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Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Leibniz1699
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Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Leibniz1699 » November 23rd, 2019, 9:59 pm

The major question of philosophy is what is existence and reality itself? Where did it come from and why does it exist at all? Many people believe this is a great mystery but I will argue that there is nothing mysterious or grandiose about it - in fact I will argue that existence is both mundane and comically simple.

There are many theories of existence including multiverses, higher dimensions, string theory, quantum gravity, gods, conscioussness, quantum fluctuations, mathematical universe theory, simulation theory and on and on. While these are important things to research and ponder I will argue that none of them can be the ultimate truth. Even if these can be proven true they are not the ultimate answer to existence. They logically cannot be as they are just more 'things' which creates the question of where did they come from and so on leading to an infinite regression and more endless searching.

This means that logically existence cannot have a reason or purpose for existing because this would lead to the question of why which leads back to infinite regress. Because there is no reason or purpose for anything that means that existence as a whole is completely free and unbounded. There are no meta laws or constraints on existence. There are 'laws' of physics but there are no laws of the laws. The laws of physics themselves have no reason to exist - they came from nowhere.

This means that the fundamental truth of existence is pure potentiality itself - which is essentially nothingness. Nothingness is the superposition of infinite potentialities from which all purposeless manifestations of existence arise from for no reason. Our universe, the laws of physics, consciousness, qualia, logic, reason etc and anything else existing is a product of this pure potentiality.

Pure potentiality is literaly infinite and has the potential to create anything including absurd things like a universe that was just a bunch of floating chairs but this does not mean it will necessary do so it just has the ability to do so in the same way it created our existence with its specific laws that look normal to us due to the habit of us living here. Pure potentiality is not constrained by any laws or rules and it has no properties because it is the very thing that creates laws, constraints, and properties. Pure potentiality is completely free and unbounded.

Purposeless creation for no reason in other words. Itself the very reason for existence.

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Consul
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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Consul » November 24th, 2019, 1:43 pm

Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 9:59 pm
…This means that the fundamental truth of existence is pure potentiality itself - which is essentially nothingness. Nothingness is the superposition of infinite potentialities from which all purposeless manifestations of existence arise from for no reason. Our universe, the laws of physics, consciousness, qualia, logic, reason etc and anything else existing is a product of this pure potentiality.

Pure potentiality is literaly infinite and has the potential to create anything including absurd things like a universe that was just a bunch of floating chairs but this does not mean it will necessary do so it just has the ability to do so in the same way it created our existence with its specific laws that look normal to us due to the habit of us living here. Pure potentiality is not constrained by any laws or rules and it has no properties because it is the very thing that creates laws, constraints, and properties. Pure potentiality is completely free and unbounded.
You're wrongly hypostatizing potentialities by treating them like (active or creative) substances, because they are really (dispositional) attributes rather than substances. Where there are potentialities, potentials, powers, abilities, or dispositional properties there must be something or some things having them; but nothingness is and has nothing, so it cannot have any such attributes. Nothingness is no possible substrate of attributes.
Moreover, potentialities, potentials, powers, abilities, or dispositional properties are actual attributes rather than merely possible ones; so nothing can have active or creative powers and lack properties, since those powers are actual dispositional properties.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Leibniz1699 » November 24th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Consul wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 1:43 pm
Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 9:59 pm
…This means that the fundamental truth of existence is pure potentiality itself - which is essentially nothingness. Nothingness is the superposition of infinite potentialities from which all purposeless manifestations of existence arise from for no reason. Our universe, the laws of physics, consciousness, qualia, logic, reason etc and anything else existing is a product of this pure potentiality.

Pure potentiality is literaly infinite and has the potential to create anything including absurd things like a universe that was just a bunch of floating chairs but this does not mean it will necessary do so it just has the ability to do so in the same way it created our existence with its specific laws that look normal to us due to the habit of us living here. Pure potentiality is not constrained by any laws or rules and it has no properties because it is the very thing that creates laws, constraints, and properties. Pure potentiality is completely free and unbounded.
You're wrongly hypostatizing potentialities by treating them like (active or creative) substances, because they are really (dispositional) attributes rather than substances. Where there are potentialities, potentials, powers, abilities, or dispositional properties there must be something or some things having them; but nothingness is and has nothing, so it cannot have any such attributes. Nothingness is no possible substrate of attributes.
Moreover, potentialities, potentials, powers, abilities, or dispositional properties are actual attributes rather than merely possible ones; so nothing can have active or creative powers and lack properties, since those powers are actual dispositional properties.
By pure potentiality I am referring to the fact that nature/existence as a whole has no constraints on it and the laws of physics themselves have no laws on top of them. There logically cannot be any meta constraints or else we have an infinite regress of trying to explain 'why' that's the case and so on. Because the entire sum of existence has no reason to exist there are no prior causes to existence as a whole. The lack of any prior cause removes it from any causal chain thereby making it purely free. Pure potentiality is not even a 'thing' its just an efficient way of saying that nature as a whole has infinite unlimited freedom including the freedom to have constraints, limitations, laws, and characteristics.

If it's easier to understand think of pure potentiality as 'causeless cause'.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Papus79 » November 24th, 2019, 10:56 pm

I think if we were trying to put a teleological flavor on how we evaluate the universe looking at it as something like the OP suggested, ie. unfolding of raw potential, seems to at least fit observations albeit on a local scale a lot of this can look quite gray and monotonous much of the time and it seems like space is in most places relative sameness with high variability in narrow attribute ranges.

What this made me think about however, motion's an interesting thing - ie. it's incredibly difficult to imagine a universe without it and by extension a similar thing could be said of space. Even if we consider the possibility of consciousness being something that boils up from deeper geometries that perhaps time and space unpack from we're still stuck with a mystery as to how attention could move if other attributes didn't.

For the idea of raw potentiality though, this sort of goes back to the Solaris notion of Mind At Large not being anything like a human mind at all but being much more something that's unpacking geometries because that's what it has in it, that it has feelings driving it, perhaps even the same illusion of free will and complete lack thereof to go along side it. A lot of interesting tidbits do seem to be showing up these days from various angles and while I really doubt there'll be any shot at us getting under what's at the bottom of being, almost certainly not in our lives and quite likely never, we may find ourselves coming to a much more accurate frame of reference in the next ten or fifteen years than we've had to date. I'm looking forward to seeing how that unfolds as much as I'm interested in seeing how we might be able to learn from the information around us and resolving more of our political issues. Main point in stating that - things might feel a bit stale right now in the world but I don't think it's likely to stay that way for long.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Leibniz1699 » November 25th, 2019, 2:37 pm

Maybe this idea was what Schopenhauer meant by the 'will' - the blind, unconscious, purposeless nature of existence as a whole.
Schopenhauer takes a pessimistic view on all this but mine is more neutral leaning optimistic.

Because the total sum of existence is free of any deterministic mechanism and we are just a component of this existence then if we identify with all of creation itself then we can attain a sort of freedom.

I would also argue that this merits focusing on creativity and aesthetic endeavors more as this aligns to how nature as a whole is. Art is ultimately purposeless creation just like existence itself.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Terrapin Station » November 25th, 2019, 2:47 pm

Basically, you're going with the "things just noncausally 'popped' into existence (for no reason)," which you can do, of course, as that's one of the two options available, but like the other option--that something always existed--it's counterintuitive.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Consul » November 25th, 2019, 8:52 pm

Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 2:32 pm
By pure potentiality I am referring to the fact that nature/existence as a whole has no constraints on it and the laws of physics themselves have no laws on top of them. There logically cannot be any meta constraints or else we have an infinite regress of trying to explain 'why' that's the case and so on. Because the entire sum of existence has no reason to exist there are no prior causes to existence as a whole. The lack of any prior cause removes it from any causal chain thereby making it purely free. Pure potentiality is not even a 'thing' its just an efficient way of saying that nature as a whole has infinite unlimited freedom including the freedom to have constraints, limitations, laws, and characteristics.
If it's easier to understand think of pure potentiality as 'causeless cause'.
Are you talking about what Aristotle calls "prote hyle" ("prime matter")?

"This prime matter is usually described as pure potentiality, just as, on the form side, the unmoved movers are said by Aristotle to be pure actuality, form without any matter (Metaphysics xii 6). What it means to call prime matter “pure potentiality” is that it is capable of taking on any form whatsoever, and thus is completely without any essential properties of its own. It exists eternally, since, if it were capable of being created or destroyed, there would have to be some even lower matter to underlie those changes. Because it is the matter of the elements, which are themselves present in all more complex bodies, it is omnipresent, and underlies not only elemental generation and destruction, but all physical changes. As a completely indeterminate substratum, prime matter bears some similarities to what modern philosophy has called a “bare particular” (see Sider 2006), although, not being a particular, it may have more in common with so-called “gunk” (see Sider 1993)."

Form vs. Matter: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/form-matter/
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Leibniz1699 » November 25th, 2019, 9:42 pm

Consul wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 8:52 pm
Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 2:32 pm
By pure potentiality I am referring to the fact that nature/existence as a whole has no constraints on it and the laws of physics themselves have no laws on top of them. There logically cannot be any meta constraints or else we have an infinite regress of trying to explain 'why' that's the case and so on. Because the entire sum of existence has no reason to exist there are no prior causes to existence as a whole. The lack of any prior cause removes it from any causal chain thereby making it purely free. Pure potentiality is not even a 'thing' its just an efficient way of saying that nature as a whole has infinite unlimited freedom including the freedom to have constraints, limitations, laws, and characteristics.
If it's easier to understand think of pure potentiality as 'causeless cause'.
Are you talking about what Aristotle calls "prote hyle" ("prime matter")?

"This prime matter is usually described as pure potentiality, just as, on the form side, the unmoved movers are said by Aristotle to be pure actuality, form without any matter (Metaphysics xii 6). What it means to call prime matter “pure potentiality” is that it is capable of taking on any form whatsoever, and thus is completely without any essential properties of its own. It exists eternally, since, if it were capable of being created or destroyed, there would have to be some even lower matter to underlie those changes. Because it is the matter of the elements, which are themselves present in all more complex bodies, it is omnipresent, and underlies not only elemental generation and destruction, but all physical changes. As a completely indeterminate substratum, prime matter bears some similarities to what modern philosophy has called a “bare particular” (see Sider 2006), although, not being a particular, it may have more in common with so-called “gunk” (see Sider 1993)."
From what I can gather it looks very similar to if not the same thing I am thinking about.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Leibniz1699 » November 25th, 2019, 11:32 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 2:47 pm
Basically, you're going with the "things just noncausally 'popped' into existence (for no reason)," which you can do, of course, as that's one of the two options available, but like the other option--that something always existed--it's counterintuitive.
Essentially yes. Reality itself is just whatever it is and there is no underlying narrative or fundamental nature to it - there logically cannot be. Everything ultimately is just random and without reason at the grandest scale. Even the natural patterns and physical laws we are familiar with are just consistencies which themselves are either the product of random chance or part of a larger system which is itself chaotic and unordered when looked at from a higher level.

Reality itself should be viewed as the eternal default axiom existing nowhere and nowhen - without reason or cause because location, time, reason or anything else conceivable and/or inconceivable happen or can happen 'inside' it. I like to think of existence as a spontaneously random absurdist theatre production happening on the 'stage' of eternity which has been mistakenly assigned a metaphysical purpose or narrative by the audience due to the illusion of profundity which are just empty unconscious theatrical acts.

Everything comes from nowhere and is going nowhere including 'thingness' itself and it isnt even happening anywhere at all to begin with. No destiny or purpose just the absolute metaphysical freedom of eternity.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by BigBango » November 26th, 2019, 8:15 am

Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 11:32 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 2:47 pm
Basically, you're going with the "things just noncausally 'popped' into existence (for no reason)," which you can do, of course, as that's one of the two options available, but like the other option--that something always existed--it's counterintuitive.
Essentially yes. Reality itself is just whatever it is and there is no underlying narrative or fundamental nature to it - there logically cannot be. Everything ultimately is just random and without reason at the grandest scale. Even the natural patterns and physical laws we are familiar with are just consistencies which themselves are either the product of random chance or part of a larger system which is itself chaotic and unordered when looked at from a higher level.
I wonder if you are not taking some things that Leibniz asserted and embellishing his ideas. I mean, why your screen name? In Leibniz theory monads were simply physically indivisible atoms of reality. They formed complex associations with other monads but his metaphysic was an association of physical composites that had monads as their individual atoms.

The reason I bring this up is that Leibniz, not you, did differentiate the causal relations between the physical composites and the indivisible monads composing them. That difference is that physical composites of monads do have extension and become subject to the "forces" that they experience, while monads are simply potential forces of their own not caught in the determinism that governs the physical composites that they engage in.
Leibniz1699 wrote: Reality itself should be viewed as the eternal default axiom existing nowhere and nowhen - without reason or cause because location, time, reason or anything else conceivable and/or inconceivable happen or can happen 'inside' it. I like to think of existence as a spontaneously random absurdist theatre production happening on the 'stage' of eternity which has been mistakenly assigned a metaphysical purpose or narrative by the audience due to the illusion of profundity which are just empty unconscious theatrical acts.

Everything comes from nowhere and is going nowhere including 'thingness' itself and it isnt even happening anywhere at all to begin with. No destiny or purpose just the absolute metaphysical freedom of eternity.
I do agree with much of your thesis because I am a fan of Leibniz, not you.

Once monads, simple atoms engage, as they can choose to do without bowing to physical forces with other monads, their composite structures become subject to local and global physical forces. For that reason their structure "evolves" according to the physical principles of forces to which they are subject. Those forces include the tenants of natural selection. These include the development of genetic structures that advance the likelihood of the continued proliferation of those specific type of composite forms.

You, Leibniz1699, may say that these are just local choices and are not necessary choices of an atomic world that could rather choose to evolve physical forms that wanted to die. Therefore we may be in a very local exception to what the bigger world decides to construct. But if, in our local world, we decide to build composites that have a better possibility of surviving in time, then our world will become prevalent and those other worlds will disappear.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Sculptor1 » November 26th, 2019, 9:54 am

Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 9:59 pm
The major question of philosophy is what is existence and reality itself? Where did it come from and why does it exist at all? Many people believe this is a great mystery but I will argue that there is nothing mysterious or grandiose about it - in fact I will argue that existence is both mundane and comically simple.

There are many theories of existence including multiverses, higher dimensions, string theory, quantum gravity, gods, conscioussness, quantum fluctuations, mathematical universe theory, simulation theory and on and on. While these are important things to research and ponder I will argue that none of them can be the ultimate truth. Even if these can be proven true they are not the ultimate answer to existence. They logically cannot be as they are just more 'things' which creates the question of where did they come from and so on leading to an infinite regression and more endless searching.

This means that logically existence cannot have a reason or purpose for existing because this would lead to the question of why which leads back to infinite regress. Because there is no reason or purpose for anything that means that existence as a whole is completely free and unbounded. There are no meta laws or constraints on existence. There are 'laws' of physics but there are no laws of the laws. The laws of physics themselves have no reason to exist - they came from nowhere.

This means that the fundamental truth of existence is pure potentiality itself - which is essentially nothingness. Nothingness is the superposition of infinite potentialities from which all purposeless manifestations of existence arise from for no reason. Our universe, the laws of physics, consciousness, qualia, logic, reason etc and anything else existing is a product of this pure potentiality.

Pure potentiality is literaly infinite and has the potential to create anything including absurd things like a universe that was just a bunch of floating chairs but this does not mean it will necessary do so it just has the ability to do so in the same way it created our existence with its specific laws that look normal to us due to the habit of us living here. Pure potentiality is not constrained by any laws or rules and it has no properties because it is the very thing that creates laws, constraints, and properties. Pure potentiality is completely free and unbounded.

Purposeless creation for no reason in other words. Itself the very reason for existence.
TAUTOLOGICAL ********

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Belindi » November 26th, 2019, 1:27 pm

Possibility needs no manifested entity or entity. This is because possibility, once manifested in an entity or entities, is not possibility but has become actual or existing as myriad entities. Actual entities may or may not be intelligible to us due to our limits of perception.

The process by which possibility actualises is what Spinoza called Natura Naturans , Nature naturing itself. Possibility does not inhere alone in Natura Naturata but is unmanifested nature, maybe what Taoists call "The Way".

I am therefor sympathetic to what Leibnitz1699 writes.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Leibniz1699 » November 26th, 2019, 1:43 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
November 26th, 2019, 9:54 am
Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 9:59 pm
The major question of philosophy is what is existence and reality itself? Where did it come from and why does it exist at all? Many people believe this is a great mystery but I will argue that there is nothing mysterious or grandiose about it - in fact I will argue that existence is both mundane and comically simple.

There are many theories of existence including multiverses, higher dimensions, string theory, quantum gravity, gods, conscioussness, quantum fluctuations, mathematical universe theory, simulation theory and on and on. While these are important things to research and ponder I will argue that none of them can be the ultimate truth. Even if these can be proven true they are not the ultimate answer to existence. They logically cannot be as they are just more 'things' which creates the question of where did they come from and so on leading to an infinite regression and more endless searching.

This means that logically existence cannot have a reason or purpose for existing because this would lead to the question of why which leads back to infinite regress. Because there is no reason or purpose for anything that means that existence as a whole is completely free and unbounded. There are no meta laws or constraints on existence. There are 'laws' of physics but there are no laws of the laws. The laws of physics themselves have no reason to exist - they came from nowhere.

This means that the fundamental truth of existence is pure potentiality itself - which is essentially nothingness. Nothingness is the superposition of infinite potentialities from which all purposeless manifestations of existence arise from for no reason. Our universe, the laws of physics, consciousness, qualia, logic, reason etc and anything else existing is a product of this pure potentiality.

Pure potentiality is literaly infinite and has the potential to create anything including absurd things like a universe that was just a bunch of floating chairs but this does not mean it will necessary do so it just has the ability to do so in the same way it created our existence with its specific laws that look normal to us due to the habit of us living here. Pure potentiality is not constrained by any laws or rules and it has no properties because it is the very thing that creates laws, constraints, and properties. Pure potentiality is completely free and unbounded.

Purposeless creation for no reason in other words. Itself the very reason for existence.
TAUTOLOGICAL ********
There is no logically possible way to avoid a tautology in this case. Reality is ultimately going to be whatever it is. 'It is what it is' is tautological but that must be the case.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Leibniz1699 » November 26th, 2019, 2:15 pm

BigBango wrote:
November 26th, 2019, 8:15 am
Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 11:32 pm


Essentially yes. Reality itself is just whatever it is and there is no underlying narrative or fundamental nature to it - there logically cannot be. Everything ultimately is just random and without reason at the grandest scale. Even the natural patterns and physical laws we are familiar with are just consistencies which themselves are either the product of random chance or part of a larger system which is itself chaotic and unordered when looked at from a higher level.
I wonder if you are not taking some things that Leibniz asserted and embellishing his ideas. I mean, why your screen name? In Leibniz theory monads were simply physically indivisible atoms of reality. They formed complex associations with other monads but his metaphysic was an association of physical composites that had monads as their individual atoms.

The reason I bring this up is that Leibniz, not you, did differentiate the causal relations between the physical composites and the indivisible monads composing them. That difference is that physical composites of monads do have extension and become subject to the "forces" that they experience, while monads are simply potential forces of their own not caught in the determinism that governs the physical composites that they engage in.
Leibniz1699 wrote: Reality itself should be viewed as the eternal default axiom existing nowhere and nowhen - without reason or cause because location, time, reason or anything else conceivable and/or inconceivable happen or can happen 'inside' it. I like to think of existence as a spontaneously random absurdist theatre production happening on the 'stage' of eternity which has been mistakenly assigned a metaphysical purpose or narrative by the audience due to the illusion of profundity which are just empty unconscious theatrical acts.

Everything comes from nowhere and is going nowhere including 'thingness' itself and it isnt even happening anywhere at all to begin with. No destiny or purpose just the absolute metaphysical freedom of eternity.
I do agree with much of your thesis because I am a fan of Leibniz, not you.

Once monads, simple atoms engage, as they can choose to do without bowing to physical forces with other monads, their composite structures become subject to local and global physical forces. For that reason their structure "evolves" according to the physical principles of forces to which they are subject. Those forces include the tenants of natural selection. These include the development of genetic structures that advance the likelihood of the continued proliferation of those specific type of composite forms.

You, Leibniz1699, may say that these are just local choices and are not necessary choices of an atomic world that could rather choose to evolve physical forms that wanted to die. Therefore we may be in a very local exception to what the bigger world decides to construct. But if, in our local world, we decide to build composites that have a better possibility of surviving in time, then our world will become prevalent and those other worlds will disappear.
It is no coincidence that is my username - I believe he is an underrated thinker. I like to come to my own conclusions based on my own thought process regardless of whether or not they neatly fit in with other ideas. Also - I don't think this idea I'm putting forth is very complicated or difficult for anyone to grasp.

You mention natural selection but all natural selection says is that things are what they are because they were able to be that way and nothing stopped them. Present traits are the leftovers of prior mutations that allowed the said entity to make it to the present day. This is the same as just saying something happened the way it did except when talking in the context of natural selection we go under the hood and see the minute specifics.

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Re: Pure Potentiality as the source of all existence

Post by Sculptor1 » November 26th, 2019, 3:54 pm

Leibniz1699 wrote:
November 26th, 2019, 1:43 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
November 26th, 2019, 9:54 am


TAUTOLOGICAL ********
There is no logically possible way to avoid a tautology in this case. Reality is ultimately going to be whatever it is. 'It is what it is' is tautological but that must be the case.
So we go around in circles exchanging metaphors, where we try to agree what is and is not appropriate. Until we come back the the start, and off again. Shall the circles decrease, or enlarge? What would be more desirable? Would large circles imply a greater though more vague understanding; small one more accurate though utterly limiting?
And will this hermeneutic circle ascend or descend as a spiral or will our own understandings miss each other like a double helix?

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