Origins of the Great Philosophical Errors – Introduction and Final Words

INTRODUCTION

The feeling that pervades those who observe the dominating ideas in the field of human thought in the last two centuries is undeniably one of great perplexity. Impressive as much is the colossal number of systems, philosophical schools, social doctrines, never-ending hypotheses, always replacing each other in an endless turmoil. Once such time is examined, though, it is clear that those who shone, receiving the cuddle of easy praise and thrilling hordes of admirers, were not the greatest of their time but the smaller, and ended up finding an unimpressive place in the history of human knowledge.

Is it surprising that, in Athens, the Greek democracy (which actually was a minority of citizens and a majority of slaves) condemned Socrates to death simply because he taught the people to be worthy, noble and honest? Or that Plato remained almost unknown amongst his contemporaries, while someone such as Gorgias or Hippias shone as the lights of knowledge?

However, the Greeks are not the only ones to blame here: this is a common mistake repeated throughout human history. Have not the eighteenth century seen Hegel pontificated in Germany as the ultimate philosopher? Or Krause, at the end of the last century, excited crowds of thinkers, or even Bergson shining in the beginning of this century as a halo paling the great lights of the past? And how about, more currently, Sartre been erected to the highest, only to, latter on, tumble down, whilst other philosophy writers elevate someone like a Russell or a Moritz to the pinnacles of knowledge? Have not the man of our time seen the tremendous marketing around figures of mediocre values to the point of being considered as definitive landmarks on the pathway of knowledge, after whom nothing more can be done?

To the same extent, the field of science is, nowadays, marked by a flood of hypotheses, toppling down, being replaced by others, which also cannot stand to a point in which, in one single year there are so many changes in scientific knowledge, so many refutations, so many theory replacements and assumptions that no one else is able to properly track them and the science books become obsolete in a few months.

Theories that cannot resist a season are immediately abandoned, after having been hailed as definitive solutions.

The dwelling in examples is superfluous, for they are so numerous and beseeming that frightens those who scrutinises the terrifying march of human knowledge, and cannot preclude the fact that today’s doctrine should have a fatal destiny of ultimate abandonment tomorrow.

That, by itself, would not be so alarming, for it just so happened, it may be argued, that these facts reveal a development in human capacity, which increasingly tends towards a more perfect analysis that enables the capture of errors within different views, replacing erroneous doctrines with better judgments, therefore entering a field of extraordinary achievements and definitive statements. One could, then, affirm it as a demonstration of mankind’s mental health and creative strength: a sign of the creative evolution of our spirit.

However, what shocks us is the resurrection of already refuted old errors! How frightening is to see old concepts, which were crumbled by analysis and rebutted by rigorous arguments, returning as ghosts to concern again the immature minds of those who are unaware of their refutations, and presenting themselves as novelties, as the latest intellectual trends, and provoking, in minds not properly aware of what has been accomplished, spasms of satisfaction, exaltations of joy, as if they have reached the quintessence of things[1].

This spectacle is pitiful! And not because such ideas arise from puerile brains of people with no means to know better, from improvised thinkers, but from people who attended universities and flaunts their degrees as the greatest feat in the world, as the biggest title of glory, and that is an irrefutable certificate (just for them) that they are really knowledgeable on the subject, holders of knowledge, and that these certificates guarantee them the “authority in the matter”, as if someone who has attended a college and holds a diploma doesn’t know how graduations can be forged or the real value of their schools and many pseudo-teachers.

But why such things occur? Why do the same ideas as the Greek sophists had spread and received the fullest of rebuttals arise now as avatars of dead old ways, now resurrected? How can one comprehend that ideas such as skepticism, relativism, agnosticism, effectively dismantled by luminaries of the Greek thought, know nowadays an unexpected renaissance and find votaries amongst people judged as exponents of human knowledge? Why doctrines, founded on primary logic errors, which any well informed student would have avoided, are finding advocates amongst philosophers of renown and are propagating and spreading as bad weed?

Such errors persist, go through the years and the centuries, and appear in the eyes of many as splendid achievements of the human mind. That is even more grieving! Is ignorance the only culprit for such things or has it other accomplices such as bad faith or ulterior motives? Is it a product of a deficiency of spirit, or does it abide by an intentionality that cannot be confessed?

If one could only charge such errors to bad faith, of course they would still be disgraceful. However it’s not just that, but above all a neglectful study of logic, a lack of better reasoning and an ignorance of what has been done in the field. And when these are the reasons that generate such errors, it is just unfortunate. Pitiful spectacle, really.

However the mess of errors itself is not the worst aspect of it, but for they are the cause of the greatest harms to humanity. The deplorable in all of this is that such errors multiply, generate attitudes and taken positions which have dragged mankind into serious conflicts, and many scaffolds were erected to stultify those who do not follow these positions. Many crimes were practiced and countless blood was spilled in the name of such errors.

That is the reason to denounce them. It is necessary to expose them to meridian light and scalp them to the fullest extent, so their naked baldness fully shows through. It is necessary to warn the well-intentioned from being victims of such errors so that they can understand why confusion overwhelms modern man, understanding, then, why such errors are repeated and gain adherents. It is necessary to do this work of denunciation for is no longer possible to leave so many evils recur and multiply.

This is a work of denunciation. It only wants to contribute in warning the well-intentioned to abandon the evil actions of those who affects human intelligence, obfuscating it with so many vices, so to allow people to choose, and choose responsibly, between what is wrong and the what is right. No one would have, tomorrow, the right to claim naivety or ignorance, because looking into a clear error and still have the will to follow it is a evidence of bad character or morbidity.

That is the constructive intention of this book.

(…)

FINAL WORDS

Knowing that this book may cause many opposition, since several of some people’s dearest ideas were debuted, it is important to remind the reader that the value of what our work postulates resides in the value of the demonstrations. Our works are worthy what avail their demonstrations. There is only one authority in philosophy: demonstration. Outside of it dwells the false authority of titles, marketing, easy praises. Philosophy cannot proceed as the field of aesthetic spinners or of mere intellectual achievements, with no other purpose than to give vent to pathetic outbursts of an affection, acceptable in the field of aesthetics, but completely extemporaneous and outdated in the field of philosophy.

It is imperative to distinguish Speculative Philosophy from Practical Philosophy. While the latter is dedicated to human action, the first is engaged in the study of eideticity and ideality of reality, ie, the real nexus of eide (concepts, already purified from all axio-anthropological, the influence of human valuations and devaluations) as well as the eidetic link in reality.

However, following the lessons of the Pythagoreans and Socrates and inquiring about the eideticity of the concept of prudence, one would discover that it is the intelligent application of best appropriate means for the convenient ends or is the knowledge of the best suitable means for the desired ends. If in the first case one has the law of the aristocrat and the bourgeois, the last is related to prudence in its eidetic purity. And if there are intelligent beings on Mars or Venus, they would have the same prudence as spoken here, and so anywhere else an intelligent being inhabits. With this last statement, one achieves the highest speculative aspect of the concept, and can treat it as something timeless and spaceless. Prudence, treated this way, no longer belongs neither to time nor space: for where and from always, forever and ever, and everywhere where there are intelligent beings, this is what prudence is.

The Practical Philosophy, by dealing with human action and becoming, does not prevent the Speculative Philosophy from penetrating it, examining it and using its methods and its principles to give that a more certain content. If Cosmology belongs to Speculative Philosophy, this does not prevent its apodictic achievements to be applied on the field of Natural Sciences. Also nothing prevents Moral, which belongs to Practical Philosophy, to be treated with the same speculative rigor that can be done on Ethics (which always should be distinguished from each other, the first with a practical sense and the other with its speculative sense). Nothing prevents Economics, which is a practical science and belongs to the practical philosophy context, to be increasingly given a mathematical rigor (mathematics belongs to Speculative Philosophy), so to give greater or lesser eideticity to their concepts, and allow the examine, with utmost attention, of their postulates, according to the apodictic rigor that the speculative philosophy requires.

So one should seek to proceed with Law, History, Sociology, Axiology, because this is the way to bring philosophy from the mere essays, from the field of assertions, to the rigorous speculation, of science according to the Greek episteme.

The requirement for all those who propose ideas, positions, arguments, that they rigorously demonstrate them and not just gather more and more arguments, should lead mankind through the true pathway of science, the only one able to allow mankind into reaching more and more the Supreme Mathesis, the Supreme Instruction, the Higher Knowledge, the sage’s object of love, which eagerness for is the real philosophy, nothing but the journey the lover of knowledge travels to reach it.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A starting point

Of concepts

Of truth

Of universal concepts

Of conceptualism

An explanation of realism

Skepticism, source of great errors

The errors of idealism

The opinion

The material truth, the formal truth and prejudices

Foundations for Truth, offered by experience

The etiology of errors

Demonstration and argument

Harvesting famous errors – Great ontological errors

Are essences knowable?

The existence, confusing concept for some modern philosophers

Of nonbeing

Being, nonbeing and deprivation

The principle of sufficient reason and the corresponding errors

The positive and the practical concepts

Properties of Being

Of individuality

Of distinction

Of Truth

Of Goodness

Of finite and infinite

Of substance

New comments on the subject of cause and effect

Examining themes on the causes

The material and formal causes

Final words

[1] In another work, Mario Ferreira refers to those thinkers as “the late-coming Columbus”, those who comes as “discoverers” of theories that has been rebutted centuries ago.

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