We often attribute the origin of the state of nature argument to Hobbes, but it can be traced to thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, and the Sophists in the 300s BC, and is then mused on by other early philosophers.
A theory is a model for understanding how things work.
- In science a scientific theory is a well tested model with many facts pointing at it.
- In common language a “theory” can range from a guess to a philosophical concept.
TIP: Philosophy is a proper field of academia and there is a big difference between Plato’s theories and some haphazard guess. Still, in the sciences specifically, the term theory takes on a very ridged meaning.
Typically theories are easier to disprove than prove, if a theory works it’s used until a better one comes along.
Well worn theories are rarely “completely wrong”, rather they are typically missing a few nuances (good examples being: Alchemy -> Mendeleev’s periodic table -> Current period table; or Newtonian gravity as a force -> Einstein’s gravity as a byproduct of spacetime curvature; or Thompson’s model of an atom -> Rutherford’s -> Bohr’s -> Schrödinger’s). None of the aforementioned theories were completely off base. We didn’t go back and prove the old one wrong, we just replaced it with the new one. A theory can ultimately be true without our ability to prove it true, or false even if it seems to work over and over (for proof see Gödel’s incompleteness theory).
Below is a collection facts and myths related to theories of all types.
We explain the Financial Crisis / Great Recession of 2007 – 2009 that began with the 2006 housing bubble, led to a recession in the U.S. by December 2007, and became a global crisis by 2009.
The state of nature is the state humans lived in before forming the first societies. By examining the state of nature we can better understand the implicit and explicit social contracts which govern societies.
In practice, human action often has paradoxical or unintended effects. Sometimes effects or side effects even have the exact opposite effect as intended.
We examine the historical effects of social, political, and economic inequality on society to see how it has led to social unrest and events like revolutions and populist uprisings.
Villains tend to have mustaches, not because facial hair is evil, but because despots style themselves after other despots.
“Hume’s fork” describes how we refer to Kant’s critique of Hume, who separated knowledge into two types: facts based on ideas and facts based on experience.
We explore the nature of truth, the different types of truth, and the different types of entities who report truth to better understand the nature of information.
Here is a list of the fundamental dualities relating to human nature and the physical and conceptual universe.
On this page, we look at political parties from a historical perspective to better understand the underlying left-right politics all political parties are based on.