Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ph.d Research Methodology Knol Book

To help in conducting the course related to Research Methodology, I am organizing the knol book, Ph.d Research Methodology Knol Book

The knol book got a favorable response so far and it has 750 page views.

The Knol book has to be migrated to Ph d Research Methodology Online Book

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Discovery of a Secret Formula in Tree Design by 13 Year Old

Scientists discover what is existing in the nature or in reality for ages together but not known to us humans. The discoveries are mental models created by the scientists in response to the facts observed by them. The mental model is a theoretical proposition from which hypotheses are derived and tested for their acceptability (may be for a temporary period). Strictly speaking they say test is for rejecting an hypothesis and we say we could not reject it.

Read about the discovery of a secret formula in tree design by Aidan, a 13 year old from New York in his own words.


Rational Cosmology - An Introduction

The Birth of Rational Cosmology


Basic Themes of the Greek Cosmologists

1. The demythologization of nature.
2. The idea of a cosmos.
3. The search for general explanations.
4. Man as a spectator.
5. Critical debate.
6. Consistency.
7. The distinction between Appearances and Reality.
8. The problem of permanence and change.


The Rise of Rational Cosmology


Rational Cosmology Edition II - E-Book by Stolyarov II

Rational Cosmology - Bibliography

Rational Cosmology - Free eBook from Google Books


First published in

Rational Psychology - Introduction


Kant's Critique of Rational Psychology

Rational Psychology

Kant states that a metaphysics of the soul is generated by the demand for the “absolute (unconditioned) unity of the thinking subject itself”  The branch of metaphysics devoted to the topic of absolute unity of the thinking subject is Rational Psychology.

Rational psychologists, among whom are Descartes or Leibniz  seek to demonstrate the substantiality, simplicity, and personal identity of the soul.

According to Kant, they  attempt to derive conclusions about the nature and constitution of the “soul” a priori, simply from an analysis of the activity of thinking. A classic example of such an attempt is provided by Descartes, who deduced the substantiality of the self from the proposition  “I think.”  This move is apparent in the Cartesian inference from "I think" to the claim that the “I” is therefore “a thing” that thinks. According to  Descartes,  thought is an attribute, and thus presupposes a substance in which it inheres. Kant emphasizes the a priori basis for the metaphysical doctrine of the soul by claiming that in rational psychology, the “I think” is supposed to provide the “sole text.”  It is this feature of the discipline that serves to distinguish it from any empirical doctrine of the self (any empirical psychology).

Kant's criticisms of rational psychology draw on a number of distinct sources, one of which is the Kantian doctrine of apperception. Kant denies that the metaphysician is entitled to his substantive conclusions on the grounds that the activity of self-consciousness (transcendental apperception, often formulated in terms of the necessary possibility of attaching the “I think” to all my representations does not yield any object for thought.

The claim that the ‘I’ of apperception yields no object of knowledge (for it is not itself an object, but only the “vehicle” for any representation of objectivity as such) is fundamental to Kant's critique of rational psychology. Kant spends a considerable amount of time in the sections on the paralogisms noting repeatedly that no object is given in transcendental self-consciousness, and thus that the rational psychologist's efforts to discern features of the self, construed as a metaphysical entity, through reason alone are without merit.

According to Kant,  the arguments are guilty of the fallacy of sophisma figurae dictionis, or the fallacy of equivocation/ambiguous middle. Kant suggests that in each of the syllogisms, a term is used in different senses in the major and minor premises.

Kant's Paralogisms have received considerable and focused attention in the secondary literature. See Ameriks (1992), Brook (1994), Kitcher, Patricia (1990), Powell (1990), Sellars (1969, 1971), Wolff, R. P. (1963). See also Allison (1983, 2004), Bennett (1974), Buroker (2006), Guyer (1987).

Adopted from


First posted in

Rational Theology - An Introduction

In cause and effect explanations, ultimately there has to be a first cause. This first cause is termed as God in philosophy. It is concluded that the first cause (God) is uncaused having aseity or is self-caused as some Indian philosophies explain.

According to Kant, rational theology comes in two main forms.  In one form, "it thinks its object ... through pure reason, solely by means of transcendental concepts (ens originarium, realissimum, ens entium). In this form, it is termed transcendental theology. In the other form, it thinks its object "through a concept borrowed from nature (from the nature of our soul) — a concept of the original being as a supreme intelligence — and it would then have to be called natural theology." Those who engage in the former type of rational theology are called deists and those who engage in the latter type are called theists.
( http://www.wordtrade.com/philosophy/philosophyreligion.htm     )



Aristotlean Rational Theology

Development of Theology in German Since Kant

Revising "Reformed Objection to Natural Theology"

First posted in

Rational Theology by John A. Widtsoe - Preface and Contents

The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Rational Theology, by John A. Widtsoe

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

Title: A Rational Theology
       As Taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Author: John A. Widtsoe

Release Date: March 12, 2011 [EBook #35562]

Source: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/35562/35562.txt
Shared under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License


Produced by the Mormon Texts Project,
http://bencrowder.net/books/mtp. Volunteers: Benjamin
Bytheway, Byron Clark, Ben Crowder, Tom DeForest, Eric
Heaps, Jason Hills, Tod Robbins.

Rational Theology

As Taught by the
Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints


Published for the Use of the Melchizedek Priesthood
by the General Priesthood Committee


Copyright, 1915


A rational theology, as understood in this volume, is a theology which
(1) is based on fundamental principles that harmonize with the
knowledge and reason of man, (2) derives all of its laws, ordinances
and authority from the accepted fundamental principles, and (3) finds
expression and use in the everyday life of man. In short, a rational
theology is derived from the invariable laws of the universe, and
exists for the good of man.

This volume is an exposition; it is not an argument. The principles of
the Gospel, as held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, are stated, briefly, simply and without comment, to show the
coherence, reasonableness and universality of the gospel philosophy.
The authority for many of the statements found in the volume is given
in the references included in the appendix. The doctrines herein
stated are, however, the common knowledge of the members of the
Church. No attempt has been made to correlate the doctrines discussed
with current philosophical opinions. Those who are led to study this
rational theology in the light of the best knowledge and soundest
thought, will enter a fertile field, and will find a surprising
harmony between the Gospel and all discovered truth.

The book could not be made larger, were it to serve well the special
purpose for which it was written. Therefore, the treatment is brief
and many important and interesting subjects are omitted. Moreover, the
book had to be completed within a short, set time, and many of the
imperfections of the work are the results of the hurried preparation.

Every writer who in this day attempts an exposition of the Gospel must
draw heavily upon the clear thoughts of those who, from Joseph Smith
to the living workers, have written and spoken in behalf of the truth.
I acknowledge, gratefully, my obligation to the makers of "Mormon"
literature. Many friends have, also, in various ways, given kindly
aid; to them I offer hearty and sincere thanks.

                                       JOHN A. WIDTSOE.




Chapter 1. **The Meaning of Theology**

  Man in the Universe--A Man's Religion--Theology Defined--The
  Gospel--The Purpose of this Book.

Chapter 2. **How Knowledge is Gained**

  The Senses--The Sixth Sense--Transmitted Knowledge--The Use of the
  Reason--The Foundation of Rational Theology.

Chapter 3. **Eternalism**

  All Knowledge, the Basis--Eternal Matter--Universal Matter,
  Indestructible--Eternal Energy--Universal Intelligence--Eternal
  Intelligence--The Eternal Relationship--An Eternal Plan--Eternalism.

Chapter 4. **The Will of Man**

  The Primeval Condition--The Intelligence of Man--The Will of Man--
  Value of the Will.

Chapter 5. **The Great Law**

  Increasing Complexity of the Universe--Man and the Great Law--The
  Law of Development.

Chapter 6. **God and Man**

  Why God is God--Many Gods--Why Man is Man--God's Help to Man--Man's
  Help to God--God's Attributes.

Chapter 7. **Man Is That He May Have Joy**

  Consciousness and the Universe--The Primeval Condition--The First
  Estate--The Second Estate--The Third Estate--Everlasting Joy.

Chapter 8. **Man's Free Agency**

  In the Beginning--The Council in Heaven--The Need of a Savior--Man's
  Part in the Great Plan--Free Agency.

Chapter 9. **The Great Plan**

  Forgetfulness--Subject to Earth Conditions--Laws to Be Obeyed--An
  Organization--All to Accept the Plan--The Meaning of the Earth Plan.


Chapter 10. **The Coming of Man**

  Making of the Earth--The Builders--The Coming of Man--The "Fall"--
  The First Blessing--The Garden of Eden--A Wise Beginning.

Chapter 11. **The Course of the Gospel on Earth**

  Adam Hears the Gospel--The First Dispensation--The First Apostasy--
  Later Dispensation of the Meridian of Time--The Great Apostasy--The
  Restoration--The Vital Facts.


Chapter 12. **The Gods of this Earth**

  The Order of Gods--Plurality of Gods--God, the Father--God, the
  Son--God, the Holy Ghost--Other Beings--Sex Among the Gods.

Chapter 13. **Man's Communion with God**

  The Will to Ask--By Personal Appearance--By the Visitation of
  Angels--By the Holy Spirit--The Eternal Record.

Chapter 14. **Man Walks with God**

  Reading God's Message--Spirit Blindness--Prayer--Active Prayer--The
  Gift of Understanding--Man Walks with God.


Chapter 15. **The Kingdom of the Evil One**

  Descending Beings--The Devil--Man and the Devil--The Devil Subject
  to God.


Chapter 16. **Why a Church?**

  Man Helped by God on Earth--The Plan of Salvation for All--
  Orderliness--Test of Attitude--Authority--The Great Purpose of the

Chapter 17. **Conditions of Membership**

  Faith--Repentance--Baptism--The Gift of the Holy Ghost--Continued
  Conformity--Acceptance of Authority.

Chapter 18. **The Priesthood in the Church**

  Priesthood Defined--Divisions of the Priesthood--The Aaronic
  Priesthood--The Melchizedek Priesthood--All Hold the Priesthood--The
  Power of the Priesthood.

Chapter 19. **The Organization of the Church**

  The General Authorities--The Stakes of Zion--The Wards of the
  Stakes--The Priesthood in Stakes and Wards--Auxiliary
  Organizations--All Must Work--The Tenure of Office--An Unpaid
  Ministry--Appointments in the Priesthood--Common Consent--Bestowal
  of the Priesthood.

Chapter 20. **The Authority of the Priesthood**

  The Foundation of Authority--Absolute Authority--Derived Authority--
  The Authority of Office--Authority and Free Agency--Authority Over
  Self--The Exercise of Authority--The Unrighteous Exercise of
  Authority--The Church Authoritative.

Chapter 21. **Obedience**

  The Restraint of Nature--An Active Condition--The Restraint of Man--
  The Life of Law--Disobedience--The Church Worth Having.

Chapter 22. **A Missionary Church**

  A Church with a Purpose--The Hope of Today--Temporal Salvation--The
  Foreign Mission System--The Home Mission Service--For the Common

Chapter 23. **Temple Ordinances**

  Educational--Symbolism--Covenants--Blessings--Temple Authority--
  Possible Repetition.


Chapter 24. **The Brotherhood of Man**

  Common Origin--Common Purposes--Common Destiny--Inter-Dependence--

Chapter 25. **The Equality of Man**

  The Pre-existent Effort--The Earth Effort--The Variety of Gifts--The
  Equality of Opportunity--Unequal Equality--The Test of Equality.

Chapter 26. **Mutual Support**

  The Duty of the Strong--Co-operation--Education.

Chapter 27. **The United Order**

  Purpose--Historical--Co-operation--Tithing--Voluntary Offerings--The
  Common Good.

Chapter 28. **Work for the Dead**

  All Must Be Saved--Earthly Ordinances--A Work of Love--The Need of
Records--The Result.

Chapter 29. **Marriage**

  Eternity of Sex--The Waiting Spirits--The Meaning of the First
  Command--The Family--Celestial Marriage--The Sealing Powers.

Chapter 30. **The Community**

  Community Defined--The Individual in the Community--The Rights of
  the Community--Training for the Community--The Supremacy of the


Chapter 31. **Man and Nature**

  The Intelligence of Nature--A Living Earth--The Lower Animals--All
  for the Use of Man--Man's Conquest of Nature--Miracles--Harmony of
  Man and Nature.


Chapter 32. **The Sound Body**

  The Importance of the Body--Food--Exercise--Rest--Stimulants--Moral
  Purity--The Gospel and the Sound Body.

Chapter 33. **Education for the Inner Life**

  The Senses--The Reasoning Power--The Feelings--The Spiritual Sense--

Chapter 34. **Satisfaction with Daily Work**

  Variety of Earthly Tasks--All Work May Be Intelligent--Nothing
  Temporal--Subjection to Self.

Chapter 35. **The Hope of Tomorrow**

  Today--Tomorrow--The Resurrection--Our Place in the Hereafter--The
  Destiny of Man.

Chapter 36. **The Law of the Earth**

  The Unknown Meaning--The Earth Law--To Love God--To Love a Neighbor
  as Oneself--The Triumph of Man.

APPENDIX--References to Authorities


First posted in 

Scientific Explanation and Covering Law Model

Covering Law Model

Proposed by G.C. Hempel

According to the covering law model, explanation is derivation. When a scientist explains a phenomenon, he derives (deductively or inductively) a sentence describing that phenomenon (the explanandum sentence) from a set of sentences (the explanans) which must contain at least one general law.

( "Explanatory Unification", Philip Kitcher, Philosophy of Science, December 1981, 507-531 )
(Can be accessed from http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/tennant9/kitcher_PS1981.pdf)

Basically a statement is explained if it is derived from a set of laws together with certain factual statements, as we might explain 'Fido barks' by saying 'All dogs bark and Fido is a dog'.

The laws, however -though general (for example not mentioning particular objects) - need not be universal, and the derivation of the conclusion may be inductive and not deductive; explanations can be statistical or probabilistic as well as 'deductive-nomological'.

Problems concern the scope of the theory, what restrictions must be placed on the relevant general statements, and the relevance of background knowledge.

C G Hempel, Aspects of Scientific Explanation (1965), ch. 12
(   http://www.philosophyprofessor.com/philosophies/covering-law-model.php  )


Hempel  also suggests the unofficial view: "What scientific explanation, especially theoretical explanation,
aims at is not [an] intuitive and highly subjective kind of understanding, but an objective kind of insight that is achieved by a systematic unification, by exhibiting the phenomena as manifestations of common,
underlying structures and processes that conform to specific, testable, basic principles" (Hempel 1966, p. 83; see also Hempel 1965, pp. 345, 444).

Herbert Feigl makes a similar point: "The aim of scientific explanation throughout the ages has been unification, i.e., the comprehending of a maximum of facts and regularities in terms of a minimum of theoretical
concepts and assumptions" (Feigl 1970, p. 12).

Feigl, H. (1970), "The 'Orthodox' View of Theories: Remarks in Defense as well as Critique", in M. Radner and S. Winokur (eds.), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume IV. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hempel, C. G. (1965), Aspects of Scientific Explanation. New York: The Free Press.
Hempel, C. G. (1962), "Deductive-Nonlogical vs. Statistical Explanation", in H. Feigl
and G. Maxwell (eds.) Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 111.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Hempel, C. G. (1966), Philosophy of Natural Science. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

( "Explanatory Unification", Philip Kitcher, Philosophy of Science, December 1981, 507-531 )
(Can be accessed from http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/tennant9/kitcher_PS1981.pdf)


Originally posted in

Ontology - Introduction

Ontology is a branch of metaphysics.


It is primarily concerned with the nature of the stuff of which the world or the universe is made of.

Husserl gave the discipline of being the name of ontology, but divided it into formal ontology and several material or regional ontologies. Formal ontology deals with formal ontological concepts, those concerned with objects in general, as distinct from formal logical concepts, those concerned with truth and inference. Regional ontologies study the most general concepts and principles of the principal regions of being, including physical nature, consciousness, mathematics and the divine. Husserl himself spent much of his time on methodological issues and his regional ontologies were only sketched. Husserl's student Ingarden divided ontology into existential, formal and material. Existential ontology is concerned with what he called moments of existence, like forms of dependence, modality and temporality, which are combined into modes of being. Formal ontology studies different objects according to their form (thing, property, event, process, relation, state of affairs, system), material ontology according to their kind (spatio-temporal, psychological, divine'. For Ingarden 'metaphysics' denotes among all possible ontologies the one that is actual."
From: Peter Simons - Metaphysics: definitions and divisions - in: Jaegwon Kim and Ernest Sosa (Eds.) - A Companion to metaphysics - Oxford, Blackwell, 1995,

Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

Ontology, in analytic philosophy, concerns the determining of whether some categories of being are fundamental and asks in what sense the items in those categories can be said to "be". It is the inquiry into being in so much as it is being, or into beings insofar as they exist—and not insofar as, for instance, particular facts obtained about them or particular properties related to them.

Some philosophers, notably of the Platonic school, contend that all nouns (including abstract nouns) refer to existent entities. Other philosophers contend that nouns do not always name entities, but that some provide a kind of shorthand for reference to a collection of either objects or events. In this latter view, mind, instead of referring to an entity, refers to a collection of mental events experienced by a person; society refers to a collection of persons with some shared characteristics, and geometry refers to a collection of a specific kind of intellectual activity. Between these poles of realism and nominalism, there are also a variety of other positions; but any ontology must give an account of which words refer to entities, which do not, why, and what categories result. When one applies this process to nouns such as electrons, energy, contract, happiness, space, time, truth, causality, and God, ontology becomes fundamental to many branches of philosophy.

Some fundamental questions

Principal questions of ontology are "What can be said to exist?", "Into what categories, if any, can we sort existing things?", "What are the meanings of being?", "What are the various modes of being of entities?". Various philosophers have provided different answers to these questions.

One common approach is to divide the extant subjects and predicates into groups called categories. Of course, such lists of categories differ widely from one another, and it is through the co-ordination of different categorical schemes that ontology relates to such fields as library science and artificial intelligence. Such an understanding of ontological categories, however, is merely taxonomic, classificatory. The categories are, properly speaking,] the ways in which a being can be addressed simply as a being, such as what it is (its 'whatness', quidditas or essence), how it is (its 'howness' or qualitativeness), how much it is (quantitativeness), where it is, its relatedness to other beings, etc.

Further examples of ontological questions include:

  • What is existence, i.e. what does it mean for a being to be?
  • Is existence a property?
  • Is existence a genus or general class that is simply divided up by specific differences?
  • Which entities, if any, are fundamental? Are all entities objects?
  • How do the properties of an object relate to the object itself?
  • What features are the essential, as opposed to merely accidental, attributes of a given object?
  • How many levels of existence or ontological levels are there? And what constitutes a 'level'?
  • What is a physical object?
  • Can one give an account of what it means to say that a physical object exists?
  • Can one give an account of what it means to say that a non-physical entity exists?
  • What constitutes the identity of an object?
  • When does an object go out of existence, as opposed to merely changing?
  • Do beings exist other than in the modes of objectivity and subjectivity, i.e. is the subject/object split of modern philosophy inevitable?
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology )

Website owlseek.com (http://www.owlseek.com/whatis.html) provides the following definition of ontology:
"We can never know reality in its purest form; we can only interpret it through our senses and experiences.
Therefore, everyone has their own perspective of reality. An ontology is a formal specification of
a perspective. If two people agree to use the same ontology when communicating, then there should be
no ambiguity in the communication. To enable this, an ontology codifies the semantics used to represent
and reason with a body of knowledge."

Ontology - Youtube video Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru 2008 video

Epistemology - Youtube video Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru 2008 video

Ontology - Bibliography

Anselm' Ontological argument on existence of God

http://ontology.buffalo.edu/bfo/BeyondConcepts.pdf  (Related to computer science)

The Natures and Tasks of Ontology and Cosmology

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Validity of a Theory - Bibliography

Theory, External Validity, Experimental Inference: Some Conjectures
Fernando Martel Garcia and Leonard Wantchekon

How Critical Realism Clarifies Validity Issues in Theory Testing Research: Analysis and Case
Dennis N. Hart and Shirley D. Gregor
Online Book Chapter. Positions critical realism as an alternative idea to empiricism.

The Concept of External Validity
Bobby J. Calder, Lynn W. Phillips and Alice M. Tybout
Journal of Consumer Research 1982

Construct Validity: Advances in Theory and Methodology
Milton E Strauss and Gregory T Smith

The Concept of Validity
Denny Boorsboom, Gideon Mellenberg and Jaap Heerden
2004, Psychological Review

Updated 15.9.2012