What is Open? What Does the Term Open Mean?

What is Open? What Does the Term Open Mean?

July 1, 2021 Off By Felso

Open is thought that is recognized without being confused with another.


The term open, used as the opposite of dark and blurry, defines thought that is easily and immediately recognizable without being confused with any other thought.


It was Descartes, the French thinker, who introduced the term “open” into the language of philosophy. Descartes uses this term together with the term distinct, in the sense of obvious. In his work “Principes de la Philosophie” he states what he understands by these terms:

“By explicit knowledge I understand knowledge that is visible and evident to the attentive mind. By discrete knowledge I understand knowledge that is separated from other knowledge. In such knowledge there is nothing but the obvious.” (Principle 45).
“Only what we grasp clearly and distinctly can we make a judgment without making mistakes.” (Principle 43).
“We can only make wrong judgments on things we do not clearly know. It is a coincidence if we have made the right judgment, we cannot know for sure that we have not been deceived. A lot of times we are deceived because we think we know many things.” (Principle 44).
“Knowledge can be clear without being clear, but it can’t be clear without being clear.” (Principle 46).
“To get rid of the prejudices of our childhood, which often mislead us, we must re-examine the obvious things found in each of our early conceptions.” (47, Principle).

As can be seen, according to Descartes, distinct knowledge is more accurate than explicit knowledge; hence the explicit phrase combining the two terms is a stronger statement. The result is this: Any thought or statement; it should not be harsh, foggy and difficult to understand. The subject should be given without a tool (clear) and not mixed with other information (clear). Descartes expressed these two idioms together with the Latin term clarus et distinctus.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım