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Ontology of Works of Art

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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Burning ghost » January 26th, 2019, 3:53 am

Looking more closely this may be simply a confusion on my part as to what you mean by “exist”. If you can clarify that too it would be useful.

Thanks
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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 4:20 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 3:53 am
Looking more closely this may be simply a confusion on my part as to what you mean by “exist”. If you can clarify that too it would be useful.
Well…"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know." – Louis Armstrong

"The concept of existence is probably basic and primitive in the sense that it is not possible to produce an informative definition of it in terms that are more clearly understood and that would tell us something important and revealing about what it is for something to exist."

(Kim, Jaegwon, and Ernest Sosa, eds. Metaphysics: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999. p. 3)

This is not to say that nothing at all can be said about it. In my understanding, existing is the same as being and not the same as doing. And…

"I shall find no use for the narrow sense which some philosophers have given to 'existence', as against 'being'; viz., concreteness in space-time. If any such special connotation threatens in the present pages, imagine 'exists' replaced by 'is'. When the Parthenon and the number 7 are said to be, no distinction in the sense of 'be' need be intended. The Parthenon is indeed a placed and dated object in space-time while the number 7 (if such there be) is another sort of thing; but this is a difference between the objects concerned and not between senses of 'be'."

(Quine, W. V. Methods of Logic. 4th ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982. p. 263)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Burning ghost » January 26th, 2019, 6:04 am

So you admit fault or what? If a “concept” is not then what are you talking about?

All I was asking for was your thoughts on the grey areas.
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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 2:12 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 6:04 am
So you admit fault or what? If a “concept” is not then what are you talking about?
We can meaningfully talk about nonexistent things. Anyway, I just said that I disbelieve in concepts qua abstract objects: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concepts/#ConFreSen
Burning ghost wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 6:04 am
All I was asking for was your thoughts on the grey areas.
I've answered your questions, haven't I?
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 5:54 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
I believe that sets and classes cannot be anything else but abstract objects, since they are entirely subjective, they are an organization of the mental representations of the real properties of concrete particulars, considering what they have in common. These objects can be put in different sets or classes according to a selective criteria of their perceived properties, which can be unlimited.
If sets/classes are (platonistically) abstract objects, they are neither mental nor mind-dependent (unless they are sets/classes of mental or mind-dependent entities). They are different from concepts or "ideas" qua mental representations of objects or their properties which are formed through psychological abstraction, i.e. the reduction or subtraction of specificity. Of course, if sets/classes are essentially extensions of mental concepts, they are mind-dependent and -determined; but I think that's not the case. For example, the set/class of volcanoes is independent of the concept <volcano>, since (providing abstract sets/classes exist) the former existed long before humans created the latter.

It is very important not to confuse platonistic abstracta with psychological or linguistic abstracta, i.e. abstract concepts/ideas or abstract nouns (which had better be called abstractive rather than abstract). Regarding the latter, abstractness (qua "abstractiveness") is exclusively a property of certain mental or linguistic representations; but the platonistic concept of abstractness is applied to non-representational entities as well, i.e. not only to "categories of meaning" but also to "categories of objects" (to use Edmund Husserl's distinction).

What makes the ontological situation complicated is that if abstract(ive) concepts/ideas are Fregean predicates-senses, they are platonistically abstract entities; and if they are concrete tokens of mental representations, they are not. The same is true of abstract(ive) nouns, which are platonistically abstract if they are linguistic types and concrete if they are linguistic tokens.

"The Way of Abstraction: abstract entities are abstractions from concrete entities. They result from somehow subtracting specificity, so that an incomplete description of the original concrete entity would be a complete description of the abstraction. This, I take it, is the historically and etymologically correct thing to mean if we talk of 'abstract entities'. But it is by no means the dominant meaning in contemporary philosophy."

(Lewis, David. On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986. pp. 84-5)

"So described, the Way of Abstraction admits of several very different interpretations. The least plausible of these takes abstract entities to be “abstractions” akin to “abstract ideas” and therefore much like our ideas of redness or sphericality that we cognitively “subtract” from experiences. Interpreted this way, the Way of Abstraction implausibly requires that all abstract entities are mind-dependent mental entities and therefore runs contrary to any standard conception of platonism."

(Cowling, Sam. Abstract Entities. New York: Routledge, 2017. pp. 75-6)
 
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
A distinction should be made between the mental (abstract) representation of the properties of an object and the objective properties themselves, which surely can knock your head off. I can have mental representations of the solidity of bells when there are no real bells around anymore, but those will have no effect in the world. Conversely, when there is no consciousness around to entertain the concept of solidity, that is, even when the concept doesn't exist in someone's mind, we can expect properties of objects like solidity to have an effect in the world.
Yes, of course, there is a difference between concepts or predicates (as representational entities) and properties or relations (as non-representational entities).
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
I don't understand how concepts could be anything but abstract objects (mental representations), as they surely could not be concrete ones.
A representation qua type is abstract, where qua token it is concrete.

If to be abstract is to be nonmental, then, a mental representation cannot exist as an abstract type but only as a concrete token (in one particular mind). This means that when we speak of the concept C (as opposed to my or your concept C), the referent cannot be a mental representation but only a nonmental one.

In order to clarify the whole affair, we would have to discuss the ontology of concepts in greater detail in a separate thread.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
Consul wrote:We have different distinctions here:

1. types vs. tokens
2. universals vs. instances
3. intensions (concepts [qua predicate-meanings]) vs. extensions (sets/classes)

I think 1 isn't identical to 2 or 3. I especially think that types aren't universals (neither substantial ones = kinds nor nonsubstantial ones = properties or relations) but particulars (particular abstract objects) because of their "non-predicability".
I think 1 and 2 can be the same. If we think of abstract particulars as universals, they are not types, but I'm not convinced that abstract particulars can be universals. If I think of my dog Dino, it will be a particular mental representation that correponds to the particular real object, it is not a "generic Dino". But having known many dogs, I can abstract their common features when thinking of "dog" as a general category, which would be the abstract universal, of which Dino is an instance, or a token of the type dog.
An abstract particular qua object (in the narrow ontological sense) is not a universal, with universals being kinds or properties/relations.

Using your example, there's a distinction between your general concept of a dog and your individual concept of Dino. If "a concept is a way of thinking of some thing or things" (E. J. Lowe), then the concepts you have are mental properties or abilities of yours. Then, your general concept of a dog is your way of thinking (or being able to think) about dogs (as such) in general; and your individual concept of your dog Dino is your way of thinking (or being able to think) about the dog Dino (as such) in particular.

But neither individual nor general concepts are universals. Of course, what makes a concept general is its multi-applicability to more than one thing. That is, you can (truly) apply your general concept of a dog not only to Dino but also to all the other dogs, but it isn't thereby a universal—especially not if your concept of a dog is a mental property or ability of yours that only you can have. (Of course, another thinker can have a semantically exactly similar concept of a dog, but semantic identity or similarity isn't numerical identity. A concept as a mental entity can belong to and be present in one mind only.)

A universal could be the property of being a dog or the kind doghood, with Dino being an instance of it.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
Consul wrote: By the way, the abstract-concrete distinction and the universal-particular distinction are mutually independent. For example, so-called Platonic or transcendent universals are abstract entities, but so-called Aristotelian or immanent universals are not, being concrete entities in space and time.
Although I support the impossibility of conciliating Platonism and immanentism, and despite that I reject Platonism, I don't think we are left only with the option of any concept (such as universals) being a concrete entity in space and time, which would make it a substance. I still think they are non-substantial entities.
No matter whether they are abstract or concrete, concepts and predicates (qua representational entities), and properties, relations, and kinds (qua nonrepresentational entities) are not substances.
(Kinds qua universals are called substantial universals, substantial forms, or even secondary substances; but they aren't substantial in the sense in which their instances or members are substantial, because they aren't concrete individual objects.)
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
As I explained before, I support the narrow sense view: abstract entities are non-entities, that is, they are not ontologically independent substantial objects, precisely because they are sensory reproductions of the real objects of the world. But that's sort of a genealogical dependence, since the mental impression remains in absence of the real concrete objects.
Abstract entities or objects in the platonistic sense aren't substances, but you still seem to be confusing them with psychologically or semiologically abstract mental "ideas" or concepts.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
Consul wrote: …or an abstract object (that is not a type qua universal).
I left out that option because I think it is already implied, as I just mentioned in my previous comment. Once we know of a concrete particular, there is the corresponding abstract object, its mental representation. If Beethoven's Ninth is a concrete particular, there must be its corresponding abstract particular object, the concept of Beethoven's Ninth.
Again, an abstract concept or "idea" as a representation is either platonistically abstract or psychologically/semiologically abstract (abstractive). An abstract(ive) concept or "idea" in the second sense is a mental entity formed through abstraction; and qua mental entity it is not abstract in the first sense.

However, if there is such a concrete, mental entity as the or our (individual) concept of Beethoven's Ninth, where is it? In my mind, in your mind, or anybody else's mind? It cannot exist as one and same thing in more than one mind; so what really exists is not the or our concept of Beethoven's Ninth—which talk presupposes that there is exactly one such thing—, but many semantically identical (or at least similar), yet numerically different concepts of it in many different minds.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
Minds themselves don't seem to be physical places where substantial things can be contained. Mind is a name for certain processes occurring in an organism.
You may substitute "brain" for "mind".
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
By abstract objects we should mean particular sets of processing symbolic relationships.
Sets are only one kind of abstract objects.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
Consul wrote: Moreover, an abstract object cannot possibly become a concrete one, because the abstract and the concrete are mutually exclusive ontological categories
I'm aware of that, however a subject could use the abstract idea of something to make a real concrete object. The thing is composed theoretically in his mind before building it in practice, usually in a process that goes back and forth.
Yes, we speak of the "realization" of an idea or plan; but a mental representation of something is not the thing itself.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
I just can't see types as anything else but general categories, thus only abstract universals and not abstract particulars. There's no type Dino that can apply to tokens, be them dogs or whatever. The same with Beethoven's Ninth.
It's clear what "Dino" refers to: a concrete individual object. But to what sort of thing does "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony" refer? My answer is: to a fictional abstract object. It's not the name of any real concrete object (or event such as a performance of BNS).
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
I agree, but the point was that none of this has any weight in determining the fictional nature of something. Both real and fictional things can be abstract particulars represented by concrete particulars, and they can also form abstract universals (types of real things and types of fictional things).
Types or kinds of fictional things are fictional types or kinds.
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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 6:41 pm

Consul wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 5:54 pm
But neither individual nor general concepts are universals. Of course, what makes a concept general is its multi-applicability to more than one thing. That is, you can (truly) apply your general concept of a dog not only to Dino but also to all the other dogs, but it isn't thereby a universal—especially not if your concept of a dog is a mental property or ability of yours that only you can have. (Of course, another thinker can have a semantically exactly similar concept of a dog, but semantic identity or similarity isn't numerical identity. A concept as a mental entity can belong to and be present in one mind only.)
Well, of course, those who believe that concepts are immanent universals will disagree with me. But it is unintelligible to me how (numerically) one and the same concept can be wholly present in two or more distinct minds at the same time. I generally don't understand the concept of a multilocated immanent universal.
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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 7:23 pm

Consul wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 5:54 pm
But to what sort of thing does "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony" refer? My answer is: to a fictional abstract object.
I just noticed a problem: It's intuitively plausible that there is a relevant distinction between Beethoven's 9th symphony and Beethoven's 18th symphony that is blurred by calling them both fictional. So how can the difference between them be expressed adequately?
Well, one can say that although both symphonies are fictional and thus nonexistent objects, the 9th is represented by a real score written by Beethoven, whereas the 18th is not. The score of his 18th symphony is as fictional and nonexistent as his 18th symphony itself.
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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Recommended reading:

* Kania, Andrew. "Platonism vs. Nominalism in Contemporary Musical Ontology." [PDF] In Art and Abstract Objects, edited by Christy Mag Uidhir, 197-219. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Burning ghost » January 27th, 2019, 3:38 am

Consul wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 2:12 pm
Burning ghost wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 6:04 am
So you admit fault or what? If a “concept” is not then what are you talking about?
We can meaningfully talk about nonexistent things. Anyway, I just said that I disbelieve in concepts qua abstract objects: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concepts/#ConFreSen
Burning ghost wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 6:04 am
All I was asking for was your thoughts on the grey areas.
I've answered your questions, haven't I?
I realise this is a seriously tricky topci given the inevitability of talking oast each other to some degree or another. I do find these semnatic gymnastics fascinating though.

Basically my summation is that you nlt lnly don’t “believe” in abstract objects (I am guessing you’re thinking of Plato in this respect to a point?) yet to say such a thing is essentially contrary because you are articulating a non-thing and saying it isn’t a thing. Obviously :D

Again, I do belief this is very much akin to Kant and his noumenon (positive and negative). To date I think he is the only one I’ve read that touches on this “non-thing” concept. You are in mind my, saying the same thing and delineating between abstract thought/concepts and some non-entity of abstraction ... the thign is “abstract” means taken out of so it seems that the “abstract concept” is one and the same as an “abstract object” - this is “object” in the sense of Husserlian terms (as “entity”).

It is a messy tangle of subject matter for sure. I hope there is at least part of a reply possible from to confirm if I’m mostly correct in my interpretation or mostly incorrect? I probably shound’t have picked on your wording too much in your given definition because you likely didn’t sit down for several hours swaeting at the brow trying to avoid an infinite number of problems embedded in communicating these things. :mrgreen:

Note: I do have issues myself with the vague borders between epistemology and ontology. Dig down far enough and the differences evaporate. I guess our problem is not digging too far too fast and making the whole discussion worthless. Afterall a language with obiquitous terms is no language at all!

Anyway, great discussion 10/10
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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Count Lucanor » January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm

Consul wrote:If sets/classes are (platonistically) abstract objects, they are neither mental nor mind-dependent (unless they are sets/classes of mental or mind-dependent entities).
I'm a bit confused about what your position is. Everytime you start a sentence with something like "if they're platonic objects...", you seem to be implying that platonism is relevant to the discussion and thus, somehow you endorse it, despite having said that:
Consul wrote:I believe there are only concrete objects or entities. That is, I reject ontological abstractism aka platonism = realism about abstracta.


So, platonic abstract objects should be out of the discussion. But then...
Consul wrote:For example, the set/class of volcanoes is independent of the concept <volcano>, since (providing abstract sets/classes exist) the former existed long before humans created the latter.
Volcano is just an abstract universal concept, equivalent to the set/class of volcanoes, as it refers to that which represents all volcanoes. The concept <volcano> is a generalization, the result of a mental process, and it didn't exist before real physical volcanoes.
Consul wrote:
Count Lucanor wrote:I don't understand how concepts could be anything but abstract objects (mental representations), as they surely could not be concrete ones.
A representation qua type is abstract, where qua token it is concrete.
Either something is a concrete (substantial) entity existing in the world independently of our thoughts, or a mental representation. You seem to be saying that there are concrete, substantial mental representations.
Consul wrote:If to be abstract is to be nonmental,
A non-mental thing will be a concrete substantial entity in the world. Other than mental representations and concrete entities, what else could there be?
Consul wrote: This means that when we speak of the concept C (as opposed to my or your concept C), the referent cannot be a mental representation but only a nonmental one.
But isn't the concept C, ontologically speaking, always someone's concept? Do you mean to say that concept C can exist independently of minds?
Consul wrote: In order to clarify the whole affair, we would have to discuss the ontology of concepts in greater detail in a separate thread.
I wouldn't miss it!!!
Consul wrote: An abstract particular qua object (in the narrow ontological sense) is not a universal, with universals being kinds or properties/relations.
An abstract particular qua object is a mental representation of a real concrete entity. It is this chair, this dog. The universal (either by kind, property or relation) is chair or dog, or chairness and dogness, representing the former the general type of all chairs and dogs, or the latter, all the common properties of chairs and dogs.
Consul wrote:Using your example, there's a distinction between your general concept of a dog and your individual concept of Dino. If "a concept is a way of thinking of some thing or things" (E. J. Lowe), then the concepts you have are mental properties or abilities of yours. Then, your general concept of a dog is your way of thinking (or being able to think) about dogs (as such) in general; and your individual concept of your dog Dino is your way of thinking (or being able to think) about the dog Dino (as such) in particular.
I'm aware that the idea of <concept> is fully agreed-upon, but I'm betting for the idea of concept that does not require a different realm (like Fregean senses) besides the natural realm of physical entities. So, concepts can only be mental representations (or if you like, abilities too). And instead of saying "my general concept of a dog", the appropriate phrasing would be "my particular concept of the type (universal) dog", being the type a general category of which particulars can be tokened, such as my dog Dino. Both, the abstract universal and the abstract particular, are individual concepts of mine. Later in your post you state that such thing "cannot exist as one and same thing in more than one mind" and I'll deal with that at that moment.
Consul wrote:A universal could be the property of being a dog or the kind doghood, with Dino being an instance of it.
For me, doghood relates and puts emphasis on the properties of the type dog, so doghood applies to dogs in general. Dino is an instance or token of the type dog, which implies its doghood in terms of the properties it shares with all dogs.
Consul wrote:Abstract entities or objects in the platonistic sense aren't substances, but you still seem to be confusing them with psychologically or semiologically abstract mental "ideas" or concepts.
Again, we can leave platonic entities out of the discussion. I'm taking for serious your statement that you're against Platonism.
Consul wrote: However, if there is such a concrete, mental entity as the or our (individual) concept of Beethoven's Ninth, where is it? In my mind, in your mind, or anybody else's mind? It cannot exist as one and same thing in more than one mind; so what really exists is not the or our concept of Beethoven's Ninth—which talk presupposes that there is exactly one such thing—, but many semantically identical (or at least similar), yet numerically different concepts of it in many different minds.
I reserve the adjective concrete to substantial entities. Thus, mental entities, as we had agreed before, are non-real entities. The abstract universal and the abstract particular, both mental representations, are individual concepts in individual minds. Theoretically, they are not copies and they would be unintelligible if they were not communicated, if there was no dialogue between individuals and were not created social conventions of what a thing is, what the concept of it should be. People then conceptualize accordingly, making their individual representations closely resembling each other.

Of course, there can be mental representations of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and those representations are to be considered abstractions (in this case, an abstract particular). But I insist that the Ninth is real, concrete, singular, having specific properties, located in space and time, even though it requires its execution to materialize the perception of its singular properties. It's the same for any design, composition, plan, of which its constitutive elements and relationships have been permanently established, so that if any of these are eliminated or new ones are added, they cease to be that singular entity. That they "have been permanently established" is intrinsically related, in the case of Beethoven's Ninth, to the original score and the replicas of that score, a relationship which is not that of type/token. It applies to musical works, but also to literary works, be them Harry Potter's novels or Shakespeare's plays, with the only difference that the latter carry semantic content through verbal symbols, while musical works don't.
Consul wrote:
Count Lucanor wrote:Minds themselves don't seem to be physical places where substantial things can be contained. Mind is a name for certain processes occurring in an organism.
You may substitute "brain" for "mind".
Perhaps conventionally one is often substituted by the other, but I tend to disagree with the notion of brain as the central and only locus of experience (something that advocates of the computational theory of mind and dualists find comforting), so I'd rather reserve mind to a collection of processes occurring in the organism as a whole, even though the brain plays the most important role in it.
Consul wrote:
Count Lucanor wrote:By abstract objects we should mean particular sets of processing symbolic relationships.
Sets are only one kind of abstract objects.
I'm not talking about sets of abstract objects, but about the physical, cognitive processes themselves.
Consul wrote:
Count Lucanor wrote: I'm aware of that, however a subject could use the abstract idea of something to make a real concrete object. The thing is composed theoretically in his mind before building it in practice, usually in a process that goes back and forth.
Yes, we speak of the "realization" of an idea or plan; but a mental representation of something is not the thing itself.
Never said it was. An idea "transferred" to a physical medium stops being just an abstract idea, it becomes the actual blueprint for its materialization as the thing in itself. You might say that the blueprint is not the thing in itself either, but I difer.
Consul wrote: It's clear what "Dino" refers to: a concrete individual object. But to what sort of thing does "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony" refer? My answer is: to a fictional abstract object.
My answer is: it refers to a composition, with well defined, objective particular properties, existing outside the realm of purely mental objects. We could put such composition and other instructions in a time capsule and expect it to be found by intelligent beings 3000 years from now, when all other physical and mental representations of the Ninth have expired along with our current and near-future generations. It still will be recognizable and playable as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. And of course, it could hardly be considered fictional.

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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 30th, 2019, 11:50 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 3:38 am
Basically my summation is that you nlt lnly don’t “believe” in abstract objects (I am guessing you’re thinking of Plato in this respect to a point?) yet to say such a thing is essentially contrary because you are articulating a non-thing and saying it isn’t a thing.
I have a meaningful concept of abstract objects that enables me to think and talk about them, and I can certainly think and talk about nonexistent objects without contradicting myself.
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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 30th, 2019, 3:55 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
So, platonic abstract objects should be out of the discussion. But then…
I'm saying that works of music such as symphonies are abstract types; but, as opposed to platonistic realists about abstracta, I'm an antirealist or fictionalist about them. So I must say that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony qua abstract type does not exist, being nothing but a nonexistent object of thought. Ontologically, it has the same status as Santa Claus.

I'm aware that my view appears counterintuitive, because one of its consequences is that the Ninth wasn't created by Beethoven. For to create something is to bring it into existence, and what doesn't exist has never been brought into existence by anybody.

But what did Beethoven do then when he composed his Ninth? Well, he did create something, but something different from it: auditory images (sound-images) of (a performance of) it in his mind and its score.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Volcano is just an abstract universal concept, equivalent to the set/class of volcanoes, as it refers to that which represents all volcanoes. The concept <volcano> is a generalization, the result of a mental process, and it didn't exist before real physical volcanoes.
The set/class of volcanoes is the extension of the concept <volcano>; but platonists about sets/classes think the former exists independently of the latter, because sets/classes don't depend for their being on being concept-extensions. So the set of volcanoes existed long before the human concept of a volcano was created.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Consul wrote:A representation qua type is abstract, where qua token it is concrete.
Either something is a concrete (substantial) entity existing in the world independently of our thoughts, or a mental representation. You seem to be saying that there are concrete, substantial mental representations.
Tokens of mental representations are concrete, but they are not substantial in the sense of being substances.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Consul wrote:If to be abstract is to be nonmental,
A non-mental thing will be a concrete substantial entity in the world. Other than mental representations and concrete entities, what else could there be?
All mental or physical things (and also all mentally or physically reducible social or cultural things) are concrete.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
But isn't the concept C, ontologically speaking, always someone's concept? Do you mean to say that concept C can exist independently of minds?
I think the concept C doesn't exist at all, because concepts as ways of thinking of things don't exist absolutely but relatively to persons/subjects. My concept of a dog and yours may be semantically identical, so we may be thinking of dogs (as such) in the same way; but they are not numerically identical, because my dog-concept is part of my mind and yours is part of your mind.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
An abstract particular qua object is a mental representation of a real concrete entity. It is this chair, this dog. The universal (either by kind, property or relation) is chair or dog, or chairness and dogness, representing the former the general type of all chairs and dogs, or the latter, all the common properties of chairs and dogs.
As Jonathan Lowe would put it: This chair and this dog are "primary substances", and they are instances of the "secondary substance" or substantial universal (kind-universal) chairhood or doghood. That is, every chair instantiates the kind chair and every dog instantiates the kind dog. These kinds are respectively characterized by a set of attributes (properties) which are exemplified by all chairs or dogs.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
I'm aware that the idea of <concept> is fully agreed-upon, but I'm betting for the idea of concept that does not require a different realm (like Fregean senses) besides the natural realm of physical entities. So, concepts can only be mental representations (or if you like, abilities too). And instead of saying "my general concept of a dog", the appropriate phrasing would be "my particular concept of the type (universal) dog", being the type a general category of which particulars can be tokened, such as my dog Dino. Both, the abstract universal and the abstract particular, are individual concepts of mine. Later in your post you state that such thing "cannot exist as one and same thing in more than one mind" and I'll deal with that at that moment.
Immanent universals are said to be capable of being wholly present at different places at the same time.

If concepts are mental representations, are they conscious ones or nonconscious ones? If the former, they are mental images or mental words; but if the latter, it is not clear what they are. Words in a nonconscious "language of thought"? But there is no empirical evidence for such a nonconscious system of mental representation in the brain.

I think nonconscious concepts are nothing but (neural) dispositions to consciously think about something in some way. My concept of a dog enables me to think about dogs (as such) and it disposes me think about them in some way.

Again, I think the universal-instance relation is different from the type-token relation.

Realists about universals think that kinds and properties are different from concepts. The kind dog and the/my/your concept <dog> are different things, with the former being independent of the latter.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Consul wrote:A universal could be the property of being a dog or the kind doghood, with Dino being an instance of it.
For me, doghood relates and puts emphasis on the properties of the type dog, so doghood applies to dogs in general. Dino is an instance or token of the type dog, which implies its doghood in terms of the properties it shares with all dogs.
As Jonathan Lowe would put it: Dino instantiates doghood (qua kind), and doghood is characterized by a set of properties that are exemplified by Dino. Generally, for an object to instantiate a kind is for it to exemplify the kind-characterizing properties.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
I reserve the adjective concrete to substantial entities.
What exactly do you mean by "substantial entities"? Things, objects, substances? But concrete entities can belong to other ontological categories as well, e.g. properties and events.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Thus, mental entities, as we had agreed before, are non-real entities.
If being real includes being mind-independent, then, of course, mental entities aren't real; but if it simply means existing, then they are real.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
The abstract universal and the abstract particular, both mental representations, are individual concepts in individual minds.
An individual concept is a concept of one individual object or person (only); and to call it individual is not to say that it isn't socially shareable like a universal, but merely that it isn't applicable to more than one object or person. There can be a difference between the/our individual concept of Napoleon and my/your individual concept of him.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Theoretically, they are not copies and they would be unintelligible if they were not communicated, if there was no dialogue between individuals and were not created social conventions of what a thing is, what the concept of it should be. People then conceptualize accordingly, making their individual representations closely resembling each other.
Intersubjective communication is possible thanks to a public language, so semantic comparisons of my concepts and your ones are possible. I can tell you how I think about dogs or what I think dogs are, and you can tell me how you think about dogs or what you think dogs are, and then we can compare our respective ways of thinking of them.

I said numerically different concepts can be semantically identical, which is to say that they can have the same meaning. This sounds as if, as opposed to concepts themselves, their meanings are literally shareable like universals. But I think such ways of speaking can be ontologically interpreted in a way that requires no platonist reification of meanings.

(If concepts don't have but are abstract meanings or senses, the things having them are predicates—in the broad logical sense of the term, i.e. including more than adjectives.)
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Of course, there can be mental representations of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and those representations are to be considered abstractions (in this case, an abstract particular). But I insist that the Ninth is real, concrete, singular, having specific properties, located in space and time, even though it requires its execution to materialize the perception of its singular properties. It's the same for any design, composition, plan, of which its constitutive elements and relationships have been permanently established, so that if any of these are eliminated or new ones are added, they cease to be that singular entity. That they "have been permanently established" is intrinsically related, in the case of Beethoven's Ninth, to the original score and the replicas of that score, a relationship which is not that of type/token. It applies to musical works, but also to literary works, be them Harry Potter's novels or Shakespeare's plays, with the only difference that the latter carry semantic content through verbal symbols, while musical works don't.
All concrete, mental or physical candidates for the referent of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" or Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony" turn out to be unfit for the job. No performance of Hamlet is Hamlet, and no performance of the Ninth is the Ninth. So I think the relationship between Hamlet or the Ninth and its performances, which are located in space and time, is best described in terms of the type-token distinction.

"In what follows, I shall motivate, elaborate, and defend one particular theory concerning the ontological nature of works of music: what I shall call the simple view. This account comprises two theses, constituting answers to the categorial question and the individuation question respectively. Its answer to the categorial question is the type/token theory. This states that a musical work is a type whose tokens are datable, locatable patterns of sounds: sound-sequence-events, in other words. More specifically, such a work is a norm-type (i.e. a type that admits of properly and improperly formed tokens); and its tokens can include performances and playings of it, but also sound-sequence-events brought about in ways other than by the actions of sentient beings. The simple view’s second constituent thesis—its account of musical works’ identity conditions—is what may be termed sonicism. Characterized informally, sonicism states that musical works are types of sound-sequence-event ‘pure and simple’ (…): that is, that they are entities individuated purely in terms of how they sound.. According to the sonicist, all that is required for W and W* to be one and the same work of music is that they be acoustically indistinguishable; hence it is possible for one and the same work to be composed by multiple composers at different times, and by means of the production of scores that specify different instrumentation (as long as this difference does not make for a difference in sound). More precisely, the sonicist claims that W and W* are numerically identical works of music if and only if they have the same acoustic properties normative within them: that is, if and only if how W should sound is identical to how W* should sound."

(Dodd, Julian. Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. pp. 1-2)
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Consul wrote:Sets are only one kind of abstract objects.
I'm not talking about sets of abstract objects, but about the physical, cognitive processes themselves.
I wasn't talking about sets OF abstracta but about sets AS abstracta.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 7:49 pm
Consul wrote:It's clear what "Dino" refers to: a concrete individual object. But to what sort of thing does "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony" refer? My answer is: to a fictional abstract object.
My answer is: it refers to a composition, with well defined, objective particular properties, existing outside the realm of purely mental objects. We could put such composition and other instructions in a time capsule and expect it to be found by intelligent beings 3000 years from now, when all other physical and mental representations of the Ninth have expired along with our current and near-future generations. It still will be recognizable and playable as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. And of course, it could hardly be considered fictional.
What exactly do you mean by "composition"? Of course, you can send a physical copy of the Ninth's score or a physical recording of a performance of it into space; but if you do, you're not thereby sending the Ninth itself into space.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Burning ghost » January 31st, 2019, 1:27 am

Consul -

I’ve been reading your reply above to Count and find it difficult to know what you’re talking about. I think it would be helpful to lay out what you mean by the terms and context in which you’re using them. It seems that you’re saying that the mental is concrete and that there are items of mental cognition that don’t “exist” yet you say all mental content is essentially “concrete” (removed by larger or smaller degrees).

As for universal concepts there are plenty that exist in a near identical state for everyone (ie. The number “five” or the word “or”), which Husserl outlined well enough - although I admit that every singular human being has a unique lexicon relating to a unique body of experience. The idea of a universal concept holds because such universals are put to use and set up the grounds for logic which are put to use and play out relating to our experience of the natural world.

Anyway, I don’t think you’ve made a clear enough explanation of what you mean by “exist,” “object” or “concrete”. Again, I asked for clarification in regards to Kantian “noumenon” in the positive and/or negative sense. That would clear things up quickly enough if you’ve read his work. The problem is we can talk about “concrete” in more than one way, and “object” to many people necessarily means “physical” yet to others is used to describe a “thought” (that is not to say “thought” isn’t physical - which leads into a circularity on your part if you catagorise everything as physical/concrete). Do you understand the difficulty I am having with the lack of differentiation here regarding how these commonplace words overlap? The same goes for “exist” as Santa exists in a story, and many things/objects/concepts/items “exist” in quite different senses of the word “exist” ... so what do you mean by these words, what can you seriously say about a “non-existent object” if you are able to refer to it by way of a concept that by your own seeming definition refutes it’s own proposition of “non-existent” by being able to refer to said “item”? Afterall if you comprehend this as a mental concept - which you must to talk of it - then you’re also aware that it is necessarily connected to physical reality and therefore “existent” rather than not. Santa afterall does represent a whole scheme of different emotive items as well as having a physical symbolic presence in both history, society, culture and subjectively within a family unit - we know of the historical figure Santa extended from and the commercial aspects regarding the red colour due to coke-cola.

None of this is to say I am siding with some form of absolutism or against what you’re trying to say because I don’t really understand what our position is because I don’t understand how you’re using the terms you use and giving selective quotes from others doesn’t help me understand the manner in which you understand the words of others.

Thanks
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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » February 1st, 2019, 4:54 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
January 31st, 2019, 1:27 am
I’ve been reading your reply above to Count and find it difficult to know what you’re talking about. I think it would be helpful to lay out what you mean by the terms and context in which you’re using them. It seems that you’re saying that the mental is concrete and that there are items of mental cognition that don’t “exist” yet you say all mental content is essentially “concrete” (removed by larger or smaller degrees).
You certainly cannot cognize or perceive what doesn't exist. There is no (positive) knowledge of nonexistent objects, but only knowledge of our thoughts or ways of thinking about them, of how we represent them to be, i.e. of our concepts or "ideas" of them. And this is at most counterfactual knowledge of how the represented nonexistents would be if they existed.

Yes, the mental is concrete, i.e. all items of mentality or mental contents (sensations, emotions, thoughts, mental images, propositional attitudes such as belief and desire) and also all subjects of mentality (be they bodies or souls) are concrete entities.
Burning ghost wrote:
January 31st, 2019, 1:27 am
As for universal concepts there are plenty that exist in a near identical state for everyone (ie. The number “five” or the word “or”),…
What do the words "five" and "or" stand for?

I'd say the phrase "the number 5" refers to an (abstract) object and not to a property; but you can say that "five" stands for the concept of "fivehood" or the (collective) property of being five (things), for the concept of a pentad or the property of being a pentad, i.e. a group or set of five things, for the concept of pentamerousness or the property of being pentamerous, i.e. having five parts, or for a set's cardinality, i.e. the property of having five members.

You can say that "or" stands for the concept of disjunction.
Burning ghost wrote:
January 31st, 2019, 1:27 am
Anyway, I don’t think you’ve made a clear enough explanation of what you mean by “exist,” “object” or “concrete”. Again, I asked for clarification in regards to Kantian “noumenon” in the positive and/or negative sense. That would clear things up quickly enough if you’ve read his work.
Ontologically, I reject Kant's idealistic division of reality into (empirical) phenomena (appearances) and noumena (things in themselves), the latter of which are absolutely transcendent (according to Kant) in the sense of not being possible objects of conception, perception, and cognition.

Metaontologically, I'm not a Kantian conceptualist but an Aristotelian realist.

"Aristotle was a categorial realist whereas Kant was a categorial conceptualist. A categorial realist is someone who takes the categories, which he seeks to describe, as marking real kinds to be found in the things which collectively make up reality, and so takes categorial description as indistinguishable from (or at least an important part of) the grand traditional task of metaphysics. For the categorial conceptualist, the task is to describe the fundamental features of our conceptual scheme, of our thought and talk about reality, with no assumption made about the way reality exists independently of that manner of thinking and talking."

(Carr, Brian. Metaphysics: An Introduction. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1987. p. 6)
Burning ghost wrote:
January 31st, 2019, 1:27 am
The problem is we can talk about “concrete” in more than one way, and “object” to many people necessarily means “physical” yet to others is used to describe a “thought” (that is not to say “thought” isn’t physical - which leads into a circularity on your part if you catagorise everything as physical/concrete). Do you understand the difficulty I am having with the lack of differentiation here regarding how these commonplace words overlap? The same goes for “exist” as Santa exists in a story, and many things/objects/concepts/items “exist” in quite different senses of the word “exist” ... so what do you mean by these words, what can you seriously say about a “non-existent object” if you are able to refer to it by way of a concept that by your own seeming definition refutes it’s own proposition of “non-existent” by being able to refer to said “item”? Afterall if you comprehend this as a mental concept - which you must to talk of it - then you’re also aware that it is necessarily connected to physical reality and therefore “existent” rather than not. Santa afterall does represent a whole scheme of different emotive items as well as having a physical symbolic presence in both history, society, culture and subjectively within a family unit - we know of the historical figure Santa extended from and the commercial aspects regarding the red colour due to coke-cola.

None of this is to say I am siding with some form of absolutism or against what you’re trying to say because I don’t really understand what our position is because I don’t understand how you’re using the terms you use and giving selective quotes from others doesn’t help me understand the manner in which you understand the words of others.
* As for the concept of (ontological) concreteness, Colin McGinn writes that…

"'[A]bstract' is little more than a label reserved for what is agreed to be neither mental nor physical."

(McGinn, Colin. Logical Properties: Identity, existence, Predication, Necessity, Truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2000. p 13)

So, put simply, a concrete entity is one which is mental or physical (inclusive "or"—not either mental or physical—, since the mental may be physical or physically reducible itself), or mentally or physically reducible (such as social entities: institutions and organizations).

Note that abstract entities are also causally impotent, i.e. epiphenomenal, by definition; but concrete entities are not causally potent, i.e. non-epiphenomenal, by definition, since mental entities are epiphenomenal according to psychological epiphenomenalism.

* As for the concept of existence, I agree with Jonathan Lowe (and many others) that…

"'[E]xist(s)' is a first-level formal predicate which is primitive and indefinable."

(Lowe, E. Jonathan. "There are (Probably) No Relations." In The Metaphysics of Relations, edited by Anna Marmodoro and David Yates, 100-112. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. p. 102)

I think that existence is the same as being, that—pace Alexius Meinong—the distinction between existence and subsistence (as allegedly different "modes of being") is purely verbal, and that "exist(ence)" is univocal, i.e. it doesn't have different meanings/senses.

It's ontologically awkward to say that "Santa exists in a story" (or "Santa Claus exists as an idea in people's minds") or that he has "a physical symbolic presence in both history, society, culture and subjectively within a family unit." For the presence of a cultural representation (picture, story, movie, costume) of Santa Claus is not the presence of Santa Claus (himself), since he is absent from reality, being nothing but a fictional person. And what exists only according to some fictional story doesn't exist at all. "Fictional existence" isn't a kind of existence but pseudo-/non-existence.

All fictional objects or persons are nothing but intentional objects of thought. We can meaningfully think and talk about them by virtue of our cultural concepts, ideas, or images of them. We certainly cannot discover (positive) facts about nonexistent ficta themselves, but only facts about my/your/our representations of them. That is, you cannot find out how a fictional object or person really is by observing it/him/her or examining evidence for its/his/her existence, but only how it/he/she is represented to be by some person or group of persons. That is, you can discover the meaning and reference of a cultural concept(ion) of a fictum.

"There is a tendency to try to preserve some shadowy entity under the word 'Cerberus', for example, lest the word lose its meaning. If 'Cerberus' were meaningless, not only would poetry suffer, but even certain blunt statements of fact, such as that there is no such thing as Cerberus, would lapse into meaninglessness. Thus we may hear it said, e.g., that Cerberus exists as an idea in the mind. But this verbal maneuver conduces only to confusion. Of a tangible object such as the Parthenon, to change the subject for a moment, it would be wanton obscurantism to affirm a double existence: in Athens and in the mind. Far more straightforward to admit two (or many) objects: the tangible Parthenon in Athens, and the Parthenon-idea in the mind (or the Parthenon-ideas in many minds). 'Parthenon' names the Parthenon and only the Parthenon, whereas 'the Parthenon-idea' names the Parthenon-idea. Similarly not 'Cerberus', but 'the Cerberus-idea', names the Cerberus-idea; whereas 'Cerberus', as it happens, names nothing."

(Quine, W. V. Methods of Logic. 4th ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982. pp. 263-4)

…or it does name something, but something nonexistent.
Of course, reference to something nonexistent is a purely intentional, "unilateral" relation.

* As for the narrow ontological concept of an object, it is different from the concept of an intentional object, i.e. an object of an intentional mental state or a mental representation (perception, imagination, thought). An intentional object or object of thought is simply whatever the thought is about or refers to, and this needn't be an object in the narrow ontological sense. For example, attributes and events are objects of thoughts as well.

So I distinguish between intentional objects (which are always objects relative to some intentional or representational mental state) and existential objects (which can but needn't be intentional objects).

An existential object is a thing, and as such it is a possessor ("instantiator") of first-order attributes ("property-bearer of order zero" – E. J. Lowe) (* and a substratum, i.e. the substrate, or substantive or "subjectival" (** constituent of occurrences (states (of affairs), facts, events (changes), processes). All substances are objects thus defined, but not all objects are substances. (For example, all substances are concrete objects.)
(* as opposed to an attribute as a possessor of higher-order attributes)
(** not to be confused with epistemically or ontically "subjective")
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » February 1st, 2019, 6:00 pm

Consul wrote:
February 1st, 2019, 4:54 pm
An existential object is a thing, and as such it is a possessor ("instantiator") of first-order attributes ("property-bearer of order zero" – E. J. Lowe) (* and a substratum, i.e. the substrate, or substantive or "subjectival" (** constituent of occurrences (states (of affairs), facts, events (changes), processes). All substances are objects thus defined, but not all objects are substances. (For example, all substances are concrete objects.)
(* as opposed to an attribute as a possessor of higher-order attributes)
(** not to be confused with epistemically or ontically "subjective")
If one wants to distinguish objects or things (e.g. cats, trees) from mere materials or stuffs (e.g. water, iron), one can add that the former are countable, satisfying count nouns or sortal concepts.

By the way, most ontologists think that masses of stuff are reducible to aggregates or collections of things. For example, a mass of water is a collection of H2O molecules, with molecules (and atoms and elementary particles) being things. (Whether these are irreducible objects or ones reducible to "bundles of properties" is another ontological question.)

See: The Metaphysics of Mass Expressions
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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