as logic needs some basic assumptions in order to operate we assume some things then based on them we use logic to extrapolate. I think that there is no "fact", we all agree that some things are self evidently true for us, this is considered a fact. So at the most basic level lv 0 we believe nothing, no assumptions exist. lv 1 .( what are the basic things almost every being with self awareness will agree on?) lv 2 , ( what are the things all "sane" humans agree on, ) etc.....

I would like to know the least number of basic ideas we have to take on blind faith (assumptions) so that we can extrapolate the remaining ideas. If I have made any mistake in my understanding or if you have a conflicting opinion please let me know.


I think a lot of directions in our society are converging on the notion that the world runs on feedback loops, and this notion of reducing things to an absolute basis is a fool's errand.

We are enthralled by the power of deductions that simplify complexity into something we can state compactly because we are beasts of language and limited memory. But these powerful generalizations, just because they are powerful, are not 'more basic' than others. There is no absolute 'downward' in the complexity of thought, only a relative one.

What is most basic depends strongly on the circumstance and the goal. That one needs food is an immensely complex statement, given the incredible biological and chemical mechanisms behind food, and the even more staggering complexity behind the mechanisms we interpret as needing. At the same time, the idea that matter curves time is comparably quite simple, though almost incomprehensible to almost everyone, almost always.

You need a more pointed goal and context to get any meaningful dialog on this kind of thing.

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    +1 for the "feedback loops" comment; I'm reminded of Charles Taylor's "Self-Interpreting Animals" as well as his Sources of the Self. – labreuer Dec 17 '14 at 17:37

for me, the first two axioms that come to mind are:

  1. Descartes: "Cogito ergo sum" (that combined with what i am apparently observing with my "lying eyes" tells me solipsism isn't a good bet.)

  2. "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." dunno whom to attribute that to, but it tells me that consistency in values and consistency in argument and thought are generally the best bet (the alternative is hypocrisy). from that is derived concepts such as empathy, the Golden Rule, and truth.

i take it further into Theism and eventually into Anabaptist Christianity. but 1. and 2. is where i begin.


I would pick one of the same ones Robert Bristow-Johnson picked, and two that are different.

  1. I think therefore I am - A definition of the Self is essential.
  2. Past performance predicts future success - A definition of Time or at least a time-like-illusion
  3. Actions matter - My Self can influence something (even if, in the most extreme worldviews, it can only influence itself)

There is also a belief in the definition of First Order Logic, which I think is a basic assumption for nearly all of humanity, but I can't call it a real basic assumption because there are schools of thought that do not depend on FOL.

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