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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
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
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
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
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
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
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
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
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
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
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
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

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Parmenides

Parmenides came from the Greek colony of Elea in Italy. There he founded the Eleatic school that included the famous generator of Paradoxes, Zeno of Elea.

Parmenides' great work, On Nature is in the form of an epic poem, written in the hexameters of Homer and Hesiod. And although he is best known for his somewhat mysterious (perhaps Pythagorean?) claim that what exists is eternal and unchanging, the third part of his poem contains reflections on the Ionian "physiologoi" who replaced mythical gods with natural explanations for phenomena.

Parmenides was the source of Plato's claim that Parmenidean Being is more "real" than Heraclitean Becoming, which may only be an "illusion."

For Plato, his forms or "ideas" are prior to any instance of an object with a given form. The forms exist in another "realm" that is more "real" than the everyday physical world of material objects. The forms are properly outside of time, like Immanuel Kant's noumenal world. Aristotle challenged Plato's idea and argued that the forms are merely "perfect" and "idealized" abstractions from the many "imperfect" examples found in the world.

In mathematics, the ideal circle consists of an infinite number of infinitesimal points that satisfy an equation. Such an infinity is never realized in the empirical world, in which objects are composed of a finite number of material particles, for example, atoms. Arguably, an ideal circle has an unchanging, eternal nature. It will be the same for any thinking entity, now in the real world, and forever in any possible world.

Plato thus set up the fundamental dualism of philosophy, the distinction between idealism and materialism, between abstract eternal essences and concrete ephemeral existences, between In his Timaeus 27d, Plato asked "What is Being always, but has no Becoming (origin or genesis), and what is Becoming always, and never Being?"

τί τὸ ὂν ἀεί͵ γένεσιν δὲ οὐκ ἔχον͵ καὶ τί τὸ γιγνόμενον μὲν ἀεί͵ ὂν δὲ οὐδέποτε;

In Plato's Parmenides, there is much talk of "Being" as "the One," but it is not clear whether Plato accepts the One completely, as the Socratic dialectic avoids coming to any conclusion. The dialogue is full of dazzling wordplay about infinite regresses, as well as claims that many things both are and are not, in various respects. The "One" is both like and unlike itself. (147c ff) The "One" both touches, and does not touch, both itself and others. (149d) The "One" is alike equal to, greater than, and less than, both itself and others. (151b)

Since the existent has not-being and the nonexistent has being, the "One" also, since it does not exist, must have being in order to be nonexistent. Thus it appears that the "One" has "being," if it is nonexistent, and also, since it is not existent, has not-being. (162b) The nonexistent "One" both comes to be and ceases to be, and also does not come to be or cease to be. (163b)

καὶ τὸ ἓν ἄρα μὴ ὂν ἀλλοιούμενον μὲν γίγνεταί τε καὶ ἀπόλλυται, μὴ ἀλλοιούμενον δὲ οὔτε γίγνεται οὔτε ἀπόλλυται: καὶ οὕτω τὸ ἓν μὴ ὂν γίγνεταί τε καὶ ἀπόλλυται, καὶ οὔτε γίγνεται οὔτ᾽ ἀπόλλυται. (163b)
The Parmenides appears to be the locus classicus and origin of the dialectical nonsense that is the hallmark of much idealist philosophy down to G.W.F.Hegel and Martin Heidegger, as well as many modern metaphysicians.

Despite the empty verbal debates, the principal goal for Parmenides is to show that some one thing cannot be many things. In particular, it cannot be like another thing (in the sense of having a property) and yet not like that thing, that is have one property and yet not have that property.

Socrates demolishes Parmenides by arguing that properties are relative. One can have the property of being tall and not tall. Simmias is tall because heis taller than Socrates. But he also is short, shorter than Phaedo (Phaedo 102b). SImmias is both tall (with respect to Socrates) and not tall (with respect to Phaedo).

Socrates dispenses with Parmenides' claim that one cannot be many. He is one of the many philosophers and yet consists of many parts - head, hands, etc. Socrates then turns to a suggestion that the "Forms" are just "Thoughts," the ideas in some mind. Parmenides is well known for claiming that "Being is Thinking." Parmenides objects that if a form is a thought, that then any object with a form is a thinking thing. This "panpsychism" is unacceptable to both Parmenides and Socrates.

Socrates then suggests that forms are merely "patterns" in nature. This is the essence of information philosophy. When a form/pattern in an object is isomorphic to the form/pattern in a mind, when some part of the information in a structure is the same information stored in a mind, we can say the the thinker has some knowledge of the object. But one object can contain many different "patterns" or properties.

Much in the Parmenides has the character of Heraclitus's thought. He concluded rather dialectically that we both "step and do not step into the river, that we are and are not," sounding obscurely like the modern obscurant Hegel.

ποταμοῖσ τοῖσ αὐτοῖσ ἐμβαίνομεν τε και οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμεν τε και οὐκεἶμεν.
(Diels-Kranz B49a, "Homeric Questions.")

It concludes on a difficult note,

Thus, in sum, we may conclude, If there is no one, there is nothing at all.

To this we may add the conclusion. It seems that, whether there is or is not a one, both that one and the others alike are and are not, and appear and do not appear to be, all manner of things in all manner of ways, with respect to themselves and to one another.

Most true.

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