World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Principle of plenitude

Article Id: WHEBN0001788944
Reproduction Date:

Title: Principle of plenitude  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Problem of future contingents, Pleroma, Principles, History of evolutionary thought, Occam's razor
Collection: Concepts in Metaphysics, Principles, Razors (Philosophy)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Principle of plenitude

The principle of plenitude asserts that the universe contains all possible forms of existence. The historian of ideas Arthur Lovejoy was the first to discuss this philosophically important principle explicitly. Lovejoy distinguishes two versions of the principle: a static version, in which the universe displays a constant fullness and diversity, and a temporalized version, in which fullness and diversity gradually increase over time.

Lovejoy traces the principle of plenitude to the writings of Plato, finding in the Timaeus an insistence on "the necessarily complete translation of all the ideal possibilities into actuality".[1] By contrast, he takes Aristotle to reject the principle in his Metaphysics, when he writes that "it is not necessary that everything that is possible should exist in actuality".[2]

Since Plato, the principle of plenitude has had the following adherents:

  • Epicurus reiterated the principle in fr.266 Us. His follower Lucretius (DRN V 526-33 ) famously applied the principle to the sets of multiple explanations by which the Epicureans account for astronomical and meteorological phenomena: every possible explanation is also true, if not in our world, then somewhere else in the infinite universe.
  • Augustine of Hippo brought the principle from Neo-Platonic thought into early Christian Theology.
  • St Anselm's ontological arguments for God's existence used the principle's implication that nature will become as complete as it possibly can be, to argue that existence is a 'perfection' in the sense of a completeness or fullness.
  • Thomas Aquinas accepted a modified form of the principle, but qualified it by making several distinctions that safeguard the freedom of God.[3]
  • Giordano Bruno's insistence on an infinity of worlds was not based on the theories of Copernicus, or on observation, but on the principle applied to God. His death may then be attributed to his conviction of its truth.
  • Spinoza, according to Lovejoy, "expressed the principle of plenitude in its most uncompromising form" and "represented it as necessary in the strict logical sense".[4]
  • Kant believed in the principle but not in its empirical verification, even theoretically.

See also

References

  • Arthur Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being. Harvard University Press, 1936: ISBN 0-674-36153-9
    • Chapter IV "The Principle of Plenitude and the New Cosmography", p. 99–143.
    • Chapter V "Plenitude and Sufficient Reason in Leibniz and Spinoza" p. 144–182.

Notes

  1. ^ Lovejoy 1936, p. 50.
  2. ^ Lovejoy 1936, p. 55.
  3. ^ Caldecott, Stratford (Spring 2003). "Creation as a Call to Holiness". Communio. God creates whatever exists because it is fitting, not because it is necessary to him, nor because he is constrained by something outside himself. 
  4. ^ Lovejoy 1936, p. 155.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.