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Mereological nihilism
Posted: 16 June 2010 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]
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StephenLawrence - 16 June 2010 06:58 AM

Well that’s the funny thing, to me it looks like it’s obviously correct in a way.

Just the simple fact that I observe myriad thins around me, including our discussion, shows that MN is incorrect. What it at most shows is that we do not understand in any reasonable way why things exist at all (why is there something, rather than nothing?). But that things exist is clear.

StephenLawrence - 16 June 2010 06:58 AM

The thing is it seems these rules can’t be out there objectively in the universe. All that is out there is the parts. It seems we must make the rules up.

Can you show me the exact place where the shoulder ends, and your arm begins? Does it follow that your arm does not exist at all?

The only kind of rule in this respect is how we match our language on reality (what is a heap?), but not that things exist or not.

GdB

PS German wheat beer exists. You obviously enjoyed it. Did this beer not exist? And your enjoyance? (Is that english?).

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“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

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Posted: 17 June 2010 02:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]
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GdB - 16 June 2010 11:30 PM

Can you show me the exact place where the shoulder ends, and your arm begins? Does it follow that your arm does not exist at all?

I’m on the fence (again) but if I had to bet I think I’d say the answer is yes, it does follow that my arm does not exist.

The arm does not exist without a boundary. Philosphers have come up with the idea of vague boundary conditions because we can’t find precise ones.

But why on earth believe in objective boundaries at all vague or not?  There are no boundaries, just basic building blocks arranged in different patterns.

Stephen

[ Edited: 17 June 2010 02:05 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 17 June 2010 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]
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GdB - 16 June 2010 11:30 PM

The only kind of rule in this respect is how we match our language on reality (what is a heap?), but not that things exist or not.

 

I gave the example of me holding a door handle. Why didn’t an entity, a door/stephen appear? The reason is the parts were not joined in the right way.  Or perhaps some other reason? Whatever, it would seem rule based and subjective.

Stephen

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Posted: 18 June 2010 04:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]
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StephenLawrence - 17 June 2010 02:02 AM

I’m on the fence (again) but if I had to bet I think I’d say the answer is yes, it does follow that my arm does not exist.

The arm does not exist without a boundary. Philosphers have come up with the idea of vague boundary conditions because we can’t find precise ones.

But why on earth believe in objective boundaries at all vague or not?  There are no boundaries, just basic building blocks arranged in different patterns.

Stephen,

You are hypnotised by language. Just because our concepts do not fit precise on what we observe in reality, does not mean that nothing exists in reality. When there is no precise boundary between Switzerland and Germany does not mean that both do not exist! I know very well that Zürich is in Switzerland, and Berlin in Germany.

I seems, when you allow me this jest, that you think reality is less real then it is, and possible worlds more real then they are…

Heaps exist. Sand corns too. What is the fuzz?

Something to think about:

5.64 Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the reality coordinated with it.

Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

GdB

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Posted: 19 June 2010 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]
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Stephen,

Here is a paper by J. R. G. Williams on Illusions of Gunk

The purpose of the paper is to deny the possibility of gunk and defend MN. From the section on the impossibility defence:

Illusions If scenario w is conceivable, then either it is possible, or there is some genuinely possible world w’ that is generating the illusion that w is possible.

Emergence nihilism:

To describe the actual world as the emergence-nihilist takes it to be, start by describing the
actual world as a non-nihilist takes it to be. There is my body, which has arms and legs as parts,
which in turn have respectively fingers and toes as parts. Ultimately, we have micro-particles such as quarks: the ultimate, simple parts of the body. Now excise from this description any mereological relations. There is my body, located in a certain place. In subregions of this place are arms and legs. In the respective sub-subregions we find fingers and toes. At the smallest sub-region at which objects are located we find quarks.

The world as the emergence-nihilist describes it appears to contain a lot of ontological junk. Her world may be extravagant in comparison to the microphysicalist nihilist: but at least hers is ‘ontological junk’ that gives the appearance of order. We can develop this thought further. There are regularities in the emergence-nihilist’s world that we can pick out and formulate: for example, wherever you find three entities each instantiating appropriate quark-level properties and bonded together, there will be, co-located with them, a bigger entity instantiating proton-hood. Indeed, the emergence-nihilist can argue that these regularities are nomologically necessary, by the lights of the laws obtaining in that world.

On the illusion of gunk:

Let us note that the emergence-nihilist can comfortably account for the world of infinite descent. On her view, there genuinely are infinitely many layers of smaller and smaller particles: it is just that each layer consists of simple objects, held in nomological relations to higher and lower levels. The world of infinite descent is not a gunk world: she rejects (1c) in the conceivability argument for the possibility of gunk.

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Posted: 19 June 2010 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]
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GdB,

I’ll add some thoughts whilst awaiting your return

GdB - 18 June 2010 04:13 AM

I seems, when you allow me this jest, that you think reality is less real then it is, and possible worlds more real then they are…

I do see the fun in this, it’s also interesting to think about it.

You believe in real boundaries in space and time. You don’t believe in such real boundaries when considering possibilities. So although you’d agree I could get taller, so no possibility boundary crossed there, you don’t believe I could become an elephant, a possibility boundary crossed there.

I suspect all boundaries must be real or unreal and think on the balance of information I have at the moment that it’s most likely that they are all unreal.

Stephen

[ Edited: 24 June 2010 01:37 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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