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Elder Wieland Analysis

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Since every thing would appear to be either a subject in the relevant sense or not, this divide would appear to exhaustively and exclusively classify reality. On the second divide, the relevant objectual category is object of experience , or what is experienced see entry on the contents of perception. You—a subject—plunge your hand into a bucket of ice water. You feel just how cold the water—the object of your experience—is. As Bliss puts things:.

The subject is that to which objects appear, have appeared, or may appear… The object, existing external to and independent of subjects, may appear to any subject that is so qualified and so related as to apprehend it. One question to ask about the category of object is to ask what falls under it—what is in its extension? This is the Extension Question. The extension of some categories is obvious.

The extension of the category electron is all the electrons and no non-electrons. The extension of the category number is all and only the numbers. The extension of the category composite things is all and only the things that have proper parts. Some of those questions involve the question of whether certain things are in the extension of the category, e. Is a fetus in the extension of the category person? Some questions concern the nature of the things falling under the category. The extension of the category book includes all and only the books. Does it include ebooks? Does it include some particular and well-loved copy of Material Beings , with its stained pages and cover, or the abstract type of which this particular copy is a token?

Answering the Extension Question leaves many other questions unsettled, one of which is the nature of the things that are in the extension. But knowing which things are in the extension is a good start toward figuring out their nature. So, one important question to ask of the category object is which things are in its extension. This question will admit a variety of answers. And depending on whether there is a contrast class, it will have a variety of interpretations. If object has no contrast class and every thing is in its extension—if both the metaphysical and semantic theses of the Umbrella View are correct—then the question of the extension of object is equivalent to the ontological question see below.

If object has a contrast class—if at least one of the metaphysical and semantic theses of the Umbrella View is false—then the question of the extension of object is not equivalent to the ontological question. This is one consequence of the Umbrella View. But it might turn out that every thing is an object, even if not by definition. A physicalism according to which every thing is a material object, for example, would appear to entail that every thing is an object. The point is this: on at least the Umbrella View, answering the ontological question is closely related, if not identical, to answering the Extension Question. We will therefore briefly survey several highly abstract answers to the ontological question, with the understanding that many will think that by giving such an answer, they are thereby answering the Extension Question.

However, it has been defended several times over. They suggest three theories on which there are no objects. The first that there are just stuffs everywhere, but no objects. The second that there is just one big mass of stuff. This last option is what Hawthorne and Cortens defend. In short, the nihilist turns every putative noun into an adverb, making judicious use of spatial, temporal, and numerical adverbs too. With this in mind, we demand the following of our Ontological Nihilist: give us a systematic recipe for taking any sentence of a first-order language with predicates assumed to be predicates of our best science and cooking up the ontologically innocent claim it was supposed to be getting at all along.

These strategies by which to eliminate object-talk suggest a defensive move available to nihilists: paraphrase apparently true sentences that appear to require objects into sentences that do not. Such a strategy may neutralize objections to nihilism. But another question remains; is there reason to affirm nihilism in the first place? More precisely, he thinks that every physical theory considered over the past years entails that objects are physically redundant and empirically undetectable. And given two theories—the only difference between the two being that one posits physically redundant and empirically undetectable things—we should prefer the one that does not.

But what do the variables range over in those sentences? Dasgupta uses a version of predicate functorese, which replaces individuals with predicates and a defined adicity. In systematically doing this for all sentences, we can do away with all reference to objects, replacing them with general states of affairs. And since individuals are physically redundant and empirically undetectable, this is a good thing.

It has different properties at different regions and 8. So, only one object—the world—exists. One compelling argument against existence monism takes a Moorean shape. Russell [ 36] says,. I share the common-sense belief that there are many separate things; I do not regard the apparent multiplicity of the world as consisting merely in phases and unreal divisions of a single indivisible Reality. If the multiplicity of things is really this obvious, the point may be extended: the rejection of one of the premises of any valid argument that has as a conclusion that there is only one concrete object will always be more plausible than accepting the conclusion. Existence pluralism is the view that there is more than one thing.

Certainly existence pluralism is the standard view—even among metaphysicians. Indeed, most people think that there are a great many things. The conjunction of the Umbrella View and existence pluralism entails that there is more than one object. But if one thinks there are a great many things, one might also think that they are not all objects. One exception is nominalism; or at least, one version of nominalism is an exception.

Although nominalism is widely discussed in ontology, precisely what the view is differs. Some say that nominalism is the view that there are no abstracta or universals. But not because she holds the Umbrella View. And so she might pursue the ontological question and the Extension Question separately. There are other views of what there is that are less general than existence nihilism, existence monism, existence pluralism, or nominalism. For example, possibilism is the view that there are merely possible objects see section on possibilist realism in the entry on possible objects. Mereological universalism says that whenever you have two or more things, there is an object composed of all and only those things see section on permissivism in entry on ordinary objects.

Perdurantism says that objects are composed of temporal parts—at each time at which an object exists, there is an instantaneous object composed of all its parts at that time and is a part of it at that time, so those objects ought to be in the extension of the answer to the ontological question see entry on temporal parts. Meinongianism says that there are non-existent objects, so they would include those objects in the extension of the answer to the ontological question see entry on nonexistent objects. These views are partial answers to the ontological question. So the Extension Question may turn out to have a different answer than the ontological question.

What, then, does the Extension Question amount to? Presumably one who denies the Umbrella View thinks that there are objects, and non-objects. Put another way, her answer to the ontological question includes objects and other things. For her, the Extension Question is the following: of all the things there are, which ones are the objects? Another way of dividing the objects from the non-objects is not by first answering the ontological question and then picking out the objects from all the things, or by answering the Contrast Question and then placing things into either object or its contrast class.

Rather, one could simply start with the Extension Question—one could start by listing the obvious and ordinary candidates for the office of object see entry on ordinary objects. A common way to start would be by listing the things we ordinarily take to be objects in our pre-philosophical approach to the world. These things are nameable, identifiable, stable, and persist through time. Examples include bees, erasers, pillows, and boats. Two thoughts arise. First, such an answer to the Extension Question leads to many puzzles and problems.

Second, simply listing all the things is pretty dissatisfying as an answer to the Extension Question. Better to give a general answer and then see what it entails—in particular, what entailments it has for the Extension Question. What follows is one method for giving a general answer to what objects there are. Most who have considered the Extension Question probably think there are such objects as photons, electrons, quarks and other things that science deals with—the fundamental physical particles.

And those things seem to make up other things, like atoms, molecules, elements, cells, and so on up the size chain to medium-sized dry goods, large buildings, mountains, and planets. So it seems that things are often composed of other things. But under what conditions does composition occur? Here are some candidate answers to the SCQ. What objects are there? Mereological Nihilism says that there are just the x s, and no other objects. And so on for other answers. Thus far we have asked two questions of object : i what, if any, is its contrast? These questions might also be phrased as the questions of what non-objects there are and of what objects there are. We turn now to our final question: iii supposing there are objects, what are they like?

What is their nature? One way to specify the nature of a category is to note the theoretical role it plays or the role played by items within it. This is to say what items within the category do. Another is to give a real definition of the category or the items within it , where a real definition attempts to identify the real essence of the members of the category. This is to say what items of within category are see entries on theoretical terms in science and Locke on real essence and the section on real and nominal definitions in the entry on definitions. In this section, we will consider attempts to state the nature of objects. As with our treatment of the Contrast Question, our discussion will elide some terminological details.

Instead of treating only theories of the nature of objects phrased in precisely those terms, we will canvas several attempts to state the nature of nearby categories as well—most notably substance and particular —treating them as giving a theory of the nature of objects. One way to explain a thing or category is to mark out what it does—its role. Since object is, on any view at all, a highly abstract and general category, the relevant role by which object might be defined must itself be highly abstract and general. First, various linguistic items, it seems, denote or refer. Reflection on these platitudes brings to the fore a role that we might call being an object of reference or perhaps some related modal notion such as possibly being an object of reference or being eligible for reference.

Reflection on these platitudes brings to the fore a role we might call being quantified over , or perhaps some related modal notion such as possibly being quantified over or being a candidate for being quantified over. Third, some thoughts are, it seems, about things. The thought that Aristotle was a philosopher is at least in part about a certain person—Aristotle. The thought that doing metaphysics is a fine pastime is at least in part about a certain activity. And the thought that Platonism is sensible is at least in part about a certain philosophical theory. Reflection on these platitudes brings to the fore a role we might call being an object of thought or being thought of , or perhaps some related modal notion such as being possibly thought of.

These three examples isolate highly abstract or general roles—being an object of reference, being quantified over, or being thought of. These roles are specified, as it were, by form rather than content; the roles alone impose very few limitations or requirements on the kinds of things that fill them. Plausibly, for example, both concrete material objects and abstract propositions alike might satisfy any of these roles.

And each role suggests, in turn, a theory of what objects are: i to be an object just is to be a referent, ii to be an object just is to be quantified over, and iii to be an object just is to be an object of thought. Everything is a thing. These role-theoretic specifications of what it is to be an object will have consequences with respect to the Extension Question and the Contrast Question. If literally every thing at all is eligible for reference or quantification or thought, for example, then literally every thing would be an object, a thesis in line with the Umbrella View.

If, on the other hand, some items are not eligible for reference or quantification or thought, then such items would fall under non-object , and the category object would turn out to have a contrast or complement. Similarly, if , say, both concrete material objects, abstract propositions are eligible for reference or quantification or thought, then items of both sorts would fall under the extension of object. One way of giving the intrinsic nature of a thing is by giving a real definition. Says Dasgupta , a real definition is:. Or, equivalently, one is stating its essence or nature… One says what it is to be that thing; the real definition of x might be put: to be x is to be y.

Or the real definition of a category F : to be an F is to be a G. In any case, the task at hand is not to write a section about what it is to be a real definition, but rather how the notion relates to object. If one thinks real definitions best get at the nature of things, and one is interested in stating the nature of object or of objects, there are two options. A real definition demands more. It may be that the contrast class property , say is a natural class, but object is not. Ontologies—roughly, abstract and systematic catalogues of the kinds of things there are—divide on the question of how objects relate to their properties. On constituent ontologies, properties are parts or constituents or components of the objects that have them or that they characterize see entry on mereology.

So on constituent ontologies, a tall tree has tall, somehow, as a part or constituent or component. On relational ontologies, properties are not in any sense parts or constituents or components of the objects that have them or that they characterize. We will canvas three theories of objects that draw from constituent ontologies, and then describe a relational alternative. Constituent ontologists agree that objects have properties or property-like items as constituents or parts. They disagree, however, over whether objects have additional non-property-like items as constituents or parts and over how the constituents or parts of objects are related.

According to the bundle theory, objects are bundles of properties. Different theories of properties will make for different versions of the bundle theory. The most common theories of properties for bundle theorists to hold are trope theory see entry on tropes and immanent universals. On the immanent universal version of the bundle theory, objects are bundles of universals, and those universals are located in space and time. When some universals are in the same place and at the same time and perhaps when some other condition is satisfied that there is an object that is the bundle of those universals.

For some bundle theorists, not just any group of immanent universals forms a bundle. On the trope version of the bundle theory, objects are bundles of tropes. Like the immanent universal version, not just any collection of tropes forms a bundle which is an object; the tropes have to be compresent. The compresence relation is taken to be primitive. The bundle theory is a theory about objects according to which objects are composed of items of a different kind or category namely, properties.

The bundle theory also suggests this broad answer to the Extension Question: whenever there is a bundle of coinstantiated universals or, alternatively, compresent tropes , there is an object. The extension of object includes all and only the bundles, and what bundles there are is determined by which immanent universals or tropes stand in the coinstantiation or compresence relation. Like the bundle theory, bare particularism maintains that objects have their properties as constituents. Bare particularism, then, is the conjunction of two theses. First, every object has at least two kinds of constituents: its properties and its bare particular.

Second, every object has its properties by having as constituents properties that are instantiated by another of its constituents: its bare particular. Bare particulars play two important roles in the theory at hand. First, they are the subjects of properties or the items to which the properties are attached by instantiation or exemplification. Thus Alston:. We must ask concerning any situation involving this relation e. One of them is a universal. What is the other? It will obviously not do to reply—a grum defined as an instance of [greenness] ; for this would amount to saying that the relatum in question is that which stands in the instancing relation to [Greenness]; true enough but hardly enlightening.

It still leaves open the question—what is it that stands in the instancing relation to [Greenness]? Once we see the need for supplying an entity to which the universal involved bears the relation of being exemplified, we can see that only a bare particular would do the job. Second, bare particulars individuate. Consider two objects that are exactly alike in relevant respects they are both royal blue, weigh 1kg, and so on ; what could make them two and not one? What might explain their distinctness? Since they are exactly alike in relevant respects no appeal to differences in their property-like constituents being royal blue, weighing 1 kg, and so on would seem to do the trick. So, the bare particularists maintain, there must be non-property-like constituents by virtue of which they are distinct.

According to hylomorphism , objects consist of matter and form see entry on form vs. Objects are comprised of various parts: electrons and upquarks, for example. In addition to these ordinary material parts, objects have rather special components or constituents— forms —property-like items that inform the matter of their host substance. Forms give objects structure and shape and are what make each object the kind of thing it is. Forms account for the character or nature of objects; they are property-like in that respect. Socrates, for example, is a human animal comprising form and matter; and Socrates is a human animal because he has a certain form as a constituent. Hylomorphism may be thought of as a special case of or variation on the bare particular view.

For on hylomorphism, an object has both a property-like constituent in this case, form that bears a special tie to non-property-like constituents in this case, matter. We turn now to relational ontologies. Constituent ontologies, recall, have it that objects have properties as parts or constituents. Relational ontologies accept that the extension of both object and property is not empty [ 30 ] —but for them, no object has any property as a part or constituent. Objects are, one might say with Armstrong, blobs 76— In contrast to the constituent ontologies surveyed above, relational ontologies posit no internal structure to objects beyond ordinary mereological structure. Objects are not layer-cakes of thin particulars and properties or layer-cakes of matter and form ; they are blobs instead.

Put this way, the blob view of objects has only negative content; it tells us what objects are not. It offers, then, a partial account of the nature of objects, and thus invites supplementation. We will now consider two relational ontologies and their implications for the theory of objects. The Platonist view of properties is that they are transcendent universals. They exist independently, and are outside of space and time, unchanging, and causally inert. Clearly such things cannot be parts of ordinary material objects which are inside space and time, change, and participate in causal chains. But objects still are red, large, heavy, and the like—and this in virtue of standing in some relation to the transcendent universals.

That relation is usually called exemplification or instantiation , and it is taken as primitive. But, importantly, it is external —objects are related to things outside of themselves—whereas the relation between object and property on constituent ontologies is internal. So, while Platonism is primarily a view about the nature of properties, it has implications for the nature of objects. As Armstrong puts the point:. It is interesting to notice that a separate-realm theory of universals permits of a blob as opposed to a layer-cake view of particulars.

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