Meta-Axioms

Other Books by rgb: |

This work in some measure is intended to open up this world to you, the
reader. If you have read carefully, you at this point should realize
that there are things that look like questions but aren't. I can write
``Is there a God?'' and it looks like a question, but this question
cannot be answered in any way that can be ``proven'' correct, an answer
can only be asserted with *no possibility of proof either way!*

The best thing to do is likely to assume that the answer is yes, and see
how the worldview that you derive from the assumption (together with
other assumptions - axioms - you add along the way) works out. Then
assume that it is no and repeat the process. Then just see which system
you *like* the most. That's right. I'm not going to ask you to
adopt *any* particular set of axioms as ``obviously right'' as I
have no idea on earth which set are ``right'' in the sense of absolute
truth myself. In fact, I don't think that any set is ``obviously''
right - quite the contrary.

One of the first things one has to do to decide what you like, to be
able to judge, is to come up with a few meta-axioms, axioms to help you
comparatively evaluate axiom sets. These are henceforth presented in a
list with no particular order. I urge you to give these axioms a try;
start to use them as the basis of questioning your own personal beliefs
and axioms. This process may prove so uncomfortable you blind your
inner eye and return to a state of absolute adherence to one of the old
sets (likely the one you were raised with). Or you may find it
exhilarating and liberating - for the first time you may find yourself
actually *understanding* your own beliefs; why you believe what you
believe, what the *consequences* of your beliefs are. You may find,
for the very first time ever, that *consistency* of your belief set
becomes important to you, rather than practicing the sort of spiritual
schizophrenia experienced by many Christians, Moslems, and Jews, for
example, when trying to reconcile ``irrefutable'' scientific evidence
that the Universe is 13 billion years old or thereabouts and that we all
evolved on this planet over roughly a billion years with Genesis.

Let us therefore begin with perhaps the most important meta-axiom - one this whole article has been working towards:

The Axiom of Open Mindedness:All axiomatic systems with any degree of complexity are likely self-referential, incomplete and inconsistent (including this one, as this axiom just referred to itself). I will therefore provisionally reject all Axioms or sets of Axioms (but this one) that claim completeness, overtly refer to themselves, or are explicitly and obviously inconsistent.

The provisional part is because (like any good jigsaw puzzle or
crossword puzzle) one sometimes has to try different pieces in different
places because an inconsistency *could* occur because a lot of the
*existing* pieces are wrong, but the piece being tried is right.

This is a lovely axiom. It asserts that I Don't Know The Answer, and
that You Don't Know The Answer EITHER so give it all a rest. I might,
possibly, adopt an axiom you propose because it is appealing. I will
NEVER adopt an axiom you propose because it ``has to be correct''. It
doesn't. It is an *irrational assumption* we make as the basis for
further consideration using reason and logic. That's what the word
means.

It also means that if we don't agree on our axioms before we start any
discussion on e.g. religion or politics, we are as silly as a plane
geometer trying to convince a curved-space geometer that the theorems of
plane geometry are correct. Theorems true in one space are false in
another and vice versa, and there is no *absolute* where space is
curved or flat - both are just what they are: ``geometries'' derived
from differing but similar sets of axioms. In particular, we have to
agree on a way of judging axiom sets themselves, as a lot of our
discussion will inevitably be coming to agreement on a common axiom set
so that we can sanely proceed to derive conclusions and make judgements.

So I *urge* you to start a process of self-exploration by *opening your mind*. What you've been taught is not necessarily true.
Make yourself into a child again, free from any preconceptions about how
the Universe and God ``have to be''. Then you can try *looking
yourself* to discover the answer *for you*, instead of *being
told* an answer, that may not be correct or even consistent, by somebody
else.

Shaving the Barber with the Razor of Ockham

Meta-Axioms

Other Books by rgb: |

Copyright ©

Duke Physics Department

Box 90305

Durham, NC 27708-0305