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Re: [psychiatry-research] Essay Note: "Here are my thoughts on Life"

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  • Glen Sizemore
    There is a problem with naming clusters of properties when the clusters of  properties are behavioral. The problem is that the names are reified as causes.
    Message 1 of 37 , Mar 7, 2013

      There is a problem with "naming" clusters of properties when the clusters of properties are behavioral. The problem is that the names are reified as causes. So "anger" is just as real as "chair" but the behavior-in-context that discriminatively controls the response "angry" is not causef by something in the alleged mind or the conceptually-maligned brain that is "anger." If the importance of this were understood there would be no cognitive "science" - there would just be the natural science of behavior.

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      From: Robert Karl Stonjek <stonjek@...>;
      To: Psychiatry-Research <psychiatry-research@yahoogroups.com>;
      Subject: Re: [psychiatry-research] Essay Note: "Here are my thoughts on Life"
      Sent: Thu, Mar 7, 2013 11:55:57 PM

       

      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, March 08, 2013 12:43 AM
      Subject: RE: [psychiatry-research] Essay Note: "Here are my thoughts on Life"

      You argue well. The points you make here are good ones. But just because you CAN name a category by abstraction from a group of others doesn’t necessarily give it an ontological status. The fact that something can be conceptualised and turned into an abstract noun (something that Indo-European languages do particularly easily, but not all languages do with the same promiscuity as far as I know) doesn’t mean that it necessarily has a referent when it’s used. Just because there’s a word ‘unicorn’ and you can even describe them, doesn’t mean there are unicorns. Except in a special world in which we adopt what Coleridge called ‘willing suspension of disbelief’, which is a necessary world for civilised people. That’s just the general existence point; I wouldn’t accuse you of this kind of name-mysticism. But I’m still not convinced. Maybe neither of us can convince the other, which is not impossible.

       
      RKS:
      The counter argument to "just because you can name a category.." is the argument that "just because you can point out that category is really only a particular cluster of underlying properties...".  In school, we were told that the solid table is an illusion.  What we called 'table' was just a collection of vibrating atoms etc etc.
       
      In other words, just because we can identify the underlying properties from which a cluster is formed and named doesn't mean that it is *any less* real than any other such cluster of properties.  And when we carefully examine the things in the world that we have already named and treated as real we find that they are All clusters of properties, just like life is, but less obviously so.
       
      Let us say that if some part of nature treats a collection  of properties as a thing in itself then it is safe for us to also do so, and life is certainly one of those properties so treated...
       
      Posted by
      Robert Karl Stonjek

       
    • Fred Weizmann
      Roger, I am not the least bit interested in furthering this adversial thread but I do have a question that I don t think will engender controversy. Can you
      Message 37 of 37 , Mar 8, 2013
        Roger,
        I am not the least bit interested in furthering this adversial thread but I do have a question that I don't think will engender controversy. Can you indicate what the underlying property or properties that Indo- European languages have that make it easier to form abstract nouns? If I am not presuming too much, can you give an example of a language where this is not the case and highlight the relevant underlying differences with Indo-European languages?

        Thank you,
        Fred


        On 08/03/2013 9:19 AM, Roger Lass wrote:
         

        If one can show that, yes. I think I have nothing more to contribute to this particular discussion. Or at least I don’t seem to have been able to make my point clear, and I don’t want to get into a long polemic (which we’re approaching). We seem to be facing each other across a semipermeable wall. If I can figure out a clearer way to say what I mean that I feel has a better chance of convincing you I’ll open it up again. For now, judging from the responses, this is becoming rather gladiatorial, and the list shouldn’t be made to watch our performance. So let’s agree for now that neither of us can fully convince the other.

        RL

         

        From: psychiatry-research@yahoogroups.com [mailto:psychiatry-research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Robert Karl Stonjek
        Sent: 08 March 2013 01:56 AM
        To: Psychiatry-Research
        Subject: Re: [psychiatry-research] Essay Note: "Here are my thoughts on Life"

         




        ----- Original Message -----

        From: Roger Lass

        Sent: Friday, March 08, 2013 12:43 AM

        Subject: RE: [psychiatry-research] Essay Note: "Here are my thoughts on Life"

         

        You argue well. The points you make here are good ones. But just because you CAN name a category by abstraction from a group of others doesn’t necessarily give it an ontological status. The fact that something can be conceptualised and turned into an abstract noun (something that Indo-European languages do particularly easily, but not all languages do with the same promiscuity as far as I know) doesn’t mean that it necessarily has a referent when it’s used. Just because there’s a word ‘unicorn’ and you can even describe them, doesn’t mean there are unicorns. Except in a special world in which we adopt what Coleridge called ‘willing suspension of disbelief’, which is a necessary world for civilised people. That’s just the general existence point; I wouldn’t accuse you of this kind of name-mysticism. But I’m still not convinced. Maybe neither of us can convince the other, which is not impossible.

         

        RKS:
        The counter argument to "just because you can name a category.." is the argument that "just because you can point out that category is really only a particular cluster of underlying properties...".  In school, we were told that the solid table is an illusion.  What we called 'table' was just a collection of vibrating atoms etc etc.

         

        In other words, just because we can identify the underlying properties from which a cluster is formed and named doesn't mean that it is *any less* real than any other such cluster of properties.  And when we carefully examine the things in the world that we have already named and treated as real we find that they are All clusters of properties, just like life is, but less obviously so.

         

        Let us say that if some part of nature treats a collection  of properties as a thing in itself then it is safe for us to also do so, and life is certainly one of those properties so treated...

         

        Posted by
        Robert Karl Stonjek

         





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