« The 2016 Summer Retreat Starts Today | Main | A Difference Between Democrats and Republicans »

Friday, August 12, 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hello Bill,

I find your review of Betti's terrific book just excellent. It will be great to have it in the next issue of Metaphysica!

Here you can find some comments:

1. With respect to Betti's assumption that Armstrong's facts are designed to solve the unity problem. As I understand Armstrong's factualism (from the 70ties to 90ties), it is intended to solve two related problems: (a) the problem of universals and (b) truthmaking. Betti seems to be focused only on truthmaking to criticize Armstrong's view on non-mereological composition. But the big problem of non-mereological composition in Armstrong's ontology arises in the context of the problem of universals. Armstrong needs to defend that facts have a non-mereological mode of composition to defend his identity view by which properties are capable of being constituents of more than one fact, i.e, multiple location. So, Armstrong would always resist Betti's general conclusion of reducing facts to sums, because he needs non-mereological composition to solve the problem of multiple location of property universals, and the mereological composition of mereological sums, according to Armstrong, cannot solve it.

2. As to sums with Betti's relata-specific relations, it seems to me that if the entities of a mereological sum are related by a certain relation, then the resulting entity will be a mereological whole with parts related to each other, but not a mereological sum where the parts of the whole are not related to each other. In this regard, I wonder: to what extent Betti's approach to facts really avoids non-mereological composition? Is not she really offering a new kind of it? For she seems to be defending that there is a kind of whole without mereological composition, i.e., a kind of whole governed by special bearers and special relations, a sort of whole that is not governed by the laws of mereological calculus.

3. You write: "An internal relation is then one that is not grounded in corresponding properties and is not an entity in addition to its relata." Is this definition of an internal relation right?

Many thanks for this amazing review!

All the best,

Thanks for the comments, Javi. I'm glad you liked the review. I will get a revised electronic copy to you in a couple of days.

As for #3, You are right: there is a typographical error. It should read: "An internal relation is then one that IS grounded in corresponding properties and is not an entity in addition to its relata."

For example, suppose A is red and B is (the same shade) of red. Then A and B stand in the *same color as* relation. This relation is grounded in the intrinsic property of being red shared by A and B. It is not an entity over and above its relata and their properties.

As for #2, you are definitely on to something. Suppose a is a particular and __F is a bearer-dependent property. This property exists iff it is attached to a. The particular can exist without the property, but the property cannot exist without that very particular. So there cannot exist the sum a + __F "where the parts of the whole are not related to each other."

Your point seems to be that the composition in Fa is unmereological.

Part of the puzzle here is that we tend to think of mereological sums as collections in which abstraction is made from connections among the parts. So if there is the sum a + F, this cannot be identical to Fa -- in which case something more is required to get to Fa. And this will be an unmereological form of composition.

Is this a fair summary of your point?

You are more than welcome, Bill!

Thanks also for the clarification of the definition of an internal relation.

As to #2, yes, that is a fair summary of my point.

I have simplified the aporia we discussed by email, and which I believe is related to the points you raise in the review above.

1. Language signifies reality (C facts?)
2. What language signifies has a grammatical structure (P facts?)
3. Reality does not have a grammatical structure
All three have strong demands on acceptance, but all three cannot be true.

(1) If language did not signify reality, how could we use language to communicate our thoughts beliefs about reality?
(2) If meaning is compositional, and the component parts correspond to the words, then what language signifies has a grammatical structure.
But (3) it is implausible that reality, i.e. the world as it actually is, independent of any representation of it, has a grammatical structure.

I don't like the word 'signifies.' How many analytic philosophers use it?

Here is my preferred aporetic triad:

A. Some sentences are true in virtue of their correspondence with extralinguistic reality.

B. If so, then reality must have a sentence-like structure.

C. Reality does not have a sentence-like structure.

This is a nasty little puzzle since this trio is inconsistent. And yet one can make a plausible case for each member of the trio.

Do you want to discuss the problem in this form?

>>Do you want to discuss the problem in this form?

That will do.

Wittgenstein: "a name ought really to signify a simple".

So which of your A B C above do you reject? I am tempted to reject B. If there is a correspondence as asserted by A, then language and reality have to correspond in virtue of something. Perhaps that 'something' is not the sentence structure, but something else?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2008



June 2024

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Blog powered by Typepad