moderator: Sorry, I had to do that. I couldn't tell what was going on anymore. The first part of the session will be saved. Do you have some questions for Ted at this point?
agnes: to caro: Sorry, I've just sent you an email. In mathematics, I think it has the meaning I intended, but in a normal usage my "incribes" will be "is part of" or "belongs to"
bryan: But you bring it about in realtime: you *now* call to mind something which you've in the past associated with the thing which you *now* want to bring to mind. How can you do it *now* without *now* knowing what it is that you want to bring to mind? And knowing what it is that you want to bring to mind seems to imply that you've brought it to mind.
bryan: Carolyn: On meanness: take out all but the first pair of '*'s if you like.
phil: Sorry, if I took us off topic.
tom: This moves us away from some of the deeper philosophical questions, but granted that Ted's basic approach is correct, and looking at where we might go with it, does he see fuzzy logic as the natural logic to operate on propositions formulated in the conceptual calculus he's outlined in the paper?
jamie: Howdy Ted! Was your paper presenting a theory of concepts, an analogy to help us understand the Objectivist theory, or a way to apply the Objectivism theory to AI?
phil: Would it take us off topic to define how we are using the term fuzzy logic here? Seems unclear
bryan: Fuzzy, even? 8^)
bryan: Carolyn: I propose a general round of what we all think entities are after Ted's session.
phil: I second Bryan's proposal, although I may have to log off for a half hour and come back
moderator: I would love to do that. I see this as the beginning of a beautiful tradition of live interaction.
phil: The 'feedback' idea is interesting. IOE doesn't deal with all the steps in concept-formation or concept-retrieval. Or the levels between implicit and explicit concepts. Or when we have something half-formed and have to retrieve it...do we give that a special name.
Lots of interesting issues here.
moderator: Zactly, Phil!
tom: I think Bryan's suggestion is good.
bryan: I'm sort of an idea person, see. I have ideas, then other people who can actually do things, do things I had ideas for. They would have had the same ideas eventually, but as long as I get them a little bit ahead of time, I get to be an idea person and never have to actually do anything. It's great.
bryan: 'IE', you know, 'in essentia'. Essences came around and cleared his answer. That'll teach anyone to be a realist. Those universals are out to get us, I say!
tom: There's all kinds of weird feedback that goes on. One thing that I considered while reading Ted's paper is that the sound of a word can sometimes suggest it's content to us, as native-speakers of a language. This is why synthetic words like "slythy" make a kind of sense, because the sounds themselves are suggestive. I think this goes beyond folk etymoliogy, and is something that would be diffiult to capture computationally. These sorts of non-idealities are typical in natural systems--we can locate sounds in three-dimensions even though we only have two ears because of really complex interactions between our ears, our shoulders, and the sound field. This kind of thing means we should be cautious about simplified, formal models that hope to capture cognition.
tom: Bryan: that gives me an idea.
phil: Epistemologists should be well-read in psychology and good introspectors as well.
bryan: That's right, Tom! Down with simplified, formal models! Up with Dasein and form of life! Let's just be... in the world. That's wrong, Phil. Epistemologists should know as little as possible. Helps them come up with simplified, formal models if they don't have any actual knowledge handy.
phil: Ted, do you see a continuum in degrees of implicitness of concepts...sort of like focusing a lens till it goes from fuzzy to sharp?
jamie: Ted, do your ec-vector only tell us the denotation of a concepts (i.e., what entities it points out) and not the connotation?
bryan: Jamie: Could you say what connotations are before asking that?
jamie: Bryan: Damn! I knew you were going to ask that!
bryan: It's the Original Sinn of the analytic philosopher. Connotations, that is.
tom: Bryan: Hey, some of my best friends are simplified formal models. We just have to be cautious about them, and not let them borrow the car or anything.
phil: i think all of you guys are on too much caffeine
bryan: I'm outdone.
moderator: I don't remember inviting punsters. I do, however, remember _deleting_ a session... }:-)
bryan: I don't drink caffeine, and I don't get deleted. You apparently *did* invite punsters, as you invited me, and I'm a punster. This room is much more fun than the other one, where it's all lonely and Carolyn mediates your contact with the real world. I felt like Descartes. Except that I had this window into reality whenever I clicked on it to see what was taking you people so long.
jamie: Ted, do your ec-vector only tell us the denotation of a concepts (i.e., what entities it points out) and not the connotation (i.e., what is implied by the concept)?
I would include Tom's example of "slythy" as part of the concept's connotation. Another is that thinking about the concept of POODLE gives me the shakes.
If connotation is missing from your account, is this a problem?
phil: Isn't there a creative tension between 'simplified formal models' and holistic, impressionist, experiential, shifting, 'fuzzy' ones? One should be able to think in both modes?
moderator: And I felt like the omnipotent demon. Still do, realy.
phil: Ted, in IOE there is a discussion of how a child gets a concept more and more clear in his mind...the last steps are affixing a word and a definition ( I may have this out of order).
As children (and as adults) do we 'kind of know' what we mean by, say, 'democracy'--a word our schooteachers like to use--but can't yet define. W it... then know a bit more. We gain more an more control of our concepts through greater and greater a) explicitness, b) definition, c) integration with other concepts. The 'net' becomes wider and the integration sharper and more focused.
jamie: So your not modelling concepts--just the denotative component of concepts.
phil: Actually, there is only a tantalizing hint of discussion of this in IOE--I'm sort of extrapolating.
tom: I think Ted is wrong about this--connotations are missing from his model, because intentionality is. We don't get connotations for free, we get them because we are capable of intending them.
jamie: Interesting. Would you say that connotation would be a distinct function of the mind that depends on concepts, but it not a part of "the conceptual faculty"?
tom: Bryan: by "connotation" I mean the intentional aspect of a concept. By "denotion" I mean the formal aspect.
phil: there are several meanings to connotation--ones whiich are directly connected with the meaning and ones which are not. to connote can mean 'to convey in addition to exact, explicit meaning'. it can also mean 'to be associated with or inseparable from' [Webster New Collegiate].
Unless we clarify which we mean in this discussion, one of us could be talking of loose and the other tight connotation (in the sense I just gave).
jamie: (aside) I thought I knew what 'intention' was until I was told that I was confusing 'intenTion' and 'intenSion'....
tom: Just got a note from Caro saying netscape just crashed on her. We're to carry on amongst ourselves for a minute.
phil: That may not have been clear....loose connotation would be 'in addition to'. tight would be 'inseparable from'. Sorry.
jamie: Ted, was your paper presenting 1. a theory of concepts, 2. an analogy to help us understand the Objectivist theory, or 3. a way to apply the Objectivism theory to AI?
moderator: test moderator
tom: Caro is once again our omnipotent demon.
jamie: (No followup)
moderator: I'll end the formal session on that note. Thank you so much, Ted! I'm glad you wrote the paper it was a great discussion. Wait while I change your status. Back in a sec.
tom: I'll be in and out of the play room, but would still like to hear from any and all participants about how well (or badly) this worked. tom_OF_siduri.net
phil: problem: if we retire to the playroom, don't we need to keep this window open so we can submit questions...the other window doesn't have a way.
moderator: OK, Ted, log out and log into the other room.
moderator: OK, Ted. Go.
jamie: Moderator: wrong window!
tom: Caro: I can hack the code in five minutes to get the user window into the main display area of the cgi. Shall I?
phil: just tell us what we need to do--a) leave both windows open, b) leave user window open, c) refresh user window...or whatever.
tom: Caro, I just shifted you (you qua "caro" :-) to user--you should be able to write to user now as you, if you log out and in.
tom: Leave both windows open for now.
boug: So where am I now? I experience doubt. Am I real? Am I an entity in Bryan's mind? If so, am I also a concept of myself?
ted: Hurm. I appear to only be able to log in to this window.
ted: Scratch that; I see how it works. Cool. Hi everyone.
boug: Ah! Another entity. Perhaps This One can alleviate my doubt. Hail, one called 'Ted'! Exist you?
boug: I engage in undergraduate late night philosophizing.
phil: I don't see why we have to change anything. Can still submit questions in the old window--making it a small portion of the screen, and read the whole conversation in the new window....that way don't have to hack any code.
tom: O but I like to hack code!
Are we really alone?
jamie: Doug, err, boug... it's only 4:14pm...
phil: Tom, in that case I am going to go potty ..unless u are real fast.
ted: Oh dear.
boug: Wet Blanket Phil! Quash not yon Tom's code-fever. He is useful. I must keep him around.
bryan: Only you, Carolyn. The rest of us aren't. Please don't be so big.
bryan: Is Tom changing things? Am I to not write messages, like, say, this one?
tom: Ok, anyone who wants to can log out and log back in and get a normal sort of chat room situation, with the discourse all in the upper frame where the speaker stuff used to be.
bryan: Into what do we log such that things are changed?
boug: The Big is The Good. Ask any rat. They always take the largest piece of anything. That's measurement. Did I omit anything? That's measurement omission.
1 Which proves that theatre and opera are the best of all possible aesthetic practices.
tom: From EEE:EE:
ENTITY, RD: a mind-dependent creation produced by a conscious subject's focusing on some portion of reality in such a way as to proscribe an edge.
boug: Who does that sound like, Ted?
tom: Bryan: just do what you did to log in in the first place. Go to talkin.cgi (just put your cursor on the location bar of your browser--that's the place where the url appears) and hit return and that should take you to the screen where you enter your username and password
bryan: I take it that the main window is the thing we need to log back into.
ted: Is this a guess-if-it-was-Radcliffe-or-if-it-was-Ray-who-wrote-this-segment-of-our-paper game?
phil: tom, do we need to log out (as opposed to refresh) from online/user.html...then log back in to that url?
bryan: Shouldn't that be, 'prescribe' an edge?
boug: NnnnnnnooooooooOOOH. Another Tom.
boug: My footnote didn't come out right though. sorry.
tom: Hmm... I guess there ought to be "some portion of mind-independent reality". Who was responsible for the glossary?
bryan: And BTW, Agnes and Jamie sent questions, and I wrote responses. So I can now paste those responses in here. Unless we're going to just be silly. Carolyn.
phil: request: can we tone down the humor and move on to the question of what is an entity?
boug: Do you mean that, Bryan?
jamie: Carolyn does not exist. There is only boug.
bryan: Seems that Phil and I are of one mind, which makes sense, as we're both entities and therefore in someone's mind. Ted's, I suppose, though Carolyn and Tom might argue that its theirs. (Yes, theirs. They have one between them.)
phil: as far as being of one mind, i am going out of mine now (if you want my two sense)
tom: So why not be silly? I just posted a definition of ENTITY that says they are "condemned or forbidden as harmful or unlawful." Oops.
bryan: At one time, Carolyn told me that *I* was boug, although she was speaking and she could have been using a homonym. Not that there's aaaaanything wrong with that!
bryan: And no, Carolyn, I don't mean that. I mean this. Should I post my Q&A?
bryan: Finally, back to me! Here's Agnes's stuff. Agnes asked: "Now I would sum up my idea of your position as follows:
We can't get through to the mind-independent world directly. There is a
world of appearances/phenomena inserted between us, and this layer(?
network?) is a completely human creation." --- No, that's not what I had in mind. There's one world, and we look directly at it. We impose certain features on the world, such as relations of similarity and distinctness, and being-an-entity and facts. These do not exist in an intermediate world, they exist in the real world in virtue of our presence. I think the problem is this. People often understand the Kantian distinction between noumena and phenomena to be one between two externally related realms of being, one real, one fake and imaginary. That's not, I think, correct. Rather, the phenomenal world is the noumenal world as apprehended, understood, or organized by a conscious being. Agnes continues: "We confront our propositions/theories with this intermediate world and
and state/attribute their truth-value in function of their fit.
I think this implies we cannot speak of existence of such, but only of a
compossibility of phenomena." --- This is more like what I had in mind, but still not quite it. We do confront our propositions/theories with facts, which are not intrinsic to the world but are in it only in relation to us. And they are true if they match the facts. But the facts are facts in the world; they're facts about tropes, and tropes exist quite independently of minds. Agnes also asks: "A further question I have in mind following your introduction of
"capacity model", which treats concepts and intentions in a close
relationship, is whether you think evaluations are present in our
elaborating of the phenomenal layer?" In a sense. We have the conceptualizations we do because they're handy, and they're handy only in relation to our goals, which are then going to be connected with evaluations. She concludes: "Or, what do you think about value
judgements' truth value?" Now, that's hard and I haven't thought about it. In principle, judgments of value ought to be just like the rest of our judgments. '*Lolita* is a good novel' should be true just in case the referent of the subject term, the book (all the tokens of the book, really) has a trope within the category of *good novels*. But, since *all* of our categorizations will be grounded in our judgments about what is good, judgments about what is good seem to be somehow more basic than the rest. And BTW, Agnes, I didn't think that other people didn't have any interest - I just couldn't tell that anyone else was there at all but Robert and Frank!
tom: Phil, you need to log out and log back in via talkin.cgi. However, the mods to the code have also removed the silly-filter, so you might not like what you see. There might even be some colorful remarks.
phil: Tom, I think I'll just stay with the old two windows ...I'm using them right now side by side and it's working.
bryan: So was that okay, Agnes (and others)? Any of that unclear?
boug: Agnes took off a while ago.
phil: Bryan, I don't see why we need to invent a word like tropes, which may or may not be sharply defined, when the English language has perfectly good words--existents, entities, actions, etc.--for what exists out there independent of us.
The Aristotelian-realist-Objectivist tradition takes care of this.
Then you talk about the concept of entity, action, etc. to distinguish what is in our mind. Clear, uncomplicated. Why futz with it? (this question would also go to Tom/Carolyn on edges...at the risk of having everyone gang up on me at once!)
bryan: I thought you couldn't tell who was here? But okay, 'others'. Any of that unclear?
tom: It was as clear to me as it's likely to be before rereading your paper, which I think I'll be able to do with a lot more understanding thanks to this session.
On entities: there was a reason for not saying "prescribed" but looking up both terms I don't see what it was, and clearly "proscribe" is not what we meant. Do you have any idea, boug?
boug: I feel inclined to agree with this completely:
world, and we look directly at it. We impose certain features on the world, such as relations
of similarity and distinctness, and being-an-entity and facts. These do not exist in an
intermediate world, they exist in the real world in virtue of our presence.
phil: Excuse me--I meant to distinguish between 'entity' and 'the concept of entity'.
tom: Phil: we futz with it (is that a silly word, or what? :-) because we don't see objectivism as a form of realism. By realism I mean a commitment to the existence of real universals or natural kinds or any other form of mind-independent categories that cause our concepts.
boug: This part is harder:
e do confront our propositions/theories with facts, which are not intrinsic to
the world but are in it only in relation to us. And they are true if they match the facts. But the
facts are facts in the world; they're facts about tropes, and tropes exist quite independently
bryan: Phil: Well, it seems to me that 'entity' and so forth have an ordinary use, but also a technical philosophical use. The latter doesn't get to ride roughshod over the former, but it does get to give a more refined sense to the term. So I want to refine, say, 'entity', so that it refers to exactly the things you think it refers to, but note that it does so in virtue of blah-blah same story. And in getting clearer, we introduce a purely technical term, 'trope', to aid our discussions. Otherwise I'd be left just saying that entities are kind of independent, and kind of not...
tom: I feel the same inclination as Caro (obviously, as we've only got one mind). I particularly like the formulation: "These do not exist in an intermediate world, they exist in the real world in virtue of our presence."
boug: Are facts about tropes? Or are they perhaps composed of tropes? Aren't the propositions the things that are about?
tom: I'd be clearer on Bryan's thesis if I had a better grip on to what in reality TROPE refered.
boug: (I know that Agnes left because she sent me a note a bit ago.)
bryan: Uh, both. Take an ordinary fact, like the fact that Bashful is fat. This is a fact about Bashful, and it's also a fact about which things are fat. But it's also composed of both Bashful and a fatness trope. This is a different sense of 'about' from the one that goes with intentional states.
jamie: What facts in reality give rise to TROPES? Answer: tropes. 'Nuff said.
bryan: For tropes: take a universal. Now take all of the instances of it. Now get rid of the universal. Now you've got a bunch of tropes. A trope is a particular quality of a particular thing, which may bear similarity relations to other tropes, and a bundle of which constitute an entity. Better?
bryan: Jamie: I know you're kidding, but Rand actually says that there's this guy, and he's a fact. So for clarity, things aren't facts, and neither are tropes. Facts are made of tropes. (In some suitable sense of 'made of'.)
boug: Analogy for Tom and Ted (you can argue with me): define a class. Now, an object is any member of that class. I take this to be analogous to what Bryan just said about universals.
phil: Bryan, I think the dictionary use in a good dictionary does capture what is needed. Websters Collegiate--entity= "independent, separate, or self-contained existence"... "the existence of a thing as contrasted with its attributes". I would always _start_ a philosophical discussion with the dictionary. It's amazing how often the correct sense is in there (words do have multiple senses).
If the sense is in there that works and it's in common usage, why create a made-up word, which may or may not cause confusion or ambiguity. In some cases,different philosophers in the analytic tradition have created new meanings for terms and written papers arguing over it
Why not stick with ordinary English unless absolutely force away?
bryan: Bashful is a cat of mine, btw. He's fat. He's a bigger, fatter brother to Apollo, the cat on the couch in the paper. I have three cats. I like to talk about them in papers and online. 8^)
tom: I'd be happier if there were a way of coming at tropes that didn't pass through universals. It makes me worry that "real universals" are being smuggled in. But yes, that's clearer, and I need to mull on it a bit now.
boug: Sorry. I should have said, instance, or instantiation. Been a while since I did OOP.
phil: In other words, if we use 'entity' and so forth, we may be able to have same reference...the dictionary...and not have the very debate we are having on what a 'trope is!
tom: Bryan: me too.
bryan: Well, actually, it's J. L. Austin who always started his papers by appeal to the Dictionary. (And he always capitalized 'dictionary', too.) Tom: I could get clear on tropes slower without appealing to universals, but this is fast. And I can hardly smuggle in the universals by saying, 'Now get rid of the universal'! 8^)
phil: It may be that Bryan with his 'get rid of the universal' post a minute ago to define tropes was talking about an 'existent'.
But then doesn't my point still stand...there is already a term in the dictionary/realist/aristotelian tradition, so why invent language?
tom: Phil: the argument of EEE is precisely against the definition of entity you cite. There is no "separate" without a mind that separates. We started out with a notion of entity a lot closer to the one you cite, but it just isn't consistent with the many examples we give. What is "separate" is entirely context-dependent, and the context is set by the purpose of the knowing subject. Thus, entities are not constituted independently of minds, because minds are what decide what is "separate" in any given case. So "separatedness" is the criterion for entityhood, as we see it.
bryan: Tropes are more directly correlated with properties than entities. If I could, I'd just use 'property'. However, realists have co-opted that term and like to say that things share properties. So we came up with a term that no one had co-opted, so there couldn't possibly be any philosophical baggage connected to them. Now we have to start from scratch explaining it to people, but that's better than having to de-educate and re-educate people. And remember, trope theory is really an insider thing, it's not so much for public consumption 'as-is'. One would ordinarily want to boil anything expressed in it down before presenting it to non-professionals.
bryan: phil: to avoid the realist/aristotelian tradition!
boug: Actually, if we're talking about Rand's work, 'unit' is closer to trope than 'entity' is.
bryan: Tom: I hesitate over the word 'constituted' in your last remark, but otherwise think it's about right.
tom: Bryan: well sure you can, if you've got to a place you could only get to using universals. Like driving into the middle of the desert and blowing up your car. You can't get back, because the only way you could get there by driving in. So even though you've removed the car, your position is still dependent on it. But I'll accept hat there are other ways of getting to tropes.
tom: Bryan: Yeah, "constituted" is tricky. I don't mean it a bad way, or anything.
bryan: Actually, Carolyn might be onto something. A trope would be one of the units which is a member/referent/whatever of a concept. That's just as bad in one sense, because we're still defining tropes in terms of some operations we perform on them, and they're the things which are independent of of us, but it should get the point across without a theory which you specifically don't like.
tom: I've got to go turn into a pumpkin.
Bryan: if you could come to the Meeting we'd be able to sort out our differences in a few face-to-face hours.
Caro: This has worked better than I'd dreamed it possibly could. Thanks!
bryan: Hey, last night I constituted yo momma... oh, wait, that won't work at all. No, apparently one can't mean it in a bad way.
phil: Tom, there is a subtle distinction in the word 'separate': an entity does not have to be separate from other entities (it can be a part or component for example). 'separate' in this context means having separate existence from mind. I certainly agree that you always find entities glued into other entities out there in the universe. They are not _constituted_ independently, but _recognized and isolated_ independently. Rand makes this point in IOE somewhere and I would agree. We can do many examples if need be.
boug: Thank you, Tom!
bryan: Phil: That's not a distinction in the word 'separate', it's a distinction between things from which we want to say something is separate. Apparently we're all in agreement that entities are entities as such only because we've got minds and look at 'em funny. I want to hold it at that and say that entities are external, whereas Ted wanted to say that in virtue of that, they're internal. But Tom's point I take it is that things are separate from one another only because we separate them from one another, so their separateness from other things is not separate from us, even though the things that are separate from one another are separate from us.
boug: Bryan: (Contra Tom): I don't think it's a real problem to get to tropes via universals. After all, it's not that he doesn't think that there are universals; he just doesn't think they have mind-independent existence.
bryan: He's going to turn into a pumpkin? I patently refuse to admit that the utility of the concept PUMPKIN can best be served by assimilating Tom to the rest of its referents/members/whatevers.
bryan: Carolyn, who is 'he' in that last remark?
boug: And I don't think that defining tropes in terms of some operations we perform on them is a problem either (and shouldn't be, for Tom). We're only going to be able to talk about something that we've picked out, and however we picked out the individual x's the first time we experienced them, NOW we're picking them out by means of the universal that we've constructed to categorize them. So I see this as a legitimate heuristic.
boug: Bryan: 'he' is Tom.
bryan: Well, it's an okay heuristic, but it can't get at the essence of a trope. That would have to involve their radical indepdendence from us. You can't possibly get at that by citing us and our relations to them. Obviously, we can only get at tropes by relating to them, but that doesn't mean that they're there only insofar as we relate to them. (I'm not criticizing anyone here, just trying to be Kripke-clear about everything.)
bryan: Okay. Internal to my conception of a universal is mind-independence. For me, all of the 'instantiations' of a universal are mind-independent, but that they're insantiations of the same universal isn't. In fact, they're not instantiations of the same universal at all ('cuz there ain't no such thang), rather they're members/whatever of the same concept.
bryan: Is Ted still here?
bryan: It's topical now, so I'm going to paste in the Q&A with Jamie. --- Jamie asked: "1. I am convinced that direct realism implies that some entities are
intrinsically distinct. This is because direct realism, at least
Rand's, is a direct awareness of objects as objects. In that case, I am
not sure what role (if any) direct realism plays in your theory. If it
plays a role, and then I want to know what mind-independent things are we
directly aware of." The mind-independent things are tropes (other than the mind-dependent tropes, of course). They have lots of relations between themselves, and they have relations with us, too (and BTW, we're bundles of tropes, too). In virtue of some of those relations, some tropes get to be distinct from one another, and some get to be similar to one another, and some get to be bundled together with one another, and so forth. Perception is directly of tropes, but is of them insofar as it organizes them together and so forth. Better? Jamie's second question: "2. I think I misread the term 'tropes' as 'Natural Kinds', so that is why
I was saying that I wasn't sure how your view about Tropes was really
different from the realists' view. Do Natural Kinds play a role in your
theory? If so, then how are these Natural Kinds different from the
realist's Universals?" Natural kinds are natural, I think, only in relation to the cognitive needs of someone whom (who?) they strike as naturally of a kind. So I don't accept natural kinds in any realist sense. However, I will accept them in a certain sense. Let's take the kind, water. All water shares a property we regard as essential: being composed of molecules of H2O. And this forms a natural kind. But it forms a natural kind only in regard to our decision to regard the tropes of things which have the most causal/explanatory power as essential, and our belief that science discovers essences in this sense. I take science to reveal the basic, underlying structure of the world, and I relativize my own personal ontology to its discoveries. 'My own personal ontology' isn't the stuff in the paper, by the way, it's not metaphysics. It's my ordinary judgments about what things exist and so forth. I think that there are electrons because scientists tell me so, and that there isn't a God, because scientists don't tell me so. So there are 'natural kinds' in the sense that science works within a set of categorizations, and my criterion for the naturalness of a kind is whether science demarcates it. This is roughly, I think, what Putnam et al. want, but put the way I like.
boug: Phil, Rand is not clear on that last point, about entities and their separatedness. Yes, Rand makes the point, but then she retracts it repeatedly and fudges and changes her mind. You are actually citing the Ray-Radcliffe view.
bryan: Okay, Ted. We're going to have to talk about this entities are mental thing. It seems to me that the fact that something has a certain status only in relation to some other thing does not imply that the first thing is within the second thing. But you seem to make that inference. Why?
ted: I agree that something having a certain status only in relation to some other thing does not imply that in the general case, yes. Entityhood seems to me to be a special case.
phil: boug, it would take us astray to debate whether Rand was clear on separatedness. Suffice it to say I had to read her several times to see what her doctrine was.
bryan: Okay, let me ask this. What exactly do you mean when you employ a spatial metaphor here? You say that entities are 'in' minds. What precisely does that mean? I take it you don't mean that minds are like boxes and things go in them.
jamie: Just a note to say that I'm happy with Bryan's response.
bryan: I wonder whether you're distinguishing between percepts and perceptions? Whether the latter are entities and they're the content of certain experiences, called perceptions. But being the content of a mental state doesn't make you mental.
phil: (continuation to boug) I'm much more clear on what Rand's view is than I am on what Radcliffe/Ray's is.
bryan: In addition to my task of confusing, I also exist to bring happiness-with-responses. Good, I'm glad I was able to clarify.
ted: I suppose that when I say that an entity is in my mind, I mean the same thing as when I say that the tropical beach I am currently making up is in my mind.
jamie: (I'm starving... I'll be back shortly.)
bryan: Phil: Rand (and, incidentally, Searle does the same thing) has this way of making people think they're clear when in fact they really just aren't. It's not like they don't understand what she's saying, it's that they don't understand that she's not saying anything really.
bryan: Ted: But the tropical beach is imaginary. Do you mean to say that entities are imaginary? (Including, say, the entity I would refer to with the term 'Ted'?)
ted: No, I just mean to say that they both exist in the mind. :)
bryan: Uh, okay, so what is it to exist in the mind? You've told me that imaginary things do, and also that non-imaginary things do. See, that's not helping.
phil: Bryan, you're quite mistaken...you need to reread IOE much more carefully with attention to how Rand uses language. It all hangs together, but it takes quite a few readings
bryan: Phil: Have you read my JARS paper?
phil: Bryan, no I haven't. If you have an emailable version, I'd be interested.
bryan: I don't know whether I do. But in general I'll rest my case on Rand being an inept philosophical writer on the textual arguments of that paper.
boug: Is that releasable to Enlightenment yet, Bryan?
bryan: Couldn't tell you. I think so. What, you want to have a live discussion about it? Don't you? Admit it.
boug: You caught me. I admit it.
phil: Not having seen the paper but having spent twenty-five years trained in Objectivism, I'll rest my case on Rand being an enormously perceptive philosophical writer on her body of work and original insights in epistemology itself.
ted: I don't think I have a good answer for that, other than an appeal to the common-sensical meaning of the phrase.
bryan: Ted: I think that won't work. In the common-sensical meaning of the phrase, the paradigm cases of things that *aren't* in the mind are the things you're saying are, like physical objects. So if we appeal to the common-sense use of the phrase, what you're saying ('entities are in the mind') is obviously wrong. But I assume that you're not more than subtly wrong. 8^)
phil: Bryan, I'm reacting to the overly strong use of the word 'inept'. on a scale of one to ten, it would seem to be used to condemn a thinker as being in the low single digits, as having very little of any value to offer.
bryan: Phil: Alas, I don't agree with those assessments, either. I think she was a very bright amateur who had a few insights and an attractive overall package, with little decent philosophical argumentation and very, very poor expression. Fantastic rhetoric, though. As far as 'inept' goes: I'm talking specifically about the writing as such, not about its content. And I'm going to hold my ground here. Rand is a bad writer. Clever sometimes, but a bad writer. (Of philosophical prose. She's actually quite a good novelist, I think. But qua philosopher that's not my concern.) I think that we probably won't be able to do much more than state our disagreements here. Let me just say that I do know where you're coming from, used to share the same attitude to Rand, and regard the attitude as a highly understandable error (especially for those without advanced training in philosophy). So please don't take anything personally.
bryan: Hey, back to entities, people. I respectfully refrain from elucidating any further my opinions on Rand's philosophical talents, and urge a like policy on the part of others.
jamie: (I'm back)
boug: You can distinguish entities which are created with reference to reality, from those that are purely created without any such reference.
bryan: Could you give an example of the latter sort?
boug: That is a remark that I make regarding the question of imaginary entities.
bryan: And, why 'created'? Seems that, e.g., my cats' parents created them, whereas human minds are responsible for their being distinct entities. Do you just mean, 'caused' to be entities? --- I guess my worry with Ted is that he isn't making that distinction, because only the latter sort have any chance of being in the mind in the ordinary sense of the phrase.
bryan: 'that' distinction is the one you drew four lines back.
phil: Bryan, I won't take anything personally if you won't. I sometimes suspect that the analytic tradition in philosophy "advanced training" as you call it-with exposure to some of the puzzles proposed by Quine, Russell, et al, smuggles in confusing language, ambiguous concepts, and fallacies. I notice many grad students in philosophy when they used the "advanced tools" of symbolic logic and linguistic contrivances which were fuzzy at best to try to parse Objectivist concepts were worse off than if they grasped Rand first and then used her to parse the linguistic or analytic tradition. You're right that we can't resolve this here. Each of us has learned a set of tools which works for us and it is hard for one to think with the tools of the other. I wonder whether your view of "advanced training" is being as uncritical of many of the ideas, tools, methods, ways of thinking of the philosphical tradition as you think I am being of Rand? ((whoops sorry, I see you want to close off this topic))...okay, enough said.
bryan: Just so that won't be met with stony silence, I'm pleased that we can agree to disagree. I think that your worry about analytic philosophers is a legitimate one.
boug: Example of entity created without reference to reality: I lie in bed at night and imagine that there is a divine creator watching me and planning my day, making sure nothing bad happens to me. I'll never see it because it is invisible--but not because it is microscopic, but rather just because it doesn't have any physical form.
bryan: Uh, wait a minute. Did you create God? Seems like you created a fiction or an idea or something. I officially refuse to think about fictional entities because so thinking makes me want to shriek and jump out windows.
phil: Bryan, I think this is an issue that needs to be discussed more at some point in the future. I have been noticing for some time diverging paths in the "analysis-oriented academic Objectivist" tradition and the standard Obj tradition (this has nothing to do with ARI vs. TOC). .......Meanwhile, to return to entities :-)
bryan: BTW, I've got to go shortly (a couple of minutes ago, actually) or else a certain entity known as my wife, in whose mind I exist, may elect to alter my status as an entity and allow me to sink back into the noumenal ooze of undifferentiated tropes. Any last remarks? Sorry to run off.
boug: You asked Ted a while back to tell you how he tells the difference between a real entity and an imaginary one. I made my distinction, then you asked me for an example of the imaginary one. But yes, I most certainly did create gods, out of Nothing, rather than out of existence.
Might be useful to introduce terminology like, 'entity of'. This is an entity of existence, gods are not entities of existence, but of imagination.
You can't refuse to talk about fictional entities. It's not permitted.
boug: ...where 'entity of' is shorthand for 'entity created from existence'.
boug: ...or 'entity created out of imagination'
bryan: Okay, it seems to me that God doesn't exist even if you dream Him up. Now, I do know in what sense God is in your mind, and it's specifically because He doesn't exist but is rather a figment of your imagination. (Not mine, mind you. My imagination is filled with dancing girls. Sometimes they give me headaches.) But that's specifically not the sense in which ordinary physical entities might be in one's mind.
phil: I think the context usually tells you that this is an 'entity of' fiction. When you say Howard Roark 'is' something or other, you mean "in the realm of fiction, in this particular book."
jamie: GOD has an intenSion, but not an extension?
bryan: (I just turned off my email so that I could forward something to myself on a different machine and not have it get picked up here again. So won't be receiving any email until tomorrow.)
bryan: Jamie: The word 'God' has an intension (criteria of application, or something of the sort), but lacks reference/extension. Yes.
phil: Likewise, when a historical writer says "God is everywhere in the medieval world", he means it in a very different sense than physical existence. An atheist could say that, meaning, God is believed everywhere, is ominipresent in the minds and actions and zeitgeist.
phil: I'm going to have to go in a few minutes. This has been fun!
bryan: Mind you, though, I was actually being literal when I said that God isn't even a figment of my imagination. The word 'God' as uttered by me actually lacks intension, too. I know how to use the word, and know how others are going to use it, but don't have any idea under what circumstances any utterance involving the word (but not about the word itself) might be true or false.
jamie: It seems that we should be moving away from a purely extentional/denotation model (sorry Ted) and focus on the intenSionality of concepts that may or may not have an extension. Any thoughts?
boug: Oh, I'm not dissing dancing girls. My head is filled with dancing girls too. I mean, what else is there?
But, in disregard of reality, I create gods in my head, too. The entities exist. My head exists, and my mind exists, and gods are in my mind. I create dancing girl entities, but with reference to reality.
bryan: Okay, got to go. Have fun, all. This has been great, much better than I'd expected.
bryan: Oh, Carolyn, so you *are* a Gay Objectivist after all? I leave you to tell them the story.
jamie: Caro: Not only are you a Kantian, but gay as well?!? You should be excommunicated! :)
boug: I have to take off too. Anyone still here can stay as long as he or she likes. Bye, Bryan! Bye Phil! See ya, Ted and Jamie! Bye, everyone else! Thanks for coming!
The story to which Bryan refers is probably best left unspoken. Suffice it to say that it's not as easy to become a Gay Objectivist as you might think. There are application procedures, forms to fill out--it's endless.
jamie: boug-Tom entity, are the unmoderated discussions going to be on the site?
jamie: ...or available to us?
phil: I can't leave without asking---what's a boug? an acronym of some sort?
ted: It's a nickname Carolyn has been known to bestow on people, pronounced (roughly) boogh.