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The Esthetic Principle

Arguments presented in the sections above clearly demonstrate that we cannot prove that any given set of axioms is superior to another. Neither do we have any a priori basis for judging axioms, certainly not for axioms intended to apply to other axioms or to metaphysics in general. Metaphysical reasoning is an oxymoron. Our meta-axioms must then a) provide a basis for judging axioms that is descriptive, not absolute; b) be ``appealing'' enough that you, the reader, decide to adopt them even though they can't be proven and are in the end absolutely arbitrary.

Lacking logical necessity, absolute truth, or any other of the bullshit categorizations of ``knowledge'' we are left only with one of the oldest criteria, one that preceded the scientific revolution, one that in some senses preceded the entire intellectual and philosophical revolution that accompanied the emergence of man from his evolutionary roots. We have esthetics. Axioms can be adopted for no reason other than that they appeal to you, that you ``like'' them, that from the axioms you adopt a world-view does emerge from logic and reason that works. Axioms that satisfy this sort of criterion are the basis of all modern physics and indeed modern science - beautiful laws that actually appear to describe the world around us, always provisionally accepted to the extent that they work, always with Ockham and an absolutely subjective conceptualization of ``mathematical beauty and precision'' attendent upon the process of their conception and testing.


next up previous contents
Next: Conclusions Up: You ``Are'' Your Axioms Previous: Shaving the Barber with   Contents
Robert G. Brown 2007-12-17