- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Concepts1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 04/02/2018 11:29:46): Concepts
- See "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist" for the importance of concepts. Unger’s answer to the problem of vagueness – as exemplified by the “disappearing chair” problem (atom-wise annihilation of the chair … just when does it cease to be?) is that there never were any chairs, just our concept of a chair and atoms arranged chair-wise. We sit on the atoms, not on the concept, but we describe the atom-heap as a chair. But this concept is vague, or there is a family resemblance, so sometimes it’s not clear whether it applies or not. The big question is whether natural kind4 objects exist independently of our conceptual schemes. Certainly they do as atom-heaps, unclear whether they do as answers to our concepts. So, various atom-heaps carry on existing, but whether our concepts carry on applying is vague.
- Others (Peter Van Inwagen?5) take the view that only mereological simples and organisms exist, which seems to be a similar view.
- There seems to be something special about natural-kind concepts, the persistence of whose exemplars (unlike those of artefact-concepts) don’t in any sense seem to depend on us and our concepts. Is PERSON6 a natural kind concept? If it isn’t, then are we simply left with rather inconsequential semantic7 arguments?
- Are the arguments above really saying that artefacts don’t exist? Presumably artefacts depend on us for their existence as artefacts8, though not as lumps of matter.
- Lynne Rudder Baker argues that a new ontological9 entity (a painting) comes into existence because of the relation of an object (a canvas plus paint appropriately distributed) to an art-world. I need to press Baker here. Are all her analogies truly analogous? Given evolution, even species-concepts (paradigms for natural kind concepts) are mobile rather than being eternally fixed. Yet Baker seems to think that it’s a relation to evolutionary history that makes an animal10 what it is (as distinct, presumably, from atoms arranged animal-wise).
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read11, include12 the following:-
- "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist", Unger
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere13) might start with:-
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Everyday Concepts as a Guide to Reality", Baker
- "Carruthers (Peter) - Invertebrate concepts confront the Generality Constraint (and win)", Carruthers
- "Margolis (Eric) & Laurence (Stephen), Eds. - Concepts - Core Readings", Margolis
- "McGinn (Colin) - Conceptual Causation: Some Elementary Reflections", McGinn
- "Stephan (Achim) - Are Animals Capable of Concepts?", Stephan
- "Wiggins (David) - The Concept of the Subject Contains the Concept of the Predicate", Wiggins
- This is mostly a place-holder14. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (04/02/2018 11:29:46).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
- I’ve also added a few interesting but maybe tangential papers!
- These may expand the scope of this Note.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018