• Metaphysician Undercover
    6
    The real numbers include some numbers that are in VV and many that aren't. In what way does that specify VV? That's like saying I can specify the people registered at a hotel this weekend as the human race. Of course everyone at the hotel is human, but humanity includes many people who are not registered at the hotel.fishfry

    That's right, to specify that they are real numbers is to specify, just like to specify that the guests at the hotel are human beings is to specify. The fact that a specification is vague, incomplete, or imperfect does not negate the fact that it is a specification.

    How so?fishfry

    I told you how so. You've specified that the set contains real numbers. You are the one who explained to me, that 'set" is logically prior to "number", and that not all sets have numbers as elements. This means that "set" is the more general term. How can you now deny that to indicate that a particular set consists of some real numbers, is not an act of specifying?

    And the people at the hotel are humans. As are all the people not at the hotel. If that's all you mean by specification, that all I have to do is name some arbitrary superset of the set in question, then every set has a specification. If that's what you meant, I'll grant you your point. But it doesn't seem too helpful. It doesn't tell me how to distinguish members of a set from non members.fishfry

    Good, you now accept that every set has a specification. Do you also agree now that this type of specification, which "doesn't tell me how to distinguish members of a set from non members", is simply a bad form of specification?

    Anyway, let's go back to the point which raised this issue. You said the following, which i said was contradictory:

    First, the elements of a set need not be "the same" in any meaningful way. The only thing they have in common is that they're elements of a given set.fishfry

    Do you now see, and agree, that since a set must be specified in some way, then the elements must be "the same" in some way, according to that specification, therefore it's really not true to say that "the elements of a set need not be "the same" in any meaningful way." So we can get rid of that appearance of contradiction by stating the truth, that the elements of a set must be the same in some meaningful way. To randomly name objects is not to list the members of a set, because a set requires a specification.

    What I am trying to get at, is the nature of a "set" You say that there is no definition of "set", but it has meaning given by usage. Now I see inconsistency in your usage, so I want to find out what you really think a set is. Consider the following.

    The elements of a set need have no relation to one another nor belong to any articulable category or class of thought, OTHER THAN being gathered into a set.fishfry

    Since we now see that a set must have a specification, do you see how the above quote is inconsistent with that principle? Since a set must have a specification, a set is itself an "articulable category or class of thought". And, it is not the "being gathered into a set" which constitutes the relations they have with one another, it is the specification itself, which constitutes the relations. So if you specify a set containing the number five, the tuna sandwich you had for lunch, and the Mormon tabernacle choir, this specification constitutes relations between these things. That's what putting them into a set does, it constructs such relations.

    Now here's the difficult part. Do you agree that there are two distinct types of sets, one type in which the specification is based in real, observed similarities, a set which is based on description, and another type of set which is based in imaginary specifications, a set produced as a creative act? Do you acknowledge that these two types of sets are fundamentally different?
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