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Saturday, November 08, 2008

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First: I am delighted by the high rational level of the discussion. I will try to maintain it.
Insisting on the claim that individuals all the same exist is connected with a (maybe innocuous) consequence that a matter-of-fact problem becomes a terminological problem. You are however well aware of the distinct semantics of the term 'existence' in this case, so let it be because this is only a subsidiary problem, while the primary one consists in the conflict between individual essentialism and intensional essentialism. And this is connected with the second part of our discussion, which basically concerns the status of 'bare individuals'. For me (Tichy etc.)the universe of discourse (which is indeed relative to a given language)is just a set. The members of this set, i.e.,individuals, are just its members, no non-trivial property is connected with them. In this sense they simply cannot be non-members, so they are necessarily individuals. Might you, I, etc. not have existed? Yes, no particular man exists necessarily, but then no particular man is an individual. An individual is 'naked', it can get various empirical properties and roles, so for example the individual A is in one possible world Pegas, in other p.w. no individual 'pegasizes'; in one p.w. an individual is Pavel Materna, but not in all p.w., so not necessarily. The individual itself remains however to be a member of the universe.
You surely understand that this is a conception not shared by all semanticists and that there is not space enough here to adduce all thinkable arguments. We have had many intensive discussions with may pros and contras, and more will be said - as I hope - if our book on TIL will be accepted in Springer next year (which is by far not warranted).

Professor Materna,

Thank you for your kind remarks. You write, "Might you, I, etc. not have existed? Yes, no particular man exists necessarily, but then no particular man is an individual. An individual is 'naked' . . ."

So you are saying that no particular man such as Socrates is (identical to) a bare individual or bare particular. That is true. But although Socrates is not identical to a bare individual, there is a bare individual that has all of Socrates' properties. Let K be the conjunction of all of Socrates's properties. Then we can say that the concrete Socrates is a fact or state of affairs, namely, the fact of s's exemplifying K, where 's' denotes the bare individual that is 'at the core' of the concrete Socrates. To put this in Tichy's jargon: the concrete Socrates is what results when the Socrates-role or Socrates-office is filled by a bare individual.

And then I suppose we could analyze 'Socrates might not have existed' in terms of 'The Socrates-office might not have been filled.' 'Socrates exists' would be analyzed as 'The Socrates-office is filled.' And 'Socrates does not exist' would be analyzed as 'The Socrates-office is not filled.'

In order to maintain that existence can only be a property of offices, you must deny that the bare individuals in the U of D exist. Indeed, what you must say is that they neither exist nor do not exist. And because they neither exist nor do not exist, they neither contingently exist nor necessarily exist. Do you accept these consequences?

No, I don´t. At the given possible world the Socrates-office is filled at some times and not filled at other times. This does not imply non-´existence´ of the given individual. We take possible worlds as temporal sequences of various distributions of properties. The modal factor is one thing, the temporal one another.
Fixing a time moment we can state the modal variability: Even when Warsaw is the capital city at the actual world now, there are aother possible worlds where this is not the case for the same moment.(In other words, the fact is not necessary.) On the other hand, fixing a possible world we can state that at the same world there are moments when the fact does not hold.

Pavel,

Suppose at time t in world W, the Socrates-office is filled. What fills it? A bare individual. This individual can neither exist nor not exist. Proof: (1) Existence and nonexistence for Tichy are properties of offices not of office-holders. (2) No bare individual is an office. Therefore, (3) existence and nonexistence are not properties of bare individuals. Therefore, (4) bare individuals neither exist nor do not exist.

What could be clearer than the argument I just gave? Tichy and his followers are committed to (4).

the Socrates-office is filled. What fills it? A possible world + time. This individual is inedependent of having some property. Existence and non-existence are properties of offices, not of oficer-holders. Wherefrom did you derived the existence /non-existence of bare individuals? TIL is not committed to 4. (2 is simply wrong.

Professor Vallicella,
something very strange happened. The above three lines have been posted as "by Pavel Materna". Actually I have not written them, and my genuine answer follows:
The Socrates office - as any office - is satisfied (occupied) by an individual in some worlds - times and then we say that this office exists in such worlds - times. (Your (1) is O.K..) Also your (2) is true. And since (3) holds as well we have to state (4´) Existence in the sense of (1) is not a predicate that can be applied to individuals. But this is something what we claim from the very beginning. Your formulation (4) suggests however something other: it as if admonished us: forget the way existence is defined (viz. as a predicate of a higher order)and let us take existence as an unreflected folk notion. Then of course TIL looks like a rather perverse theory.
To the anonymous intruder into our discussion: Don´t do it any more, please.

Pavel,

I was going to respond rudely to the above three lines, since they make no sense at all. They are just gibberish, and whoever wrote them is an idiot. Now I'm glad I didn't. But the nonsensical comment comes from your IP address. Does someone besides you have access to your computer? Do you share your office with someone, whether a colleague or a student? Were you using a public computer?

Above, I wrote, "In order to maintain that existence can only be a property of offices, you must deny that the bare individuals in the U of D exist. Indeed, what you must say is that they neither exist nor do not exist. And because they neither exist nor do not exist, they neither contingently exist nor necessarily exist. Do you accept these consequences?"

But then you said you didn't accept the consequences, which is why I gave the (1)-(4) argument. So after all you do accept the consequence that bare individuals neither exist nor do not exist. This is not surprising if to exist = to be occupied or filled.

Now suppose an individual-office is occupied. Then it is occupied by an individual. This individual must exist, or else it would be nothing at all, and then the office would not be occupied. Therefore, one cannot identify existence with being-occupied. I do not deny that there is a second-level use of 'exist(s)'; my point is that there is also a legitimate first-level use, and that this first-level use is the primary use which is presupposed by the second-level use.

Bill,
as for the intruder, I simply do not have any rational explanation. Even if I suspected somebody, I cannot imagine the way (s)he would get my password. Maybe later I will get some additional knowledge but now I am astonished...
To our discussion. I fear that the problem really gets a terminological character. Anyway, your argument ( (1) - (4) ) above does not hold. Proof:
A: If ´exist´ means just existence in TIL sense (higher-order) then the conclusion ( (4) ) is either O.K. but nothimg surprising (i.e., bare individuals cannot be said to exist or not exist in this sense), or can be interpreted as saying something about the "first-order existence", but then we have to state "quaternio terminorum".
B: If ´exist´ is a "general notion of existence", as you obviously intend to interpret it, then the premises are irrelevant.
Well, we can ascribe any property to individuals without using the word ´exist´: we can say, e.g., that the given individual is there as a member of the universe or so, and let ˇexist´ reserve for the type-theoretically homogeneous notion (with the proviso of "type-theoretical polymorphism" like in the case of quantifiers etc.). Anyway, our problem gets the character of a matter of linguistic or philosophical taste. Tichy´s solution is then vindicated.

Bill,
one more remark to my above proof, ad B: Not only are the premises irrelevant but moreover the conclusion is false: on the assumption of B individuals exist (in the sense of your "legitimate first-level use").
And you have got just the two options A and B.

Here is the argument I gave, which is sound:

1. Existence and nonexistence for Tichy are properties of offices not of office-holders.
2. No bare individual is an office.
Therefore,
3. Existence and nonexistence for Tichy are not properties of bare individuals.
Therefore,
4. Bare individuals for Tichy neither exist nor do not exist.

There is no quaternio terminorum since 'exist' and cognates are being used in the same sense throughout in the sense of 'is occupied' or 'is filled.' Call this the second-level sense of 'exists.'

It is self-evident that the individuals in the U of D cannot exist in the second-level sense. My question to you is whether or not the individuals in the U of D exist in the first-level sense.

Yes, now it is O.K. As for your question, I repeat that this is a terminological question. If I say that the individuals in the U of D exist in the first-level sense I say nothing other than that they are simply here as members of U. There is no such matter-of-fact problem whose solution would differ if I change my formulation.
A genuine problem concerns essentialism.

Bill and Prof Materna,

I think one difference is that Prof Materna believes that Bill's concept of first-order existence (of concrete contingent individuals) is an imprecise "folk notion," Bill, however, believes otherwise.

As for "individuals"

It seems to me ...

1. BILL

A. Bill means CONCRETE individuals.

B. Numerical identity of individuals is not a matter of stipulation.

C. No individual is a mereological sum of individuals. No individual consists of (other) individuals. No individual is a part of other individual. Even if individuals have some parts (parts of individuals are genuine objects), parts of individuals are never individuals.

D. Individuals have some non-trivial features with de re necessity.

E. The concept of individual is introduced/based on empirical paradigm cases (mammals, say, are individuals), with the goal to understand the existence of concrete contingent individuals.


2. PROF MATERNA

A. There is now such an individual as dead Bucephalus.

B. Numerical identity of individuals IS a matter of stipulation.

Cf. the explication by V. Svoboda:

"The identity of an individual is an issue that matters deeply to us. If we could not decide (in principle) which of the objects we come across during a period of time (notwithstanding whether or not we have had a continuous empirical access to them) are identical, our world would turn into an epistemic and social chaos. Knowing how strictly Tichý held conservative political views (at least at the time he developed TIL) we are surely justified in claiming that he presupposed that our world is conservative in the sense that we are able to spot the identity of its individuals. If we deny that the actual world is conservative in this sense the only alternative would be communism, as nobody could be justified in claiming property of any individual thing. Tichý could not insist that the watch on his hand (and any other item of his private property) is really his. Anybody could come to him and take the watch claiming that she believes or suspects that the individual object that is on Tichý's hand is the same one that few moments ago was in her pocket shaped like a key. Tichý could not exclude the possibility that she is right.

I am sure that Tichý is not the only one who would not wish to live in a world where claiming any property is utterly dubious. To avoid this logical path to communism we must suppose that our world is conservative in the sense that objects, as concerns their individual identity, are controllable by us. According to the assumption humans, fallible as they are, are in fact the ultimate arbiters as concerns identity of any individual that can be found in the actual world." http://til.phil.muni.cz/text/svoboda_individuals.php

C. Some individual is a mereological sum of individuals. Cf. Duží here: http://www.cs.vsb.cz/duzi/Edge-Properties.pdf , section 1 and 5

D. No individual has some non-trivial feature with any sort of logical necessity which is clear. Prof Materna wonders what de re necessity means.

E. The concept of individual is introduced/based a priori, with the goal of analyzing the meaning of the given language.

So it seems Bill and Prof Materna use the word "individual" (and its cognates) in different sense.

Cf. J. Raclavský:

"Two kinds of individuals are distinguished: abstract and concrete. Whereas abstract individuals belong to our conceptual sphere,
concrete individuals ... individuate the world of matter. A subject inquiring the external world projects abstract individuals onto the concrete ones (i.e. pieces of matter)." http://www.phil.muni.cz/~raclavsk/texty/projikovani_a_individua.pdf

I haven't read Raclavský's paper yet. I don't know whether it has English version. (I cited its abstract.)

I am not sure that ´concrete´ vs. ´abstract´ is a right criterion here. During our last discussion Tichý claimed that individuals in his sense are concrete. This claim can be justified as follows: Not possessing any ´primary´ non-trivial property necessarily does not mean that an individual could be without any empirical property. Every individual possesses some properties, of course. So if an individual is, say, a table, then it is a concrete object (which happens just now to be a table), etc. The same individual is however not that table eternally, it gets some other properties, sometimes wholly uninteresting ones. What is important is that when attributing a property to an individual we always know a priori, which individual we mean. The notion of individuals in this sense is a very natural, intuitive notion.
I doubt also whether Bill formulate his last question to me meaning something other than I: he also speaks about individuals as the members of the universe. Otherwise I would not understand his question.

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