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PhilosophyGround >> There are no chairs


2/16/05 1:17 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 16-Feb-05
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*The following is from a series of threads to stimulate some conversation. They do not mean i know anything about the topic, and do not necessarily express my opinion* There are only collections of molecules organized chair-wise. -doug-
2/16/05 2:40 PM
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DonnaTroy
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Edited: 16-Feb-05
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LOL!
2/17/05 1:47 AM
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Dory
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Edited: 17-Feb-05 02:08 AM
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Yeah, and there are no molecules, only a series of atomic and subatomic particles arranged as molecules. Youre reductivism is assinine.
2/17/05 11:44 AM
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vermonter
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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"Yeah, and there are no molecules, only a series of atomic and subatomic particles arranged as molecules." You got it! Of course, linguistically, i have no problem if you call the collection of molecules organised chair-wise a "chair," but some problems begin to come about when you think that there is some sort of Platonic chair right there. However, we have this great need to call a chair in a particular room, the same chair when we see it the next time we enter the room. I have some explaining to do, don't i? Sit down children, lets tell a few stories... 1. The fisherman, his name is "Ted" has a boat. Let's call it, "The Minnow." During regular maintenance Ted replaces planks (we shall assume, for the sake of argument, that the Minnow is made entirely out of planks) one at a time. He burns the old planks. At the end of 3 years time, the Minnow has not a single original plank. Is it still the Minnow? 2. Ted dismantles the Minnow one plank at a time. He puts each plank in the boathouse in a big pile until the whole ship is piled up. After 3 years, he puts it back together using the same planks, and organises them in exactly the same way. Is it still the Minnow? 3. Ted dismantles the Minnow one plank at a time. He replaces each plank with a new one as he takes each old one out, but he puts each old plank in a pile on the floor of the boat house. After 3 years, he has replaced every plank with a new one. He then takes the old planks on the boathouse floor and recreates the ship in exactly the same way. Does he now have two Minnows? Still just one? Or does the Minnow no longer exist? There are a ton of ways you could go on this ussue. Which do you think is the Minnow in #3? Do you think the Minnow still exists in #1 and #2? Assuming, in this example, that a plank is the smallest entity that undergoes no intrinsic change (relative change is fine), the answer i posit is that there really is no Minnow per se, to begin with, only planks. The planks are organised in a certain way that, for ease of use, we call the "Minnow." This makes insuring (at the boat insurance company) the organised aggregate, and otherwise talking about the aggregate a lot easier, but encounters some apparent problems when you get down to it. Of course, others see it differently. Intelligent debate is welcome. Name-calling is not. -doug-
2/17/05 5:44 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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"Yeah, and there are no molecules" PS. to clarify, i dont know why i said molecules. That was a typo. I mean the smallest unit that undergoes no intrinsic change. This may be quarks or whatever you like. -doug-
2/17/05 6:22 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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"Assuming, in this example, that a plank is the smallest entity that undergoes no intrinsic change (relative change is fine), the answer i posit is that there really is no Minnow per se, to begin with, only planks. The planks are organised in a certain way that, for ease of use, we call the "Minnow." ' I suppose I agree, given your assumption. However, I see no reason to assume that there is any smallest entity that undergoes no intrinsic change. Assuming that there is no smallest entity, what then? Flux... or Forms? I'll say Forms, as Flux is unspeakable.
2/17/05 7:47 PM
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vermonter
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Socrates, That's a good point. In the debates between Lewis and Lowe on material constitution over time ("the problem of temporary intrinsics" Lewis called it) they were both actually able to agree that a quark has no apparent intrinsic change. The very few intrinsic properties that quarks possess apparently never change, but when their relations to one another do, they generate different sorts of larger subatomic particles. Lewis still had a problem with it. His quote, i think, went something like: "But what about me?" By that he meant that it was *he* that possessed the intrinsic shape of bentness (this was the example they argued about, and "bentness" was not an intrinsic property that could be ascribed to him if there was no "him"), but Lowe stood his ground, and i beleive he had the superior argument. However, i can't be sure. I think that once it comes down to it, you might find just energies, and these energies will possess a singular quality. Hard to say for sure. I love thinking about that sort of shit. -doug-
2/17/05 9:21 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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It's hard for me to believe that the apparant lack of chage in a quark isn't due more to our perceptions (or lack thereof) than to the nature of a quark, Moreover, I am suspect our "perceptions' of quarks are conclusions based in large part on modern mathematics, which I find very dubius. Quite simply, it seems to me that matter is infinitely divisible. (Just out of curiousity, would Lewis and Lowe agree that quarks always were and always will be, seeing as they do not change?) Lewis sounds to me like he is on the right track though. Quite simply, Lowe's position leads to many problems, one of which is that Lowe is forced to say 1) he is right about quarks 2) he does not exist. He both is and is not. The law of non- controdiction threatens, and many problems with being and non-being arise.
2/17/05 10:27 PM
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vermonter
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I'm not sure what Lowe would say about himself (i don't exactly what he allows into his ontology and how he reconsiles those things) but someone in my position would be happy saying that he, nor I exist per se, like the chair, but merely subatomic bits arranged just so. Thus, "my" shape is a relative property, not an intrinsic one. (Shape is only knowable by the relations of particles to one another. Lowe held that given three planks and two hinges holding the ends of the planks together, we can make this construct a straight shape, or a bent shape, but in reality the shape is just a relation of its smaller parts. He then extended this to the more complex human body) I'll take a look at what they say about the existence of such particles, but i'm pretty sure they are comfortable with them being in or out of existence as long as they dont change while they exist. Basically, given modern temporal theory, for a person to possess both a bent shape at one time, and a straight shape at another, is a problem if person-shape is intrinsic to persons. The same person would hold two contradictory intrinsic properties. Lowe's answer was that shape is not an intrinsic property. Lewis's answer was (dear lord) the creation of the now infamous "temporal parts." Fun stuff. I'll take a re-read of their debate and get back to you. -doug-
2/17/05 11:49 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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Do let me know what you find (although I may not be able to respond for some time). Two parting thoughts: first, ignoring the linguistic/logical problems with a person saying that he does not exist, I believe that this claim ignores a more fundamental problem. I am not sure how best to articulate the problem, but I'll put it like this. If I slapped you in the face or committed some other injustice toward you, you would rightly get angry at me. You might say, 'Why did you slap me?!?" I might respond, following your own materialistic logic, by saying, "In truth, I did not slap you. I do not exist, and neither do you. Only subatomic bits truly exist, some of which happend to collide." If you truly believed in the materialistic view, I do not think "you" could continue to be angry at "me". Nevertheless, I'm willing to bet that you'd still be angry, which would betray that you don't actually beieve that you do not exist. The reason that you don't believe it is that you are aware of your consciousness. That is to say, you are aware of a primary, irreduciable unity that is "you". Materialism claims that this unity does not actually exist, but I think that it is impossible to escape the conviction that it does. It seems to me that materialism ignores some fundamental aspects of human experience. Second, in response to your comment on the non-changing particles, it seems to me that in order for them to come into existence or go out of existence, some change in their nature would have to occur, provided one believes in cause and effect; if they are randomly come in and out of existence, that again raises many questions- how can something come from nothing? Anyway, it's been nice chatting with you. Thanks for stirring up some discussions in this forum. Take care.

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