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European Philosophy 1
Transcript of European Philosophy 1
Big Ideas in European Thinking
The Age of Revolution and the Emazipation of Man
Age of Enlightenment
In medivial times a huge gap emerged in terms of driving the sciences forward. A powerful and nearly almighty roman catholic church hindered progress towards empiric research and new insights.
political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others; but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine* expressed it in “"Common Sense"” (1776), government is at best “a necessary evil.” Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individual’s life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him.
Manifesto of the Communist Party
A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.
Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?
Two things result from this fact:
I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power.
II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself.
To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.
The Age of Enlightenment depicts an era or period which emerged in 14th century Italy and lasted up to the 17th century, spreading all over Europe.
Also well known as the periods of "Renaissance" and "The Age of Reason".
This time frame is now viewed as the bridge between the medieval and modern periods. Marked by a renewed interest in the whole of Greek and Roman Classical culture. It was a movement that viewed humans, not religion, at its center. This new humanism was first reflected in the arts and then in the politcal and social structures.
Old values and the the feudal system proved their long term inability to settle with modern times.
The rise of nations also founded the first principles
on the idea of national states.
The Industrial Revolution, which took place from the 18th to 19th centuries, was a period during which predominantly agrarian, rural societies in Europe and America became industrial and urban. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the late 1700s, manufacturing was often done in people’s homes, using hand tools or basic machines. Industrialization marked a shift to powered, special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production. The iron and textile industries, along with the development of the steam engine, played central roles in the Industrial Revolution, which also saw improved systems of transportation, communication and banking. While industrialization brought about an increased volume and variety of manufactured goods and an improved standard of living for some, it also resulted in often grim employment and living conditions for the poor and working classes.
“economic individualism,” which Adam Smith earlier called “the obvious and simple system of natural liberty” (Wealth of Nations). Economic individualism’s basic premise is that the pursuit of self-interest and the right to own private property are morally defensible and legally legitimate
Ancient knowledge was gone, mainly the scientific achievements of the greek philosophers and mathematicians.
Heraclitus, Sokrates, Platon, Aristoteles
Heraclitus (535-475 BCE
Everything is flux. "You can never step in the same river twice".
Heraclit argued, that the world and the cosmos are governed by the "logos". An universal cosmic law, balncing all the opposites
Knowledge Box I:
Transfer to Modern Times
Metaphysics is the most abstract and in some views "high-falutin" part of philosophy, having to do with the features of ultimate reality, what really exists and what it is that distinguishes that and makes ist possible.
Quote: The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, New Ed., Oxford Press
The wide definition states that all existing things go back to a source which is distinct from them.The common, restricted definition implies also a unity of substance and essence.
Walter Brugger und Harald Schöndorf (Hrsg.): Philosophisches Wörterbuch, Herder, Freiburg Breisgau
Similar positions are held by Thales from Milet and Pythagoras (both 6th century BCE)*. Phytagoras states that the world has an underlying structure that can be defined mathematically.
BCE = Before Common Era = Before Christ = BC
CE = Common Era = Anno Domini = AD
The CE/BCE notation has been adopted by numerous authors and publishers wishing to be neutral or sensitive to non-Christians because it does not explicitly make use of religious titles for Jesus, such as "Christ" and Domin- ("Lord"), which are used in the BC/AD notation, nor does it give implicit expression to the Christian creed that Jesus was the Christ.
"The influence of western culture and scholarship upon the rest of the world in turn led to this system of dating becoming the most widely used one across the globe today. Many scholars in historical and religious studies in the West in recent years have sought to lessen the explicitly Christian meaning of this system without abandoning the usefulness of a single, common, global form of dating.
For this reason the terms common era and before the common era, abbreviated as CE and BCE, have grown in popularity as designations. The terms are meant, in deference to non-Christians, to soften the explicit theological claims made by the older Latin terminology, while at the same time providing continuity with earlier generations of mostly western Christian historical research."
Irvin, Dale T.; Sunquist, Scott (2001). History of the World Christian Movement. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. xi. ISBN 0-567-08866-9.
Heraclitus approach is the balancing of opposites, such day and night, up and down, hot and cold - at least 2 parts of a single fundamental process or substance.
Georg Friedrich Hegel (19th century) bases his dialectic system of philosophy on the integration of opposites. Gottfried Leibniz (146-1716), another German philosopher and mathematician, establishes the Theory of Monadism. This means "each singular substance expresses the whole universe"
Screw pump by Archimedes
A significant incidence therefore was the so called "Condemnation of 1277". On March 7, 1277, the Bishop of Paris, Stephen Tempier, prohibited the teaching of 219 philosophical and theological theses that were being discussed and disputed in the faculty of arts under his jurisdiction.
(See also Knowledge Box II)
Science Finds its Feet
Let`s have a look at a representative one:
Rene Descartes (also Renatus Cartesius,1596-1650), named as one of the major "Lighthouses" on the road to modern science, elaborates new perspectives. Especially in the fields of math, philosophy and cognition.
Quote: "It is nessecary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."
More info: see Knowledge Boxes for Hegel & Leibniz
An evil damon may be
making me believe things
that are false
There is nothing of
which I can be certain
But when I say:
"I am, I exist",
I cannot be wrong
An evil demon could try
to make me believe this
only if I really do exist
I am thinking,
therefore I exist
Descartes is well known to us also by inventing the Cartesian Systen
Descartes also stated, that there is an inner and an outer "world" existing (res interna-res extensa). This had huge impact on the development of western sciences. Because the mighty paradigm* is set, that any subject is able to recognize any objects. The subject has "only" to take care, that there is no misleading illusion. Our senses are endangered to be cheated.
A paradigm is an intellectual perception or view, accepted by an individual or a society as a clear example, model, or pattern of how things work in the world. This term was used first by the US philosopher and science historian Thomas Kuhn (1922-96) in his 1962 book 'The Structure Of Scientific Revolution' to refer to theoretical frameworks within which all scientific thinking and practices operate.
Kuhn argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions", and in those revolutions "one conceptual world view is replaced by another".
Knowledge Box II
The Galileo Affair
Tempier's condemnation has come to be associated with the opposition between faith and reason, caused by the introduction of newly translated philosophical sources in the Latin West, in particular Aristotle and his commentator Averroes. (Source: Malpas, J., “Donald Davidson”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition))
This led to the public opinion of the so called Conflict Thesis. The conflict thesis refers to the idea that science and religion are incompatible. It may be considered as either a philosophical
or historical issue.
Galileo Galilei was born in 1564--the same year that Shakespeare was born and Michelangelo died. Galileo's world of science and humanism collides with the world of Scholasticism* and absolutism that held power in the Catholic Church. The result is a tragedy that marks both the end of Galileo's liberty and the end of the Italian Renaissance.
(Source: Church vs Galileo, Tony Long, in Wired Magazin, February 2007)
"And yet it moves" (Italian: Eppur si muove) is a phrase said to have been uttered before the Inquisition
The dominant European philosophy until the 15th century. Majorly taught at the "schools" in medievel universities run by church dignitaries. Well known are Thomas of Aquin (1225-1274), Michael Scotus (1175-1235) and William Ockham* (1285-1349).
The work of scholastic philosophers was not so much an exploration of questions such as "Is there a God?" or "Does
ma have an immortal soul?", as a search for a rational justification for the belief in God an an immortal soul.
Source: The Philosophy Book, DK Publishing, N.Y., 2011
The term razor refers to distinguishing between two hypotheses either by "shaving away" unnecessary assumptions or cutting apart two similar conclusions.
"We consider it a good principle to explain the phenomena by the simplest hypothesis possible", quoted Claudius Ptolemeus (CE 90-168) comparably.
(Source: James Franklin: The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability before Pascal. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 2011).
In science, Occam's razor is used as a heuristic (general guiding rule or an observation) to guide scientists in the development of theoretical models rather than as an arbiter between published models.
(Source: Hugh G. Gauch, Scientific Method in Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2003)
From Adam Smith to Milton Friedman
Free Market Idea dominates Political Ideas
The "Newtonian Revolution"
This scientific revolution is provided by three researchers. Robert Hooke (CE 1636-1703), Edmond Halley (CE 1656-1742) and Isaac Newton (CE 1643-1724)
Short Info Box - Robert Hooke
English physicist who discovered the law of elasticity, known as Hooke’s law, and who did research in a remarkable variety of fields.
He suggested that the force of gravity could be measured by utilizing the motion of a pendulum (1666) and attempted to show that Earth and the Moon follow an elliptical path around the Sun. In 1672 he discovered the phenomenon of diffraction (the bending of light rays around corners); to explain it, he offered the wave theory of light. He stated the inverse square law to describe planetary motions in 1678, a law that Newton later used in modified form. Hooke complained that he was not given sufficient credit for the law and became involved in bitter controversy with Newton. Hooke was the first man to state in general that all matter expands when heated and that air is made up of particles separated from each other by relatively large distances.
(Source: Encyclopedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/271280/Robert-Hooke)
Short Info Box - Edmond Halley
Halley was a major astronomer. He began observing seriously already as an undergraduate and published a paper on theoretical astronomy in the Philosophical Transactions at that time. He is known today primarily for A Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets, 1705, but he made other important contributions: the catalogue of the southern skies (Catalogus stellarum australium, 1678), the method of measuring the astronomical unit via transits of Venus, the establishment of stellar motion and the secular acceleration of the moon.
He published important editions of Apollonius and of other ancient geometricians as well as papers in pure mathematics.
He is considered the founder of geophysics, especially for his paper on trade winds and his work on tides.
He was one of the pioneers in social statistics by calculating annuities from the mortality tables of Breslau (1693).
He was constantly concerned with the magnetism of the earth, and developed a general theory about this. He also experimented at determining the law of magnetic poles.
He was concerned as well with weather, and published on the relation of barometric pressure to the weather.
Halley was something of a universal natural philosopher. He worked on historical geology and on the sources of springs and fountains, which I am subsuming under his geophysics. He published papers on optics, especially a universal theorem for determining the foci of lenses (again subsumed under physics). Navigation was a constant concern, and he was an important figure in it.
Source: Will Buckingham, et al.: The Philosophy Book, DK Publishing, N.Y., 2011
Timeline: Renaissance and the Age of Reason
publishes "The Prince"
nails his 95 Thesesis to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, triggering the Reformation
proposes that Earth orbits the Sun, in opposition to the Christian view that Earth lies at the center of the universe.
The Edict of Nantes
is issued by Henry IV, granting Protestants rights within Catholic France
publishes his "New Organon", proposing a new approach to investigating nature
is excommunicated by the church and sentenced to lifelong imprisonment, for upholding the theory that Earth revolves around the sun
Renaissance and the Age of Reason II
writes his "Meditationes"
finishes his great and ground-breaking political work "Leviathan". Hobbes* also brought up the concept of "Social Contract".
begins compiling his notes on "Certain Philosophical Questions".
publishes "An Essay concerning Human Understanding".
Locke* also designed an theory on "Social Contract".
writes "New Essays on Human Understanding".
opens in Britain, accelerating the "Industrial Revolution"
More Descartes at Scientific Revolution
More Isaac Newton in Scientific Revolution
More Leibniz in Scientific Revolution
More at Chapter "Industrial Revolution"
By resolute setting aside any morality, Machiavelli wanted to give ruthlessly advice to a strong ruler.
"A prince needs to know how to act like a beast and must imitate the quality of the fox as well as the lion".
Transfer to Modern Times
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) became a politician and diplomat of the Florentine Republic at the age of 29.
Stem Cell Discussion: The Catholic Church supports adult stem cell research and opposes embryonic stem cell research. (Source: Catholic Online)
Evolution Theory: Charles Darwin`s concept of Evolution is challenged actually by religious beliefs that there exists a God (Teleological Argument*) and
this entity creates the universe. The so called
"Intelligent Design", is a form of Creationism
regarding to an US Court decision
A teleological or design argument is an a posteriori argument for the existence of God based on apparent design and purpose in the universe.
Source: Ratzsch, Del, "Teleological Arguments for God's Existence", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
Although the teleological argument clearly belongs to the domain of philosophy and not to that of natural science, beginning in the 1990s, neo-creationism and intelligent design authors have tried to disguise it as fact based science, avoiding naming the designer to get it taught in public school science classes. But, in 2005, a U.S. Federal Court ruled that intelligent design is a religious argument and is not science, and was being used to give pseudoscientific support for creationism, the religious belief in a designer. In the legal case Kitzmiller v. Dover, tried in 2005 in a Harrisburg, PA, Federal District Court, "intelligent design" was found to be a form of creationism, and therefore, unconstitutional to teach in American public schools. (Source: "Kitzmiller v. Dover: Intelligent Design on Trial". National Center for Science Education. October 17, 2008. Retrieved 08 April 2013.)
Famous Quote by Machiavelli:
The end justifies the mean.
Branch: Political Philosophy
Political philosophy is always guided by the question of the best regime. But what is the best regime?
Even to raise such a question seems to pose insuperable obstacles. Isn't that a completely subjective judgment, what one thinks is the best regime? How could one begin such a study? Is the best regime, as the ancients tended to believe, Plato, Aristotle, and others, is it an aristocratic republic in which only the few best habitually rule; or is the best regime as the moderns believe, a democratic republic where in principle political office is open to all by virtue of their membership in society alone? Will the best regime be a small closed society that through generations has made a supreme sacrifice towards self-perfection? Think of that. Or will the best regime be a large cosmopolitan order embracing all human beings, perhaps even a kind of universal League of Nations consisting of all free and equal men and women?
Quote: Professor Steven B. Smith, "Introduction to Political Philosophy, in Open Yale Courses, online transcript. Retrieved: 04 April 2013
Partly available (video & audio elements) on
Philosphy of Realism states, that there is an existing world (reality), real things (objects), or some kind of facts outside of my mentals (mental models).
Source: Simon Blackburn, Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2008
Machiavellis famous Quote:
"The end justifies the means"
was adopted by dictators like
Benito Mussolini (1883-1945).
In 1928 the Italian fascist leader
describes "The Prince" as "the statesman supreme guide"
Info Box - Reformation
The Reformation led to a series of religious wars that culminated in the horrible Thirty Years` War, which devastated much of Middle Europe, killing between 25% and 40% of its population. From 1618 to 1648 the Catholic House of Habsburg and its allies fought against the Protestant princes of Germany, supported at various times by Denmark, Sweden and France. The Habsburgs, who ruled Spain, Austria, the Spanisch Netherlands and much of Germany and Italy, were staunch defenders of the Catholic Church.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
As a Renaissance scholar, humanist, Augustinian monk and Doctor of Philosophy, Luther led an open attack on the issue of the sale of indulgences (letters of indulgence, esp. to refinance St. Peter`s Cathedral , built CE 1506-1626)
While struggling with his own sense of self-doubt, Luther could not accept that salvation could be won by "good works" alone. Salvation for Luther could be won, however, by one's personal relationship with God, through faith ("the just shall live by faith alone"). This was an important development in the history of Christianity and the Church. The Christian had, up to 1517, always found his or her faith by obeying the Church. Good works were the only path to salvation -- in other words, there was nothing specifically individual about this faith.
Source: Professor Steven Kreiss, at History Guide Online, http://www.historyguide.org/earlymod/lecture6c.html,
retrieved 02 April 2013
Nothing without substance can exist
So everything in the universe is physical
A human being is therefore entirely physical
Man is a machine
The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
Both, Hobbes and Descartes hang to the idea that man is some kind of machine. This view also became a very powerful paradigm. Modern scientists and technicians often refer to it.
So the honoured American architect and inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) describes humans as:
Quote: Man is a self-balancing, 28-jointed adapter-base biped, and electro-chemical reduction plant, integral with the segregated stowages of special energy extracts in storage batteries, for subsequent activation of thousands of hydraulic and pneumatic pumps, with motors attached; 62,000 miles of capillaries, millions of warning signal, railroad and conveyor systems, crushers and cranes, and a universally distributed telephone system needing no service for seventy years if well managed, the whole extraordinary complex mechanism guided with exquisite precision from a turret in which are located telescopic and microscopic self-registering and recording range-finders, a spectroscope, etc.
Talking Europe means 3000 years relevant history, close to 740 million inhabitants living in the space of 10,5 million square kilometers; 50 states - 27 of them in the European Union, 16 countries share the Euro, the EU has recognized 23 official and working languages.
What makes Europe european? The similiarities or the diversity, or both? Where does the common ground come from? What are the sources of European thinking?
Simon Blackburn, retired professor (2011) at the University of Cambridge, answers:
"...it`s about the big questions in life: KNOWLEDGE, FATE, CONSCIOUSNESS, GOD, TRUTH, GOODNESS, JUSTICE, LIBERTY, MORALTIY, ETHICS
Source: Simon Blackburn, Think. A compelling introduction to philosophy.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Info Box Copernican Revolution
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) publishes the first developed heliocentric theory of the universe in the modern era.
This work builds on the rediscovery of the ancient Almagest* written by the greco-roman astronomer Claudius Ptolemy.
Copernicus system is entirely mathematical, in the sense of predicting the observed position of celestial bodies on the basis of an underlying geometry, without exploring the mechanics of celestial motion.
Source: John Gribbin: Science - A History; Penguine Books, London, 2003
Is the Arabic title for the masterpiece of Ptolomy. A complete treatment of ancient astronomical knowledge in thirteen books. This work dominated astronomical theory in Byzantinum, the Islamic world and medieval Europe.
Ptolemy's model, like those of his predecessors, was geocentric and was almost universally accepted until the appearance of simpler heliocentric models during the scientific revolution.
Almagest (digital source for an edition of the year CE 1515): http://www.univie.ac.at/hwastro/rare/1515_ptolemae.htm
More in Chapter Scientific Progress
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679
Metaphysics is the most abstract and in some views "high-falutin" part of philosophy, having to do with the features of ultimate reality, what really exists and what it is that distinguishes that and makes ist possible.
Physicalism in the philosophy of mind is an application of the general metaphysical thesis of physcalisme, namely the claim that everything in this space-time world is physical (also material)
Source: Ted Honderich, Editor: The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, N.Y., 2005
Leviathan was written during the English Civil War (1642-1651) and so he pled for a strong central government to stop „Bellum omnium contra omnes“ (the war of all against all)
Hobbes also claimed, that man is inherently selfish (homo homini lupus (est)-man is a wolf to his fellow man). This positions influenced the European idea of man heavily up to the presence.
Glossary D -Leviathan
Leviathan is a sea monster referenced in the Tanakh and in the Christian Old Testament. It is described extensively in Job 41 and mentioned in Isaiah 27:1.
The Leviathan of the Middle Ages was used as an image of Satan, endangering both God's creatures—by attempting to eat them—and God's creation—by threatening it with upheaval in the waters of Chaos. Thomas Aquinas described Leviathan as the demon of envy, first in punishing the corresponding sinners.
Info Box - Edict of Nantes
French Édit De Nantes, law promulgated at Nantes in Brittany on April 13, 1598, by Henry IV of France. It granted a large measure of religious liberty to his Protestant subjects, the Huguenots. The edict upheld Protestants in freedom of conscience and permitted them to hold public worship in many parts of the kingdom, though not in Paris. It granted them full civil rights and established a special court, the Chambre de l’Édit, composed of both Protestants and Catholics, to deal with disputes arising from the edict.
The edict also restored Catholicism in all areas where Catholic practice had been interrupted; and it made any extension of Protestant worship in France legally impossible. Nevertheless, it was much resented by Pope Clement VIII, by the Roman Catholic clergy in France, and by the parlements. Catholics tended to interpret the edict in its most restrictive sense. The Cardinal de Richelieu, who regarded its political clauses as a danger to the state, annulled them by the Peace of Alès (1629). On Oct. 18, 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and deprived the French Protestants of all religious and civil liberties. Within a few years, more than 400,000 Huguenots emigrated—to England, Prussia, Holland, and America—depriving France of its most industrious commercial class.
Info Box - St. Peters Cathedral
The dome of St. Peter's rises to a total height of 136.57 metres (448.1 ft) from the floor of the basilica to the top of the external cross. It is the tallest (height) dome in the world. Its internal diameter is 41.47 metres (136.1 ft), slightly smaller than two of the three other huge domes that preceded it, those of the Pantheon of Ancient Rome, 43.3 metres (142 ft), and Florence Cathedral of the Early Renaissance, 44 metres (144 ft). It has a greater diameter by approximately 30 feet (9.1 m) than Constantinople's Hagia Sophia church, completed in 537. It was to the domes of the Pantheon and Florence duomo that the architects of St. Peter's looked for solutions as to how to go about building what was conceived, from the outset, as the greatest dome of Christendom.
The most famous building connected to St. Peter`s ist the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo.
Info Box - Augsburg Treaty
The Edict of Nantes had one major requirement. The settling of the religious disturbances in the Holy Roman Empire in 1555.
The Peace of Augsburg was a treaty between Charles V and the forces of the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes, on September 25, 1555, at the imperial city of Augsburg, now in present-day Bavaria, Germania.
It officially ended the religious struggle between the two groups and made the legal division of Christendom permanent within the Holy Roman Empire. The peace established the principle "Cuius regio, eius religio", which allowed German princes to select either Lutheranism or Catholicism within the domains they controlled, ultimately reaffirming the independence they had over their states. Subjects, citizens, or residents who did not wish to conform to the prince's choice were given a period in which they were free to migrate to different regions in which their desired religion had been accepted.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Philosophy of Science
Ancient philosopher Aristotle sets observation and inductive reasoning at the center of scientific thinking
Karl Popper, an Austrian philosopher of science, applied the principle of falsification to the induction model.
All knowledge must come ultimately from sensory experience
Knowledge is Power
Scientific knowledge builds on itself
It advances steadily and cumulatively discovering new laws and making new inventions possible
It enables people to to things that otherwise could not be done
Knowledge is power
Deductive reasoning happens when a researcher works from the more general information to the more specific. Sometimes this is called the “top-down” approach because the researcher starts at the top with a very broad spectrum of information and they work their way down to a specific conclusion. For instance, a researcher might begin with a theory about his or her topic of interest. From there, he or she would narrow that down into more specific hypotheses that can be tested. The hypotheses are then narrowed down even further when observations are collected to test the hypotheses. This ultimately leads the researcher to be able to test the hypotheses with specific data, leading to a confirmation (or not) of the original theory and arriving at a conclusion.
The deductive statement above is a perfect logical statement, but it does rely on the initial premise being correct. Perhaps today there is construction on the way to work and you will end up being late. This is why any hypothesis can never be completely proved, because there is always the possibility for the initial premise to be wrong.
Inductive reasoning works the opposite way, moving from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories. This is sometimes called a “bottom up” approach. The researcher begins with specific observations and measures, begins to then detect patterns and regularities, formulate some tentative hypotheses to explore, and finally ends up developing some general conclusions or theories.
An example of inductive reasoning can be seen in this set of statements: Today, I left for work at eight o’clock and I arrived on time. Therefore, every day that I leave the house at eight o’clock, I will arrive to work on time.
While inductive reasoning is commonly used in science, it is not always logically valid because it is not always accurate to assume that a general principle is correct. In the example above, perhaps ‘today’ is a weekend with less traffic, so if you left the house at eight o’clock on a Monday, it would take longer and you would be late for work. It is illogical to assume an entire premise just because one specific data set seems to suggest it.
By nature, inductive reasoning is more open-ended and exploratory, especially during the early stages. Deductive reasoning is more narrow and is generally used to test or confirm hypotheses. Most social research, however, involves both inductive and deductive reasoning throughout the research process. The scientific norm of logical reasoning provides a two-way bridge between theory and research. In practice, this typically involves alternating between deduction and induction.
Source: Education Sociology
retrieved: 10 April 2013
Philosophy of Science
Karl Popper (1902-1994)
more at Scientific Progress
Hobbes also researches in physical phenomena such as light. In his early theory of light he postulates some kind of pulsating source (early input to later wave theory)
The English empirist David Hume ( CE 1711-1776) also challenged the concept of induction.
More: see David Hume
Feyerabend states that there is no scientific method existing. All methodology is limited in terms of scope. In his famous book "Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge" (1975) Feyerabend resumes : "Science and myth overlap in many ways".
Source: Will Buckingham et al; The Philosphy Book. DK Publishing, N.Y. 2011
Info Box-Social Contract
Hobbes` view on social contract is driven by the idea, that there is a contract established between the citizen and the (absolute) sovereign, establishing obligations on both sides.
"social contract, in political philosophy, an actual or hypothetical compact, or agreement, between the ruled and their rulers, defining the rights and duties of each. In primeval times, according to the theory, individuals were born into an anarchic state of nature, which was happy or unhappy according to the particular version. They then, by exercising natural reason, formed a society (and a government) by means of a contract among themselves.
Quote: Ecyclopedia Brittanica, online, retrieved 15. April 2013
John Locke defines the Social Contract as an agreement by citizens vesting power to a government. So society has the possibilityto investigate terms and conditions for handing over power and reducing self-determination voluntarily.
John Locke (1632-1704)
Thomas Aquinas* assumes the principle that "whatever is in our intellect must have previousely been in our senses"
Rationalist believe that we are born with some ideas and concepts, that tey are "innate"
but this is not born out by the fact that:
there are no truths that are
found in everyone at birth
there are no universal ideas found in people of all cultures at all times
Everything we know is gained from experience
The world did have a beginning, but God could have created in such a way that it exists eternally
Aristotle says that the universe has always existed
The Bible says that the universe has not always existed
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274
Historians sometimes say that Aquinas "synthesized" Christianity and Aristotelian philosophy, as if he took parts he wamted from each and made them into a smooth mixture. In fact, for Aquinas -as for most Christian scientists- the teaching of the Church must all be accepted without exception and compromise.
Quote: Will Buckingham, et al.; The Philosophy Book
DK Publishing, N.Y. 2011
The major work: SUMMA THEOLOGICA complete to read, structured in 5 chapters
Sacred Doctrine. The One God. The Blessed Trinity. Creation. The Angels. The Six Days. Man. The Government of Creatures.
PRIMA SECUNDÆ PARTIS.
Man's Last End. Human Acts. Passions. Habits. Vice and Sin. Law. Grace.
SECUNDA SECUNDÆ PARTIS.
Faith. Hope. Charity. Prudence. Justice. Fortitude. Temperance. Acts Which Pertain to Certain Men.
The Incarnation. The Life of Christ. Sacraments. Baptism. Confirmation. The Holy Eucharist. Penance.
SUPPLEMENTUM TERTIÆ PARTIS.
Penance (continued). Extreme Unction. Holy Orders. Matrimony. The Resurrection. Appendices.
Knowledge Box - Plato (BCE 427-347)
The real world is the world of Ideas
We are born with these concepts of these ideal form in our minds
The illusory world we live in -the world of the senses- contains imperfect copies of the Ideal Forms
We recognize things in the world, such as dogs, because we recognize they are imperfect copies of the concepts in our minds.
Everything in this world is a "shadow" of its Ideal Form in the world of Ideas.
Noam Chomsky, born 1928, writes the book Cartesian Linguistics. Chomsky a well known left winged philospher claimed, that there is some kind of innate grammar to all languages on this globe.
Cartesian Linguistics was originally published with the purpose of deepening "our understanding of the nature of language and the mental processes and structures that underlies its use and acquisition" .
Quote: Review - Cartesian Linguistics
A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought
by Noam Chomsky
Cambridge University Press, 2008
Review by Christina Behme
Sep 1st 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 36)
Info Box - Isaac Newton
Born on January 4, 1643, in Woolsthorpe, England, Isaac Newton was an established physicist and mathematician, and is credited as one of the great minds of the 17th century Scientific Revolution. With discoveries in optics, motion and mathematics, Newton developed the principles of modern physics. In 1687, he published his most acclaimed work, Philosophiae, Natrualis, Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), which has been called the single-most influential book on physics.
All those scientific achievements and researches led to the invention of the steam engine. Thomas Newcomen and James Watt delivered machines for heavy duty, first in coal mines later also in different industrial contexts. This opens the door widely for the Industrial Revolution
Lombe`s Silkmill at Derby
The Factory Act of 1802
The Factories Act 1802 (sometimes also called the "Health and Morals of Apprentices Act") was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which regulated factory conditions, especially in regard to child workers in cotton and woollen mills. It was the culmination of a movement originating in the 18th century, where reformers had tried to push several acts through Parliament to improve the health of the workers and apprentices. The act had the following provisions:
Factory owners must obey the law.
All factory rooms must be well ventilated and lime-washed twice a year.
Children must be supplied with two complete outfits of clothing.
Children between the ages of 9 and 13 can work maximum 8 hours.
Adolescents between 14 and 18 years old can work maximum 12 hours.
Children under 9 years old are not allowed to work but they must be enrolled in the e elementary schools that factory owners are required to establish.
The work hours of children must begin after 6 a.m., end before 9 p.m., and not exceed 12 hours a day.
Children must be instructed in reading, writing and arithmetic for the first four years of work.
Male and female children must be housed in different sleeping quarters.
Children may not sleep more than two per bed.
On Sundays children are to have an hour's instruction in Christianity.
Factory owners are also required to tend to any infectious diseases.
Fines of between £2 and £5 could be imposed on factory owners, but the Act established no inspection regime to enforce conditions. The act failed to provide a clear law of the hours one is permitted to work and failed to include supervision to make sure the law was being followed. The law was largely ignored by the factories but paved the way for more Factory Acts to follow.
A new class rises in poverty and misery
Branch: Political Philosophy
Context 1940`s onward
Approach: Classical Economics
Industrialization brought an end to the system called Mercantilism* and opend the path for new economic an social structures. Economy starts to be an independent branch of science. Driven by:
Adam Smith (1723-1790)
Man is an animal that makes bargain
Modern philosophers, economists, sociologists,
decision theorists apply the idea of bargaining throughout the social sciences as a model for explaining human behavior (i.e. Game Theory).
Adam Smith sets up the concept of bargaining and self-interest* to build a commercial society**
Smith assumes that the motives of human beeings are partly benevolent and partly self-interested, but that self interest is the stronger trait.
Contemporary Swiss philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau° argues the same way.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau the swiss-french philosopher belongs to the school of Rationalism promoting the power of Ideas as the driving force of progress. On the other said he distrusted the technical progress and forced the concept of "Back to Nature"
The concept of a "Commercial Society" is originally introduced by Smith`friend David Hume (more at David Hume, 1711-1776).
Hume also designs a sophisticated concept of Social Contract, underlined by the assumption of custom the so called common sense.
The "Invisible Hand"
This concept argues that in a "perfect" market people act pure rational in total. Therefore singular / or some individual untypical behaviour will remain unnoticed (in statistical monitoring). Smith claims there exists a "general interest" which is at least the same like the "consumer interest".
So the market is driven by rational decisions and these decisions as a whole drive the market like being steered by an univisible hand.
Based on this thesis the concept of the impeccable "Free Market" could rise.
Smith`"Free Market Thesis" was challenged by his critics because the model was unable to balance the interest of producers and consumers within a social model.
People act out of self-interest
We often require goods and services that others provide
WE must therefore agree to exchange goods or money between us in a way that benefits both parties
Man is an animal that makes bargain
Info Box - Division of labor
The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labor seem to have been the effects of the division of labor.
Civilized society stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitude.
Quote: Adam Smith
The rise of Middle Class
18th century European societies struggle with social and economic inequality
mainly held by emperors, nobility and church dignitaries
because industrialization "produces" few wealthy people and majorly many poor
Well educated citizens claim their rights for political participation and liberty
the fastest growing class of society, the workers, remained powerless and exploited.
So another powder keg was established
1750 - 1900
150 years for shaping modern society in Europe
Denis Diderot (CE 1713-1784)
publishes his Encyclopedia against strong opposition of the old powers
Jean-Jaques Rousseau (CE 1712-1778)
(1724 - 1804)
Francis Bacon: Kowledge is power
counters the claim of Leibniz that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds"
Quote: Francois Marie Arouet, alias Voltaire, in "Candide"
Every fact and theory in history has been revised at some point
We are not born with ideas and
concepts already in our heads
Every idea and theory
can be challenged
Doubt is not a
but certainty is absurd
Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears, is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales. It is not good either to forget the questions philosophy asks, or to persuade ourselves we have found indubitable answers to them. To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralysed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can do for those who study it.
Quote: Bertrand Russell, 1872 – 1970
publishes the groundbreaking political work
"The Social Contract"
"Man was born free
yet everywhere he is
David Hume (CE 1711-1776)
In 1763 the great "human" philosopher is appointed to the embassy in Paris and becomes friend with Rousseau. They discuss a lot, especially about the formation of society under the perspective of a Social Contract. So Hobbes, Voltaire, Rousseau and Hume designed a huge theory on society. Hume looks far forward and sets the foundations for Liberalism
According to Hume, science deals with theories only and can never yield a
"Law of Nature"
I see the sun rise
I get into a habit of expecting the sun to rise every morning
I refine this into the judgement
"the sun rises every morning"
The judgement cannot be a truth of logic,
because the sun is not rising (however unlikely that seems to us) is conceivable
This judgement cannot be empirical, because I cannot observe future risings of the sun
I have no rational grounds for my belief,
but custom tells me that it is probable
Custom is the great
guide of life
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Experiment: Rational decision
The Theories of Adam Smith had an impressive comeback, beginning in the 1980`s up to the crisis of 2008.
On one hand as an anti-thesis to John Maynard Keynes and the econonomics of deficit spending, on the other hand as the contradiction to the European model of the "Social Market Economy". The Social Market Economy was sucessfully driven forward in Middle Europe, especially by the German state secretary of economy Ludwig Erhard (CE 1897-1977, Conservative Party-CDU).
Within the last decades the free market idea boosted especially the financial markets and unleashed critical money speculation as well as systems of overtrading.
N CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
On 14th of July people assaulted the Bastille
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
French Revolution, also called Revolution of 1789, the revolutionary movement that shook France between 1787 and 1799 and reached its first climax there in 1789. Hence the conventional term “Revolution of 1789,” denoting the end of the ancien régime in France and serving also to distinguish that event from the later French revolutions of 1830 and 1848.
Although historians disagree on the causes of the Revolution, the following reasons are commonly adduced: (1) the increasingly prosperous elite of wealthy commoners—merchants, manufacturers, and professionals, often called the bourgeoisie—produced by the 18th century’s economic growth resented its exclusion from political power and positions of honour; (2) the peasants were acutely aware of their situation and were less and less willing to support the anachronistic and burdensome feudal system; (3) the philosophes, who advocated social and political reform, had been read more widely in France than anywhere else; (4) French participation in the American Revolution had driven the government to the brink of bankruptcy; and (5) crop failures in much of the country in 1788, coming on top of a long period of economic difficulties, made the population particularly restless.
Quote: Ecyclopedia Brittanica, Online, retrieved 17.4.13
is banned from teaching because of his unorthodox views
It is precisely in knowing its limits that philosophy exists
Reason and experience is necessary to understand the world.
Kant In The Matrix
In the first Matrix film (1999), Morpheus tells Neo, “If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
Kant didn’t believe in any robotic conspiracies to systematically delude humanity. Instead, Kant takes a position which I believe is just as striking: for him, our minds are the Matrix. This idea is at the heart of Kant’s philosophy, and he called this position transcendental idealism. That is to say, the mind has structures which impose structure on the data our senses receive from the world, and so actually create our worlds in certain ways.
Metaphysics is the most abstract and in some views "high-falutin" part of philosophy, having to do with the features of ultimate reality, what really exists and what it is that distinguishes that and makes ist possible.
Quote: The New Oxford Companion to Philosophy
The rationalism believed that the use of reason, rather than experience, leads to knowledge of objects in the world.
The empiricism believed that knowledge comes from our experience of objects in the world, rather than our reason.
Kant`s theory of Transcendental Idealism stated that both reason and experience were necessary to understand the world.
Kant, White Rabbits & the Matrix
Our sensibility is the ability to sense things in the world
Our understanding is the ability to think about things
Space and time cannot be learned about through experience, they are intuitions of the mind
So a thing appears in space and time only insofar as it is sensed by our minds
Concepts only apply to things insofar as they are sensed by our minds
A "thing-in-itself" (something considered exterior to our minds) may have nothing to do with space, time or any of our concepts
"Things-in-themselves" are unknowable
There are two worlds: the world of experience sensed by our bodies and the world as it is in itself
Georg Friedrich Hegel
proclaims himself Emperor of France
Reality is a Historical Process
Georg Hegel pubishes his major work "Phenomenology of Spirit in 1807. Therein he lays out the very complex concept of dialectic
German Idealism is a movement in late 18th and early 19th century. This approach sees the so called ultimate reality is mental or spiritual, or at least non-physical
Kant, Hegel, Fichte and Schelling are usually classed as German idealists.
Source: Ted Honderich,;The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, New Edition, Oxford University Press, 2005
Special: Hegel`s dialectic
The french writer and philosopher Jean Paul Satre relies upon Hegel`s notion of dialectic. Satre`s existentialist book is titled "Being and Nothingness"
Jean Paul Satre (1905-1980)
publishes his Communist Manifesto.
Revolutionary movements sweep across Europe
Source: Library of Economics and Liberty, Robert Hessen: The cncise Encyclopedia of Economics
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica Online
Thomas Paine ( CE 1737-1809)
Early Human Rights & Liberalism
Paine's political influence was greatest in England. In intellectual terms, his Rights of Man was his greatest political work and was certainly the best-selling radical political tract in late 18th century England. Before Paine, British radicals sought a reform of Parliament which would grant to all men the vote for members of the House of Commons. In his Rights of Man, Paine abandoned this approach and, rejecting the lessons of history, maintained that each age had the right to establish a political system which satisfied its needs. He rested his case on the moral basis of the natural equality of men in the sight of God. Since government is a necessary evil that men accepted as a means of protecting their natural rights (cf. John Locke), the only legitimate government was that established by a contract between all members of society and one in which all men preserved all their natural rights, except the individual right to use force. Paine argued rationally that all men had an equal claim to political rights and that government must rest on the ultimate sovereignty of the people.
Bernard Harcourt, Professor of Law & Political Science at the University of Chicago, says "Free Market is an Illusion".
Milton Friedman (CE 1912-2006)
Prominent free-market economist Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, was widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the quantity of money as an instrument of government policy and as a determinant of business cycles and inflation. In addition to his scientific work, Friedman also wrote extensively on public policy, always with primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. Friedman's ideas on economic freedom hugely influenced both the Reagan administration and the Thatcher government in the early 1980s, revolutionized establishment economic thinking across the globe, and have been employed extensively by emerging economies for decades.
Austrian School of Economics
Chicago School &
Chicago Boys & Austrian School
Hayek vs. Keynes
Political Liberalism was step by step embedded into an economic concept of free markets, weak governments and deregulation. Many nobel prize (economy) awarded members of the University of Chicago drove this concept forward for many decades . They formed the so called Libertarianism*
Libertarianism is generally considered the group of political philosophies which emphasize freedom, individual liberty, and voluntary association. There is no general consensus among scholars on the precise definition nor on how one should use the term as a historical category. Libertarians generally advocate a society with little or no government power.
The Chicago Boys (c. 1970s) were a group of young Chilean economists, most of whom trained at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger, or at its affiliate in the economics department at the Catholic University of Chile.
Chile & Chicago
The Chicago Boys' ideas remaining on the fringes of Chilean economic and political thought, even after a 500-page plan based on the Chicago School's ideas called El ladrillo ("the brick") was presented as part of Jorge Alessandri's call for alternative economic platforms for his 1970 presidential campaign. Alessandri rejected El ladrillo, but it was revisited after the 1973 Chilean coup d'état on 11 September 1973 brought Augusto Pinochet to power, and became the basis of the new regime's economic policy. Eight of the ten principal authors of "The Brick" were Chicago Boys.
But there’s another point: the economics of Chile under Pinochet are a lot more ambiguous than legend has it. The way the story is told now, the free-market guys moved in, liberalized, and then there was a boom.
Actually, as you can see from the chart above, what happened was this: Chile had a huge economic crisis in the early 70s, which was, yes, partly due to Allende and the accompanying turmoil. Then the country experienced a recovery driven in large part by massive capital inflows, which mostly consisted of making up the lost ground. Then there was a huge crisis again in the early 1980s — part of the broader Latin debt crisis, but Chile was hit much worse than other major players. It wasn’t until the late 1980s, by which time the hard-line free-market policies had been considerably softened, that Chile finally moved definitively ahead of where it had been in the early 70s.
So: free-market policies are applied, and presto! prosperity follows — fifteen years later.
Source: Paul Krugman / New York Times on 3 March 2010
Chile: coup d`etat 1973
The story of the Austrian School begins in the fifteenth century, when the followers of St. Thomas Aquinas, writing and teaching at the University of Salamanca in Spain, sought to explain the full range of human action and social organization.
These Late Scholastics observed the existence of economic law, inexorable forces of cause and effect that operate very much as other natural laws. Over the course of several generations, they discovered and explained the laws of supply and demand, the cause of inflation, the operation of foreign exchange rates, and the subjective nature of economic value--all reasons Joseph Schumpeter celebrated them as the first real economists.
Source: Ludwig von Mises Institut, Auburn, Alabama; www.mises.org
The economists of the Austrian School always stood in a clear opposition to Marxism, Socialism and Communism. Not only in economical fields but also in society and philosophical ones
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
Ludwig von Mises
The Clash that Defined Modern Economics
Ludwig von Mises:
Mises also argued that business cycles are caused by the uncontrolled expansion of bank credit. In 1926 Mises founded the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research. His most influential student, Friedrich Hayek, later developed Mises’s business cycle theories.
Another of Mises’s notable contributions is his claim that socialism must fail economically. In a 1920 article, Mises argued that a socialist government could not make the economic calculations required to organize a complex economy efficiently.
Mises believed that economic truths are derived from self-evident axioms and cannot be empirically tested. He laid out his view in his magnum opus, Human Action, and in other publications, although he failed to persuade many economists outside the Austrian school. Mises was also a strong proponent of laissez-faire; he advocated that the government not intervene anywhere in the economy. Interestingly, though, even Mises made some striking exceptions to this view. For example, he believed that military conscription could be justified in wartime.
Source: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Friedrich A. von Hayek is well-known outside of economic circles - The Road to Serfdom is a classic example of political philosophy. In economics, however, he is a legend. His theory of the business cycle defended free-market economic systems and showed how economic crises were historically the product of manipulation: lowering interest rates to an unnatural level, central banks would induce "overinvestment" and create false booms.
In "The Road to Serfdom" he "warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning", and in which he argues that the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, the tyranny of a dictator and the serfdom of the individual. Significantly, Hayek challenged the general view among British academics that fascism was a capitalist reaction against socialism, instead arguing that fascism and socialism had common roots in central economic planning and the power of the state over the individual.
“ Can capitalism survive? No. I do not think it can.” Thus opens Schumpeter’s prologue to a section of his 1942 book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. One might think, on the basis of the quote, that Schumpeter was a Marxist. But the analysis that led Schumpeter to his conclusion differed totally from Karl Marx’s. Marx believed that capitalism would be destroyed by its enemies (the proletariat), whom capitalism had purportedly exploited, and he relished the prospect. Schumpeter believed that capitalism would be destroyed by its successes, that it would spawn a large intellectual class that made its living by attacking the very bourgeois system of private property and freedom so necessary for the intellectual class’s existence.
Creative destruction, sometimes known as Schumpeter's gale, is a term in economics which has since the 1950s become most readily identified with the Austrian American economist Joseph Schumpeter, who adapted it from the work of Karl Marx and popularized it as a theory of economic innovation and the business cycle. The term is derived from Marxist economic theory, where it refers to the linked processes of the accumulation and annihilation of wealth under capitalism. These processes were first described in The Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels, 1848) and were expanded in Marx's Grundrisse (1857) and "Volume IV" (1863) of Das Kapital.
Schumpeter`s Creative Destruction
Schumpeter was among the first to lay out a clear concept of entrepreneurship. He distinguished inventions from the entrepreneur’s innovations. Schumpeter pointed out that entrepreneurs innovate not just by figuring out how to use inventions, but also by introducing new means of production, new products, and new forms of organization.
John Maynard Keynes (JMK) is probably one of the most famous economists. He was a British economist. His father was John Neville Keynes a Cambridge economist. JMK attended King’s College Cambridge and later became a fellow there. In 1911 he was made editor of the Economic Journal - Britain's foremost economics publication.
Keynes and the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:
Keynes is known for starting the field of what became known as Keynesian economics. He outlined many of these ideas in his famous book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. This book, published in 1936, was written in response to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Keynesian economics promotes a mixed economy.
Keynes and a Mixed Economy:
In this type of economy both the state and the private sector play an important role. For example, he advocated for interventionist government policy. He thought it would be beneficial for the government to use fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the negative impact of economic recessions, depressions and booms.
Keynesian economics is often seen as the opposite of laissez-faire economics. Laissez-faire economic theory is based on the belief that markets and the private sector can operate well on their own, without state intervention. Obviously while JMK's ideas have had a great impact on economic and political though and action, not everyone agrees with his ideas. At the time of JMK's writing his ideas split the economics world. Even today Keynes's ideas are controversial.
In 1942, based on his economic and political work, Keynes became Baron Keynes, of Tilton in the County of Sussex. Keynes died of infarction, his heart problems being aggravated by the strain of working on post-war international financial problems.
John Maynard Keynes (CE 1883- 1946):
Source & full text: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm
Utopia vs. Reality
Communism became the dominant political philosophy of many countries across Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. In the late 19th century, communist philosophy began to develop in Russia. In 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power through the October Revolution. This was the first time any group with a decidedly Marxist viewpoint managed to seize power. They changed their name to the Communist Party, and sent their ideals to all European socialist parties. They then nationalized all public property as well as putting factories and railroads under government control. Stalin continued leading by the communist philosophies, and extended the growth of the the USSR. This example of Communism has been followed in many countries since then, including China.
Europe was therefore divided into two hemispheres up to 1989 / early ninties
Karl Marx (CE 1818-1883)
The history of society
is the history
of class struggles
It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence but their social existence that determines their consciousness.
Marx offered an objective theory of class, based on an analysis of the objective features of the system of economic relations that constitute the social order. A person's social class is determined by his or her position within the system of property relations that constitutes a given economic society. People also have subjective characteristics: thoughts, mental frameworks, and identities. These mental constructs give the person a cognitive framework in terms of which the person understands his or her role in the world and the forces that govern his or her life. One's mental constructs may correspond more or less well to the social reality they seek to represent.
People align into groups
with others who share
their social an economic
against those in conflict
with their social an economic
The socio economic status of
each group is defined by its
relationship to property and
The proletariat owns
The bourgois or ruling
class owns most of a
country`s property and
When the means of production changes,
such as from agricultural to industrial,
there are revolutions and wars
The ruling class is displaced
and a new one is created
History is a record of class struggles and
Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. Politically, it is the system of laissez-faire (freedom). Legally it is a system of objective laws (rule of law as opposed to rule of man). Economically, when such freedom is applied to the sphere of production its’ result is the free-market.
Capitalism is a socio-economic system that allows private owners to profit from the goods and services they provide. One of the cornerstones of this system is the right of the individual to choose what to produce, how to produce it, and what price to sell it for. It is popular in nations that value the freedom of the individual over the stability of the society. Most modern nations use some form of capitalism, such as state, corporate, or social market.
Quotes on Capitalism:
on Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand (pron.: /an rænd/; born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936.
Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected ethical altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting a minarchist limited government and laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed was the only social system that protected individual rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for some Aristotelians and classical liberals.
The political figures who cite Rand as an influence are usually conservatives (often members of the United States Republican Party), despite Rand taking some positions that are atypical for conservatives, such as being pro-choice and an atheist. A 1987 article in The New York Times referred to her as the Reagan administration's "novelist laureate". Republican Congressmen and conservative pundits have acknowledged her influence on their lives and recommended her novels.
Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank and the the running mate for Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign in 2012, Paul Ryan stated, that the Book "Atlas Shrugged" (in German published : Der Streik) influenced their way of thinking, especially in the field of politics.