The title is hard to beat: Newton's Principia (or more officially, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia) ... Russell & Whitehead's Principia Mathematica ... G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica ... etc. The list is long.

So consider Principia Principia: the fundamental principles of how to build principles! What might such principles look like? Certainly they must be assertive; nobody wants wishy-washy foundations of "probably" this or "perhaps" that. (But are there times when uncertainty is essential?) Deep principles also had better be general, abstract, and cross-cutting --- not narrow specific factoids. (But aren't facts necessary too?) And good principles should be efficient --- both necessary and sufficient --- as small a set of elements as is needed to build the superstructure, but no smaller. (On the other hand, a little redundancy adds resilience to a system, eh?)

What are some other aspects of a good Principia Principia?

Thursday, October 05, 2000 at 05:56:17 (EDT) = 2000-10-05


(correlates: NecessityAndSufficiency, AsimovOnLibraries, MySpeciality, ...)