...) in a way that avoids the puzzle, and conclude that this amended version is no longer to be considered naturalistic. Potentiality theory cannot be both actualist and naturalist. We then argue that, if naturalism is to be abandoned by the actualist, there are good reasons to adopt a Platonist conception of universals, for they offer a number of theoretical advantages and allow us to avoid some of the problems facing Vetter’s theory. (shrink)
This paper aims to provide modal foundations for mathematical platonism. I examine Hale and Wright’s (2009) objections to the merits and need, in the defense of mathematical platonism and its epistemology, of the thesis of Necessitism. In response to Hale and Wright’s objections to the role of epistemic and metaphysical modalities in providing justification for both the truth of abstraction principles and the success of mathematical predicate reference, I examine the Necessitist commitments of the abundant conception of properties (...) endorsed by Hale and Wright and examined in Hale (2013a); examine cardinality issues which arise depending on whether Necessitism is accepted at first- and higher-order; and demonstrate how a multi-dimensional intensional approach to the epistemology of mathematics, augmented with Necessitism, is consistent with Hale and Wright’s notion of there being epistemic entitlement rationally to trust that abstraction principles are true. Epistemic and metaphysical modality may thus be shown to play a constitutive role in vindicating the reality of mathematical objects and truth, and in explaining our possible knowledge thereof. (shrink)
Al final de su libro “La conciencia inexplicada”, Juan Arana señala que la nomología, explicación según las leyes de la naturaleza, requiere de una nomogonía, una consideración del origen de las leyes. Es decir, que el orden que observamos en el mundo natural requiere una instancia previa que ponga ese orden específico. Sabemos que desde la revolución científica la mejor manera de explicar dicha nomología ha sido mediante las matemáticas. Sin embargo, en las últimas décadas se han presentado algunas propuestas (...) basadas en modelos matemáticos que fundamentarían muchos aspectos de la realidad. Dos claros ejemplos provienen de Roger Penrose y Max Tegmark. Esto lleva a pensar en una posición no solo nomológica sino además nomogónica de la matemática. ¿Puede la Naturaleza estar fundada por las matemáticas como señalan algunos físico-matemáticos? Y en ese caso, ¿sería pertinente buscar una nomo-génesis de esta índole en la constitución de la conciencia? -/- At the end of his book “La conciencia inexplicada”, Juan Arana points out that nomology, explanation according to the laws of nature requires a nomogony, an account of the origin of the laws. This means that the order that we can observe in the natural World demands something prior to posit that specific order. Since the scientific revolution we know that the best way to explain that nomology has been through mathematics. Anyway, in recent decades a number of proposals based on mathematical models that found many aspects of reality has been offered. Two clear examples come from Roger Penrose and Max Tegmark. This drives us to think of a position of mathematics as not only nomological but also nomogonical. Can Nature be founded by mathematics as some physicists and mathematicians point out? And, in this case, would be relevant this kind of approach to search a nomo-genesis in the constitution of consciousness? (shrink)
Drawing on recent scholarship and delving systematically into Iamblichean texts, these ten papers establish Iamblichus as the great innovator of Neoplatonic philosophy who broadened its appeal for future generations of philosophers.
Modern philosophy of mathematics has been dominated by Platonism and nominalism, to the neglect of the Aristotelian realist option. Aristotelianism holds that mathematics studies certain real properties of the world – mathematics is neither about a disembodied world of “abstract objects”, as Platonism holds, nor it is merely a language of science, as nominalism holds. Aristotle’s theory that mathematics is the “science of quantity” is a good account of at least elementary mathematics: the ratio of two heights, for (...) example, is a perceivable and measurable real relation between properties of physical things, a relation that can be shared by the ratio of two weights or two time intervals. Ratios are an example of continuous quantity; discrete quantities, such as whole numbers, are also realised as relations between a heap and a unit-making universal. For example, the relation between foliage and being-a-leaf is the number of leaves on a tree,a relation that may equal the relation between a heap of shoes and being-a-shoe. Modern higher mathematics, however, deals with some real properties that are not naturally seen as quantity, so that the “science of quantity” theory of mathematics needs supplementation. Symmetry, topology and similar structural properties are studied by mathematics, but are about pattern, structure or arrangement rather than quantity. (shrink)
The Enhanced Indispensability Argument appeals to the existence of Mathematical Explanations of Physical Phenomena to justify mathematical Platonism, following the principle of Inference to the Best Explanation. In this paper, I examine one example of a MEPP—the explanation of the 13-year and 17-year life cycle of magicicadas—and argue that this case cannot be used defend the EIA. I then generalize my analysis of the cicada case to other MEPPs, and show that these explanations rely on what I will call (...) ‘optimal representations’, which are representations that capture all that is relevant to explain a physical phenomenon at a specified level of description. In the end, because the role of mathematics in MEPPs is ultimately representational, they cannot be used to support mathematical Platonism. I finish the paper by addressing the claim, advanced by many EIA defendants, that quantification over mathematical objects results in explanations that have more theoretical virtues, especially that they are more general and modally stronger than alternative explanations. I will show that the EIA cannot be successfully defended by appealing to these notions. (shrink)
This paper investigates Newton’s ontology of space in order to determine its commitment, if any, to both Cambridge neo-Platonism, which posits an incorporeal basis for space, and substantivalism, which regards space as a form of substance or entity. A non-substantivalist interpretation of Newton’s theory has been famously championed by Howard Stein and Robert DiSalle, among others, while both Stein and the early work of J. E. McGuire have downplayed the influence of Cambridge neo-Platonism on various aspects of Newton’s (...) own spatial hypotheses. Both of these assertions will be shown to be problematic on various grounds, with special emphasis placed on Stein’s influential case for a non-substantivalist reading. Our analysis will strive, nonetheless, to reveal the unique or forward-looking aspects of Newton’s approach, most notably, his critical assessment of substance ontologies, that help to distinguish his theory of space from his neo-Platonic contemporaries and predecessors. (shrink)
I examine explanations’ realist commitments in relation to dynamical systems theory. First I rebut an ‘explanatory indispensability argument’ for mathematical realism from the explanatory power of phase spaces (Lyon and Colyvan 2007). Then I critically consider a possible way of strengthening the indispensability argument by reference to attractors in dynamical systems theory. The take-home message is that understanding of the modal character of explanations (in dynamical systems theory) can undermine platonist arguments from explanatory indispensability.
Within the context of the Quine–Putnam indispensability argument, one discussion about the status of mathematics is concerned with the ‘Enhanced Indispensability Argument’, which makes explicit in what way mathematics is supposed to be indispensable in science, namely explanatory. If there are genuine mathematical explanations of empirical phenomena, an argument for mathematical platonism could be extracted by using inference to the best explanation. The best explanation of the primeness of the life cycles of Periodical Cicadas is genuinely mathematical, according to (...) Baker :223–238, 2005; Br J Philos Sci 60:611–633, 2009). Furthermore, the result is then also used to strengthen the platonist position :779–793, 2017a). We pick up the circularity problem brought up by Leng Mathematical reasoning, heuristics and the development of mathematics, King’s College Publications, London, pp 167–189, 2005) and Bangu :13–20, 2008). We will argue that Baker’s attempt to solve this problem fails, if Hume’s Principle is analytic. We will also provide the opponent of the Enhanced Indispensability Argument with the so-called ‘interpretability strategy’, which can be used to come up with alternative explanations in case Hume’s Principle is non-analytic. (shrink)
The literature on mathematics suggests that intuition plays a role in it as a ground of belief. This article explores the nature of intuition as it occurs in mathematical thinking. Section 1 suggests that intuitions should be understood by analogy with perceptions. Section 2 explains what fleshing out such an analogy requires. Section 3 discusses Kantian ways of fleshing it out. Section 4 discusses Platonist ways of fleshing it out. Section 5 sketches a proposal for resolving the main problem facing (...) Platonists—the problem of explaining how our experiences make contact with mathematical reality. (shrink)
According to traditional theism, God alone exists a se, independent of all other things, and all other things exist ab alio, i.e., God both creates them and sustains them in existence. On the face of it, divine "aseity" is inconsistent with classical Platonism, i.e., the view that there are objectively existing, abstract objects. For according to the classical Platonist, at least some abstract entities are wholly uncreated, necessary beings and, hence, as such, they also exist a se. The thesis (...) of theistic activism purports to reconcile divine aseity with a robust Platonism. Specifically, the activist holds that God creates the abstract objects no less than the contingent concrete objects of the physical universe and hence that, like all created things, they exist ab alio after all, their necessity notwithstanding. But many philosophers believe a severe roadblock for activism remains — a problem known as the bootstrapping objection. Despite widespread faith in the deliverances of this argument, in this paper I show that the bootstrapping objection is open to significant objections on several fronts. (shrink)
Wolfgang Pauli was influenced by Carl Jung and the Platonism of Arnold Sommerfeld, who introduced the fine-structure constant. Pauli’s vision of a World Clock is related to the symbolic form of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes and Plato’s geometric allegory otherwise known as the Cosmological Circle attributed to ancient tradition. With this vision Pauli revealed geometric clues to the mystery of the fine-structure constant that determines the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. A Platonic interpretation of the World Clock and (...) the Cosmological Circle provides an explanation that includes the geometric structure of the pineal gland described by the golden ratio. In his experience of archetypal images Pauli encounters the synchronicity of events that contribute to his quest for physical symmetry relevant to the development of quantum electrodynamics. (shrink)
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