• Andrew M
    1.1k
    It is clear that if Alice is thinking it's going to rain, then we are entitled to say she's thinking something. What is not clear is how we should take the further claim that "there is something Alice is thinking". Andrew M claims that the something Alice is thinking is a convenient fiction, and he calls this fiction an "abstract entity" without committing in any way to its independent existence.

    If Bob is also thinking it's going to rain, we can say anaphorically that Bob is thinking the same thing as Alice, and here the convenience of @Andrew M's fiction becomes more apparent, for we may wish to talk about what they're both thinking in more general terms: anyone thinking it's going to rain has reason to take an umbrella, or, thinking it's going to rain is a reason to take an umbrella.

    That you can translate what an Aristotelian, like @Andrew M, says, or what someone who may have stronger nominalist inclinations says, into terms we might call Platonist -- that is not at issue. Of course you can. But what do you say to convince us that there are Propositions? That there are Relations? Where does @Andrew M's way of talking or mine come up short?
    Srap Tasmaner

    Well said again. Just a note to clarify the sense of convenient fiction there. The Aristotelian view is that the abstract depends on the concrete. So the convenient fiction is that we may consider an abstract entity as if it were an independent entity when it is not. But it doesn't imply that abstract entities are something that we (as human beings) have imagined or invented. That distinguishes Aristotle's immanent realism from Nominalism, for which shared features are dependent on language, naming, or minds.

    Consider Russell's example which he uses to argue for Platonism:

    Consider such a proposition as 'Edinburgh is north of London'. Here we have a relation between two places, and it seems plain that the relation subsists independently of our knowledge of it. When we come to know that Edinburgh is north of London, we come to know something which has to do only with Edinburgh and London: we do not cause the truth of the proposition by coming to know it, on the contrary we merely apprehend a fact which was there before we knew it. The part of the earth's surface where Edinburgh stands would be north of the part where London stands, even if there were no human being to know about north and south, and even if there were no minds at all in the universe. This is, of course, denied by many philosophers, either for Berkeley's reasons or for Kant's. But we have already considered these reasons, and decided that they are inadequate. We may therefore now assume it to be true that nothing mental is presupposed in the fact that Edinburgh is north of London. But this fact involves the relation 'north of', which is a universal; and it would be impossible for the whole fact to involve nothing mental if the relation 'north of', which is a constituent part of the fact, did involve anything mental. Hence we must admit that the relation, like the terms it relates, is not dependent upon thought, but belongs to the independent world which thought apprehends but does not create.THE PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY: CHAPTER IX. THE WORLD OF UNIVERSALS - Bertrand Russell

    I agree with Russell here. But it doesn't further follow that there is any 'north-of' relation independent of a concrete context, e.g., a planet with poles. So that distinguishes Aristotelian realism from Platonic realism.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.7k


    Lovely. In what sense "convenient fiction" is a distortion, is exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks so much for the Aristotle lesson.
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    What you get from Alice is a chance to alter what you are convinced rain is and "rain" means. As I said before, it is absurd to suppose we each arrive into our language somehow supplied with lexical terms and syntactic forms from some impersonal reservoir. Language is not an artifact, it is a dramatic labor constantly altered its terms through the discipline we urge each other to. And person is not a specimen on a dissecting tray. It is not explicated, it is intimated. To simply deny by fiat a phenomenon is unreal or plays no role in what you have become convinced is the issue of interest is not doing philosophy. It is dogma. We have to engage in a dialectic by which we are both transformed in the terms of our convictions to know ourselves, let alone each other.

    Plato was not interested in navigating our way elsewhere, but in discovering where we are and what real departure means. Death is not is not an issue of cartography. And, therefore, neither is being where we are. He is not mapping the road to elsewhere, but creating the discipline by which we are really here at all.
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    Well, I called Alice over the phone to ask whether she did think something about the rain or not, and she referred me to the {expletive} weather channelOlivier5

    Well, the expletive suggests a recognition of the essential role emotional terms, and so emotions, play in the life of reason and even abstraction.
  • frank
    5.7k
    Language is not an artifact, it is a dramatic labor constantly altered its terms through the discipline we urge each other to.Gary M Washburn

    The capacity for language is innate, as is a lion's capacity to bring down a zebra.

    Yes, that capacity is activated by social interaction, but a structure lies beneath. I think.
  • Tristan L
    185
    If Bob is also thinking it's going to rain, we can say anaphorically that Bob is thinking the same thing as AliceSrap Tasmaner

    Exactly, and if there is no causal connection between Alice’s thinking and Bob’s thinking – e.g. because the two thought-events are separated by a space-like spacetime-interval (whether there is an absolute clock after all, for example one defined by instantaneous sending through quantum entanglement á la Antony Valentini (p. 4 last paragraph and note 8), is another matter) – with what right can we anaphorically say that Bob is thinking the same thing as Alice? Only by accepting that both are thinking about one and the same abstract entity, right?

    thinking it's going to rain is a reason to take an umbrella.Srap Tasmaner

    Yes, the truth of the (abstract) state-of-affairs that it’s going to rain brings about the truth of the state-of-affairs that one should take an umbrella. Note that the about-bringing-relation is abstract as well.

    But what do you say to convince us that there are Propositions? That there are Relations? Where does Andrew M's way of talking or mine come up short?Srap Tasmaner

    Just like the very fact that I can ask whether I have awareness shows for certain that I have awareness, so the very fact that we can talk about the existence or not-existence of propositions proves that there are propositions. After all, that there are no propositions is a proposition, so for there to be no propositions, there has to be at least one proposition. The hypothetical non-existence of propositions would need it’s own negation and so beats itself. Have I now shown you that there are propositions?

    Since propositions intrinsically mean states-of-affairs, the same goes for the latter (for convenience, I’ll often not distinguish between the two).

    Propertyhood is a property. That there are no properties means that propertihood has no instances. So the very claim that there are no properties needs at least one property, namely propertihood, in order to even make sense. Have I now proven to you that there are properties?

    There is an obvious one-to-one-correspondence between relationships and properties of tuples. Moreover, the selfsameness-relationship is needed by the Law of Self-Identity, without which thought, speech, being, and reality would all come crashing down. Have I now convinced you that there are relationships?

    So by negating the existence of these abstract things, one pulls the meaning-giving ground out from under that very claim. Isn’t this where Aristotelianism and nominalism go wrong?

    Now let the platonist give another proof of the realness of abstract entities and mount a counter-attack: I can directly “see” abstract things like the number 7, the property of numberhood, the exponential function, and the proposition that all things are abstract with “my mind’s eye” right now. But I cannot directly “see” anything concrete. Why, then, should I believe that there is anything concrete at all?
  • Tristan L
    185
    it is not clear to me that if Sally thinks it's going to rain then there is an object Sally thinks. — Srap Tasmaner


    Isn’t it perfectly clear that the proposition that it’s going to rain is the object of Alice’s belief?
    Tristan L

    Now why did I turn Sally into Alice... :chin: I only just realized that I did.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.7k
    that there are no propositions is a propositionTristan L

    Question begging.

    Propertyhood is a property.Tristan L

    Question begging.

    with what right can we anaphorically say that Bob is thinking the same thing as Alice? Only by accepting that both are thinking about one and the same abstract entity, right?Tristan L

    We can say that Bob is thinking the same thing as Alice if Alice is thinking it's going to rain and Bob is thinking it's going to rain. I don't need any more justification than that. If to say there is an abstract entity, what they are thinking, is only to say that we can consider what they are thinking as if it were an independent object, though it isn't, then I have no beef with abstract entities. (I'm happy to leave the argument between nominalism and Aristotelianism for another day.)

    But I left off the first part of your point:

    if there is no causal connection between Alice’s thinking and Bob’s thinkingTristan L

    You claim that there is a causal connection between them, and that this is because they are both causally connected to something, a proposition, that is "not-spatial, not-tidesome (not-temporal), not-physical, not-mindly, and onefold (simple)"?

    If that's the case, I don't know what you mean by "causal".
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    That's a horizontal plane of interaction. The vertical dimension is like this:frank

    Is reason a Ponzi scheme? Hierarchical? Or perhaps you're confusing identity with the identical? Which, of course, are opposites. One Steve and one Alice does not add up to two Alices or two Steves. Interactions of differences does not create sameness. The vertical trope of ideas is a power play, not reasoning. Identity displaces what would otherwise be identical, and certainly not the inverse. But the geometric trope on a vertical axis of ideas is meant to do violence against that displacement, and becomes the pretext for cruelty, and the assurance of ignorance in the guise of pretended wisdom.

    The capacity for language is innate, as is a lion's capacity to bring down a zebra.frank

    Actually, lions have to work very hard to learn that skill. But from where do you suppose anything "innate" comes? Who are all the cells in the body taking orders from as they prepare for nativity? Doesn't each cell have a life of its own? A community in differentiation, not replication? What directs each one to be that difference creating the innate?
  • frank
    5.7k
    reason a Ponzi scheme? Hierarchical? Or perhaps you're confusing identity with the identical? Which, of course, are opposites. One Steve and one Alice does not add up to two Alices or two Steves. Interactions of differences does not create sameness. The vertical trope of ideas is a power play, not reasoning. Identity displaces what would otherwise be identical, and certainly not the inverse. But the geometric trope on a vertical axis of ideas is meant to do violence against that displacement, and becomes the pretext for cruelty, and the assurance of ignorance in the guise of pretended wisdom.Gary M Washburn

    Cruelty and ignorance. How do I know them when I see them? What cruel ignorance is bound up in Meno's Paradox?

    Actually, lions have to work very hard to learn that skill.Gary M Washburn

    What in earth are you talking about? It's a game for cubs.

    But from where do you suppose anything "innate" comesGary M Washburn

    You have an innate ability to walk on two legs. DNA probably.
  • Tristan L
    185
    But I left off the first part of your point:

    if there is no causal connection between Alice’s thinking and Bob’s thinking — Tristan L


    You claim that there is a causal connection between them, and that this is because they are both causally connected to something, a proposition, that is "not-spatial, not-tidesome (not-temporal), not-physical, not-mindly, and onefold (simple)"?

    If that's the case, I don't know what you mean by "causal".
    Srap Tasmaner

    What I mean is that Alice’s thinking does not directly or indirectly bring about Bob’s thinking or vice versa. So if there’s no abstract entity which both think about independently of each other, the two thoughts would have nothing in common, being created by two different minds independently of each other. Because of the lack of an efficient causal link, Bob cannot think about Alice’s thought or its contents. So on what ground can they be said to be thinking the same thing? On the ground that both independently of each other think about one and the same abstract proposition.

    Question begging.Srap Tasmaner

    How is that question begging?

    The very meaningfulness of the claim that (that there are no propositions) is a proposition, and of the claim that propertihood is a property, requires not just the existence of propositionhood, the particular propositions involved, and propertihood, but those very things themselves. It’s just that two clouds being clouds requires the existence of couldhood – it needs cloudhood itself, first the Shape’s wist (essence), and then its existence.

    Actually, I’m trying to show you that abstract things exist only secondarily. Firstly, I’m trying to show you the abstract things themselves, as well as (abstract thing)-hood (itself an abstract entity). For instance, my statement that propertihood is a property is mainly there to draw people’s attention to propertihood itself and help them see it itself and the fact that it’s needed for the very meaningfulness of said statement.

    When a platonist of my flavour says that for every property S, the is a Shape of S-ness, he (used gender-neutrally) doesn’t primarily mean what he says – namely claim the existence of some thing. S itself is basically the Shape of S-ness already. The very act of thinking or talking about S already presupposes S. His wording is only there to draw attention to S itself, to help folks become aware of S in and of itself. I find and feel that the existence of abstract things is so self-evident that it’s hard to show it, just like you probably can’t prove that the Law of Self-Identity holds true, yet just like the latter, it’s needed for this very talk to even make sense. The metaphors of my brand of platonism are there only to help folks become aware of the shapes. One of the things that I think the Parmenides is trying to do – and that’s just my take on the matter, for I’m no historian of philosophy who mainly seeks to judge what the historical Platonist Plato was trying to do – is tell the advanced platonist to get rid of the metaphors that helped him get into platonism when he was still a beginner.

    The very fact that we’re having thoughts, which makes this discussion possible, is thanks in part to the Shape of Thought. To me, it looks like that is so basic a fact that we’re not automatically aware of it, just as many animals aren’t very self-aware (and I don’t even claim full self-awareness for myself, but that’s another matter).

    See also this comment of mine. Regarding the chest-seeing metaphor there, the platonist’s metaphorical wording is like an exercise to stretch the upper part of your neck, which will allow you to see more of your chest and help you against forward head posture.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.7k
    It’s just that two clouds being clouds requires the existence of couldhoodTristan L

    Here's some stuff about clouds:

    In meteorology, a cloud is an aerosol consisting of a visible mass of minute liquid droplets, frozen crystals, or other particles suspended in the atmosphere of a planetary body or similar space.[1] Water or various other chemicals may compose the droplets and crystals. On Earth, clouds are formed as a result of saturation of the air when it is cooled to its dew point, or when it gains sufficient moisture (usually in the form of water vapor) from an adjacent source to raise the dew point to the ambient temperature.Wikipedia

    There's a definition grounded in science, so it's a little more precise than the everyday understanding of "cloud", and some explanation -- tells you what clouds are actually made of, for instance, which is not perfectly obvious from their appearance, and why they form.

    What would the addition of the term "cloudhood" add to this discussion? What would it enable you to know or to say that meteorologists and ordinary folk cannot?
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    There are myriad tissues, each of cells of different character, and, arguably, of which each and every cell is importantly differentiated from all the others. When two cells differentiate upon division, are they differentiated as much from each other as from the cell they once were united in? If so, how the hell can the DNA, so famously identical in both, account for the difference between them? How does a system of replication engineer differentiation? Or govern the role of each cell in the process of that differentiation? Or even espouse some sort of recognition of the totality of differentiated cells as an organism able to develop the ability to walk?

    Have you never witnessed a child learning to walk? It's a mammoth struggle, and your denying them credit for the effort in no way detracts from the responsibility the child takes in its own development. Other than talking around it, and not necessarily to it, there is nothing we can do to teach the child to talk. But if we do not talk around it it will not teach itself what we are going on about at all. And if we only talk to the child, and not around it, it's development will be sharply inhibited. As I said before, the autonomic systems an organism creates for itself neither limit it to an automaton nor detracts from the indispensable role its autonomous intrusions upon its autonomic systems has in their creation. Person is the stranger to the machine, and yet, its creator too. That is why person can never be obsolesced by the machine. And only the machine mind could think it could. A Turing test only works if it is strictly limited to automaton terms.
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    If the idea is itself a member of the category it names those members cannot be used to explicate the idea. If it is not a member of its category it cannot explain that membership. This is the dilemma Russell posed to Frege, at which Frege threw in the towel, and, as far as I know, Russell never himself managed to get around. The whole analytic project becomes fatally circular. You cannot divest reason of responsibility. We no more have a right to be understood than we do to be believed. The end of reason is the moment of recognition that reaffirms that responsibility as its foundation. There is no formula that can absolve understanding of that moment that only personal recognition and responsibility can supply. We can avoid that responsibility only by arrogating a right to be understood. But "I know what I mean!" does not confer any right to be understood. More critically, it implies a conviction in a right to be believed, and that is a most profound crime against philosophy.

    Is one drop rain? Is a torrential deluge? According to Plato, Achilles wanted not just to be valorous, but to be valor itself. Not a member of the class but the idea of it. The result is that to be that idea, to be worshiped by his men, he had to die. Odysseus wanted to be the idea of being one of the guys. The result is that all his men had to die for him to find his way home. In this (Lesser Hippias, I think) and elsewhere, he was twenty five hundred years ahead of Russell. When are we going to catch up? The great danger is that by opting for an end-run around the dialectical drama between understanding and recognition, giving voice and listening, we lop off the only completing term to reason that personal drama is. I understand that we fear a return to superstition, but the mission to evade it by dehumanizing reason actually has the effect of merely erecting another edifice of superstition. The superstition that you not only have right to be understood, but believed as well. And how the hell is that any better?
  • Tristan L
    185
    Cloudhood need not be added to the discussion, for the meteorologist has already brought it in when defining what a cloud is. The only difference between him or her and the philosopher is that the latter is highly aware of cloudhood itself whereas the former only has a diffuse and subconscious awareness of it (unless she or he is also a philosopher).
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    So which is it? If the question is whether ideas are real, is the difference between ordinary experience, poetic trope, and technical definition really the decider? Do only technicians think? Do only technicians do philosophy? Actually, I doubt most meteorologists would know what is meant by "cloudhood". I thought it might be something to do with internet storage until I finished reading the remarks. The issue it seems to me is what if anything does the word or its presumptive idea got to do with the real phenomena it is supposed to indicate or explain. Do phenomena obey the idea, or does the activity of the phenomena teach the idea how to perform its role of indicating it? Does the idea command order in the world, or does order in the world suggest the parameters of the idea? Is mind predator, parasite, or symbiosis?
  • Olivier5
    1.2k
    If the question is whether ideas are real, is the difference between ordinary experience, poetic trope, and technical definition really the decider?Gary M Washburn

    In good cartesian fashion, if ideas are not real, I wonder what is real... Objects around us? We only know of them through our ideas of them.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.7k
    Cloudhood need not be added to the discussion, for the meteorologist has already brought it in when defining what a cloud is. The only difference between him or her and the philosopher is that the latter is highly aware of cloudhood itself whereas the former only has a diffuse and subconscious awareness of it (unless she or he is also a philosopher).Tristan L

    I see. The difference is that you know more about cloudhood than meteorologists do, even if they know more about clouds than you do. If meteorologists discovered that cloud formation actually occurs in a way quite different from what they thought, that in a sense clouds aren't quite the sort of thing we thought they were, would your knowledge of cloudhood also change? Would you need to know they had made this discovery for your knowledge to change? What if the discovery was that several sorts of things previously just called "clouds" were actually very different, so that the world "cloud" was now considered old-fashioned and misleading by meteorologists? What then?
  • frank
    5.7k
    Does the idea command order in the world, or does order in the world suggest the parameters of the idea?Gary M Washburn

    Does phenomenology lead to answers or is it just a fun waste of time? I think it's probably the latter. Still, i like the idea that there are two kinds of experience.

    1. A state of fusion in which there is no awareness of self or Other, maybe a feel for the physics of climbing a tree or swerving out the way of an on-coming truck, maybe a nameless feeling that accompanies shade turning to bright sunlight.

    2. A state of reflection on events where we pull it all apart and lay out the pieces. Now there are distinctions. Now we can ask about how the physical relates to the non-physical.

    The second is much more verbally loaded, right?
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    I recommend QED (Quantum Electrodynamics, by Richard Feynman). The ordinary experience of light and Newtonian optics are not incompatible. But a quantum analysis is incompatible to both. Light, it turns out, is a reduction of uncountable chaotic interactions. The reduction slices the event into its component parts and recombines them mathematically so that the crazy stuff all cancels itself out, leaving conventional wisdom. But what then does light illuminate? What does the conventional perception of it reveal of the crazy stuff that goes into bringing it into "law governed" range of our ordinary experience? Doesn't it all add up to a kind of darkness? How does what's in the dark reveal itself as the light it produces? Which is more "physical?

    Descartes didn't doubt enough. Egotism is no excuse for lying to yourself. What if there is no "foundation" or "ground" (as Heidegger put it)? What if there is no origin or point of departure, no coherent or comprehensive antecedent term from which to begin the reduction? No such term, that is, but conviction? In this case the final term of the reduction is the loss of the suppose originating term. Doubt undoes itself as much as everything else. Self is its own excluded middle. Unless, that is, the excluded middle is only law between conviction and its loss. What then gets included? Not the contradictory, but the contrary term. If contrariety rules as a community in contrariety to the limited lawfulness that fails to illuminate it because that contrariety, by losing itself to the reduction, is generated whatever illumination there is.

    Splashing about like children in the shallows is not going to get us there.

    If you now try to cover over this dilemma by claiming the reduction reveals what is real and the rest is negligible, I suggest you read The Analyst, by George Berkeley.
  • Tristan L
    185
    I see. The difference is that you know more about cloudhood than meteorologists do, even if they know more about clouds than you do.Srap Tasmaner

    Not really, I think. According to my understanding, meteorologists mostly know more about cloudhood than the platonic philosopher does, but what sets him or her apart from them is that he/she is aware of cloudhood as a Shape, whereas they are not (at least nor consciously). Take Wikipedia’s definition, for example: “[A] cloud is an aerosol consisting of a visible mass of minute liquid droplets, frozen crystals, or other particles suspended in the atmosphere of a planetary body or similar space.” This is more properly formulated as “Cloudhood is the property of being an aerosol consisting of a visible mass of minute liquid droplets, frozen crystals, or other particles suspended in the atmosphere of a planetary body or similar space.” So the meteorologists are actually talking about cloudhood, not individual clouds.

    Odd even numbers don’t exist, right? Well, then, how can we be talking about something not-existing right now? How can something non-existent have the property of being talked about? The aswer seems to be that these questions are loaded. In reality, we aren’t talking about odd even numbers at all. We’re talking about the property of being an odd even number, and that property exists, so there’s nothing unusual about it being talked about. The sentence “Odd even numbers don’t exist” is a rather clumsy and misleading (leading to the paradox just discussed) way of saying that the property of being and odd even number has no instances.

    If meteorologists discovered that cloud formation actually occurs in a way quite different from what they thought, that in a sense clouds aren't quite the sort of thing we thought they were, would your knowledge of cloudhood also change? Would you need to know they had made this discovery for your knowledge to change?Srap Tasmaner

    I don’t claim to have much knowledge of cloudhood. The meteorologists know much more about it than I do, so if they found out that it is something different from what they and I thought, I will naturally follow them.

    What if the discovery was that several sorts of things previously just called "clouds" were actually very different, so that the world "cloud" was now considered old-fashioned and misleading by meteorologists? What then?Srap Tasmaner


    That’s a good point. I’d say that in that case, there are two options:
    1. Many of the things regarded as clouds before turned out not to have cloudhood after all.
    2. Cloudhood is not a very natural property for things to have. All the things traditionally thought of as having cloudhood do actually have cloudhood, but they’re so different that sharing cloudhood is not a very important shared feature. Perhaps there’s a particular, well-defined kind of naturalness involved, as is the case in taxonomy. For instance, it was found that the class Reptilia is paraphyletic, th.i. it contains exactly one forebear of all its other members, but not all that forebear’s descendents, because mammals and birds are descended from reptiles but aren’t reptiles themselves. Reptilia’s existence isn’t under threat, though; it’s only been found that it isn’t natural in the phylogenetic sense (phylogenetic naturalness = monophyly = the property of being a group of organisms with exactly one founding forebear and all of its descendents).

    There’s one more thing: How is the meaning of the word “cloudhood” defined?

    Is it chosen to mean the property given by Wikipedia? In that case, the Wikipedia-definition would be analytically true, and statements about individual cloud-candidates or the property of being a thing which people normally call ‘cloud’ would be synthetic. Also, the meaning of the word “cloudhood” would be trivial.

    Or is the word “cloudhood” chosen to mean the property of which I think right now, a property which I predicate of those fluffy things in the sky? In that case, the Wikipedia-definition would be synthetic. Also, the meaning of the word “cloudhood” wouldn’t be trivial, and the fuzzier my mental pointing at the property in question is, the less trivial the meaning of “cloudhood” would be.

    That’s at least how I see things, and I’m happy to hone it.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.7k
    This is more properly formulated asTristan L

    If this translation system works so well, I can just as well translate your Platonish into something else, like regular English.

    From the beginning I've said that translating everything I say or anyone else says into Platonish proves nothing at all. Maybe some people find it persuasive but it should be clear by now that I don't.

    You provided no argument that besides clouds there's something called "cloudhood". You've shown nothing that the term "cloudhood" would add to a discussion of clouds except phrasing that pleases you more. You've given me no reason, in any of your posts, for me to consider Platonism anything more than your preferred way of talking.

    Do you have anything that might persuade me?
  • Tristan L
    185
    From the beginning I've said that translating everything I say or anyone else says into Platonish proves nothing at all.Srap Tasmaner

    Yes, I agree with you. However, I haven’t just shown that we can translate everything into Platonish; I’ve shown that we must do so, for example here:

    Odd even numbers [...] no instances.Tristan L

    Since odd even numbers don’t exist, and what doesn’t exist can’t have properties, such as being thought about or being divisible and indivisible by 2, we can’t mean odd even numbers when we appear to talk about them. Rather, what we mean must be the property of being an odd even number, which very much exists and is soothfast (real) and so can be thought and talked about. The sentence “Odd even numbers are divisible and indivisible by 2” cannot predicate divisibility and indivisibleness by 2 of something non-existent like odd even numbers, so it must instead say of the property of being an odd even number that is has the property of being a property p such that for all x, if x has p, then p is divisible and indivisible by 2.

    So I believe that I have actually given compelling arguments for platonism, contrary to what you say here:

    You provided no [...] of talking.Srap Tasmaner



    Do you have anything that might persuade me?Srap Tasmaner

    I hope that I have given it to you.
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    Does "cloudhood" include what forms in a cloud chamber? I wonder how many meteorologists would know what is meant by that word, unless, of course, they used a proficiency at understanding meaning not supplied by the technical study of clouds, and proscribed by the thesis the word is being used to promote. As for persuasion, it is hard to see how this is possible if you arrogate all terms to your own, peculiar, understanding. Plato treats the matter in Protagorus, Euthydemus, and, especially Gorgias. Also, Phaedrus and Cratylus. Of course, it has already been stated that we are not permitted references to Plato in this discussion of Platonism. Meaning is a dialectic between a person, an interlocutor, and the universe as a sort of tertium-quid to the drama between them. What this implies, conclusively if only understood, is that universals, abstractions, ideas, hide their origins, as described in my analogy with light, which leaves its origin very much in the dark.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.7k
    I hope that I have given it to you.Tristan L

    No.

    If I don't take predicates as Properties that have independent existence, I don't have to take vacuous predicates as Properties that themselves have the Property of having no instances.

    Vacuous singular terms (Santa Claus, the Bermuda Triangle, the present king of France) aren't going to do it either.

    You might eventually recognize that in giving this argument you're standing right next to natural numbers and sets, and those actually do represent some kind of trouble for me, but it's trouble I already know about.

    Well, it's been fun!
  • RussellA
    57
    two people have the same ideaSrap Tasmaner

    The meaning is ultimately indeterminate.

    When Alice and Bob look at the same object, such as a square, they think about 1) a particular shape, 2) the universal concept of squareness and 3) their life experiences of squareness, such as the squareness of boxes, etc.

    Do Alice and Bob have the "same idea" when looking at this object.

    As regards terminology, a thought is fleeting, whilst an idea has a more permanence. Immediately upon seeing the object they will have a fleeting thought about the object's particular shape, whilst on reflection the fleeting thought becomes an idea. The term "same" has more than one meaning. If Alice picks an apple of a tree and gives it to Bob, it is the "same" ontological apple. If Alice and Bob have both taken their own apples off a tree, as the apples have the same description, linguistically, it is the "same" apple.

    As regards item 1), there are two questions. Either Q1, is the idea in Alice's mind the same ontological idea that is in Bob's mind or Q2, is the idea in Alice's mind linguistically the same as the idea in Bob's mind, as both Alice's idea and Bob's idea describe the same object.

    Whether or not Alice and Bob share the same (ontological) idea depends on the definition of Alice and Bob, which is a linguistic problem.

    Definition one = If Alice was defined as a set of parts that included an ontological entity that expressed the idea of squareness - and Bob was defined as a set of parts that included the same ontological entity - then Alice and Bob would have the same (ontological) idea. IE, if a bowling club and a gardening club both had Claire as a member, then both the bowling club and gardening club would have the same (ontological) part, ie, Claire.

    Definition two = if Alice and Bob were each defined as only that set of parts contained within a specific spatial volume - ie, commonly known as a person - then Alice and Bob wouldn't share the same (ontological) idea.

    Both are valid definitions. But how is the truth or falsity of a definition determined ? The dictionary definition of "person" ends up circular. I could ask 100 people their definition - but then again I could have asked 100 people pre-Galileo whether the Earth was round or flat.

    IE, the answer to the question "do two people have the same idea" reduces to a linguistic problem, ie, the definition of a person, and linguistic definition is ultimately indeterminate - becoming a problem of mereology
  • Tristan L
    185
    Does "cloudhood" include what forms in a cloud chamber?Gary M Washburn

    I don’t know for sure*, but I’d say yes; what takes shape in a cloud chamber has the property meant by the word “cloudhood”, but it also depends on what you mean by that word.

    I suggest that rather than starting from such fuzzy concepts as that of cloudhood, it might be better, at least from a theoretical perspective, to start from quite clear concepts – that is, quite clear mental pointings at abstract things which can be easily “seen” with the mind’s eye, such a numbers, certain properties like numberhood, propertihood, and relationshiphood, and certain relationships such as the selfsameness-relation. We can then work ourselves forwards from there, but as philosophers, we shouldn’t forget to also work ourselves backwards to the unsayable unhypothetical orprinciple above being and not-being and even that very transcendence, which is the well of being itself, not-being itself, and all that is or is not.

    if you arrogate all terms to your own, peculiar, understanding.Gary M Washburn

    The thing is that I don’t do this willingly; rather, it’s the only thing that I can do as far as I can tell. That’s because likely the only mind of which I am directly aware is my own. The existence of all other minds, including yours, is only my hypothesis. I can mentally point at the number 3 and then tell myself, “from now on, I’ll use the word ‘three’ to mean that thing over there”. However, I can only hypothesize that there is a mind m such that m interacts with a human body (especially its) and m has used said body to make a Philosophy Forum account called “Gary M Washburn” and m can see 3 just as I can and m also uses the word “three” to mean 3 and m and other minds take part in an interesting discussion along with me. A possible reason for my hypothesis that you mean 3 by “three” (not the actual reason, of course) would be that you point your finger at a group of three sheep, then three pine-cones, then at someone who shouts thrice, and each time say “three”.

    *Of course, I think, though I likely don’t know, that I don’t know anything for sure.
  • Tristan L
    185
    If I don't take predicates as Properties that have independent existence, I don't have to take vacuous predicates as Properties that themselves have the Property of having no instances.Srap Tasmaner

    But I believe to have shown that you do. How else could we do that which we call “talking about even odd numbers”? There are no even odd numbers, and since one cannot talk about what doesn’t exist (Parmenides already realized that), what we talk about must be the real and existing property of being an even odd number, musn’t it?

    Vacuous singular terms (Santa Claus, the Bermuda Triangle, the present king of France) aren't going to do it either.Srap Tasmaner

    Then how are these terms even meaningful? For example, how is it meaningful to say that there’s no present king of France? Only because the properties of being a humanoid, jolly, magical, wonderful, goodness-rewarding, ..., being who lives at the North Pole, of being a region with certain properties (...), and of being the present king of France, exist.

    those [natural numbers and sets] actually do represent some kind of trouble for meSrap Tasmaner

    Even though one can be directly aware of them, unlike concrete stuff?

    Well, it's been fun!Srap Tasmaner

    Yeah!
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.7k
    There are no even odd numbers, and since one cannot talk about what doesn’t exist (Parmenides already realized that), what we talk about must be the real and existing property of being an even odd number, musn’t it?Tristan L

    Let's suppose you're right, and there are Properties and concrete particulars are instances of them. There is Wrenchhood, and there is the concrete particular, 'that wrench there', which is an instance of Wrenchhood.

    When I ask you to hand me that instance of Wrenchhood, am I asking you to hand me Wrenchhod? No. Am I "talking about" Wrenchhood? I am using the concept of Wrenchhood, and relying on you to understand it, but talking about Wrenchhood is when you analyze the necessary and sufficient conditions of being an instance of Wrenchhood.
    *
    (Or whatever you like there.)
    Asking for 'that wrench there' is not that.

    When we talk, hypothetically, about an instance of a concept that has no instances, what is the thing we are talking about? There is no such thing, so we are talking about nothing. But you would have it that if there are no instances of Wubblehood, then when we talk about wubbles we're actually talking about Wubblehood. But the absence of wubbles doesn't change talk about wubbles into talk about Wubblehood the concept.

    This argument for Platonism, from vacuous predicates and vacuous singular terms, is widely accepted, I'll grant you, but not by anyone who has learned the difference between use and mention.
  • Gary M Washburn
    142
    Why the hell does everyone want to believe the lasting is more real than the fleeting? Person is passing. And only when a person is passed away do we realize how much more real is what we never let ourselves learn of them.

    A morbidly obese man might be able to get up a sprint for a few feet. If this makes him a runner, he is a piss poor one. If all A is a piss poor B and all B is a piss poor C, what the hell does it mean to say A is C? Even a piss poor one?

    The modifier is the ephemera, but it tells the whole story nonetheless. To ignore it is sophomoric, and to deliberately seek to obviate it is dogmatism.

    The engine of everything real is ephemera, from quantum matter to a living organism, from personal reverie to social interactions, from ordinary conversation to categorical assertion of rigid syntactical doctrine and sclerotic lexical reference, even to what might be called quantum cosmology. What is passing is more distinctly real.

    Many meanings of words in English derive from their opposite. How the hell is that possible if the meaning of terms is hermetic?
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