How much knowledge is sufficient for philosophy?
The mind is identical to the process of the body.
Experience. There is no more convenient place to start than with one’s birth. It is pointless to try to go beyond that to some place perhaps vitalists want to go. We have no access to that place.
A child with little experience can only continue with the content of the mind. Without full control of their body the child must move forward with their mind’s content.
At this point never fully aware of what the content of their mind is believing like ancient Chinese philosophers that this content is only a dream, we deal it as best we could. Eventually we will realize that the world is not only the content of the mind but the content of the mind contained inside a body. Once we become aware of the body we proceed to engage with the world and other bodies.
The question remains though what is the relationship between the mind and the body. And this question will occupy the questioner for many years to come. We must decide whether it is singular or dual to begin with. Then decide which of the contents are real and unreal. We must decide how much of the content can be trusted. We must do so without falling into the trap that leads to insanity, to a place that is illogical.
Navigating through all this eventually we shall emerge from the other side unscathed. This is philosophy.
I distinctly remember as a child I felt that I was what I was thinking. I felt I was what was described as an idealist.
The body did not seem to matter (No pun intended). The contents of the mind was long lasting. More enduring than the changing world.
At some point, though, the body started to seem to matter, that I was not apart from this body. Here I was no longer just mind but mind and body. I had become an dualist.
Later still I had decided that the mind meant nothing, that Buddhist concept of non-self was correct.
By extension then it made sense that materialism, physicalism, reism was the logical conclusion.
In short, I had moved through the entire spectrum of Western philosophy ending in the materialist’s camp with the help of Buddhism.
There is something interesting about Aristotle’s primary substances — they can never predicate to anything else. Secondary substances, on the other hand, can. What Aristotle did not notice however is that there is a substance which cannot be predicated to. There is no name for it. I will call it the ultimate substance.
The name is not very intuitive because the term “substance” is a misnomer. This is especially true of secondary substances, which are descriptions of qualities, and in that sense do not have substance as such. Primary and ultimate substance are real objects or are composed of real objects. Primary substances are the individual particulars. Ultimate substance is the complete set of particulars.
What is the difference between a horse and a unicorn?
If you said that one has a horn and the other did not, you would be wrong. The real difference is that one exists and the other does not.
In some ways, this example can be used as an argument for nominalism, the theory that objects which “embody” universals only have their names and concepts in common.
This is a rather strange way to phrase it. For to say this is what is common is not to talk about how the universal came about in the first place.
The more likely route to the universal is that two objects were perceived to have the same quality and so a term was given to this quality. That is, the creativity is first to see the similarity and differences then to make the distinction by naming this difference.
So in the case off the unicorn, it is not a horse with a horn, but a horse-like creature with a horn. To say the term “picks out” a unicorn is to make it “real”. But to say we are labeling an imaginary horse-like creature a horn “unicorn” is to properly understand how terms come about.
In the mind, there are more mental objects than physical objects. We have thoughts of physical objects, but also of thoughts of “objects” other than physical objects. The traditional term is objects of the mind.
In other words, objects of the mind contain more than just objects of the physical reality. It contains other “objects” as well.
Concepts (thought) refer to referents that are ontologically existent or non-existent. By extension, language has the power to do so. The mistake is to think something has a positive ontological status just because it can be thought or spoken of. Thoughts and verbalizations are not identical to the real things, let alone the unreal ones.