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All the ideas for 'Difference and Repetition', 'On Concept and Object' and 'The Metaontology of Abstraction'

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24 ideas

1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 1. Continental Philosophy
'Difference' refers to that which eludes capture [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: 'Difference' is a term which Deleuze uses to refer to that which eludes capture.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: Presumably its ancestor is Kant's noumenon. This is one of his concepts used to 'palpate' our ossified conceptual scheme.
2. Reason / F. Fallacies / 1. Fallacy
It is a fallacy to explain the obscure with the even more obscure [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: The fallacy of 'ad obscurum per obscurius' is to explain the obscure by appeal to what is more obscure.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 3)
     A reaction: Not strictly a fallacy, so much as an example of inadequate explanation, along with circularity and infinite regresses.
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 1. Logical Form
A thought can be split in many ways, so that different parts appear as subject or predicate [Frege]
     Full Idea: A thought can be split up in many ways, so that now one thing, now another, appears as subject or predicate
     From: Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892], p.199)
     A reaction: Thus 'the mouse is in the box', and 'the box contains the mouse'. A simple point, but important when we are trying to distinguish thought from language.
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / d. Singular terms
Singular terms refer if they make certain atomic statements true [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: Anyone should agree that a justification for regarding a singular term as having objectual reference is provided just as soon as one has justification for regarding as true certain atomic statements in which it functions as a singular term.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 9)
     A reaction: The meat of this idea is hidden in the word 'certain'. See Idea 10314 for Hale's explanation. Without that, the proposal strikes me as absurd.
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 5. Definitions of Number / c. Fregean numbers
There is the concept, the object falling under it, and the extension (a set, which is also an object) [Frege, by George/Velleman]
     Full Idea: For Frege, the extension of the concept F is an object, as revealed by the fact that we use a name to refer to it. ..We must distinguish the concept, the object that falls under it, and the extension of the concept, which is the set containing the object.
     From: report of Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892]) by A.George / D.J.Velleman - Philosophies of Mathematics Ch.2
     A reaction: This I take to be the key distinction needed if one is to grasp Frege's account of what a number is. When we say that Frege is a platonist about numbers, it is because he is committed to the notion that the extension is an object.
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 6. Logicism / c. Neo-logicism
Neo-Fregeanism might be better with truth-makers, rather than quantifier commitment [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: A third way has been offered to 'make sense' of neo-Fregeanism: we should reject Quine's well-known criterion of ontological commitment in favour of one based on 'truth-maker theory'.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 4 n19)
     A reaction: [The cite Ross Cameron for this] They reject this proposal, on the grounds that truth-maker theory is not sufficient to fix the grounding truth-conditions of statements.
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 6. Logicism / d. Logicism critique
Are neo-Fregeans 'maximalists' - that everything which can exist does exist? [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: It is claimed that neo-Fregeans are committed to 'maximalism' - that whatever can exist does.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 4)
     A reaction: [The cite Eklund] They observe that maximalism denies contingent non-existence (of the 20 note I haven't got). There seems to be the related problem of 'hyperinflation', that if abstract objects are generated logically, the process is unstoppable.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / a. Nature of Being
'Being' is univocal, but its subject matter is actually 'difference' [Deleuze]
     Full Idea: Being is said in a single and same sense of everything of which it is said, but that of which it is said differs: it is said of difference itself.
     From: Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968], p.36), quoted by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: This is an attempt to express the Heraclitean view of reality, as process, movement, multiplicity - something which always eludes our attempts to pin it down.
Ontology can be continual creation, not to know being, but to probe the unknowable [Deleuze]
     Full Idea: Ontology can be an ontology of difference ....where what is there is not the same old things but a process of continual creation, an ontology that does not seek to reduce being to the knowable, but widens thought to palpate the unknowable.
     From: Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]), quoted by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 5.05
     A reaction: I'm inclined to think that the first duty of ontology is to face up to the knowable. I'm not sure that probing the unknowable, with no success or prospect of it, is a good way to spend a life. Probing ('palpating') can sometimes discover things.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / i. Deflating being
Ontology does not tell what there is; it is just a strange adventure [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: In Deleuze's hands ontology is not a matter of telling us what there is, but of taking us on strange adventures.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: Presumably you only indulge in the strange adventure because you have no idea how to specify what there is. This sounds like the essence of post-modernism, in which life is just a game.
Being is a problem to be engaged, not solved, and needs a new mode of thinking [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: In Deleuze, Being is not a puzzle to be solved but a problem to be engaged. It is to be engaged by a thought that moves as comfortably among problems as it does among solutions, as fluidly among differences as it does among identities.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 4.01
     A reaction: This sounds like what I've always known as 'negative capability' (thanks to Keats). Is philosophy just a hobby, like playing darts? It seems that the aim of the process is 'liberation', about which I would like to know more.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Criterion for Existence
Frege mistakenly takes existence to be a property of concepts, instead of being about things [Frege, by Yablo]
     Full Idea: Frege's theory treats existence as a property, not of things we call existent, but of concepts instantiated by those things. 'Biden exists' says our Biden-concept has instances. That is certainly not how it feels! We speak of the thing, not of concepts.
     From: report of Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892]) by Stephen Yablo - Aboutness 01.4
     A reaction: Yablo's point is that you must ask what the sentence is 'about', and then the truth will refer to those things. Frege gets into a tangle because he thinks remarks using concepts are about the concepts.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / a. Ontological commitment
The identity of Pegasus with Pegasus may be true, despite the non-existence [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: Identity is sometimes read so that 'Pegasus is Pegasus' expresses a truth, the non-existence of any winged horse notwithstanding.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 5)
     A reaction: This would give you ontological commitment to truth, without commitment to existence. It undercuts the use of identity statements as the basis of existence claims, which was Frege's strategy.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 3. Types of Properties
Maybe we have abundant properties for semantics, and sparse properties for ontology [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: There is a compatibilist view which says that it is for the abundant properties to play the role of 'bedeutungen' in semantic theory, and the sparse ones to address certain metaphysical concerns.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 9)
     A reaction: Only a philosopher could live with the word 'property' having utterly different extensions in different areas of discourse. They similarly bifurcate words like 'object' and 'exist'. Call properties 'quasi-properties' and I might join in.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
It is unclear whether Frege included qualities among his abstract objects [Frege, by Hale]
     Full Idea: Expositors of Frege's views have disagreed over whether abstract qualities are to be reckoned among his objects.
     From: report of Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892]) by Bob Hale - Abstract Objects Ch.2.II
     A reaction: [he cites Dummett 1973:70-80, and Wright 1983:25-8] There seems to be a danger here of a collision between Fregean verbal approaches to ontological commitment and the traditional views about universals. No wonder they can't decide.
A successful predicate guarantees the existence of a property - the way of being it expresses [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: The good standing of a predicate is already trivially sufficient to ensure the existence of an associated property, a (perhaps complex) way of being which the predicate serves to express.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 9)
     A reaction: 'Way of being' is interesting. Is 'being near Trafalgar Sq' a way of being? I take properties to be 'features', which seems to give a clearer way of demarcating them. They say they are talking about 'abundant' (rather than 'sparse') properties.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 3. Objects in Thought
Frege's 'objects' are both the referents of proper names, and what predicates are true or false of [Frege, by Dummett]
     Full Idea: Frege's notion of an object plays two roles in his semantics. Objects are the referents of proper names, and they are equally what predicates are true and false of.
     From: report of Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892]) by Michael Dummett - Frege Philosophy of Language (2nd ed) Ch.4
     A reaction: Frege is the source of a desperate desire to turn everything into an object (see Idea 8858!), and he has the irritating authority of the man who invented quantificational logic. Nothing but trouble, that man.
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 3. Ontology of Concepts / c. Fregean concepts
Frege equated the concepts under which an object falls with its properties [Frege, by Dummett]
     Full Idea: Frege equated the concepts under which an object falls with its properties.
     From: report of Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892], p.201) by Michael Dummett - Frege philosophy of mathematics Ch.8
     A reaction: I take this to be false, as objects can fall under far more concepts than they have properties. I don't even think 'being a pencil' is a property of pencils, never mind 'being my favourite pencil', or 'not being Alexander the Great'.
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 5. Concepts and Language / b. Concepts are linguistic
As I understand it, a concept is the meaning of a grammatical predicate [Frege]
     Full Idea: As I understand it, a concept is the meaning of a grammatical predicate.
     From: Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892], p.193)
     A reaction: All the ills of twentieth century philosophy reside here, because it makes a concept an entirely linguistic thing, so that animals can't have concepts, and language is cut off from reality, leading to relativism, pragmatism, and other nonsense.
18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 7. Abstracta by Equivalence
Abstractionism needs existential commitment and uniform truth-conditions [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: Abstractionism needs a face-value, existentially committed reading of the terms occurring on the left-hand sides together with sameness of truth-conditions across the biconditional.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 5)
     A reaction: They employ 'abstractionism' to mean their logical Fregean strategy for defining abstractions, not to mean the older psychological account. Thus the truth-conditions for being 'parallel' and for having the 'same direction' must be consistent.
Equivalence abstraction refers to objects otherwise beyond our grasp [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: Abstraction principles purport to introduce fundamental means of reference to a range of objects, to which there is accordingly no presumption that we have any prior or independent means of reference.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 8)
     A reaction: There's the rub! They make it sound like a virtue, that we open up yet another heaven of abstract toys to play with. As fictions, they are indeed exciting new fun. As platonic discoveries they strike me as Cloud-Cuckoo Land.
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 2. Meaning as Mental
Frege felt that meanings must be public, so they are abstractions rather than mental entities [Frege, by Putnam]
     Full Idea: Frege felt that meanings are public property, and identified concepts (and hence 'intensions' or meanings) with abstract entities rather than mental entities.
     From: report of Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892]) by Hilary Putnam - Meaning and Reference p.150
     A reaction: This is the germ of Wittgenstein's private language argument. I am inclined to feel that Frege approached language strictly as a logician, and didn't really care that he got himself into implausible platonist ontological commitments.
19. Language / B. Reference / 4. Descriptive Reference / a. Sense and reference
Reference needs truth as well as sense [Hale/Wright]
     Full Idea: It takes, over and above the possession of sense, the truth of relevant contexts to ensure reference.
     From: B Hale / C Wright (The Metaontology of Abstraction [2009], 9)
     A reaction: Reference purely through sense was discredited by Kripke. The present idea challenges Kripke's baptismal realist approach. How do you 'baptise' an abstract object? But isn't reference needed prior to the establishment of truth?
19. Language / D. Propositions / 2. Abstract Propositions / a. Propositions as sense
For all the multiplicity of languages, mankind has a common stock of thoughts [Frege]
     Full Idea: For all the multiplicity of languages, mankind has a common stock of thoughts.
     From: Gottlob Frege (On Concept and Object [1892], p.196n)
     A reaction: Given the acknowledgement here that two very different sentences in different languages can express the same thought, he should recognise that at least some aspects of a thought are non-linguistic.