Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Accidental versus essential predication

Anthony asks whether this scholastic distinction between accidental and essential predication makes any sense. I think it does. Ockham says, in Chapter 25 of the magnificient Summa Logicae that “An accident is what is present or absent without the corruption of the subject”. So ‘Socrates is sitting’ predicates an accident of Socrates, for sitting can ‘be present’ or ‘be absent’ in Socrates without Socrates being corrupted, i.e. ceasing to exist. By contrast ‘Socrates is a man’ is essential predication. If ‘man’ ceases to ‘be present’ in Socrates, then Socrates ceases to exist. Socrates is nothing if he is not a man. But he is still something if he is not sitting.

The medieval philosophers fretted considerably about whether, pointing to dead Socrates, we are pointing to a man or not. But we can leave that problem for now.

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29 Comments:

Blogger J said...

“An accident is what is present or absent without the corruption of the subject”

As a museum piece interesting but...sounds like..an attribute--perhaps temporary or contingent as they say, predicated of some thing, X (the naming a problem as well)--X is human, therefore he eats food at times (or sleeps, excretes, sits, walks, works etc). Lets not forget this is before variables were known/used. The essential attributes would be something like X is human, and thus is a mammal, and has warm blood, heart, vertebrae, etc. (is eating an essential attribute of humans--? seems like it. As Hobbes might have said, differently). Logic soon becomes a type of fairly trivial taxonomy in that sense.

3:38 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

The question of whether or not "Socrates is a corpse" implies "Socrates is not a man" is rather fundamental to your assertion that, if "man" ceases to "be present" in Socrates, then Socrates ceases to exist.

Some other questions, which I posed earlier and which you ignored, is whether or not Socrates is a man as opposed to Socrates is a woman? As opposed to Socrates is a child? As opposed to Socrates is a fetus?

What is your definition of "man" for which, if ‘man’ ceases to ‘be present’ in Socrates, then Socrates ceases to exist?

4:04 pm  
Blogger J said...

Just give up, Mormon fraud. It's not what you think it is, basura (and anyway as ...Ed-Ock knows...Frege updated Aristotle as far as logic goes--then you haven't even made it to a syllogism yet).

Stick to like....your tax evasion studies.

(look at this Ed-Ock--" whether or not Socrates is a man as opposed to Socrates is a woman?"just stupid peasant mumbling, Ed-Ock)

4:24 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

Do you have me confused with someone else or are you just trolling?

4:29 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>> Some other questions, which I posed earlier and which you ignored

Well as I said ‘it is best to ignore Anthony’.

>> What is your definition of "man" for which, if ‘man’ ceases to ‘be present’ in Socrates, then Socrates ceases to exist?

First, ‘man’ as used in scholastic literature is ‘homo’, which means anything of the species man. I.e. includes man, woman, child, etc. See this page and in particular this which may answer your question.

4:43 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

"See this page and in particular this which may answer your question."

A bunch of nonsense, for the most part, especially the second link, but the definition listed there is that man is a rational animal. And Socrates was not always a rational animal. He became a rational animal somewhere between zygote and adulthood.

Not that it particularly matters...

I am sitting (P). If I am not sitting, then I do not exist (^P -> anything).

I believe that Dick Cheney is a man. However, if I am wrong, and am convinced that Dick Cheney is not a man, but is actually a robot, I will not conclude that Dick Cheney does not exist.

5:00 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:02 pm  
Blogger J said...

Moe Howardonius has arrived, Ock, smashing in Plato's bust head (and many others) with a sledgehammer.

6:19 pm  
Blogger shane said...

Anthony, you realize that that implication becomes false when the antecedent is false, right? So the implication is true when you're not sitting but false when you're not.

6:05 am  
Blogger Anthony said...

>> Anthony, you realize that that implication becomes false when the antecedent is false, right?

The implication is true if the antecedent is false. P -> Q is false only when both (p is true) and (q is false). In other words P->(^P->anything).

P->(^P->anything) means
P->(not-P -> anything) means
not-P or (not-not-P or anything) means
not-P or (P or anything) means
not-P or P, which is always true

12:01 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

I am sitting (P). I exist (Q). If I am not sitting, I do not exist (^P->^Q).

Now I'm going to stand up.

I am not sitting (^R). I exist (Q). If I am sitting, I do not exits (R->^Q).

One important thing to keep in mind is that the proposition expressed by "I am not sitting", said while I was not sitting is not the negation of the proposition expressed by "I am sitting", said while I was sitting.

When I typed "I am sitting", what I meant was something to the effect of "Right now, at 8:05:37 AM local time, on 3 November 2011, I am sitting", whereas when I typed "I am not sitting", what I meant was something to the effect of "Right now, at 8:06:12 AM local time, on 3 November 2011, I am not sitting".

This is all easily confused and lost when we talk about silly things like "Socrates is sitting". Not to mention when we confuse statements with propositions.

12:11 pm  
Blogger J said...

Woweee.
Modus Ponens from logic 200 and some Moe-speak from Tony troll.
Put it in the MP form with the premises/conclusion .Prove it valid, or not.
Or better, go back to tax evasion studies.

Any way Ed-Ock-- MavP made--or tried to--a metaphysical point about substance and accidentals, not so logical. The point seems to be something like "for any X that has "accidentals" (attributes) -> then X exists (as a substance)" (whether alive ..or dead--he could be in a sitting position as a corpse, no? but.def.change there-- ). Sorta obvious. That would please the .corporeal-minded Aristotle types, presumably

12:35 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

>> The point seems to be something like "for any X that has "accidentals" (attributes) -> then X exists (as a substance)"

Perhaps, but his latest post makes explicit his mistake, which is what I suspected. He is treating existence as a predicate.

12:39 pm  
Blogger J said...

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12:57 pm  
Blogger J said...

Not to mention when we confuse statements with propositions.

whats the difference there, wiki-king--and how does that relate to issue at all (since "statements' were not even used until 20th century).

1:01 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

A statement is linguistic. "I am sitting", as a statement, is just a bunch of words. Whether I say it or you say it or someone says it while sitting or someone says it while standing or it is said at midnight or it is said at noon, it is the same bunch of words.

A proposition is a type of belief. "I am sitting" might refer to a proposition (if and only if it refers to a belief), but even so that referent is most likely different depending on when the statement is spoken and who speaks it.

Thus my clarification of "Right now, at 8:05:37 AM local time, on 3 November 2011, I am sitting" (which still could have a different referent depending on who utters it, what time zone they are in, whether or not they are lying, etc., but at least should clear up the potential confusion in this particular case).

1:46 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

Now that I think about it, that is another fundamental error being made. "Socrates is sitting" does not refer to some entity which "becomes true" whenever Socrates sits and "becomes false" whenever Socrates unsits. I'm not even sure what you'd call such an entity.

1:59 pm  
Blogger J said...

Pettifogging. Propositions are meaningful statements,which make claims about "Reality", and they are either true or false--"all men are mortal". Works the other way too! Statements are meaningful propositions, which make claims about "Reality", and they are either true or false--"all men are mortal". There are distinctions but you don't understand them.

Anyway Mr Inductive...where is the "truth bearer"??--In the statement, the proposition ,the mind,or somewhere in nature? In Ayn Rand's mind? Inquiring minds want to know.

2:20 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

No. That's completely wrong. Propositions are not statements. Propositions are beliefs. "I am sitting" is a statement. It conveys a belief, that I am sitting, but it is not that belief.

And statements are not propositions. A statement might convey a proposition. "I am sitting" conveys the proposition that I am sitting. But the statement is not the proposition. Furthermore, some statements do not correspond to propositions at all. "Happiness is blue" is a statement, but it does not correspond to a belief for which the laws of logic hold.

2:56 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

What do you mean by truth-bearer? Maybe "truth-bearer" is the name of that proposed entity which "becomes true" whenever Socrates sits and "becomes false" whenever Socrates unsits?

This could certainly be part of the problem. I don't believe I've used the term "truth-bearer". And I've only used the term "truthmaker" in reference to the definition which was given to me - "something that makes a proposition true at a given time".

3:00 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

>> A statement might convey a proposition.

Or perhaps a better definition for "statement" is a sentence which is used to convey a proposition.

Although, that's still not particularly useful, as, for example, "No." is a sentence which is used to convey a proposition.

3:14 pm  
Blogger J said...

No, you're completely wrong. Propositional logic exists (you don't even have that)--and it's sound (tho limited). And propositions are not merely sentences expressing belief-- "all men are mortal" is not a statement of belief. Nor is "H20 melts at 0 C." Its a fact, as much as yr little inductive proposition "all dogs are carnivorous" (or seem to be, Tony troll...got data?) You need to study the wikis a bit in depth,Einswine. The distinction is not what you think it is.

4:14 pm  
Blogger J said...

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4:28 pm  
Blogger J said...

it does not correspond to a belief for which the laws of logic hold.

You mean like all the argument forms of propositional and predicate logic that you know nothing about? Premises/conclusion? No, you can't mean that, since you don't know what you're talking about. Maybe try Bergmann or Copi 101. OR some Venn Diagrams. Or..better stick to Moe Howard, puerco

4:30 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:42 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

Propositions are not merely sentences expressing belief. Propositions are beliefs, which can be expressed by sentences. (At least, some propositions can be expressed by sentences. I leave open for the moment whether or not *all* propositions can be expressed by sentences.)

A true proposition is a fact.

"All men are mortal" states a belief (that all men are mortal). It also states a proposition (that all men are mortal). And it also states a fact (that all men are mortal).

5:43 pm  
Blogger J said...

No, you're mixing up belief with what you take to be logic. Do beliefs even exist? There's a good one. .

"All right triangles are triangles." Or "All right triangles are 90 degrees." However obvious, those are propositions, nothing to do with beliefs (well you may not believe it, but they are true), and indeed true (tho not empirical/inductive are they).Maybe try your first Venn Diagram

5:52 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

I believe that beliefs exist. Therefore, beliefs exist.

I believe that all right triangles are triangles. That all right triangles are triangles is a belief.

5:56 pm  
Blogger J said...

Wrong, except in terms of Vacaville-logic--that is, Aynthony-logic

6:53 pm  

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