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The Nature Of Broken Units

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The theory of the broken unit (a unit of a concept that lacks a characteristic common to other units within the concept) presented here rests entirely on the epistemological point that the broken unit “should have the characteristic it lacks, as determined by its goals or purpose.” Using this principle, it is concluded, “roken units are essential tools for conceptualization, because they allow us to omit contextually non-essential units which would otherwise wipe out the possibility of defining and conceptualizing facts about living organisms and man’s purposive creations.”

A couple of questions come to mind. Are “non-essential units” omitted when we conceptualize? How does defining and conceptualizing facts about living organisms and man’s purposive creations depend upon omitting characteristics not common among the units in the concept?

Let’s look closer at this, at how Objectivism defines the process of conceptualization.

“A unit is an existent regarded as a separate member of a group of two or more similar members.” (ITOE, Chap1). Regarding something as a unit means that one focuses on an attribute that two or more objects have in common but is different from a similar attribute of other objects. For example, two chairs have similar shape but a different shape than a table. This is a fundamental principle for grasping units and ultimately for conceptualization. What exactly does it mean to hold that a broken unit “lacks a characteristic common to other units within the concept”? If a unit lacks a characteristic common to other units, then it cannot be included in the concept. It violates the fundamental epistemological method that man uses to identify something as a unit. If an object lacks the shape similar to other units of chairs, then the object is NOT a chair. In other words, it is not a broken unit of the concept; it is not a unit of the concept; it is a unit of a different concept.

This analysis can be extended to all of the other examples given in this thread, such as man vs. an insane man or baby vs. brainless baby (which involve more errors than just this epistemological problem).

So, let’s answer my questions above.

  1. No, “non-essential units” are not omitted when we conceptualize. Similar characteristics of some objects are integrated and differentiated from the same characteristic that is different in other objects.
  2. We do not omit characteristics when we conceptualize. We conceptualize based upon similarities of characteristics.

A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated according to a specific characteristic(s) and united by a specific definition.” (ITOE, Chap2)

Edited by A is A

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"A definition must identify the nature of the units, i.e., the essential characteristics without which the units would not be the kind of existents they are."
A broken unit is lacking an essential characteristic, as a consequence it is not the kind of existent it should have been.

Questions: Is a "brainless baby" a unit of the concept "man"? If causality determines that a certain characteristic is not present in a particular existent, then by what principle does one hold that the existent "should" have that characteristic? How does the goal of one group of existents (those that can hear, for example) require or imply some process be present in another group of existents that don't have the characteristic ("should be able to hear but can't")?
The principle at work is teleology. Biological entities and inanimate artifacts have goal-directedness built-in to them, and enough remains of the entity even in the absence of the essential characteristic to identify what the goal was. There are other characteristics that remain which inform us of what should have been. For babies there is appearance ("it looks like a baby") and causation ("women give birth to babies"). These are less essential, but still distinguishing characteristics. I say "less essential" instead of "non-essential" because the absence of usual essential characteristic forces us to find some other characteristic to use for identifying the unit. There is a promotion of epistemological importance of some other characteristic to the essence of this particular, and then that essence is compared to pre-existing concepts for identification.

Applying first level conceptual identifications to percepts is based on appearance. Only a doctor or otherwise experienced observer could know by sight if a baby is born without a brain, and even a doctor can not avoid expressing his finding without using some form of "this baby is broken".

The fallacy of division: When a premise gives you information about the group and reasoning is applied that the information is true of the individuals in the group. That some men cannot see color is not omitted from the generalization "man can see color." The generalization would be true if only one man on earth could see color and everyone else could not. An equally valid generalization is "man cannot see color." The two generalizations simply apply to different sets of men. Remember, generalizations are statements of causality, and both color and color-blindness (or complete blindness) are caused processes.
You need to expand on identifying when the fallacy is in play. The syllogism "All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal." is an example of reasoning from general to specific, and is the canonical example of valid reasoning.

"Man can see color." is ambiguous about its quantifier, is it to be interpreted as "All men.." or "Some men.."? You have assumed "Some men...". I have been assuming "All men..." when the quantifier was omitted.

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A broken unit is lacking an essential characteristic, as a consequence it is not the kind of existent it should have been.

Then it is not part of the concept if it lacks the characteristic that the units have in common. There is nothing broken about it.

The principle at work is teleology. Biological entities and inanimate artifacts have goal-directedness built-in to them, and enough remains of the entity even in the absence of the essential characteristic to identify what the goal was. There are other characteristics that remain which inform us of what should have been. For babies there is appearance ("it looks like a baby") and causation ("women give birth to babies"). These are less essential, but still distinguishing characteristics. I say "less essential" instead of "non-essential" because the absence of usual essential characteristic forces us to find some other characteristic to use for identifying the unit. There is a promotion of epistemological importance of some other characteristic to the essence of this particular, and then that essence is compared to pre-existing concepts for identification.

What "should have been" is not for you to assume since causal factors determined the nature of the entity. A baby should be born with a brain, but when it is not, it is not a baby. Of course, lacking the knowledge that the baby didn't have a brain at birth, one would conclude it was a baby based on the characteristics you cite. But once the knowledge is apparent, one cannot ignore it. People may, of course, continue to refer to the organism as a baby because of emotional attachment to it, or because the medical term may be too technical. However, it is no more a baby than an fully functioning android would be a man. Such an entity would not be considered as a unit of "baby" when the concept was formed.

Applying first level conceptual identifications to percepts is based on appearance. Only a doctor or otherwise experienced observer could know by sight if a baby is born without a brain, and even a doctor can not avoid expressing his finding without using some form of "this baby is broken".

Well, if the organism suffers from “anencephaly” then the proper concept may be "anencephalograph" (to coin a term), or just descriptively as baby without a brain using shape and birth as the characteristics in common with other units. Nothing broken about the unit. Do you really think that this is a baby (in the full meaning of the concept)?

You need to expand on identifying when the fallacy is in play. The syllogism "All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal." is an example of reasoning from general to specific, and is the canonical example of valid reasoning.

Syllogistic reasoning is not the only kind of reasoning. So you need to expand on identifying when the fallacy is in play.

"Man can see color." is ambiguous about its quantifier, is it to be interpreted as "All men.." or "Some men.."? You have assumed "Some men...". I have been assuming "All men..." when the quantifier was omitted.

Here's your error. Ambiguity is clarified by looking at reality. There is no justification for assuming "all men" unless the attribute refers to a property of all men by their nature: all men are mortal; or unless the attribute refers to a faculty that is essential and fundamental: man is a rational animal.

Edited by A is A

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What "should have been" is not for you to assume since causal factors determined the nature of the entity.
Causal factors, such as evidence and appearance determine what I should think. There is no assuming.

Such an entity would not be considered as a unit of "baby" when the concept was formed.
Such an entity would not be excluded, as brains are internal organs and so not visible for inspection. You are simply assuming your desired conclusion.

Well, if the organism suffers from “anencephaly” then the proper concept may be "anencephalograph" (to coin a term), or just descriptively as baby without a brain using shape and birth as the characteristics in common with other units. Nothing broken about the unit. Do you really think that this is a baby (in the full meaning of the concept)?
Nice picture, but the appearance is so obviously wrong by simple inspection that is truly a borderline case. There are more boring cases where the skull forms normally but is filled with fluid instead of brain tissue, those are definitely babies if they also deliver normally and live.

So you need to expand on identifying when the fallacy is in play.
No. It is your argument, you make it relevant to the topic.

Here's your error. Ambiguity is clarified by looking at reality. There is no justification for assuming "all men" unless the attribute refers to a property of all men by their nature: all men are mortal; or unless the attribute refers to a faculty that is essential and fundamental: man is a rational animal.

This is a thread about concepts. Perhaps you've heard of 'universals'? 'All' should be the interpretation given this context.

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Causal factors, such as evidence and appearance determine what I should think. There is no assuming.

Such an entity would not be excluded, as brains are internal organs and so not visible for inspection. You are simply assuming your desired conclusion.

Nice picture, but the appearance is so obviously wrong by simple inspection that is truly a borderline case. There are more boring cases where the skull forms normally but is filled with fluid instead of brain tissue, those are definitely babies if they also deliver normally and live.

No. It is your argument, you make it relevant to the topic.

This is a thread about concepts. Perhaps you've heard of 'universals'? 'All' should be the interpretation given this context.

None of this addresses the content of my argument, so I will consider the issue closed unless some arguments wth substance are put forth.

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OH BABY

When presenting philosophic issues it is extremely important to be consistent when rephrasing so as not to produce confusion by implicitly or explicitly changing the meaning of what is being presented. Let’s see if this is a problem here.

The discussion begins:

“These three concretes have something important in common:

(1) A baby born without a rational faculty…”

Now, let’s just consider these two examples from the standpoint of clarity in the article. The next time this issue is mentioned is,

( A ) “a brainless baby lacks the distinguishing characteristic of the concept ‘man’… ”

( B ) “A brainless baby is not a man…”

The question is then raised, “how [can we] identity a brainless baby as a unit of the concept “man”? Right away, we are confused: are we talking about baby or man?

The examples are used to illustrate “a broken unit … is a unit that lacks a characteristic shared by other unites of the concept of which it is a member.” Which concepts are we talking about, baby or man?

Let’s notice one thing. There was a switch from “born without a rational faculty” to “brainless.” This leads to some confusion. First, since when is any baby born with a rational faculty. They all share the lack of that characteristic. Next, the example of being born without a brain changes the entire meaning of the example: a rational faculty cannot be developed in a brainless baby but can be in a normal one. This leads to significant confusion. To what exactly does the concept ‘baby’ refer? Any organism without a rational faculty? Does having a brain or not have significance for the concept?

In my post above, I presented the fundamental principle of concept formation, as presented in ITOE by Rand, “regarding something as a unit means that one focuses on an attribute that two or more objects have in common but is different from a similar attribute of other objects.” One integrates and differentiates based upon the same attribute of different entities. Since no baby has a rational faculty, it certainly can’t be included in the concept. However, a brain is certainly a critical organ. However, the concept ‘baby’ goes beyond human babies: “women give birth to babies,” or shape: “it looks like a baby.” After all, baby chicks are not born, baby frogs look so different from its parents it has its own concept: toad. What about baby plants where there is no sex between the parents. Or baby fish where eggs float in water and are fertilized by sperm floating in water? How do we know when to apply the concept “baby” in each of these contexts? We seem to be overwhelmed with broken units: the lack of characteristics shared by so many units of the concept. There seems to be more differences than similarities.

I suggest reading ITOE to understand the proper method of concept formation.

The rational mind is fully capable of grasping the context and meaning of the concept ‘baby’ when the term is used. When I consider baby chicks, my mind is not implicitly wondering about what characteristics are lacking with human babies. That is because the concept ‘baby’ was not formed with that consideration. A baby is a progeny of its parents and has the potential to grow into an adult.

How do we handle “a brainless baby”? Why do we still consider it a baby? Because our mind automatically switches contexts to an earlier stage of definition based upon shape. Just as Rand demonstrates the development of the concept “man” in the mind of a child, a previously developed definition is used for baby. In the same way, a man who is in a coma or is brain dead is considered a man because the mind automatically inserts a definition from an earlier stage of development of the full concept. In each case, similarity of attributes allows the application of the concept, not any presence of broken units. A man in a coma is similar in shape to a man with a rational faculty than to the shape of the bed he lays in.

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I see some valid reasoning here, but must address what is not valid first.

Since no baby has a rational faculty, it certainly can’t be included in the concept.
Every baby is a qualified instance of the concept man. In the terminology of the lead essay, every baby is a broken unit of the concept man. This is why babies have rights, and infanticide is homicide.

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I see some valid reasoning here, but must address what is not valid first.

Every baby is a qualified instance of the concept man. In the terminology of the lead essay, every baby is a broken unit of the concept man. This is why babies have rights, and infanticide is homicide.

Not to get off topic, but what rights to babies have? Perhaps you could start another thread on that subject if you're interested.

One does not form the concept 'man' by studying babies. One does not only study man to form the concept 'baby'. Perhaps you mean a baby human is an instance of 'man'. But 'baby human' is not a concept. Every baby is not a qualified instance of the concept man. Baby.

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I see some valid reasoning here, but must address what is not valid first.

-------------

Just out of curiosity, do you consider ITOE "some valid reasoning"? Maybe you should present what you don't consider valid in Rand's theory before talking about broken units.

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Not to get off topic, but what rights to babies have? Perhaps you could start another thread on that subject if you're interested.

One does not form the concept 'man' by studying babies. One does not only study man to form the concept 'baby'. Perhaps you mean a baby human is an instance of 'man'. But 'baby human' is not a concept. Every baby is not a qualified instance of the concept man. Baby.

The whole thread is drawing boundaries around concepts. We've been using the same concepts as examples all along, and most frequently just "man".

So just who the hell do you think you are persuading with with such blatant equivocation? I can hardly believed you just attempted such an obviously dishonest and incompetently concealed maneuver.

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The fallacy of division: When a premise gives you information about the group and reasoning is applied that the information is true of the individuals in the group. That some men cannot see color is not omitted from the generalization "man can see color." The generalization would be true if only one man on earth could see color and everyone else could not. An equally valid generalization is "man cannot see color." The two generalizations simply apply to different sets of men. Remember, generalizations are statements of causality, and both color and color-blindness (or complete blindness) are caused processes.

The fallacy of division refers to the mistaken conclusion that what is true of the whole is true of its parts. It is the reverse of the fallacy of composition. It does not apply to groups/individuals, but to entities and their parts.

"Man can see color" is a valid (true) generalization, because the vast majority of men can see color. "Man cannot see color" is not a valid generalization due to the same fact. I don't see how you would think otherwise.

I don't know what you mean by the bolded phrase above. Are you saying that a particular man can see color, because he is a man?

One does not form the concept 'man' by studying babies. One does not only study man to form the concept 'baby'. Perhaps you mean a baby human is an instance of 'man'. But 'baby human' is not a concept. Every baby is not a qualified instance of the concept man. Baby.

Actually, "baby" refers to any very young human, "baby human" is redundant, and one must specify the type of animal (e.g. "baby gorilla") only if one is not talking about a human. "Very young human" is the etymological source of, the primary definition of, and the most common connotation of "baby". How many times have you talked about a baby and had the listener ask you "do you mean a baby human?".

Edit: Note that we have separate concepts for the young of more commonly seen animals (e.g. pups, kittens, calves, etc.)

Edited by Jake

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The fallacy of division refers to the mistaken conclusion that what is true of the whole is true of its parts. It is the reverse of the fallacy of composition. It does not apply to groups/individuals, but to entities and their parts.

It most certainly applies to groups. An entity is a sum of its parts in the same way as a group is. Society is a group of individuals and if you apply a true statement about society that is not true of the individuals, then it is the fallacy of division. After all, a group, or a concept, is a mental entity. Are not individual people a part of society? Are not particular customs a part of society? Are not particular laws a part of society?

"Man can see color" is a valid (true) generalization, because the vast majority of men can see color. "Man cannot see color" is not a valid generalization due to the same fact. I don't see how you would think otherwise.

There is a difference between saying "man can see color" and "(all) men can see color". The former is a statement about the nature of the concept 'man' and does not depend upon how many men can see color as long as there is at least one. The latter is a statement about the number of particular men who can see color. This is why it is invalid to go from the generalization "man can see color" to "all men can see color". "Man" does not mean "all men" in any context I can think of, and it is a logical fallacy to use it that way. Man can see color, man can murder, man can build skyscrapers, man can dig ditches, man can live on farms, man cannot see color, etc., etc. On what justification would you conclude than any of these generalizations apply to all men? Clearly, they do not. Since the meaning of a concept is its units or referents, if any particular man can do something, then man can do it.

I don't know what you mean by the bolded phrase above. Are you saying that a particular man can see color, because he is a man?

Utlimately yes, but that doesn't tell you anything about the specific man or the causes of his ability to see color. Not only are there internal, biological causes (properties of the eye), there are external causes such as there being sufficient light, an object with the ability to reflect certain colors, eyes are open, etc.

Actually, "baby" refers to any very young human, "baby human" is redundant, and one must specify the type of animal (e.g. "baby gorilla") only if one is not talking about a human. "Very young human" is the etymological source of, the primary definition of, and the most common connotation of "baby". How many times have you talked about a baby and had the listener ask you "do you mean a baby human?".

Edit: Note that we have separate concepts for the young of more commonly seen animals (e.g. pups, kittens, calves, etc.)

1 a (1) : an extremely young child; especially : infant (2) : an extremely young animal b : the youngest of a group
I don't see "human" in the definition here. The referents to the concept are all the entities that are its units. The subject under discussion here is "broken units" (units without a characteristic of a concept) and conveniently leaving out units from a concept's meaning has led to a great deal of confusion. "Baby human" is not redundant if there is a group of young humans, dolphins, gorillas that are the subject of an experiment and one wants to only refer to the humans.

And what is a pup, kitten, calf? A _________ that is a baby.

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There is a difference between saying "man can see color" and "(all) men can see color". The former is a statement about the nature of the concept 'man' and does not depend upon how many men can see color as long as there is at least one. The latter is a statement about the number of particular men who can see color. This is why it is invalid to go from the generalization "man can see color" to "all men can see color". "Man" does not mean "all men" in any context I can think of, and it is a logical fallacy to use it that way. Man can see color, man can murder, man can build skyscrapers, man can dig ditches, man can live on farms, man cannot see color, etc., etc. On what justification would you conclude than any of these generalizations apply to all men? Clearly, they do not. Since the meaning of a concept is its units or referents, if any particular man can do something, then man can do it.
How do you relate this to the broken unit question? Are you saying that:

"Man can see color" is correctly understood as "some men can see color", but

"Man has a rational faculty" is correctly understood as "all men have a rational faculty"

Or, are you not implying that?

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How do you relate this to the broken unit question? Are you saying that:

"Man can see color" is correctly understood as "some men can see color", but

"Man has a rational faculty" is correctly understood as "all men have a rational faculty"

Or, are you not implying that?

Yes. Which one is applicable is determined by the facts. After all, is that not how one arrives at the proper definition? What do all entities of this kind have in common? Which characteristic explains the most distinguishing characteristics? If there were no other organisms on the planet that see and man was the only one that could see, the fact that some men can see and others can't see would preclude that characteristic from being the distinguishing chracteristic. Man has lungs, but so do gorillas, dolphins and whales. Having lungs does not distinguish man from other entities. However, having lungs certainly is important if you want to distinguish mammals from fish.

This is directly related to the issue of broken units in that some characteristics have been alleged to be not present in particular entities (units) yet the units are included in the concept: Is a man without a brain still a man? Is a man without a finger still a man? Do all men have brains? Do all men have fingers? Clearly, yes to the first and no to the second. How would the concept man (of which 'men' are particulars) ever been formed ("rational animal") if you include those without brains? Clearly, if you use another distinguishing characteristic (shape, potential, imagination - "he could have a brain"), and then qualify the entity as a brainless man. But then there are two concepts of man being used, not one.

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No, thinking this way is an example of reification of a group. Reification is a fallacy.

I am going back to the auto repair place that just replaced my radiator for leaking. I want a refund. I knew I should have just kept on driving my car.

Edited by A is A

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I am going back to the auto repair place that just replaced my radiator for leaking. I want a refund. I knew I should have just kept on driving my car.

The parts of a car can be assembled into an entity called a car, or the parts of a car can lay strewn about upon the ground as a group of parts. The only difference between the two possibilities is the actual physical relationship between the parts and that is obviously not the same.

Utlimately yes, but that doesn't tell you anything about the specific man or the causes of his ability to see color.
That "ultimately" reveals that you are ultimately a rationalist.

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It most certainly applies to groups. An entity is a sum of its parts in the same way as a group is. Society is a group of individuals and if you apply a true statement about society that is not true of the individuals, then it is the fallacy of division. After all, a group, or a concept, is a mental entity. Are not individual people a part of society? Are not particular customs a part of society? Are not particular laws a part of society?

The only reason we can designate an object composed of more primitive parts as an 'entity' is because it is more than the sum of its parts.  You can't just throw billions of atoms in a box and call it a person.  Or, to refer to Rand's famous concept example (ItOE): One 18"x36"x2" and four 2"x2"x20" pieces of wood are not a table.  You can't even call the pieces a "flat surface" and "supports" until they are attached in a certain manner or until a human intends to attach them.

Please provide an example of a statement which is true of society, but could not also be true of two people.

1. Society has customs.

2. Society is composed of people.

3. People have customs.

Sounds good.

1. A person has rights.

2. A person is composed of atoms.

3. Atoms have rights.

Not so good.

"Man" does not mean "all men" in any context I can think of, and it is a logical fallacy to use it that way.

...

Since the meaning of a concept is its units or referents, if any particular man can do something, then man can do it.

Do you see the contradiction within that one paragraph?

It is because the meaning of a concept is its referents that "man" means all men who have been, are, and will be.

I don't see "human" in the definition here.

I see your Webster's pull and raise you two:

1 a : an unborn or recently born person b dialect : a female infant

2 a : a young person especially between infancy and youth b : a childlike or childish person c : a person not yet of age

3 usually childe \ˈchī(-ə)ld\ archaic : a youth of noble birth

4 a : a son or daughter of human parents b : descendant

1 : a child in the first period of life

2 : a person who is not of full age : minor

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No, thinking this way is an example of reification of a group. Reification is a fallacy.I am going back to the auto repair place that just replaced my radiator for leaking. I want a refund. I knew I should have just kept on driving my car.

The parts of a car can be assembled into an entity called a car, or the parts of a car can lay strewn about upon the ground as a group of parts. The only difference between the two possibilities is the actual physical relationship between the parts and that is obviously not the same.

---------------

And your point being?? Please read carefully. I did not say an entity is its parts. Does not the concept "sum" imply a relationship between parts and the whole and that a specific operation was performed to produce the entity into its configuration?

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The only reason we can designate an object composed of more primitive parts as an 'entity' is because it is more than the sum of its parts.  You can't just throw billions of atoms in a box and call it a person.  Or, to refer to Rand's famous concept example (ItOE): One 18"x36"x2" and four 2"x2"x20" pieces of wood are not a table.  You can't even call the pieces a "flat surface" and "supports" until they are attached in a certain manner or until a human intends to attach them.

-----

As I said above to Grames, I did not say that an entity is its parts.

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An entity is a sum of its parts in the same way as a group is.

By equating the relationships of entities/parts and groups/individuals, this statement can only be interpreted as meaning either:

1) an entity is merely the sum of its parts (i.e. not deserving of an independent concept), or

2) a group is more than a collection of individuals (i.e. a group is an entity requiring a separate concept).

 

As I said above to Grames, I did not say that an entity is its parts.

So I must interpret your sentence as meaning (2), but groups are not entities.  Grames already identified this fallacy.

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------------

Please provide an example of a statement which is true of society, but could not also be true of two people.

1. Society has customs.

2. Society is composed of people.

3. People have customs.

Sounds good.

1. A person has rights.

2. A person is composed of atoms.

3. Atoms have rights.

Not so good.

------------------

The first is valid reasoning, the second is invalid reasoning: the middle term (person) is undistributed. Although the first example may also be fallacious in that the 'customs' in the premise may not be the same as the 'customs' in the conclusion. I have developed a custom of giving my pet dog a piece of cheesecake on his birthday. That is not a societal custom.

Also, please do not jump to conclusions. I did not say or imply that an entity or group can not have any of its parts removed without still being the whole. Paint is a part of a car but I can remove the paint and still have a functioning car, although it may not last as long. But I cannot remove the gas tank, or radiator, and still have a car.

I can remove two people from society and still have a society. When you use the concept 'society', does it refer only to the parts you are bringing up in your example? Clearly not. But in my discussion, the parts I was referring to were precisely the parts that are required for the entity of function or continue to exist as that entity. So this is really a non-issue.

As far as your request: society passes laws, two people don't; society occupies large geographical areas, two people don't; society can survive for generations, two people can't; society has many institutions, two people don't.

Now, Babylonian society existed somewhere in what is now Iraq. It is absurd to say that the society still exists even when there are no more Babylonians, no enforcement of Babylonian laws, no Babylonian customs, or geographical area designated as Babylonia. The society is (or was) the sum of its parts and does not exist without those parts. But that does not mean that Babylonian documents or its history go out of existence even though they were a part of Babylonian society.

Once again, one must look at reality when making generalizations.

Edited by A is A

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By equating the relationships of entities/parts and groups/individuals, this statement can only be interpreted as meaning either:

1) an entity is merely the sum of its parts (i.e. not deserving of an independent concept), or

2) a group is more than a collection of individuals (i.e. a group is an entity requiring a separate concept).

I thought we were talking epistemology, not metaphysics. What constitutes what an entity is (epistemologically, meaning which concept it falls under), and whether a concept is needed at all, depends upon its distinguishing characteristics and the context of knowledge. All concepts mean the units that are its referents. Whether the concept refers to concretes or abstractions, entities or groups, both types of concepts mean their units. The concept 'car' is not merely the sum of its parts, and the concept 'society' is not more than the units from which the concept was formed.

What are the distinguishing, essential characteristics of a car or a society that required the formation of the concept? The method is the same. There is no "merely" or "more than."

So I must interpret your sentence as meaning (2), but groups are not entities. Grames already identified this fallacy.

Ha. That assertion was hardly an identification of anything I wrote, which is why I didn't respond to it.

You should not interpret my sentence as meaning either 1 or 2. What are the distinguishing characteristics that make a car different from other entities? What are the distinguishing characteristics that make a society different from other entities or groups or organizations? Once you identify those characteristics, then see if the 'car' or 'society' can exist without them.

Edited by A is A

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Do you see the contradiction within that one paragraph?

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It is customary to provide evidence and argument when making an assertion. Exactly what is the contradiction that you claim to see?

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I see your Webster's pull and raise you two:

Which concept are we discussing? Baby, child, infant? It's a logical fallacy to change the meaning of a concept in the middle of an argument. I'm not sure what it's called to change the word in the middle of an argument.

Edited by A is A

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