Thursday, May 9, 2013

Self-evident principles?

Self-evident principles?
(Gleaned from ST I, q. 1)

Anything beyond what is sufficient is superfluous.
Nothing is known except the true.
Truth converts with being.
Men need to know their end so as to order their actions and intentions to it.
Man is ordered to God as to an end. (Self-evident to the wise?)
Diversity in the account of a knowable leads to a diversity of sciences.
Every science proceeds from principles either per se known or known by a higher science.
This divides the genus of sciences.
Science is not of singulars.
One is the science which is of one kind of subject.
The unity of powers and habits is from the unity of their object, with regard to the formal part.
The end of practical science is operation.
Every practical science is about things doable by men.
God, by the same science knows himself and those which he makes. (In general, is it the case that truths about God are per se known to the wise? I have in mind Boethius' example of the self-evident nature of incorporeal bodies not being in a place. I'm not sure if such truths belong in a list like this.)
Certitude pertains to the dignity of science.
One speculative science is more worthy than another on account of certitude and the dignity of the subject.
The natural light of human reason is able to err. (Many of the statements listed here are axioms, but this one seems a postulate, only known by experience. Unless one attends to the potency in the intellect itself: that may be sufficient.)
One practical science is more worthy than another if it is ordered to a higher end.
The ends of all the practical sciences are ordered to the end of the highest practical science.
The least knowledge about the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge about the lowest things. (This may require an argument, or at least an awareness of how much better higher things are than lower.)
It belongs to the wise to order and to judge.
In any science, one must posit the what it is of the subject.
All things determined in a science are comprehended under its subject.
The subject stands to the science as the object stands to the power or habit.
All our knowledge has its beginning from sense.
Representation is naturally delightful to men.

Besides several of the statements at the beginning, most of these have to with knowledge in some way. Does this necessarily remove it from the realm of postulates? Since everything insofar as it is is knowable, perhaps it is possible that there be axioms there. Certainly some of these have the predicate contained in the subject. Other do seem mere postulates (the last might even be capable of proof, if one attends to the purpose of representation). Now to share some of these with others to see how self-evident they are!

(Almost unrelated: I went bowling today and some of us were very bad. Sometimes when one would hit a few pins, it would be said "Something is better than nothing." That sounds like an axiom.)

Sent from my iPhone

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