The Foundation of an Axiomatic Language for PsychoPhiloSophy

§0: situation

an axiomatic language for psychophilosophy is systematically presented as evolving from its foundation, a set of intuitively obvious first principles or axioms.

§1: the foundation

Axiom 0:
(∃ P)(∀x)(Px)

translation: there is a predicate, P, such that: for any x that is, x is P.
universal predicate - a predicate attributable to any x that is.

as is traditional in logic, 'there is a' means 'there is at least one'; so, Axiom 0 states that there is at least one universal predicate; but, does not identify any predicate that qualifies as a universal predicate; and, does not specify the meaning that a universal predicate must have.

§1.1: specifying the meaning of a universal predicate

grammatically, a predicate is that which is said about a subject; but, logically, a predicate is that which is said about a subject that is not nothing.

no philosopher can assign predicates to nothingness; for, there is nothing 'there' to which to assign any predicate. similarly, no mathematician can assign predicates to a member of the empty set because there are no members of the empty set. it's empty!

thus, predicate logic implicitly assumes that no predicate may be attributed except to a subject to which the predicate 'not nothing' can also be attributed. this predicate, 'not nothing', is universal --- any x that is, is not nothing.

§1.1.1: a universal predicate is a non-informative predicate

saying, of any x that is, 'x is not nothing' adds no new information to the statement, 'x is'. the implicit is merely made explicit. consequently, a universal predicate is a non-informative predicate.

§1.1.2: how many universal predicates are there?

as noted, Axiom 0 states only that there is a predicate, P, such that: for any x that is, x is P.

it is certainly possible that there are multiple predicates each of which satisfies the condition that it is universally attributable; and, I have given two examples: 'not nothing' and 'not a member of the empty set'. however the question naturally arises as to whether these are two separate predicates or just one predicate with two translations. until a consequence is demonstrated to follow from the difference in translation, it will not matter how one counts universal predicates.

§1.1.3: is Axiom 0 acutally true?

it has long been thought intuitively obvious that nothingness has no attributes, properties or qualities.1 modern predicate logic implicitly makes such and assumption; and, merely by explicating this assumption we have found a predicate ('not nothing') that satisfies Axiom 0. hence, we are compleletely justified in accepting it as an axiom.

it is unlikely that Axiom 0 could ever be proven true; for, any attempt to prove Axiom 0 on the basis of a system of logic that implicitly assumed an instance (ie an example) of Axiom 0 would contain a circularity.

§1.1.4: is there a universal predicate that can be stated in a positive manner?

for any x that is, the universal predicate asserts that x is; and, says something about what x is not (that x is not nothing or that x is not a member of the empty set); but, says nothing about what x is.

a positive statement would be more in keeping with the way language tunes the 'language operating system' of the philosophical inquirer; and, consequently, it is natural to want to find or construct a positive statement of the universal predicate(s) manner. let us define what we want; and, then set about looking for it.

root predicate - a predicate attributable to any x that is; which is non-informative; and, which means no more and no less than the universal predicate 'not nothing'.

the phrase 'root predicate' is taken from the nomenclature of taxonomy. a taxonomy is a hierarchical structure used to classify into subtypes that to which its root predicate may be attributed. since the root predicate defined (but not identified) by Axiom 0 is attributable to all that is, the resulting taxonomy may be described as a taxonomy of all that is.

§1.5: identification of the root predicate

I2 select a specific predicate from among the various candidates; and, identify it as the root predicate thru an act of reference fixing.2. before proceeding to a consideration of candidates for identification as the root predicate, I2 will consider the selection criteria:

§1.6: criteria to be used in selecting a root predicate

the word denoting the root predicate should have both a particular and a class/noun form - so that one may speak of a totality or a particularity as circumstances warrant:

  1. all that is, is P
  2. this/that which is, is [a(n)] p

I2 hasten to emphasize that I2 am here proposing that the word denoting the root predicate should have the linguistic property of having both mass/class and particular noun forms. 3

to clearly distinguish the two forms, I2 use the convention that the form of the root predicate attributable to the totality of all that is will be capitalized; and, the form attributable to any particularity that is will not be capitalized. for the sake of clarity, this requires abandonment of the practice of capitalizing the first word of a sentence if it is not capitalizable for some other reason.

similarly, other predicates which have both a mass/class noun form and a particular noun form will also be distinguished via capitalization of the mass/class version. 4

§2: correlating the linguistic and the metaphenomenal

if they are to be useful at all, the linguistic properties of words designated as predicates must correlate, however imperfectly, with properties of metaphenomenal realities.

correlations between linguistic properties of predicates and properties of metaphenomenal realities.
Form Linguistic Metaphenomenal
totality mass/class noun wholes, collective realities, universal realities
particularity particular nouns discrete realities
complementarity <totality> / <particularity> quantum realities such as entities that can appear as particles or as waves depending on how they are observed.

there is not a widely accepted linguistic convention for referring to a complementarity. until something better comes along, I2 will simply concatenate the totality form and the particularity form of the predicate. thus, a quantum reality can best be describe as a complementarity (rather than a totality or a particularity), a particle/wave or wave/particle --- which contracts into the colloquialism: wavicle.

§3: 'real/reality/Reality' as a root predicate

among the predicates that I2 might reasonably identify as the root predicate are these candidates: being, existence and reality. I2 accept as true that selecting from among the candidate root predicates is ultimately a matter of choice based on a judgment call as to how to best minimize the importation of unwanted connotations associated with the word used to designate the root predicate. all these potential candidates will have unwanted connotations due to thousands of years of use and abuse throughout psychophilosophical history; for, as defined here, to attribute the root predicate is only to say that it is; and, to self-attribute the root predicate is only to say Ix am.

elsewhere, I2 will further contemplate alternate root predicates. here, I2 will exercise my best judgment and select 'real' and cognate terms such as 'reality/Reality' as the root predicate; and, thus, the logic of reality generates its Axiom 1 from Axiom 0 by substitution:

Axiom 1:

where R = 'a reality' or 'real' or 'real (in some sense)'.

translation: for any x that is, x is real (in some sense).

the equivalence of 'real' and 'real (in some sense)' merits particular comment. these phrases are defined to have an identical meaning; but, I2 will more often use the latter because the parenthetical '(in some sense)' can serve as a reminder that 'real' is not the name of a reality type.

Axiom 1 is logically equivalent to:


translation: it is not the case that there is an x such that x is unreal.

clearly, if the root predicate is attributable to all that is; then, the word which morphologically means 'not <root predicate>' has no referent.

-(∃x)(Sx & -Rx)

where S = 'self-aware'

translation: it is not the case that there is an x such that x is unreal and x is self-aware.

translation: nothing unreal is self-aware.

clearly, if it is not the case that there is something which is not real in any sense of the word 'real'; then, a fortiori, it is not the case that there is something which is not real in any sense of the word 'real' and is self-aware.

this formula may be translated epigrammatically as: nothing unreal is self-aware; which translation is known as the first law of reality, FLR.

historically significant anticipations of the first law of reality.

intuitively, the first law of reality is self-evidently true. in the complete absence of any reality, of any reality type whatsoever, how could there be self-awareness? 5

and endless variety of formulas similar to this one could be created because, in the complete absence of any reality, how could there be any property at all? thus generalized, this principle is a variation of instantiation principle as expressed in the logic of reality: if it has a property then it has to be real (in some sense). however, FLR has significance as a version of the instantiation principle customized for use by those interested in consciousness research or consciousness exploration for this reason: the property in question is self-verifying for any I2 capable of asserting 'I2 am self-aware'.

we may now define the word reality.

§3.1: definitions

the totality of all that is; for, all that is is real (in some sense).

'Reality' is a collective/mass noun; and, it refers to the collection of all realities of all reality types. its use is indicated by the absence of a particularizing article and the practice of spelling it with an initial capital letter.

recall that humanese dispenses with the practice of capitalizing the first letter of a sentence; and, thus, the case of the word can be used as an unambiguous meaning carrier.

a particular aspect or piece of Reality; that which is real (in some sense of the word 'real').

'reality' is a particular noun because it refers to a particular reality. its use is indicated by the presence of a preceeding article ('a', 'the', 'this', 'that', etc.) and the practice of all-lowercase spelling.

the senses of the word 'real' correspond to the reality types that will be discussed more fully as part of the interpretation given to the logic of reality.

nothingness; the absence of any reality; not real in any sense of the word 'real'.

'unreality' is a noun that has no referent. while the word 'unreality' may serve as the subject of a sentence and, hence, the object of predication, it denotes the absence of any reality; and, thus, there is no referent having a property corresponding to the predicate taken by 'unreality' in that sentence --- or having any other property for that matter.

epigramtically, one could say nothingness has no properties. however, one may not infer that 'nothingness' has a referent which has the property of having no (other) properties.

§3.2: justification

ultimately, the justification for Axiom 0 is the intuition that one may meaningfully refer to the totality of all that is.

mathematicians, in effect, use 'member of the universal set' as their root predicate; and, for them, any x that is is a member of the universal set. for this I2, 'Reality' is just another name for the universal set; and, a reality is just another name for a member of that universal set.

consequently, if Axiom 0 were false; then, not only would mathematicians be banned from constructing the universal set; we'd all be banned from asserting thoughts such as:

Reality is the totality of all that is; all that is is real (in some sense).

as well as analogous thoughts expressed in a logic based upon an alternate root predicate:

that which is, exists

all that is has some measure of Being

finally, if Axiom 0 is assumed to be false; then, we'd have dualism by axiom.

I2 don't think anyone's ready for such consequences; so, I2 just accept Axiom 0 as it is.

§3.3: interpretation

an interpretation is mounted upon the symbolic form of Axiom 2; and, thereby, links the logic of reality to other work within the field of psychophilosophy. an interpretation is is problematic in that it solves problems for those who accept it; and, creates problems in the eyes of those who reject it. an interpretation makes the axiom useful to those who accept the interpretation in question; but, insofar as it is not derivable from the axiom it interprets, acceptance an interpretation is a matter of choice --- and sound judgment.

the interpretation built into humanese is a taxonomy of all that (allegedly) is. this interpretation is based on a new axiom:

Axiom 2:
not every reality has the same reality type.

schematically: not every [root predicate] has the same [root predicate]-type.

this interpretation is designed to allow those with different beliefs about what is to contribute to a common body of findings in what it is hoped will eventually become the science of consciousness research.

§4: moving on

as an example of the logic of reality, I2 present a derivation of the experientio: I2 experience; therefore, I2 am.

[1]: Descartes was not quite this pithy. "we cannot initially become aware of a substance merely through its being an existing thing, since this alone does not of itself have any effect on us. We can, however, easily come to know a substance by one of its attributes, in virtue of the common notion that nothingness possesses no attributes, that is to say, no properties or qualities. Thus, if we perceive the presence of some attribute, we can infer that there must also be present an existing thing or substance to which it may be attributed". [Principles of Philosophy, §52. CSM I, 210] [Back]

[2]: the act of identifying a root predicate will be more useful if made or adopted by a community rather than an individual. a community of knowledge seekers is constituted by its common acceptance of a specific root predicate. this is then a knowledge community in the Wilburian sense. the community becomes confirmer of new knowledge proposed by its own members and requires translation of knowledge from other communities with other root predicates [Back]

[3]: an individual I2 is free to assert that one type of claim or the other is inappropriately made; but, the language within which a debate takes place should, insofar as possible, not give a rhetorical advantage to one side or the other. [Back]

[4]: a particular noun is sometimes called a 'count' noun; but, if someone were to go around intoning 'Reality is One', it would be hard to argue that they weren't counting even though the capitalization of 'Reality' indicates that they are using it as a collective/mass noun. [Back]

[5]: the intuitively obvious, self-evidently true nature of the first law of reality will not prevent some psychophilosophers from disputing it. it is a sad commentary on the state of the art that Cicero is still correct: "nothing is so absurd that it hasn't been said by some philosopher". [Marcus Tullius Cicero, De divinatione] [Back]