• My Solution To The Problem Of The Ship Of Theseus


    Sometimes on boards like this people disagree almost as if it's their duty to do so. That can be frustrating.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    I was addressing something that Harry Hindu said (and I assumed that you meant to defend his claim). He said: "the meaning of a yellow banana is that is it ripe. It's blackness means it is rotten. We don't need language to know this", and this is the claim that I was criticizing. Was your story meant to illustrate this or something else?Fafner

    I wouldn't use the word "meaning" there. I commented on this earlier, although I didn't address that comment to you. I'm fine with saying that the yellow skin implies that it's ripe, although implication there is more of a correlation. I'd agree with him that language isn't necessary to know this, although I'd note that I'm using language in a more narrow sense there. If someone is using "language" so broadly that any mental representation counts as language, then that would be a different issue.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    I think that your story already presupposes that the monkey can understand what 'the banana is ripe' (or that it isn't) mean - but remember, what you are supposed to explain is how the monkey acquires the ability to represent the ripeness of the banana in the first place.Fafner

    If that's what you're asking, I had no idea. You weren't at all clear about that.

    The monkey has that ability because it has a brain--a brain that's relatively similar in construction to human brains, and this is one of the primary ways that brains work.

    Re the rest of your comment, you simply experience the color being such and such way and the banana tasting such and such way. You don't need a "hypothesis" for that, really, at least not at all in a formal way. To connect more than one occasion, you do need memory. Then on subsequent occasions, you notice that the same thing is the case, plus you have occasions where you notice that both the color is different and the taste (and texture) are different.

    (I'm still not clear on what, in context, is the point is of going through all of this)
  • God and the tidy room
    How would you go about proving/disproving this principle? I'd say the PSR is grounded firmly on evidence which spans across all of history. If you think it's false then the burden of proof falls on your shoulders.TheMadFool

    Assuming that there are really reasons for anything (and it's not simply a way that we think about things), no amount of experience is going to justify it as a principle. Hence, there being no good reason to buy it as a principle.
  • My Solution To The Problem Of The Ship Of Theseus
    I disagree. I don't think you've thought through what "identity" really means on a practical basis.
    The space is what the boat was designed and constructed for. It is the objective of the boat building process. How a ship will be used and continues to be used is a bigger part of it's identity than some specific piece of wood.
    T Clark

    The reason you seemed to be making a conflation was that you simply jumped from statements about usefulness to statements about identity.

    Many rivers are dry for long-periods during the year. They don't stop being rivers. If there's a flood, and water starts running in locations where it doesn't normally, is that suddenly a river?T Clark

    As I explained earlier, on my view, this is simply a matter of learning about how individuals formulate their concepts. There are not right or wrong answers.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    suppose a monkey encounters a yellow banana which happens to be rotten, should we say that the monkey infers that he made a mistake about the banana being ripe,Fafner

    That would entirely depend on whether the monkey has experience with bananas for there to be a good reason, via induction, for him to assume that yellow bananas are correlated to ripeness.

    If he has an extensive history of yellow banana implying "ripe," then he'll likely assume that something unusual is going on with the bananas.

    If he's just learning the correlation, then he might think he made a mistake or that he's not sure what correlation, if any, there is yet.

    I don't see any reason to assume that this would be any different for monkeys than it is for humans . . . so I wonder why you're posing the example in the first place. That's not really clear to me.
    or maybe it had the a disjunctive concept that a yellow banana represents either being ripe or rotten? (in which case it didn't made a mistake). Is there a way to decide what the monkey "means" just by knowing its causal history of interactions with bananas?

    You can't know (by acquaintance) anyone else's meaning per se, monkey or not. You can only know the behavioral stuff they correlate with the meanings they assign.
  • Why should we have a military that is under federal command?
    Federal government vs state government arguments have never resonated with me. I don't think that states are any less prone to corruption, the other people in my state are no more likely to agree with me than other people elsewhere in the country, etc.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    I'm afraid I don't get your point.Fafner

    You responded as if we were saying something about the color yellow (in general, regardless of where it occurs) rather than saying something about yellow bananas.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    But this doesn't make the color yellow itself into a symbol for ripeness.Fafner

    Why would you be mentally bracketing the color yellow as if it's something independent? The idea is yellow bananas versus green or dark brown/black bananas. (Well and purple bananas etc. if something really weird is going on.)
  • Is Meaning Prior To Language?
    Sure, she understands the sounds, but in terms of her own thought processes, she doesn't rely on language. For example, should she think about where Fiona is, the meaning of those thoughts are not internally reduced to language.Hanover

    Why wouldn't making mental associations with the sounds amount to language?
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    I would be stopping myself because when I communicate, it is my intention that others understand me. If I just used any scribble to meaning anything then I wouldn't be communicating.Harry Hindu

    Sure, you could stop yourself, but if you wanted to use words in some idiosyncratic way that only you understand, you could do that, too.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    The reason people use words is to communicate. How they use the words is what they communicate. You have an idea you want to communicate and if you don't use the words just right, then you end up not communicating at all.Harry Hindu

    How would any of that amount to arguing against meaning being associated with usage?
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    What reason would you use words at all if not to communicate their meaning as understood in the dictionary?Harry Hindu

    For one, to communicate meaning as not understood in the dictionary. (Which should be obvious.)

    For example, many words were used in gang culture in a way that bore no resemblance to what you would have found in the dictionary (though dictionaries have since reported some of the more popular usages). One reason that arose was so that the speech would be impenetrable to outsiders, including law enforcement.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    Again, if meaning is use, then I can use any word, or any scribble for that matter, to mean anything I want.Harry Hindu

    And indeed you can do that. Who would be stopping you?

    Dictionaries report consensus, popular, influential, historically important etc. usages.
  • God and the tidy room

    The Mad Fool was talking about proof, though, not just reaching a conclusion that could be modified later.
  • God and the tidy room
    We can't prove that something doesn't exist directly. We have to first assume that it does. The next step would be to look for it. When the search is negative we may conclude nonexistence. In short nonexistence can be proved only negatively.

    Likewise, to prove something has no reason/cause we have to first assume that it does (an instance of PSR) and only when such a search comes up with nothing can we say that said thing has no reason.

    You seem to be missing that the PSR is a principle. It's not merely saying that there are sufficient explanations for various things. It's saying that there MUST be.

    So whether particular things--maybe every single thing in the universe minus one--have sufficient reasons is irrelevant. What's at issue is whether it's true as a principle.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    And I didn't see the dictionary comment. A dictionary reports the usage of words. I see dictionaries as more or less journalistic items, but journalistic items that sometimes contain a bit of editorializing. (Not that definitions are the same thing as meanings, by the way.)
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    Ah, I wasn't following the discussion well enough. Yeah, if he's saying that a yellow banana "means" a particular ripeness state, in the sense of there being a correlation between the two, that would be an equivocation with the "semantics" sense of meaning.
  • Problem with the view that language is use
    This isn't sufficient either. How do you connect between the color of something and your eating it?Fafner

    Isn't he saying via experience? Via eating a number of bananas, you notice a correlation between the color and the ripeness.