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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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Consul
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 6th, 2019, 11:30 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 11:02 pm
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.
Bergmann's works aren't fun to read, are they?

Metaphysics, art, poetry?

Here's what Rudolf Carnap thinks:

"METAPHYSICS AS EXPRESSION OF AN ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE

Our claim that the statements of metaphysics are entirely meaningless, that they do not assert anything, will leave even those who agree intellectually with our results with a painful feeling of strangeness: how could it be explained that so many men in all ages and nations, among them eminent minds, spent so much energy, nay veritable fervor, on metaphysics if the latter consisted of nothing but mere words, nonsensically juxtaposed? And how could one account for the fact that metaphysical books have exerted such a strong influence on readers up to the present day, if they contained not even errors, but nothing at all? These doubts are justified since metaphysics does indeed have a content; only it is not theoretical content. The (pseudo) statements of metaphysics do not serve for the description of states of affairs, neither existing ones (in that case they would be true statements) nor non-existing ones (in that case they would be at least false statements). They serve for the expression of the general attitude of a person towards life ("Lebenseinstellung, Lebensgefühl").

Perhaps we may assume that metaphysics originated from mythology. The child is angry at the "wicked table" which hurt him. Primitive man endeavors to conciliate the threatening demon of earthquakes, or he worships the deity of the fertile rains in gratitude. Here we confront personifications of natural phenomena, which are the quasi-poetic expression of man's emotional relationship to his environment. The heritage of mythology is bequeathed on the one hand to poetry, which produces and intensifies the effects of mythology on life in a deliberate way; on the other hand, it is handed down to theology, which develops mythology into a system. Which, now, is the historical role of metaphysics? Perhaps we may regard it as a substitute for theology on the level of systematic, conceptual thinking. The (supposedly) transcendent sources of knowledge of theology are here replaced by natural, yet supposedly trans-empirical sources of knowledge. On closer inspection the same content as that of mythology is here still recognizable behind the repeatedly varied dressing: we find that metaphysics also arises from the need to give expression to a man's attitude in life, his emotional and volitional reaction to the environment, to society, to the tasks to which he devotes himself, to the misfortunes that befall him. This attitude manifests itself, unconsciously as a rule, in everything a man does or says. It also impresses itself on his facial features, perhaps even on the character of his gait. Many people, now, feel a desire to create over and above these manifestations a special expression of their attitude, through which it might become visible in a more succinct and penetrating way. If they have artistic talent they are* able to express themselves by producing a work of art. Many writers have already clarified the way in which the basic attitude is manifested through the style and manner of a work of art (e.g. Dilthey and his students). [In this connection the term "world view" ("Weltanschauung") is often used; we prefer to avoid it because of its ambiguity, which blurs the difference between attitude and theory, a difference which is of decisive importance for our analysis.] What is here essential for our considerations is only the fact that art is an adequate, metaphysics an inadequate means for the expression of the basic attitude. Of course, there need be no intrinsic objection to one's using any means of expression one likes. But in the case of metaphysics we find this situation: through the form of its works it pretends to be something that it is not. The form in question is that of a system of statements which are apparently related as premises and conclusions, that is, the form of a theory. In this way the fiction of theoretical content is generated, whereas, as we have seen, there is no such content. It is not only the reader, but the metaphysician himself who suffers from the illusion that the metaphysical statements say something, describe states of affairs. The metaphysician believes that he travels in territory in which truth and falsehood are at stake. In reality, however, he has not asserted anything, but only expressed something, like an artist. That the metaphysician is thus deluding himself cannot be inferred from the fact that he selects language as the medium of expression and declarative sentences as the form of expression; for lyrical poets do the same without succumbing to self-delusion. But the metaphysician supports his statements by arguments, he claims assent to their content, he polemicizes against metaphysicians of divergent persuasion by attempting to refute their assertions in his treatise. Lyrical poets, on the other hand, do not try to refute in their poem the statements in a poem by some other lyrical poet; for they know they are in the domain of art and not in the domain of theory.

Perhaps music is the purest means of expression of the basic attitude because it is entirely free from any reference to objects. The harmonious feeling or attitude, which the metaphysician tries to express in a monistic system, is more clearly expressed in the music of Mozart. And when a metaphysician gives verbal expression to his dualistic-heroic attitude towards life in a dualistic system, is it not perhaps because he lacks the ability of a Beethoven to express this attitude in an adequate medium? Metaphysicians are musicians without musical ability. Instead they have a strong inclination to work within the medium of the theoretical, to connect concepts and thoughts. Now, instead of activating, on the one hand, this inclination in the domain of science, and satisfying, on the other hand, the need for expression in art, the metaphysician confuses the two and produces a structure which achieves nothing for knowledge and something inadequate for the expression of attitude.

Our conjecture that metaphysics is a substitute, albeit an inadequate one, for art, seems to be further confirmed by the fact that the metaphysician who perhaps had artistic talent to the highest degree, viz. Nietzsche, almost entirely avoided the error of that confusion. A large part of his work has predominantly empirical content. We find there, for instance, historical analyses of specific artistic phenomena, or an historical-psychological analysis of morals. In the work, however, in which he expresses most strongly that which others express through metaphysics or ethics, in Thus Spake Zarathustra, he does not choose the misleading theoretical form, but openly the form of art, of poetry."

Source: http://www.ditext.com/carnap/elimination.html
"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 Consul » July 6th, 2019, 11:35 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 10:45 pm
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.
So Grossman was right: The ontological world is larger than the physical universe?
"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 Consul » July 6th, 2019, 11:37 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.
Neither am I, but I happen to know that.
"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 7th, 2019, 12:05 am

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 11:37 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 10:32 pm
I'll take your word for it. I am not a historian of philosophy.
Neither am I, but I happen to know that.
Did you get the private message I sent you?

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 7th, 2019, 12:10 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 12:05 am
Did you get the private message I sent you?
Yes, but I haven't read it yet.
"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 7th, 2019, 12:21 am

Consul wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 11:30 pm

. Lyrical poets, on the other hand, do not try to refute in their poem the statements in a poem by some other lyrical poet; for they know they are in the domain of art and not in the domain of theory.

I disagree vehemently with what Carnap has to say about Lyric Poets. Harold Bloom in The Anxiety of Influence argues convincingly against Carnap. Rebellion is strongly present in both philosophy and art - and of course in almost everything else. Therefore, I declare what Carnap said to be pure Bulls**t. His ideas are typical positivist crap. Now then - have a nice day.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Belindi » July 7th, 2019, 6:11 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
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.
There's a difference in the sorts of thought <I am out of peanut butter> and < I taste the peanut butter now> . The former is expressing a memory and perhaps an intention, and the latter is expressing a sensation.

In each case the connotations are never the same connotations on subsequent occasions of the utterance. Heraclitus "you can't step into the same river twice".

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 7th, 2019, 7:49 am

Belindi wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 6:11 am
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
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.
There's a difference in the sorts of thought <I am out of peanut butter> and < I taste the peanut butter now> . The former is expressing a memory and perhaps an intention, and the latter is expressing a sensation.

In each case the connotations are never the same connotations on subsequent occasions of the utterance. Heraclitus "you can't step into the same river twice".
In both cases those thoughts are universals that have been exemplified by countless minds throughout time and all over the world. And, who knows, across galaxies. Yes, there are different kinds of thoughts and different kinds of intentional objects, but, nonetheless, the thought is identically one and the same thought every time it is exemplified by a mind. It is a simple existent. Just as the color Red is the one color Red throughout all the instances of there being a red thing. That's what a universal is. But maybe you don't believe in universals, but tropes. That's the difference between realism and nominalism.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Belindi » July 7th, 2019, 2:17 pm

Nice explanation GaryLouisSmith. Then I don't believe in universals. I'd like there to be at least one universal
E.g.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
from Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats)

In Keats's case the universal was nature itself, and the things of nature.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 7th, 2019, 4:42 pm

Belindi wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 2:17 pm
Then I don't believe in universals.

In Keats's case the universal was nature itself, and the things of nature.
My favorite poem by Keats is La Belle Dame sans Merci

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing!

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful, a fairy’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.

She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!’

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

It is an extremely frightening poem. La Belle Dame is Nature Herself as goddess.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 7th, 2019, 5:41 pm

Belindi wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 2:17 pm
Nice explanation GaryLouisSmith. Then I don't believe in universals. I'd like there to be at least one universal
E.g.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
from Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats)

In Keats's case the universal was nature itself, and the things of nature.
I doubt very much that city people who spend their time on the internet know much about Nature. Or they think it has to do with chemistry or ecology, which is an internet discussion topic. Other than that they only see travel videos of people walking in the woods or climbing mountains and it's all rather benign.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 7th, 2019, 10:34 pm

Consul wrote:
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"?
If F(x) is a fact, then <F(x)> is the idea of it. In his earlier work fact and idea were connected with the nexus of intentionality M, which stood for “means”. <F(x)> M F(x). The fact is complex and the idea of it is simple. It’s a one-many relation. In New Foundations, he says that fact and idea are connected without nexus, just as are class and its elements. <F(x)> M F(x) is for Bergmann analytically true. Does that mean that for every fact there is an idea of it?

Aristotle said that the mind is one and the world is many. Kant had the transcendental unity of consciousness. I say that I need more coffee because it’s too early in the morning.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 7th, 2019, 11:07 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 4:42 pm
Belindi wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 2:17 pm
Then I don't believe in universals.

In Keats's case the universal was nature itself, and the things of nature.
My favorite poem by Keats is La Belle Dame sans Merci

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing!

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful, a fairy’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.

She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!’

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

It is an extremely frightening poem. La Belle Dame is Nature Herself as goddess.
Following Greek mythology, I think La Belle Dame was probably the same as Nabokov’s Lolita. A young girl between the ages of eight and fourteen. And that was the same as the muse that resided in Apollo’s temple at Delphi. And who today appears on the paper cups at Starbucks. Melusina, half girl, half serpent. A python, thus Pythian Apollo. Somehow that muse made it from Greece to America. Sometimes a girl, sometimes a python. Here’s another excerpt from Camille Paglia’s Sexual Personae –

“The Greek principle of domination by the beautiful person as work of art is implicit in western culture, rising to view at charged historical moments. I see it in Dante and Beatrice and in Petrarch and Laura. There must be distance, of space or time. The eye elects a narcissistic personality as galvanizing object and formalizes the relation in art. The artist imposes a hieratic sexual character on the beloved, making himself the receptor (or more feminine receptacle) of the beloved’s mana. The structure is sadomasochistic. Western sexual personae are hostile with dramatic tension. Naturalistically, Beatrice’s expansion into a gigantic heavenly body is grandiose and even absurd, but she achieves her preeminence through the poet’s sexually hierarchizing western imagination. The aesthetic distance between personae is like a vacuum between poles, discharging electric tension by a bolt of lightning. Little is known of the real Beatrice and Laura. But I think they resembled the beautiful boy of homosexual tradition: they were dreamy, remote, autistic, lost in a world of androgynous self-completion. Beatrice, after all, was barely eight when Dante fell in love with her in her crimson dress. Laura’s impenetrability inspired the “fire and ice” metaphor of Petrarch’s sonnets, which revolutionized European poetry. “Fire and ice” is western alchemy. It is the chills and fever of Sappho’s and Plato’s uncanny love experience. Agonized ambivalence of body and mind was Sappho’s contribution to poetry, imitated by Catullus and transmitted to us through folk ballads and pop torch songs. Western love, Denis de Rougemont shows us, is unhappy or death-ridden. In Dante or Petrarch, self-frustrating love is not neurotic but ritualistic and conceptualizing. The west makes art and thought out of the cold manipulation of our hard sexual personae.”

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Belindi » July 8th, 2019, 4:48 am

I agree La Belle Dame Sans Merci is nature herself.She is beautiful and you eventually die of her. But if you live with her for a time at least you have lived. Of course you like Keats you are both sensualists.

Lolita is a highly moral story.Told as it is with such cool entitlement, it shows the ugly side of man when he reverts to dinosaur.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 8th, 2019, 7:09 am

Belindi wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 4:48 am
I agree La Belle Dame Sans Merci is nature herself.She is beautiful and you eventually die of her. But if you live with her for a time at least you have lived. Of course you like Keats you are both sensualists.

Lolita is a highly moral story.Told as it is with such cool entitlement, it shows the ugly side of man when he reverts to dinosaur.
I'm sure a lot of men (and women) would agree with you, but I personally would never want to to live with that b*tch even for a second. It would be a nightmare. As for me being a sensualist, let's just say I live at the extremes where sensualism and austere intellectualism meet. The middle way is not my way. The medieval church condemned Platonism because it was excessively spiritual which always ended up as decadent sensualism. I suppose it did. I am a Platonist. As for Nabokov being a moralist, I think it is rather today's readers who are the moralists and project their beliefs into that book. I never saw it as a highly moral story. If I had I wouldn't have liked it. I see it as a piece of religious writing about the muse. One trembles at the thought.

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