Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, March 16, 2017

(10) Boethius and The Problem of the Universals

     Obviously, square things exist. We all know this, but does squareness exist? Does squareness exist only in the mind, or only in language, or does it have some form of external existence? This is idea behind the problem of the universals, what sort of existence such general qualities such as squareness or redness have, which was proposed by Boethius and it pondered thinkers for centuries.
     One such quality which seems to fit into the discussion of the problem of the universals is perfection. Do you think it is possible to conceive perfection? Which is a tricky question to answer. Things or situations or ideas can be perfect to different people based on their perception of whatever it is that they perceive to be perfect. Although one's man's trash is another man's treasure, one person may perceive the entity as perfect, whereas another might throw it in the trash. Nonetheless, there are entities which are perceived as perfect, even if only by one person. But what about the idea of perfection? Is there such a way which we can define perfection such that it applies to all perfect things? I would argue there is no possible or logical way which one can define perfection in such a way that it could separate the perfect from the imperfect. Perfection is only a grand idea leading to hopelessness. Perfection is indescribable in words because one can never truly reach perfection, which begs the question is there such a thing as perfection? We all have our own perception on what seems perfect to us, but all that glitters is not gold.
     Perfection is not something anyone should strive for, it will only tear you down. Strive for greatness or strive for happiness because the longer you chase perfection the higher up you will go and eventually you will be let down, and the higher you chased perfection the farther you will fall when it does let you down. Live to be happy, live to be good, but don't live for perfection in such an imperfect world.


  1. Kane Wolnik(#10)

    St. Augustine and “The One”
    If an extremely appalling act is about to be carried out by one or more individuals, of which are full believers in the Christian Faith and in God, what action or lack thereof would God take in relation to this? Are there things that God cannot accomplish or fulfill? If God is truly good and could in fact renounce all evil, then why does he not and why would God then permit evil to stay? So, what’s the reasoning behind all the questions on such a matter? The concept of “The One” or God was quite a troubling topic for the philosopher we know today as St. Augustine. Aurelius Augustinus was born in Tagaste of the Roman Empire which is now Algeria in North Africa and growing up, Augustine had a desire for the ‘Truth’. The truth to the big question many of us ask ourselves, “why am I here and what am I supposed to do with this life that I have been given?” Augustine, after converting to Christianity in his thirties sought to make sense of this. Though on a dark and pessimistic side, St. Augustine focused on the perspective of evil morals. He did not agree with this notion that God is a mysterious being who has abilities to distort time, space, and matter. As a Manichaean and that of Isaac Newton’s 3rd law of motion would see it, the perception of Good and Evil was the equal and opposite reactions of each other which constituted the idea of God and Satan. You can’t have one without the other. From this, St. Augustine came up with the idea of free will or the Free Will Defense. Stating that we have the power to decide what we do with our life, given emotions and the ability to reason. St. Augustine concluded that God was not just merely a single powerful entity able to cure the planet of evil but is our inner soul with reason that helps rid moral evil.

  2. Augustine is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity because of his writings. Most, if not all, of his writings were solidified by his absolute devotion to the Christian faith. In one of his writings he wrote, “the philosophers have said things which are true, but even them I would think to be no final authority”. One of his major influencers was Plotinus. After converting to Christianity in A.D. 386, he studied very thoroughly “the Platonic Books” (written by Plotinus and Porphyry). He said they taught him to “distinguish the difference between those who see what the goal is but not how to get there and those who see the way which leads to the home of bliss”.
    The philosopher was born around A.D. 354 in West Africa, and grew up with a Christian mother and a Pagan father. In some of his writings, he leaves evidence leading back to his African heritage. In an example, he refers to Apuleius as “the most notorious of us Africans”.
    As a child and up to the height of his career, Augustine was always searching for one thing: The Truth. “Truth, truth: how in my inmost being the very marrow of my mind sighed for you!”. Also diving in to Cicero’s works, he became informed yet baffled at the same time. After reading what has been taught by Arcesilaus and Carneades, who said that nothing can be known for certain, Augustine learned to counter these arguments.

  3. Tristan McGuffin #10- The insatiably sought after, but never attained form of existence, perfection is the state of being entirely flawless and without shortcomings or room for improvement. The very idea of perfection makes it impossible and all it will ever be is an intangible glimmer in the distance, never to be attained by man or creature alike. This is an interesting idea when you think about it. There is nothing in this world so precise and immaculate that it fits the definition of perfect. In fact, it's somewhat of a testament to mankind's capacity for thought in that we've even come up with such a thing that doesn't exist in nature. If you fall far enough down the rabbit hole, it becomes a bit of a conundrum when the idea of perfection and how it came about comes to mind. Something that exists in such an exceptional state only truly exists in hypotheticals and thought experiments and thus is an interesting thought to me. We can never truly know what would happen if something was truly perfect and maybe it's for the best. Who knows what kind of problems could arise from something being the epitome of itself. In the natural world, practically rules all, denying any chance of perfection to exist in any form of matter or idea. Depending on how you look at it, this is both a comforting and disheartening fact of life. Maybe if there is a beyond and it doesn't follow the conventional and known laws of the universe we live in, perfection could exist.