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Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
Michael Burke
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Herbert Feigl
Arthur Fine
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
Sam Harris
William Hasker
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Christoph Lehner
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Jules Lequyer
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
Thomas Nagel
Otto Neurath
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Karl Popper
Huw Price
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Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
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Richard Rorty
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Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
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Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
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Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
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Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf


Michael Arbib
Walter Baade
Bernard Baars
Leslie Ballentine
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Mara Beller
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Olivier Darrigol
Charles Darwin
Richard Dawkins
Terrence Deacon
Lüder Deecke
Richard Dedekind
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Gerald Edelman
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Philipp Frank
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Donald Hebb
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Art Hobson
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Martin J. Klein
Simon Kochen
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Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Leopold Kronecker
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
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James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
John McCarthy
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
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Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
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Hans Primas
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Jürgen Renn/a>
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Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Tilman Sauer
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
Max Tegmark
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Giulio Tononi
Peter Tse
Vlatko Vedral
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
Konrad Zuse
Fritz Zwicky


Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
One or Many
Some philosophers are monists, arguing that the world must be a unity, one unchanging thing, and that all the multiplicity and change that we see is mere illusion.

Some are dualists, puzzled how the immaterial One (usually Mind or the Ideal) can possibly interact with the material Many (the Body or the World). There are other kinds of dualists, but the idealism/materialism divide has a long history in philosophy under dozens of different names through the ages.

Monists generally reduce the physical world to the ideal, or vice versa, or argued that the ideal and physical worlds were somehow both something else - a "neutral monism.". But their underlying dualism is inescapable.

Many philosophers prefer triads, triplicities, or trinities as their fundamental structures, and in these we may find the most sensible way to divide the world as we know it into “worlds,” realms, or orders.

Those who divide their philosophy into four usually arrange it two by two (Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Derrida - who did it in jest, and against Christian trinitues). There are a few who think a pentad has explanatory power. Another handful look to the mystical seven (the number of planets and thus days of the week) for understanding. Since the Pythagoreans drew their triangular diagram of the tetractus, ten has been a divine number for some. Aristotle found ten categories. The neo-Platonist Kabalists have ten sephiroth. In string theory, there are ten dimensions reflecting the components of Einstein’s general relativity equations.

The most important philosopher since Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, structured his architectonic into twelve categories, arranged four by three. We will scrutinize these architectures to see if the thinkers divide their worlds the same way, whatever they call their divisions. There is a surprising amount of agreement among them, considering their disagreements on terminology.

One of the "founders" of quantum mechanics. Niels Bohr, saw the wave-particle dual nature of quantum mechanics as connected to many other philosophical dualisms. We have compiled a semi-chronological list of various philosophical terms used through the ages that seem highly correlated with the fundamental ideal-material duality.

Over the centuries many philosophers have seen a fundamental dualism. Most have invented their own names for this dualism. Not all have meant the very same things, but the great similarities allow us to collect all these dualisms into a quasi-chronological table, where similarities and slight differences become more clear.

Of course many have claimed to be monists. "All is One," they said, as they generally reduced the physical world to the ideal, or vice versa, or argued that the ideal and physical worlds were somehow both something else. But their underlying dualism was inescapable.

Many philosophers saw the need for the two sides to work together.

Immanuel Kant wrote

Gedanken ohne Inhalt sind leer.
Anschauungen ohne Begriffe sind blind.

Charles Sanders Peirce rewrote it as

If Materialism without Idealism is blind,
Idealism without Materialism is void.

With a nod to Kant and Peirce, we can say

Concepts without Percepts are empty.
Percepts without Concepts are blind.

And although Freedom and Values are not a Dualism, they too require one another and we can observe

Freedom without Values is Absurd (Continental Existentialism).
Values without Freedom are Worthless (British Utilitarianism).

Monism Pluralism
Being Becoming
Necessity Contingency
Plato's Divided Line
Theories (noesis)   Hypotheses (dianoia) Techniques (pistis)   Stories (eikasia)
Eternal Ephemeral
Universals Accidentals / Particulars
Aristotle's Four Causes
Final Cause   Formal Cause Efficient Cause   Material Cause
Realism Nominalism
Intelligible Sensible
Form Content
General Particular
Absolute Relative
a priori a posteriori
Certainty Probability
Intellect Tabula Rasa
Innate Learned
Nature Nurture
Analytic Synthetic
Kant's Transcendental Critique
Noumena Phenomena
Concepts/Thoughts Percepts/Senses
Freedom Law
Subject Object
Dialectical IDEALISM Dialectical MATERIALISM
Superstructure Base
Romanticism Positivism
Transcendentalism Pragmatism
Supernaturalism Naturalism
Phenomenology Behaviorism/Existentialism
Linguistic Analysis
Ideal Language Ordinary Language
Intension Extension
Semantic Pragmatic
Autonomy Mimesis
Deduction Induction
Theory Experiment
Consistency Correspondence
Quantum Complementarity
Possible Actual
Thought Action

After dualisms, the next most popular philosophical architectonic structures are triads, triplicities, or trinities.

Some philosophers describe their triads as three "worlds," just as dualism is often described in terms of an Ideal World and a Material World. The deep philosophical (and scientific) question is - do these divisions "carve Nature at the joints," as Plato put it in the Phaedrus, (265e)?

We analyze examples, and find that the three worlds are most often simply the canonical Ideal/Material dualism with an interpolated third world corresponding to a human world (or more broadly, the biological world), with its obvious connection to the world of "subjective?" ideas above and the "objective" material world below.

Gottlob Frege's Three Realms

  • An External Realm of Public Physical Things and Events
  • An Internal Subjective Realm of Private Thoughts
  • An "Objective" Platonic Realm of Ideal "Senses" (to which sentences refer, providing their meaning)

Karl Popper's Three Worlds (clearly influenced by Frege)

  • World I - "the realm of physical things and processes"
  • World II - "the realm of subjective human experience"
  • World III - "the realm of culture and objective knowledge" - of human artifacts (our Sum)

Charles Sanders Peirce's Three Universes of Experience. Peirce's first and third worlds are both immaterial (our Sum), with the material world in the middle. So a better triad would have had Signs in the middle as human inventions mediating between the ideal and the material. Peirce's triad of Objects - Percepts - Concepts is in the correct order.

  • Firstness - Ideas
  • Secondness - Things
  • Thirdness - Signs.

The Information Philosopher's Three levels of Information Emergence (seen in our tri-color I-Phi logo)

  • The Physical/Material (green) - Ilya Prigogine's "order out of chaos," when the matter in the universe forms information structures
  • The Biological/Material (red) - Erwin Schrödinger's "order out of order," when the material information structures form teleonomic self-replicating biological information structures
  • The Mental/Immaterial (blue) - Bob Doyle's abstract "information out of order," when organisms with minds process and externalize information, communicating it to other minds and storing it in the environment

Bob Doyle's Three Sources that "Ground" Authoritative Knowledge

  • The Traditional - Knowledge is inherited, handed down, discovered in stories (mythos) from the great thinkers of the past (compare Frege's "Objective" Platonic Realm of Ideal "Senses" to which sentences "refer," providing their meaning)
  • The Modern - Knowledge is grounded by Reason, by providing a rational account (logos) of how things are, augmented by modern empirical science since the Enlightenment
  • The Post-Modern - all cultural knowledge is "relative" to conventions in the culture (nomos) that invents them.
    For conservative post-moderns, science can establish knowledge about an objective external world.
    For radical post-moderns, "anything goes" (Feyerabend), even science "invents/creates reality." There are no grounds/foundations for knowledge, for "justified true beliefs."

Terrence Deacon's three kinds of dynamics.

  • Homeodynamic- "Any dynamic process that spontaneously reduces a system's constraints to their minimum and thus more evenly distributes system properties across space and time. The second law of thermodynamics describes the paradigm case" (thus states of thermodynamic equilibrium, with maximal disorder and with minimal information? If so, "thermodynamic" might be a better term?)
  • Morphodynamic - "Dynamical organization exhibiting the tendency to become spontaneously more organized and orderly over time due to constant perturbation, but without the extrinsic imposition of influences that specifically impose that regularity" (thus both Prigogine's "order out of chaos" and Schrödinger's "order out of order" are morphodynamic; note that both of these are "negentropic")
  • Teleodynamic - "A form of dynamical organization exhibiting end-directedness and consequence-organized features that is constituted by the co-creation, complementary constraint, and reciprocal synergy of two or more strongly coupled morphodynamic processes" (end-directedness is usually called "teleonomic")

Merlin Donald's levels of Culture Emergence.

  • Mimetic: the "copycat" or "monkey see, monkey do" ability of primates facilitated transfer of learning, ritual
  • Mythic: language in humans, mental/brain development is influenced by social network of speakers generating symbols for ideas
  • Informatic: External storage of knowledge - writing, printing, computers, Internet

Types of Triads

  • Levels: Material - Biological/Human - Ideal (physis - bios/nomos - logos)

  • Inner Levels: Body - Mind/Brain - Spirit

  • Plato: Truth - Goodness - Beauty

  • Aristotle/Kant: Epistemology - Ethics - Aesthetics

  • Number: One - Two/Many - All (unity - duality/plurality - totality)

  • Person: I - You - We (self - other - society/community)

  • Truth: Correspondence - Coherence - Consistency (empirical - conventional/pragmatic - logical)

  • Time: Past - Present - Future

  • Family: Father - Mother - Son

  • Dialectic: Thesis - Antithesis - Synthesis (new higher thesis)

  • Hume's Relations: Similarity - Contiguity - Causality (form - space - time)

  • Medieval Trivium: Grammar - Rhetoric - Logic

  • Rhetoric: Simile - Metonym - Metaphor

  • Peirce: Objects - Percepts - Concepts

  • Peirce's Semiotics: Icon - Index - Symbol

  • Peirce's Symbol: Ground - Object - Interpretant

  • Peirce's Science: Abduction (hypothesis) - Induction - Deduction

  • Grounds: Tradition - Modern - Postmodern

  • Grounds: Mythos-Logos-Nomos

  • Greek literature: Epic (Homer/Hesiod) - Lyric (Sappho/Pindar) - Dramatic (Euripides)

  • Beliefs: Naturalism - Humanism - Spiritualism (supernatural/superhuman)

  • Matter: Solid - Liquid - Gas (earth - water - air)

  • Time: Begin - Middle - End (archos - physis/nomos - telos)

  • Journey: Eden - Fall - Atonement (home - travels - homecoming)

  • Life: Birth - Life - Death

A Few Tetrads
  • Classical Materialism: Earth - Water - Air - Fire (anticipating today's states of matter solid - liquid - gas - plasma)

  • Plato's Divided Line: Stories - Techniques - Hypotheses - Theories (eikasia - pistis - dianoia - noesis)

  • Aristotle's Causes: Material cause - Efficient cause - Formal cause - Final cause

    (He considered chance to be a possible fifth cause.)

  • Graeco-Roman Four Temperaments (or humors): Choleric (yellow bile), Melancholic (black bile), Sanguine (blood), and Phlegmatic (phlegm)

  • Medieval cosmology: Earth (below us) - Water (with us) - Air (above us) - Stars (beyond us)

  • The medieval scholastic Quadrivium: Math - Geometry - Music - Astronomy (number - space - time - motion)

  • Schopenhauer's Fourfold Root of Sufficient Reason

  • Heidegger's Geviert (2x2): Earth - Mortals - Heavens - Gods

  • Derrida's Jeu des Cartes

Those who divide their philosophy into four usually arrange it two by two (Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Derrida - in jest). There are a few who think a pentad has explanatory power. Another handful look to the mystical seven (the number of planets and thus days) for understanding.

Since the Pythagoreans drew their triangular diagram of the tetractus, ten has been a divine number for some. Aristotle found ten categories. The neo-Platonist Kabalists have ten sephiroth.

The most important philosopher since Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, structured his architectonic into twelve categories, arranged four by three.

We will scrutinize these architectures to see if the various thinkers divide their worlds the same way, whatever they call their divisions. We'll see that there is a surprising amount of agreement among them, especially considering their disagreements on terminology.

For Teachers
For Scholars

Chapter 5.9 - Universals Chapter 6.1 - Demons
Part Four - Knowledge Part Six - Solutions
Normal | Teacher | Scholar