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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


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I can always tell if there’s a reference to Beyond Necessity when there is a big traffic jump. I mentioned your post here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2011/10/on-not-multipying-entities.html although it’s only links to what Ockham actually said, which is somewhat different than what is standardly imputed to him. His actual razor (do not multiply entities according to the multiplicity of terms) does favour nominalism. Ockham believed that by ‘universal’ Aristotle meant universal terms, not extramental entities. Thus, do not multiply [types of] entity according to the division between singular and general terms, and do not suppose that there is an entity corresponding to general terms (e.g. wise), such as there is corresponding to singular terms (e.g. Socrates). But that is nominalism.

I don’t have much else to say on your post, except that an Objectivist has taken up residence at BN. You can see where he is coming from by his comments here http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=21308815&postID=6301245737058800468 . So I am in the odd position of having to defend a realist position (namely that one can quantify over ‘what has been said’). I will say something more about that later (unless you get there first).

I’m glad you like the ‘queer’ expression. I learned it in the days when dons would actually dish out glasses of sherry or port during earnest philosophical discussions.

I am happy to send traffic your way, Ed.

If the Razor forbids the multiplication of categories of entity according to the multiplicity of categories of terms, then I agree, but fail to see how this supports nominalism. There are singular terms and there are general terms. Someone who maintains that only general terms, but no singular terms, enjoy extralingusitic reference would be well within the stricture laid down by the Razor as your formulate it.

The Razor even in your formulation is neutral on the nominalism-realism question. Or am I missing something?

I have read some of your debate with the Rand follower. I must praise you for your patience and forebearance. I found what you were saying clear as daylight. It takes intelligence and some maturity to understand what is worth controverting and what is not.

I'd guess that 'queer' in your sense is not much in use these days by the younger English philosophers.

I tend to agree with you, as I argue today http://ocham.blogspot.com/2011/10/maverick-gives-interesting-symmetry.html . We need to bring in Ockham’s semantics as well in order to get classic nominalism. You know that Strawson discusses something like your ‘symmetry’ argument at great length in the later parts of Individuals?

On the objectivist squatter, I have finally decided to ignore. He is now apparently claiming that since no statement can be false, everything that he says is true. I have tried to get him to see that, if so, some things I have said are false, because I disagree with him. And so not everything he says is true. But he simply can’t see that. I suppose my view that a logical and reasonable and dispassionate approach is enough to resolve all disagreements and bring about world peace, is fundamentally flawed.

I shall be discussing Adorno and Kerouac on music and ‘free jazz’ tomorrow, so watch out for that.

Good. We have achieved some agreement. The Razor by itself does not entail nominalism, or realism, or any ontology. And since we both accept the Razor, if you disagree with me it can't be over that.

I would also like you to agree that calling a class of items 'queer' is not helpful. One philosopher's 'queer' is another philosopher's 'straight.' Many find the notion of substance'queer.'

You have been perhaps excessively tolerant of the Objectivist nincompoop. You are undoubtedly a better man than me.

I will read your Adorno entry with interest.

>>I would also like you to agree that calling a class of items 'queer' is not helpful. One philosopher's 'queer' is another philosopher's 'straight.' Many find the notion of substance'queer.'

English sense of humour.

Except that you meant it seriously in past discussions, no?

From memory, I think I was drawing a parallel between belief in ghosts and demons, and belief in 'strange' entities. Perhaps there was an element of ad hominem, I confess.

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