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Friday, July 22, 2011

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First point, it is high time that someone wheeled out the supposed distinction between the 'is' of predication and the 'is' of identity, so I have forestalled that with a comment here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2011/07/do-we-need-identity.html .

Second point, I cannot find the 'nota notae' formulation in my formidable collection of Latin logic, using the built-in searcher (the site now contains 1,820 pages). Widening the search to other scholastic sites shows up nothing, and only on widening it to Google do I find Baldwin's dictionary, where the principle is located in Aristotle, with the Latin formulation probably originating in the early modern period.

Aristotle's formulation, e.g. "'Of whatever the species is predicated, the genus is predicable" does not seem problematic, when regarded as a linguistic or logical principle. It was formulated by the scholastics as the dici de omni, which Ockham defines in Book III part 1 chapter 2 of the of the Summa Logicae. "Est autem dici de omni quando nihil est sumere sub subiecto, quin de eo dicatur praedicatum". I.e. to say that 'Every S is P' is to say that of whatever S is true, P is true. This is impeccable. It is the formulation "nota notae est nota rei ipsius" which is weak.

PS I have listed another objection to the 'singulars as universals' thesis here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2011/07/singulars-as-universals.html , courtesy of Colwyn Williamson. Let's nail them all to the door, please.

As we learned from Bill Clinton, much indeed does depend on what the meaning of 'is' is. His contributions to the philosophy of logic are not to be denigrated. I'll look at your post.

>>to say that 'Every S is P' is to say that of whatever S is true, P is true. This is impeccable.<<

Well, sometimes. 'Every cat is an animal' is such that whatever 'cat' if true of, 'animal' is true of. But not so for 'Caissa is a cat.' (I am referring to a cat of mine who died about a year ago, not to the goddess of chess.) For it makes no sense to say that 'Caissa' is true of a particular cat.

Why not? Well, 'Caissa' is not a predicate but a name. If it were a predicate what properties or property would its use predicate of the thing to which it applies?

The Fregean point, which I've made before, is that *animal* is a mark of *cat* not a property of it while *cat* is a property, not a mark of Caissa. After all, Caissa is not a concept, but an individual.


To budge me from this Fregean view you would have to show that the relation between Caissa and *cat* is the same as the relation between *cat* and *animal.* But they are logically very different relations: Caissa falls under *cat,* but *cat* does not fall under *animal.* A cat is an animal, but the concept *cat* is not an animal.

I wonder how much of this scholastic stuff is based on use-mention confusion. A scholastic will write, exasperatingly, 'Man is an animal.' But that's ambigous as between:

1. A man is an animal
and
2. The concept *man* is an animal.

The first is true, the second false.

>>To budge me from this Fregean view you would have to show that the relation between Caissa and *cat* is the same as the relation between *cat* and *animal.*

Straw man. What you want me to show is transparently wrong. What I am actually claiming is

(1) the relation between 'Caissa' and 'cat' is the same as the relation between 'cat' and 'animal'.

Note the quote marks which signify a linguistic entity.

(2) the relation between *Caissa* and *cat* is the same as the relation between *cat* and *animal.*

Note the asterisk I have added, which are intended to signify a conceptual entity. You are trying to claim a category mistake which I am not making.

You will now assert that there is no (singular) concept *Caissa*, but you have given absolutely zero argument for this anywhere (apologies if I have missed one).

>>For it makes no sense to say that 'Caissa' is true of a particular cat. Why not? Well, 'Caissa' is not a predicate but a name. If it were a predicate what properties or property would its use predicate of the thing to which it applies? <<

The property which its use predicates is the property of being Caissa. The concept it signifies is the concept of being Caissa.

With all due respect my good man, you are digging your hole deeper. As I have argued ad nauseam, there are no properties of the form 'the property of being a,' where 'a' is a proper name, and where 'being a' means the same as 'being identical to a.' And the same goes for concepts. 'Caissa' does not express a concept.

So we are brought back to the business of haecceity-properties/individual concepts. I say there aren't any. You say there are. How can we resolve this?

>>What I am actually claiming is

(1) the relation between 'Caissa' and 'cat' is the same as the relation between 'cat' and 'animal'.

Note the quote marks which signify a linguistic entity.

(2) the relation between *Caissa* and *cat* is the same as the relation between *cat* and *animal.*<<

Of course I deny both of these as well. 'Cat' is true of Caissa, but 'Caissa' is not true of Caissa. And there is no such concept as *Caissa.* Am I simply begging the question against you, and you against me?

Since you think I have provided no reason to discount individual/singular concepts, I shall have to write another post!

>>With all due respect my good man, you are digging your hole deeper.

No, the bottom of the hole has been my starting point, for many years. My whole and entire theory is a theory of singular concepts.

>>As I have argued ad nauseam, there are no properties of the form 'the property of being a,' where 'a' is a proper name, and where 'being a' means the same as 'being identical to a.'

Yes.

>>And the same goes for concepts.

No. As I also have argued ad nauseum.

>>I say there aren't any. You say there are. How can we resolve this?

To be clear, I say there aren't any haecceity properties but there are haecceity concepts and haecceity predicates. As I said about ten posts ago, it is self-evident that there are some predicates to which no property corresponds. E.g. 'the former', 'the latter'. So you can't use the assumption that there are no haecceity properties to prove that there are no haecceity predicates. And if there are such predicates, what they signify must be a haecceity concept, or a singular meaning or whatever term you like.

>>How can we resolve this?

By considering seriously the possibility that there may be such predicates. We have considered and not rejected as obviously false the idea that proper names can be syntatically and semantically predicates (obstacle #1 to those trained in MPC).

Now, once we have got in the right frame of mind, we need to consider the idea of haecceity predicates.

I have any number of posts on my blog that we could consider, I which I could rewrite. But consider my remarks here as a preliminary, the 'terms of engagement' as the management consultants like to say.

And now it is the evening and I am off with wife for dinner in modest style.

Very sad about Amy Winehouse, by the way. And the news of the Norwegian massacre equally tragic. How could a Christian do such a thing?

>>Since you think I have provided no reason to discount individual/singular concepts, I shall have to write another post!
<<

[Crossed posts] Agreed. And now it really is time for supper, and a beer, and reflection on the sadness of this world, and of human nature.

I heard about Winehouse. It's about noon here. She will preempt tonight's oldies show.

Predicates don't prove properties, but they don't prove concepts either. But later on this.

Enjoy your London evening. The "sadness of this world" and its utter hopelessness and manifest unimprovability are reasons to take religion seriously. And Dawkins be damned. (Figuratively speaking.)

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