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"I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"
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Author:  Jack3 [ Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

In which system of philosophy does something "become" it by being called or classified as such? In which system of philosophy does reasoning make things so as opposed to finding things so?

And what is its opposite, ie the view that things have pre-existing natures that we discover, called?

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

Nominalism.
Kantianism.
The right answer :) a.k.a. Realism.

Author:  theJack [ Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The right answer :) a.k.a. Realism.

With moderate-realism being the right franchise. 8-)

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

Modified Aristotelean realism being the right branch office.

Author:  theJack [ Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

I answer that, there are many ways in which one may be considered of the branch of modified Aristotelean realism--some by self-proclamation and others by tradition. But it is evident that self-proclaimed membership is not sufficient for proper identification, as shown by nature herself and by human experience. For in nature herself are many counterfeits, such as moths and other insects so clothed that the careless observer might regard them to be trees or sticks; and there are many who claim to teach by some authority but, in fact, do not, as is witnessed by Scripture, as when our Lord warns us against wolves in sheep's clothing. And again, there are those who follow in a historical manner from some teacher and so are regarded as his disciple, but quickly fall away, as when some would be philosophers pretended that the Greeks taught the flatness of the earth. So again tradition is insufficient to claim membership in the branch. What is necessary is for the careful observer to consider the principles of the tradition and to maintain that careful observation. In this manner, those of the branch by self-proclamation as well as those of the branch by tradition might be found in the same cause, that is, the formal nature of their doctrine. And in this formal cause, the Thomistic interpretation must be said to follow the proper form and thus membership in the branch.

Author:  Jack3 [ Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Nominalism.
Kantianism.
The right answer :) a.k.a. Realism.

How is Kantism and Nominalism different in this respect? I thought my first two questions had the same answer

I happened to think of this: in kindergarten another child called me a dog. Apparently it's offensive. But I thought then, "If I take a stone and call it a tree, will it become a tree?". That's seriously what I thought then. So that's be when I discovered I was a realist. :D

Author:  Jack3 [ Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

How do nominalists reconcile that though.... that a tree is obviously a tree?

Author:  theJack [ Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

Jack3 wrote:
How do nominalists reconcile that though.... that a tree is obviously a tree?

That's sort of the problem with nominalism. It's (one of )the same problem(s) with a strictly materialistic/Darwinian account of human nature. There's no reconciliation.

But, in their defense (such as can be provided), they'd likely say that you're begging the question. Kant, following Hume, makes the "outside" world fundamentally and necessarily unreachable. You can't know it. You don't know a "tree" is a tree. You just have sense data that you construct into this or that pattern or concept, and you call that a "tree." You can press that down the line and make a linguistic game out of it with Wittgenstein, and you can go so far as to abstract your thought and talk about the language game itself. But even there, you're still using language. You're still using concepts to describe concepts, none of which correlates to external reality.

And on this point, the typical argument is either dismissive, to say that such questions just don't matter, or else it's pragmatic, to say that while the notion of "tree" as such might not correspond to anything "out there" (whatever that means), it's at least meaningful enough that we can use it as a shorthand to get us around "out there." I mean, look at what science has been able to accomplish! And via analogy, there are deaf people who can make beautiful music. So there's no necessary connection between what your concepts signify internally and to what, if anything, they signify externally.

Now, in my own assessment (and that of realists more generally), all of this is just a little silly, because it leaves open and just ignored the terribly obvious question, but why do our concepts work? What the pragmatic argument seems to imply isn't that our way of perceiving the world just happens to be good enough to get us around in it, but precisely because, for example, of the success of the sciences, we perceive it and can think about it as it really is. So riddle me that connection (which is just your question, I know). And here, we just go back to the starting point.

Unless, then, there's a way to get "outside" of our mind, or unless there's a way to get the world "out there" really "in" our mind, then the question "how do we know X?" isn't even meaningful -- the question is, "What does it even mean to say there's an X to know?" And the moment you posit there really is an X, then you posit that X really in your mind, you are necessarily some sort of realist. And if you say that there's an X but you don't and can't know it, then you're a nominalist, sure, but a thief at best (since you really do think and act as if there's an X you really know).

Beyond that . . . you'd have to ask a nominalist.

But for fun, as Obi and I were going back and forth about moderate realism, you might what to review Part I of Gilson's [i]Unity of Philosophical Experience." He looks at the philosophy of Peter Abelard to show that strict, hard realism is just as problematic as nominalism. And on that note, nominalists may be less interested in reconciling the problems with their system than they are in simply saying, "Either realism or nominalism is true; but realism is obviously false; therefore, nominalism must be true."

Author:  Peetem [ Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

theJack wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The right answer :) a.k.a. Realism.

With moderate-realism being the right franchise. 8-)


This ^^

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I say it's a tree, so it's a tree"

The difference between Nominalism and Kantianism (as I understand them) is that Nominalists deny the existence of natures at all whereas Kantianists will allow that nature exists (or may exist), but we can't know it. I think.

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