Formalistic philosophy is an attempt to describe philosophical principles, theorems,
and concepts with a formal diagramming language. The formalism (graphical notation)
consists of the following basic elements:
Entities, or philosophical/metaphysical concepts (subject,
object, matter, substance, cause, etc.). Entities are rendered as simple graphical
icons or symbols.
that further describe or define the entities. Attributes are associated with entities.
Attributes are rendered either as letters that are added next to the entity symbol
or as a graphical modification of the entity.
that define interactions or associations (conceptual or physical) between entities.
Relationships are rendered as directional lines (arrowhead at either end). Relationships
can have the following attributes: roles, kinds, direction, intentionality, and
is rendered as a number added to the entity icon. Each number is a different definition
that need to be written out explicitly in an attached note.
are rendered as a capital letter "R" next to the entity or entity construal. The
actual reference is written in parentheses next to the "R", e.g. R(Kant CPR, A320).
is a tracing relationship and shows how certain entities are developed or derived
throughout various entity construals. The same entity can be reused in many different
entity construals. The relationship is rendered as a dotted arrow line back to the
previous occurrence. The modificator is '[relates]'.
(qualifiers, ascriptors) are attributes that modify, enhance, or further qualify/define
an entity or relationship. Modificators are rendered as text between square brackets
and are used on top of relationships or entities.
are rendered as solid line with an arrow pointing to the entity on which it is dependent
and the modificator '[depends]'.
Entity construals: entities can be used to build a postulate or
axiom (basic, self-evident principle, assumption). One or more postulates/axioms
constitute a theorem or are part of an argument (syllogism, premises). One or more
theorems are organized into a theory, or one or more arguments are organized into
The idea behind this philosophical formalism is to visualize abstract and complex
metaphysical ideas and principles. It also allows to build theorems or even whole
systems of thought by using entities and entity clusters (building blocks) to logically
and graphically derive a philosophical theory.
At the time of writing, this idea of a formalistic philosophy is not yet a complete
formalism but just a first draft of a final definition. I will continue developing
this formalism and add more symbols and constructs to it. I know that this is a
very amibitious project and it will take time and experience to see if this idea
pans out and can be applied in practice at all.
real, ideal, subjective, objective, physical, cognitive, mental, etc.
Postulate: The Whole is more than the sum of its Parts.
The relationship between the two entities can be modified by attributes (modificators),
such as the 'greater than...'.
Postulate: The existence of an individual form (thing, living
being, etc.) can be defined as the integration of the two aspects of essence and
In this example two modificators are applied to the relationships: the '[defines]'
and the ['integrates]'. The letter 'P' represents a particular thing or being as
opposed to a universal concept.
Postulate: The principle of sufficient reason says that nothing
exists without a reason for its being.
Leibniz' principle can be represented simply as the entity of cause pointing to
existence. The '[depends]' modificator represents that existence is dependent on
something that caused it. The '[N]' modificator further defines this dependency
relationship as necessary.