Boydstun Posted February 14, 2015 Report Share Posted February 14, 2015 “Our ancestors have achieved much, but did not bring it to completion. Much remains still to do, and much will always remain, and someone born a thousand generations hence will not be denied the opportunity to add yet more.” —Seneca, quoted by Bolzano I shall dive into Bernard Bolzano’s monumental Theory of Science (1837) in the next post. The text of that post will be taken directly from a portion of chapter Six of my own book in progress. The native title of this mature work of Bolzano is Wissenshaftslehre, and I’ll follow the usual convention WL to designate my citations of it. I shall omit my lists of References for these two posts. Contact me through the personal message system of this site if you would like to have them. The following material of this post is background for the post to follow, and is taken from other parts of my book, but this can be skipped for a first reading of that next post, concerning Theory of Science. Unlike moderns such as Leibniz, Baumgarten, Kant, and Rand, Aristotle did not connect a “law of identity,” in so many words, with his principle of noncontradiction. Aristotle additionally did not connect the law of identity that speaks to the distinctive natures of things with a formula such as “A is A” or “A thing is itself.” He would say “A thing is itself” is nearly empty and useless, and he would not connect that proposition to “A thing is something specifically,” which he thought substantive and important. Aristotle was the founder of logic, and his great contribution thereto was his theory of correct inference, which is his theory of the syllogism. Though he did not realize it, the formula “A is A” in the form “Every A is A” can be used to extend the kingdom of the syllogism. By about 1240, Robert Kilwardly was using “Every A is A” to show conversions such as the inference “No A is B” from the premise “No B is A” can be licensed by syllogism. There are places in which Aristotle connects (what we call the law of identity) “A thing is something specifically” or “A thing is what it is” with the principle of noncontradiction: “The same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject in the same respect” (Metaph. 1005b19–20). Though not given the pride of place given it by Rand, there is some recognition that Existence is identity in Aristotle: “If all contradictories are true of the same subject at the same time, evidently all things will be one . . . . And thus we get the doctrine of Anaxagoras, that all things are mixed together; so that nothing exists” (1007b19–26). Aristotle realized too that any existent not only is, but is a what. Aristotle, Avicenna, Henry of Ghent, John Duns Scotus, Francis Suárez, Spinoza, and Baumgarten also reached principles close to “Existence is identity,” though not the Randian rank of it among other metaphysical principles. The Thomist text Rand read had included: “What exists is that which it is” (Gilson 1937, 253). That is a neighbor of Rand’s “Existence is identity.” Neighbor Baumgarten: “Whatever is entirely undetermined does not exist” (1757, §53). In Rand’s fundamental Existence is identity, the identity of an existent includes its that/which and its what. Rand has the relation of identity to existence as Aristotle had the relation of unity to being, which the schoolmen called a transcendental relation. Existence and unity are convertible; unity follows existence everywhere. In Rand’s metaphysics and in mine, not only is unity convertible with existence, identity is also convertible with existence. Unity is absorbed into Rand’s ample identity. Intelligibility, another traditional “transcendental property” of being, is also absorbed into the transcendental that is identity where (i) existence is identity and (ii) consciousness is identification. The scholastic transcendental property (of being) truth is absorbed into identification, which is not a transcendental property of existence. Rand’s convertibility of identity and existence was most fully seen before her by Avicenna with his addition of the transcendentals “thing and something, meaning definiteness and otherness, respectively” (Kovach 2013, 240). Aquinas folded those into his system of the transcendental properties. Within Rand’s metaphysics and mine, let us call such “properties” merely comprehensive standings with existence. They follow existence everywhere, existence actual and potential. © Stephen C. Boydstun 2015 Notes  Leibniz 1678; Baumgarten 1757 (1739), §11; Kant 1755, 1:389; 1764, 2:294.  Aristotle, Metaph. 1041a10–24.  First mood of the second figure; Kneale and Kneale 1962, 235–36; see also Kant 1800, §44n2.  See also Aristotle, Metaph. 1006b26–27, 1007a26–27.  Metaph. 1030a20–24.  Metaph. 1006b26–27, 1007a26–27, 1007b19–26, 1030a20–24; Kovach 2013, 240; Wippel 2010, 623–34; Vos 2006, 274–79; King 2003, 28–30; Copleston 1963, 186–89; Spinoza 1677, IP25c, 36d; Baumgarten 1757, §§10–11, 20–24, 34–35, 53, 55.  Top. 127a27–28; Metaph. 1003b23–34; cf. Aquinas ST Q.11 A.1.  Kovach 2013, 241. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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