All, I was suspended for accidentally posting too much, so I sent these answers to Craig privately, but here they are for all.
Hi Craig, Thank you for your interest. I am currently suspended for a week for accidentally posting five messages per day, so I will reply personally. You said:
"Tuukka, I understand the kind of language used in the text, but without some examples I don't get an idea of what it's about. Craig"
A common fallacy in metaphysics, at least among amateurs, is that we have a predicate, which is expected to mean something, that is not defined. One such predicate would be "everything that exists". We might define this predicate to have a certain property, such as that of being physical. In this case we would have constructed an ontology known as physicalism.
Let's say a physicalist encounters an idealist, who asserts, that "everything that exists" is mental, and speaks of mental objects. In this case the physicalist would make a logical error, if he would speak of mental objects, like the idealist, with the implicit assumption that they are speaking of the same thing. In the language of SOQ, the physicalist would be using nonrelativizably the concepts that refer to the mental objects. He would detach them from their context.
Generally speaking, our findings are not new. They can be read from this article: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-ontology/ . Also Carnap's "Überwindung" touches the issue, but Carnap asserts that metaphysics should be discontinued because of this kind of problems, which is an exagerration.
However, we place special emphasis on the concept of "nonrelativizably used predicate", which may be a new idea. Understanding the concept of "nonrelativizably used predicate" is necessary for understanding Dynamic Quality. Even though Dynamic Quality cannot be defined, the expression "Dynamic Quality" can be identified as a nonrelativizably used predicate.
In addition, we argue that the nonrelativizable use of predicates is not a bad thing, if one does so knowingly. While I have found some philosophers to implicitly do so, a professional referee told me that it is completely obvious that all predicates must be used relativizably. I disagree, and this is a controversial assertion. But the merit in our logical work is, that we can express exactly, what this assertion is.
Buddhists have used many predicates nonrelativizably, such as "Buddha-nature". The nonrelativizable use of that predicate is the reason why the question "Does a dog have Buddha-nature?" can only be given ambiguous or contradictory answers. Western academy cannot understand Eastern philosophy as long as it disallows the nonrelativizable use of predicates.
I hope this provided some insight. I wish to assist you more if you have any questions.
Best regards, Tuukka
Craig, >> Craig: Let's say a physicalist encounters an idealist, who asserts, that >> "everything that exists" is mental, and speaks of mental objects. In >> this case the physicalist would make a logical error, if he would speak >> of mental objects, like the idealist, with the implicit assumption that >> they are speaking of the same thing. In the language of SOQ, the >> physicalist would be using nonrelativizably the concepts that refer to >> the mental objects. He would detach them from their context. > So the physicalist is making a logical error in using a predicate nonrelativizably. > Do you have an example where using a predicates nonrelativizably is not a logical error? > Craig
In this case, the error can be found in the materialist's assumption, that he is speaking of the same thing as the idealist. If the materialist did not make that assumption, but instead, perceived himself as only mindlessly repeating concepts used by the idealist, his behavior might be a bit silly, but he would not be making a logical error.
I am fairly certain, that when small children begin learning language, they initially use predicates nonrelativizably. This is not yet a logical error. As their grasp of language improves, they intuitively relativize predicates to each other. By doing so, they obtain the ability to form a static network of interrelated dialectical truths. But this network makes it possible for them to use predicates nonrelativizably with the erroneous assumption that they have relativized those predicates to the dialectical truths they already have.
Nonrelativizable use of predicates is usually not considered an error in dadaistic poetry. But to give a more scientific example, nonrelativizable use of predicates is not an error in tentative speculation, which usually precedes major breakthroughs. In Aristotelian physics, "force" was defined as something that causes movement. Galileo Galilei observed, that cannon balls continue to move even though the explosion, that sent them to motion, no longer effects a force to them. After investigations, he concluded that "force" causes changes in acceleration and velocity, but is not a necessary condition for sustaining movement. But during these investigations, the notion of "force" was at flux. Galilei had to use the predicate "force" nonrelativizably for a while in order to relativize it in a new way, and this was not a mistake, but a part of his scientific method.
In the field of philosophy, the problem of induction has been studied for centuries. I assume you already know, what inductive reasoning is, and that it has nothing to do with mathematical induction, as the latter proof method is not inductive but deductive. The problem of induction has been broken down to two constituent problems, one of which could be called the problem of relevance. In the problem of relevance, we suppose our original objective is to arrive at true and/or rational predictions, and we are to deem the conclusions of inductive arguments true, if they are relevant for achieving that objective, and false, if they are not.
It is well-known, that no proper definition of relevance is known. Eintalu writes so in his doctoral dissertation. Yet the problem of induction is approached as if an essential part of the problem is, that relevance is undefined. The concept of relevance is also frequently used, and as it has no known proper definition, this usage is nonrelativizable. Is this an error or not?
The question sheds light on what is the purpose of academic philosophy. If we use a predicate nonrelativizably in the definition of the problem of induction, and then approach the problem of induction as if we knew what it is and wanted to solve it, we would be making a logical error. We would not know what problem we are trying to solve. Normative problems, that are subjected to academic work, are usually not like that. For example, in the case of the Goldbach conjecture, we know what problem we are trying to solve, but not how to solve it.
However, if we were scholastics, solving the problem of induction would not necessarily be our goal. Wikipedia says:
If we were philosophical scholastics, "orthodox" works would be those of Plato and Aristotle, and their most prestigious successors, who have continued their tradition. In this case, it would already be a problem that these orthodox philosophers have spoken of a problem, of which we do not know, what it is. Therefore, instead of not having a problem of induction, our goal would be to create one. We would have such a goal because we'd want to defend orthodoxy, which says there is such a problem.
Defining the problem of induction in terms of a nonrelativizably used predicate will make the entire concept of "the problem of induction" a nonrelativizably used predicate. If the "problem of induction" is a nonrelativizably used predicate, it cannot be logically demonstrated to have, or to not have, any property. Therefore, defining the problem of induction this way makes it impossible to logically argue, that there is no problem of induction. Even though this does not necessarily extend our knowledge, it could be the only way to resolve a contradiction in Western philosophical orthodoxy. This contradiction is, that orthodox authors have written about a problem of induction, yet the problem has never been adequately expressed.
In the context, that orthodoxy may not be abandoned, it is not an error to define the problem of induction nonrelativizably. Rather, it seems like the only thing that still can be done. But this gives rise to the question of why should we stick to orthodoxy.
I appreciate your interest to our philosophy, and am available for further inquiry.
Best regards, Tuukka
Hi Craig, > [Tuukka] >> In this case, the error can be found in the materialist's assumption, >> that he is speaking of the same thing as the idealist. > Berkeley says the rock is a mental object. > Samuel Johnson kicks the rock. > Did Johnson kick a mental object? > Berkeley says "Yes"; Johnson says "No". > Are they talking about the same object? > Yes, the rock. No, a mental object v. a physical object. > In the above scenario, where is relativizably/nonrelativizably involved?
I don't think Berkeley always remembers to relativize predicates to idealism, even though he claims he is a proponent of idealism. Hence, in practical matters, he thinks neither within the context of materialism nor the context of idealism. Instead, he forms a temporary ontology relevant for the situation, which might only contain three predicates, such as "foot", "rock" and "ground".
Only upon being asked whether the rock he kicked was mental, will Berkeley remember that he has earlier claimed to subscribe to idealism, and would look silly if he now answered "No." Therefore he reminds himself of idealism, relativizes the rock to the context of idealism, and claims, that the rock he kicked was mental. But when he is no longer bothered with philosophical questions, he will again forget to relativize everything to idealism.
If Johnson relativizes the rock to materialism during their discussion, they are not talking about the same object.
> > [Tuukka] >> If the materialist did not make that assumption, but instead, >> perceived himself >> as only mindlessly repeating concepts used by the idealist, his behavior >> might be a bit silly, but he would not be making a logical error. > I'm not certain one can "perceive oneself as only mindlessly repeating > concepts". > As soon as one "perceives oneself repeating concepts", it is no longer > "mindless" > (though one may "perceive oneself mindlessly repeating words", i.e., > using words > without regard to their meaning. Is this what you mean?)
Why not? Suppose you are learning a new language and are simply pronouncing words of the language as practice. If you do this a lot, you will not always remember to pay attention to what the words mean.
> > > [Tuukka] >> I am fairly certain, that when small children begin learning language, >> they initially use predicates nonrelativizably. This is not yet a >> logical error. As their grasp of language improves, they intuitively >> relativize predicates to each other. By doing so, they obtain the >> ability to form a static network of interrelated dialectical truths. But >> this network makes it possible for them to use predicates >> nonrelativizably with the erroneous assumption that they have >> relativized those predicates to the dialectical truths they already >> have. > Language acquisition: > Step 1: use predicates nonrelativizably. > Step 2: relativize predicates to each other. > Step 3: form a static network of interrelated dialectical truths. > Step 4: use predicates nonrelativizably with the erroneous assumption > that > those predicates have been relativized to the dialectical truths > [static network > of interrelated dialectical truths]. > Do you have an example where our learning language goes through these > steps?
Only steps 1 and 2 are relevant for language acquisiton. Step 3 is the same as step 2. The network is formed by relativizing predicates to each other. Step 4 is no longer a part of language acquisition.
As for an example, I remember reading a newspaper article about a daycare worker, who insisted that if a small child has an opinion of something, he should justify it with some kind of arguments. So the small children were constantly asked for justification. Later, one of the children was observed frantically driving an imaginary buggy, yelling to others: "Look how well I'm justifying with this buggy!"
If we suppose the child believed, that what he was doing with the imaginary buggy would have been considered "justification" by the daycare worker, he had relativized the predicate "justification of opinion" incorrectly. His behavior could be perceived as a trial-and-error way of relativizing "justification of opinion", which, in this case, resulted in error.
> > [Tuukka] >> The problem of induction has been broken down to two constituent >> problems, >> one of which could be called the problem of relevance. In the problem >> of relevance, >> we suppose our original objective is to arrive at true and/or >> rational predictions, >> and we are to deem the conclusions of inductive arguments true, if they >> are relevant for achieving that objective, and false, if they are not. > Before I consider the problem of induction, what is the other of its > constituent problems?
The other constituent problem is the problem of feasibility. It states: "Even if some statement were relevant for our goal of attaining true and/or rational predictions, how can we know it's relevant for that?"