This article discusses what various philosophers considered the SoN to be, and the conclusions they drew from it as to how society should be organised. However, as far as I can tell, their concept of the SoN was based purely on theorizing and speculation, when "the condition of humanity before the state's foundation" and "the condition before the rule of positive law comes into being" were not just theoretical speculations, but real things, and potentially the subject of historical/archeological/scientific investigation.
Have any philosophers attempted to find out what the real SoN actually was, and based their arguments on that, rather than just what they imagined it to be? If so, that needs to be mentioned in the article. And if not, that also needs to be mentioned.Wardog (talk) 08:49, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
- It appeared that Aksis was making this very point in the sections "The Facts" and "Baseless claim of Original Research" but they got lost in the confusion of the argument with William M. Connolley (see /Archive 1). Anyways, I think that if the article is going to limit the scope of information on the "state of nature" to "political theory" and exclude everything else, then it is a stub of that larger topic "State of Nature (political theory)." The choice of the subject matter of the general topic "state of nature" should not be limited to a handful of the popular political theories and their authors, but should lead with what "The actual state of nature" is AND include the theory. I don't see any need for the article to be moved to State of Nature (political theory), it just needs the inclusion of non-political theory info before the various theories based on that info.
- "The state of Nature, in its broadest sense, is the Universe, which is the natural state that all exists within and nothing is without. This axiom precedes any and all the political philosophies built upon it."
- I liked the jist of this bit from the Archive, tho I'm not sure who I am quoting due to the confusion. Christopher Theodore (talk) 16:08, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
- *I went ahead and edited the article. After reading that archived talk page, I found my self waiting for some kind of consensus before I dare edit the article or I'd be in trouble. :-P This is not the spirit of wikipedia. The edit was made in good faith with the goal of improving the article after this particular point had been discussed over a span of years.Christopher Theodore (talk) 19:29, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
I reverted you, sorry. You need decent refs to support an addition like that, and a dictionary definition of "State" linked to a dict def of "Nature" is just OR. You need WP:RSs actually using the phrase in the sense you mean it. This is what the archives say, too, so its a shame you didn't read them William M. Connolley (talk) 21:20, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
- When I came to the page "state of nature," I was looking for general information first, not just the more specific sub-topic of "political theory." The first paragraph of the article would be fine if I had gone to the article "State of Nature (political theory)" (which doesn't exist), then it would have made sense to me. It's why I bothered to check the talk page, saw that it was an old issue, and am now seeking to resolve the issue. I do not feel like you are making a good faith effort to understand the issue and resolve it, in fact, it feels like I have damaged someone's pet page project.
- We seem to be starting the same argument you had with the other guy and I'm not going to have it with you. By your own logic, it's actually you that needs to provide a citation that the "state of nature" is a term limited only to political philosophy/theory. There is no support for this position and your reversion of the edit recreated this problem. Granted, the information about political theory is certainly a valid aspect of the general topic (which is why I didn't delete it), but your position seems to be that it is the only view (or perhaps it is that it is the superior view?) Further, and why I grabbed that portion from the Archive, is that the other guy was correct when he pointed out that it is an axiom, and in light of this, doesn't need a cite to support it. I only left the dictionary refs in there because I was hoping to find some kind of happy medium between the 2 conflicting views to resolve the issue. My edit started as a direct quote of only a very small portion of the other guys text (there was alot ;-), then I edited it. I had linked to, and borrowed from the Universe article because of the fact that the 2 terms, generally speaking, are synonyms. Are you saying they are not?!? :-D
- What are not axioms, are the various political theories based on the reality of what the state of nature technically is. That subject matter would need citations.
- William, before I revert it back, I'm going to give you some time to resolve the issue (or are you some kind of admin that has absolute say on this article? If so, just say it and ignore my proposed resolutions). Are you clear on what the issue is? What do you propose? (and demanding that I prove (or provide cites) for the axiom is fallacious - I don't need to prove that the "state of nature" and the "universe" are synonymous.) Do you want to sustain an article that is purely based on the political theory topic? Here is where it belongs: "State of Nature (political theory)" To be honest tho, rather then create a new article, I would rather the article's flow move from the broadest perspective into to the more specific sub-topics due to the fact that the reality of what the state of nature technically is is key to the political theories use of the term. Would you would like to re-write the opening paragraph differently then I did? That would be another option, but currently it's not general enough and while I may not have resolved the issue to your satisfaction, it was resolved.
- I'll wait 24 hours from now before I revert it, if you need more time to resolve this, let me know. Christopher Theodore (talk) 23:17, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
- I'd like to interject one more point to clarify the issue, when I googled the question "what is the state of nature?" this article was the first page listed and it is leading with what the "state of nature" is in political theory, not with a clear description of what the "state of nature" is, in fact. Christopher Theodore (talk) 02:04, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- "State of nature" is a commonly used term and widely studied topic in philosophy (see, for example, Locke's Second Treatise of Civil Government). I do not believe I have ever encountered the term in other contexts, although one can obviously imagine other definitions of the term. It seems likely to me that the philosophical topic is the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. May I ask why you Googled that phrase? In what other context had you come across the term? Pburka (talk) 02:11, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- I never said the "state of nature" was NOT a commonly used term and widely studied topic in philosophy. It's not me trying to suppress information on the topic. In philosophy, the "term" is used to describe a concept. The opening paragraph is biased in that it's limiting that concept and distorting it. Or is the article not really about the concept, but the "term"? Christopher Theodore (talk) 07:13, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- Where have you seen "state of nature" used to refer to the general state of the universe? (Please don't just string some dictionary definitions together - show examples.) Pburka (talk) 16:01, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- It needs to be borne in mind that Wikipedia is not a dictionary - and if the phrase 'state of nature' is sometimes used as a synonym for 'universe', there would be no justification for a separate article explaining the term as used in that context - a simple redirect to 'universe', and a brief (sourced) explanation that 'state of nature' was a synonym would be all that would be required. Articles are about concepts, not phrases. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:32, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- AndyTheGrump, and that is the heart of the issue. It's the concept of the "state of nature" in general, not the "term," (or who coined the "term" for the concept first, or who presented which POV, or who's POV was based on a previous POV, etc..), the concept of the article is not limited to: "... a term in moral and political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition that preceded governments." There are other relevant aspects of the concept. The lead paragraph needs to be more general, and then progress into more specific aspects of the concept. For example, there are a number of religious and philosophical POV regarding the concept of the "state of nature" that don't use that specific "term," but are none the less valid elements of the "concept." One relevant POV on the concept, is that the belief/theory that the "state of nature" was a Utopia, for example. The concept has had many "terms" used to describe it throughout the ages: nature, state of nature, original jurisdiction, universe, natural state, etc... in fact, the actual origin of the concept is lost along with the origin of civilizations in Myth, speculation, and theory.
- Without a source for your 'axiom', reverting would be unjustified. And as for whether this article needs renaming, I would suggest that it would only be required if it could be demonstrated that the term 'state of nature' was in common use in other contexts. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:08, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- You don't seem to be comprehending the concept of an axiom. Are you saying that the concept of the term "state of nature" as it is generally used in political philosophy is not a synonym for the Universe? What is original, false, or misleading about this paragraph?:
- The state of Nature, in it's broadest sense is the Universe, which is the natural state that is constituted by the totality of existence, including planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, and all matter and energy. This axiom precedes all the political philosophies and theory built upon it and serves as their foundation.
Let me ask all of you this: Would you lead an article about mathematics with an explanation of the concept from a more advanced POV, or would you start with the most general POV of the concept? How would someone begin to comprehend the concept if you started the discourse with a concept rooted in multiplication when you hadn't even delineated upon basic arithmetic? There is no broader or more general explanation of the term "state of nature" then pointing out that it is synonymous with the Universe.
Further, this is relevant to this issue: Wikipedia:Wikipedia_is_not_a_dictionary#Good_definitions, as is this essay provided on that page as a link: Wikipedia:Dictionaries_as_sources. After taking a closer look at wikipedia policy and the essay on that, it just furthers my suspicion that the accusation of OR in support of the rv., was not made in good faith. Christopher Theodore (talk) 07:13, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- Hi Christopher. I'm not trying to give you material to include in the article or any justification for article content. I'm going to try very quickly to give you an idea of what the topic of the article is if I had to teach you in a way that I think might be congenial and accessible to you. So the topic of this article, that is, to what "state of nature" in this case refers, isn't a specific state of the natural world. Rather it is a theorized set of relevant features of the world which would be the case when humans are either in a situation without civilization or society, or at a minimum developmental level of civilization or society. Which relevant features? The features which are relevant for determining what the rights and responsibilities of these humans would be. So when a scholar describes the state of nature in this sense, she wouldn't, for example, describe mountains on Mars, because whether there is some number of mountains on Mars or not won't affect the rights and responsibilities of humans that exist in a minimally-developed society.
- You may have found another topic which is also called "state of nature", but that is not this topic. There's nothing wrong with multiple topics having the same name; this happens all the time. If you really do believe that this topic is just an aspect of the topic that you have found, then you should produce a reliable source which says or clearly implies that. It is not quite enough to say that it is an axiom that this topic is an aspect of your wider topic without a reliable source saying so. There are many axioms, but all the ones of which Wikipedia treats have multiple reliable sources describing those axioms. For example, I could produce to you maybe a dozen reliable sources saying exactly what the axiom of extensionality is. Thanks for reading. --Atethnekos (Discussion, Contributions) 10:54, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- Just because there is not a published paper on an axiom doesn't make something any less an axiom. This is a false presumption, but I do comprehend why many axioms and maxims would require publication and it's not to prove their validity, but to explain them in depth. Christopher Theodore (talk) 20:15, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- Christopher Theodore, please try to get my username right - I am not 'AndyTheGimp' (My bad andy, I have corrected that, it was not intended as an insult but was a genuine mistake :-( ). And yes, I am explicitly stating that for the purposes of this article, 'state of nature' is not even remotely a synonym for 'universe'. This has been explained to you multiple times, and frankly your refusal to accept that your supposed 'axiom' is irrelevant to the subject of this article is bordering on the tendentious. This article isn't about the universe, it isn't about synonyms for 'the universe', and it certainly isn't about why one particular Wikipedia contributor thinks that 'state of nature' is a synonym for 'universe' based on nothing but a dubious 'axiom'. I suggest that rather than wasting peoples time here and elsewhere, , you find something more productive to do with your time. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:07, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- Your not the only one's who feels their time is being wasted. This fixation on the idea that unless the exact term "state of nature" is found in published works that it justifies relevant subject matter being excluded is quite disturbing. I haven't even begun to include more subject matter due to this absurd demand to justify something so self evident. I do not feel like I am being comprehended, but rather the condescending tone is indicative of people looking to explain to me something I actually do comprehend. While you are occupied with looking for ways to explain yourselves to someone whom you seem to think is soooo unfamiliar with this topic, you are failing to grasp my points. Perhaps this will clarify it:
From Wikipedia:No_original_research/Noticeboard#State_of_nature_article_-_opening_paragraph (I'm gonna post there and refocus the discussion here): Kindly forgive me if I seem to be being obtuse, but I am trying to grasp this concept of original research from the Wikipedia POV. I read the policy, but the policy and how it is applied are not always one and the same. Also, by "expanding the subject matter," it was intended to convey the idea that the concept is being expanded to it's true meaning, not expanded beyond the scope of the concept. Anyways,
- Are the definition of the words in a "term" or "phrase" not considered a part of the concept of authoritative sources supporting the concept? Is a recognize authoritative dictionary like Websters not considered a primary source in the comprehension of any subject matter (not necessarily at Wikipedia, but generally)? Is this really the policy or simply an interpretation of it by a few members? If definitions are actually part of the concept of authoritative sources, are there times when they are not?
- The current "subject matter" is suppressing information integral to the concept due to a limited or false definition at the beginng. You can not reconstruct the base concept, as it is being currently presented within the philosophies cited, with the definitions of the words in the "term." Will people now turn to Wiktionary to redefine the words to fit this limited/new/false definition of a much broader concept? Is this happening with other articles? It's certainly been done with the word lead en.wiktionary.org - lede. :-D
- Is in not imperative to someone new to the subject matter to grasp first, that the state of nature is Nature (another synonym for Universe), before the more complex subject matter of abstract political theory is introduced? This article is not just for collage students... If 1+1+1+1=4 is true, is 2*2=4 less true? Do we now teach multiplication before addition?
- (btw, this is why I goggled the term, the goal was to approach like I was a High School student... not a collage student, grad, professor, etc.. what ever I am is irrelevant if the information is unable to be accepted)
- Is this original interpretation, of the words, composing the term, referring to a concept not against policy? Can you cite a source supporting the position that the "state of nature" is not the Universe? Is this perspective even supported by the very philosophers being quoted/cited, or is it various editors interpretations of that subject matter? If it is interpretations, are they accurate? There is no issue with paraphrasing unless it perverts integral elements of the subject matter.
- Is the "state of nature" really a hypothetical thing like the lead paragraph currently says? Does it become one simply because a famous philosopher says it is? If we have a dog and call the tail a "leg," how many legs does the dog now have? 4, just because we call the tail a leg doesn't make it one.
- Is natural law not the lex non scripta of the state of Nature? If we call natural law, the "Law of Nature" does it become a new and different thing?
- If, in the middle of the night I say, "The sun is shining. This is a fact," and then point to the moon as evidence, would you press for more evidence and require some 3rd party publication to support something so obvious? If I must, I suppose I will have to wait for it to dawn upon you.
- Does the statement of the fact that the state of nature is the universe even require research (original or otherwise)?
Christopher Theodore (talk) 20:15, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- This article is not just for collage students - this is becoming Dada William M. Connolley (talk) 20:30, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- Obviously, so why are you insisting on leading with the more complex subject matter of abstract political theory, rather then the elementary concept that is obviously what the philosophers were talking about... Nature... and all the theories of what life was like there before 'government' existed... And why do people keep missing the point that I am not trying to limit the article to an article about the Universe or even open up the topic to such subject mater like how many mountains there are on mars?
It's like watching a group of people hack at the roots of the Tree of Knowledge with axes who's handles are hewn from it's branches. Christopher Theodore (talk) 21:26, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- Ok, enough of this nonsense. Here's the deal. If Christopher Theodore posts one more of his tendentious and repetitive arguments regarding his proposal to drag this article wildly off-topic based on his so-called 'axiom', I am going to raise his behaviour at WP:ANI, and ask that he be blocked on the grounds of disruptive editing and/or competence. I see no reason whatsoever why we should be obliged to waste any further time explaining elementary policy (and just plain common sense) to a 'contributor' who seems either unwilling to comply with policy, or incapable of understanding said policy. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:14, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
- Yeah, it's a real drag when people just don't get plain common sense... and waste other people's time... which is what you've been doing to me. Christopher Theodore (talk) 21:33, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Given the tendentious and disruptive behaviour exhibited by Christopher Theodore here, I have now raised the matter at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive818#Tendentious behaviour by User: Christopher Theodore at Talk:State of nature and elsewhere.. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:07, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
My point was never that the article was about the universe. This has been the false presumption made by nearly EVERYONE commenting so far.
- WP:LEAD: "The lead serves as an introduction to the article and a summary of it's most important aspects."
From my POV, what the "state of nature" IS in it's physical sense is an important, integral, and obvious aspect to grasping the CONCEPT in it's philosophical sense.
Another false presumption EVERYONE commenting seems to be making is that I fail to grasp that the article is about the concept in the philosophical sense. I am and have been looking at both. And I persist that both can and should be noted in the lead, and THAT THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE FOCUS ON THE PHILOSOPHICAL SENSE! Since my point is falling on 'deaf ears', I haven't reverted that portion of the article. Christopher Theodore (talk) 22:04, 10 November 2013 (UTC)