I thought of a flaw in the very essence of philosophy

Philosophy presuppose that the individualisation of the Whole, which is created by language, corresponds with the Whole as it is, and that it is therefore futile, given that there can be an infinite number of individualisations of the Whole.

What do you think ? Do you think it is reasonable ? Do you think that the language of humans, that the individualisation of the Whole of man, has more "meaning" than another?


By 'the individualisation of the whole', I mean that language creates in the mind a fragmentary vision of the whole of what is perceived

  • "the individualisation of the Whole, which is created by language" What does it mean? Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:43
  • By "the individualisation of the Whole", I presume you mean the subjective understanding of reality. But you can have infinitely many subjective understandings and still only 1 objective reality. Whether there is 1 objective reality is also not something all of philosophy accepts. There are a bunch of different views on how subjective experience corresponds to objective reality, if they correspond at all.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:55
  • 1
    I may be misunderstanding your post, but when we open our eyes and looks out into the world our minds have automatically segregated "the whole" into individuated parts. There is no thought or language involved.
    – nwr
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 15:52
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    I cannot understand your question. Could you rephrase it in less opaque and ambiguous language please? Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 16:14
  • Philosophy does not presuppose that at least since Kant. The main point of his critique of metaphysics was that philosophers used to not distinguish reality from its representations in language or even in already in thought. Since then almost all philosophers are very conscious of the difference. But it does not follow that conceptual or linguistic "individualisations" are futile simply because they are infinite in number. First, mathematics, and abstraction generally, can easily handle infinities, and second, the real question is not how many there are but how well they reflect the Whole.
    – Conifold
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


By 'the individualisation of the whole', I mean that language creates in the mind a fragmentary vision of the whole of what is perceived

This is a central theme in philosophical discourse. Taoism which is often identified with the In-Yo in Japan and the Ying-Yang in China, is big on exploring the nature of dualism (SEP). Zen buddhism attacks language using koans. Natural language is a wonderful tool for describing and communicating experience, but it has limits. This exploration of the impact of language on philosophy in the West is called the linguistic turn. Dualism is a tremendously important philosophical concept and occurs in topics like mind-body dualism and property dualism. Mereology (SEP) is another philosophical discipline that attempts to make sense of what it means that a system has parts which are themselves systems that have parts potentially ad infinitum. Dualisms often result in the false dilemmas in reasoning, and in Western metaphysics, you see repeated attacks on duality. Gilbert Ryle attacks duality in Cartesianism. John Searle argues in his biological naturalism that property dualism is bad logic. Jains have the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Even in Christian theology, one might here that a the singular God comes in three parts, the Father, the Son, and Holy spirit.

So, I'd say your observation is consistent with philosophical thought across the world and across the expanse of time.


The only correspondence with the Whole is going to be on matters of science and mathematics, like quarks have 6 flavours and π is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. On matters of human activity people have their own realities made up of the things they think are real and possible like reincarnation and purpose. On the other hand, the more abstract concept of world can be shared, or you can be in your own world. When we speak of 'our' world we mean the one we share, regardless of all the different beliefs/realities.

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