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The Most Original Is the Most Real

Posted in Levels of Reality, and Technical Philosophy

Idea: There are good reasons for believing that the more original a thing is, the realer it is.

Let’s call reality-is-at-the-top-ism in general, “generalism.” The type of generalism we examined last time is what I called “unificationism.” But there’s another version.

“Originalism” will be my name for the idea that a thing derives its reality from its origin, and thus the origin has true reality. A thing is what it is because of where it’s from.

Originalism’s Theme Song

Why believe this?

Social Life

“Hello Mr. Strumpet, I’m Bobfred, Sallykate’s son.” As a child, you define yourself in terms of the people you come from. Parents have more weight in the world than children. They matter and make the rules in a way their children/descendants do not. Think of constitutional originalism.

Science & Religion

How does evolutionary science work? Or, have you ever noticed how physicists trace everything back to a single event, or to an ever-present “spacetime manifold”? And what about religion? Without God, nothing would have come into being or be able to continue existing. So, God or the spacetime manifold (Deus sive Natura), has ultimate reality, while everything else only has derivative reality.


Images derive their being — their reality — from what they are images of. An image is just an image of the real thing. But different things all look like images of some original thing. All triangles look like copies of some more general triangle. All humans look like images of some general human type. But if they are, that means all the physical things we see must be less real than the general, original “types” they are images of.


So, who’s right? The reductionist, reality-is-at-the-bottom-ists? Or the generalist, reality-is-at-the-top-ists? We’ll save that for next time.


  1. I think this is the best so far…God is the original and it makes sense to me that He’s the most real being.

    October 7, 2016
  2. Yeah, it’s my favorite too. “It’s all in Plato,” as Professor Kirke says in the Last Battle (I think).

    October 7, 2016

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