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8 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

Yes, I would say that universals exist even if they are not instantiated.

Then all (uninstantiated) universals/connections are here with us, have been with us, all the time, eternally.

Going deeper, we have identified "instantiated universal" vs. "uninstantiated universals".
Look at the idea of an "eternally uninstantiated universal".
There is no way for consciousness to know that it exists, yet if they are metaphysically real, they do exist independent of consciousness.
One question is how can one know that they exist yet not ever be conscious of them?

Maybe it is by using reason. But to create awareness via reason, would you not have to instantiate the abstraction, or observe the instance to know/derive it?

Can a mind know of a relationship where it sees no "things" that are related?
Afterall, there is no way to "know" a connection where no two things are connected.

If concepts/universals exist eternally/metaphysically, to know, consciousness has to use reason to "rebuild"/re-engineer from instances and then insert the "idea" into the mind.

Therefore, a consciousness can't ever know about an "uninstantiated universal" when there are never any instances of it.

We already agree that a consciousness is not capable of absorbing a universal ready made without the use of reason (as theorized in Intricism).

If we have all these (uninstantiated) universals/connections lying around, what wakes them up, what instantiates them?
What instantiates "Adam" from "Manness"?

What is the cause of the instantiation of a commonality? a property, a universal?
We agreed that a universal has no causal power, so it will not instantiate itself.
It is is not itself, and there is NO God and NO supernatural force that will instantiate a universal, what is left is that consciousness instantiates them.
And if only consciousness can instantiate them, then they have to be mental entities, because consciousness only instantiates mental entities.
In that way, "Manness" is derived from "Adam, Jim, Joe, etc" instead of "Adam, Jim, Joe, etc" being instantiated from "Manness".

 

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3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Then all (uninstantiated) universals/connections are here with us, have been with us, all the time, eternally.

Going deeper, we have identified "instantiated universal" vs. "uninstantiated universals".
Look at the idea of an "eternally uninstantiated universal".
There is no way for consciousness to know that it exists, yet if they are metaphysically real, they do exist independent of consciousness.
One question is how can one know that they exist yet not ever be conscious of them?

Maybe it is by using reason. But to create awareness via reason, would you not have to instantiate the abstraction, or observe the instance to know/derive it?

Can a mind know of a relationship where it sees no "things" that are related?
Afterall, there is no way to "know" a connection where no two things are connected.

If concepts/universals exist eternally/metaphysically, to know, consciousness has to use reason to "rebuild"/re-engineer from instances and then insert the "idea" into the mind.

Therefore, a consciousness can't ever know about an "uninstantiated universal" when there are never any instances of it.

 

...

It isn't true that a universal which is never instantiated is unknowable. Some universals can be grasped without ever witnessing their particulars.  Knowledge of their existence can be inferred from knowledge of other universals. For example, I have never seen (and will probably never see) a collection of 10^10^10^10^10 things. Nonetheless, I know that the universal corresponding to that number must exist because its existence can be inferred from the laws of arithmetic.

Quote

What is the cause of the instantiation of a commonality? a property, a universal?
We agreed that a universal has no causal power, so it will not instantiate itself.
It is is not itself, and there is NO God and NO supernatural force that will instantiate a universal, what is left is that consciousness instantiates them.
And if only consciousness can instantiate them, then they have to be mental entities, because consciousness only instantiates mental entities.

When a universal becomes instantiated, it itself does not change in any way. It is the particular(s) embodying the universal that change(s). What causes particulars to change are causal forces exerted by other particulars. Hence, it would be far more sensible to say that particulars cause other particulars to instantiate universals.

 

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15 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

It isn't true that a universal which is never instantiated is unknowable. Some universals can be grasped without ever witnessing their particulars.


Agreed, there are fictitious concepts, imaginary concepts, ones that don't correspond to reality.

Your statement could also be interpreted another way, as a universal that could be instantiated but has not been until now which is different than what I am talking about.

I am bringing up an eternally uninstantiable universal/concept, basically, one that cannot be instantiated.
(I am talking about something that I think does not exist i.e. there is no such thing).
A contradiction can't be instantiated. Yet the concept exists.
You will say that contradiction (similar to "nothing") is not a universal and yet I would argue that we identify contradictions all the time.
A contradiction exists only in fact as a concept/universal, there is no metaphysical version of it.
But if contradictions are metaphysical, then they have to exist.

I am going along because you argue universals/concepts do exist metaphysically, independent of consciousness.
In that paradigm, since uninstantiated universals exist independently of consciousness, they exist even if consciousness has never observed their instance.

So numbers could have existed without "things" to be counted. Such a universe does not exist and for me is unimaginable.
I am also arguing that the abstraction (number) would not exist if the act of counting has never been done (ever).

(I will respond to the rest of the post)

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On 1/23/2018 at 4:02 PM, SpookyKitty said:

Thus, reality is not a mere assortment of particulars. It is a structure consisting of particulars "connected" to each other by universals

 

Sometimes I wonder if you see the necessity that universals have to exist metaphysically, independent of consciousness, otherwise, when everyone is asleep, the universe might not go by rules and would fall apart.
These laws have to be real for the universe to work.
But these universals you talk about have to have "connective power", they have to have some causal powers.
If universals don't, in fact, have causal powers (we agreed they don't) then they can't keep the structure together.
If that is what you are concerned about then Objectivism fills that void with the law of causality also called uniformity of nature. (not universals/concepts).

That may fit what you are talking about more than "universal" or concepts because universal is primarily about categories and categorization.
The structure that keeps the universe intact, that in a sense prevents an apple from barking, a table from dancing, a tree from rolling is the fact that an entity acts based on its nature. It is limited by that law so not just anything can happen.

So those set of rules, that structure, does exist and is metaphysical/"out there" independent of consciousness.

 

Edited by Easy Truth

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Spoiler

Agreed, there are fictitious concepts, imaginary concepts, ones that don't correspond to reality.

Your statement could also be interpreted another way, as a universal that could be instantiated but has not been until now which is different than what I am talking about.

I am bringing up an eternally uninstantiable universal/concept, basically, one that cannot be instantiated.
(I am talking about something that I think does not exist i.e. there is no such thing).
A contradiction can't be instantiated. Yet the concept exists.
You will say that contradiction (similar to "nothing") is not a universal and yet I would argue that we identify contradictions all the time.
A contradiction exists only in fact as a concept/universal, there is no metaphysical version of it.
But if contradictions are metaphysical, then they have to exist.

I am going along because you argue universals/concepts do exist metaphysically, independent of consciousness.
In that paradigm, since uninstantiated universals exist independently of consciousness, they exist even if consciousness has never observed their instance.

So numbers could have existed without "things" to be counted. Such a universe does not exist and for me is unimaginable.
I am also arguing that the abstraction (number) would not exist if the act of counting has never been done (ever).

(I will respond to the rest of the post)

I agree that universals for contradictory properties exist (e.g., the property of being both red and not red in the same way at the same time) but that such universals can never be instantiated. That's totally different from saying that contradictions exist, as that would mean that facts can contradict each other, which is false.

I would definitely say that universals for numbers exist even if there were no things to be counted or if the act of counting has never and can never be done. I would like to see your arguments to the contrary.

9 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Sometimes I wonder if you see the necessity that universals have to exist metaphysically, independent of consciousness, otherwise, when everyone is asleep, the universe might not go by rules and would fall apart.

That's a humorous way of putting it.

Spoiler

These laws have to be real for the universe to work.
But these universals you talk about have to have "connective power", they have to have some causal powers.
If universals don't, in fact, have causal powers (we agreed they don't) then they can't keep the structure together.
If that is what you are concerned about then Objectivism fills that void with the law of causality also called uniformity of nature. (not universals/concepts).

That may fit what you are talking about more than "universal" or concepts because universal is primarily about categories and categorization.
Rules, "out there", is about the law of causality.

The structure that keeps the universe intact, that in a sense prevents an apple from barking, a table from dancing, a tree from rolling is the fact that an entity acts based on its nature. It is limited by that law so not just anything can happen.

So those set of rules, that structure, does exist and it is metaphysical/"out there" independent of consciousness.

Universals are not about categories and categorization. Nor are they about natures and causality. They are about predicates and predication. A universe without universals would be indescribable since you would not be able to predicate anything of anything else. Indeed, I would argue that such a universe wouldn't be anything at all. Since to say that a universe is a certain way is to predicate something of it, and predicates would never be justified in a universalless universe.

A universe without causality, on the other hand, would merely be weird and unpredictable, but not indescribable.

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31 minutes ago, SpookyKitty said:

A universe without universals would be indescribable since you would not be able to predicate anything of anything else.

In your paradigm, indescribability seems to mean non-existence (of the universe).
With the primacy of existence, I would say it is immaterial.
That the existence exists regardless of consciousness.

But then thinking aloud, if something is not anything in particular, then it does not exist.
I don't think that holds for existence as a whole.
I would go back to existence exists (as an axiom) regardless.

So describability is the greatest logical necessity there is?

As an aside, the way I see an overall difference between our paradigms is I am pushing for one entity per universal, you are pushing for two.
I am saying there is only one in my mind.
You are saying there is one in my mind and one out there and they are not the same thing of course!
I have always wondered why you need this redundancy.

If you acted like a normal intrinsicist you would have said, you don't have to do all that work, it's all there, ready to be absorbed, no mental process necessary.
But in your case, not only is the universal/concept out there, I have to do all this induction etc to create one in my mind.
I like my universe better, seems fairer (even if it was indescribable).

I admit I will have to study predicates more, I don't understand them enough to argue on that level.
 

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1 hour ago, SpookyKitty said:

I agree that universals for contradictory properties exist (e.g., the property of being both red and not red in the same way at the same time) but that such universals can never be instantiated. That's totally different from saying that contradictions exist, as that would mean that facts can contradict each other, which is false.

 

Why is it false?

You may say that it is indescribable, and I would say that in a universe where a contradiction can exist, anything can be anything and it would be meaningless, it falls apart. So I see some merit in the indescribability argument now, in a universe where anything can be anything, nothing can be described either. So it is not totally different as you say. I am making a metaphysical argument (contradictory chaos), you seem to be making an epistemological argument (indescribability).

Nevertheless, if a metaphysical universal can't be instantiated, it is (by definition) not a universal. How can a "universal for contradictory properties exist" and yet not be a universal?

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In your paradigm, indescribability seems to mean non-existence (of the universe).
With the primacy of existence, I would say it is immaterial.
That the existence exists regardless of consciousness.

But then thinking aloud, if something is not anything in particular, then it does not exist.
I don't think that holds for existence as a whole.
I would go back to existence exists (as an axiom) regardless.

So describability is the greatest logical necessity there is?

I think you've misunderstood my argument. I am not making any grand metaphysical or epistemological claims about "the greatest logical necessity there is" or some such. I am merely demonstrating that the causal structure you proposed is not a substitute for universals.

Spoiler

As an aside, the way I see an overall difference between our paradigms is I am pushing for one entity per universal, you are pushing for two.
I am saying there is only one in my mind.
You are saying there is one in my mind and one out there and they are not the same thing of course!
I have always wondered why you need this redundancy.

If you acted like a normal intrinsicist you would have said, you don't have to do all that work, it's all there, ready to be absorbed, no mental process necessary.
But in your case, not only is the universal/concept out there, I have to do all this induction etc to create one in my mind.
I like my universe better, seems fairer (even if it was indescribable).

I admit I will have to study predicates more, I don't understand them enough to argue on that level.

There is no redundancy. Universals are not the same as concepts. And I could also ask you again, if you think universals are a redundancy, then why isn't the same true of particulars? If you have particulars in reality, then what's the point of having them in your mind? Or, if you have them in your mind, then why bother with them in reality? Seems """fairer""" to just get rid of them.

Quote

Why is it false?

Because facts can't contradict each other.

Spoiler

You may say that it is indescribable, and I would say that in a universe where a contradiction can exist, anything can be anything and it would be meaningless, it falls apart. So I see some merit in the indescribability argument now, in a universe where anything can be anything, nothing can be described either. So it is not totally different as you say. I am making a metaphysical argument (contradictory chaos), you seem to be making an epistemological argument (indescribability).

No it is completely different. A universe where an apple can be both red and not-red at the same time in the same way is inconceivable. A universe where an apple barks one day and writes sonnets the next is weird, but not inconceivable. I believe that both things are impossible but for very different reasons. Hence, the causal and universal structures must themselves by very different. In any case, they are not the same.

Spoiler

Nevertheless, if a metaphysical universal can't be instantiated, it is (by definition) not a universal. How can a "universal for contradictory properties exist" and yet not be a universal?

It's a special case of a universal. Just like zero is a number, even though you can't really count zero of anything.

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5 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

I think you've misunderstood my argument. I am not making any grand metaphysical or epistemological claims about "the greatest logical necessity there is" or some such.

It's just that you seem to give validity to your arguments based on linguistic characteristics. There may be some merit to that, I'm just noticing a pattern, a style that I don't emphasize and am not well versed in. The idea of predicates seems to be linguistic. The original proof you had of metaphysical universals made uses of grammatical principles a lot with "subject" and "predicate" etc. I am not judging it, just noticing it.

5 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

There is no redundancy. Universals are not the same as concepts.

Are you saying that universals are not concepts because one is a mental entity and one is a physical one or are you asking that we redefine universal because it does not mean concept? 
In my paradigm, the physical referent of a concept does not exist at all.

5 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

I could also ask you again, if you think universals are a redundancy, then why isn't the same true of particulars? If you have particulars in reality, then what's the point of having them in your mind?

Yes, I would say that particulars are redundant in the sense that consciousness has them like a mirror. What is out there that can impact senses gets registered automatically and a duplicate image is a mental entity. There is a one to one correspondence between mental entity and referent. (an association)
Of course, a particular in the mind and a particular out there is different, one is a mental entity which refers to one single entity outside of the mind (not instantiating it, not inferring it). So, a particular mental entity is not the same as the particular's physical referent.

5 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

It's a special case of a universal.

If contradictions are special cases of universals ultimately you have to define universals with exceptions like commonalities that don't include "nothing", "zero" or contradictions. But epistemologically and linguistically speaking you still have the same calamity of indescribability. A language and epistemological collection that does not include the concept "contradiction" or "nothing" is not going to describe reality.

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On 1/23/2018 at 6:02 PM, SpookyKitty said:

Alright here is an example:

This all sounds fine - but you made no argument as to why the universal itself is something that exists apart from your recognition. So far I see you calling it a predicate, but this is rather empty when you are describing it all within the context of language and logical structure. I want to know what "to exist identically" means. Also, in what manner are particulars connected by universals? This is my main disagreement. The notion of connecting is rather vague.

On 1/30/2018 at 6:12 PM, intrinsicist said:

You know in analytic synthetic dichotomy, Peikoff talks about how a nominalist forms categories that are merely tautologically true, as in you can't get anything out of them that you haven't already defined? I

I was busy with school so here is more. A lot of classwork. The questions below are not rhetorical.

I agree with Peikoff that the dichotomy is no good. I don't fall into that corner since I don't buy into the dicotomy. An identification is an act of defining, but this isn't to say it "only" consists of that definition. There is always some referent, and these referents ought to be real, as in not a result of a mental activity. In other words, I am not trying to take any side of the dichotomy.

There are things that hold universally. The issue is in what manner. I mean, is it separable from a particular? If it isn't, how can two particulars hold the same universal? After all, you seem to mean that the universal is the same one, not just a sharing of identical characteristics (identical being the same range of values). The only answer I see is to call universals epistemic. The same mental entity "red" refers to anything that falls in the red range. The particulars don't share the -same- redness even if they have the same value. When I say I have the same shirt as you, I don't mean -that- shirt. That's not tautological - I'm still grounding it in reality. There's a metaphysical grounding if I am rational about the whole process.

The thing left that's universal is that the range of values is definite. The only time you alter it is if you notice it fails to unite the particulars. Also, learning more is no issue. The point of an essential is that you explore what things with a certain trait will do. 

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On 2/1/2018 at 4:19 AM, SpookyKitty said:

the causal and universal structures must themselves by very different. In any case, they are not the same.

 

Agreed, I am not questioning that. You agree that a contradiction is inconceivable but to be clear, what you mean is "the instance of contradiction" is inconceivable, a "something that is not itself" is inconceivable.  But notice you use the word "contradiction" (the concept/universal), just as I do, so we have conceived it already. So we have to be specific, I assume you mean conceivable in a metaphysical way, which means, contradictions don't exist.

You say these are special universals. Granted, they are uninstantiable. Does that mean when we say "universal" we should not include them?

On 2/1/2018 at 4:19 AM, SpookyKitty said:

Universals are not the same as concepts.

It's very important to know the difference or we have been talking about different things. What is the difference? It seems that to you that the set that comprises universals does not include contradictions, or fictitious universals, or imaginary universals.

On 2/1/2018 at 4:19 AM, SpookyKitty said:

Because facts can't contradict each other.

Although I agree with your statement above, I wonder about your use of the word facts. Is a fact something that is out there? Or is it something in the mind? I say that because I notice that you don't say "contradictions don't exist", rather you seem to imply an epistemological rule "facts can't contradict each other" which could leave open the idea that particular contradictions could in fact exist.

So facts to me are epistemological, but I wonder if facts to you are metaphysical.

 

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On 1/24/2018 at 12:08 AM, Grames said:

An epistemic universal can be personal as in one mind reusing the same concept of color as it is encountered at various different times and contexts.  Rand did claim that the primary purpose of language was to enable conceptual thought, which occurs in one mind, rather than communication between minds. 

Can you go into more depth about this? Ideally 2 examples with 2 epistemic universals. (I assume your use of the word epistemic is redundant). I especially would like to see the different times and different context demonstrated.

How did Aristotle imagine essence being in things? Like if you stabbed a table,  "tableness" should ooze out?

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14 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

How did Aristotle imagine essence being in things? Like if you stabbed a table,  "tableness" should ooze out?

Last question first, I don't know well enough to try to answer.  I'm not a philosopher nor have I read closely Aristotle's Organon, and it has been a long time since I've read it at all.  University was decades ago for me and what familiarity I have with Aristotle since then mostly comes from secondary sources writing about what he meant.  Aristotle was a student of Plato so unless he could solve the problem of universals while also inventing logic and mastering every other contemporary field of knowledge he would carry over that basic approach from Plato, that essences are intrinsic to things or 'metaphysical' as described in this thread.

15 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Can you go into more depth about this? Ideally 2 examples with 2 epistemic universals. (I assume your use of the word epistemic is redundant). I especially would like to see the different times and different context demonstrated.

'Epistemic universal' is redundant for people that accept and use Rand's epistemological theories but in contexts (such as this thread) where there are people seriously contending the case for other kinds of universals it is good to spell out in full what kind of universal is being referred to.

A classic example comes to me by way of Kelley:

Quote

Children learn to recognize an object, when it reappears after being hidden, long before they begin to acquire language. More important, there is preconceptual awareness of qualitative recurrence, in adults as well as children. H.H. Price illustrated the point with the shape of a blackberry bush. One can recognize the shape immediately, even though he has no concept for that particular shape, could not begin to describe it in words, and cannot think of it determinately in its absence." (The Evidence of the Senses, p. 219)

So, children, blackberry bush, colors, thats 3 examples.   "Preconceptual awareness of qualitative recurrence", use that phrase a few times when speaking or writing and people will think you must be pretty smart.

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I notice an area that I have contradicted myself. I have said that concepts do have causal powers and I have said that they don't. I think I have to revise my statements to say that concepts have an influence on choices but not causal power. They do NOT have causal powers in the sense that they don't have initiation capability.

But in a volitional mind, they have an influence on the direction that one will take.

On 1/31/2018 at 1:45 AM, SpookyKitty said:

When a universal becomes instantiated, it itself does not change in any way. It is the particular(s) embodying the universal that change(s). What causes particulars to change are causal forces exerted by other particulars. Hence, it would be far more sensible to say that particulars cause other particulars to instantiate universals.

I agree that instantiation has no effect on the universal itself and in my mind instantiation is in my mind. 

I could see this as true epistemologically. Without two things in the field of awareness, sameness cannot exist. The mind cannot create the concept without the particulars, they are the building blocks.

In your model, I believe instantiation happens outside of the mind in existence.

Instantiation implies that the particulars in question, the instances don't exist. But somehow other particulars cause instantiation. At this stage, this is an arbitrary statement. I can't make it work in my mind yet, you will have to elaborate.

I assume you don't mean that particulars cause "sameness". That would imply that sameness does not exist until particulars exist and implies that you agree that connection can only exist when things exist, not the other way around similar to the argument that numbers can't exist without things to be counted.

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I have looked into predication and for now, I think it implies a need for nature (distinguishing characteristics).
Indescribable would mean having no distinguishing characteristics, no sameness, AND no differences.
To not have any sameness or difference means to not exist and it is not describable, undetectable and unnoticeable.

To have an unknown nature, does not mean non-existence. 
To NOT have a nature means nonexistence.

To say a fact about something is to put it in particular class/category.
The apple is red, is to put apple in the class of apples that are red, the universal "red apple" which is an instance of "red" and "apple", "red" also being an instance of "color" and "apple" being an instance of "fruit" on and on.

The relationships of predicates and universals is, to predicate is to make the subject "a something", a member of a class/universal/category.
"An apple is a fruit." apple is member of class fruit, "A lion is an animal." lion is part of class animal

If there is no class to be a member of, then there are no characteristics, no nature.
When something ends up being nothing, in particular, it can't be existent.
Nothing would exist without these classes.
They hold the world together in this structure.
Without the existence of "fruit", there can be no apple.

The existence of the apple in front of you could not have been, if the (concept) number/amount "one" did not exist.
We can't describe a single entity without putting an implicit "one" in front of it.
To exist, something has to be part of the class existent. Without the universal existent, nothing would exist.

So, everything has to have a class that it belongs to.
There is an infinite regress, anything has to be another thing.
In that world "the apple is." describes nothing, the apple is a nothing in particular.

Isn't the structure, the pattern in the universe something simply observed? Without causal powers, it is not like an active scaffolding exerting forces to create an equilibrium. Universals don't hold things physically, it is as if they do, this (holding) vision of it is only in the mind. 

Universals don't have any causal powers and they don't change, they are like an unseen observer.
So why couldn't they reside in the mind since they are created whenever needed? Because I say they get created and they say they are eternal?

For those who think of universals are non-epistemic, the necessity for having nature still is true if universals were epistemic.

Within existence but outside the mind, things just are without predication,  consciousness predicates to recognize, it is the necessity of the mind and consciousness initiates the process.
 

Edited by Easy Truth

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