Is love only the result of social evolution, or something more?
- On this Page:
- Extending the Wiser Designer Argument
- Preface: Kripke's Identity Theory
- Thesis: Love is only a Symbol for Altruism, Learned by Social Evolution
- Antithesis: Love is a Universal Property
- The Love Dialectic
- (Click the images for a lightbox slideshow)
Extending the Wiser Designer Argument
This is a placeholder for a future article taking an entirely new tact on whether love is 'real.' It will build on the Wiser Designer Argument to consider whether love is a symbol for altruism produced by social evolution, or a universal mental property, as according to Kripke's identity theory. It concludes with a new concept of inteinsice goodness in normative ethics, as its premise, the Wiser Designer argument, is also new.
Preface: Kripke's Identity Theory
To ask "is love real?" is to ask "to what does the symbol 'love' refer?" Identity theory To make the argument accessible, first I provide a description of Kripke's theory that does not require knowing more about formal logic.
Kripke starts with the same radical skepticism expressed by Descartes and Wittgenstein, then works through the entire field of propositional logic in an attempt to resolve the semantics of the ‘identity’ problem. Kripke is reputed to have started with the ancient paradox of Theseus’ ship.
The Paradox of Theseus' Ship: according to legend, Theseus slowly replaced each timber in his ship until none of the original timber was left. How, then, do we still think of it as the same ship? From a perspective of semantics, Theseus' ship is the 'subject' or 'object' of both sentences In natural language and propositions in formal logic. Subjects and objects must exist in some way, in order for one to perform a meaningful truth evaluation.
Kripke's solution starts by suggesting that 'states' and 'events' are represented by symbols that have no intrinsic meaning of their own, but are referred to by ‘properties.’ When a property refers to a symbol, it defines a relation to other symbols. It transpires this generates a very powerful semantic system. In particular, it allows symbols to have more than one meaning IN GENERAL, and not just with respect to the mind/body distinction.
In order to describe its benefits, I’m going to describe the operation of his system using quite a bit of shorthand, because its quite complicated to write it formally. For example, one could loosely say, “the substance of reality can have physical and mental properties.” A physicalist will immediately object that mental properties don’t exist. But to spell out Kripke’s semantic model, a full statement would be “the symbol for the substance of reality has properties which relate it to the symbols for physical properties and the symbols for mental properties.” When the semantics for a statement are formally written out in Kripke’s system, the statement becomes very long, so usually philosophers just use a shorthand in natural language.
Symbols can have more than one meaning because the disposition of a context defines which properties are applicable in any one statement. To understand that, one can build a symbol up from nothing, or analyze an existing symbol:
After defining this semantic system, Kripke provides a long and elaborate proof in formal logic that all semantic systems, or at least all known semantic systems, are subsets or equivalent to Kripke’s system. Kripke's thought is still accepted to this day, so it is the most reliable theory of identity currently available.
Thesis: Love is only a Symbol for Altruism, Learned by Social Evolution
(To be Continued)
Antithesis: Love is a Universal Property
(To be Continued)
The Love Dialectic
(To be Continued)
~Wishing you all a beautiful day :)