Metaphysics PHIL 420
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PHIL 420 Metaphysics Handout 3 Professor J eeLoo Liu Russell s Theory of Universals a la Plato Russell s first argument for universals p 45 All just acts must all in some sense partake of a common nature which will be found in Whatever is just and in nothing else 2 This common nature in virtue of which they are all just will be justice itself the pure essence the admixture of which with facts of ordinary life produces the multiplicity of just acts 3 Therefore there is a universal of JUSTICE which is shared by all particular just acts and just people 4 Therefore universals must all exist on their own Language and Reality Words denote things in the world and these things are divided into particulars and universals proper names pronouns 39 adjectives Universals nouns kind terms verbs prepositions 1 No sentence can be made up Without at least one word which denotes a universal Even verbs denote universals eg like Thus all truths involve universals and all knowledge of truths involves acquaintance with universals 93 Russell Seeing that nearly all the words to be found in the dictionary stand for universals it is strange that hardly anybody except students of philosophy ever realizes that there are such entities as universals We feel such words to be incomplete and insubstantial they seem to demand a context before anything can be done with them Hence we succeed in avoiding all notice of universals as such until the study of philosophy forces them upon our attention Even among philosophers those luliversals named by verbs and prepositions have been usually overlooked Q Do you think verbs and prepositions denote universals Russell s second argument for luliversals as relations p 48 1 uh 5 If we begin with a particular shape such as triangle or a particular color such as White and we want to learn how to apply this term to another shape we must see that the other shape resemble this particular triangle or whiteness We must therefore specify the right sort of resemblance to use in our comparison Since there are many white things the resemblance must hold between many pairs of particular white things If resemblance holds between many pairs of particular things then there must be a universal RESEMBLAN CE Therefore there must be some true universals such as RESEMBLAN CE Russell s third argument for luliversals as nonmental p 49 1 2 9 When we apprehend a truth we do not cause of the truth of the proposition by coming to know it In the example Edinburgh is north of London the part of the earth s surface where Edinburgh stands would be north of the part where London stands even if there were no human being to know about north and south and even if there were no minds at all in the universe The truth contains a universal relation is north of If the truth is not mental then the universal cannot be mental either Therefore universals are not mere mental creations they are not dependent on thought Therefore universals must belong to the independent world which thought apprehends but does not create Summary Russell s definition of universal 1 A universal is the pure essence which all particular things have in common it is the pure essence or the common nature of particular things It is what Plato calls an idea or form A universal cannot exist in the world of sense it is not eeting or changeable like the things of sense it is eternally itself immutable and indestructible A universal cannot be given to us in sensation since whatever is given in sensations is a particular A universal is not merely mental whatever being belongs to them is independent of their being thought of or in any way apprehended by minds A universal is neither in space nor in time neither material nor mental yet it is something 6 Thoughts and feelings minds and physical objects exist but universals do not exist in this sense We shall say that they subsist or have being where being is opposed to existence as being timeless 7 Therefore the world of universals may also be described as the world of being 8 The world of being is lmchangeable rigid exact whereas the world of existence is eeting vague fuzzy without any clear plan or arrangement 9 Both worlds are real and both are important to the metaphysician Russell s View of Our Knowledge of Universals three kinds of knowledge a knowledge by acquaintance b knowledge by description only c knowledge by both acquaintance and description knowledge by acquaintance of lmiversals sense data white red black sweet sour loud hard etc relations of space and time of which we may be immediately aware such as to the left of resemblance similarity etc Our knowledge of such relations though it requires more power of abstraction than is required for perceiving the qualities of sensedata appears to be equally immediate and equally indubitable Q How do we know if our knowledge is true p 53 Discuss As soon as we see what the proposition means even if we do not yet know whether it is true or false it is evident that we must have acquaintance with whatever is really dealt with by the proposition By applying this test it appears that many propositions which might seem to be concerned with particulars are really concerned only with universals a priori knowledge The di 39erence between an a priori general proposition and an empirical generalimtion does not come in the meaning of the proposition it comes in the nature of the evidence for it In the empirical case the evidence consists in the particular instances All a priori knowledge deals exclusively with relations of universals e g All men are morals empirical or a priori Knowledge of physical objects Knowledge of physical objects as opposed to sensedata is only obtained by an inference We do not have direct acquaintance with physical objects themselves Hence we cannot give instances of the actual physical objects we can only give instances of the associated sensedata Hence our knowledge as to physical objects depends throughout upon this possibility of general knowledge where no instance can be given The same applies to our knowledge of other minds etc A Survey of our Knowledge particulars immediate 9 acquaintance knowledge of things universals derivative 9 description acquaintance knowledge of truth selfevident truth immediate 9 intuitive 239 logic arithmetic knowledge of truths and what is given in sense derivative selfevident truth deduction All our knowledge of truth depends upon our intuitive knowledge Knowledge of things on the other hand depends on knowledge by acquaintance p 56 Discuss But knowledge of truths raises a further problem which does not arise in regard to knowledge of things namely the problem of error Some of our beliefs turn out to be erroneous and therefore it becomes necessary to consider how we can distinguish knowledge from error This problem does not arise with regard to knowledge by acquaintance for whatever may be the object of acquaintance even in dreams and hallucinations there is no error involved so long as we do not go beyond the immediate object error can only arise when we regard the immediate object ie the sensedatum as the mark of some physical object Thus the problems connected with knowledge of truths are more difficult than those connected with knowledge of things Ramsey s Critique of Russell Russell assumes a distinction between universals and particulars but such a distinction is due to mistaking for a fundamental characteristic of reality what is merely a characteristic of language It is hard to see any ground for making the distinction between universals and particulars p 63 Discuss Wittgenstein the thing is independent in so far as it can occur in all possible circumstances but this form of independence is a form of connection with the atomic fact a form of dependence It is impossible for words to occur in two di 39erent ways alone and in the proposition Q Is it because there is a distinction in reality between particulars and universals that we introduce the grammatical distinction between subjects and predicates or is it because we have such a grammatical distinction that we come to make a distinction between universals and particulars e g Socrates and wise are not the names of objects but incomplete symbols Ramsey s Argument 1 Socrates is wise and Wisdom is a characteristic of Socrates are but two ways to assert the same fact express the same proposition 2 In one sentence Socrates is the subject while wise is the predicate in the other wisdom is the subject while Socrates is the predicate 3 But the distinction is only a matter for grammarians it has nothing to do with the logical nature of Socrates or wisdom 4 Hence there is no fundamental classification of objects on the basis of the distinction between subjects and predicates p 73 Discuss this di 39erence between Socrates and wise is illusory because it can be shown to be theoretically possible to make a similar narrower range for Socrates Once this fact is observed the difference between Socrates and wise lapses and we begin like Whitehead to call Socrates an adjective Ramsey s Conclusion The mistake of Russell is to miss the distinction between functions some are used as names and some are used as incomplete symbols The failure to make this distinction has led to these functional symbols some of which are names and some incomplete being treated all alike as names of incomplete objects or properties and is responsible for that great muddle the theory of universals Review Questions 1 How does Russell argue that there are universals both for properties and for relations and that these universals can be named either by adjectives or by verbs and prepositions Give your evaluations of his arguments for universals 2 What is Russell s view on our knowledge of physical objects How is it connected to his theory of universals 3 How does Ramsey criticize Russell s distinction between universals and particulars Do you agree with Ramsey that there is no fundamental metaphysical distinction between the two and all there is are simply distinctions we make in grammar Study Questions for Essay 3 1 What does Armstrong mean by the principle of instantiation Under this principle what is his theory of universals 2 What does Armstrong mean by states of affairs Try to use your own words to explain it 3 Read only sections 1 and 2 in Daly What are the definitions of trope Daly section 2 What is a trope in your understanding after reading the section Phil 420 Metaphysics Spring 2008 Handout 15 Wesley Salmon Probabilistic Causation Professor J eeLoo Liu It seems to me that probabilistic causal concepts are used in innumerable contexts of everyday life and science Examples diet soft drinks 9 cancer 2 skid on ice 9 car accident 3 exposure to low levels of radiation 9 leukemia 4 eating very spicy food 9 gastric distress It may be well maintained that in all such cases a fully detailed account would furnish invariable cause effect relations but this claim would amount to no more than a declaration of faith Main Objective To examine three previous proposals on probabilistic causation and point out their flaws In shall brie y sketch What seem to be the appropriate ways of circumventing the problems associated with these three theories of probabilistic causality Reichenbach s Macrostatistical Theory Reichenbach s concepts 1 Causal betweenness B is causally between A and C For a causal chain of events A 9 B 9 C Where A B C stand for a class of events ie not singular events Note Conditional probability is the probability of some event A given the occurrence of some other event B Conditional probability is written PAB and is read quotthe probability of A given Bquot Wikipedia An event B is causally between the events A and C if the relations hold Salmon 2 1 gt PCB gtP CIA gtP C gt 0 the probability of C given B is higher than the probability of C given A and both are higher than the probability of C itself 9 A is relevant to the occurrence of C but B is more highly relevant to C 1 gt PAIB gtP AIC gtP A gt 0 the probability of A given B is higher than the probability of A given C and both are higher than the probability of A itself 9 C is relevant to the occurrence of A but B is more highly relevant to A PCAB PCB the probability of C given A and B equals the probability of C given only B 9 B screens A off from C and C off from A B renders A and C statistically irrelevant to one another Problem with this analysis Suppose a golfer makes a shot that hits a limb of a tree close to the green and is thereby deflected directly into the hole for a spectacular birdie we would ordinarily estimate the probability as being still lower Yet when we see the event happen we recognize immediately that hitting the branch in exactly the way it did was essential to the ball s going into the cup In this case the probability of C given B is actually lower than the probability of C given A The crucial feature of this example is that the guy makes the birdie the hard way Since much which goes on in life happens the hard way we should be able to find an abundance of everyday sorts of counterexamples Salmon 3 Another example A pool player has an easy direct shot to sink the 9 ball but he chooses for the sake of his subsequent position the much more difficult play of shooting at the 2 ball and using it to put the 9 ball into the pocket The initial probability of his sinking the 9 ball is much greater than the probability of getting the 9 ball in the pocket if his cue ball strikes the 2 ball but the collision with the 2 ball is causally between the initiation of the play and the dropping of the 9 ball into the pocket 2 conjunctive fork If two or more unlikely events A and B suddenly happening together and there is no direct causal connection between A and B then there must be a common cause The motivation for introducing this concept is to characterize the situation in which an otherwise improbable coincidence is to characterize the situation in which an otherwise improbable coincidence is explained by appeal to a common cause eg If a particular group of students all suddenly came down with a severe gastric illness there must be a common cause e g the cafeteria food they all consume eg If two students turn in identical term papers for the same class and if one did not copy from the other then they must both be copying from the same source P ABC PAIC x PBIC Given C the probability of A and B happening is the same as the probably of A s happening multiplied by the probability of B s happening all given C here it is because the occurrence of A and the occurrence of B are mutually independent given C P ABC PAC x PBIC Given C the probability of A and B happening is the same as the probably of A s happening multiplied by the probability of B s happening all given C PAIC gt PAI39C the probability of A s happening given C is higher than the probability of A s happening given C PBIC gt PBI39C the probability of B s happening given C is higher than the probability of B s happening given C Counterexample There are many coincidence that do not share the same cause Salmon 4 A the coffee being ready at 8 am B the other person s showing up C 2 Brown taking the 730 bus to arrive earlier in the office The three events satisfy Reichenbach s requirement for a conjunctive fork but clearly Brown s bus ride is not a cause of either the coffee being made or the other person s early arrival Conclusion We must regard Reichenbach s attempt to provide an account of probabilistic causation as unsuccessful Suppes s Probabilistic Theory Suppes s Main Concepts 1 primafacie cause An event B is said to be a primafacie cause of an event A if B occurs before A and B is positively relevant statistically to A A is a primafacie cause of C PCIA gt PC 2 spurious cause An even B is a spurious cause of an event A if it is a prima facie cause of A and it is screened off from A by a partition of event C which occur earlier than B 3 genuine cause A genuine cause is a primafacie cause which is not spurious 4 screening oft To screen off is to take place between two events to be a partition of A and B and to prevent A from succeeding B Salmon While there is general agreement that positive statistical relevance is not a sufficient condition of direct causal relevance we all recognize that the falling barometric reading does not cause a storm the question is whether it is a necessary condition Reichenbach assumes that causal relevance is a special form of positive statistical relevance Suppes makes positive statistical relevance a defining condition of prima facie causes and every genuine cause is a primafacie cause Problem It is the negative statistical relevance of the cause to the occurrence of the effect which give rise to the basic problem Salmon 5 Hesslow s challenge It is possible however that examples could be found of causes that lower the probability of their effects eg contraceptives causes T but pregnancy also causes T hence contraceptives lower the probability of T it is entirely possible that a cause should lower the probability of its e ect In that case then positive statistical probability is not even a necessary condition for causality A fun case to consider what is the causal connection in the following case p 149 Dr Watson grimy Holmes Salmon A Modest Suggestion The problem of the above theories The fundamental source of difficulty in all three of the theories discussed above is that they attempt to carry out the construction of causal relations on the basis of Salmon 6 probabilistic relations among discrete events without taking account of physical connections among them There is a strong tendency on the part of philosophers to regard causal connections as being composed of chains of intermediate events rather than spatio temporally continuous entities which enjoy fundamental physical status Such a viewpoint can lead to severe frustration for we are always driven to ask about the connections among these events Salmon s View on Causation 1 Causation should be viewed as a process not as a relation among discrete events 2 When discrete events bear genuine causeeffect to one another there are spatialtemporally continuous causal processes joining them 3 These causal processes transmit causal in uences which may be probabilistic from one region of spacetime to another 4 We cannot guarantee that causeeffect relations must always involve relations of positive statistical relevance however it seems intuitively compelling to argue that a cause which contributes probabilistically to bringing about a certain effect must at least raise the probability of that effect visavis some other state of affairs 5 What we want is an internal positive relevance not a general positive statistical relevance The general ingredients in a satisfactory qualitative theory of probabilistic causality are 1 a fundamental distinction between causal processes and causal interactions 2 an account of the propagation of causal influence via causal processes 3 an account of causal interactions in terms of interactive forks 4 an account of causal directionality in terms of conjunctive forks 5 an account of causal betweenness in terms of casual processes and causal directionality If an adequate theory of probabilistic causality is to be developed it will borrow heavily from the theories of Reichenbach and Suppes these theories require supplementation rather than outright rejection Salmon 7 Appendix a on s ro ose eor o ausa lon S lm P p dTh y f C t39 1 Two Basic Causal Concepts production how one thing causally produces another propagation transmission how causal in uence can be propagated through time and space 2 Process Ontology vs physical thing ontology or event ontology processes vs events and objects 1 Events are relatively localized in space and time while processes have much greater temporal duration and sometimes greater spatial extent 2 In space time diagrams events are represented by points while processes are represented by lines 3 Processes are not simply collections of discrete events that are serially ordered 4 But even a material object at rest will qualify as a process 111 Processes vs PseudoProcesses Causal processes and pseudoprocesses are separable by the mark criterion The Mark Criterion Causal processes are those that can transmit a mark pseudoprocesses are incapable of doing so 1 With causal processes if we intervene locally at a single place we can produce a change that is transmitted from the point of intervention onward with pseudo processes we cannot do so A causal process transmits its own structure while the pseudo process does not Causal processes transmit their own uniformities of qualitative and structural features they are thus self determined The regularities of pseudo processes on the other hand are parasitic upon causal regularities exterior to the process itself 4 A causal process transmits signals energy information and causal influence while a pseudo process does not 9 The AtAt Theory of Causal Propagation The AtAt Theory of Motion atspace and attime Motion is de ned as relation of an object s position and the moments of time To move from point A to pointB is simply to be at the appropriate point of space at the appropriate point of time Salmon 8 For the arrow to move fromA to B is simply for it to occupy the intervening points at the intervening instants The motion of the arrow consists in being at particular points of space at corresponding moments Conclusion Causation A causal process that transmits marks structures and causal influences from one spacetime event to another PHIL 420 Metaphysics Handout 4 Professor J eeLoo Liu D M Armstrong Universals An Opinionated Introduction particulars Particular concrete things in the earthly world universals The referents of general kind terms such as 39red horse39 etc Two Competing Views on the relation between an individual thing and the properties that the thing has hand now being red round solid extended hard a fruit being in my A The Bundle Theories Particulars as Bundles of Universals B The SubstanceAttribute Theories Properties as Attributes of the Particular A particular thing is nothing but a bundle a collection of all its properties Other than these properties including spatial temporal properties there is nothing Space and time being physical properties are among the things that have to be constructed as bundles of universals It is natural to distinguish a thing from any particular properties that the thing happens to have These properties are taken to be things it merely has as attributes they belong to the substance thin particular what Locke calls substratum a mental postulate of the substance without any properties that is unknowable to us Suppose that particular a instantiates property F a is F The thin particular is a taken apart from its properties substratum It is linked to its properties by instantiation but it is not identical with them It is not bare because to be bare it would have to be not instantiating any properties Armstrong 2 thick particular substratum properties as Aristotle conceives particulars or individual things A thick particular is simply a particular instantiating properties It enfolds both thin particulars and properties held together by instantiation It is thus nothing but a state of affairs Armstrong British empiricists are suspicious of substance because they were reacting against Locke s unknowable substratum This in turn created a climate of opinion favorable to the Bundle theory which gets rid of substratum by identifying a thing with the bundle of its properties But it is not really necessary for a substance attribute theorist to take a Lockean line A The Bundle Theory The blmdle theory The View that a thing a particular is nothing but a bundle of properties Properties are the only ultimate logical subjects There is no substance underlying properties Thus properties are instantiated but they are not instantiated by anything Armstrong s first argument against the Bundle theory 1 According to the Bundle theory a thing is nothing more than all its properties bundled together 2 These properties include the thing s spatial and temporal properties 3 If a thing occupies the same place at different times then it has different properties and has to be a different thing 4 But the thing does not change its identity in time 5 Therefore the Bundle theory is wrong Armstrong s second argument against the Bundle theory 1 According to the Bundle theory two different things cannot have exactly the same properties where properties are universals N The possibility of universal return Suppose that the history of the universe is cyclical with no first cycle and the cycles repeating themselves exactly down to the smallest detail and doing so forever 9 Under this possibility an object in one cycle and its counterparts in all the other cycles are not merely internally exactly the same but their relational properties are exactly the same including relations to previous and succeeding cycles 4 But each object IS distinct from its counterparts Armstrong 3 5 Therefore the Bundle theory is false Q What essentially makes the same thing same particles or same properties If you have a substance attributes view then you can accept changes of properties without giving up identity However can a substance survive through changes of particles or its constituents compresence Russell uses this term to describe the relation that holds between any two properties that are properties of the same thing Q Is compresence symmetrical If property A is compresent with property B then B is compresent with A Q Is compresence transitive If property A is compresent with B and B with C then A is compresent with C Armstrong If we have a particular x which has properties A and B but not C and a particular y which has B and C but not A then we don t have A and C presence So the relation is not transitive Q How do we analyze compresence other than spatial temporal properties But then how can spatial and temporal properties have a cornpresence relation B The SubstanceAttributes Theory Two competing views on Universals A substance something that is capable of independent existence Substances may depend upon other substances causally for instance but it will at least be a logical possibility for individual substances to exist in complete independence A substance logically requires nothing beyond itself for its existence It could be the only thing in the universe Q Can universals be considered substances ie are there uninstantiated universals Uninstantiated Universals An individual universal can exist independently of any particular and any other universals It can exist outside any bundle You could have a possible world that consisted of a number of universals existing in independence of each other They would form a realm of uninstantiated universals Armstrong 4 B 1 The Platonic View We can call the view that there are uninstantiated universals the Platonist view Once you have uninstantiated universals you need somewhere special to put them a Platonic heaven They are not to be found in the ordinary world of space and time The result is that we get two realms the realm of universals and the realm of particulars Such universals are said to transcendent universalia ante res universals before things B2 Armstrong s View Universals as Attributes This may have been the position of Aristotle We can bring the universals down to earth by thinking ofathing s r r quot as uni l 39 quot in rebus universals in things Plato Socrates Arguments for Uninstantiated Universals The Argument from Meaning p 78 1 Ordinary names must all have a bearer of the name in order to be meaningful otherwise they are empty names 2 Proper names have particulars as their bearers general terms horse triangular must need something that stands to the world in the same general sort of relation that the bearer of the proper name stands to the proper name 3 Therefore there has to be an object that constitutes or corresponds to the meaning of the general word 4 Therefore there must be universals such as horseness triangularity 5 Furthermore words such as unicorn are perfectly meaningful even though there are no unicorns in our world 6 Therefore there must be uninstantiated universals such as unicorn PlatoSocrates Argument from Perfection p 79 1 Nothing in the world is perfectly straight or circular yet in geometry we discuss the properties of perfectly straight lines or perfect circles nothing in the world is perfectly just or perfectly virtuous we in ethics and political discussion we discuss perfect justice or virtue 2 We perceive the world as falling short of certain standards which are never realized instantiated 3 This can be explained if we are comparing ordinary things to Forms which the ordinary things can never fully instantiate 4 Therefore there must be uninstantiated universals Armstrong s challenges against uninstantiated universals Armstrong 5 H The first argument depends on the assumption that in every case where a general word has meaning there is something in the world that constitutes or corresponds to that meaning And this assumption is not justified N If there is only one Form of circle why can we consider two perfectly circular cycles 3 Why cannot ideal standards be things that we merely think of By extrapolating from ordinary things that approximate to the standard in different degrees we can form the thought of something that does come up to the standard 4 People don t assume that particulars can exist uninstantiated why think this way about universals I think this is a prejudice perhaps inherited from Plato Armstrong s Principle of Instantiation The Principle of Instantiation Every universal must be instantiated For each property universal it must be the case that it is a property of some particular and not a quot danglerquot YES to The Principle of Instantiation NO to The Principle of Instantiation anti realism on universals realism on universals nominalism Platonism empiricism rationalism naturalism States of Affairs states of affairs Suppose that a is F with F a universal or that a has R to b with R a universal A39s being F and as having R to b are called 39states of affairs Sometimes they are also called facts A States of affairs is a thick particular it enfolds both thin particulars and properties held together by instantiation Q Why do we need to recognize states of affairs other than particulars and universals If a is F then it is entailed that a exists and that the universal F exists However a could exist and F could exist and yet it fails to be the case that a is F F is instantiated elsewhere for example as being F involves something more than a and F The something more must be a s being F and this is a state of affairs The truthmaking principle Armstrong 6 For every contingent truth at least there must be something in the world that makes it true The making is not causality rather it is that in the world I virtue of which the truth is true Armstrong s claim particulars and universals only have existence Within states of affairs There are no uninstantiated universals and there are no bare particulars bare particulars A particular that exists outside states of affairs would not be clothed in any properties or relations It is called a 39bare particular A bare particular would not instantiate any universals and thus would have no nature be of no kind or sort B3 Universals as Tropes Trope theory from Chris Daly The trope theory is a theory of particularized properties and particularized relations Trope theory denies that there exist universals being red for example that are identical between different instantiations of being red If a b and c are each red there are three particularized properties here There is a s particularized property trope of being red there is b s red trope etc Each of these red tropes is a distinct particularized property Tropes are concrete particularized instantiations as particulars they are not repeatable two kinds of trope theories i tropes are particularized properties only ii tropes are substances themselves 99 44 99 44 99 44 Other names for tropes abstract particulars modes concrete properties unit properties property instances etc 99 44 tropes Armstrong A trope is an instance of a property or a relation Properties and relations subsist as many tropes one for each exemplification These tropes are particulars not universals distinct from the concrete particulars they characterize The appeal of tropes for philosophers is as an ontological basis free of the postulation of obscure abstract entities such as universals Armstrong One interesting difference emerges between tropes and universals Let a have P and b have P where P and P are two exactly resembling tropes Contrast this with a universals analysis where a has P b has P and P P On a trope view it would seem possible for P to have a hi gher order property Q where P lacks any exactly similar higher order property Q But it would not be possible for the universal P to have Armstrong 7 Q in one instantiation and lack Q in another P is one and the same thing in each instantiation So it cannot both have Q and lack Q Armstrong s Ontology Summary of Armstrong s Claims 1 9 5 U 9 gt1 so gt9 H O The Principle ofInstantiation is true There are no uninstantiated universals Naturalism is true There is a world of space and time and there is not a separate realm of universals There are no disjunctive property universals there are no negative property universals There is no automatic passage from predicates linguistic entities to universals furthermore deciding what are the true universals is not a semantic decision Physicalism is true Physics is the fundamental science Properties envisaged by physics eg mass charge extension duration spacetime intervals spatiotemporal relations causal relations etc may be true universals Ordinary types are merely preliminary roughandready classi cations of reality States of affairs exist They are what make a particular truth true the truth maker principle Particulars exist but there are no bare particulars the principle of the rejection of bare particulars All particulars exist within a state of affairs The better way to conceive of properties is to view them as ways things are In this way they cannot be separate from the things that instantiate them The world is simply a world of states of affairs These states of affairs involve particulars having properties and standing in relation to each other Spacetime is not a box into which universals are put rather it is a conjunction of states of affairs Universals are constituents of states of affairs in that sense universals are in spacetime But they are in it as helping to constitute it aniversalia in rebas Armstrong 8 Bundle Theories Substanceattributes Theories Universals 1 bundles of universals 1 Platonic uninstantiated Russell s bundle of unlversals theory universals theory 2 Locke s bare particularsubstratum theory 3 Armstrong s Thick Particulars States of AffairsUniversals as Attributes theory Tropes 2 bundles of tropes 1 C B Martin s tropes as Stout Williams attribmes Review Questions 1 5 9 4 How does Armstrong argue against the Bundle theory Do you think his arguments successfully refuted the theory Why or why not What is Plato s view of universals How does Plato argue for uninstantiated universals How does Armstrong argue against uninstantiated universals Between the two sides which one has the better argumentviewreasons What is a state of affairs according to Armstrong What is the truthmaking principle What role does this notion state ofu uirs play in Armstrong s ontology theory of existence Explain what he means by this pronouncement The world is simply a world of states of affairs What is Armstrong s view of universals Explain his theory in detail Study questions for Essay 4 You still need to read the whole thing in order to get to the following specific sections Properties 1 1 starting p 26 What reasons does Armstrong have for rejecting disjunctive and negative properties Why would he allow conjunctive properties universals 2 pp 31 38 What reasons does Armstrong give for accepting the reality of complex universals What kinds of universals are complex give his examples 3 starting p 41 What is the Eleatic argument against uninstantiated universals Properties 11 1 pp 47 55 What is the relationship between determinables and determinates What are the issues related to this distinction 2 Skim through the rest of this chapter Phil 420 Metaphysics Spring 2008 Handout 24 Michael J Loux Enduruntism and Perdurantism Professor J eeLoo Liu Our common assulnptions 1 Things persist through time The familiar objects and persons with which we interact on a regular basis persist from day to day We ourselves are the same person as the one who existed yesterday and the day before w The issue What is it for a thing to persist through time Two theories A strict identity one and the same thing of Wholly present things For an object to persist through time is for it to exist whole and entire at each of several different times Temporal persistence is a matter of strict identity where something persists through time a thing existing wholly and completely at one time is numerically identical with a thing existing wholly and completely at another time 9 Endurantism B continuity among various temporal parts A thing persists by having different parts temporal parts existing at different times 9 Perdurantism Loux 2 Perdurantism FourDimensionalism 1 9 quot uh Equot Concrete particulars are extended not merely in the three spatial dimensions but also in the temporal dimension They not only have spatial parts they also have temporal parts The temporal parts of the particular object are very bit as concrete every bit as particular as the object itself Each of these temporal parts has its properties and the di 39erent temporal parts will not share all the same properties The concrete object is simply the aggregate of all its temporal parts Btheory of Time 1 Time is just another dimension on a par with the three spatial dimensions 2 All times and their contents are equally real just as all spatial contents are real 3 The relations of times and their contents are characterized by the B properties earlier than later than and simultaneous with 4 This temporal order the B series is fixed and permanent Eternalism 1 All times and their contents are equally real 2 A familiar particular object is a four dimensional space time worm and its persistence through time is simply its being extended along the temporal dimension Via having temporal parts at different times theory of scattered objects The perdurantists typically think that the Tony Blair of the year 2000 enters into countless other objects all equally as real as the whole Tony Blair So for example the Tony Blair of the year 2000 the Roman Forum of the year 63 BC the Atlantic Ocean during the third millennium and the Empire State Building in 1963 can all become a part of a gerrymandered thing 1 2 3 Since all times and their contents are equally real there can be countless gerrymandered objects which are aggregates of various temporal parts from different objects that are fully real fully existent What commonsense recognize as objects things like tables chairs cats persons etc are no more real than those other gerrymandered objects Commonsense objects are simply based on such relations as spatiotemporal proximity relations of similarity and relations of causation Loux 3 Endurantism ThreeDimensionalism 1 Familiar objects are exclusively threedimensional beings things extended only in the three spatial dimensions 2 They are wholly present at any given moment of their existence 3 There are no temporal parts the only things that count as parts of an object are its spatial parts 4 One and the same thing can exist at different times 5 Hence persistence is just the numerical identity of a thing existing Wholly and completely at one time with a thing existing Wholly and completely at another time namely selfidentity Atheory of Time 1 Presentisrn Only the present is real What really exists is what currently exists 2 The only things that can be parts of an ordinary object are things that exist now 3 There can be no spatiotemporally scattered objects Q How to Engage in the Debate Since Endurantisrn agrees with our pre philosophical intuition the burden of proof seems to lie on the side of Perdurantism Arguments for Perdurantism I The Argument from Relativity Only perdurantism squares with our current scientific lulderstanding of the world because the fourdimensional conception of the world is presupposed by the physics of relativity theory 11 The Argument from the Indiscernibility of Identicals How is change possible for identity over time Note The Paradox of Change Irving Copi If a changing thing really changes there can39t literally be one and the same thing before and after the change However if a changing thing literally remains one and the same thing ie retains its identity throughout the change then it can not really have changed Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Loux 4 1 The principle of the indiscernibility of identicals states that necessarily if an object a and an object 17 are numerically identical then every property of a is a property of b and vice versa 2 By an endurantist s account a thing 6 persists from a time t to a later time t and it is one and the same thing at tand t 3 Therefore under endurantism x at t x at t 4 Suppose that at some time between tand t x loses a property I So x at t has I but x at t lacks I 5 Therefore endurantism violates the principle of the indiscernibility of identicals Motivation for perdurantism The principle of the indiscernibility of identicals is not a problem for self identity at the same time It is a problem for identity over time Isn t this because identity over time does not hold If we separate existence over time into temporal parts then the problem is removed x at t x at t They are temporal parts of one and the same four dimensional whole x The endurantist s comeback Proposed solution one Identify properties as time indexed properties having l at t having at t If it is now t then x has I if it is now t then x lacks I It is not the case that 6 both has I and lacks I Q Is this solution satisfactory Can you suggest any other solution 111 The Argument from Change of Physical Parts We believe that things can lose parts Suppose this happens to Descartes Suppose that Descartes loses his left hand at time t Facts and Stipulations 1 Let s call Descartes without left hand Descartes Minus 2 Descartes can survive the loss of his left hand But Descartes Minus too survives the amputation 3 Both Descartes and Descartes Minus take up the same spatial region after t they are made up of the same matter Thus Descartes and Descartes Minus after t must be identical But since Descartes and Descartes Minus after t are the same person as Descartes and Descartes Minus beforet 6 So Descartesbeforet and DescartesMinusbefore t are the same But they don t have exactly the same spatial region 94 Loux 5 7 Here we have a puzzle how can two different things to identical Descartes DescartesMinus Descartes minus gt Descartes Minus Descartes a Descartes Descar beforet Descartesaftert V Under endurantism we will have 1 Descartes after t Descartes before t 2 Descartes Minus after t Descartes Minus before t 3 Descartes after t Descartes Minus after t By transitivity of identicals if a b and b c then a c we get 4 Descartes before t Descartes Minus before t However Descartesbeforet has left hand but Descartesaftert does not 5 It is not the case that Descartes before t Descartes Minus before t 6 We have the contradiction between 4 and 5 7 Therefore an endurantist account of persistence through change in physical parts leads to a contradiction Motivation for perdurantism The perdurantist will reject both 1 and 2 The perdurantist will say that while numerically distinct Descartes before t and Descartes after t are temporal parts of a single space time worm Descartes Likewise while numerically distinct Descartes Minus before t and Descartes Minus after t are temporal parts of a single space time object that is Descartes Minus Loux 6 The perdurantist will accept 3 We have two numerically distinct four dimensional objects sharing their temporal parts after t The two objects merge or coincide There is no contradiction Descartes before t Descartes after t Descartes Minus before t Descartes Minus after t The endurantist s comeback Proposed solution one Reject 3 Reject the thesis of Uniqueness and embrace Plentitude They insist that Descartes after t and Descartes Minus after t are numerically different objects that happen to occupy one and the same region of space for a time Proposed solution two Mereological essentialism All of a thing s parts are essential to it An object cannot lose any of its physical objects and still be the same object They will typically concede that Descartes survives the amputation but they will deny that the physical object that is Descartes body is Descartes Proposed solution three Reject such thing as Descartes Minus They deny that we can gerrymander the world this way creating objects willy nilly by our mere stipulation Since the truth of 2 and 3 presuppose that we do this the perdurantist argument does not go through Q Are these solutions satisfactory Can you suggest any other solution Putnam 1 Phil 420 Metaphysics Spring 2008 Handout 7 Professor J eeLoo Liu Hilary Putnam Many Faces of Realism I It is interesting that we are all either realists or anti realists even if we haven t thought about this issue Unlike some other philosophical debates with which we can remain indifferent this debate is the one closely related to our daily life If you are an anti realist then even the stars you gaze at would signify differently to you now Even though Putnam calls his view realism he is generally regarded as defending anti realism He changed his realism view in 1980 s He used to be defending Realism with a capital R and then claimed that it was incoherent He argues that his view actually preserves commonsense realism Do you agree with him Lecture I Is There Still Anything to Say about Reality and Truth the story of the Seducer and the Maiden quot395 i 7233rrart loJ39 If it is commonsense realism you want accept Realism with a capital R In the melodramas of the 1890s the Seducer always promised various things to the Innocent Maiden which he failed to deliver when the time came In this case the Realist promises common sense the Innocent Maiden that he will rescue her from her enemies Idealists Kantians and fearsome self described Nelson Goodman who the Realist says want to deprive her of her good old ice cubes and chairs Faced with this dreadful prospect the fair Maiden naturally opts for the company of the commonsensical Realist Putnam 2 But when they have traveled together for a little while the Scientific Realist breaks the news that what the Maiden is going to get isn t her ice cubes and tables and chairs In fact all there really is is what finished science will say there is whatever that may be She is left with a promissory note for She Knows Not What and the assurance that even if there aren t tables and chairs still there are some Ding an Sich that her folk physics picture Some will say that the lady has been had Q What is the point of this critique Two Kinds of Realism It is clear that the name Realism can be claimed by or given to at least two very different philosophical attitudes and in fact to many I The philosopher who claims that only scienti c objects really eXist and that much if not all of the commonsense world is mere projection 11 The philosopher who insists that there really are chairs and ice cubes Metaphysical Realism commonsense realism All properties of an object are our sense There are tables and chairs as we ordinarily data projected onto a thing in itself that is believe them to be beyond our human cognitive capacities Putnam thinks that his internal realism Scienti c Realism belongs to this camp Do you agree All there really is is what finished science will say there is whatever that may be These two attitudes these two images of the world can lead to and have led to many different programs for philosophy Metaphysical Realism Realism with a capital R Commonsense objects do not really exist All properties of an object are our sense data projected onto a thing in itself that is beyond our human cognitive capacities The thing in itself may have some intrinsic properties that are not relative to human interests and human capacities The world is independent of any particular representation we have of it Truth is determined independently of our theories and our methods of veri cation Scientific Realism Objectivism Only scienti c objects really eXist and much if not all of the commonsense world is mere projection Putnam 3 All there really is is What finished science will say there is Whatever that may be Putnam s Critique I want to suggest that the problem with the Objectivist picture of the world to use Husserl s term for this kind of scientific realism lies deeper than the postulation of sense data sense data are so to speak the visible symptoms of a systematic disease Intrinsic Properties The deep systematic root of the disease I want to suggest lies in the notion of an intrinsic property a property something has in itself apart from any contribution made by language or the mind The Origin Locke s distinction between the primary and the secondary qualities Primary qualities Secondary qualities The qualities that are truly in the The qualities that are not in the objects objects themselves They are nothing but powers The qualities that are inseparable from in the objects to produce various sensations the object no matter what state the object in us by the objects primary qualities is in Our ideas of secondary qualities bear Our ideas of primary qualities no resemblance to qualities in objects resemble these primary qualities since there are no such properties in the themselves objects themselves Examples solidity extension figure Examples colors tastes smells mobilityrest and number sounds etc Putnam s Critique 1 Solidity is in much the same boat as color 2 This is precisely the picture that denies the common man s kind of realism 3 Thus the kind of scientific realism we have inherited from the 17rh century has saddled us with a disastrous picture of the world 1 First Intrinsic Property Dispositions A disposition that something has to do something no matter what I shall call a strict I to do under normal conditions I shall call an other things being equal disposition quot39 u 39 Putnam 4 It turns out that all dispositions are other things being equal disposition This makes the property relational to other things not an intrinsic property Why should we not say that dispositions or at least other things being equal dispositions are also not in the things themselves but rather something we project onto those things 2 Second Intrinsic Property I ntentionality Putnam I have given up functionalism because I believe that there are good arguments to show that mental states are not only compositionally plastic but also computationally plastic There are infinitely many ways to compute the same mental process just as there are infinitely many physical compositions for the same mental state I do not believe that even all humans who have the same belief in different cultures or with different bodies of knowledge and different conceptual resources have in common a physical cum computational feature which could be identified with that belief The intentional level is simply not reducible to the computational level any more than it is to the physical level If this is right then the Objectivist will have to conclude that intentionality too must be a mere projection what we project onto the world not really in the world itself Putnam s Own Position My old fashioned story of the Seducer and the Innocent Maiden was meant as a double warning a warning against giving up commonsense realism and simultaneously a warning against supposing that the seventeenth century talk of external world and sense impressions intrinsic properties and projections etc was in any way a Rescuer of our commonsense realism Internal realism realism with a small r OR Pragmatic realism 1 Realism is not incompatible with conceptual relativity 2 Objects do not exist independently of conceptual schemes We cut up the world into objects when we introduce one or another scheme of description 3 Different versions of conceptual schemes are equally right as long as they are correct coherent No View is absolutely right Our descriptions re ect our interests and choices 4 The mind and world jointly make up the mind and the world 5 Reference is not a relation to a mindindependent world 6 A being with no values would have no facts either To talk of facts Without specifying the language to be used is to talk of nothing 7 There are no things in themselves The phrase simply makes no sense NOT because we cannot know the things in themselves as Kant thinks So Putnam is not an agnostic in this respect We simply don t know What we are talking about when we talk about things in themselves Putnam 5 8 Commonsense realism is true there are tables and chairs as we commonly perceive them Conceptual relativism sounds like relativism but has none of the there is no truth to be found quottruequot is just a name for what a bunch of people can agree on implications of relativism Example WORLD 1 WORLD 2 X1 X2 X3 X1 X2 X3 X1 X2 X1 X3 X2 X3 X1 X2 X3 A world a la Carnap same world a la Polish logician Given a version the question How many objects are there has an answer namely three in the case of the first version Carnap s world and seven in the case of the second version The Polish logician s world Once we make clear how we are using object or eXist the question How many objects eXist has an answer that is not at all a matter of convention That is why I say that this sort of eXample does not support radical cultural relativism Our concepts may be culturally relative but it does not follow that the truth or falsity of everything we say using those concepts is simply decided by the culture But the idea that there is an Archimedean point or a use of eXist inherent in the world itself from which the question How many objects really eXist makes sense is an illusion To require that all of these must be reducible to a single version is to make the mistake of supposing that What are the real objects is a question that makes sense independently of our choice of concepts the metaphor of cookie cutter The things independent of all conceptual choices are the dough our conceptual contribution is the shape of the cookie cutter How the world is shaped depends on What cookie cutter we use Is the basic unit of the world particles or strings The answer depends on which cutter do you want to use Putnam 6 How we go about answering the question IHow many objects are thereI 7 the method of 39counting39 or the notion of what constitutes an 39object39 7 depends on our choice call this a 39convention39 What we camat say 7 because it makes no sense 7 is what the facts are irdependem afall conceptual choices The notions of 39object39 and 39existence39 are not treated as sacrosanct as having just one possible use at would be right is to say that existence is relative to the language Take the position that Camap and the Polish logician will be equally right in either case then you have arrived at the position I have called intemal realism39 Lecture II Realism and Reasonableness Main Thesis A World Without dichotomies A dichotomy39 is a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or very different The Rejected Dichotomies IfI reject the dichotornies I depicted it is not then because I fail to recognize their intuitive appeal or because that intuitive appeal counts for nothing in my eyes It is rather because these dichotornies have become distorting lenses which prevent us from seeing real phenomena 7 the phenomena I have been describing 7 in their full extent and significance Locke I powers acting on project onto Putnam 7 1 Property of the thing in itself 4 Projection 2 Property of the thing in itself 4 gt Power 3 Intrinsic properties 4 extrinsic properties 4 Truth conditions 4 Assertability conditions Q What other dichotomies could you think of Would Putnam reject them as well Putnam s Arguments Against Realism with a capital R Putnam s Argument against Realism 1 1 According to Realism properties such as solidity and motion are really in the objects ie they are intrinsic properties while properties such as colors or sounds are either our sense data projected onto objects or some power in the objects to produce those sense data in us But such a distinction cannot be sustained since even so called intrinsic properties are not really in the objects 3 Therefore Realism is giving us a Reality that none can approach 4 Therefore Realism is the foe not the defender of commonsense realism N Putnam s Argument against Realism 2 1 According to Realism all different sciences will eventually converge into one unified fundamental science It is the fundamental science in particular physics that tells us what reality truly is 2 But there is no proof that such a convergence is ever possible Therefore Realism is giving us a false promise Under this theory we may never know this quotRealityquot 9 Putnam s Conclusion Reality without the dichotomies The collapse of the dichotomy There is no thing in itself the notion simply doesn t make sense There is no dough to be cut by the cookie cutter There are no facts that are waiting to be discovered by us There is no totality of all facts and no absolute truth relation between sentences and facts in themselves PWNH What does the world look like without the dichotomies It looks both familiar and different It looks familiar insofar as we no longer try to divide up mundane reality into Putnam 8 a 39scientific image and a 39manifest image39 Tables and chairs exist just as much as quarks and gravitational fields But mundane reality looks different in that we are forced to acknowledge that many of our familiar descriptions reflect our interests and choices Rejecting the dichotomy within kinds of truth kinds of truth in the commonsense world is not the same thing as saying anything goes We can and should insist that some facts are there to be discovered and not legislated by us But this is something to be said when one has adopted a way of speaking a language a conceptual scheme To talk of facts without specifying the language to be used is to talk of nothing the word fact no more has its use fixed by Reality Itself than does the word exist or the word object Discussion Q When we have seen the paradigm shift in science throughout human history What attitude should we take toward the truth of our present science Devitt realism t Neurath the raft of human knowledge Putnam conceptual relativism Scientific Realism approximation to truth Putnam Science is wonderful at destroying metaphysical answers but incapable of providing substitute ones Science takes away foundations without providing a replacement Goodman 1 Phil 420 Metaphysics Spring 2008 Handout 9 Professor J eeLoo Liu Nelson Goodman Ways of Worldmaking 1 Chapter I Words Works Worlds Note In Goodman there are a lot of enigmatic remarks I shall put these remarks down with the sign so that we can discuss them in class 1 Introduction Q In what sense are there many worlds Q What distinguishes genuine from spurious worlds Q What are worlds made of Q How are worlds made Q What role do symbols play in the making Q How is Worldmaking related to knowing 11 The Multiplicity of Worlds or Worldversions We are not speaking in terms of multiple possible alternatives to a single actual world but of multiple actual worlds 1 A statement is always made from a frame of reference eg The sun always moves The sun never moves We are inclined to regard the two strings of words not as complete statements with truth values of their own but as elliptical for some such states as Under frame of reference A the sun always moves and Under frame of reference B the sun never moves statements that may both be true of the same world We are confined to ways of describing whatever is described Our universe consists of these ways rather than of a world or of worlds 2 The Worlds are dependent on Words our conceptualization our description our taxonomies etc Goodman 2 We can never compare a version of the world with a world undescribed undepicted unperceived 3 There are multiple versions of the world depicted by various sciences not all versions can be reduced to the fundamental physics The pluralist far from being anti scientific accepts the sciences at full value His typical adversary is the physicalist who maintains that physics is preeminent and all inclusive such that every other version must eventually be reduced to it or rejected as false or meaningless Q Can all branches of knowledge about the world be ultimately reduced to physics Goodman A reduction from one system to another can make a genuine contribution to understanding the interrelationships among world versions but reduction in any reasonably strict sense is rare almost always partial and seldom if ever unique 4 There is no perception without conception Seeing is Interpreting Kant Conception without perception is empty perception without conception is blind Talk of unstructured content or an unconceptualized given or a substratum without properties is selfdefeating for the talk imposes structure conceptualizes ascribes properties Conclusion We can have words without a world but no world without words or other symbols 111 Ways of Worldmaking Worldmaking as we know it always starts from worlds already on hand the making is a remaking a composition and decomposition taxonomy kinds organization identification names etc Much of Worldmaking consists of taking apart and putting together often conjointly one the one hand of dividing wholes into parts and partitioning kinds into subspecies analyzing complexes into component features drawing distinctions on the other hand of composing wholes and kinds out of parts and members and subclasses combining features into complexes and making connections individuation Goodman 3 eg what is a vmr39 what is a smte39 whatis a university whatis a liver identi cation same or not the same same whatquot We always need our criteria in making comparisons repetition i Repetition as well as identi cation is relative to organization i There will always be something different kinds or properties i The famous example of grue e examined before a given date and green ornot so examined and blue t in the future green blue I emerald green at grue to ti 1 We observe that PROBLEM ormnucnou coMlcs But an enema are aiso WHEN The grids paradox was are green ewe proposed by nelson coodnan e Gm means ngrw if to ill strate a n s hle flaw first observed before u o si in inductive reasonin Exactlyl But as a scientific Fact it makes a totally different 39 or fuure r sultsl 0N JANUARY 2006 prediction f R X runs ARE REALIZED If ti39at s right hid trohlen for the i it s a seiente is FUCKED h 1 to was Ryan Narth nialo he by Travis nine Goodman 4 The uniformity of nature we marvel at or the reliability we protest belongs to a world of our own making b Weighing deciding the relevance of criteria deciding on the importance or unimportance of features evaluating the utilities or value etc Suppose that some relevant kinds of one world are missing from another we might say that the two worlds contain just the same classes sorted differently into relevant and irrelevant kinds Some relevant kinds of the one world rather than being absent from the other are present as irrelevant kinds some differences among worlds are not so much in entities comprised as in emphasis or accent With changing interests and new insights the visual weighing of features of bulk or line or stance or light alters and yesterday s level world seems strangely perverted yesterday s realistic calendar landscape becomes a repulsive caricature Emphasis or weighing is not always binary as is sorting into relevant and irrelevant kinds or into important and unimportant features Ratings of relevance importance utility value often yield hierarchies rather than dichotomies c Ordering ordering of derivation from primitives what is more basic and what is derived Nothing is primitive or is derivationally prior to anything apart from a constructional system All measurement is based upon order Indeed only through suitable arrangements and groupings can we handle vast quantities of material perceptually or cognitively Daily time is marked off into twenty four hours and each of these into sixty minutes of sixty seconds each Whatever else may be said of these modes of organization they are not found in the world but built into a world d Deletion and Supplementation deleting details or supplementing details The making of one world out of another usually involves some extensive weeding out and filling Our capacity for overlooking is virtually unlimited and what we do take in usually consists of significant fragments and clues that need massive supplementation eg Giacometti s man or JeeLoo s drawing of a stick man Goodman 5 Memory edits more ruthlessly Even within what we do perceive and remember we dismiss as illusory or negligible what cannot be fitted into the architecture of the world we are building The scientist is no less drastic rejecting or purifying most of the entities and events of the world of ordinary things while generating quantities of filling for curves suggested by sparse data and erecting elaborate structures on the basis of meager observations eg thermometer scale music notation and the perception of motion Sometimes motion in the perceptual world results from intricate and abundant fleshing out of the physical stimuli e Deformation Some changes are reshaping or deformations that may be considered either corrections or distortions Picasso s joke Is she so flat and small eg Picasso s Las Meninas after Velasquez Velasquez Las Meninas Picasso Las Meninas Goodman 6 Conclusion These are ways worlds are made I do not say the ways My classification is not offered as comprehensive or clearcut or mandatory IV Trouble with Truth With all this freedom to divide and combine emphasize order delete fill in and fill out and even distort what are the objectives and the constraints What are the criteria for success in making a world Insofar as a version is verbal and consists of statements truth may be relevant For nonverbal versions truth is irrelevant Truth pertains solely to what is said and literal truth solely to what is said literally We risk confusion when we speak of pictures or predicates as true of what they predict or apply to they have no truth value and may represent or denote some things and not others But truth cannot be de ned or tested by agreement with the world Truth far from being a solemn and severe master is a docile and obedient servant The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth would thus be a perverse and paralyzing policy for any world maker The whole truth would be too much it is too vast variable and clogged with trivia The truth alone would be too little for some right versions are not true being either false or neither true nor false and even for the true versions rightness may matter more V Relative Reality If there is a one and the same neutral and underlying world of all versions of worlds it would be a world without kinds or order or motion or rest or pattern a world not worth fighting for or against The physicist takes his world as the real one the phenomenologist regards the perceptual world as fundamental For the man in the street most versions from the familiar serviceable world he has jerry built from fragments of scientific and artistic tradition and from his own struggle for survival This world indeed is the one most often taken as real for reality in a world like realism in a picture is largely a matter of habit The right versions and actual worlds are many does not obliterate the distinction between right and wrong versions and does not imply that all right alternatives are equally good for every or for any purpose Goodman 7 While readiness to recognize alternative worlds may be liberating a willingness to welcome all worlds builds none A broad mind is no substitute for hard work VI On Knowledge Knowledge cannot be exclusively or even primarily a matter of determining what is true Much of knowing aims at something other than true or any belief All the processes of Worldmaking l have discussed enter into knowing Perceiving motion often consists in producing it Discovering laws involve drafting them Recognizing patterns is very much a matter of inventing and imposing them Comprehension and creation go on together Worlds are as much made as found knowing is as much remaking as reporting Q In what sense is Goodman s View a form of irrealism McTaggart 1 Phil 420 Metaphysics Spring 2008 Handout 17 J M E McTaggart Time 1908 Professor J eeLoo Liu McTaggart s Main Claims 1 Nothing that exists can be temporal nothing existent can possess the characteristic of being in time 2 There is in fact no time time is unreal 3 The appearance of temporal order is mere appearance The Shocking Claim 39 We have no experience which does not appear to be temporal 39 But time is unreal 39 Hence our experience is illusory Part I The Aseries of Time is What makes time possible Positions in Time A Past Present Future For the sake of brevity I shall give the name of the A series to that series of positions which runs from the far past through the near past of the present and then from the present through the near future to the far future or conversely B Earlier than later than The series of positions which runs from earlier to later or conversely I shall call the B series The Aseries The Bseries CD E Later than wgm Past Present Future Past Present Future U Past Present Future Earlier than McTaggart McTaggart s claim the distinction of past present and future is as essential to time as the distinction of earlier and later while in a certain sense it may be regarded as more mdamental than the distinction of earlier and later First Argument There can be no change in the B series MNO l l l l le 1 5 9 5 Equot 9 99 The contents of any position in time form an event In three time segments we have events M N and 0 such that M is earlier than N N is later than M and N is earlier than 0 0 is later than both M and N If N is ever earlier than 0 and later than M it will always be and has always been earlier than 0 and later than M since the relations of earlier and later are permanent In the B series of time earlier than later than N will always have a position in a time series and always has had one Between M and N for example there is no moment when M changes into N because if M changed into N at a certain moment then at that moment M would have ceased to be M and N would have begun to be N Change then cannot arise from an event ceasing to be an event nor from one event changing into another Therefore in the B series there can be no change possible There could be no time if nothing changed Therefore the B series does not constitute time Second Argument Change is possible in theA series l the death of Queen Anne past present future H N 9 past present future past present future past present future past present future Take an event the death of Queen Anne for example and consider what changes can take place in its characteristics That it is a death that it is the death of Ann that it has such causes that it has such effects every characteristic of this sort never changes But in one respect it does change It was once an event in the far future It became every moment an event in the nearer future At last it was present Then 2 McTaggart 3 it became past and will always remain past though every moment it becomes further and further past 4 Therefore there is change when time is considered as a series from past to present and to future 5 Therefore change is possible in the A series Conclusion 1 The B series therefore is not by itself sufficient to constitute time since time involves change The B series however cannot exist except as temporal since earlier and later which are the relations which connect its terms are clearly time relations So it follows that there can be no B series when there is no A series since without an A series there is no time Three Objections and McTaggart s Replies 1 Russell Past present and future do not belong to time per se but only in relation to a knowing subject An assertion that N is present means that it is simultaneous with that assertion an assertion that it is past or future means that it is earlier or later than that assertion Thus it is only past present or future in relation to some assertion If there were no consciousness there would be events which were earlier and later than others but nothing would be in any sense past present or future And if there were events earlier than any consciousness those events would never be future or present though they could be past Therefore an A series is not essential to time McTaggart s Reply My contention is that if we remove the A series from the primafacie nature of time we are left with a series which is not temporal and which does not allow change No fact about anything can change unless it is a fact about its place in the A series Whatever other qualities it has it has always But what which is future will not always be future and that which was past was not always past 2 The possibility of nonexistent timeseries such as the adventures of Don Quixote Non existent time series can have earlier than and later than relations but not past present and future In other words this series does not form part of the A series I cannot at this moment judge it to be either past present or future Indeed I know that it is none of the three Yet it is certainly a B series Therefore an A series is not essential to time McTaggart 4 McTaggart s Reply Time only belongs to the existent If any reality is in time that involves that the reality in question exists if anything is in time it must exist Now what is existent in the adventures of Don Quixote Nothing For the story is imaginary Thus the answer to the objection is that just as far as a thing is in time it is in the A series If it is really in time it is really in the A series If it is believed to be in time it is believed to be in the A series If it is contemplated as being in time it is contemplated as being in the A series 3 The possibility of multiple timelines If time were real at all there might be in reality several real and independent time series Every time series would be real while the distinction of past present and future would only have a meaning within each series and would not therefore be taken as absolutely real Of course many points of time can be present In each time series many points are present but they must be present successively And the presents of the different time series would not be successive since they are not in the same time And different presents cannot be real unless they are successive So the different time series which are real must be able to exist independently of the distinction between past present and future Therefore an A series is not essential to time McTaggart s Reply I cannot regard this objection as valid No doubt in such a case no present would be the present it would only be the present of a certain aspect of the universe But no time would be the time it would only be the time as a certain aspect of the universe It would be a real time series but I do not see that the present would be less real than the time Part II The Contradiction of the Aseries To show An A series cannot exist and that therefore time cannot exist 1 past present future X 1 3A 2 9 5 Equot 9 7 3B 8 gt9 H 11 12 McTaggart Past present and future are characteristics which we ascribe to events and also to moments of time if these are taken as separate realities events Past present and future are relations in which events stand to something outside the time series A series is an A series when each of its terms has to an entity X outside the series one and only one of three indefinable relations pastness presentness and futurity This entity X could not itself be in time and yet it must be such that different relations to it determines the other terms of those relations as being past present or future Past present and future are incompatible determinations Every event must be one or the other but no event can be more than one But every event has them all If M is past it has been present and future If it is future it will be present and past If it is present it has been future and will be past Thus all the three characteristics belong to each event Thus we get a contradiction moments If M is present there is no moment of past time at which it is past But the moments of future time in which it is past are equally moments of past time in which it cannot be past Again that M is future and will be present and past means that M is future at a moment of present time and present and past at different moments of future time In that case it cannot be present or past at any moments of past time But all the moments of future time in which M will be present or past are equally moments of past time And thus again we get contradiction since the moments at which M has any one of the three determinations of the A series are also moments at which it cannot have that determination If we try to avoid this by saying of these moments that some moment for example is future and will be present and past then is and will be have the same meaning as before Our statement then means that the moment in question is future at a present moment and will be present and past at different moments of future time This of course is the same difficulty once again And so on infinitely Such an infinity is Vicious Therefore the A series is self contradictory A subrebuttal based on a vicious in nite regress 1 N 9 Counterclaim The characteristics are only incompatible when they are simultaneous and there is no contradiction to this in the fact that each term has all of them successively Rebuttal But being successive means that they have them in relation to terms specified as past present and future These again must in turn be specified as past present and future 5 4 5 McTaggart Since this continues infinitely the first set of terms never escapes from contradiction at all Therefore the A series involves a vicious infinite regress Conclusion 2 The reality of the A series then leads to a contradiction and must be rejected Nothing is really earlier or later than anything else or temporally simultaneous with it Nothing really changes And nothing is really in time Whenever we perceive anything in time which is the only way in which in our present experience we do perceive things we are perceiving it more or less as it really is not Summary McTaggart s Master Argument P 991 Time involves change There could be no time if nothing changed Change is only possible in the A series If there is no realA series there is no real change However Aseries involves a contradiction Therefore Aseries is impossible Therefore change is impossible Therefore time is not real Liu s reflections 9 4 How would you characterize the passage of time if you do not use any of the human measurements human perceptions or human conceptions Does time exist if there is no change whatsoever for anything What are objective temporal properties If time is relative to perception then could the same thing be both fast and slow be both long and short in time Even if time is real is it independent of human representations and human conceptions Is time unreal in the sense of anti realism of time 6
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