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Week 8 PSIM plan 09-10-21 f

Week 8 PSIM plan 09-10-21 f - Sellars Week 8 PSIM Plan...

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Sellars Week 8 PSIM Plan Preliminaries: 1. From last week, on nominalism: a) Nominalization is the genus within which I suggested we think about nominalism . b) Abstraction is a way of nominalizing noun phrases: introducing new terms on the basis of old ones. c) So is set theory , which uses the epsilon operator to do so. d) Universals are the result of nominalizing adjectival predicates. e) Kinds are the result of nominalizing sortal predicates (=common nouns). f) Events are the result of nominalizing verbal predicates. g) Alongside abstraction and set theory, forming mereological sums is another way of nominalizing noun phrases. 2. a) The expressive point of nominalization, I claim, is to make available the whole complex apparatus of anaphora and (so) quantificational generalization. b) This issue ought to be orthogonal to concern about existence —which I claim does not evidently make sense in the cross-categorial cases. Existence claims, I am shaping up to claim, only make sense when we give them sense. We do that by supplying canonical designators for the class. But it is a very different idea that there is some transcategorial sense of ‘exists’. c) If it is not just a homonym with the intracategorial case, then one possibility is that there is a set of overarching canonical designators. Perhaps they are to be supplied by a naturalistic ontological claim. d) Another possibility is that the concept is a patchwork of special cases, each of which has the same structure, but with different content. But this is something that must be made out. We must not assume that we understand these questions transcategorially just because we often do intracategorially. e) So one point here is that we should not assume that there is any direct or general route from i) seeing that the use of one class of expressions is algorithmically elaboratable from the use of another by some process of nominalization to ii) conclusions about the existence of something referred to by the nominalizing locutions. Example: numerals have both adjectival uses (“three apples”) and nominal uses (e.g. the categorizing “the number three”). Presumably, the adjectival use is primary (for instance, in counting) in some Wittgensteinian order of development/acquisition/extension. But we should not conclude from that fact, supposing it to be a fact, and from the fact (same proviso) that we can elaborate the ability to use numerals adjectivally into the ability to use 1
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their nominalizations, that the number-nominalizations do not refer to numbers, that is, that “numbers don’t exist.” (Here my “The Significance of Complex Numbers for Frege’s Philosophy of Mathematics” concludes with some relevant wisdom.) f) I ought to think (as I have not done) about the larger expressive function served by the distinctive kind of substitutional commitments that involve canonical designators. Why do we have this sort of locution at all? What would we lose if we decided that no such claims are to be admitted into our idiom? What do we get for admitting them?
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Week 8 PSIM plan 09-10-21 f - Sellars Week 8 PSIM Plan...

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