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A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
, it is a
rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionma ...
that has to be or usually is to be followed. It can be desirably followed, or it can be an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed. The principles of such a system are understood by its users as the essential characteristics of the system, or reflecting system's designed purpose, and the effective operation or use of which would be impossible if any one of the principles was to be ignored. A system may be explicitly based on and implemented from a document of principles as was done in IBM's 360/370 ''Principles of Operation''. Examples of principles are,
entropy Entropy is a scientific concept as well as a measurable physical property that is most commonly associated with a state of disorder, randomness, or uncertainty. The term and the concept are used in diverse fields, from classical thermodynamic ...
in a number of fields,
least action :''This article discusses the history of the principle of least action. For the application, please refer to action (physics) In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and ...
in physics, those in descriptive comprehensive and fundamental law:
doctrine Doctrine (from la, Wikt:doctrina, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification (law), codification of beliefs or a body of teacher, teachings or instructions, taught Value (personal and cultural), principles or positions, as the e ...

doctrine
s or assumptions forming normative rules of conduct,
separation of church and state The separation of church and state is a philosophic and jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religi ...
in statecraft, the
central dogma of molecular biology The central dogma of molecular biology is an explanation of the flow of genetic information within a biological system. It is often stated as "DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes protein", although this is not its original meaning. It was first stated by ...

central dogma of molecular biology
,
fairness Fairness or being fair can refer to: * Justice * The character in the award-nominated musical comedy ''A Theory of Justice: The Musical!, A Theory of Justice: The Musical.'' * Equity (law), a legal principle allowing for the use of discretion a ...
in ethics, etc. In common English, it is a substantive and collective term referring to rule governance, the absence of which, being "unprincipled", is considered a character defect. It may also be used to declare that a reality has diverged from some ideal or norm as when something is said to be true only "in principle" but not in fact.


As law


As moral law

A principle represents values that orient and rule the conduct of persons in a particular society. To "act on principle" is to act in accordance with one's moral ideals. Principles are absorbed in childhood through a process of
socialization In sociology, socialization is the process of Internalisation (sociology), internalizing the Norm (social), norms and Ideology, ideologies of society. Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus "the means by which social an ...
. There is a presumption of liberty of individuals that is restrained. Exemplary principles include
First, do no harm ' () is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
, the
golden rule The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in most religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, ...

golden rule
and the
doctrine of the mean#REDIRECT Doctrine of the Mean The ''Doctrine of the Mean'' or ''Zhongyong'' is both a doctrine of Confucianism , Shanxi Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously descri ...
.


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
conditioningConditioning may refer to: Science, computing, and technology * Air conditioning, the removal of heat from indoor air for thermal comfort ** Automobile air conditioning, air conditioning in a vehicle ** Ice storage air conditioning, air conditioni ...

conditioning
of the action that limits the liberty of the individuals. See, for examples, the
territorial principle The territorial principle (also territoriality principle) is a principle of public international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in rela ...
,
homestead principle The homestead principle is the principle by which one gains ownership of an unowned natural resource Natural resources are resource Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which help us to satisfy our needs a ...
, and
precautionary principle The precautionary principle (or precautionary approach) is a broad epistemological Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as fac ...

precautionary principle
.


As scientific law

Archimedes principle Archimedes' principle states that the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external f ...

Archimedes principle
, relating buoyancy to the weight of displaced water, is an early example of a
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
in science. Another early one developed by
Malthus Thomas Robert Malthus (; 13/14 February 1766 – 23 December 1834) was an English cleric Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, beh ...

Malthus
is the ''population principle'', now called the
Malthusian principle Thomas Robert Malthus (; 13/14 February 1766 – 23 December 1834) was an English cleric, scholar and influential economist in the fields of political economy and demography. In his 1798 book ''An Essay on the Principle of Population The ...
. Freud also wrote on principles, especially the
reality principle In Freudian Sigmund Freud ( , ; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist Neurology (from el, νεῦρον (neûron), "string, nerve" and the suffix -logia, "study of") is a branch of me ...
necessary to keep the id and pleasure principle in check. Biologists use the
principle of priority 270px, '' valid name. Priority is a fundamental principle of modern botanical nomenclature and zoological nomenclature. Essentially, it is the principle of recognising the first valid application of a name to a plant or animal. There are two aspec ...
and
principle of Binominal nomenclature A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political or personal control by someone with authority or power * Busin ...
for precision in naming
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
. There are many principles observed in physics, notably in
cosmology Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
which observes the
mediocrity principle The mediocrity principle is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of som ...
, the
anthropic principle The anthropic principle is a group of principles attempting to determine how statistically probable our observations of the universe are, given that we could only exist in a particular type of universe to start with. In other words, scientific ob ...
, the
principle of relativity In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "P ...
and the
cosmological principle In modern physical cosmology Physical cosmology is a branch of cosmology concerned with the study of cosmological models. A cosmological model, or simply cosmology, provides a description of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the ...
. Other well-known principles include the
uncertainty principle In quantum mechanics Quantum mechanics is a fundamental Scientific theory, theory in physics that provides a description of the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. It is the foundation of all quant ...

uncertainty principle
in
quantum mechanics Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with ...
and the
pigeonhole principle In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...
and
superposition principle The superposition principle, also known as superposition property, states that, for all linear system In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems, i.e. cohesive groups of interrelated, interdependent parts that ...
in mathematics.


As axiom or logical fundament


Principle of sufficient reason

The principle states that every event has a rational explanation. The principle has a variety of expressions, all of which are perhaps best summarized by the following: :For every entity ''x'', if ''x'' exists, then there is a sufficient explanation for why ''x'' exists. :For every event ''e'', if ''e'' occurs, then there is a sufficient explanation for why ''e'' occurs. :For every proposition ''p'', if ''p'' is true, then there is a sufficient explanation for why ''p'' is true. However, one realizes that in every sentence there is a direct relation between the predicate and the subject. To say that "the Earth is round", corresponds to a direct relation between the subject and the predicate.


Principle of non-contradiction

According to
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
, “It is impossible for the same thing to belong and not to belong at the same time to the same thing and in the same respect.” For example, it is not possible that in exactly the same moment and place, it rains and doesn't rain.


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 Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the "#1666–1676, 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist, and diplomat. He is a promin ...

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 also

*
Axiom An axiom, postulate or assumption is a statement that is taken to be truth, true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments. The word comes from the Greek ''axíōma'' () 'that which is thought worthy or fit' o ...

Axiom
*
Corollary In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It h ...
* Deduction *
Law (principle) A law is a universal principle that describes the fundamental nature of something, the universal properties and the relationships between things, or a description that purports to explain these principles and relationships. Laws of nature For ...
*
Logical consequence Logical consequence (also entailment) is a fundamental concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies ...
*
Self-Evidence In epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemology), justification, the Reaso ...


References


External links

* * ''Actus Essendi'' and the Habit of the First Principle in Thomas Aquinas (New York: Einsiedler Press, 2019)
/span>. {{Authority control Concepts in epistemology Concepts in ethics Concepts in metaphysics Concepts in the philosophy of mind Concepts in the philosophy of science Metaphysics of mind Ontology