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Ideas of Kit Fine, by Text

[British, b.1946, Professor at New York University.]

1975 Vagueness, Truth and Logic
Intro p.119 Study vagueness first by its logic, then by its truth-conditions, and then its metaphysics
     Full Idea: My investigation of vagueness began with the question 'What is the correct logic of vagueness?', which led to the further question 'What are the correct truth-conditions for a vague language?', which led to questions of meaning and existence.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], Intro)
     A reaction: This is the most perfect embodiment of the strategy of analytical philosophy which I have ever read. It is the strategy invented by Frege in the 'Grundlagen'. Is this still the way to go, or has this pathway slowly sunk into the swamp?
Intro p.119 A vague sentence is only true for all ways of making it completely precise
     Full Idea: A vague sentence is (roughly stated) true if and only if it is true for all ways of making it completely precise (the 'super-truth theory').
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], Intro)
     A reaction: Intuitively this sounds quite promising. Personally I think we should focus on the 'proposition' rather than the 'sentence' (where fifteen sentences might be needed before we can agree on the one proposition).
Intro p.120 Vagueness is semantic, a deficiency of meaning
     Full Idea: I take vagueness to be a semantic feature, a deficiency of meaning. It is to be distinguished from generality, undecidability, and ambiguity.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], Intro)
     A reaction: Sounds good. If we cut nature at the joints with our language, then nature is going to be too subtle and vast for our finite and gerrymandered language, and so it will break down in tricky situations. But maybe epistemology precedes semantics?
1 p.121 Vagueness can be in predicates, names or quantifiers
     Full Idea: There are three possible sources of vagueness: the predicates, the names, and the quantifiers.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], 1)
     A reaction: Presumably a vagueness about the domain of discussion would be a vagueness in the quantifier. This is a helpful preliminary division, in the semantic approach to vagueness.
1 p.123 Logical connectives cease to be truth-functional if vagueness is treated with three values
     Full Idea: With a three-value approach, if P is 'blob is pink' and R is 'blob is red', then P&P is indefinite, but P&R is false, and P∨P is indefinite, but P∨R is true. This means the connectives & and ∨ are not truth-functional.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], 1)
     A reaction: The point is that there could then be no logic in any way classical for vague sentences and three truth values. A powerful point.
2 p.129 Logic holding between indefinite sentences is the core of all language
     Full Idea: If language is like a tree, then penumbral connection (logic holding among indefinite sentences) is the seed from which the tree grows, for it provides an initial repository of truths that are to be retained throughout all growth.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], 2)
     A reaction: A nice incidental insight arising from his investigation of vagueness. People accept one another's reasons even when they are confused, or hopeless at expressing themselves. Nice.
2 p.131 Meaning is both actual (determining instances) and potential (possibility of greater precision)
     Full Idea: The meaning of an expression is the product of both its actual meaning (what helps determine its instances and counter-instances), and its potential meaning (the possibilities for making it more precise).
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], 2)
     A reaction: A modal approach to meaning is gloriously original. Being quite a fan of real modalities (the possibilities latent in actuality), I find this intuitively appealing.
3 p.132 With the super-truth approach, the classical connectives continue to work
     Full Idea: With the super-truth approach, if P is 'blob is pink' and R is 'blob is red', then P&R is false, and P∨R is true, since one of P and R is true and one is false in any complete and admissible specification. It encompasses all 'penumbral truths'.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], 3)
     A reaction: [See Idea 9767 for the super-truth approach, and Idea 9770 for a contrasting view] The approach, which seems quite appealing, is that we will in no circumstances give up basic classical logic, but we will make maximum concessions to vagueness.
3 p.134 Borderline cases must be under our control, as capable of greater precision
     Full Idea: Any borderline case must be under our control, in the sense that it can be settled by making the predicates more precise.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], 3)
     A reaction: Sounds good. Consider an abstract concept like the equator. It is precise on a map of the world, but vague when you are in the middle of the tropics. But we can always form a committee to draw a (widish) line on the ground delineating it.
4 p.137 Excluded Middle, and classical logic, may fail for vague predicates
     Full Idea: Maybe classical logic fails for vagueness in Excluded Middle. If 'H bald ∨ (H bald)' is true, then one disjunct is true. But if the second is true the first is false, and the sentence is either true or false, contrary to the borderline assumption.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], 4)
     A reaction: Fine goes on to argue against the implication that we need a special logic for vague predicates.
5 p.140 A thing might be vaguely vague, giving us higher-order vagueness
     Full Idea: There is a possibility of 'higher-order vagueness'. The vague may be vague, or vaguely vague, and so on. If J has few hairs on his head than H, then he may be a borderline case of a borderline case.
     From: Kit Fine (Vagueness, Truth and Logic [1975], 5)
     A reaction: Such slim grey areas can also be characterised as those where you think he is definitely bald, but I am not so sure.
1978 Model Theory for Modal Logic I
151 p.171 S5 provides the correct logic for necessity in the broadly logical sense
     Full Idea: S5 provides the correct logic for necessity in the broadly logical sense.
     From: Kit Fine (Model Theory for Modal Logic I [1978], 151), quoted by Charles Chihara - A Structural Account of Mathematics
     A reaction: I have no view on this, but I am prejudiced in favour of the idea that there is a correct logic for such things, whichever one it may be. Presumably the fact that S5 has no restrictions on accessibility makes it more comprehensive and 'metaphysical'.
1990 Quine on Quantifying In
p.110 p.110 Is it the sentence-token or the sentence-type that has a logical form?
     Full Idea: Do we attribute a logical form to a sentence token because it is a token of a type with that form, or do we attribute a logical form to a sentence type because it is a type of a token with that form?
     From: Kit Fine (Quine on Quantifying In [1990], p.110)
     A reaction: Since I believe in propositions (as the unambiguous thought that lies behind a sentence), I take it that logical form concerns propositions, though strict logicians don't like this, for fear that logic spills into psychology.
p.124 p.124 Substitutional quantification is referential quantification over expressions
     Full Idea: Substitutional quantification may be regarded as referential quantification over expressions.
     From: Kit Fine (Quine on Quantifying In [1990], p.124)
     A reaction: This is an illuminating gloss. Does such quantification involve some ontological commitment to expressions? I feel an infinite regress looming.
1992 Aristotle on Matter
1 n4 p.37 Definitions formed an abstract hierarchy for Aristotle, as sets do for us
     Full Idea: For us it is sets which constitute the most natural example of a hierarchical structure within the abstract realm; but for Aristotle it would have been definitions, via their natural division into genus and differentia.
     From: Kit Fine (Aristotle on Matter [1992], 1 n4)
     A reaction: I suppose everyone who thinks about reality in abstraction ends up with a hierarchy. Compare the hierarchy of angelic hosts, or Greek gods. Could we get back to the Aristotelian view, instead of sets, which are out of control at the top end?
1 p.37 Is there a plausible Aristotelian notion of constitution, applicable to both physical and non-physical?
     Full Idea: There is a question of whether there is a viable conception of constitution of the sort Aristotle supposes, one which is uniformly applicable to physical and non-physical objects alike, and which is capable of hierarchical application.
     From: Kit Fine (Aristotle on Matter [1992], 1)
     A reaction: This is part of an explication of Aristotle's 'matter' [hule], which might be better translated as 'ingredients', which would fit non-physical things quite well.
1 p.37 The components of abstract definitions could play the same role as matter for physical objects
     Full Idea: If one considers Aristotle's standard example of a definition, then it is plausible that its defining terms ('plane figure' in the case of a circle) should be constitutive of it in the same general way as physical matter constitutes something physical.
     From: Kit Fine (Aristotle on Matter [1992], 1)
     A reaction: It strikes me that an appropriate translation for the Greek 'hule' might be the English 'ingredients', since Fine seems to be right about the broad application of hule in Aristotle.
1 p.38 There is no distinctive idea of constitution, because you can't say constitution begins and ends
     Full Idea: If the parts of a body can constitute a man, then why should men not constitute a family? Why draw the line at the level of the man? ...Thus the idea of a distinctive notion of constitution, terminating in concrete substances, should be given up.
     From: Kit Fine (Aristotle on Matter [1992], 1)
     A reaction: This is in the context of Aristotle, but Fine's view seems to apply to Rudder Baker's distinctive approach.
1 n4 p.37 Aristotle sees hierarchies in definitions using genus and differentia (as we see them in sets)
     Full Idea: For us, sets constitute the most natural example of a hierarchical structure within the abstract realm. But for Aristotle it would have been definitions, via their natural division into genus and differentia.
     From: Kit Fine (Aristotle on Matter [1992], 1 n4)
     A reaction: Genus and differentia are only part of the story in Aristotle, and this remarks strikes me as perceptive. It is precisely the mapping of the explanatory hierarchy which Aristotle seeks in a good definition.
2 p.43 Maybe bottom-up grounding shows constitution, and top-down grounding shows essence
     Full Idea: It may be that the two forms of grounding have a different source; the one from the bottom up is required for the constitution of the thing to be intelligible; the one from the top down is required for the essence of the thing to be intelligible.
     From: Kit Fine (Aristotle on Matter [1992], 2)
     A reaction: [He cites Aristotle Met. 1019a8-10 in support] Close reading of Fine would be needed to elucidate this properly, but it is a suggestive line of thought about how we should approach grounding.
1994 Essence and Modality
p.5 An essential property of something must be bound up with what it is to be that thing
     Full Idea: Fine's view is that the notion of an essential property of a thing should be bound up with the notion of what it is to be that thing (unlike, for example, Socrates being such that there are infinitely many primes).
     From: report of Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994]) by Adolph Rami - Essential vs Accidental Properties 2
     A reaction: I would think that Fine is so obviously right that it was hardly worth saying, but philosophers are a funny lot, and are quite likely to claim that features of prime numbers are part of the essence of a long-dead philosopher.
p.6 Essential properties are part of an object's 'definition'
     Full Idea: According to Fine's definitional characterization of essential properties, they are those of an object's properties that are part of the object's 'definition'.
     From: report of Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994]) by Adolph Rami - Essential vs Accidental Properties 2
     A reaction: This demands not just an account of what a definition is, but also the notion that there is only one fixed and correct definition (since the object presumably only has one essence) - but there seems to be something relative about a good definition.
p.16 Essence as necessary properties produces a profusion of essential properties
     Full Idea: If an essence is a sum of essential properties (had in all possible worlds where it exists), Fine points out that it seems grossly to overgenerate essential properties ('S is either a man or a mouse', or 'S is such that 2+2=4').
     From: report of Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994]) by E.J. Lowe - What is the Source of Knowledge of Modal Truths? 6
     A reaction: To me this is the sort of mess you get into when you accept that 'being such that p' is a property. Defenders of the modal approach always have to eliminate 'trivial' properties from essences, but non-trivial is a defining feature of an essence.
p. 2 p.2 Essences are either taken as real definitions, or as necessary properties
     Full Idea: Essence has been conceived either on the model of definition, involving the 'real' as opposed to 'nominal' definitions, or it is elucidated in modal terms, located in de re cases of modal attributions (an object being necessarily a certain way).
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 2)
     A reaction: [compressed] Fine sets out to defend the definitional view, which derives from Aristotle, his line being that necessity depends on essence, and so cannot be used to define it. I think I agree.
p. 2 p.2 An object is dependent if its essence prevents it from existing without some other object
     Full Idea: One object depends upon another (in one sense of the term) if its essence prevents it from existing without the other object.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 2)
     A reaction: I take the interest of this to be that essences are usually thought to be intrinsic, but this seems to involve the object in necessary external relations.
p. 3 p.3 Modern philosophy has largely abandoned real definitions, apart from sortals
     Full Idea: In modern analytic philosophy we find that, as a result of sustained empiricist critique, the idea of real definition has been more or less given up (unless it be taken to be vestigially present in the notion of a sortal).
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 3)
     A reaction: The account of essences as falling under sortals (roughly, categorising terms) is associated with David Wiggins. Kit Fine is in the business of reviving Aristotelian real definitions, as are fans of scientific essentialism (see under 'Nature').
p. 3 p.3 My account shows how the concept works, rather than giving an analysis
     Full Idea: My assimilation of essence to definition ...may not provide us with an analysis of the concept, but it does provide us with a good model of how the concept works.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 3)
     A reaction: An example of the modern shift in analytic philosophy, away from the dream of given a complete analysis of a concept, towards giving an account of the concepts relationships. Compare Shoemaker in Idea 8559.
p. 3 p.3 Simple modal essentialism refers to necessary properties of an object
     Full Idea: The simplest form of the modal account takes an object to have a property essentially just in case it is necessary that the object has the property.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 3)
     A reaction: Fine wants to reverse the account, explaining necessities in terms of prior essences.
p. 3 p.3 Essentialist claims can be formulated more clearly with quantified modal logic
     Full Idea: With the advent of quantified modal logic, philosophers have been in a better position to formulate essentialist claims.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 3)
     A reaction: A nice illustration of the role which logic plays in modern analytic philosophy. It is not an unreasonable assumption that we will understand a theoretical problem more clearly if we can articulate it more accurately.
p. 4 p.4 Essentially having a property is naturally expressed as 'the property it must have to be what it is'
     Full Idea: We have an informal way of saying an object essentially has a property, as 'the object must have the property if it is to be the object that it is', and this form of words manages to convey what we wish to convey.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 4)
     A reaction: The importance of this claim is that it makes no mention of 'necessity'. Fine's view is plausible, but hard to evaluate once he has said. We seem to then divide an object's properties into identity properties, causal properties and peripheral properties.
p. 5 p.5 The nature of singleton Socrates has him as a member, but not vice versa
     Full Idea: Can we not recognise a sense of 'what an object is', according to which it lies in the nature of a singleton to have Socrates as a member, even though it does not lie in the nature of Socrates to belong to the singleton?
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 5)
     A reaction: Important and persuasive. It echoes the example in Idea 11162, that the necessary relation is not part of the essence. Socrates is necessarily in {Socrates}, but that is because of the set, not because of Socrates. Essences causes necessities.
p. 5 p.5 Socrates is necessarily distinct from the Eiffel Tower, but that is not part of his essence
     Full Idea: It is necessary that Socrates and the Eiffel Tower be distinct. But it is not essential to Socrates that he be distinct from the Tower, for there is nothing in his nature which connects him in any special way to it.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 5)
     A reaction: I find this simple argument very persuasive in separating out necessary facts about an object from the essence of that object.
p. 5-6 p.5 It is not part of the essence of Socrates that a huge array of necessary truths should hold
     Full Idea: Necessarily any necessary truth will hold if Socrates exists. But it is no part of Socrates' essence that there be infinitely many prime numbers, ..or that objects like the Eiffel Tower have their own necessary essence.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 5-6)
     A reaction: This and the 'singleton Socrates' example (Idea 11165) are the twin prongs of Fine's attack on the modal account of essentialism. I think they constitute one of the best single pages in the whole of recent philosophy. Bravo.
p. 6 p.6 If Socrates lacks necessary existence, then his nature cannot require his parents' existence
     Full Idea: If there is nothing in the nature of Socrates which demands that he exists, then presumably there is nothing in the nature of Socrates which demands that his parents exist.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 6)
     A reaction: This sounds conclusive to me, against any claim that Socrates necessarily had those parents, if the claim is based on the identity or esssence of Socrates.
p. 9 p.9 Metaphysical necessities are true in virtue of the nature of all objects
     Full Idea: The metaphysically necessary truths can be identified with the propositions which are true in virtue of the nature of all objects whatever.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 9)
     A reaction: This is part of Fine's proposal that necessities are derived from the essences or natures of things, which view I find very congenial.
p. 9 p.9 The subject of a proposition need not be the source of its necessity
     Full Idea: We naturally suppose, if a subject-predicate proposition is necessary, that the subject of the proposition is the source of the necessity. But that singleton 2 contains 2 is necessary, whether the number or the set is the subject of the proposition.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 9)
     A reaction: A very nice addition to his general attack on the idea that essence should be accounted for in terms of his necessity. He asks a beautifully simple question: for each necessity that we accept, what is the source of that necessity?
p. 9 p.9 Metaphysical necessity is a special case of essence, not vice versa
     Full Idea: Far from viewing essence as a special case of metaphysical necessity, we should view metaphysical necessity as a special case of essence.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 9)
     A reaction: This strikes me as one of the most powerful proposals in modern philosophy (even if it is a reiteration of Aristotle!).
p. 9-10 p.9 Conceptual necessities rest on the nature of all concepts
     Full Idea: Conceptual (and logical) necessities can be taken to be the propositions which are true in virtue of the nature of all concepts (or just the logical concepts).
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p. 9-10)
     A reaction: The idea that something might be true simply because of the nature of a concept sounds good, and a slightly better formulation than traditional accounts of analytic truth.
p.10 p.10 Analytic truth may only be true in virtue of the meanings of certain terms
     Full Idea: Just as a necessary truth may be true in virtue of the identity of certain objects as opposed to others, so an analytic truth may be true in virtue of the meanings of certain terms as opposed to others (such as 'bachelor' rather than 'unmarried').
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p.10)
     A reaction: This is a beautifully simple observation, that the necessity of 'bachelors are unmarried men' derives from part of the proposition, not from the whole of it. So what is it about the part that generates the apparent necessity? The nature of the concept!
p.13 p.13 The meaning of 'bachelor' is irrelevant to the meaning of 'unmarried man'
     Full Idea: Strictly speaking it is irrelevant to the meaning of 'bachelor' that the phrase 'unmarried man' means what it does.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p.13)
     A reaction: His point is that the necessary truth here derives from the meaning of 'bachelor', and not from the meaning of 'unmarried man'. But is also true that 'unmarried man' means 'bachelor' (for those familiar with the latter, but not the former).
p.13 p.13 Defining a term and giving the essence of an object don't just resemble - they are the same
     Full Idea: There is an analogy between defining a term and giving the essence of an object. ..However, I am inclined to think that the two cases are not merely parallel but are, at bottom, the same.
     From: Kit Fine (Essence and Modality [1994], p.13)
     A reaction: The proposal is something like the meaning of a concept being the essence of the concept. And essence is definition. The parallel is that they both lead to necessities, either derived from objects or from concepts. Sounds good to me.
1994 A Puzzle Concerning Matter and Form
p.19 p.560 The possible Aristotelian view that forms are real and active principles is clearly wrong
     Full Idea: Aristotle seems to have a possible basis for the belief [in individual forms], namely that forms are real and active principles in the world, which is denied by any right-minded modern.
     From: report of Kit Fine (A Puzzle Concerning Matter and Form [1994], p.19) by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 24.3 n8
     A reaction: Pasnau says this is the view of forms promoted by the scholastics, whereas Aristotle's own view should be understood as 'metaphysical'.
1995 Ontological Dependence
I p.269 Metaphysics deals with the existence of things and with the nature of things
     Full Idea: Metaphysics has two main areas of concern: one is with the nature of things, with what they are; and the other is with the existence of things, with whether they are.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], I)
     A reaction: This paper is part of a movement which has shifted metaphysics to a third target - how things relate to one another. The possibility that this third aim should be the main one seems quite plausible to me.
I p.270 A natural modal account of dependence says x depends on y if y must exist when x does
     Full Idea: A natural account of dependence in terms of modality and existence is that one thing x will depend on another thing y just in case it is necessary that y exists if x exists (or in the symbolism of modal logic, □(Ex→Ey).
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], I)
     A reaction: He is going to criticise this view (which he traces back to Aristotle and Husserl). It immediately seems possible that there might be counterexamples. x might depend on y, but not necessarily depend on y. Necessities may not produce dependence.
I p.273 We should understand identity in terms of the propositions it renders true
     Full Idea: We should understand the identity or being of an object in terms of the propositions rendered true by its identity rather than the other way round.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], I)
     A reaction: Behind this is an essentialist view of identity, rather than one connected with necessary properties.
I p.274 An object's 'being' isn't existence; there's more to an object than existence, and its nature doesn't include existence
     Full Idea: It seems wrong to identify the 'being' of an object, its being what it is, with its existence. In one respect existence is too weak; for there is more to an object than mere existence; also too strong, for an object's nature need not include existence.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], I)
     A reaction: The word 'being' has been shockingly woolly, from Parmenides to Heidegger, but if you identify it with a thing's 'nature' that strikes me as much clearer (even if a little misty).
II p.275 We understand things through their dependency relations
     Full Idea: We understand a defined object (what it is) through the objects on which it depends.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], II)
     A reaction: This places dependency relations right at the heart of our understanding of the world, and hence shifts traditional metaphysics away from existence and identity. The notion of explanation is missing from Fine's account.
II p.275 Dependency is the real counterpart of one term defining another
     Full Idea: The notion of one object depending upon another is the real counterpart to the nominal notion of one term being definable in terms of another.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], II)
     A reaction: This begins to fill out the Aristotelian picture very nicely, since definitions are right at the centre of the nature of things (though a much more transitional part of the story than Fine seems to think).
II p.277 How do we distinguish basic from derived esssences?
     Full Idea: How and where are we to draw the line between what is basic to the essence and what is derived?
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], II)
     A reaction: He calls the basic essence 'constitutive' and the rest the 'consequential' essence. This question is obviously very challenging for the essentialist. See Idea 22.
II p.279 An object depends on another if the second cannot be eliminated from the first's definition
     Full Idea: The objects upon which a given object depends, according to the present account, are those which must figure in any of the logically equivalent definitions of the object. They will, in a sense, be ineliminable.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], II)
     A reaction: This is Fine's main proposal for the dependency relationship, with a context of Aristotelian essences understood as definitions. Sounds pretty good to me.
III p.282 Maybe some things have essential relationships as well as essential properties
     Full Idea: It is natural to suppose, in the case of such objects as Wooster and Jeeves, that in addition to possessing constitutive essential properties they will also enter into constitutive essential relationships.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], III)
     A reaction: I like this. If we are going to have scientific essences as structures of intrinsic powers, then the relationships between the parts of the essence must also be essential. That is the whole point - that the powers dictate the relationships.
III p.283 Maybe two objects might require simultaneous real definitions, as with two simultaneous terms
     Full Idea: In Wooster as the witless bachelor and Jeeves as the crafty manservant, and one valet to the other, we will have the counterpart, within the framework of real definition, to the simultaneous definition of two terms.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], III)
     A reaction: This is wonderful grist to the mill of scientific essentialism, which endeavours to produce an understanding through explanation of the complex interactions of nature.
III p.285 There is 'weak' dependence in one definition, and 'strong' dependence in all the definitions
     Full Idea: An object 'weakly' depends upon another if it is ineliminably involved in one of its definitions; and it 'strongly' depends upon the other if it is ineliminably involved in all of its definitions.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], III)
     A reaction: It is important to remember that a definition can be very long, and not just what might go into a dictionary.
III p.285 An object only essentially has a property if that property follows from every definition of the object
     Full Idea: We can say that an object essentially has a certain property if its having that property follows from every definition of the object, while an object will definitively have a given property if its having that property follows from some definition of it.
     From: Kit Fine (Ontological Dependence [1995], III)
     A reaction: Presumably that will be every accurate definition. This nicely allows for the fact that at least nominal definitions may not be unique, and there is even room for real definitions not to be fully determinate (thus, how far should they extend?).
1995 Senses of Essence
3 p.57 Being a man is a consequence of his essence, not constitutive of it
     Full Idea: If we distinguish 'constitutive' from 'consequential' essence, ..then the essence of Socrates will, in part, be constituted by his being a man. But being a man (or a mountain) will merely be consequential upon, and not constitutive of, his essence.
     From: Kit Fine (Senses of Essence [1995], 3)
     A reaction: Yes yes yes. I think it is absurd to say that the class to which something belongs is part of its essential nature, given that it presumably can only belong to the class if it already has a certain essential nature. What did Frankenstein construct?
3 p.57 A logical truth is true in virtue of the nature of the logical concepts
     Full Idea: One wants to define a logical truth as one that is true in virtue of the nature of the logical concepts.
     From: Kit Fine (Senses of Essence [1995], 3)
     A reaction: This is part of Fine's project to give a revised account of essence, which includes the essence of concepts as well as the essence of objects. Everyone should pay close attention to this project.
3 p.58 Logical concepts rest on certain inferences, not on facts about implications
     Full Idea: The nature of the logical concepts is given, not by certain logical truths, but by certain logical inferences. What properly belongs to disjunction is the inference from p to (p or q), rather than the fact that p implies (p or q).
     From: Kit Fine (Senses of Essence [1995], 3)
     A reaction: Does this mean that Fine is wickedly starting with the psychology, rather than with the pure truth of the connection? Frege is shuddering. This view seems to imply that the truth table for 'or' is secondary.
4 p.60 The property of Property Abstraction says any suitable condition must imply a property
     Full Idea: According to the principle of Property Abstraction, there is, for any suitable condition, a property that is possessed by an object just in case it conforms to the condition. This is usually taken to be a second-order logical truth.
     From: Kit Fine (Senses of Essence [1995], 4)
     A reaction: Fine objects that it is implied that if Socrates is essentially a man, then he essentially has the property of being a man. Like Fine, I think this conclusion is distasteful. A classification is not a property, at least the way most people use 'property'.
7 p.65 Can the essence of an object circularly involve itself, or involve another object?
     Full Idea: Can the essence of an object (ineliminably) involve that object itself (perhaps through self-identity, giving a direct circularity), or have an indirect circularity involving two or more objects (such as admiration between Watson and Holmes).
     From: Kit Fine (Senses of Essence [1995], 7)
     A reaction: [compressed] This looks like one of the basic questions which any theory of essentialism must address.
8 p.66 The essence or definition of an essence involves either a class of properties or a class of propositions
     Full Idea: If each object has a unique essence or definition, this may be identified with either the class of properties that it essentially has, or with the class of propositions that are true in virtue of what it is.
     From: Kit Fine (Senses of Essence [1995], 8)
     A reaction: Elsewhere Fine says that it is easier to work with the propositions view, but that the properties (or predicates) view is probably more fundamental. He goes on here to raise the question of whether either view makes the essence unique.
8 p.67 If there are alternative definitions, then we have three possibilities for essence
     Full Idea: If there are alternative definitions for an essence, we must distinguish three notions. There is the essence as the manifold (the combined definitions), or as the range of alternative definitions (with component essences), or there is the common essence.
     From: Kit Fine (Senses of Essence [1995], 8)
     A reaction: Fine opts for the third alternative (what the definitions all have in common) as the best account. He says (p.68) 'definitive' properties come from one definition, and 'essential' properties from every possible definition.
1998 Cantorian Abstraction: Recon. and Defence
1 p.4 After abstraction all numbers seem identical, so only 0 and 1 will exist!
     Full Idea: In Cantor's abstractionist account there can only be two numbers, 0 and 1. For abs(Socrates) = abs(Plato), since their numbers are the same. So the number of {Socrates,Plato} is {abs(Soc),abs(Plato)}, which is the same number as {Socrates}!
     From: Kit Fine (Cantorian Abstraction: Recon. and Defence [1998], 1)
     A reaction: Fine tries to answer this objection, which arises from 45 of Frege's Grundlagen. Fine summarises that "indistinguishability without identity appears to be impossible". Maybe we should drop talk of numbers in terms of sets.
2 p.7 I think of variables as objects rather than as signs
     Full Idea: It is natural nowadays to think of variables as a certain kind of sign, but I wish to think of them as a certain kind of object.
     From: Kit Fine (Cantorian Abstraction: Recon. and Defence [1998], 2)
     A reaction: Fine has a theory based on 'arbitrary objects', which is a rather charming idea. The cell of a spreadsheet is a kind of object, I suppose. A variable might be analogous to a point in space, where objects can locate themselves.
3 p.10 To obtain the number 2 by abstraction, we only want to abstract the distinctness of a pair of objects
     Full Idea: In abstracting from the elements of a doubleton to obtain 2, we do not wish to abstract away from all features of the objects. We wish to take account of the fact that the two objects are distinct; this alone should be preserved under abstraction.
     From: Kit Fine (Cantorian Abstraction: Recon. and Defence [1998], 3)
     A reaction: This is Fine's strategy for meeting Frege's objection to abstraction, summarised in Idea 9146. It seems to use the common sense idea that abstraction is not all-or-nothing. Abstraction has degrees (and levels).
3 p.11 We should define abstraction in general, with number abstraction taken as a special case
     Full Idea: Number abstraction can be taken to be a special case of abstraction in general, which can then be defined without recourse to the concept of number.
     From: Kit Fine (Cantorian Abstraction: Recon. and Defence [1998], 3)
     A reaction: At last, a mathematical logician recognising that they don't have a monopoly on abstraction. It is perfectly obvious that abstractions of simple daily concepts must be chronologically and logically prior to number abstraction. Number of what?
5 p.19 If green is abstracted from a thing, it is only seen as a type if it is common to many things
     Full Idea: In traditional abstraction, the colour green merely has the intrinsic property of being green, other properties of things being abstracted away. But why should that be regarded as a type? It must be because the property is common to the instances.
     From: Kit Fine (Cantorian Abstraction: Recon. and Defence [1998], 5)
     A reaction: A nice question which shows that the much-derided single act of abstraction is not sufficient to arrive at a concept, so that abstraction is a more complex matter (perhaps even a rational one) than simple empiricists believe.
1999 Things and Their Parts
Intro p.61 A 'temporary' part is a part at one time, but may not be at another, like a carburetor
     Full Idea: First, a thing can be a part in a way that is relative to a time, for example, that a newly installed carburettor is now part of my car, whereas earlier it was not. (This will be called a 'temporary' part).
     From: Kit Fine (Things and Their Parts [1999], Intro)
     A reaction: [Cf Idea 13327 for the 'second' concept of part] I'm immediately uneasy. Being a part seems to be a univocal concept. He seems to be distinguishing parts which are necessary for identity from those which aren't. Fine likes to define by example.
Intro p.61 A 'timeless' part just is a part, not a part at some time; some atoms are timeless parts of a water molecule
     Full Idea: Second, an object can be a part of another in a way that is not relative to time ('timeless'). It is not appropriate to ask when it is a part. Thus pants and jacket are parts of the suit, atoms of a water molecule, and two pints part of a quart of milk.
     From: Kit Fine (Things and Their Parts [1999], Intro)
     A reaction: [cf Idea 13326 for the other concept of 'part'] Again I am uneasy that 'part' could have two meanings. A Life Member is a member in the same way that a normal paid up member is a member.
Intro p.62 Two sorts of whole have 'rigid embodiment' (timeless parts) or 'variable embodiment' (temporary parts)
     Full Idea: I develop a version of hylomorphism, in which the theory of 'rigid embodiment' provides an account of the timeless relation of part, and the theory of 'variable embodiment' is an account of the temporary relation. We must accept two new kinds of whole.
     From: Kit Fine (Things and Their Parts [1999], Intro)
     A reaction: [see Idea 13326 and Idea 13327 for the two concepts of 'part'] This is easier to take than the two meanings for 'part'. Since Aristotle, everyone has worried about true wholes (atoms, persons?) and looser wholes (houses).
1 p.62 An 'aggregative' sum is spread in time, and exists whenever a component exists
     Full Idea: In the 'aggregative' understanding of a sum, it is spread out in time, so that exists whenever any of its components exists (just as it is located at any time wherever any of its components are located).
     From: Kit Fine (Things and Their Parts [1999], 1)
     A reaction: This works particularly well for something like an ancient forest, which steadily changes its trees. On that view, though, the ship which has had all of its planks replaced will be the identical single sum of planks all the way through. Fine agrees.
1 p.63 An 'compound' sum is not spread in time, and only exists when all the components exists
     Full Idea: In the 'compound' notion of sum, the mereological sum is spread out only in space, not also in time. For it to exist at a time, all of its components must exist at the time.
     From: Kit Fine (Things and Their Parts [1999], 1)
     A reaction: It is hard to think of anything to which this applies, apart from for a classical mereologist. Named parts perhaps, like Tom, Dick and Harry. Most things preserve sum identity despite replacement of parts by identical components.
2 p.65 Part and whole contribute asymmetrically to one another, so must differ
     Full Idea: The whole identity of a part is relevant to whether it is a part, but the identity of the whole makes a part a part. The whole part belongs to the whole as a part. The standard account in terms of time-slices fails to respect this part/whole asymmetry.
     From: Kit Fine (Things and Their Parts [1999], 2)
     A reaction: Hard to follow, but I think the asymmetry is that the wholeness of the part contributes to the wholeness of the whole, while the wholeness of the whole contributes to the parthood of the part. Wholeness does different jobs in different directions. OK?
5 p.72 Hierarchical set membership models objects better than the subset or aggregate relations do
     Full Idea: It is the hierarchical conception of sets and their members, rather than the linear conception of set and subset or of aggregate and component, that provides us with the better model for the structure of part-whole in its application to material things.
     From: Kit Fine (Things and Their Parts [1999], 5)
     A reaction: His idea is to give some sort of internal structure. He says of {a,b,c,d} that we can create subsets {a,b} and {c,d} from that. But {{a,b},{c,d}} has given member sets, and he is looking for 'natural' divisions between the members.
5 p.73 The matter is a relatively unstructured version of the object, like a set without membership structure
     Full Idea: The wood is, as it were, a relatively unstructured version of the tree, just as the set {a,b,c,d} is an unstructured counterpart of the set {{a,b},{c,d}}.
     From: Kit Fine (Things and Their Parts [1999], 5)
     A reaction: He is trying to give a modern logicians' account of the Aristotelian concept of 'form' (as applied to matter). It is part of the modern project that objects must be connected to the formalism of mereology or set theory. If it works, are we thereby wiser?
2000 Neutral Relations
Intro p.1 The 'standard' view of relations is that they hold of several objects in a given order
     Full Idea: The 'standard' view of relations, held by philosophers and logicians alike, is that we may meaningfully talk of a relation holding of several objects in a given order (which works for examples like 'loves' and 'between').
     From: Kit Fine (Neutral Relations [2000], Intro)
     A reaction: The point of Fine's paper is that there are many relations for which this model seems to fail.
Intro p.1 The 'positionalist' view of relations says the number of places is fixed, but not the order
     Full Idea: The 'positionalist' view of relations is that each relation is taken to be endowed with a given number of argument places, or positions, in no specified order. [...The argument-places are specific entities, such as 'lover' and 'beloved']
     From: Kit Fine (Neutral Relations [2000], Intro)
     A reaction: Fine offers this as an alternative to the 'standard' view of relations, in which the order of the objects matters. He then adds, and favours, the 'anti-positionalist' view, where there are not even a fixed number of places.
1 p.4 A block on top of another contains one relation, not both 'on top of' and 'beneath'
     Full Idea: If block a is on block b, it is hard to see how this state of affairs might consist of both 'on top of' and 'beneath'. Surely if the state is a genuine relational complex, there must be a single relation for these relata?
     From: Kit Fine (Neutral Relations [2000], 1)
     A reaction: He has already shown that if such relations imply their converses, then that gives you two separate relations. He goes on to observe that you cannot pick one of the two as correct, because of symmetry. He later offers the 'vertical placement' relation.
1 p.6 Language imposes a direction on a road which is not really part of the road
     Full Idea: Roads in the directional sense (A-to-B or B-to-A) are merely roads in the adirectional sense up which a direction has been imposed.
     From: Kit Fine (Neutral Relations [2000], 1)
     A reaction: This is Fine's linguistic objection to the standard view of relations. It is undeniable that language imposes an order where it may not exist ('Bob and Jane play tennis'), and this fact is very significant in discussing relations.
3 p.14 Explain biased relations as orderings of the unbiased, or the unbiased as permutation classes of the biased?
     Full Idea: A 'biased' relation can be taken to be the result of imposing ordering on the argument-places of an unbiased relation, ..or we can take an unbiased relation to be a 'permutation class' of biased relations. This is a familiar metaphysic predicament.
     From: Kit Fine (Neutral Relations [2000], 3)
     A reaction: 'Biased' relations such as 'on top of' have an ordering to their places, but 'unbiased' relations such as 'vertical placement' do not. This is a nice question in the metaphysics of grounding relations between key concepts.
2001 The Question of Realism
p.144 If you make 'grounding' fundamental, you have to mention some non-fundamental notions
     Full Idea: My main objection to Fine's notion of grounding as fundamental is that it violates 'purity' - that fundamental truths should involve only fundamental notions.
     From: comment on Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001]) by Theodore Sider - Writing the Book of the World 08.2
     A reaction: [p.106 of Sider for 'purity'] The point here is that to define a grounding relation you have to mention the 'higher' levels of the relationship (as in a 'city' being grounded in physical stuff), which doesn't seem fundamental enough.
Intro p.1 Reality is a primitive metaphysical concept, which cannot be understood in other terms
     Full Idea: I conclude that there is a primitive metaphysical concept of reality, one that cannot be understood in fundamentally different terms.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], Intro)
     A reaction: Fine offers arguments to support his claim, but it seems hard to disagree with. The only alternative I can see is to understand reality in terms of our experiences, and this is the road to metaphysical hell.
Intro p.1 What is real can only be settled in terms of 'ground'
     Full Idea: Questions of what is real are to be settled upon the basis of considerations of ground.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], Intro)
     A reaction: This looks like being one of Fine's most important ideas, which is shifting the whole basis of contemporary metaphysics. Only Parmenides and Heidegger thought Being was the target. Aristotle aims at identity. What grounds what is a third alternative.
1 p.3 In metaphysics, reality is regarded as either 'factual', or as 'fundamental'
     Full Idea: The first main approach says metaphysical reality is to be identified with what is 'objective' or 'factual'. ...According to the second conception, metaphysical reality is to be identified with what is 'irreducible' or 'fundamental'.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 1)
     A reaction: Fine is defending the 'fundamental' approach, via the 'grounding' relation. The whole structure, though, seems to be reality. In particular, a complete story must include the relations which facilitate more than mere fundamentals.
15-16 p.142 Something is grounded when it holds, and is explained, and necessitated by something else
     Full Idea: When p 'grounds' q then q holds in virtue of p's holding; q's holding is nothing beyond p's holding; the truth of p explains the truth of q in a particularly tight sense (explanation of q by p in this sense requires that p necessitates q).
     From: report of Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 15-16) by Theodore Sider - Writing the Book of the World 08.1
     A reaction: This proposal has become a hot topic in current metaphysics, as attempts are made to employ 'grounding' in various logical, epistemological and ontological contexts. I'm a fan - it is at the heart of metaphysics as structure of reality.
3 p.8 Reduction might be producing a sentence which gets closer to the logical form
     Full Idea: One line of reduction is logical analysis. To say one sentence reduces to another is to say that they express the same proposition (or fact), but the grammatical form of the second is closer to the logical form than the grammatical form of the first.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 3)
     A reaction: Fine objects that S-and-T reduces to S and T, which is two propositions. He also objects that this approach misses the de re ingredient in reduction (that it is about the things themselves, not the sentences). It also overemphasises logical form.
3 p.9 Reduction might be semantic, where a reduced sentence is understood through its reduction
     Full Idea: A second line of reduction is semantic, and holds in virtue of the meaning of the sentences. It should then be possible to acquire an understanding of the reduced sentence on the basis of understanding the sentences to which it reduces.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 3)
     A reaction: Fine says this avoids the first objection to the grammatical approach (see Reaction to Idea 15050), but still can't handle the de re aspect of reduction. Fine also doubts whether this understanding qualifies as 'reduction'.
3 p.10 Reduction is modal, if the reductions necessarily entail the truth of the target sentence
     Full Idea: The third, more recent, approach to reduction is a modal matter. A class of propositions will reduce to - or supervene upon - another if, necessarily, any truth from the one is entailed by truths from the other.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 3)
     A reaction: [He cites Armstrong, Chalmers and Jackson for this approach] Fine notes that some people reject supervenience as a sort of reduction. He objects that this reduction doesn't necessarily lead to something more basic.
4 p.14 'Quietist' says abandon metaphysics because answers are unattainable (as in Kant's noumenon)
     Full Idea: The 'quietist' view of metaphysics says that realist metaphysics should be abandoned, not because its questions cannot be framed, but because their answers cannot be found. The real world of metaphysics is akin to Kant's noumenal world.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 4)
     A reaction: [He cites Blackburn, Dworkin, A.Fine, and Putnam-1987 as quietists] Fine aims to clarify the concepts of factuality and of ground, in order to show that metaphysics is possible.
4 n20 p.13 If metaphysics can't be settled, it hardly matters whether it makes sense
     Full Idea: If there is no way of settling metaphysical questions, then who cares whether or not they make sense?
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 4 n20)
     A reaction: This footnote is aimed at logical positivists, who seemed to worry about whether metaphysics made sense, and also dismissed its prospects even if it did make sense.
5 p.15 Grounding relations are best expressed as relations between sentences
     Full Idea: I recommend that a statement of ground be cast in the following 'canonical' form: Its being the case that S consists in nothing more than its being the case that T, U... (where S, T, U... are particular sentences).
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 5)
     A reaction: The point here is that grounding is to be undestood in terms of sentences (and 'its being the case that...'), rather than in terms of objects, properties or relations. Fine thus makes grounding a human activity, rather than a natural activity.
5 p.15 The notion of reduction (unlike that of 'ground') implies the unreality of what is reduced
     Full Idea: The notion of ground should be distinguished from the strict notion of reduction. A statement of reduction implies the unreality of what is reduced, but a statement of ground does not.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 5)
     A reaction: That seems like a bit of a caricature of reduction. If you see a grey cloud and it reduces to a swarm of mosquitoes, you do not say that the cloud was 'unreal'. Fine is setting up a stall for 'ground' in the metaphysical market. We all seek structure.
5 p.16 Ultimate explanations are in 'grounds', which account for other truths, which hold in virtue of the grounding
     Full Idea: We take ground to be an explanatory relation: if the truth that P is grounded in other truths, then they account for its truth; P's being the case holds in virtue of the other truths' being the case. ...It is the ultimate form of explanation.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 5)
     A reaction: To be 'ultimate' that which grounds would have to be something which thwarted all further explanation. Popper, for example, got quite angry at the suggestion that we should put a block on further investigation in this way.
6 p.18 A proposition ingredient is 'essential' if changing it would change the truth-value
     Full Idea: A proposition essentially contains a given constituent if its replacement by some other constituent induces a shift in truth value. Thus Socrates is essential to the proposition that Socrates is a philosopher, but not to Socrates is self-identical.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 6)
     A reaction: In this view the replacement of 'is' by 'isn't' would make 'is' (or affirmation) part of the essence of most propositions. This is about linguistic essence, rather than real essence. It has the potential to be trivial. Replace 'slightly' by 'fairly'?
7 p.22 Grounding is an explanation of truth, and needs all the virtues of good explanations
     Full Idea: The main sources of evidence for judgments of ground are intuitive and explanatory. The relationship of ground is a form of explanation, ..explaining what makes a proposition true, which needs simplicity, breadth, coherence, non-circularity and strength.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 7)
     A reaction: My thought is that not only must grounding explain, and therefore be a good explanation, but that the needs of explanation drive our decisions about what are the grounds. It is a bit indeterminate which is tail and which is dog.
8 p.26 Although colour depends on us, we can describe the world that way if it picks out fundamentals
     Full Idea: As long as colour terms pick out fundamental physical properties, I would be willing to countenance their use in the description of Reality in itself, ..even if they are based on a peculiar form of sensory awareness.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 8)
     A reaction: This seems to explain why metaphysicians are so fond of using colour as their example of a property, when it seems rather subjective. There seem to be good reasons for rejecting Fine's view.
8 p.26 Why should what is explanatorily basic be therefore more real?
     Full Idea: We may grant that some things are explanatorily more basic than others, but why should that make them more real?
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 8)
     A reaction: This is the question asked by the 'quietist'. Fine's answer is that our whole conception of Reality, with its intrinsic structure, is what lies at the basis, and this is primitive.
2002 The Limits of Abstraction
035 p.793 Fine considers abstraction as reconceptualization, to produce new senses by analysing given senses
     Full Idea: Fine considers abstraction principles as instances of reconceptualization (rather than implicit definition, or using the Context Principle). This centres not on reference, but on new senses emerging from analysis of a given sense.
     From: report of Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], 035) by R Cook / P Ebert - Notice of Fine's 'Limits of Abstraction' 2
     A reaction: Fine develops an argument against this view, because (roughly) the procedure does not end in a unique result. Intuitively, the idea that abstraction is 'reconceptualization' sounds quite promising to me.
060 p.796 Implicit definitions must be satisfiable, creative definitions introduce things, contextual definitions build on things
     Full Idea: Fine distinguishes 'implicit definitions', where we must know it is satisfiable before it is deployed, 'creative definitions', where objects are introduced in virtue of the definition, ..and 'contextual definitions', based on established vocabulary.
     From: report of Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], 060) by R Cook / P Ebert - Notice of Fine's 'Limits of Abstraction' 3
     A reaction: Fine is a fan of creative definition. This sounds something like the distinction between cutting nature at the perceived joints, and speculating about where new joints might be inserted. Quite a helpful thought.
100 p.799 Fine's 'procedural postulationism' uses creative definitions, but avoids abstract ontology
     Full Idea: Fine says creative definitions can found mathematics. His 'procedural postulationism' says one stipulates not truths, but certain procedures for extending a domain. The procedures can be stated without invoking an abstract ontology.
     From: report of Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], 100) by R Cook / P Ebert - Notice of Fine's 'Limits of Abstraction' 4
     A reaction: (For creative definitions, see Idea 9143) This sounds close in spirit to fictionalism, but with the emphasis on the procedure (which can presumably be formalized) rather than a pure act of imaginative creation.
I p.1 We can abstract from concepts (e.g. to number) and from objects (e.g. to direction)
     Full Idea: A principle of abstraction is 'conceptual' when the items upon which it abstracts are concepts (e.g. a one-one correspondence associated with a number), and 'objectual' if they are objects (parallel lines associated with a direction).
     From: Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], I)
I.1 p.9 Points in Euclidean space are abstract objects, but not introduced by abstraction
     Full Idea: Points in abstract Euclidean space are abstract objects, and yet are not objects of abstraction, since they are not introduced through a principle of abstraction of the sort envisaged by Frege.
     From: Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], I.1)
     A reaction: The point seems to be that they are not abstracted 'from' anything, but are simpy posited as basic constituents. I suggest that points are idealisations (of smallness) rather than abstractions. They are idealised 'from' substances.
I.1 p.10 Abstractionism can be regarded as an alternative to set theory
     Full Idea: The uncompromising abstractionist rejects set theory, seeing the theory of abstractions as an alternative, rather than as a supplement, to the standard theory of sets.
     From: Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], I.1)
     A reaction: There is also a 'compromising' version. Presumably you still have equivalence classes to categorise the objects, which are defined by their origin rather than by what they are members of... Cf. Idea 10145.
I.2 p.28 An object is the abstract of a concept with respect to a relation on concepts
     Full Idea: We can see an object as being the abstract of a concept with respect to a relation on concepts. For example, we may say that 0 is the abstract of the empty concept with respect to the relation of one-one correspondence.
     From: Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], I.2)
     A reaction: This is Fine's attempt to give a modified account of the Fregean approach to abstraction. He says that the reference to a relation will solve the problem of identity between abstractions.
I.4 p.46 Many different kinds of mathematical objects can be regarded as forms of abstraction
     Full Idea: Many different kinds of mathematical objects (natural numbers, the reals, points, lines, figures, groups) can be regarded as forms of abstraction, with special theories having their basis in a general theory of abstraction.
     From: Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], I.4)
     A reaction: This result, if persuasive, would be just the sort of unified account which the whole problem of abstact ideas requires.
II.1 p.56 'Creative definitions' do not presuppose the existence of the objects defined
     Full Idea: What I call 'creative definitions' are made from a standpoint in which the existence of the objects that are to be assigned to the terms is not presupposed.
     From: Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], II.1)
II.5 p.100 Postulationism says avoid abstract objects by giving procedures that produce truth
     Full Idea: A procedural form of postulationism says that instead of stipulating that certain statements are true, one specifies certain procedures for extending the domain to one in which the statement will in fact be true, without invoking an abstract ontology.
     From: Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], II.5)
     A reaction: The whole of philosophy might go better if it was founded on procedures and processes, rather than on objects. The Hopi Indians were right.
IV.1 p.172 Abstracts cannot be identified with sets
     Full Idea: It is impossible for a proponent of both sets and abstracts to identify the abstracts, in any reasonable manner, with the sets.
     From: Kit Fine (The Limits of Abstraction [2002], IV.1)
     A reaction: [This observation emerges from a proof Fine has just completed] Cf Idea 10137. The implication is that there is no compromise view available, and one must choose between abstraction or sets as one's account of numbers and groups of concepts.
2002 The Varieties of Necessity
5 p.256 Unsupported testimony may still be believable
     Full Idea: I may have good reason to believe some testimony, for example, even though the person providing the testimony has no good reason for saying what he does.
     From: Kit Fine (The Varieties of Necessity [2002], 5)
     A reaction: Thus small children, madmen and dreamers may occasionally get things right without realising it. I take testimony to be merely one more batch of evidence which has to be assessed in building the most coherent picture possible.
6 p.259 Causation is easier to disrupt than logic, so metaphysics is part of nature, not vice versa
     Full Idea: It would be harder to break P-and-Q implying P than the connection between cause and effect. This difference in strictness means it is more plausible that natural necessities include metaphysical necessities, than vice versa.
     From: Kit Fine (The Varieties of Necessity [2002], 6)
     A reaction: I cannot see any a priori grounds for the claim that causation is more easily disrupted than logic. It seems to be based on the strategy of inferring possibilities from what can be imagined, which seems to me to lead to wild misunderstandings.
6 p.260 Each area of enquiry, and its source, has its own distinctive type of necessity
     Full Idea: The three sources of necessity - the identity of things, the natural order, and the normative order - have their own peculiar forms of necessity. The three main areas of human enquiry - metaphysics, science and ethics - each has its own necessity.
     From: Kit Fine (The Varieties of Necessity [2002], 6)
     A reaction: I would treat necessity in ethics with caution, if it is not reducible to natural or metaphysical necessity. Fine's proposal is interesting, but I did not find it convincing, especially in its view that metaphysical necessity doesn't intrude into nature.
2003 The Problem of Possibilia
2 p.163 Possible states of affairs are not propositions; a proposition can't be a state of affairs!
     Full Idea: Possible states of affairs have often been taken to be propositions, but this cannot be correct, since any possible state of affairs is possibly a state of affairs, but no proposition is possibly a state of affairs.
     From: Kit Fine (The Problem of Possibilia [2003], 2)
     A reaction: The point is, presumably, that the state of affairs cannot be the proposition itself, but (at least) what the proposition refers to. I can't see any objection to that.
2 p.163 The actual world is a possible world, so we can't define possible worlds as 'what might have been'
     Full Idea: A possible world can't be defined (by Stalnaker and Plantinga) as a way the world might have been, because a possible world is possibly the world, yet no way the world might have been is possibly the world.
     From: Kit Fine (The Problem of Possibilia [2003], 2)
     A reaction: His point is that any definition of a possible world must cover the actual world, because that is one of them. 'Might have been' is not applicable to the actual world. It seems a fairly important starting point for discussion of possible worlds.
2005 Intro to 'Modality and Tense'
p. 1 p.1 Empiricists suspect modal notions: either it happens or it doesn't; it is just regularities.
     Full Idea: Empiricists have always been suspicious of modal notions: the world is an on-or-off matter - either something happens or it does not. ..Empiricists, in so far as they have been able to make sense of modality, have tended to see it as a form of regularity.
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p. 1)
     A reaction: Fine is discussing the two extreme views of Quine and Lewis. It is one thing to have views about what is possible, and another to include possibilities 'in your ontology'. Our imagination competes with our extrapolations from actuality.
p. 3 p.3 Objects, as well as sentences, can have logical form
     Full Idea: We normally think of logical form as exclusively an attribute of sentences; however, the notion may also be taken to have application to objects.
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p. 3)
     A reaction: A striking proposal which seems intuitively right. If one said that objects have 'powers', one might subsume abstract and physical objects under a single account.
p. 7 p.7 The three basic types of necessity are metaphysical, natural and normative
     Full Idea: There are three basic forms of necessity - the metaphysical (sourced in the identity of objects); natural necessity (in the 'fabric' of the universe); and normative necessity (in the realm of norms and values).
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p. 7)
     A reaction: Earlier he has allowed, as less 'basic', logical necessity (in logical forms), and analytic necessity (in meaning). Fine insists that the three kinds should be kept separate (so no metaphysical necessities about nature). I resent this.
p. 9 p.9 We must distinguish between the identity or essence of an object, and its necessary features
     Full Idea: The failure to distinguish between the identity or essence of an object and its necessary features is an instance of what we may call 'modal mania'.
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p. 9)
     A reaction: He blames Kripke's work for modal mania, a reaction to Quine's 'contempt' for modal notions. I don't actually understand Fine's remark (yet), but it strikes me as incredibly important! Explanations by email, please.
p.10 p.10 Philosophers with a new concept are like children with a new toy
     Full Idea: Philosophers with a new concept are like children with a new toy; their world shrinks to one in which it takes centre stage.
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p.10)
     A reaction: A wonderfully accurate observation, I'm afraid. You can trace the entire history of the subject as a wave of obsessions with exciting new ideas. Fine is referring to a posteriori necessities and possible worlds.
p.10 p.10 Metaphysical necessity may be 'whatever the circumstance', or 'regardless of circumstances'
     Full Idea: There are two fundamental ways in which a property may be metaphysically necessary: it may be a worldly necessity, true whatever the circumstances; or it may be a transcendent necessity, true regardless of the circumstances.
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p.10)
     A reaction: [See Fine's 'Necessity and Non-Existence' for further details] The distinction seems to be that the first sort needs some circumstances (e.g. a physical world?), whereas the second sort doesn't (logical relations?). He also applies it to existence.
p.10 p.10 If sentence content is all worlds where it is true, all necessary truths have the same content!
     Full Idea: The content of a sentence is often identified with the set of possible worlds in which it is true, where the worlds are metaphysically possible. But this has the awkward consequence that all metaphysically necessary truths will have the same content.
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p.10)
     A reaction: I've never understood how the content of a sentence could be a vast set of worlds, so I am delighted to see this proposal be torpedoed. That doesn't mean that truth conditions across possible worlds is not a promising notion.
p.14 p.14 Possible objects are abstract; actual concrete objects are possible; so abstract/concrete are compatible
     Full Idea: If it is in the nature of a possible object to be abstract, this is presumably a property it has in any possible circumstance in which it is actual. If it is actual it is also concrete. So the property of being abstract and concrete are not incompatible.
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p.14)
     A reaction: A rather startling and powerful idea. What of the definition of an abstract object as one which is not in space-time, and lacks causal powers? Could it be that abstraction is a projection of our minds, onto concepts or objects?
p.15 p.15 A non-standard realism, with no privileged standpoint, might challenge its absoluteness or coherence
     Full Idea: By challenging the assumption that reality is 'absolute' (not relative to a standpoint), or that reality is 'coherent' (it is of a piece, from one standpoint), one accepts worldly facts without a privilege standpoint. I call this 'non-standard' realism.
     From: Kit Fine (Intro to 'Modality and Tense' [2005], p.15)
     A reaction: Fine's essay 'Tense and Reality' explores his proposal. I'm not drawn to either of his challenges. I have always taken as articles of faith that there could be a God's Eye view of all of reality, and that everything coheres, independent of our view.
2005 Our Knowledge of Mathematical Objects
Intro p.89 The objects and truths of mathematics are imperative procedures for their construction
     Full Idea: I call my new approach to mathematics 'proceduralism'. It agrees with Hilbert and Poincar that the objects and truths are postulations, but takes them to be imperatival rather than indicative in form; not propositions, but procedures for construction.
     From: Kit Fine (Our Knowledge of Mathematical Objects [2005], Intro)
     A reaction: I'm not sure how an object or a truth can be a procedure, any more than a house can be a procedure. If a procedure doesn't have a product then it is an idle way to pass the time. The view seems to be related to fictionalism.
1 p.91 My Proceduralism has one simple rule, and four complex rules
     Full Idea: My Proceduralism has one simple rule (introduce an object), and four complex rules: Composition (combining two procedures), Conditionality (if A, do B), Universality (do a procedure for every x), and Iteration (rule to keep doing B).
     From: Kit Fine (Our Knowledge of Mathematical Objects [2005], 1)
     A reaction: It sounds like a highly artificial and private game which Fine has invented, but he claims that this is the sort of thing that practising mathematicians have always done.
1 p.95 Proceduralism offers a version of logicism with no axioms, or objects, or ontological commitment
     Full Idea: My Proceduralism offers axiom-free foundations for mathematics. Axioms give way to the stipulation of procedures. We obtain a form of logicism, but with a procedural twist, and with a logic which is ontologically neutral, and no assumption of objects.
     From: Kit Fine (Our Knowledge of Mathematical Objects [2005], 1)
     A reaction: [See Ideas 9222 and 9223 for his Proceduralism] Sounds like philosophical heaven. We get to take charge of mathematics, without the embarrassment of declaring ourselves to be platonists. Someone, not me, should evaluate this.
2005 Necessity and Non-Existence
Intro p.321 Some sentences depend for their truth on worldly circumstances, and others do not
     Full Idea: There is a distinction between worldly and unworldly sentences, between sentences that depend for their truth upon the worldly circumstances and those that do not.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], Intro)
     A reaction: Fine is fishing around in the area between the necessary, the a priori, truthmakers, and truth-conditions. He appears to be attempting a singlehanded reconstruction of the concepts of metaphysics. Is he major, or very marginal?
Intro p.321 What it is is fixed prior to existence or the object's worldly features
     Full Idea: The identity of an object - what it is - is not a worldly matter; essence will precede existence in that the identity of an object may be fixed by its unworldly features even before any question of its existence or other worldly features is considered.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], Intro)
     A reaction: I'm not clear how this cashes out. If I remove the 'worldly features' of an object, what is there left which establishes identity? Fine carefully avoids talk of 'a priori' knowledge of identity.
Intro p.321 Proper necessary truths hold whatever the circumstances; transcendent truths regardless of circumstances
     Full Idea: We distinguish between the necessary truths proper, those that hold whatever the circumstances, and the transcendent truths, those that hold regardless of the circumstances.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], Intro)
     A reaction: Fine's project seems to be dividing the necessities which derive from essence from the necessities which tended to be branded in essentialist discussions as 'trivial'.
01 p.322 B-theorists say tensed sentences have an unfilled argument-place for a time
     Full Idea: B-theorists regard tensed sentences as incomplete expressions, implicitly containing an unfilled argument-place for the time at which they are to be evaluated.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 01)
     A reaction: To distinguish past from future it looks as if you would need two argument-places, not one. Then there are 'used to be' and 'had been' to evaluate.
01 p.322 A-theorists tend to reject the tensed/tenseless distinction
     Full Idea: Most A-theorists have been inclined to reject the tensed/tenseless distinction.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 01)
     A reaction: Presumably this is because they reject the notion of 'tenseless' truths. But sentences like 'two and two make four' seem not to be very tensy.
02 p.325 The actual world is a totality of facts, so we also think of possible worlds as totalities
     Full Idea: We are accustomed think of the actual world as the totality of facts, and so we think of any possible world as being like the actual world in settling the truth-value of every single proposition.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 02)
     A reaction: Hence it is normal to refer to a possible world as a 'maximal' set of of propositions (sentences, etc). See Idea 15069 for his proposed alternative view.
02 p.325 Possible worlds may be more limited, to how things might actually turn out
     Full Idea: An alternative conception of a possible world says it is constituted, not by the totality of facts, or of how things might be, but by the totality of circumstances, or how things might turn out.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 02)
     A reaction: The general idea is to make a possible world more limited than in Idea 15068. It only contains properties arising from 'engagement with the world', and won't include timeless sentences. It is a bunch of possibilities, not of actualities?
04 p.328 It is the nature of Socrates to be a man, so necessarily he is a man
     Full Idea: It is of the nature of Socrates to be a man; and from this it appears to follow that necessarily he is a man.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 04)
     A reaction: I'm always puzzled by this line of thought, because it is only the intrinsic nature of beings like Socrates which decides in the first place what a 'man' is. How can something help to create a category, and then necessarily belong to that category?
07 p.341 Tensed and tenseless sentences state two sorts of fact, which belong to two different 'realms' of reality
     Full Idea: A tensed fact is stated by a tensed sentence while a tenseless fact is stated by a tenseless sentence, and they belong to two 'realms' of reality. That Socrates drank hemlock is in the temporal realm, while 2+2=4 is presumably in the timeless realm.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 07)
     A reaction: Put so strongly, I suddenly find sales resistance to his proposal. All my instincts favour one realm, and I take 2+2=4 to be a highly general truth about that realm. It may be a truth of any possible realm, which would distinguish it.
08 p.341 Bottom level facts are subject to time and world, middle to world but not time, and top to neither
     Full Idea: At the bottom are tensed or temporal facts, subject to the vicissitudes of time and hence of the world. Then come the timeless though worldly facts, subject to the world but not to time. Top are transcendental facts, subject to neither world nor time.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 08)
     A reaction: For all of Fine's awesome grasp of logic and semantics, when he divides reality up as boldly as this I start to side a bit with the sceptics about modern metaphysics (like Ladyman and Ross). I daresay Fine acknowledges that it is 'speculative'.
08 p.344 We would understand identity between objects, even if their existence was impossible
     Full Idea: If there were impossible objects, ones that do not possibly exist, we would have no difficulty in understanding what it is for such objects to be identical or distinct than in the case of possible objects.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 08)
     A reaction: Thus, a 'circular square' seems to be the same as a 'square circle'. Fine is arguing for identity to be independent of any questions of existence.
08 p.344 Self-identity should have two components, its existence, and its neutral identity with itself
     Full Idea: The existential identity of an object with itself needs analysis into two components, one the neutral identity of the object with itself, and the other its existence. The existence of the object appears to be merely a gratuitous addition to its identity.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 08)
     A reaction: This is at least a step towards clarification of the notion, which might be seen as just a way of asserting that something 'has an identity'. Fine likes the modern Fregean way of expressing this, as an equality relation.
09 p.348 Modal features are not part of entities, because they are accounted for by the entity
     Full Idea: It is natural to suggest that to be a man is to have certain kind of temporal-modal profile. ...but it seems natural that being a man accounts for the profile, ...so one should not appeal to an object's modal features in stating what the object is.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 09)
     A reaction: This strikes me as a correct and very helpful point, as I am tempted to think that the modal dispositions of a thing are intrinsic to its identity. If we accept 'powers', must they be modal in character? Fine backs a sortal approach. That's ideology.
09 p.349 Essential features of an object have no relation to how things actually are
     Full Idea: It is the core essential features of the object that will be independent of how things turn out, and they will be independent in the sense of holding regardless of circumstances, not whatever the circumstances.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 09)
     A reaction: The distinction at the end seems to be that 'regardless' pays no attention to circumstances, whereas 'whatever' pays attention to all circumstances. In other words, essence has no relationship to how things are. Plausible. Nice to see 'core'.
10 p.351 It is said that in the A-theory, all existents and objects must be tensed, as well as the sentences
     Full Idea: It is said that there is no room in the A-theorists' ontology for a realm of timeless existents. Just as there is a tendency to think that every sentence is tensed, so there is a tendency to think that every object must enjoy a tensed form of existence.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 10)
     A reaction: Fine is arguing for certain things to exist or be true independently of time (such as arithmetic, or essential identities). I struggle with the notion of timeless existence.
10 p.354 There are levels of existence, as well as reality; objects exist at the lowest level in which they can function
     Full Idea: Just as we recognise different levels of reality, so we should recognise different levels of existence. Each object will exist at the lowest level at which it can enjoy its characteristic form of life.
     From: Kit Fine (Necessity and Non-Existence [2005], 10)
     A reaction: I'm struggling with this claim, despite my sympathy for much of Fine's picture. I'm not sure that the so-called 'levels' of reality have different degrees of reality.
2005 Precis of 'Limits of Abstraction'
p.307 p.307 An abstraction principle should not 'inflate', producing more abstractions than objects
     Full Idea: If an abstraction principle is going to be acceptable, then it should not 'inflate', i.e. it should not result in there being more abstracts than there are objects. By this mark Hume's Principle will be acceptable, but Frege's Law V will not.
     From: Kit Fine (Precis of 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], p.307)
     A reaction: I take this to be motivated by my own intuition that abstract concepts had better be rooted in the world, or they are not worth the paper they are written on. The underlying idea this sort of abstraction is that it is 'shared' between objects.
p.310 p.310 Definitions concern how we should speak, not how things are
     Full Idea: Our concern in giving a definition is not to say how things are by to say how we wish to speak
     From: Kit Fine (Precis of 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], p.310)
     A reaction: This sounds like an acceptable piece of wisdom which arises out of analytical and linguistic philosophy. It puts a damper on the Socratic dream of using definition of reveal the nature of reality.
p.310 p.310 If Hume's Principle can define numbers, we needn't worry about its truth
     Full Idea: Neo-Fregeans have thought that Hume's Principle, and the like, might be definitive of number and therefore not subject to the usual epistemological worries over its truth.
     From: Kit Fine (Precis of 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], p.310)
     A reaction: This seems to be the underlying dream of logicism - that arithmetic is actually brought into existence by definitions, rather than by truths derived from elsewhere. But we must be able to count physical objects, as well as just counting numbers.
p.312 p.312 Hume's Principle is either adequate for number but fails to define properly, or vice versa
     Full Idea: The fundamental difficulty facing the neo-Fregean is to either adopt the predicative reading of Hume's Principle, defining numbers, but inadequate, or the impredicative reading, which is adequate, but not really a definition.
     From: Kit Fine (Precis of 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], p.312)
     A reaction: I'm not sure I understand this, but the general drift is the difficulty of building a system which has been brought into existence just by definition.
2005 Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction'
p.379 If you ask what F the second-order quantifier quantifies over, you treat it as first-order
     Full Idea: We are tempted to ask of second-order quantifiers 'what are you quantifying over?', or 'when you say "for some F" then what is the F?', but these questions already presuppose that the quantifiers are first-order.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005])
1 p.367 Set-theoretic imperialists think sets can represent every mathematical object
     Full Idea: Set-theoretic imperialists think that it must be possible to represent every mathematical object as a set.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 1)
1 p.367 Abstraction-theoretic imperialists think Fregean abstracts can represent every mathematical object
     Full Idea: Abstraction-theoretic imperialists think that it must be possible to represent every mathematical object as a Fregean abstract.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 1)
1 p.368 We can combine ZF sets with abstracts as urelements
     Full Idea: I propose a unified theory which is a version of ZF or ZFC with urelements, where the urelements are taken to be the abstracts.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 1)
1 p.370 A generative conception of abstracts proposes stages, based on concepts of previous objects
     Full Idea: It is natural to have a generative conception of abstracts (like the iterative conception of sets). The abstracts are formed at stages, with the abstracts formed at any given stage being the abstracts of those concepts of objects formed at prior stages.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 1)
     A reaction: See 10567 for Fine's later modification. This may not guarantee 'levels', but it implies some sort of conceptual priority between abstract entities.
1 p.371 We might combine the axioms of set theory with the axioms of mereology
     Full Idea: We might combine the standard axioms of set theory with the standard axioms of mereology.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 1)
1 p.372 There is no stage at which we can take all the sets to have been generated
     Full Idea: There is no stage at which we can take all the sets to have been generated, since the set of all those sets which have been generated at a given stage will itself give us something new.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 1)
1 p.373 We can create objects from conditions, rather than from concepts
     Full Idea: Instead of viewing the abstracts (or sums) as being generated from objects, via the concepts from which they are defined, we can take them to be generated from conditions. The number of the universe ∞ is the number of self-identical objects.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 1)
     A reaction: The point is that no particular object is now required to make the abstraction.
2 p.374 Logicists say mathematics can be derived from definitions, and can be known that way
     Full Idea: Logicists traditionally claim that the theorems of mathematics can be derived by logical means from the relevant definitions of the terms, and that these theorems are epistemically innocent (knowable without Kantian intuition or empirical confirmation).
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 2)
2 p.383 Assigning an entity to each predicate in semantics is largely a technical convenience
     Full Idea: In doing semantics we normally assign some appropriate entity to each predicate, but this is largely for technical convenience.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 2)
2 p.385 Concern for rigour can get in the way of understanding phenomena
     Full Idea: It is often the case that the concern for rigor gets in the way of a true understanding of the phenomena to be explained.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 2)
     A reaction: This is a counter to Timothy Williamson's love affair with rigour in philosophy. It strikes me as the big current question for analytical philosophy - of whether the intense pursuit of 'rigour' will actually deliver the wisdom we all seek.
2 p.386 Dedekind cuts lead to the bizarre idea that there are many different number 1's
     Full Idea: Because of Dedekind's definition of reals by cuts, there is a bizarre modern doctrine that there are many 1's - the natural number 1, the rational number 1, the real number 1, and even the complex number 1.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 2)
     A reaction: See Idea 10572.
2 p.388 Unless we know whether 0 is identical with the null set, we create confusions
     Full Idea: What is the union of the singleton {0}, of zero, and the singleton {φ}, of the null set? Is it the one-element set {0}, or the two-element set {0, φ}? Unless the question of identity between 0 and φ is resolved, we cannot say.
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 2)
2 p.390 Why should a Dedekind cut correspond to a number?
     Full Idea: By what right can Dedekind suppose that there is a number corresponding to any pair of irrationals that constitute an irrational cut?
     From: Kit Fine (Replies on 'Limits of Abstraction' [2005], 2)
2006 In Defence of Three-Dimensionalism
p.1 p.1 4-D says things are stretched in space and in time, and not entire at a time or at a location
     Full Idea: Four-dimensionalists have thought that a material thing is as equally 'stretched out' in time as it is in space, and that there is no special way in which it is entirely present at a moment rather than at a position.
     From: Kit Fine (In Defence of Three-Dimensionalism [2006], p.1)
     A reaction: Compare his definition of 3-D in Idea 12295. The 4-D is contrary to our normal way of thinking. Since I don't think the future exists, I presume that if I am a 4-D object then I have to say that I don't yet exist, and I disapprove of such talk.
p.1 p.1 3-D says things are stretched in space but not in time, and entire at a time but not at a location
     Full Idea: Three-dimensionalist think a thing is somehow 'stretched out' through its location at a given time though not through the period during which it exists, and it is present in its entirety at a moment when it exists though not at a position of its location.
     From: Kit Fine (In Defence of Three-Dimensionalism [2006], p.1)
     A reaction: This definition is designed to set up Fine's defence of the 3-D view, by showing that various dubious asymmetries show up if you do not respect the distinctions offered by the 3-D view.
p.18 p.18 You can ask when the wedding was, but not (usually) when the bride was
     Full Idea: Fine says it is acceptable to ask when a wedding was and where it was, and it is acceptable to ask or state where the bride was (at a certain time), but not when she was.
     From: report of Kit Fine (In Defence of Three-Dimensionalism [2006], p.18) by Peter Simons - Modes of Extension: comment on Fine p.18
     A reaction: This is aimed at three-dimensionalists who seem to think that a bride is a prolonged event, just as a wedding is. Fine is, interestingly, invoking ordinary language. When did the wedding start and end? When was the bride's birth and death?
p.2 p.2 Three-dimensionalist can accept temporal parts, as things enduring only for an instant
     Full Idea: Even if one is a three-dimensionalist, one might affirm the existence of temporal parts, on the grounds that everything merely endures for an instant.
     From: Kit Fine (In Defence of Three-Dimensionalism [2006], p.2)
     A reaction: This seems an important point, as belief in temporal parts is normally equated with four-dimensionalism (see Idea 12296). The idea is that a thing might be 'entirely present' at each instant, only to be replaced by a simulacrum.
p.6 p.6 Genuine motion, rather than variation of position, requires the 'entire presence' of the object
     Full Idea: In order to have genuine motion, rather than mere variation in position, it is necessary that the object should be 'entirely present' at each moment of the change. Thus without entire presence, or existence, genuine motion will not be possible.
     From: Kit Fine (In Defence of Three-Dimensionalism [2006], p.6)
     A reaction: See Idea 4786 for a rival view of motion. Of course, who says we have to have Kit Fine's 'genuine' motion, if some sort of ersatz motion still gets you to work in the morning?
2007 Semantic Relationism
Intro p.3 That two utterances say the same thing may not be intrinsic to them, but involve their relationships
     Full Idea: In my 'Semantic Relationism' the fact that two utterances say the same thing is not entirely a matter of their intrinsic semantic features; it may also turn on semantic relationships among the utterances of their parts not reducible to those features.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], Intro)
     A reaction: You'll need to read the book slowly several times to get the hang of this, but at least it allows that two different utterances might say the same thing (express the same proposition, I would say).
Intro p.3 You cannot determine the full content from a thought's intrinsic character, as relations are involved
     Full Idea: There is no determining the full content of what someone thinks or believes from the individual things that he thinks or believes; we must also look at the threads that tie the contents of these thoughts or beliefs together.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], Intro)
Intro p.4 The two main theories are Holism (which is inferential), and Representational (which is atomistic)
     Full Idea: For holists a proper theory will be broadly inferential, while for their opponents it will be representational in character, describing relations between expressions and reality. Representational semantics is atomist, holist semantics inferential.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], Intro)
     A reaction: Fine presents these as the two main schools in semantics. His own theory then proposes a more holistic version of the Representational view. He seeks the advantages of Frege's position, but without 'sense'.
1 p.6 It seemed that Frege gave the syntax for variables, and Tarski the semantics, and that was that
     Full Idea: Once Frege had provided a clear syntactic account of variables and once Tarski had supplemented this with a rigorous semantic account, it would appear that there was nothing more of significance to be said.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 1)
     A reaction: He later remarks that there are now three semantic accounts: the Tarskian, the instantial, and the algebraic [see xref ideas]. He offers a fourth account in his Semantic Relationism. This grows from his puzzles about variables.
1.A p.7 In separate expressions variables seem identical in role, but in the same expression they aren't
     Full Idea: When we consider the semantic role of 'x' and 'y' in two distinct expressions x>0 and y>0, their semantic roles seems the same. But in the same expression, such as x>y, their roles seem to be different.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 1.A)
     A reaction: [compressed] This new puzzle about variables leads Fine to say that the semantics of variables, and other expressions, is not intrinsic to them, but depends on their external relations. Variables denote any term - unless another variable got there first.
1.B p.10 The usual Tarskian interpretation of variables is to specify their range of values
     Full Idea: The usual Tarskian way of indicating how a variable is to be interpreted is to simply specify its range of values.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 1.B)
1.B p.11 Variables can be viewed as special terms - functions taking assignments into individuals
     Full Idea: The alternative Tarskian way of indicating how a variable is to be interpreted is that a variable x will be a special case of the semantic value of the term; it will be a function which takes each assignment into the individual which it assigns to x.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 1.B)
1.C p.13 The 'algebraic' account of variables reduces quantification to the algebra of its component parts
     Full Idea: In the 'algebraic' approach to variables, we move from a quantified sentence to the term specifying a property (the λ-term), and then reducing to the algebraic operations for atomic formulas.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 1.C)
     A reaction: [Bealer is a source for this view] Fine describes it as an 'algebra of operations'. I presume this is a thoroughly formalist approach to the matter, which doesn't seem to get to the heart of the semantic question.
1.D p.16 'Instantial' accounts of variables say we grasp arbitrary instances from their use in quantification
     Full Idea: According to the 'instantial' approach to variables, a closed quantified sentence is to be understood on the basis of one of its instances; from an understanding of an instance we understand satisfaction by an arbitrary individual.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 1.D)
     A reaction: Fine comments that this is intuitively plausible, but not very precise, because it depends on 'abstraction' of the individual from the expression.
1.G p.25 The standard aim of semantics is to assign a semantic value to each expression
     Full Idea: The aim of semantics, as standardly conceived, is to assign a semantic value to each (meaningful) expression of the language under consideration.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 1.G)
     A reaction: Fine is raising the difficulty that these values can get entangled with one another. He proposes 'semantic connections' as a better aim.
2.C p.44 We should pursue semantic facts as stated by truths in theories (and not put the theories first!)
     Full Idea: A 'semantics' is a body of semantic facts, and a 'semantic theory' is a body of semantic truths. The natural order is a theory being understood as truths, which state facts. Davidson, alas, reversed this order, with facts understood through theories.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 2.C)
     A reaction: [compressed; he cites Davidson 1967, and calls it 'one of the most unfortunate tendencies in modern philosophy of language, ..as if chemistry were understood in terms of formulae rather than chemical facts'].
2.E p.51 Cicero/Cicero and Cicero/Tully may differ in relationship, despite being semantically the same
     Full Idea: There may be a semantic relationship between 'Cicero' and 'Cicero' that does not hold between 'Cicero' and 'Tully', despite the lack of an intrinsic semantic difference between the names themselves.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 2.E)
     A reaction: This is the key idea of Fine's book, and a most original and promising approach to a rather intractable problem in reference. He goes on to distinguish names which are 'strictly' coreferential (the first pair) from those that are 'accidentally' so.
2.F p.53 Referentialist semantics has objects for names, properties for predicates, and propositions for connectives
     Full Idea: The standard referentialist semantics for a language with names is that the semantic value of the name is the object, the content of a predicate is a property, and the content of a logical connective is an operation on propositions.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 2.F)
     A reaction: My particular bte noire is the idea that every predicate names a property. It is the tyranny of having to have a comprehensive semantic theory that drives this implausible picture. And I don't see how an object can be a semantic value
2.G p.64 Fregeans approach the world through sense, Referentialists through reference
     Full Idea: Fregeans emphasise an orientation towards the speaker: possession of sense makes language meaningful, and language relates to the world through sense. For the Referentialist its representational relationships make it meaningful, and relate it to the world
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 2.G)
     A reaction: The Referentialist approach is for Kripkean fans of direct reference, rather than the Fregean reference through descriptions. I am inclined to favour the old-fashioned, deeply discredited, much mocked Fregean approach.
3.A p.68 Mental files are devices for keeping track of basic coordination of objects
     Full Idea: Mental files should be seen as a device for keeping track of when objects are coordinated (represented as-the-same) and, rather than understand coordination in terms of mental files, we should understand mental files in terms of coordination.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 3.A)
     A reaction: Personally I think that the metaphor of a 'label' is much closer to the situation than that of a 'file'. Thus my concept of Cicero is labelled 'Tully', 'Roman', 'orator', 'philosophical example'... My problem is to distinguish the concept from its labels.
3.A p.68 I can only represent individuals as the same if I do not already represent them as the same
     Full Idea: I can only represent two individuals as being the same if I do not already represent them as the same.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 3.A)
     A reaction: A very nice simple point. If I say 'Hesperus is Hesperus' I am unable to comment on the object, but 'Hesperus is Phosphorus' has a different expressive power. Start from contexts where it is necessary to say that two things are actually one.
3.A p.69 If Cicero=Tully refers to the man twice, then surely Cicero=Cicero does as well?
     Full Idea: 'Cicero=Cicero' and 'Cicero=Tully' are both dyadic predications. It is unnatural to suppose that the use of the same name converts a dyadic predicate into a reflexive predicate, or that there is one reference to Cicero in the first and two in the second.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], 3.A)
     A reaction: I am deeply suspicious of the supposed 'property' of being self-identical, but that may not deny that it could be a genuine truth (shorthand for 'the C you saw is the same as the C I saw'). Having an identity makes equality with self possible.
Post 'Indexicals' p.124 I take indexicals such as 'this' and 'that' to be linked to some associated demonstration
     Full Idea: Demonstrative uses of an indexical such as 'this' or 'that' should be taken to be anaphoric on an associated demonstration. It is a semantic requirement on the use of the indexical that it be coreferential with the demonstration.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Relationism [2007], Post 'Indexicals')
     A reaction: Similarly 'now' must connect to looking at a clock, and 'I' to pointing at some person. The demonstration could be of a verbal event, as much as a physical one.
2009 The Question of Ontology
p.163 It is plausible that x^2 = -1 had no solutions before complex numbers were 'introduced'
     Full Idea: It is not implausible that before the 'introduction' of complex numbers, it would have been incorrect for mathematicians to claim that there was a solution to the equation 'x^2 = -1' under a completely unrestricted understanding of 'there are'.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009])
     A reaction: I have adopted this as the crucial test question for anyone's attitude to platonism in mathematics. I take it as obvious that complex numbers were simply invented so that such equations could be dealt with. They weren't 'discovered'!
p.160 p.160 The indispensability argument shows that nature is non-numerical, not the denial of numbers
     Full Idea: Arguments such as the dispensability argument are attempting to show something about the essentially non-numerical character of physical reality, rather than something about the nature or non-existence of the numbers themselves.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009], p.160)
     A reaction: This is aimed at Hartry Field. If Quine was right, and we only believe in numbers because of our science, and then Field shows our science doesn't need it, then Fine would be wrong. Quine must be wrong, as well as Field.
p.164 p.164 Just as we introduced complex numbers, so we introduced sums and temporal parts
     Full Idea: Just as one can extend the domain of discourse to include solutions to the equation 'x^2=-1' so one can extend the domain of discourse to include objects that satisfy the condition 'x is the sum of the G's' or 'x is a temporal part of the object b at t'.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009], p.164)
     A reaction: This thought lies behind Fine's 'Proceduralism'. I take it that our collection of abstracta consists entirely of items we have either deliberately or unthinkingly 'introduced' into our discourse when they seemed useful. They then submit to certain laws.
p.167 p.167 Ontological claims are often universal, and not a matter of existential quantification
     Full Idea: I suggest we give up on the account of ontological claims in terms of existential quantification. The commitment to the integers is not an existential but a universal commitment, to each of the integers, not to some integer or other.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009], p.167)
     A reaction: In classical logic it is only the existential quantifier which requires the domain to be populated, so Fine is more or less giving up on classical logic as a tool for doing ontology (apparently?).
p.167 p.167 'Exists' is a predicate, not a quantifier; 'electrons exist' is like 'electrons spin'
     Full Idea: The most natural reading of 'electrons exist' is that there are electrons while, on our view, the proper reading should be modeled on 'electrons spin', meaning every electron spins. 'Exists' should be treated as a predicate rather than a quantifier.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009], p.167)
     A reaction: So existence IS a predicate (message to Kant). Dunno. Electrons have to exist in order to spin, but they don't have to exist in order to exist. But they don't have to exist to be 'dead'.
p.168 p.168 The existence of numbers is not a matter of identities, but of constituents of the world
     Full Idea: On saying that a particular number exists, we are not saying that there is something identical to it, but saying something about its status as a genuine constituent of the world.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009], p.168)
     A reaction: This is aimed at Frege's criterion of identity, which is to be an element in an identity relation, such as x = y. Fine suggests that this only gives a 'trivial' notion of existence, when he is interested in a 'thick' sense of 'exists'.
p.172 p.172 Real objects are those which figure in the facts that constitute reality
     Full Idea: The real objects are the objects of reality, those that figure in the facts by which reality is constituted.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009], p.172)
     A reaction: And these need to be facts over and above the basic facts. Thus, does the 'equator' constitute reality, over and above the Earth being a rotating sphere? Does 'six' constitute reality, over and above all the possible groups of six objects?
p.174 p.174 Being real and being fundamental are separate; Thales's water might be real and divisible
     Full Idea: Being the case in reality and being fundamental are not sufficient for one another. If one agrees with Thales that the world is composed of water, and with Aristotle that water is indefinitely divisible, then water would be real but not fundamental.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009], p.174)
     A reaction: Presumably the divisibility would make a reductionist account of water possible. The Atlantic Ocean is real, but water molecules would have a more prominent place in the ontology of any good metaphysician.
p.174 p.174 For ontology we need, not internal or external views, but a view from outside reality
     Full Idea: We need to straddle both of Carnap's internal and external views. It is only by standing outside of reality that we are able to occupy a standpoint from which the constitution of reality can be adequately described.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Ontology [2009], p.174)
     A reaction: See Idea 4840! I thoroughly approve of this idea, which almost amounts to a Credo for the modern metaphysician. Since we can think outside our room, or our country, or our era, or our solar system, I think we can do what Fine is demanding.
2010 Semantic Necessity
p.9 The role of semantic necessity in semantics is like metaphysical necessity in metaphysics
     Full Idea: Fine's paper argues that the notion of semantic necessity has a role to play in understanding the nature and content of semantics comparable to the role of metaphysical necessity in metaphysics.
     From: report of Kit Fine (Semantic Necessity [2010]) by Bob Hale/ Aviv Hoffmann - Introduction to 'Modality' 2
Intro p.65 Semantics is either an assignment of semantic values, or a theory of truth
     Full Idea: On one view, a semantics for a given language is taken to be an assignment of semantic values to its expressions; according to the other, a semantics is taken to be a theory of truth for that language.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Necessity [2010], Intro)
     A reaction: The first is Frege, the second Tarski via Davidson, says Fine. Fine argues against these as the correct alternatives, and says the distinction prevents us understanding what is really going on. He votes for semantics as giving 'semantic requirements'.
1 p.67 The Quinean doubt: are semantics and facts separate, and do analytic sentences have no factual part?
     Full Idea: The source of the Quinean scepticism about analytic and synthetic is, first, scepticism over whether we can factor truth into a semantic and a factual component, and (second) if we can, is the factual component ever null?
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Necessity [2010], 1)
     A reaction: You certainly can't grasp 'bachelors are unmarried men' if you haven't grasped the full Woosterian truth about men and marriage. But I could interdefine four meaningless words, so that you could employ them in analytic sentences.
5 p.79 Semantics is a body of semantic requirements, not semantic truths or assigned values
     Full Idea: Semantics should be conceived as a body of semantic requirements or facts - and not as a body of semantic truths, or as an assignment of semantic values.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Necessity [2010], 5)
     A reaction: The 'truths' view is Tarski, and the 'values' view is Frege. You'll have to read the Fine paper to grasp his subtle claim.
5 p.80 Referential semantics (unlike Fregeanism) allows objects themselves in to semantic requirements
     Full Idea: What distinguishes the referential position in semantics from Fregeanism is that it makes use of de re semantic facts, in which it is required of an object itself that it enter into certain semantic requirements.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Necessity [2010], 5)
     A reaction: I have a repugnance to any sort of semantics that involves the objects themselves, even when dealing with proper names. If I talk of 'Napoleon', no small Frenchman is to be found anywhere in my sentences.
n8 p.74 Theories in logic are sentences closed under consequence, but in truth discussions theories have axioms
     Full Idea: It is customary in logic to take a theory to be a set of sentences closed under logical consequence, whereas it is common in discussions of theories of truth to take a theory to be an axiomatized theory.
     From: Kit Fine (Semantic Necessity [2010], n8)
2010 Some Puzzles of Ground
4 p.100 Formal grounding needs transitivity of grounding, no self-grounding, and the existence of both parties
     Full Idea: The general formal principles of grounding are Transitivity (AB, BC/AC: if A helps ground B and B helps C, then A helps C), Irreflexivity (AA/absurd: A can't ground itself) and Factivity (AB/A; A/B: for grounding both A and B must be the case).
     From: Kit Fine (Some Puzzles of Ground [2010], 4)
n7 p.116 Strong Kleene disjunction just needs one true disjunct; Weak needs the other to have some value
     Full Idea: Under strong Kleene tables, a disjunction will be true if one of the disjuncts is true, regardless of whether or not the other disjunct has a truth-value; under the weak table it is required that the other disjunct also have a value. So for other cases.
     From: Kit Fine (Some Puzzles of Ground [2010], n7)
     A reaction: [see also p.111 of Fine's article] The Kleene tables seem to be the established form of modern three-valued logic, with the third value being indeterminate.
2012 Guide to Ground
Intro p.37 Is there metaphysical explanation (as well as causal), involving a constitutive form of determination?
     Full Idea: In addition to scientific or causal explanation, there maybe a distinctive kind of metaphysical explanation, in which explanans and explanandum are connected, not through some causal mechanism, but through some constitutive form of determination.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], Intro)
     A reaction: I'm unclear why determination has to be 'constitutive', since I would take determination to be a family of concepts, with constitution being one of them, as when chess pieces determine a chess set. Skip 'metaphysical'; just have Determinative Explanation.
1.01 p.38 2+2=4 is necessary if it is snowing, but not true in virtue of the fact that it is snowing
     Full Idea: It is necessary that if it is snowing then 2+2=4, but the fact that 2+2=4 does not obtain in virtue of the fact that it is snowing.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.01)
     A reaction: Critics dislike 'in virtue of' (as vacuous), but I can't see how you can disagree with this obvervation of Fine's. You can hardly eliminate the word 'because' from English, or say p is because of some object. We demand the right to keep asking 'why?'!
1.01 p.40 Each basic modality has its 'own' explanatory relation
     Full Idea: I am inclined to the view that ....each basic modality should be associated with its 'own' explanatory relation.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.01)
     A reaction: He suggests that 'grounding' connects the various explanatory relations of the different modalities. I like this a lot. Why assert any necessity without some concept of where the necessity arises, and hence where it is grounded? You've got to eat.
1.02 p.40 Realist metaphysics concerns what is real; naive metaphysics concerns natures of things
     Full Idea: We may broadly distinguish between two main branches of metaphysics: the 'realist' or 'critical' branch is concerned with what is real (tense, values, numbers); the 'naive' or 'pre-critical' branch concerns natures of things irrespective of reality.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.02)
     A reaction: [compressed] The 'natures' of things are presumably the essences. He cites 3D v 4D objects, and the status of fictional characters, as examples of the second type. Fine says ground is central to realist metaphysics.
1.02 p.40 Philosophical explanation is largely by ground (just as cause is used in science)
     Full Idea: For philosophers interested in explanation - of what accounts for what - it is largely through the notion of ontological ground that such questions are to be pursued. Ground, if you like, stands to philosophy as cause stands to science.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.02)
     A reaction: Why does the ground have to be 'ontological'? It isn't the existence of the snow that makes me cold, but the fact that I am lying in it. Better to talk of 'factual' ground (or 'determinative' ground), and then causal grounds are a subset of those?
1.02 p.41 We can only explain how a reduction is possible if we accept the concept of ground
     Full Idea: It is only by embracing the concept of a ground as a metaphysical form of explanation in its own right that one can adequately explain how a reduction of the reality of one thing to another should be understood.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.02)
     A reaction: I love that we are aiming to say 'how' a reduction should be understood, and not just 'that' it exists. I'm not sure about Fine's emphasis on explaining 'realities', when I think we are after more like structural relations or interconnected facts.
1.02 p.41 If you say one thing causes another, that leaves open that the 'other' has its own distinct reality
     Full Idea: It will not do to say that the physical is causally determinative of the mental, since that leaves open the possibility that the mental has a distinct reality over and above that of the physical.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.02)
     A reaction: The context is a defence of grounding, so that if we say the mind is 'grounded' in the brain, we are saying rather more than merely that it is caused by the brain. A ghost might be 'caused' by a bar of soap. Nice.
1.02 p.41 If mind supervenes on the physical, it may also explain the physical (and not vice versa)
     Full Idea: It is not enough to require that the mental should modally supervene on the physical, since that still leaves open the possibility that the physical is itself ultimately to be understood in terms of the mental.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.02)
     A reaction: See Horgan on supervenience. Supervenience is a question, not an answer. The first question is whether the supervenience is mutual, and if not, which 'direction' does it go in?
1.02 p.42 Even a three-dimensionalist might identify temporal parts, in their thinking
     Full Idea: Even the three-dimensionalist might be willing to admit that material things have temporal parts. For given any persisting object, he might suppose that 'in thought' we could mark out its temporal segments or parts.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.02)
     A reaction: A big problem with temporal parts is how thin they are. Hawley says they are as fine-grained as time itself, but what if time has no grain? How thin can you 'think' a temporal part to be? Fine says imagined parts are grounded in things, not vice versa.
1.02 p.43 If grounding is a relation it must be between entities of the same type, preferably between facts
     Full Idea: In so far as ground is regarded as a relation it should be between entities of the same type, and the entities should probably be taken as worldly entities, such as facts, rather than as representational entities, such as propositions.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.02)
     A reaction: That's more like it (cf. Idea 17280). The consensus of this discussion seems to point to facts as the best relata, for all the vagueness of facts, and the big question of how fine-grained facts should be (and how dependent they are on descriptions).
1.02 p.43 Ground is best understood as a sentence operator, rather than a relation between predicates
     Full Idea: Ground is perhaps best regarded as an operation (signified by an operator on sentences) rather than as a relation (signified by a predicate)
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.02)
     A reaction: Someone in this book (Koslicki?) says this is to avoid metaphysical puzzles over properties. I don't like the idea, because it makes grounding about sentences when it should be about reality. Fine is so twentieth century. Audi rests ground on properties.
1.03 p.44 Truths need not always have their source in what exists
     Full Idea: There is no reason in principle why the ultimate source of what is true should always lie in what exists.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.03)
     A reaction: This seems to be the weak point of the truthmaker theory, since truths about non-existence are immediately in trouble. Saying reality makes things true is one thing, but picking out a specific bit of it for each truth is not so easy.
1.03 p.45 If the truth-making relation is modal, then modal truths will be grounded in anything
     Full Idea: The truth-making relation is usually explicated in modal terms, ...but this lets in far too much. Any necessary truth will be grounded by anything. ...The fact that singleton Socrates exists will be a truth-maker for the proposition that Socrates exists.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.03)
     A reaction: If truth-makers are what has to 'exist' for something to be true, then maybe nothing must exist for a necessity to be true - in which case it has no truth maker. Or maybe 2 and 4 must 'exist' for 2+2=4?
1.05 'Mediate' p.51 An immediate ground is the next lower level, which gives the concept of a hierarchy
     Full Idea: It is the notion of 'immediate' ground that provides us with our sense of a ground-theoretic hierarchy. For any truth, we can take its immediate grounds to be at the next lower level.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.05 'Mediate')
     A reaction: Are the levels in the reality, the structure or the descriptions? I vote for the structure. I'm defending the idea that 'essence' picks out the bottom of a descriptive level.
1.05 'Weak' p.52 'Strict' ground moves down the explanations, but 'weak' ground can move sideways
     Full Idea: We might think of strict ground as moving us down in the explanatory hierarchy. ...Weak ground, on the other hand, may also move us sideways in the explanatory hierarchy.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.05 'Weak')
     A reaction: This seems to me rather illuminating. For example, is the covering law account of explanation a 'sideways' move in explanation. Are inductive generalities mere 'sideways' accounts. Both fail to dig deeper.
1.10 p.71 Logical consequence is verification by a possible world within a truth-set
     Full Idea: Under the possible worlds semantics for logical consequence, each sentence of a language is associated with a truth-set of possible worlds in which it is true, and then something is a consequence if one of these worlds verifies it.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.10)
     A reaction: [compressed, and translated into English; see Fine for more symbolic version; I'm more at home in English]
1.10 p.72 Facts, such as redness and roundness of a ball, can be 'fused' into one fact
     Full Idea: Given any facts, there will be a fusion of those facts. Given the facts that the ball is red and that it is round, there is a fused fact that it is 'red and round'.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.10)
     A reaction: This is how we make 'units' for counting. Any type of thing which can be counted can be fused, such as the first five prime numbers, forming the 'first' group for some discussion. Any objects can be fused to make a unit - but is it thereby a 'unity'?
1.11 p.76 Every necessary truth is grounded in the nature of something
     Full Idea: It might be held as a general thesis that every necessary truth is grounded in the nature of certain items.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.11)
     A reaction: [He cites his own 1994 for this] I'm not sure if I can embrace the 'every' in this. I would only say, more cautiously, that I can only make sense of necessity claims when I see their groundings - and I don't take a priori intuition as decent grounding.
1.11 p.76 We learn grounding from what is grounded, not what does the grounding
     Full Idea: It is the fact to be grounded that 'points' to its ground and not the grounds that point to what they ground.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.11)
     A reaction: What does the grounding may ground all sorts of other things, but what is grounded only has one 'full' (as opposed to 'partial', in Fine's terminology) ground. He says this leads to a 'top-down' approach to the study of grounds.
1.11 p.77 Only metaphysical grounding must be explained by essence
     Full Idea: If the grounding relation is not metaphysical (such as normative or natural grounding), there is no need for there to be an explanation of its holding in terms of the essentialist nature of the items involved.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.11)
     A reaction: He accepts that some things have partial grounds in different areas of reality.
1.11 p.79 We explain by identity (what it is), or by truth (how things are)
     Full Idea: I think it should be recognised that there are two fundamentally different types of explanation; one is of identity, or of what something is; and the other is of truth, or of how things are.
     From: Kit Fine (Guide to Ground [2012], 1.11)