From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A principle signifies a point (or points) of probability on a subject (e.g., the principle of creativity), which allows for the formation of rule or norm or law by (human) interpretation of the phenomena (events) that can be created. The rules, norms and laws depend on and co-create a particular context to formulate. A principle is the underlying part (or spirit) of the basis for an evolutionary normative or formative development, which is the object of subjective experience and/or interpretation. For example, the ethics of someone may be seen as a set of principles that the individual obeys in the form of rules, as guidance or law. These principles thus form the basis for such ethics.
Reducing a rule to its principle says that, for the purpose at hand, the principle will not / cannot be questioned or further derived (unless you create new rules). This is a convenient way of reducing the complexity of an argumentation.
The point of principle allows to create all probable versions under its subjective theme, as its reality creation/evolvement under that subject is open-ended and unpredictable relying on choice and option. Rules and laws capture a consensus that certain actions and events will occur under a principle (or a combination of principles).
A principled view for example, implies that an individual has a firm understanding of the underlying principle(s) of events and the rules and laws which govern them inherently and according to our consensus.
Examples of principles:
- a descriptive comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption
- a normative rule or code of conduct,
- a law or fact of nature underlying the working of an artificial device.
Principle as cause
Depending on the way the cause is understood the basic law governing that cause may acquire some distinction in its expression.
Principle of Causality, as efficient cause
The efficient cause is the one that produces the necessary effect, as long as the necessary and sufficient conditions are provided.
The scientific process generally consists of establishing a cause by analyzing its effect upon objects. In this way, a description can be established to explain what principle brought about the change-effect. For this reason the principle of cause is considered to be a determining factor in the production of facts.
With the belief that "every effect has a cause", it's considered that everything that begins to exist must have a cause. This is considered as the principle of causality. It was formulated by Aristotle as "Everything that moves is moved by another". This principle is used as a poweful argument for the potential existence of a creator-god dues to the regressive nature of the principle, which inevitably requires a first-cause.
Principle as a final cause
Final cause is the end, or goal, which guides one to take the necessary actions to obtain it.
For that there needs to be an intelligence capable of conceiving the end and realizing that certain actions must be taken to achieve the goal.
Science does not recognize the finality of the natural causes as a guiding principle of investigation.
It is also understood therefore that the principle guides the action as a norm or rule of behavior, which produces two types of principles.
Principle as law
Principle as scientific law
Laws Physics. Laws Statistics. Laws Biological. Laws of nature are those that can not be proven explicitly, however we can measure and quantify them observing the results that they produce. (Vague or unclear statement).
Principle as moral law
It represents a set of values that orientate and rule the conduct of a concrete society. The law establishes an obligation in the individual's conscience that belongs to the cultural field in which such values are accepted. It supposes the liberty of the individual as cause, that acts without external coercion, through a process of socialization.
Principle as a juridic law
It represents a set of values that inspire the written norms that organize the life of a society submitting to the powers of an authority, generally the State. The law establishes a legal obligation, in a coercive way; it therefore acts as principle conditioning of the action that limits the liberty of the individuals.
Principle as axiom or logical fundament
Principle of Sufficient Reason
This is based on the truth or intelligibility of the being. The being has an identity and is intelligible, in virtue that it is. (The intelligibility is the identity of the being with intelligence.) That in virtue of which the being is intelligible, is called the reason or fundament of being. Here is the ontological principle: ‘’Every being has enough reason’’. Without this enough reason, the identity with oneself would be lost, becoming a non-being and therefore nothing. If a being lacked enough reason, of explication, it wouldn't be intelligible, conceiving itself as an absurd unreal non-being.
Principle of Identity
This comes in consequence from the characteristic of identity of the being. The being is the being, and whoever denies that statement would be against the previously exposed. However, saying "what is, is what is" would seem, as a trial, merely analytical (A = A), but one realizes that in every sentence there is a direct relation between the predicate and the subject. To say "the earth is round", corresponds to a direct relation between the subject and the predicate. Taking this to the sentence "the being is the being", we realize the principle of identity that the being possesses.
Principle of contradiction
"One thing can't be and not be at the same time, under the same aspect." Example: It is not possible that in the exact same moment it rains and doesn't rain (in the same place). see Law of noncontradiction
Principle of excluded middle
The principle of the excluding third or "principium tertium exclusum" is a principle of the traditional logic formulated canonically by Leibniz as: either A is B or A isn't B. It is read the following way: either P is true, or its denial ¬P is. It is also known as "tertium non datur" ('A third (thing) is not). Classically it is considered to be one of the most important fundamental principles or laws of thought (along with the principles of identity, no contradiction and sufficient reason). see Law of excluded middle.