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By Hilary Lawson

Lawson presents a finished examine the background of western inspiration, the evolution of technology and its makes an attempt to supply us with a ''theory of everything'' and an overview of the relativist a number of truths.

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Xxxix P RO L O G U E A first attempt to define the nature of a thing might propose that for something to be a thing it has to be one and it has to be the same: it has to be this singular thing and it cannot also be something else. Everyday material objects do not however satisfy these apparently elementary criteria. In the first instance everyday objects are not uniquely identifiable as some one thing: a particular example of a house, ostensively defined by pointing to it and saying ‘that house’, for example, is not uniquely a house.

However in such a case, the elementary simple would no longer xlii P RO L O G U E serve to solve the initial concern with the nature of a thing, for the problem re-emerges one layer further back. The purpose of a logical or material simple is to provide a basis for our general understanding of a thing. Since this basis takes as its assumption the very issue that is in question, namely the nature of a thing, the matter is hardly brought to a conclusion. The elusiveness of that which we take for granted, the thing as material object, is not solved by providing an endpoint which assumes the character of a thing but fails to explicate what is involved in such a notion.

The next few paragraphs are intended for those readers who would find a technical version of the argument that I have put forward more persuasive. Adopting Tarski’s hierarchy of languages one can formulate sentences that have the appearance of being self-referential. For example, a Tarskian version of ‘This sentence is not true’ would be: (I) The sentence (I) is not true-in-L. So Tarski’s argument runs, this sentence is both a true sentence of the language meta-L, and false in the language L, because it refers to itself and is therefore, according to the rules of Tarski’s logic and the hierarchy of languages, not properly formed.

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