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Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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GaryLouisSmith
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 6th, 2019, 4:53 pm

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 11:27 am

The beetroot is the object."[/i]
(p. 13)
I find these excerpts interesting and well-written, but I am wondering if you present them as ideas that you yourself believe or are you just presenting someone else's ideas. Are we reading what are your ideas also? I of course as you know do not have the same beliefs as that author, but I can appreciate his attempt to do metaphysics. I am wondering how he analyzes a thought.

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Consul
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 6th, 2019, 5:11 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 4:53 pm
I find these excerpts interesting and well-written, but I am wondering if you present them as ideas that you yourself believe or are you just presenting someone else's ideas. Are we reading what are your ideas also?
Yes, I agree with Heil.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 6th, 2019, 5:13 pm

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 5:11 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 4:53 pm
I find these excerpts interesting and well-written, but I am wondering if you present them as ideas that you yourself believe or are you just presenting someone else's ideas. Are we reading what are your ideas also?
Yes, I agree with Heil.
And thought? What is a thought? Say the thought, "I'm out of peanut butter.".

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 6th, 2019, 5:18 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 4:53 pm
I am wondering how [John Heil] analyzes a thought.
His (excellent) book The Universe As We Find It contains a chapter on conscious thought. Here are some excerpts:

"What I would like to call attention to is a tendency among philosophers to conflate thinking and materials used in thinking. We sometimes think 'in language', soliloquizing privately. On other occasions, we reflect non-linguistically. Some philosophers distinguish these, describing the first as 'propositional' or 'sentential', the second as 'imagistic'. But both kinds of thinking are imagistic: we deploy visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, and kinesthetic images. Some of this imagery is linguistic, verbal. Verbal imagery can be auditory (as when you 'hear' utterances in your head), kinesthetic (you 'feel' yourself uttering sentences), or a combination of these. Some cognizers can visualize inscriptions, mentally 'sign', and 'feel' embossed letters or Braille sequences. The point to appreciate is that verbal imagery is no less 'imagistic' than imagery of other sorts."
(pp. 251-2)

"Thinking—conscious thinking—is not merely the having or entertaining of images, verbal or otherwise. Thinking is a matter of an agent's using such images, putting them to work, And whatever it is to put images to work, it is not solely a matter of entertaining further images. Nor is conscious thinking something occurring behind the scenes when you deploy representations: it is the deployment of those representations—in your head or otherwise."
(p. 252)

"Inner utterances…are a species of mental imagery, where the images are images of what their audible, visual, or tactile counterparts sound, look, or feel like. There is no logical or conceptual gulf between linguistic ('propositional') imagery and imagery of other sorts, 'pictorial' imagery. Conscious thought quite generally is imagistic.
Not all thoughts incorporate linguistic imagery, however. Much of our thought involves non-linguistic visual, auditory, tactile, or olfactory imagery. Indeed, your thought about a particular person might include verbal imagery (an inner utterance of a name, for instance) accompanied by a visual image of the person and perhaps other imagery as well.
The association of imagery with thought is not a matter of identifying thought with images. Thinking is a matter of using imagery. …Without use, images or signs are empty; severed from use, representations fail to represent."

(p. 266)

"[C]onscious thinking is inevitably imagistic; to entertain a thought consciously is to deploy images of one sort or another. Imagery can be 'pictorial' or 'sentential'.You can imagine how something looks (did look, will look, or might look), feels (did feel, will feel, or might feel), tastes (did, will, or might tasts), sounds (did, will, or might sound), or smells (did, will, or might smell). One species of such imagining is verbal: you imaginatively utter, or hear, or feel yourself uttering, words."
(pp. 267-8)

"[T]he key to understanding the nature of thought is the recognition that thinking is something agents do with imagery. Thinking is not the having or entertaining of images, the mere occurrence of imagery, sentebtial or otherwise. Thinking is something done imagistically."
(p. 269)

"[O]rdinary conscious thought is best understood as the manipulation of images for various purposes."
(p. 271)

(Heil, John. The Universe As We Find It. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 6th, 2019, 5:38 pm

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 5:18 pm


"[O]rdinary conscious thought is best understood as the manipulation of images for various purposes."
I still don't get it. As I understand him, he is saying thought is the use we make of a silently uttered sentence or other image. It is that image or sentence used for a purpose. To me, that still leaves unanswered the question of what a thought is.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Felix » July 6th, 2019, 6:04 pm

Gary, these guys think ( :? ) that because they can only think in words, this is also true for everyone else, a text-book example (pun intended) of conceptual blindness.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 6th, 2019, 6:29 pm

Felix wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 6:04 pm
Gary, these guys think ( :? ) that because they can only think in words, this is also true for everyone else, a text-book example (pun intended) of conceptual blindness.
You're wrong!

"Conscious thought quite generally is imagistic. Not all thoughts incorporate linguistic imagery, however. Much of our thought involves non-linguistic visual, auditory, tactile, or olfactory imagery."

(Heil, John. The Universe As We Find It. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. p. 266)

And see what I wrote: viewtopic.php?p=333416#p333416
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 6th, 2019, 8:34 pm

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 6:29 pm
Felix wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 6:04 pm
Gary, these guys think ( :? ) that because they can only think in words, this is also true for everyone else, a text-book example (pun intended) of conceptual blindness.
You're wrong!

"Conscious thought quite generally is imagistic. Not all thoughts incorporate linguistic imagery, however. Much of our thought involves non-linguistic visual, auditory, tactile, or olfactory imagery."

(Heil, John. The Universe As We Find It. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. p. 266)

And see what I wrote: viewtopic.php?p=333416#p333416
I think a thought is a simple universal. In this case, the thought <I am out of peanut butter.>. And as a universal it is timeless and placeless. It can be or is exemplified by many different bare particulars, by many different individual minds. The thought is tied to a fact. In this case the fact that I am out of peanut butter. That tie is the nexus of intentionality. Furthermore, I remind you that a nexus (exemplification or intentionality) exists external to what it connects. Thoughts as universals, bare particulars, the various nexus, facts, and all the other ontological things are eternal things. They just are and they are - it hardly needs to be said - not dependent on anything temporal or spatial for their existence.

The simplicity of a thought is similar to Kant's idea of the transcendental unity of consciousness.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 6th, 2019, 9:55 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 8:34 pm
I think a thought is a simple universal. In this case, the thought <I am out of peanut butter.>. And as a universal it is timeless and placeless. It can be or is exemplified by many different bare particulars, by many different individual minds. The thought is tied to a fact. In this case the fact that I am out of peanut butter. That tie is the nexus of intentionality. Furthermore, I remind you that a nexus (exemplification or intentionality) exists external to what it connects. Thoughts as universals, bare particulars, the various nexus, facts, and all the other ontological things are eternal things. They just are and they are - it hardly needs to be said - not dependent on anything temporal or spatial for their existence.
The simplicity of a thought is similar to Kant's idea of the transcendental unity of consciousness.
I'm not sure I understand you correctly. Thought = Fregan thought = (abstract) proposition?
Well, a mental thought qua act of thinking surely isn't "timeless and placeless".

Anyway, propositions as abstract sentence-meanings aren't universals but (abstract) objects. They are multiply expressible by different sentences (in different languages), but they are not multiply exemplifiable by particulars. And given that the sentences expressing them are complex, structured objects, I fail to see how the propositions expressed by them can be simple, partless objects.

As for this: "The thought is tied to a fact. …That tie is the nexus of intentionality."

Not all propositions represent facts, i.e. actual, obtaining states of affairs; but you may say that they all represent and refer to ("intend") states of affairs. But I think nonactual, non-obtaining states of affairs are ontological monstrosities. Moreover, you seem to regard both propositions and states of affairs (including facts) as abstract, non-spatiotemporal entities; but then there is no categorial difference between them anymore, in which case their "nexus" isn't intentionality (representationality or referentiality) but identity.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 6th, 2019, 10:08 pm

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 9:55 pm


I'm not sure I understand you correctly. Thought = Fregan thought = (abstract) proposition?
Well, a mental thought qua act of thinking surely isn't "timeless and placeless".

Anyway, propositions as abstract sentence-meanings aren't universals but (abstract) objects. They are multiply expressible by different sentences (in different languages), but they are not multiply exemplifiable by particulars. And given that the sentences expressing them are complex, structured objects, I fail to see how the propositions expressed by them can be simple, partless objects.

As for this: "The thought is tied to a fact. …That tie is the nexus of intentionality."

Not all propositions represent facts, i.e. actual, obtaining states of affairs; but you may say that they all represent and refer to ("intend") states of affairs. But I think nonactual, non-obtaining states of affairs are ontological monstrosities. Moreover, you seem to regard both propositions and states of affairs (including facts) as abstract, non-spatiotemporal entities; but then there is no categorial difference between them anymore, in which case their "nexus" isn't intentionality (representationality or referentiality) but identity.
A "mental thought qua act" is a fact, i.e. a complex. The thought is the universal "in" the act, along with a bare particular and a nexus. Yes, a thought as I use the word is, I think, the same as ein Gedanke of Frege and almost the same as Russell's proposition. It is Bergmann's thought. Universals are abstract, why not? And Yes, some thoughts intend potential facts. I am not an actualist like you.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 6th, 2019, 10:23 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 10:08 pm
Yes, a thought as I use the word is, I think, the same as ein Gedanke of Frege and almost the same as Russell's proposition.
That's incoherent, because abstract Fregean propositions (qua sentence-meanings/-senses) are quite different from Russellian propositions, which are concrete states of affairs or (non-Fregean) facts.

See: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/prop ... -singular/
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 6th, 2019, 10:32 pm

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 10:23 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 10:08 pm
Yes, a thought as I use the word is, I think, the same as ein Gedanke of Frege and almost the same as Russell's proposition.
That's incoherent, because abstract Fregean propositions (qua sentence-meanings/-senses) are quite different from Russellian propositions, which are concrete states of affairs or (non-Fregean) facts.

See: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/prop ... -singular/
I'll take your word for it. I am not a historian of philosophy. I do think, however, that I am presenting what Bergmann called a thought.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 6th, 2019, 10:45 pm

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 9:55 pm

nonactual, non-obtaining states of affairs are ontological monstrosities.
MONSTROSITIES I love it. Yes, a Supernatural Bestiary. If you remember I said that the fundamental divide is between the ordinary, everyday world and the very separate World (or unworld) of Ontological Things. I am dealing in the Paranormal. In the Monstrum, a divine omen. In the Real, beyond the merely real.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 6th, 2019, 11:02 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 10:32 pm
Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 10:23 pm


That's incoherent, because abstract Fregean propositions (qua sentence-meanings/-senses) are quite different from Russellian propositions, which are concrete states of affairs or (non-Fregean) facts.

See: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/prop ... -singular/
I'll take your word for it. I am not a historian of philosophy. I do think, however, that I am presenting what Bergmann called a thought.
Why did Bergmann write in that impossible style? I think it has a literary quality to it. Like the impossible to understand Symbolists. Like the modern poets, such as Hart Crane. Plus, I think it hides a secret sexual something. Maybe it was the war that made him strange. His attempt to appear one with science was an act. From Wikipedia for Symbolism - an artistic and poetic movement or style using symbolic images and indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas, emotions, and states of mind. It originated in late 19th-century France and Belgium, with important figures including Mallarmé, Maeterlinck, Verlaine, Rimbaud, and Redon.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 6th, 2019, 11:19 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 10:32 pm
I do think, however, that I am presenting what Bergmann called a thought.
What's his definition of "thought"?
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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