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What is the role of ontology in Oism?

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I don't think I'm denying entity. I've had in my possession such things as 0.999% pure substances, be it iron, magnesium, aluminum, gold, silver, copper. Perceptually they all have extension. Even an atom has extension. To identify that an atom has (a) proton(s), neutron(s) and electron(s) does not deny that. In what way, specifically an electron is distinguished from the proton or neutron, I could probably learn. Does the fact they can be distinguished from one another differ from the fact you can distinguish a blue heron from an egret from a grain of sand? As to non-perceivable, the ability to use technology to aide the senses continues to be improved. Science Daily has provided "photographs" of molecules. Even at that level molecules appear to have a physical boundary. Either protons or neutrons have been broken down to quarks and such stuff that I have to grant some credence to the testimony of the experts.

Weaver, I'm not sure how your last relates to my objections? It almost sounds like you think I'm claiming entities DON'T have a physical boundary...? My post is asking one to consider what epistemic method one must be using to conceptualize an entity that is non physical without divorcing it from the perceptual level. I'm not denying that there are effects we perceive that the electron was inferred from or even that electrons exist.The question is how does one apply Oist epistemology to validate/reduce the idea of a non-physical entity without contradicting perception and without taking a "concept from our present level of knowledge to a level on which you deny it suddenly".If one hasn't answered this explicitly one cannot validly say he has integrated such concepts through Oist epistemic method but rather has them as floating unreduced concepts. I am pointing out the contradictions I see in others and I welcome anyone to show how I'm wrong on the particular claims Ive made..

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Grames asked, "Does an electron have a physical boundary? Anyone, including myself, that has experienced an electrical shock can attest that there exists a perceptual experience. Failure to be able to explain or put it into full, comprehensive, conceptual terms does not negate the perceptual evidence. I know this is at the other end of the spectrum, but Objectivism holds that the universe or existence has no physical boundary, nor does it apply the concept of method infinite to it. Granted, existence is not considered an entity, as existence is a collective term. Your question is reveals an enigma, the answers to which remain yet to be discovered (or at least by me). The method of discovery still needs to adhere to method of non-contradictory identification.

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I have not denied non-contradictory identification, to be clear,or the effects that gave rise to the inference of electrons. Just to reiterate

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There is no Objectivist ontology. Metaphysics as a whole is a short subject in Objectivism, so it hardly seems worthwhile to single out this specialty with its own name. From Wikipedia: Ontology

It's not meant to be a logical argument, but merely a re-statement of Objectivist epistemology/metaphysics from a different angle. It's anchored around the premise that all thought, i.e. all proposit

Ontology in Objectivism and the distinction between primary and extended senses of the word entity are discussed in the thread Existents and Entities (only 4 pages)   There is also a kind of taxonom

Weaver, I'm not sure how your last relates to my objections? It almost sounds like you think I'm claiming entities DON'T have a physical boundary...? My post is asking one to consider what epistemic method one must be using to conceptualize an entity that is non physical without divorcing it from the perceptual level. I'm not denying that there are effects we perceive that the electron was inferred from or even that electrons exist.The question is how does one apply Oist epistemology to validate/reduce the idea of a non-physical entity without contradicting perception and without taking a "concept from our present level of knowledge to a level on which you deny it suddenly".If one hasn't answered this explicitly one cannot validly say he has integrated such concepts through Oist epistemic method but rather has them as floating unreduced concepts. I am pointing out the contradictions I see in others and I welcome anyone to show how I'm wrong on the particular claims Ive made..

Another way of asking that question is what fact(s) of reality give rise to the concept of entity? Perceptually we can discriminate there are many entities in our visual field. We can pick up a rock, pull a weed out of the ground, watch a groundhog scurry away when approached. We can see the chair and the table, and neither is the other. These are separate, discrete objects.

Sure, an entity is an existent with a physical boundary.

Is an electron an entity? I think the answer has to be yes, as it has attributes. Does an electron have a physical boundary? Hmmmm.

See, right away you get into trouble.

You clearly stated entities have a physical boundary.

Merriam-Webster puts entity as:a : being, existence; especially : independent, separate, or self-contained existence.

I think one of the first words we use as children that captures much of the essence of entity would be "thing". What is this thing? What is that thing? Perceptually, it is still discriminating one (or more) particulars within the range of the entire field. This, however, is parsing physical entity, rather than non-physical.

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Grames pointed out that by confining your definition of entity to a thing having a physical boundary, what do you do when you seek to deal with an electron.

Physical boundary may be present in all the entities you are viewing at the perceptual level, but is it essential? Being aware that chemists have identified that the atomic structure of different elements have specific quantities of electrons. Just seeing it stated that there 8 electrons in an oxygen atom brings to mind 8 seperate entities we have christened electons.

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Grames pointed out that by confining your definition of entity to a thing having a physical boundary, what do you do when you seek to deal with an electron.

Physical boundary may be present in all the entities you are viewing at the perceptual level, but is it essential? Being aware that chemists have identified that the atomic structure of different elements have specific quantities of electrons. Just seeing it stated that there 8 electrons in an oxygen atom brings to mind 8 seperate entities we have christened electons.

Yes,it's essential because it's what makes a this separate from a that. It's physicalness is "the distinctive characteristic which makes the greatest number of others possible" . As to element being comprised of 8 electrons I see no problem with this for my point. This is mereologically relevant to parts and wholes.

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Yes,it's essential because it's what makes a this separate from a that. It's physicalness is "the distinctive characteristic which makes the greatest number of others possible" . As to element being comprised of 8 electrons I see no problem with this for my point. This is mereologically relevant to parts and wholes.

Physical boundary simply doesn't make sense, because a boundary can only be defined to the extent your perceptual system provides boundaries based upon how it integrates sense data. There is no actual metaphysical boundary between any two entities. What separates a "this" from a "that"? How your perceptual system treats them as entities, which doesn't even have to be based on a physical boundary. Philosophically speaking, the how doesn't really matter - what counts is that boundaries are epistemological in nature. What's the boundary between a cloud and the sky? Between two electrons? What is a physical boundary, anyway?

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A common sense, scientifically naive view of what 'physical boundary' refers to is a problem. Rand's axiom that "existence is identity" requires that electrons be definite rather than indefinite. The squared amplitude of the electron wavefunction is an equation that can be computed to many decimals of precision and verified to be that accurate by experiment, so this satisfies the requirement for definiteness without in any way being analogous to the boundaries of macroscopic objects.

On the other hand, if anyone has studied the matter to the point of even understanding what "squared amplitude of the electron wavefunction" means are they still within philosophy? The change of context is so radical from sub atomic particles to what we are given in percepts that only the axioms and axiomatic concepts can apply, in my opinion. Expecting conventional notions of 'boundary' to remain pertinent is not justified. Much philosophical ontology is just this kind of unjustified importing of expectations from one context to another.

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Physical boundary simply doesn't make sense, because a boundary can only be defined to the extent your perceptual system provides boundaries based upon how it integrates sense data. There is no actual metaphysical boundary between any two entities. What separates a "this" from a "that"? How your perceptual system treats them as entities, which doesn't even have to be based on a physical boundary. Philosophically speaking, the how doesn't really matter - what counts is that boundaries are epistemological in nature. What's the boundary between a cloud and the sky? Between two electrons? What is a physical boundary, anyway?

This is so completely a primacy of consciousness set of assertions, I don't see how an Oist could claim it. Your completely rejecting the foundation of a realist theory of perception.

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Grames said:

"A common sense, scientifically naive view of what 'physical boundary' refers to is a problem"

This is precisely the opposite of a foundationalist approach to the science of philosophy and exactly why so many Oist haven't checked their special science premises against a proper epistemic foundation. The foundation of all the sciences is common sense.

You can't even get the "squared amplitude of the electron wavefunction" until you have developed a philosophically valid conception of what an electron is. A valid concept is the foundation to a valid theory.

Grames said:

"A common sense, scientifically naive view of what 'physical boundary' refers to is a problem"

This is precisely the opposite of a foundationalist approach to the science of philosophy and exactly why so many Oist haven't checked their special science premises against a proper epistemic foundation. The foundation of all the sciences is common sense.

You can't even get the "squared amplitude of the electron wavefunction" until you have developed a philosophically valid conception of what an electron is. A valid concept is the foundation to a valid theory.

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This is so completely a primacy of consciousness set of assertions, I don't see how an Oist could claim it. Your completely rejecting the foundation of a realist theory of perception.

How so? I mean, I still don't know what you mean by a "physical boundary". What counts is "definiteness", as Grames said. Sometimes a physical barrier, like touching a table, may indicate a definiteness. Or a color boundary. Or a location on your retina. Or a temporal and causal change. I didn't suggest that there are entities which are unobservable, only that a physical boundary is a poor essential to the concept "entity" because of how vaguely you're using the term. "Perceptual boundary" makes more sense to me. Ontology I doubt would say something like that and would prefer to make certain features inherently more important than others.

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The foundationalist approach has to be based on perception, not perceptual judgements. When I look at a tree and I say "That is a tree.", that is a perceptual judgement. On first level concepts, there is little disagreement amoung us. It is when we begin to use abstractions that can voluntarily be derived from entities in accordance with a method, that underscore the fact that most of mankind does not use the same objective method to arrive at a finished conceptual product. When you begin to examine the product you call "entity" with the product I call "entity", Grame's or Eiuol's - the disagreement points to the fact that we did or did not assemble it according to the same "blueprint" specifications.

In my case, I know from introspection that I have to constantly be on my guard against the years of the practiced habit of rationalization. I learned language from others, books, schooling, dictionaries, etc. Discovering how to associate them properly to the perceptual material is learning how to observe aspects of the conceptual processes I did not know existed, and I am not always sure of what specifically I am looking for.

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Euiol:

The idea that there are no physical boundaries is a claim to metaphysical singularity and complete rejection of multiplicity,EDIT: no basis for kinds,seperateness etc.

I still don't know what you mean by a "physical boundary".

Ultimately one must rely on another to reduce to perception any concepts one employs in a communication. If you do this I cant see how you would be confused about what a physical boundary is.

What counts is "definiteness",

You are begging the question I have presented concerning Oisms view of causality. It is entity dependent.The issue at contention is, "what is an entity" and how a proper epistemology determines this and what rules epistemology lays down for how one abtracts attributes from the perceptual and imputes them to unpercievables so as not to steal a concept.

I didn't suggest that there are entities which are unobservable, only that a physical boundary is a poor essential to the concept "entity" because of how vaguely you're using the term.

I didnt say you claimed anything about unobservables. I think whats vauge is your habit of reduction. ;} Im not being snarky in saying this but your too stuck in your head.

"Perceptual boundary" makes more sense to me.

Because your confusing metaphysics with epistemology in a primacy of consciousness bent.

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Saying "A is A" is the same as saying "A is not B, is not C, is not D, etc."

Knowing what something IS is not so important as knowing what something is not.

We can never grasp what something IS in some omniscient sense -- only in a contextual sense. All thought is limited by both the "crow epistemology" and time.

Aluminum is not "Aluminum". What Aluminum IS is not gold, iron, boron, calcium, hydrogen, etc.

Getting into augments with other people over what something IS is a waste of time. It's also why there's precious little discussion of Ontology or Universals in Objectivism.

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It occurs to me that I need to clarify my sense of foundationalism above. Im referring to the position that philosophy is at the base of the sciences and therefore the special sciences rely on the foundation it lays. I'm not referring to the foundationalism that is concerned with basic facts and justification etc.

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Philosophy is the study of existence, man (consciousness), and man's relationship to existence (identification via identity). How much more at the base of the sciences, and by extension to the special sciences, can it be?

@ New Budda: That looks curiously like Aristotle's law of excluded middle.

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It occurs to me that I need to clarify my sense of foundationalism above. Im referring to the position that philosophy is at the base of the sciences and therefore the special sciences rely on the foundation it lays. I'm not referring to the foundationalism that is concerned with basic facts and justification etc.

And yet you want to rely on the topological concept of path-connectedness to define entity, which puts a mathematical sub-specialty in a very privileged position logically prior to any philosophical reasoning employing the concept of entity. Contradiction.

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That looks curiously like Aristotle's law of excluded middle.

It's not meant to be a logical argument, but merely a re-statement of Objectivist epistemology/metaphysics from a different angle. It's anchored around the premise that all thought, i.e. all propositional statements, are limited - and only relevant in a contextual sense. There is no "ultimate" Identity of any one-thing -- nor is that how we humans think. We make statements... and then move on. Reality will determine the truth, or lack thereof, of each proposition, when we try to act on them.

In a similar post elsewhere, I stated that you could enter a room -- see three objects on a table -- and not know what they ARE. However you can know what they are NOT. Meaning, they are not the table, they are not the walls, they are not the ceiling, etc. Nor are they one another (even if they are perceptibly identical). And the fact is you may never come to "know" what they ARE. But that doesn't preclude you from learning things about them, or even making use of them -- either for their intended purpose or some other purpose, such as a door stop.

This is the nature of all knowledge -- whether it's of the most mundane thing or the most complex of abstractions. The Identity of things is not contextual, but our ability to think about (and make statements about) things is, and it's very limited. I deal with things every day of which I only have a smattering of knowledge (this computer I'm typing on is one of them) and I would be foolish to get into an argument with another person over what something IS. It is what it is to ME and reality will decide how right I am.

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And yet you want to rely on the topological concept of path-connectedness to define entity, which puts a mathematical sub-specialty in a very privileged position logically prior to any philosophical reasoning employing the concept of entity. Contradiction.

No indeed, I didn't say the whole article was correct. I agree with your criticism here. It's his well stated:

"“Every entity — homogeneous or heterogeneous — must have continuity among all of its parts. The test for spatial continuity is this: is it conceivable for one to trace a path from any point on the entity to any other point without any part of that path entering a region of “space-as-absence,” i.e., a region where the entity does not exist? If such a path is conceivable — no matter whether one’ s current level of technological advancement actually permits one to trace it — the entity is continuous and is affirmed in this ubiquitous quality.”

Should have clarified!:) Now I was too stuck in my head. :)

Edit: should have just put this link but I had the other one in my favorites and not it:

http://m.voices.yahoo.com/entities-spatial-continuity-285116.html

Also the linke above has a few errors too.

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Don't we still need to reconcile this against our current understanding of an atom's relationship of the nucleus to its electron, and deeper yet to the gluons, quarks, leptons or even photons? Photons are spoken of as an entity but quickly enters the problematic zone when it is identified as a quantum of light, quantum being the minimum amount of any physical entity (as opposed to what? the entire physical entity?) involved in an interaction. Entity approaches a conceptualization of something which can simply be regarded as a unit.

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