Thursday, November 10, 2011

OOO: Issues, Questions, Befuddlement, Stuff

The universe consists of objects. What else?

Well objects have qualities, so they must be different from objects. How so? For example, we can say that red is a quality of a beach ball, a flame, or blood. But is there a ‘redness’ object? If not, just WHY not?

Objects can enter into relations with other objects, which may or may not yield new objects. So relations too are different from objects.

Can events, actions, and processes be objects? What of a race, for example? Perhaps the race where Usain Bolt first shattered the world record in the 100 meter dash. An object? Why or why not?

The hammer is an object, as is a nail and a plank of wood. But the act of hammering the nail into the plank, is that an object? If not an object, what is it? A set of relations? An action? Is an action a different kind of thing, alongside objects, properties, relations . . .

And sets, we know sets aren’t objects, as set membership can be arbitrary.

So, one thing is to separate (metaphysically considered) objects from grammatical categories: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and then there’s the pesky noun phrase, which can be used to nominalize just about anything. But does nominalization make an object of something? A tree is an object, but what of the falling tree, that is, the ‘time slice’ of some tree that’s falling? Is THAT an object?

OOO holds that the universe consists of multiple layers of objects, none of which can be reduced to any of the others. OK. I like that. What I’m looking for is an argument that says that if X exhibits the (metaphysical) properties of an object, then it cannot be reduced to some arrangement of other objects because those properties make such reduction impossible.

So, we’ve got an apple. It has such and such a shape, a red flecked red surface, such and such a texture, and taste, and so forth. But THOSE are not the properties I have in mind. Rather, it’s more like the fact that an apple CAN have properties, and that it CAN be ever WITHDRAWING, that’s what makes it an object.

Does THAT even make sense?

You see, I’ve dealt with the problem of mapping out conceptual worlds, of figuring out what kinds of concepts we need, how they’re related, etc. Don’t have that one locked down, not by any means. But I know what’s going on there.

Figuring out the universe? THAT’s very strange. It can’t be just objects. But what else is there?

1 comment:

  1. "Does THAT even make sense?"

    I can understand the first part from a vague reading of Locke on the association of ideas. 'Simple' ideas colour, shape, smell, form complex ideas like an apple or David Hartley's "psychological chemistry" simple ideas are constructed from dissimilar elements, association produces all mental phenomena.

    The withdrawing part I take it is a shift of emphasis from mind and memory to look at an object in-its- self, independent of mind?

    I don't know my mind well enough to do that.

    Philosophy always makes me feel something akin to sea sickness. I don't tune in to it's abstract perspectives very well and I dislike the way it uses language and expresses it's ideas for the most part.