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The Fifth Cycle of Philosophy

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​In a lecture, delivered in Vienna in 1894 and dedicated "to the academic youth of Austria-Hungary", Franz Brentano outlined four phases of advance and decline which he saw as providing the key to the understanding of the history of Western philosophy. In the first cycle, in antiquity, the initial advancing phase culminated in the work of Aristotle, and was followed by three phases of decline​,​ terminating in the irrational mysticism of the Neo-Pythagoreans. These four phases then repeated themselves: in the Middle Ages, ​beginning with Aquinas and ​ending with the "learned ignorance" of Nicholas of Cusa​;​ and then in the modern period, ​beginning with Bacon and reaching its low point in the work of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. In the contemporary era we are currently witnessing the end of ​the fourth cycle in the work of (for example) Derrida, Rorty; but also the beginnings of a new, fifth cycle, which is described in the talk. (Presented at the conference Consequences of Realism, Rome, May 4-6, 2014.)

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The Fifth Cycle of Philosophy

  1. 1. The Fifth Cycle of Philosophy Barry Smith
  2. 2. Brentano’s Four Phases In a lecture, delivered in Vienna in 1894 and dedicated "to the academic youth of Austria- Hungary", Franz Brentano outlined four phases of advance and decline which he saw as providing the key to the understanding of the history of Western philosophy.
  3. 3. The Four Phases of Philosophy rapid practical scepticism mysticism progress interest 3
  4. 4. First Cycle Thales to Stoicism and Pyrrho, Neo-Pythagoreans, Aristotle Epicureanism Eclectics Neo-Platonists 4 Aristotle empirical wonderment
  5. 5. Second Cycle Rediscovery of Scotism Ockham, Lull, Aristotle by Augustine Nominalists Nicholas of and Early Scholastics Cusa 5 Aquinas learned ignorance
  6. 6. Third Cycle Bacon Christian Wolff Hume Berkeley, Fichte Descartes Reid Schelling, Hegel Leibniz, Locke Kant 6 grounding knowledge on blind prejudices
  7. 7. Philosophical mother ship gives birth to empirical physics Bacon Rising practical Descartes (scientific) interest Leibniz, Locke Galileo, Newton 7
  8. 8. 8
  9. 9. Fourth Cycle (Continental) Brentano Husserl Heidegger Derrida and Rediscovery Reinach the French of Aristotle Ingarden 9
  10. 10. Philosophical mother ship gives birth to the new empirical science of psychology Brentano,Stumpf Meinong,Ehrenfels Wilhelm Wundt 1
  11. 11. 11 The Birth of Psychology 1874: Brentano publishes Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint Vera philosophiae methodus nulla alia nisi scientiae naturalis est. 1879: Wundt establishes world’s first psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig 1883: Wundt establishes a journal entitled Philosophische Studien, to publish the results of his laboratory experiments
  12. 12. 12 The Birth of Psychology 1889: First International Congress of Psychology; Meinong founds Laboratory of Psychology in Graz 1892: American Psychological Association founded, with 42 members 1894: Stumpf becomes professor of philosophy in Berlin with explicit task of establishing an institute of psychology 1907: Twardowski founds first psychological laboratory in Poland
  13. 13. Fourth Cycle (Analytical) Frege ViennaCircle Wittgenstein2o Rorty Wittgenstein1o Gödel Quine Feyerabend Russell Tarski Goodman 13
  14. 14. Philosophy gives birth to mathematical logic and computer science Frege Gödel Russell Tarski Whitehead Turing 14
  15. 15. Derrida Rorty Judith Butler 15 Each final phase of decline, with its ultimate collapse into nonsense and jokes, gives rise to the call for a new phase of renewal.
  16. 16. You are now here 16 Derrida Rorty Butler
  17. 17. The Fifth Cycle Phases of renewal are associated with a new focus on empiricism, on rigour and clarity, a new scientific relevance of philosophy, 17
  18. 18. Rise of analytical metaphysics Roderick Chisholm E.J.Lowe, David Armstrong Peter Simons Ingvar Johansson … 18
  19. 19. Something’s happening here … but you don’t know what it is, Mr Jones Russell, Husserl, Ingarden, Chisholm, E.J.Lowe, Armstrong Simons, Ingvar Johansson, Kit Fine Maurizio Ferraris??? Patrick Hayes, 19
  20. 20. 20 why were disciplines such as physics or psychology … founded? feelings of chaos, sectarianism, superficiality, deadendedness, triviality inside philosophy philosophy goes round and round in circles forever re- re-re-re-re-explaining Kant’s theory of apperception new methods for tackling philosophical problems also address extra-philosophical concerns empirical results increasing cross-disciplinary collaboration between philosophy and extra-philosophical disciplines
  21. 21. 21
  22. 22. Philosophical mother ship gives birth to the new science of ontology Husserl, Ingarden, Chisholm E.J.Lowe, David Armstrong Peter Simons, Ingvar Johansson Patrick Hayes, Cornelius Rosse 22
  23. 23. What is ontology? 23
  24. 24. 24 Google hits Jan. 2004 ontology + Heidegger 58K ontology + Aristotle 77K ontology + philosophy 327K ontology + software 468K ontology + database 594K
  25. 25. 25 Comparison 2004/2012 ontology + Heidegger 58K 1.91M ontology + Aristotle 77K 1.66M ontology + philosophy 327K 4.91M ontology + software 468K 7.80M ontology + database 594K 10.20M
  26. 26. Ontology (philosophy) (Synonym of ‘metaphysics’) The science of being. A theory of the types of entities existing in reality, and of the relations between them, for example between basic and non- basis entities. 26
  27. 27. Ontology (science) The science which develops theories of the types of entities existing in given domains of reality, and of the relations between them such theories are represented as computational artifacts called ‘ontologies’ which are used to describe heterogeneous data in consistent ways to support comparison and integration 27
  28. 28. World’s first ontology scientist Cornelius Rosse (born in Hungary in 1932, studied Aristotle in the Jesuit seminar in Budapest, used his knowledge of Aristotle to create the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA), the first philosophically rigorous biological ontology Rosse draw on his knowledge of Aristotle to create the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA), the first philosophically rigorous biological ontology
  29. 29. Pleural Cavity Interlobar recess Mesothelium of Pleura Pleura(Wall of Sac) Visceral Pleura Pleural Sac Parietal Pleura Anatomical Space Organ Cavity Serous Sac Cavity Anatomical Structure Organ Serous Sac Mediastinal Pleura Tissue Organ Part Organ Subdivision Organ Component Organ Cavity Subdivision Serous Sac Cavity Subdivision 120,000 terms (nodes); over 2.1 million relations (edges)
  30. 30. Anatomical Space Organ Cavity Serous Sac Cavity Anatomical Structure Organ Serous Sac Organ Part Organ Subdivision Organ Component Organ Cavity Subdivision Serous Sac Cavity Subdivision Independent Continuant Entity
  31. 31. World’s most successful ontology 31
  32. 32. 32
  33. 33. http://www.harzing.com/pop.htm 33
  34. 34. 34 www.geneontology.org how a logically and philosophically well-structured ontology can contribute to integration across massively heterogeneous data sources
  35. 35. 35 Ontology (science) is not a job for software engineers but it is not a job for philosophers, either, e.g. where ontology is playing an increasing role in supporting interdisciplinary communication between human beings – for example in improving communication between Federal government departments
  36. 36. 36 Typical reasons for founding a new discipline feelings of chaos, deadendedness, triviality inside the mother discipline new methods for tackling problems of the mother discipline new kinds of empirical methods and results increasing need for cross-disciplinary collaboration – e.g. marked by multi- authorship
  37. 37. 37 What is needed to found a new discipline Funding Journals Conferences Institutes Societies Industrial applications Military applications
  38. 38. Funding 38
  39. 39. Examples of Ontology (Science) Projects funded by US National Institutes of Health NIH / NHGRI GO: Gene Ontology NIH / NIGMS PRO: Protein Ontology NIH / NIAID IDO: Infectious Disease Ontology NIH / NIDCR Ontology for Mental Disease NIH / NHGRI SO: Sequence Ontology NIH / NLM FMA: Foundational Model of Anatomy NIH / NHGRI CL: Cell Ontology by now at least $500 million funding from NIH 39
  40. 40. Journals • Applied Ontology • Journal of Biomedical Semantics • International Journal of Metadata, Semantics and Ontologies • Ontology Development and Applications • Journal of Social Ontology 40
  41. 41. Conferences Formal Ontology in Information Systems Bio-Ontologies Ontology for the Intelligence Community (now: Semantic Technology for Intelligence, Defence and Security) International Conference on Biomedical Ontology Annual NIST Ontology Summit 41
  42. 42. http://icbo14.com/ 42
  43. 43. 43 http://fois2014.inf.ufes.br/
  44. 44. 44 http://stids.c4i.gmu.edu/
  45. 45. Research Institutes (Examples) Laboratory for Applied Ontology (Trento and Rome) LabOnt (Turin and Rome) Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science (Saarbrücken) Centre for Knowledge Analytics and Ontological Engineering (Bangalore) National Center for Biomedical Ontology (Stanford Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Buffalo Department of Philosophy) 45
  46. 46. 46 http://www.loa-cnr.it/
  47. 47. 47 founded 1999 http://www.labont.it/
  48. 48. 48 Founded 2002
  49. 49. Ontology Societies International Association for Ontology and Its Applications (iaoa.org) International Society for Biocuration (biocurator.org) UK Ontology Network (ukontology.org) 49
  50. 50. Industrial applications http://www.bbc.co.uk/ontologies
  51. 51. Industrial applications 51 siri
  52. 52. http://www.indeed.com/q-Ontology-jobs.html 52
  53. 53. 53 Military applications
  54. 54. US DoD Civil Affairs strategy for non-classified information sharing 54
  55. 55. located near Latrine Well ‘VT 334 569’ Distance Measurement Result Village Name ‘Khanabad Village’ Village is_a instance_of Geopolitical Entity Spatial Region Geographic Coordinates Set designates instance_of located in instance_of has location designates has location instance_of instance_ of ’16 meters’ instance_of measurement_of 55 Military Applications
  56. 56. 56http://militaryontology.org/

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