• I like sushi
    1.2k
    Empirical doesn’t mean empiricism, phenomenon doesn’t mean phenomenology and real doesn’t mean realism.

    My mistake about your reply! I got my wires crossed there. I still don’t really understand what kind of nominalism you adhere to though - too many subtleties to it. You fall short of Conceptualism though? Yet I do see that concept nominalism is sometimes regarded as synonymous to Conceptualism.

    I don’t see personally see how ‘numbers’ are not real - even though they are abstract. I don’t see how someone can claim to have an ‘opinion’ about basic arithmetic, but I am quite willing to accept that numbers don’t reflect physical reality because two apples are not the same apples, yet the ‘two’ we talk of is never some different ‘two’.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    real doesn’t mean realism.I like sushi

    What makes someone a realist? What is the view of someone who is a realist on x that makes them a realist on x? Realists think what?

    (I'll get to the other stuff after we think about the above)
  • I like sushi
    1.2k
    Adherence to some flavour of realism. Which generally means they hold the view/s that some item is objectively existent, universal, has essences, and/or is independent of human thought - it is also a view associated with scientific method and the physical.

    If someone was to say to me they were a realist it wouldn’t give me anything near an understanding of there overall view. I would assume that they were probably scientific in their approach though, but dogmatic in their dismissal of any other possible perspective.
  • creativesoul
    5.8k
    If nominalism is held by a coherent advocate thereof, then s/he must admit that we cannot step into the same river once... We cannot step into that river!
    — creativesoul

    OK. When did the River Thames (for example) become 'that' river? It will have been a trickle at one point in the past. It would certainly have been in a different location before the southern uplift created the North Downs. So at what point in its history did it become 'that' river?

    And while you're at it, you can explain at exactly what point 'that' river ends. How far out to sea, or how saline must the water be before it is no longer 'that' river? Where does 'that' river begin for that matter? Underground? The moment it breaches the surface? As soon as other tributaries join it?

    I'm regularly dumbfounded by the number of people who seem to do philosophy on the basis of the whatever seems obvious to them must therefore be a fact of the world. It's unbelievably lazy thinking.
    Isaac

    I find it rather amusing when one argues in such way...

    Those are not consequences or troubles arising from my position. They are consequences of a strict adherence to nominalism. I've no burden to defend those.

    The irony of it all given the charge of "lazy thinking"...

    :kiss:
  • creativesoul
    5.8k
    We decide the names of things. I'm largely in agreement with Quine here regarding the arbitrariness of what we pay attention to, name, and/or further talk about.

    Things are in a constant state of flux. The identity of a thing need not be. In fact, change could not even be taken account of if we demanded such.
  • Isaac
    714
    Those are not consequences or troubles arising from my position. They are consequences of a strict adherence to nominalism. I've no burden to defend those.

    The irony of it all given the charge of "lazy thinking"...
    creativesoul

    Those are consequences or troubles arising from your position. They are not consequences of a strict adherence to nominalism. You have a burden to defend those.

    The irony of it all given the charge of "lazy thinking"...

    Well, this is fun isn't it? Do you want to present an actual argument yet or shall we just clarify that we disagree for a bit longer?
  • creativesoul
    5.8k
    Do you want to present an actual argument yet or shall we just clarify that we disagree for a bit longer?Isaac

    An argument for what? Need I present an argument to show you that nothing you've said bears upon my position? We isolate and subsequently identify a thing by virtue of naming practices. Some of those things change and/or evolve. It is the same thing nonetheless.

    The river named Danube changes. The Danube's changes cannot be properly accounted for unless it's identification remains the same. "The Danube" picks out that river along with it's changes to the exclusion of all others and their changes.

    It's the same river.

    Your turn.
  • Isaac
    714
    Need I present an argument to show you that nothing you've said bears upon my position?creativesoul

    Yes. That's the bloody point of a discussion forum. It's not your personal blog.

    We isolate and subsequently identify a thing by virtue of naming practices. Some of those things change and/or evolve. It is the same thing nonetheless.creativesoul

    Yes, I'm aware that you think that, now try to reason that conclusion. Why do you think that it remains the same thing despite some of it changing?

    The Danube's changes cannot be properly accounted for unless it's identification remains the same.creativesoul

    Again. Why do you think this? Give, perhaps, an example of how such improper accounting might come about. What would be the consequences? Why might we want to avoid them?

    "The Danube" picks out that river to the exclusion of all others.creativesoul

    Indeed it does, which is a discussion about language. Nomilaism is an ontological position. It's about what exists extra-mentally, not about how language works.

    It's the same river.creativesoul

    Why?
  • I like sushi
    1.2k
    Indeed it does, which is a discussion about language. Nomilaism is an ontological position. It's about what exists extra-mentally, not about how language works. — Isaac

    Good luck trying to pin “creativesoul” on this point. Granted the semantics of the discussion matter, but I fear the aforementioned person is perhaps more interested in weaving back and forth between various semantic values than sticking to one in particular (after a page or two of what is about to proceed you may come to the same conclusion).

    @Terrapin Station If there is weight to our exchange it may be better served in a separate thread. Split off where you see appropriate :)
  • Isaac
    714
    Good luck trying to pin “creativesoul” on this point. Granted the semantics of the discussion matter, but I fear the aforementioned person is perhaps more interested in weaving back and forth between various semantic values than sticking to one in particular (after a page or two of what is about to proceed you may come to the same conclusion).I like sushi

    Yeah, I've had a few discussions with CS before.. It's just a matter of presenting what I can until the argument gets dismissed with some one-line quip about red-herrings.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Which generally means they hold the view/s that some item is objectively existent . . . and/or is independent of human thoughtI like sushi
    Another word for that (objectively existent/independent of human thought) is "real."

    If someone was to say to me they were a realist it wouldn’t give me anything near an understanding of there overall view.I like sushi

    It depends on the context. Often we'll say that we're realists or antirealists on x, or the conversation will be solely about the ontology of x. That simply means that one is respectively asserting or denying objective existence/independence of human thought with respect to x.

    If the context isn't clear aside from it being a philosophical context, realism is usually being contrasted with idealism, in the broadest sense, where one is a realist just in case one believes that there is (a la ontological realism) and/or we can access (a la epistemological realism) some objective/human-independent things, without one specifying just what things.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Things are in a constant state of flux. The identity of a thing need not be. In fact, change could not even be taken account of if we demanded such.creativesoul

    As I was pointing out to Janus, what nominalists are denying is that two numerically distinct instances can be exactly the same, so that it's literally one thing and not numerically distinct in the relevant respect, with respect to some x. So either some A and some B that are numerically distinct via being spatially separated, or A at time T1 versus A at time T2, which is numerically distinct via temporal separation.
  • I like sushi
    1.2k
    And in a metaphysical discussion “real” can also be taken to mean ‘universal’ and/or make a claim for an ‘essence’.

    In this sense - and as seems apparent to this thread - “real” can be written and have different meanings. Given that the author of the OP has been talking along the lines of ‘universals’ it would perhaps have served a purpose to outline the possible connotations and make as explicit as possible what is meant by “real” for the purpose of the thread.

    Some perspectives, of certain adherences to nominalism, have a certain stink of ‘psychologism’ to them; I am not convinced by arguments from psychologism, but I’m not massively familiar with them and I’d like to learn more about them.
  • creativesoul
    5.8k
    Nominalism is a philosophical position based upon the semantics of the word "same".
  • Isaac
    714
    Nominalism is a philosophical position based upon the semantics of the word "same".creativesoul

    In what way does that distinguish it from any other philosophical position? Or your own statement for that matter, which is based on the semantics of "based upon"?
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    And in a metaphysical discussion “real” can also be taken to mean ‘universal’ and/or make a claim for an ‘essence’.I like sushi

    The problem with parsing it that way is that one can be an antirealist on universals and essences while not denying universals and essences. That's the conceptualist brand of nominalism in a nutshell.
  • Janus
    7.9k
    Nominalism is a philosophical position based upon the semantics of the word "same".creativesoul

    Yes, it seems to be "much ado about nothing". We all know that entities are constantly changing, although obviously more or less than other entities and kinds of entities. Common usages of the word 'same' do not always, or even mostly, imply "exactly in every detail the same'. All humans are the same, insofar as they are human. All rivers are the same, insofar as they are rivers.

    But no two humans or two rivers are the same, insofar as they are different instances of human or river. And no human or river is exactly the same from one moment to the next. And yet a river or a human is the same river or human (as distinct from all the other rivers or humans) throughout its entire existence as river or human. The logic here is really not that hard!
  • creativesoul
    5.8k
    Nominalism is a philosophical position based upon the semantics of the word "same".
    — creativesoul

    In what way does that distinguish it from any other philosophical position?
    Isaac

    It doesn't. It makes it the same.

    :rofl:

    If one holds to nominalism and remains coherent, they end up saying things like you cannot step into the same river once.

    The problem, of course, is that we do talk about the same river. We can because we allow some arbitrary amount of change prior to changing how we talk about that which has changed.

    The point is that we identify with names. The names often remain the same even if the referent has undergone significant change. The other point is that a strict nominalist cannot account for a thing changing.
  • creativesoul
    5.8k
    As I was pointing out to Janus, what nominalists are denying is that two numerically distinct instances can be exactly the same...Terrapin Station

    There are much better ways to deny that much. Some which do not lead to reductio. Others are not inherently incapable of accounting for change... which is rather ironic... all things considered.
  • Isaac
    714


    The point is not for nominalism to deny the use of universal terms, it's to describe them accurately as being a mental construction within individual minds. Universals as existant objects would be objective, one would be right or wrong about them, yet if they are, in reality, mental constructions, simply agreed upon by a majority, then we are claiming universal rightness and wrongness on the basis of mob agreement. If neither of you can see a moral, or even political, problem with that philosophy, then I pity the fight against authoritarianism in your respective countries.
  • Janus
    7.9k
    The point is that we identify with names. The names often remain the same even if the referent has undergone significant change. The other point is that a strict nominalist cannot account for a thing changing.creativesoul

    Yes, and in addition there must be continuity and sufficient commonality of attribute (sameness and uniqueness) across time within that which is being named to ensure that the name can continue to be coherently used to refer to it.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    There are much better ways to deny that much. Some which do not lead to reductio.creativesoul

    If that's all that nominalists are doing, why isn't it as good as any other way, and how would it lead to a reductio?
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    We all know that entities are constantly changing,Janus

    There are people, including philosophers, who posit that multiple instances of things, whether temporal or spatial or both, can somehow be (not just conceptually, not just in name, etc.) identical in some regard--that is "exactly the same," numerically identical in some regard. Nominalists are taking issue with that (at least as one prominent branch of nominalism). If you don't agree with the notion that multiple instances of things can be (not just conceptually etc.) identical in some regard, then you're actually on the nominalist side of the debate.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    they end up saying things like you cannot step into the same river once.creativesoul

    You've said that a couple times. Could you maybe explain it?
  • Janus
    7.9k
    There are people, including philosophers, who posit that multiple instances of things, whether temporal or spatial or both, can somehow be (not just conceptually, not just in name, etc.) identical in some regard--that is "exactly the same," numerically identical in some regard.Terrapin Station

    "Numerically identical": if you define that as meaning that an entity is absolutely unchanging from one moment to the next then you have defined away the possibility that any entity could be the same entity throughout its life, and that is pretty much trivially obvious.

    "Not just conceptually, not just in name": would something being conceptually numerically identical be exactly the same as something being numerically identical just in name?

    There are many waves in the surf, and each wave is generated, rolls in and then breaks on the shore. Do you think each wave, considered as an entire process or event from generation to breaking on the shore to be numerically identical and hence numerically distinct from all other waves?

    The problem I see with your notion of things being numerically identical only at T1, T2, T3....etc. is that, if those instants are not dimensionless, i.e. if they are temporally extended, then each of them has its own process of change occurring within it, which would mean that any entity would never be numerically distinct at all, and could not ever be said to exist as an entity. That is, in other words, if you take numerical identicality to be equivalent to numerical identity then there is no instant except for an absolutely temporally unextended instant (which obviously cannot exist) in which an entity can be itself. And that of course would mean that an entity cannot exist or be itself at all.

    If we accept that entities are themselves only conceptually, does that mean that there is absolutely nothing in the world or about the world that leads us to conceive of entities as possessing stable identities? Would this not amount to saying that they are not entities at all? If you do want to say that, which most of what you say indicates, then the problem I see for your position would be that it leads to an absolute dualism of mind and world with an unbridgeable gulf between. That's why I say your position is inherently incoherent.
  • creativesoul
    5.8k
    they end up saying things like you cannot step into the same river once.
    — creativesoul

    You've said that a couple times. Could you maybe explain it?
    Terrapin Station

    The irony here... there are two ways to say much the same thing. You could look at the second paragraph from the bottom in the above post, or think about the following question while paying particularly close attention to the inevitable logical consequence that your answer will produce

    How much time can pass before a river is no longer the same river?
  • I like sushi
    1.2k
    It is fair to say that for CHANGE to be appreciated something MUST remain the SAME. If two items are changing at the same rate then they have a rate of change in common; there is therefore something that is the SAME. Also, if two items are seen as CHANGING then they are seen as CHANGING only by appreciating NON-CHANGE - be this in some conceptual frame or via empirical observation (therein lies the landscape upon which “Nominalism” is effectively established.)

    Arguing that items existent are NON-CHANGING based in the hoodwinked premise that CHANGE is understood is ridiculous. Equally so, arguing that items existent are CHANGING based in the hoodwinked premise that NON-CHANGING is understood is ridiculous.

    The nonsense of this thread seems to be in a two-way denial of the initial statement above (1st para.). The only serious opposition possible is being voiced in selective circumstances - and can be for either bizarre polar-view espoused. The “selective circumstances” are SETS. Within a SET a prerequisite LAW is set out - there is no exception when we talk of ALL abstraction; and it is through such abstractions that we navigate a landscape that is consistent enough to be referred to in areas as changing or non-changing, as similar or different WITH these articulated ideas being applicable in multiple ways with multiple reaches of usefulness. Our task is to explore where best to apply constants and where best to question previously established constants. I don’t think purposefully talking past each other or using vague thoughts cast out as ‘knowledge’ - by aphorism or metaphor - helps unless they are explicitly put out as growing ideas and/or taken with a degree of generosity.

    Noe of the above means we should accommodate everyone. I won’t accommodate creativesoul until I see consistency in argumentation and a genuine attempt to communicate by answering direct questions directly (at least in part) - this critique is from another thread where I tried repeatedly only to be met with continual evasion (on no less then a half-dozen instances).

    As for critiques:

    @creativesoul You’re too vague because you try to be too precise. Your attempts to communicate ideas are often consist of avoiding points and merely asking questions as if to appear to be some wise sage. Plainer words and direct answers and questions would be more welcome - I expect more drivel from you though as it appears that is your habit (that is the honest truth).

    @Terrapin Station You’re too unwilling to state the obvious. Many discussions I’ve observed you partaking in go off the rails because you assume too much of the reader and don’t make clear enough what is explicit to yourself. This is a VERY tough problem fro all of us and I can relate to omitting what I consider ‘trivial’ details! Try practicing a more ‘generous’ approach to people replies; if they seem nonsensical it is likely due to some disjoint rather than just being plain stupidity.

    @Janus You agree above with creativesoul yet you fall into the trap of assuming there is such a thing as a “strict nominalist” with little appreciation of wha that means.

    The OP is a strawman attack. There is the assumption of some Nominalist Ideal, which is ironically like stating nominalism is a constant yet it doesn’t exist. The argumentation taken up during most of this thread has been mostly poor and emotionally reactionary. Accusation have flown around and very little attempt has been made to understand the perspective of the other - or in some cases (here’s looking at you creativesoul) any attempt at reconciling to someone else’s view has been met with obstinance, avoidance and outright sophistry.
  • Janus
    7.9k
    Janus You agree above with creativesoul yet you fall into the trap of assuming there is such a thing as a “strict nominalist” with little appreciation of wha that means.I like sushi

    I haven't said anything about a 'strict nominalist".
  • I like sushi
    1.2k
    Yes, and in addition there must be continuity and sufficient commonality of attribute (sameness and uniqueness) across time within that which is being named to ensure that the name can continue to be coherently used to refer to it.

    Note you said this “in addition” to this by creativesoul:

    The point is that we identify with names. The names often remain the same even if the referent has undergone significant change. The other point is that a strict nominalist cannot account for a thing changing.

    As usual this is nonsense/strawmanning. If I am to view things from a nominalist perspective I can certainly account for change. I highlighted already in my previous post the duplicity behind this. Just because things that are very similar - and often within a limited set of experience - appear as being as good as the SAME it doesn’t mean they are NON-CHANGING. If two bananas are rotting at the same rate then relative to each other they are NON-CHANGING, so to suggest that anyone saying so isn’t accounting for ‘a thing changing’ is simply deceptive.

    On a neurological level we have two conflicting appreciations. One is our priming bias and the other is the bias to address unique phenomenon. We necessarily have to exist in a state of flux between different degrees of conformity and exploration. Our ignorance allows understanding and our knowledge allows its own destruction in part not totally. A child seeing a horse for the first time will say “big dog” because that is the closest approximation the child possesses in its lexicon - the child is correct, yet they call it “big dog” to check against what its social circle calls said “big dog” and adjusts its speech to fit.

    The point being is that there are ‘aspects’ from any given understanding that cannot be subtracted without altering the basic grounding. It would be a very strange child that was to point to a cup and say “small dog” as a cup is missing several aspects associated with “dog”. In this sense the nominalist is saying “dog” is not real but that “a dog” is real. One is abstract and the other is concrete. The nominalist perspective does struggle to reconcile when such real objects are atomized and this is because the experience of objects disappears - meaning only having a concept of “leg” without “body” is utterly pointless as you’d be saying “leg” but meaning “body” (that may be a little hard to grasp because I cannot think of a better way to word it right now.)
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