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Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are fu

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 15:40:54 +0100
Message-id: <4e298bf5.02cae30a.3700.ffff89b5@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Avril,    (01)

> >> I do not... think that it is necessary to treat other worlds besides
> >> this one as anything more than convenient fictions. The reason why we
> >> need not take the worlds realistically is that they have no causal or
> >> nomic links with the actual world. ... The actual world will be no
> >> different whether they are there or are not. Why, then, give the
> >> possible worlds ... any existence? Armstrong [211, p68]
> >
> > MW: Which I would refute by saying "Why commit to denying them existence?"
> Perhaps only because of simplicity.     (02)

MW: But the simplest thing is not to make a commitment at all.    (03)

> If one thinks of them as really existing,
> then they are somewhat similar than the platonic heaven of all mathematial
> entities.     (04)

MW: Not necessarily though. It is certainly not how I would think of them 
existing if they do.    (05)

> Platonic mathematicians think that all mathematical entities really
> exist in the heaven, awaiting to be discovered. This is uneconomical compared
> to naturalism, as depicted in the attached image. The uneconomicality derives
> from the fact that the necessarily inaccessible worlds/heaven occupies a space
> in the limited mind of a transcendentalist/platonist, while they do not occupy
> the limited space of the mind of a naturalist. In the figure, the examplatory
> object is a circle. For a naturalist, the circle exist in the mind and in the
> concrete nature. For a transcendentalist, the circle exists in the mind, in
> the concrete nature, and in the heaven.
> But when the transcendentalist scenario is put into a naturalist mapping, it
> is revealed that the heaven exists only in the mind of the trascendentalist,
> which is uneconomical compared to naturalism.
> >> As Jaegwon Kim has pointed out, an existence without causal powers is
> >> an existence hardly worth having. Pylkkänen [112, p235]
> >
> > MW: I'm afraid that is irrelevant, and it is not clear that possible
> > worlds do not have causal powers simply by our consideration of them.
> As Sowa said, if they are defined to be necessarily inaccessible, then they
> cannot affect this world; if they do affect this world, then they are not
> inaccessible, but parts of this world.    (06)

MW: Those are not the only possibilities. They can have parts that are 
accessible in both worlds. For example, if you allow branching worlds, then two 
possible worlds can share a common history, but be distinct.
> >> But if the entities postulated lie beyond our world, and in addition
> >> have no causal ... connection with it, then the postulation has no
> >> explanatory value. Armstrong [151, p7-8]
> >
> > MW: Which is clearly untrue from the considerable utility that
> > possible worlds have, so this is a spurious argument.
> Armstrong practices combinatorialist fictionalism, and in that domain the
> possible worlds are recombinations of the actual world. This can be
> characterized as combinatiorialism that applies the term ``possible worlds''.    (07)

MW: That is just a different set of unnecessary commitments.    (08)

> But in the above quote he just emphasizes that if something is necessarily
> inaccessible to us, then it cannot affect us in any way, not even in
> principle.    (09)

MW: But that is not a proof of non-existence (or existence). And I challenge 
that such things do not affect us, or else they would have no utility, and they 
clearly do have.    (010)

Regards    (011)

Matthew West                            
Information  Junction
Tel: +44 1489 880185
Mobile: +44 750 3385279
Skype: dr.matthew.west
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (012)

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> -Avril
>     (014)

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