Various philosophical views. After-all philosophy forms the basis of our scienfitic discovery.
Egalitarianism - Introduction

Egalitarianism is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals from birth, usually meaning held equal under the law and in society at large. It is a belief in human equality, especially with respect to social, political and economic rights and privileges, and advocates the removal of inequalities among people and of discrimination (on grounds such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc).

Political philosophies such as Socialism, Marxism, Communism and Anarchism all support the principles of Egalitarianism to some degree. Some argue that modern representative democracy is a realization of political Egalitarianism, while others believe that, in reality, most political power still resides in the hands of a ruling class, rather than equally in the hands of the people. For example, the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776 includes a kind of moral and legal Egalitarianism in its assertion that "all men are created equal" (and therefore that each person is to be treated equally under the law), but it was not until much later that U.S. society extended these benefits to slaves, women and other groups. The motto of the French Revolution of 1789, "Liberté, égalité, fraternité", was only really institutionalized during the Third Republic at the end of the 19th Century.

The term is derived from the French word "égal", meaning "equal" or "level", and was first used in English in the 1880s, although the equivalent term "equalitarian" dates from the late 18th Century.

Determinism - Introduction

Monism - Introduction

Monism is the metaphysical and theological view that all is one, that there are no fundamental divisions, and that a unified set of laws underlie all of nature. The universe, at the deepest level of analysis, is then one thing or composed of one fundamental kind of stuff. It sets itself in contrast to Dualism, which holds that ultimately there are two kinds of substance, and from Pluralism, which holds that ultimately there are many kinds of substance.

It is based on the concept of the monad (derived from the Greek "monos" meaning "single" and "without division"). Various Pre-Socratic Philosophers described reality as being monistic, and devised a variety of explanations for the basis of this reality: Thales: Water; Anaximander: Apeiron (meaning "the undefined infinite"); Anaximenes: Air; Heraclitus: Fire; Parmenides: One (an unmoving perfect sphere, unchanging and undivided).

Monism is used in a variety of contexts, (within Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophy of Mind, etc), but the underlying concept is always that of "oneness". Wherever Dualism distinguishes between body and soul, matter and spirit, object and subject, matter and force, Monism denies such a distinction or merges both in a higher unity.

The term "monism" itself is relatively recent, first used by the 18th Century German philosopher Christian von Wolff (1679 - 1754) to designate types of philosophical thought in which the attempt was made to eliminate the dichotomy of body and mind (see the section on Philosophy of Mind for more details).

Determinism - Introduction

Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, decision and action is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. This does not necessarily mean that humans have no influence on the future and its events (a position more correctly known as Fatalism), but that the level to which humans have influence over their future is itself dependent on present and past. Taken to its logical extreme, Determinism would argue that the initial Big Bang triggered every single action, and possibly mental thought, through a system of cause and effect.

Thus, a Materialist or Physicalist view of the universe almost always involves some degree of Determinism. However, if the minds or souls of conscious beings are considered as separate entities (see the section on Philosophy of Mind), the position on Determinism becomes more complex. For instance, the immaterial souls may be considered part of a deterministic framework; or they could exert a non-deterministic causal influence on bodies and the world; or they could exert no causal influence, either free or determined.

Another variation arises from the idea of Deism, which holds that the universe has been deterministic since Creation, but ascribes the Creation itself to a metaphysical God or first cause outside of the chain of determinism.

Some hold that if Determinism were true, it would negate human morals and ethics. Some, however, argue that, through an extended period of social development, a confluence of events could have formed to generate the very idea of morals and ethics in our minds (a sort of chicken and egg situation).

Interpretation of Determinism - Determinism can be interpreted in two main way:

Incompatibilism is the belief that Free Will and Determinism are logically incompatible categories and therefore mutually exclusive. This could include believing that Determinism is the reality, and therefore Free Will is an illusion (known as Hard Determinism); or that Free Will is true, and therefore Determinism is not (known as Libertarianism); or even that neither Determinism nor Free Will is true (known as Pessimistic Incompatibilism). Compatibilism is the belief that Free Will and Determinism can be compatible ideas, and that it is possible to believe both without being logically inconsistent. By this definition, Free Will is not the ability to choose as an agent independent of prior cause, but as an agent who is not forced to make a certain choice. This leads to the position of Soft Determinism, proposed by the American Pragmatist William James on the grounds that thorough-going, or Hard, Determinism leads either to a bleak pessimism or to a degenerate subjectivism in moral judgment

History of Determinism

In Buddhism, there is a theory called Dependent Origination (or Dependent Arising), which is similar to the Western concept of Determinism. Roughly speaking, it states that phenomena arise together in a mutually interdependent web of cause and effect, and that every phenomenon is conditioned by, and depends on, every other phenomena.

According to the ancient Chinese "Yi Jing" (or "I Ching", the "Book of Changes"), a kind of divine will sets the fundamental rules for the working out of the probabilities on which the universe operates, although human wills are also a factor in the ways in which we can deal with the real world situations we encounter.

In the West, the Ancient Greek atomists Leucippus and Democritus were the first to anticipate Determinism when they theorized that all processes in the world were due to the mechanical interplay of atoms.

With the advent of Newtonian physics, in the 17th Century, which depicts the physical matter of the universe as operating according to a set of fixed, knowable laws, it began to appear that, once the initial conditions of the universe have been established, then the rest of the history of the universe follows inevitably, (rather like billiard balls moving and striking each other in predictable ways to produce predictable results). Any uncertainty was always a term that applied to the accuracy of human knowledge about causes and effects, and not to the causes and effects themselves.

Since the beginning of the 20th Century, quantum mechanics has revealed previously concealed aspects of events, and Newtonian physics has been shown to be merely an approximation to the reality of quantum mechanics. At atomic scales, for instance, the paths of objects can only be predicted in a probabilistic way. Some argue that quantum mechanics is still essentially deterministic; some argue that it just has the appearance of being deterministic; some that quantum mechanics negates completely the determinism of classical Newtonian mechanics.

This all being said, in the not so distant future, there will be complete and whole free-will. We will each be acting in accord to our own biologically dervied sense of reason, logic, and everything which it - the word humanity - stands to say.