Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Speussipus, M.R. Ayers and Jaegwon Kim

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13 ideas

9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / a. Individuation
To express borderline cases of objects, you need the concept of an 'object' [Ayers]
     Full Idea: The only explanation of the power to produce borderline examples like 'Is this hazelnut one object or two?' is the possession of the concept of an object.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Counting')
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / e. Individuation by kind
Speakers need the very general category of a thing, if they are to think about it [Ayers]
     Full Idea: If a speaker indicates something, then in order for others to catch his reference they must know, at some level of generality, what kind of thing is indicated. They must categorise it as event, object, or quality. Thinking about something needs that much.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], Intro)
     A reaction: Ayers defends the view that such general categories are required, but not the much narrower sortal terms defended by Geach and Wiggins. I'm with Ayers all the way. 'What the hell is that?'
We use sortals to classify physical objects by the nature and origin of their unity [Ayers]
     Full Idea: Sortals are the terms by which we intend to classify physical objects according to the nature and origin of their unity.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Concl')
     A reaction: This is as opposed to using sortals for the initial individuation. I take the perception of the unity to come first, so resemblance must be mentioned, though it can be an underlying (essentialist) resemblance.
Seeing caterpillar and moth as the same needs continuity, not identity of sortal concepts [Ayers]
     Full Idea: It is unnecessary to call moths 'caterpillars' or caterpillars 'moths' to see that they can be the same individual. It may be that our sortal concepts reflect our beliefs about continuity, but our beliefs about continuity need not reflect our sortals.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Realist' vi)
     A reaction: Something that metamorphosed through 15 different stages could hardly required 15 different sortals before we recognised the fact. Ayers is right.
Recognising continuity is separate from sortals, and must precede their use [Ayers]
     Full Idea: The recognition of the fact of continuity is logically independent of the possession of sortal concepts, whereas the formation of sortal concepts is at least psychologically dependent upon the recognition of continuity.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], Intro)
     A reaction: I take this to be entirely correct. I might add that unity must also be recognised.
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / a. Intrinsic unification
Could the same matter have more than one form or principle of unity? [Ayers]
     Full Idea: The abstract question arises of whether the same matter could be subject to more than one principle of unity simultaneously, or unified by more than one 'form'.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Realist' vii)
     A reaction: He suggests that the unity of the sweater is destroyed by unravelling, and the unity of the thread by cutting.
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / c. Types of substance
Speusippus suggested underlying principles for every substance, and ended with a huge list [Speussipus, by Aristotle]
     Full Idea: Speusippus suggested principles for each substance, including principles for numbers, magnitude and the soul. He thus arrived at no mean list of substances.
     From: report of Speussipus (thirty titles (lost) [c.367 BCE]) by Aristotle - Metaphysics 1028b
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
If there are two objects, then 'that marble, man-shaped object' is ambiguous [Ayers]
     Full Idea: The statue is marble and man-shaped, but so is the piece of marble. So not only are the two objects in the same place, but two marble and man-shaped objects in the same place, so 'that marble, man-shaped object' must be ambiguous or indefinite.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Prob')
     A reaction: It strikes me as basic that it can't be a piece of marble if you subtract its shape, and it can't be a statue if you subtract its matter. To treat a statue as an object, separately from its matter, is absurd.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 5. Essence as Kind
Sortals basically apply to individuals [Ayers]
     Full Idea: Sortals, in their primitive use, apply to the individual.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Concl')
     A reaction: If the sortal applies to the individual, any essence must pertain to that individual, and not to the class it has been placed in.
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 5. Temporal Parts
You can't have the concept of a 'stage' if you lack the concept of an object [Ayers]
     Full Idea: It would be impossible for anyone to have the concept of a stage who did not already possess the concept of a physical object.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Concl')
Temporal 'parts' cannot be separated or rearranged [Ayers]
     Full Idea: Temporally extended 'parts' are still mysteriously inseparable and not subject to rearrangement: a thing cannot be cut temporally in half.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Prob')
     A reaction: A nice warning to anyone accepting a glib analogy between spatial parts and temporal parts.
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 1. Concept of Identity
Some say a 'covering concept' completes identity; others place the concept in the reference [Ayers]
     Full Idea: Some hold that the 'covering concept' completes the incomplete concept of identity, determining the kind of sameness involved. Others strongly deny the identity itself is incomplete, and locate the covering concept within the necessary act of reference.
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], Intro)
     A reaction: [a bit compressed; Geach is the first view, and Quine the second; Wiggins is somewhere between the two]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 3. Relative Identity
If diachronic identities need covering concepts, why not synchronic identities too? [Ayers]
     Full Idea: Why are covering concepts required for diachronic identities, when they must be supposed unnecessary for synchronic identities?
     From: M.R. Ayers (Individuals without Sortals [1974], 'Prob')