Monday, November 07, 2011

First picture of a truthmaker

This blog is always first!  Following up the first reported sighting of a truthmaker for the proposition 'this watch is on the table' nearly 100 years ago in June 1915*, the South West London metaphysics research laboratory can proudly announce it has located a picture of it.

Problems remain, however.  Is 'this watch' a pocket watch? Or a Patek Phillipe or one of those pink Barbie watches beloved of little girls?  What kind of table is it?  The picture suggests it may be a George II card table. But it may be George III, or one of those nasty cheap imitations with a veneer so thin you could peel it off with no more than a plastic safety razor.

Where on the table is the watch?  This early sighting suggests bottom right, but clearly anywhere on the table will do.  You could turn the watch at any angle, or even turn it face down.  All these possible states of affairs will make the proposition true.  Are they different truthmakers, then?  Or are they in reality the same truthmaker? But then what does it look like?  The watch would have to lie at every possible position and every angle on the table, like a multiple exposure picture - imagine those time-lapse pictures of busy city streets, with the red lights streaming like a ribbon on one side, and the white front lights on the other.

I suspect more research is needed.  Back to the laboratory.

*"Diese Uhr liegt auf dem Tisch" - Wittgenstein, Notebooks 1914-16  p.69

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16 Comments:

Blogger Anthony said...

>> All these possible states of affairs will make the proposition true. Are they different truthmakers, then? Or are they in reality the same truthmaker? But then what does it look like?

Ah, nice, the problem of universals. To be answered however you answer the problem of universals, of course :).

11:51 am  
Blogger J said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:36 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

Ah, but it is the problem of universals. "This watch is on the table" is a universal. It is a sentence which can refer to a limitless number of different states of affairs. One cannot see "this watch is on the table" any more than one can see "watch" or "table".

Feel free to respond to this, "J", but I'm fairly certain that I'm going to ignore your response, especially if you don't stop the personal attacks.

1:08 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:47 pm  
Blogger J said...

"This watch is on the table" is a universal

No in fact it's not. You just don't understand the problem, whatsoever. Have you ever read a book ofphilosophy in your life? Unlikely.

2:36 pm  
Blogger J said...

We're ignoring your response Byro-Anthony. You know nothing about the issue. Read this, Ock: ""This watch is on the table" is a universal. It is a sentence which can refer to a limitless number of different states of affairs.""

Pure bullshit.

(this is the dude, Ock. Believe it--stalking the site)

2:40 pm  
Blogger J said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:42 pm  
Blogger J said...

--If asked, Mr. Ock--did you see the watch on table (say one was stolen..and the maid Rosie's a suspect). Yes or no? Perhaps you have pictures of it. A receipt. Your Aunt says shes seen it. So, you say yes or no. Yes, you say to the cop, it is true there was a watch on the table.

The problem is..the philosopher cannot describe the relation between the observation and the proposition--i.e. he has no access to the cognitive-neurological process (but certainly the visual process, light hitting rods and cones, then transmitted via neurons to cortex,etc can be described quite precisely--). Ergo, lacking understanding of the actual pathway of perception (ie visual apparatus) to..the translation into syntax ("there was a watch on the table"--ie the "truthmaker" being the perception of the object itself)..the philosopher, at least the naive Cartesian sort, says there is no connection, no correspondence. A typical hasty generalization. There's a neurological connection between perception and language (in fact research on this issue) but he doesn't know what it is. Same for other sensory experiences.
Given a glass of sea water, instead of normal H20, yll know it's salty. OR when you go outside and it's cold, you know it's cold. (Kant says something like this in CoPR does he not--there is an external cause to perceptions of phenomena, even if those perceptions are conditioned via a priori categories and space/time ..i.e. you don't really control your sensibility so to speak--a point LOST on Billy Maverick (unless maybe your rip out your eyes).

2:44 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

J please stop the personal attacks or you are banned. Also consider making points which are relevant to the post.

And, yes, it is a version of the problem of universals.

3:19 pm  
Blogger J said...

No it isn't.

Why are protecting this person? Inquiring minds want to know

It's only a universal when put in something like..."watchness" .or fatness,obesity. The object falls in the class of "watchness." That has nothing to do with Frege's critique of empiricism (or Bill Mav.) ,at least not directly.

IN that case, yes, there is "watchness.' Ie, the perceived object falls in the class of watchness, or "Al" is fat, ie in the class of obesity. Problem solved. That doesn't mean floating in Plato's abode.

3:31 pm  
Blogger J said...

Oh now I got it Ock--yr really an atheist nihilist . So your nominalism is like a form of your atheism. To say ''there is a class of watchness, obesity, not to say..triangles, or mammals" offends your naturalist self.

As does say Kant's justification of empirical realism, tho via...his categories (in fact directly related to Frege's hasty denial of empiricism--tho Frege was in no way a nominalist).

3:46 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>The object falls in the class of "watchness."

Watch-on-tableness.

4:15 pm  
Blogger J said...

well, yes,but spatial position itself constrained and still capable of..categorization (ie, has physical limits, even coordinates, so to speak--do coordinates imply a type of realism? I would say probably yes, tho....moderate IMO.

You saw a watch? Yes. To say where was it resting is a further clarification. But it wasn't floating in air. Life is much easier with a tacit acceptance of classes Ock. That doesn't mean we have to agree they're part of the mind of Apollo (as Maverick Perp would have us believe).

5:07 pm  
Blogger J said...

Actually if this is about taking on Platonic realism with a capital P (as Mav P likes to fancy himself--tho forgetting Plato's own..progressive and humanistic leanings), I agree. The world is plural, and the...language (whether formalist, or not) does not suffice to describe it, or many "events". A history book is not WWII< whatsoever. Hegelian nomimalism if you will I sort of agree to, but that's not "anti-realism" to me (or as Peirce said, Hegel was a nominalist with "realistic yearnings" ). There is "thirdness" --ie synthesis or "mediation", of the perception (human Mind,if you will), and perceived (objects,events, etc --ie, and that might include...logic and math. in pragmatic fashion (ie, the watch exists in a domain, can be mapped out as much as a bridge might). And Peirce was also well-aware of probability (ie, not only mere truth functionality)

The pseudo-platonist ala Maverick Perp, however, who insists.., "I can't put perception or what you call nature, etc into my syllogism, ergo the world doesn't exist"--gulag meat. As Frege probably should have been

7:32 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

But even a nominalist will agree that particulars exist. "This watch is on the table" references watch-on-tableness, and we can't perceive watch-on-tableness. But we can perceive particular instances of watch-on-tableness, like the one in the picture.

11:19 pm  
Blogger J said...

Where can you--or did you-- observe the object[s] signified by the conjunction "and"? Yet we understand and use it all the time.

Anyway Im not here to justify "pure" realism and universals--I object to Billy Maverick-- but think in a pragmaticist sense (google that one) it can't be avoided in many instances, if not most--ie, humans use language,and language often involves ...general terms, abstractions. "Democracy" as well, or many general terms, various taxonomies (ie, triangles).

In the case of the position of the watch , it does involve a mental class of "watchness" (just as a fat person involves..obesity, a right triangle, triangleness) and ..any perceivable objects--watches-- presume..a positioning in space and time--that's a cognitive given.

12:05 am  

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