Robert G. Brown wrote:This is a serious work (in progress). It examines just what an axiom is in mathematics, philosophy, science, and society, points out some of the dangers and pitfalls of axiomatic systems in general, and then gets down and dirty with an examination of philosophy and science as axiomatic systems where the issue is not answering unanswerable pseudoquestions but in reasoning soundly from your axioms, after choosing your axioms quite deliberately and hopefully well. It then goes after the memetic role of axioms in society, and attempts to illuminate some of the fundamental conflicts that arise because of the utterly mistaken but common belief that axioms are self-evident truths instead of what they really are: unprovable assumptions whose truth and falsehood cannot be assessed. Period.
Fairly ambitious, to be sure. This work strips off the undergarments of the philosophical basis for knowing anything and lays it out naked for us all to see that -- there is nobody and nothing there. Far from the Emperor being there and the clothing being imaginary, we find the Emperor entirely missing and that all the Reality that we've every seen or imagined is nothing but traditional and colorful undergarments! Fortunately, the clothes do make the man, metaphorically speaking...
If you accept its conclusions, this will be the last work of philosophy you'll ever need to read. When you're done, you may or may not know the deepest answers to the deepest pseudoquestions, but you'll at least be able to tell a real question from a pseudoquestion, and a real answer from a meta-answer. You'll also be equipped to choose your meta-answers with the greatest possible degree of confidence, which is either none whatsoever or infinity, as you like. Can't do any better than that. Really.
Axioms as the Basis for All Understanding (or, Philosophy is Bullshit) - reading time: ~1.25 hrs.
SPOILER ALERT!!! Conclusion follows:
... choose your axioms wisely my friend, examine them often for leaks.
Bail them out like a foundering float, burn the boat if it creaks.
Challenge the cherished old words, my friend, challenge the new ones too.
Avoid all beliefs that lead you to grief, and keep all the best ones for you.