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Old 4th November 2012, 09:41 AM   #281
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Errr if you say so. I guess I'm not sure what else to call "I know we exist, but I'm gonna make some big show out of nitpicking the language to no end and for no purpose because it makes me feel smart and allows me to shutdown discussions."

If the nature of reality isn't really what's up for debate, I see even less purpose to these constant appeals to solipsistic nonsense.



"I feel the need to nitpick the language for no reason" doesn't mean there is something wrong with it. Through some amazing method it seems good enough for most of us.

Yes all languages, and English does tend to be bad about this, are blunt instruments where it can be hard to convey certain esoteric or nuanced concepts.

But deliberately wording things in the most confusing ways and then crowning yourself Mr. Miyagi because no one knows what the hell you are trying to say is pretentious and useless.
So, how do you feel about linguistics, number theory, computer science and the study of literature?
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Old 4th November 2012, 09:43 AM   #282
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
"Semantics" and "intentional obtuseness" not quests for clarity.
Do you mean :

1. We need semantics and intentional obtuseness instead of quests for clarity.

OR

2. This is all about semantics and intentional obtuseness instead of quests for clarity.

OR

3. We should sacrifice semantics and intentional obtuseness instead of quests for clarity.
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Old 4th November 2012, 10:34 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
concepts.

But deliberately wording things in the most confusing ways and then crowning yourself Mr. Miyagi because no one knows what the hell you are trying to say is pretentious and useless.
Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
So, how do you feel about linguistics, number theory, computer science and the study of literature?
Linguistics, number theory, computer science and the study of literature word things in confusing ways?
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Old 4th November 2012, 10:40 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Linguistics, number theory, computer science and the study of literature word things in confusing ways?
Do you mean:

1. 'Are you implying a similarity between philosophy and these subjects because linguistics, number theory, computer science and the study of literature word things in confusing ways?'

OR

2. 'Do linguistics, number theory, computer science and the study of literature word things in confusing ways?'
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:12 PM   #285
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I'm not sure if simply repeating our questions back to us is supposed to be making some sort of point, but it's not and actually sorta proving my point.

The "Obtuse Act" is another thing Naval Gazers need to stop doing.
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:21 PM   #286
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I'm not sure if simply repeating our questions back to us is supposed to be making some sort of point, but it's not and actually sorta proving my point.

The "Obtuse Act" is another thing Naval Gazers need to stop doing.
How, exactly, are we supposed to discuss anything if you won't explain your position?
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:26 PM   #287
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How are we supposed to discuss anything if every statement is going to repeated back to us?

How are we supposed to discuss anything if every discussion gets drug down to the "Are we brains in jars?" level?

How are we supposed to discuss anything if people keep acting like no statement has any meaning and can simply be reworded and asked again?

How are we supposed to discuss anything absent a concept of reality?
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:27 PM   #288
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
How are we supposed to discuss anything if every statement is going to repeated back to us?

How are we supposed to discuss anything if every discussion gets drug down to the "Are we brains in jars?" level?

How are we supposed to discuss anything if people keep acting like no statement has any meaning and can simply be reworded and asked again?

How are we supposed to discuss anything absent a concept of reality?
I asked my question first.
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:29 PM   #289
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*Sighs*

To answer your question (which I'm sure will only result in it being rewording and lobbed back at me)...

You asked:

Quote:
1. We need semantics and intentional obtuseness instead of quests for clarity.

OR

2. This is all about semantics and intentional obtuseness instead of quests for clarity.

OR

3. We should sacrifice semantics and intentional obtuseness instead of quests for clarity.
2. The answer is 2.
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:35 PM   #290
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
*Sighs*

To answer your question (which I'm sure will only result in it being rewording and lobbed back at me)...

You asked:



2. The answer is 2.
Okay.

The people on the website (i.e. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/problem-of-many/) in question are doing academic work, which tends to be very far removed from reality. I've never heard of them before I got involved in this thread, and I can't feel that they're doing this simply to look intelligent via word games.

There certainly are some people who mess around with words to try and invent 'hidden truths' (like 'dog' being 'god' backwards), but I can't feel that it's accurate to lump them together with these people. That's an over-simplification.
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:41 PM   #291
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
Strictly speaking, isn't the nihilist's point not 'I don't exist', but rather 'Language implies I don't exist'?

As such, hitting him the bat doesn't refute the point, it just indicates that if he is correct, our language isn't describing reality correctly.
It depends on the nihilist.

I as a nihilist think that all human thoughts, concepts and ideas are false by their nature. Some however are more valid than others at describing reality, they are better approximations as it were.
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:48 PM   #292
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
It depends on the nihilist.

I as a nihilist think that all human thoughts, concepts and ideas are false by their nature. Some however are more valid than others at describing reality, they are better approximations as it were.
Ah yes, I intended to refer to the nihilism being discussed on the site in question.
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Old 4th November 2012, 02:57 PM   #293
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What if the world around and inside of me turns out to be more complicated than the boxes I have to put it in? Should I eschew examining things when they become confusing to me?

Is the fault in the method or the investigator?

In some ways I envy the person for whom the obvious is obvious. In other ways, I pity them.
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Old 4th November 2012, 04:20 PM   #294
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
Ah yes, I intended to refer to the nihilism being discussed on the site in question.
No problem, mereological or meteorological metrosexual nihilism. It is confusing.

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Old 4th November 2012, 04:53 PM   #295
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The problem comes (and on this forum it comes often, almost like clockwork) when "We don't know everything to some unobtainable level of 100% absolute metaphysical certitude" is used as an across the board, de-facto copout to basically mean "We don't know anything at all, therefore I can make stuff up at random."
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Old 4th November 2012, 05:45 PM   #296
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Can the "We don't really exist" people and the "The world is an illusion" people all meet and have a convention? Ironically they will need a real meeting place to have their get-together.
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Old 4th November 2012, 08:05 PM   #297
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I wouldn't say mereological universalism refutes mereological nihilism. It merely contradicts it. Does a triangle refute a square? The article you linked to explores different postulate systems for talking about parts and collections of parts. One set of postulates, described as nihilism, asserts (basically) that no collection of parts constitutes a whole -- and by whole, we mean a valid thing that can actually be asserted. A different set of postulates, described as universalism, asserts (basically) that any collection of parts constitutes a valid thing that can actually be asserted.

The weakness of that kind of universalism is that it allows for the assertion of things that might not actually be valid to assert, and at the very least do not appear to be at all useful to assert. For instance, there must be a "thing" that consists of the pen on my desk, your nose, all of the carbon atoms that were once parts of Millard Fillmore's left leg, and the Andromeda galaxy. But can we say anything sensible about that thing? Does our assertion or appreciation of that thing have any meaning?

Essentially, the article is talking about different systems for describing things. A system for describing things is a property of the entity doing the describing, not of the thing being described. It's like having different ways of programming a computer to organize categories of data records. Just as with the question of whether or not gliders exist in the Life model universe, different methods of computing (that is, equivalently, different ways of perceiving) the phenomena will yield different answers, without affecting the real phenomena being observed at all.

Respectfully,
Myriad
How would the list of things be a single object?

I get the point that everything makes up a whole the universe, but don’t get how parts of that whole that are separated make up another whole? Take a potato chip and a TV inside are universe that are separated by 10000 miles are one thing, Can someone explain?

I think Einstein (which my knowledge is limited) that time is different in different locations so would that mean that there is separation and that everything is not one thing or am I mistaken? If time is different in different locations does that mean the universe could possible follow different rules in different areas or am I mistaken?

Are there any other ways to argue against mereological nihilism in that article?

Here is the article again http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mereology/

Try to keep your answers simple for me thanks.

Last edited by levi; 4th November 2012 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 5th November 2012, 02:46 AM   #298
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
What will we sacrifice to obtain clarity?
A goat.
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Old 5th November 2012, 02:56 AM   #299
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
How would the list of things be a single object?
We define it as such.
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Old 5th November 2012, 02:59 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
A goat.
That trick never works!
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Old 5th November 2012, 10:06 AM   #301
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That trick never works!
You've never been invited to the goat roast after the sacrifice?
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Old 5th November 2012, 12:12 PM   #302
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
The problem comes (and on this forum it comes often, almost like clockwork) when "We don't know everything to some unobtainable level of 100% absolute metaphysical certitude" is used as an across the board, de-facto copout to basically mean "We don't know anything at all, therefore I can make stuff up at random."
This group of nihilists isn't saying that. Are you referring to them, or someone else?
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Old 5th November 2012, 01:53 PM   #303
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
Ah yes, I intended to refer to the nihilism being discussed on the site in question.
Philosophers couldn't figure out how to define the edge of a cloud then decided their inability said something profound about the world.
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Old 5th November 2012, 02:28 PM   #304
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Philosophers couldn't figure out how to define the edge of a cloud then decided their inability said something profound about the world.
No, no, about the language. Not the world. The language.
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Old 5th November 2012, 04:01 PM   #305
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But the language is meaningless. It's just an agreed upon standard.

We call a large bark covered plant with branches and leaves a "tree" and a large predatory fish a "shark" and two pieces of bread and a chopped beef patty "a hamburger" simply because we all agree that those concepts need words to describe them.

You don't get profound meaning out of nitpicking and overanalyzing the language. The secret of the universe is not hidding in the difference between "clothing" and "apparel."
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Old 5th November 2012, 04:30 PM   #306
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
No, no, about the language. Not the world. The language.
The fact that language is ambiguous is a truism not a profundity.
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Old 5th November 2012, 04:33 PM   #307
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Is joebentley saying that words are just agreed upon meaning and non of the things exist that he listed?

And can someone answer my previous post

Last edited by levi; 5th November 2012 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 5th November 2012, 04:33 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
But the language is meaningless. It's just an agreed upon standard.

We call a large bark covered plant with branches and leaves a "tree" and a large predatory fish a "shark" and two pieces of bread and a chopped beef patty "a hamburger" simply because we all agree that those concepts need words to describe them.

You don't get profound meaning out of nitpicking and overanalyzing the language. The secret of the universe is not hidding in the difference between "clothing" and "apparel."
Where do you suppose the secrets are hidding? And will you use language to tell me about it?
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Old 5th November 2012, 06:51 PM   #309
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Is joebentley saying that words are just agreed upon meaning and non of the things exist that he listed?
"Exists" is also just an agreed upon meaning.

All of the things JoeBentley refers to exist.

Quote:
And can someone answer my previous post
I did. But I'll answer it more fully here.


Originally Posted by levi View Post
How would the list of things be a single object?
Simple: We define it that way.

Quote:
I get the point that everything makes up a whole the universe, but don’t get how parts of that whole that are separated make up another whole?
Because it works.

Quote:
Take a potato chip and a TV inside are universe that are separated by 10000 miles are one thing, Can someone explain?
The potato chip is one thing. The TV is one thing. Most people would not consider the potato chip and the TV together to be one thing, unless you have a very good reason.

Quote:
I think Einstein (which my knowledge is limited) that time is different in different locations so would that mean that there is separation and that everything is not one thing or am I mistaken?
Time is relative; it varies with motion and gravity. The faster you are moving, or the higher the gravity where you are, the slower your clock moves relative to others.

Quote:
If time is different in different locations does that mean the universe could possible follow different rules in different areas or am I mistaken?
No, the rules are the same.

Quote:
Are there any other ways to argue against mereological nihilism in that article?

Here is the article again http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mereology/

Try to keep your answers simple for me thanks.
One more time: Mereological nihilism is a word game, nothing more. It's not wrong, it's not right, it's just a game. You might as well try to refute baseball.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_...aracter_sketch
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Old 5th November 2012, 08:01 PM   #310
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One more question does an apple exist? I know the word apple is an agreed upon meaning so it exists. Now an actual apple right in front of me. It exists because of an agreed upon meaning or because it is an apple right in front of me even if it never had a name ? Say there are only 3 people who exist. 1 person sees an apple not the word apple and think it exists. 2 other people see an apple not the word apple an actual apple and for some reason think it doesn't exist? Does the apple exist?

Sorry I didn't fully comprehend the answer by PixyMisa that was explaining JoeBentley post.

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by levi; 5th November 2012 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 5th November 2012, 09:19 PM   #311
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
One more question does an apple exist? I know the word apple is an agreed upon meaning so it exists. Now an actual apple right in front of me. It exists because of an agreed upon meaning or because it is an apple right in front of me even if it never had a name ? Say there are only 3 people who exist. 1 person sees an apple not the word apple and think it exists. 2 other people see an apple not the word apple an actual apple and for some reason think it doesn't exist? Does the apple exist?

Sorry I didn't fully comprehend the answer by PixyMisa that was explaining JoeBentley post.

Thanks for your help.
A philosopher who manages to prove he doesn't exist can be ignored like we do with all non existent beings.
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Old 5th November 2012, 11:49 PM   #312
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
The fact that language is ambiguous is a truism not a profundity.
So, do you get that your original statement was an inaccurate statement of their position?
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:50 AM   #313
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
So, do you get that your original statement was an inaccurate statement of their position?
No, not at all. What do you think their position is?
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:04 PM   #314
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
No, not at all. What do you think their position is?
You said:

Quote:
Philosophers couldn't figure out how to define the edge of a cloud then decided their inability said something profound about the world.
My interpretation of their position is:

Quote:
Philosophers couldn't figure out how to define the edge of a cloud then decided their inability said something profound about the language.

Last edited by Twiler; 6th November 2012 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 6th November 2012, 02:37 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
You said:



My interpretation of their position is:
Quote:
Philosophers couldn't figure out how to define the edge of a cloud then decided their inability said something profound about the language
.

The clear implication of your position is that philosophy is all about semantics.

IOW it's all hat and no cattle.
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Old 6th November 2012, 02:51 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
.

The clear implication of your position is that philosophy is all about semantics.

IOW it's all hat and no cattle.
So, are you going to say:

1. That philosophers think that their inability to define the edge of a cloud means something profound about the world, and this is stupid because language describes reality, it doesn't define it.

OR

2. That philosophers think that their inability to define the edge of a cloud means something profound about the language, and this is stupid because they shouldn't be paying so much attention to semantics.

You can't simultaneously hold both positions and insult them in both manners. You're going to have to have your cake or eat it.
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Old 6th November 2012, 05:24 PM   #317
tsig
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
So, are you going to say:

1. That philosophers think that their inability to define the edge of a cloud means something profound about the world, and this is stupid because language describes reality, it doesn't define it.

OR

2. That philosophers think that their inability to define the edge of a cloud means something profound about the language, and this is stupid because they shouldn't be paying so much attention to semantics.

You can't simultaneously hold both positions and insult them in both manners. You're going to have to have your cake or eat it.
Since you've already defined my questions for me why don't you go ahead and answer them for me as well, I'll just watch from the sidelines.

As the cowboy said when his horse bucked and got it's rear hoof in a stirrup, "If you're gonna get on, I'm getting off".
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Old 6th November 2012, 07:18 PM   #318
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
What will we sacrifice to obtain clarity?

I'm interpreting this as a suggestion that the kind of philosophical reflection under discussion here (generally, and with mereology as a specific example) is useful because it can point out where the conventions of our language are trading off accuracy for convenience or simplicity. That suggestion has validity.

Take, for instance, that monster haunting mereologists' nightmares, the cloud. At some point, when every attempt to precisely demarcate which condensation droplets are part of the cloud and which are not has led to contradiction or confusion or absurdity, we might take that as a hint that maybe a collection of condensation droplets is not a good way to define a cloud to begin with.

Which is a great relief, because that's not what meteorology says a cloud is anyhow. A cloud is a region of the atmosphere in which conditions (primarily pressure, temperature, wind, and humidity) are currently causing or maintaining the condensation of water vapor into visible droplets. The cloud is not the water droplets themselves. If I collect all the water droplets in a cloud and put them into a big tank, I don't have a cloud, I have a tank of water. Describing the cloud as a collection of water droplets, rather than a phenomenon caused by conditions within a region of atmosphere, was patently wrong to begin with, so worrying about exactly which water droplets is only going to generate confusion. It's like worrying about exactly which television programs are part of your television or which footfalls are part of your running.

Basically, it's attempting to use the language of parts and wholes to describe phenomena that require instead the language of causes and effects.

Which of the water molecules in the ocean are part of a wave? Which cells of the Life game are part of a glider? Understanding of the phenomena of waves and gliders, of running and television programs and clouds, is necessary to appreciate why mereological questions fail to give consistent answers when applied to them. The model those questions are based on, Venn diagrams, parts and wholes, is inadequate for them.

Respectfully,
Myriad
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:20 PM   #319
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I took mereology to be even deeper than that.

I sometimes frame the world in terms of object and action, rather like we have in mathematics. 2 + 2 where each 2 is an operand and the + is an operator. But mereology tells me there isn't such a clear distinction between "thing" and "process."

So, rather more than a flaw in language, I should think about a flaw in concepts -- specifically, that my natural framing of the world may need to be examined.

I should point out that much of modern scientific thinking has attacked instinctual ideas about how the world works and this may just be another in the series. I think there is merit in reexamining how close common sense is to the actual world and where my ability to think about things is limited or has misled me.

Sometimes the cost of clarity is abandoning the search for anything deeper or trickier or even not yet comprehensible. I understand the exploration isn't pleasurable for some or seen as a waste of time. But until we explore, we just don't know. We can't even say ahead of time whether we will discover some oasis or just more desert.
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Old 7th November 2012, 12:32 AM   #320
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Since you've already defined my questions for me why don't you go ahead and answer them for me as well, I'll just watch from the sidelines.

As the cowboy said when his horse bucked and got it's rear hoof in a stirrup, "If you're gonna get on, I'm getting off".
This response is a non-sequitur. The question was, do you hold this position A, or this position B.
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