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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

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Hi BV,

Thanks for your response. Let me start by apologizing for the bad wording in parts of the email. I was 2:00 AM when I wrote it. Young and restless, you know.

In your argument against haecceities, both in that post you link to and in your Paradigm Theory of Existence, you said that Socrateity is understand as a compound, the identity relation and Socrates himself; that is how the property identity-with-Socrates is to be understood. But how is the property seeking after Atlantis to be understood? Why not also as a compound of the seeking after relation and the location Atlantis? (But there is no place.)

Perhaps my argument could be put this way, because I am having a hard time understanding your response. (This is probably because I did not clearly word it in my e-mail, so I have only myself to blame!)

(1) If someone is seeking after Atlantis, then they have the property seeking after Atlantis.
(2) But seeking after Atlantis seems to be a compound of seeking after and Atlantis, the second of which does not exist.
(3) So there is no such property and
(4) no one is in the intentional state of seeking after Atlantis.

I think this is pretty much a parallel of your argument against haecceities, but you want to deny the conclusion, so there needs to be some kind of relevant difference between the two.

And I improved the wording a bit . . . .

Yes, I deny (4) and I deny (2). Seeking Atlantis is not a compound of Seeking and Atlantis. Atlantis doesn't exist, and there cannot be a compound of two things one of which does not exist. You are missing the point that one can seek what doesn't exist.

You also may be conflating intentional states and properties. Even if I grant (2), how did you get from (3) to (4)?

(4) follows from (3) and (1) by MT.

(1) is: if (there is an x such that x is seeking after Atlantis), then (there is an x such that x has P).
(3) is: it is not the case that (there is an x such that x has P).
Hence, etc.

I think seeking after Atlantis sure seems like a compound; I mean, seeking after George Bush and seeking after Atlantis seem to have the seeking after in common. But if you allow that there be a non-compound property like seeking after Atlantis, then you must allow that there be a non-compound identity with Socrates.

You ignored the point that there cannot be a compound one of the components of which is nonexistent.

Suppose you are seeking Bush. Do you think Bush is literally a constituent of your seeking? Seems you would have to think that way if seeking is a compound of seeking + Bush.

"You ignored the point that there cannot be a compound one of the components of which is nonexistent."

I'm not ignoring it, but rather I am trying to use it in my favor. My argument is that seeking after Atlantis would be a compound if it is at all, but it can't be a compound, so it isn't at all.

Yeah, I think Bush would be a constituent of my seeking, because he is what I'm seeking. If he wasn't, then what I am a seeking?

I don't think you understand intentionality. Suppose you are in the mental state of wanting X where X is some spatiotemporal particular like Bush. Obviously, your wanting X does not require that X be in your skull. But neither does it require that X be in your consciousness or in your mind. There is no way that Bush, all 180 lbs of him, cowboy boots and all, can be literally a part of a transient mental state.

You are walking a very tight tight-rope here. We can all agree

(*) Tom worships Zeus

is true. But which of the following do you think are true?

(1) Tom’s worship is object-directed
(2) Tom’s worship is directed towards an object
(2) Tom’s worship has an object
(3) There is an object of Tom’s worship
(4) There exists an object of Tom’s worship
(5) The object of Tom’s worship exists

I had a pretty hard time understanding the ambiguity you are talking about in the paragraphs that begin ‘Let's first note an ambiguity …’

The first sense seems to be such that
(1A) every intentional mental state 'takes an accusative,' 'is of or about an object.', or ‘has an intentional object’.
(1B) the non-existence of an F does not prejudice the object-directedness of my wanting an F
(1C) its being an object is an intrinsic feature of the intentional act of which it is an object.
(1D) the object-directedness of wanting an F does not derive from the present existence of any F, or anything else
The second sense seems to be such that
(2B) an intentional object is a mind-independent entity, if there is one, that satisfies the description (definite or indefinite) that expresses the content of the intentional state.
The difficulty of my understanding this distinction is related to my difficulty in seeing any difference between (1)-(6) immediately above. E.g. I can’t see any difference between ‘Tom’s mental state has an object’ and ‘there is an object of Tom’s mental state’. What is the difference?

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