Objectivism Online Forum

SpookyKitty

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1. Universals

Alright here is an example: Suppose we have an apple which is red. Now consider the true statement, "The apple is red." This sentence identifies a fact. It is a true statement about a real thing having a real property, because the apple would still be there and would still be red even if no one was there to look at it. The subject of the sentence is "the apple" and it refers to the apple. Furthermore, the apple is a real thing to which the subject of the sentence refers. The aspect of reality that "the apple" refers to is a particular. And what about the predicate? Surely, if the sentence identifies a fact, then the predicate must also refer to some aspect of reality. The aspect of reality that the predicate "is red" refers to is a universal. Take note of the differences between the particular and the universal. The particular is always the subject of a sentence. Things may be "said of" it, but it may not be "said of" other things. For example, it doesn't make sense to say that "The dog the apple". Furthermore, it exists in exactly one place at any one time. The universal, by contrast, is always the predicate of a sentence. But it may exist identically in multiple situations. For example, it could also be true that "The fire-hydrant is red." I say "exists identically" because when I say that the fire-hydrant is red and that the apple is also red, I am not referring to different kinds of redness or different reds. I mean that both things have the same color. Thus, reality is not a mere assortment of particulars. It is a structure consisting of particulars "connected" to each other by universals (not only properties but also relations are universals, e.g. "The apple is above the table."). Facts are the elements of this structure, and true sentences are true by virtue of correctly representing this structure, that is, by identifying facts. If universals did not exist in this sense, but were merely mental-objects such as concepts, then it would make no sense to say that the statement "The apple is red" is true in a mind-independent way. For if there were no minds, then there would be no "is red".
2. Universals

That's the wrong question to ask. If you want me to understand your arguments against the existence of universals, you're going to have to use the word "universals" in its standard sense. Why not read Aristotle, if you really want to know?
3. Universals

I think you are seriously confused. Universals can't "represent" anything. They aren't symbols.
4. Universals

I was referring to actual birds, not the word "birds". The concept of "nothing" is not a universal since it can't be predicated of anything. Probably not. @human_murda You are confused about what a universal is: You are confusing universals with pluralities. When talking about the universal which is found in all humans, it is better to use the word "manness" rather than "man". "Manness" more closely captures the idea behind a universal. Note that it makes no sense whatsoever to say that "'manness' itself died" but that it does make sense to say that "All of humanity died". tl;dr: You have to be careful to always distinguish between a plural subject and a predicate. The comparison is about the relation of facts to kinds of statements and has nothing to do with universals.
5. Universals

The issue is with the usage of the word "fact". Facts aren't ordinary things like birds. Facts are always about something. There are facts about birds, but birds aren't about anything. So if we ask, what are the facts you refer to about? Since you don't believe that universals exist, they can't be about anything. Therefore, they are not facts. What you have are mere beliefs about sets (the sets being mental constructs) of particulars. ------- A universal is something that can be predicated of other things and can exist identically in multiple contexts (e.g. "green").
6. Universals

Can you point to where, exactly? Because I think that you have solved the wrong problem. To me at least, it seems extremely obvious that if universals are not real, then there can be no facts about them. So when you claim that there are no real universals and also that there are facts about them, etc. to me it sounds like you're claiming that you've done something that is impossible.
7. Universals

If there is no fact of the matter, then you cannot POSSIBLY have a justification. For example, consider the statement "The current King of France is bald." You cannot be justified in believing this statement nor its negation because there simply is no current King of France.
8. Universals

@Eiuol I think Intrinsicist is saying that while you can make inferences about new winged things, you are not justified in doing so, because there is no universal "out there" which could serve as the subject of your universal judgments about winged things. That is, according to Intrinsicist, since you don't believe in real universals, you would have to concede that there is no fact of the matter in a statement such as "all winged things fly", even though there is a fact of the matter in ALL statements such as "this winged thing flies", "that winged thing flies" (where 'this' and 'that' refer to specific given winged things).
9. Using geometry to fight gerrymandering

Definition of gerrymandering- The practice of redrawing district boundaries so as to maximize the number of seats that the incumbent party gets in a state legislature and to minimize the amount of seats of the opposing party. I didn't say it was bad. I just don't see any reason at all why it would be good, let alone why we should oppose any attempts to stop it.
10. Using geometry to fight gerrymandering

Why do you feel the need to be so cloak and dagger about it? Just say what you think.
11. Using geometry to fight gerrymandering

Wait, why exactly don't we want to stop gerrymandering?
12. Dealing with the Hostile Reader

Don't worry about it, MisterSwig. I, for one, don't think Invictus' accusations have any merit. Fuck, everyone is guilty of misreading someone else's posts at some point or another (such tiny incidents hardly amount to wanton irrationality). Welcome to the internet, Invictus. Grow a thick skin or gtfo.
13. Universals

That just pushes the problem one step further backward.
14. Universals

This is wrong. Knowledge of a thing does not imply the existence of that thing, since you can have knowledge about things which don't exist (e.g. fictional worlds).
15. The Anti-Concept of Anti-Reference; Paradox

Actually, it does not lead to a contradiction, it leads to a paradox. That statement cannot be evaluated as either true or false, whereas contradictions always evaluate to false. This argument does not work, because there are sentences which are self-referential and can be evaluated.
16. The Anti-Concept of Anti-Reference; Paradox

It would help to know what aspect(s) of it you take issue with. I'm not at all sure what point you are trying to make here. What is the difference between A and "A"? What do you mean by the quotation marks? No, we can't, which is my point. If we could, then we would end up in a contradiction as the OP shows. What happens is that we can verify that A refers to X if, indeed, A refers to X, but if A does not refer to X, then in at least some instances we cannot verify that A does not refer to X. Since we cannot always identify the non-referents of a concept, that means that we cannot always evaluate the denial of a proposition.
17. Fallacy of Pure Self reference

The statement "This statement is true" can be evaluated and is, in fact, true. if it were false, then the statement "This statement is false" would be true. But that's a contradiction. So it must be that "This statement is true" is true.
18. Fallacy of Pure Self reference

What about "This statement refers exclusively to itself."? The statement refers exclusively to itself and is true.
19. The Anti-Concept of Anti-Reference; Paradox

I realize that Rand meant something different by the term "anti-concept". Here, by "anti-concept" I mean one whose existence would imply a contradiction. Hence, it is a type of concept which cannot exist. EDIT: But then of course its use would be an "anti-concept" in the Randian sense.
20. The Anti-Concept of Anti-Reference; Paradox

Good questions. A floating concept is one which has no referents. And so the collection of pairs <C,r> for a floating concept would be empty. Similarly, for the meaningless or incoherent or nonsensical. I don't think that the referents of concepts have to be "real". For example, the concept of "fictional characters" doesn't contain any "real" referents by definition. But if the referents of a concept are not in external reality, then they must at the very least be mental entities.
21. The Anti-Concept of Anti-Reference; Paradox

Consider the following: What this proof shows is that the concept of "anti-reference", i.e., the non-meaning of a concept is an anti-concept since it always leads to a contradiction. It seems therefore that we cannot always tell what a concept does not refer to even if we can always tell to what it does refer to.
22. If God Doesn't Exist, Then Why So Much Reverence for "Objective Reality"? [Atlas Spoilers]

False dichotomy.
23. Does Objectivism have the concept of a tautology?

@DavidOdden Yes, I'd say you understand the formal definitions of tautology in propositional logic perfectly. However, we have a substantive point of disagreement where you say that formal propositions involve context-dropping and weasel-wording. When we assert a formal proposition such as "p or not p" we are not context-dropping but rather abstracting over all possible meanings of the atomic proposition P. You are further incorrect in saying that this has no connection to any non-formal notion of truth. The connection is that it does not matter what actual proposition you substitute for p in the formal tautological statement. When the substitution is done, the resulting proposition must be true. That such results can be proved is precisely why formal languages are so useful and general. You are correct in saying that sometimes it is not clear how to formalize certain natural language expressions. However, this does not imply an ambiguity or any other kind of problem in the formalism, but rather a possible ambiguity or confusion in the natural language expression. When interpreting a formal language over some object domain, a correct interpretation requires that every symbol have exactly one meaning, so no confusion can possibly result. Natural languages do not have this requirement, which is why miscommunication is such a common problem with them. (Also why you would never want to use a natural language to deal with mathematical abstractions if it can be reasonably avoided). This is an error in understanding in how to interpret statements in first-order logic. Interpreting a statement in first-order logic is a little bit more involved than interpreting statements in propositional logic. According to wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-order_logic If we restrict the domain of discourse to the integers {0,1,2,3}, then the statement “For all integers x, there exists an integer y such that 2x + 3 = y” is false, and is therefore not a tautology. This is completely wrong. So wrong that there in fact exists an effective method for determining whether a given first-order statement is a tautology, i.e., it's so easy that a computer can do it. Even if this is true, this only suggests a problem with the terminology and not the concept. in a similar fashion, just because the English language uses the same word to refer to both a kind of fish and a stroke of luck (fluke) that in no way implies a problem with either of the two concepts in and of themselves. No. Your circularity now just involves two statements instead of one.
24. Does Objectivism have the concept of a tautology?

Your reasoning is completely circular. To say that 2*3 + 1 = 7 is true because both sides specify the same quantity is to assert precisely that 2*3 + 1 = 7.
25. Does Objectivism have the concept of a tautology?

Neither are the two sides of 2*3 + 1 = 7, and yet it is true.
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