Abstract Entities 09-10-13 d

Abstract Entities 09-10-13 d - 2/15/12 Abstract Entities...

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2/15/12 Abstract Entities (1963) 1. (163-4) “I have argued in a number of papers…that abstract entities. .are linguistic entities. They are linguistic expressions. They are expressions , however, in a rarified sense… Redness, as a first approximation, is the word red construed as a linguistic kind or sort which is capable of realization or embodiment in different linguistic materials, e.g., ‘red, ‘rot’, and ‘rouge’… Expressions in this rarified sense I have called…linguistic types .” (164) “abstract entities are linguistic types” (164) “the interpretation of qualities, relations, propositions, etc. as linguistic types.” (165): “the thesis that universals (in the sense of qualities, relations, classes, and the like) are linguistic kinds…” 2. WS confronts the problem that linguistic types seem themselves to be a kind of (but only one kind of) universal. His solution (166) “requires us to hold that not all ones over and against manys are universals (i.e. qualities, relations, sorts, kinds, or classes), and consequently to conclude that the problem of “the one and the many” is in fact broader than the problem of universals (in the specified sense).” His example of a one-in-many that is not a universal in his sense is what is referred to by “the pawn”. His analysis will be that that expression is a distributive singular term. In effect, he shows us how such terms are used , and want that pragmatic account to do the work that was supposed to be done by semantic talk of what they refer to (namely, the thought would be, universals). (166) “ to refer to such a one we need a singular term other than the singular terms by which we refer to individual pawns, and yet which does not refer to a universal of which they are instances .” (166) “Pawn” is a common noun. 3. Strategy (167): “If, therefore, we can understand the relation of the lion (one) to lions (many) without construing the lion as a universal of which lions are instances; and if the looked-for singular term pertaining to pawns can be construed by analogy with “the lion”— indeed, as “the pawn”—then we would be in a position to understand how the pawn could be a one as against a many, without being a universal of which pawns are instances. This in turn would enable a distinction between a generic sense of “abstract entity” in which the lion and the pawn as well as triangularity (construed as the triangular ) and that two plus two equals four (construed as the two plus two equals four ) would be abstract entities as being ones over and against manys and a narrower sense of abstract entity in which qualities, relations, sorts, classes, propositions and the like are abstract entities, but of these only a proper subset, universals but not propositions, for example, would be ones as over and against instances or members. This subset would include the kind lion and the class of pawns, which must not be confused with
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Abstract Entities 09-10-13 d - 2/15/12 Abstract Entities...

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