• Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    (I was originally going to post this in the Logic subforum, but then it struck me it's more of a general Language thing, except it's all based on Metaphysical principles, so... General Philosophy it is.)

    I think that in an ideal constructed language or system of logic, all of the predicates would best be principally specified in terms of the output or input of functions, basically as either active or passive verbs, i.e. the categories of adjective and verb would be merged.

    This is because of the principle of "to be is to do" / "to do is to be": things are what they do, every property of a thing is a propensity for it to behave in some way in response to something being done to it.

    As objects can be defined in terms of their properties, or on a bundle theory account, simply are bundles of their properties, we can also roll nouns (names for objects) in with all of that too.

    So everything is either "[verb]ing" or "[verb]ed"; your normal verbs.

    Or it could merely be prone to [verb]ing or being-[verb]ed, i.e. it is [verb]y or [verb]able; your adjectives formulated in terms of verbs.

    Or it could be a thing that is prone to [verb]ing or being-[verb]ed, i.e. it is a [verb]er or a [verb]ee; your nouns formulated in terms of adjectives formulated in terms of verbs.

    This would then also work back the other direction to, in a way that we already jokingly and very informally use in today's language, e.g. to adult is a verb meaning to do those things that are the defining behaviors of an adult. And the noun-to-adjective process is already much more commonly used too: something is "bearish" (adjective) if it does (verb) things like a bear (noun).


    There is already a version of English that goes somewhat in this direction, called E-Prime, which simply gets rid of all forms of the verb "to be", so you have to say what a thing does rather than what it is.
  • bert1
    536
    David Bohm (physicist) talked about a similar thing. He called it the 'rheomode' I think. From 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order'.

    I don't have any strong view on it. It seems convenient to think of things as beings rather than persistent doings, even if it is less metaphysically accurate. Maybe we could try and have a conversation in this mode here. Or even just try and come up with some example sentences to see how it works.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    Or it could merely be prone to [verb]ing or being-[verb]ed, i.e. it is [verb]y or [verb]able; your adjectives formulated in terms of verbs.Pfhorrest

    How does a verb prone into another verbing?

    (Individuation of processes maybe?)

    Just playing about.
  • Kenosha Kid
    892


    How do we handle nouns like 'human' that do many qualitatively different things?
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    How does a verb prone into another verbing?

    (Individuation of processes maybe?)

    Just playing about.
    fdrake

    I don’t understand.

    How do we handle nouns like 'human' that do many qualitatively different things?Kenosha Kid

    That’s why I mentioned the process going the other way too: from the noun “a human“ we could back-form a verb “to human”, which means to do those things definitive of a human. Asking what exactly that verb means, what those things are, is the same thing as asking what makes something human.

    I’m saying more like instead of the noun “human” we would have the noun “humaner”, which is something prone to humaning, where to human is defined as above. We can still start with the nouns, but ideally the language would formulate the nouns in a way that makes their relationship to verbs clear: that persistent phenomenon over there is a “somethinger”, where “to something“ is to do... that, what’s happening over there.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    I don’t understand.Pfhorrest

    This is because of the principle of "to be is to do" / "to do is to be": things are what they do, every property of a thing is a propensity for it to behave in some way in response to something being done to it.Pfhorrest

    Doing something to a way of doing something to get a new way of doing something. Input = function 1, output = function 2. Objects are functions. Functions are functions mapping functions to functions.
  • Kenosha Kid
    892
    rom the noun “a human“ we could back-form a verb “to human”, which means to do those things definitive of a humanPfhorrest

    That's my question. 'To human' can have no unique meaning. Would it mean to hunt and gather, to farm, to make or imbibe wine, to rock out, to err, to walk on hind legs, to reason, to make patchwork quilts?... And so on.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    "To human" doesn't have to mean any particular conscious actions that humans may or may not choose to do.

    What is the definition of a human? You'll give some list of properties, I don't actually care what that list is right now.

    For each property you list, there is some way of describing that property as a propensity to do something under some conditions.

    To do all those things under the relevant conditions -- to exhibit whatever combinations of properties defines a human -- is "to human", in the strictest narrowest sense.

    In a looser sense, someone doing something contextually associated with humans, like "to err" or whatever, could also be another sense of "to human". E.g. from the perspective of some inerrant angels or something, "way to human it up" could be a cromulent way to say "you erred".
  • Kenosha Kid
    892
    In a looser sense, someone doing something contextually associated with humans, like "to err" or whatever, could also be another sense of "to human". E.g. from the perspective of some inerrant angels or something, "way to human it up" could be a cromulent way to say "you erred".Pfhorrest

    Yeah, I get that from the 'to adult' example. So is the idea here that we replace specific categories with context-dependent verbs, e.g. 'Oops, I humaned!' referring to the property of proneness to error and 'I humaned that I think therefore I am' refering to the human capacity for rational thought? It seems to defeat the purpose to me. A human is, as you say, a bundle of properties, of prone-nesses, each of which already have corresponding verbs.

    'I hoovered the carpet' makes sense because a Hoover does precisely one thing.
    'I adulted today' makes sense because, by convention, it means one thing (if you know or infer the meaning) and relies on the concept of an adult and that adult having the property of self-responsibility. We don't use the same verb to mean 'went to a strip club', so there is no ambiguity.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    A human is, as you say, a bundle of properties, of prone-nesses, each of which already have corresponding verbs.Kenosha Kid

    I’m not suggesting that we replace all of those verbs with context-dependent versions of “to human”; it’s just a side effect of my broader proposal that there would be a verb “to human” implied by the form of the noun we would use in place of our noun “human”, e.g. “humaner”, where “to human” just means “to be humany” or “to do as humaner does”. Since to be is to do, to human strictly speaking would just mean to be human. But in looser contexts it COULD mean any of the many specific facets of human-ness.

    It occurs to me we already do something kinda like that with expressions like “how human of you”, or the entire adjective “humane”.
  • Kenosha Kid
    892
    I’m not suggesting that we replace all of those verbs with context-dependent versions of “to human”Pfhorrest

    I understand that; that's not the problem I see.

    my broader proposal that there would be a verb “to human” implied by the form of the noun we would use in place of our noun “human”, e.g. “humaner”, where “to human” just means “to be humany” or “to do as humaner does”Pfhorrest

    A verb is fairly specific, either denotatively (Hoover) or by some convention (adult). The properties of human, particular those capacities to do X, are myriad. In terms of what a human is, those myriad properties specify more. In terms of what the human did, they specify less.

    If X has only the property of bipedalism, X would be more vague than 'human' as a noun but more specific as a verb: to walk on two legs.

    As we add more properties to X it becomes more specific as a noun (X has properties {bipedal, upright, mostly hairless, opposable thumbs, wide vocalisation range} pretty much nails it down to humans) but as a verb it becomes increasingly ambiguous. AND --> OR. The utility of this is the question.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    That is a good point, but that’s really all mere a side-effect of my proposal, not the reason for it. The reason for proposing this isn’t to create an impractical verb like “to human”, it’s just to make clear in the structure of language that objects are bundles of properties and properties are propensities to act, so at the bottom all of our predicates are some kind of inflection of verbs.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.