if / or / and / not

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Deckard
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 12:15 am
@north,
north;165987 wrote:
and the deep structure is based on the alignment of the brain and body to allow an energy flow

I'm not sure if Chomsky said anything about this but it sounds interesting. Can you explain further?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 12:22 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;165968 wrote:
Ostensive doesn't necessarily mean literally pointing. It can mean just providing examples and there are many ways to provide examples from holding up objects to pantomime to writing sentences on a chalk board. I tend to think immediately of a pointing finger but this limits ostension too much.

When we provide examples of how "if" is used in a sentence we are pointing at the deep grammatical structures that the sign "if" plays a part in representing.


"If". "or", "not"are logical particles. Their "meanings" are given by the truth-tables. Not that we learn them from truth-tables, but that what they "mean" is codified on the truth-tables. Of course, they also have non-logical connotations, but that is another matter. For example, consider the sentence, "There are cookies to go with the tea, if you want them". That does not mean (of course) that whether there are cookies to go with the tea depends on whether you want the cookies. Of course, there are cookies whether or not you want them. The "if" there, does not accord with the truth-table, "if".
 
north
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 12:23 am
@Deckard,
Quote:
Originally Posted by north http://www.philosophyforum.com/images/PHBlue/buttons/viewpost.gif
and the deep structure is based on the alignment of the brain and body to allow an energy flow


Deckard;165988 wrote:
I'm not sure if Chomsky said anything about this but it sounds interesting. Can you explain further?


there is a sort of order of the brain , the way that the folds in the brain , allow for the flow of energy that are the constituents of the brain to flow freely

the freer the flow the better the brain is in touch with the constituents of the brain and the Universe
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 12:28 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;165673 wrote:
How do we learn the "meaning" of a word like "if?"

Or of "and" in the logical sense? Or of "not?" You can't point at an "and" or a "not" if a child asks you what these words mean. I think we take this for granted.


I don't think children usually ask what they mean, it never occurred to me anyway. I think they've found that children (and people in general) grasp a set of rules very naturally. A lot of times children will make mistakes that are actually just following the rule--saying something like "gooder" instead of "better".

Quote:
Are we born ready to use certain logical "operators"? How much of our philosophy is based upon these "operators"? What do we know about them? Can we even question them without using them? (I know this sort of question isn't new, but it interests me.)
Linguistics is a field of study. What I think you're getting at is something like "could we be chasing our own tails because we unconsciously use a set of operators". I think language can certainly confuse, but not to that extent.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 12:45 am
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;165992 wrote:


Linguistics is a field of study. What I think you're getting at is something like "could we be chasing our own tails because we unconsciously use a set of operators". I think language can certainly confuse, but not to that extent.


Language may confuse us, of course. But why is that language's fault? Wittgenstein wrote that when philosophers are confused by language it reminded him of an anthropologist who is trying to learn the language of an exotic tribe who puts the queerest constructions on the ordinary things said by people in that tribe. They, of course, don't mean anything like what the anthropologist thinks they mean.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 01:55 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;166000 wrote:
Language may confuse us, of course. But why is that language's fault? Wittgenstein wrote that when philosophers are confused by language it reminded him of an anthropologist who is trying to learn the language of an exotic tribe who puts the queerest constructions on the ordinary things said by people in that tribe. They, of course, don't mean anything like what the anthropologist thinks they mean.

What would W. have said about Chomsky's deep grammatical structure? The theory offers a unifying structure, perhaps even a sort of rule book, to Wittgenstein's disparate language games. Would he have considered Chomsky a confused and overreaching anthropologist?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 02:58 am
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;165979 wrote:
I wonder if 'if' is the ultimate expression of biological imperative. If so, reducing it to, as you say, "lower terms", is the most basic of instincts for living entities to keep on existing and as such transcends language and becomes a non-verbal cause-and-effect mechanism. There's your atom, right there. No words, just action or non-action.

Now that's the sort of response I was hoping for. Excellent point.

---------- Post added 05-19-2010 at 04:02 AM ----------

Jebediah;165992 wrote:

What I think you're getting at is something like "could we be chasing our own tails because we unconsciously use a set of operators". I think language can certainly confuse, but not to that extent.


No it's not about tail chasing. It's nothing negative like that. It's about curiosity. It's about something like the Transcendental Analytic of Kant. I have no attraction to the language as bewitchment school of thought. Because it's absurd, being itself made out of language. There are just better and worse ways of conceptualizing things, in my opinion. And there are questions that sometimes enrich experience. Unless I'm being nagged by one of the negative types, I'm only here for the fun in questions like these.

---------- Post added 05-19-2010 at 04:05 AM ----------

TickTockMan;165979 wrote:
They are just sounds to which we've assigned a certain agreed upon meaning for purposes of explanation within our tribe.

I agree with this. It's not the letters or the sound of "if" but whatever these are attached to, admitting that words exist systematically in the context of action.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 06:59 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;166022 wrote:
What would W. have said about Chomsky's deep grammatical structure? The theory offers a unifying structure, perhaps even a sort of rule book, to Wittgenstein's disparate language games. Would he have considered Chomsky a confused and overreaching anthropologist?


I don't think so. I think W. would have thought that Chomsky was trying to get at the same thing. Whether he would have thought that Chomsky was right, I don't know. He might have, though.
 
fast
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 08:07 am
@Reconstructo,
[QUOTE=Reconstructo;165673]How do we learn the "meaning" of a word like "if?" [/QUOTE]
Reconstructo;165673 wrote:


Or of "and" in the logical sense? Or of "not?" You can't point at an "and" or a "not" if a child asks you what these words mean. I think we take this for granted.

You appear to recognize the difference between meaning and reference. Nice! The thing to keep in mind is that all words have meaning, but not all words have reference. Also, only the words themselves have meaning and possibly reference.

For example, the word "cat" has both a lexical meaning and a referent. No cat has a meaning or a referent. The word "if" has meaning but no referent. If has no meaning and no referent. Hence, just as we shouldn't mistake "cat" for cat (the word for the thing it refers to), nor should we mistake "if" for if (the word for the logical operator).

Unless if is the referent of "if" :brickwall:

At any rate, if I went with what I believe is the case, if isn't the referent of "if" since "if" has no referent; hence, there is nothing in this world to instantiate the word "if".
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 04:59 pm
@fast,
fast;166095 wrote:

At any rate, if I went with what I believe is the case, if isn't the referent of "if" since "if" has no referent; hence, there is nothing in this world to instantiate the word "if".


I think I see where you are going. But perhaps you don't see what I'm trying at. We use words like "if" successfully. And what is the referent of "if"? "If" is a way to connect phrases logically. Would you agree? What is the referent of "not"? What does "not" add to a phrase? How does one express such a thing? Do you see what I mean? How does one express that notion of unity. Of oneness. "This is this and not that." I think we are dealing with intuitive concepts of identity and negation.

I suspect that even if every language has its own words for such notions, the notions themselves are inborn. I'm looking for something like Kant's categories. For certain structures of human thought that cannot be reduced. I can only ask that you give it a little thought. I feel like you see this as a more trivial question than it is. Perhaps I'm wrong? Do you know about Kant's categories? Perhaps you do. If not, you may want to see what I'm looking for here. Or what I'm trying to call attention to. Not because it troubles me but because I find it fascinating. Smile
Quote:

The Transcendental Logic is that part of the Critique where Kant investigates the understanding and its role in constituting our knowledge. The understanding is defined as the faculty of the mind which deals with concepts (A51-52/B75-76).
Critique of Pure Reason - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 05:23 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;166625 wrote:
I think I see where you are going. But perhaps you don't see what I'm trying at. We use words like "if" successfully. And what is the referent of "if"? "If" is a way to connect phrases logically. Would you agree? What is the referent of "not"? What does "not" add to a phrase? How does one express such a thing? Do you see what I mean? How does one express that notion of unity. Of oneness. "This is this and not that." I think we are dealing with intuitive concepts of identity and negation.



"Not" is one (and the most used) way of expressing the negation operator. The negation operator simply reverses the truth value of the proposition on which it operates. There is nothing deep or metaphysical about it, other than what you invent. There may be metaphysical mysteries, but that is not one of them.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 05:57 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;166635 wrote:
"Not" is one (and the most used) way of expressing the negation operator. The negation operator simply reverses the truth value of the proposition on which it operates. There is nothing deep or metaphysical about it, other than what you invent. There may be metaphysical mysteries, but that is not one of them.


Hey there, Ken! I hope we can get along now....

I don't mind if you disagree with me on this. I hope you don't mind if I disagree with you. I know how we use this negation operator, of course. But that, in my view, is a formalization of something intuitive.

Hey, if you don't like the word "metaphysics," we can leave it out. I enjoyed playing with it precisely because it was so out of fashion. This was a bit vain. But so are most philosopher types.

I don't mind if you don't like Kant. I don't agree with everything he says either. But I think his investigation of what remains constant in human thoughts is fascinating. I don't see how we can point to andness, notness, ifness, and the like, even though we have undoubtedly formalized their use.

This is subject is not necessarily any more "metaphysical" than a discussion of how the brain processes information from the optic nerves. Of course there is a blind spot in each eye, where the nerve connects to the retina.

I think formal logic helps reveal the sort of "atomic" intuitions I'm looking at. If we remove everything contingent and try to look at the most general structure of human thought, I think we discover something. I'm not saying it is necessary for life on earth to investigate such things, but I find it interesting. You are of course welcome not to, or to call the game a hoax.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 06:26 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;166643 wrote:
Hey there, Ken! I hope we can get along now....

I don't mind if you disagree with me on this. I hope you don't mind if I disagree with you. I know how we use this negation operator, of course. But that, in my view, is a formalization of something intuitive.

Hey, if you don't like the word "metaphysics," we can leave it out. I enjoyed playing with it precisely because it was so out of fashion. This was a bit vain. But so are most philosopher types.

I don't mind if you don't like Kant. I don't agree with everything he says either. But I think his investigation of what remains constant in human thoughts is fascinating. I don't see how we can point to andness, notness, ifness, and the like, even though we have undoubtedly formalized their use.

This is subject is not necessarily any more "metaphysical" than a discussion of how the brain processes information from the optic nerves. Of course there is a blind spot in each eye, where the nerve connects to the retina.

I think formal logic helps reveal the sort of "atomic" intuitions I'm looking at. If we remove everything contingent and try to look at the most general structure of human thought, I think we discover something. I'm not saying it is necessary for life on earth to investigate such things, but I find it interesting. You are of course welcome not to, or to call the game a hoax.


I do not think there is a mystery here per se; we have words to express the logic of what we want to say. The words themselves function according to our thought, as they are representation of thought. Our thoughts are logical, at least from Kant's Transcendental Categories (Reality, Negation, Limitation), and also others who would assent to our thought being logical (Wittgenstein for example). We can only think in terms of logic. Negation is just another form or thought that we use . Do not see a whole lot of mystery there. Logic is a priori. We cannot think of it being otherwise.

But then again maybe Im wrong haha.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 06:34 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;166659 wrote:
Logic is a priori. We cannot think of it being otherwise.

But then again maybe Im wrong haha.


Well, we are near the same page. Are you saying you don't find the a priori interesting? But this "a prior" is another way of saying the eternal, at least so far as man is concerned. For me, the existence of even a small bit of the eternal among all that changes is quite fascinating, and worthy of investigation.

Of course I should stress that rather than being troubled by such questions, I feel enriched by them. In my opinion, the world is all too often perceived as boring, obvious, etc. Some of our simplest concepts are perhaps the most mysterious of all. Perhaps it's only our constant successful use of them that obscures their strangeness. Smile
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 06:50 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;166665 wrote:
Well, we are near the same page. Are you saying you don't find the a priori interesting? But this "a prior" is another way of saying the eternal, at least so far as man is concerned. For me, the existence of even a small bit of the eternal among all that changes is quite fascinating, and worthy of investigation.

Of course I should stress that rather than being troubled by such questions, I feel enriched by them. In my opinion, the world is all too often perceived as boring, obvious, etc. Some of our simplest concepts are perhaps the most mysterious of all. Perhaps it's only our constant successful use of them that obscures their strangeness. Smile


Oh the world is not boring to me; at least it has not been for the past two years (which coincidentally was around the time I picked up John Locke's Essay Concerning Human understanding, and began my plunge into philosophy).

The a priori is always interesting; unfortunately I havent investigated enough, and if I do I always end up at Kant (for some odd reason).

The eternal... I wonder what people mean by that sometimes. Im not a big fan of using it. I do not feel as though I have a firm grasp of it (but who does?).

I enjoy the questions, as well as the thrashing I get sometimes from people when I do, or talk about philosophy. They are enriching... the questions that is.

"A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring. " -L.W.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 07:03 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;166659 wrote:
I do not think there is a mystery here per se; we have words to express the logic of what we want to say. The words themselves function according to our thought, as they are representation of thought. Our thoughts are logical, at least from Kant's Transcendental Categories (Reality, Negation, Limitation), and also others who would assent to our thought being logical (Wittgenstein for example). We can only think in terms of logic. Negation is just another form or thought that we use . Do not see a whole lot of mystery there. Logic is a priori. We cannot think of it being otherwise.

But then again maybe Im wrong haha.
The word if might refer to an evaluation of a hypothetical event. "If I paint the bathroom wall blue... will it be wonderful or atrocious?" So we're imagining a possible future event. It seems that logic is circling the drain here. Is it logical that the future will unfold in some meaningful way... that future events will be governed by the same principles that we see in the present? Is it logic or just assumption at work? Answer: assumption. What accounts for that type of assumption? Dogs do it... at least they appear to.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 07:15 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;166676 wrote:
Oh the world is not boring to me; at least it has not been for the past two years (which coincidentally was around the time I picked up John Locke's Essay Concerning Human understanding, and began my plunge into philosophy).

The a priori is always interesting; unfortunately I havent investigated enough, and if I do I always end up at Kant (for some odd reason).

The eternal... I wonder what people mean by that sometimes. Im not a big fan of using it. I do not feel as though I have a firm grasp of it (but who does?).

I enjoy the questions, as well as the thrashing I get sometimes from people when I do, or talk about philosophy. They are enriching... the questions that is.

"A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring. " -L.W.


I know I always say this, but I think you would love Kojeve's book, because he traces eternity, time, and the concept from Parmenides to Hegel. And he writes brilliantly on Kant. To me, "eternal" just means timeless. The "a priori" is timeless, right? So Kant is really talking about the relationship between time and eternity. Or that's my opinion. And that's why questions like this amuse me. Carl Jung looked at a priori spiritual instincts, to put it in a clumsy way. I think we philosopher types in general want our the truth we seek to be as timeless as possible. Otherwise we would probably look at more directly applied subjects. Just my thought.
Of course I know "eternal" has certain associations that make it questionable. But let's call a spade a spade, say I. The transcendental is the eternal. I offer this humbly. I like to think of the transcendental as a sort of cooky cutter that experience has to pass thru before we are conscious of it. But this "cooky cutter" and the philosophy of Kant for instance are all of course part of our conscious experience. So the interesting task is looking at our conscious experience to find its unchanging structure. I feel that's what Kant had to do. He said somewhere that coming up with those categories was one of the more dififcult things a philosopher could accomplish. Nietzsche quoted him on this so I don't know where Kant said it.
I know I've sometimes compared Kant unfavorably with Hegel, but Hegel is impossible without Kant. Still, Hegel explains the genesis of philosophical self-consciousness, the structure of TIME. I'll shut up, thought. I''m getting off topic...

which is the eternity (or not) of logical operators like "if or and not":flowers:

---------- Post added 05-20-2010 at 08:17 PM ----------

Arjuna;166684 wrote:
The word if might refer to an evaluation of a hypothetical event. "If I paint the bathroom wall blue... will it be wonderful or atrocious?" So we're imagining a possible future event. It seems that logic is circling the drain here. Is it logical that the future will unfold in some meaningful way... that future events will be governed by the same principles that we see in the present? Is it logic or just assumption at work? Answer: assumption. What accounts for that type of assumption? Dogs do it... at least they appear to.


Nice post. While reading it I couldn't help notice the questions. What is the difference between a question and a statement? In that last sentence, for instance, does "What" function like the "x" in a math equation?

What about "Are you working late tonight?" It takes a statement "You are working late tonight" and adds the possibility of a negative sign?
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 12:28 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;166684 wrote:
The word if might refer to an evaluation of a hypothetical event. "If I paint the bathroom wall blue... will it be wonderful or atrocious?" So we're imagining a possible future event. It seems that logic is circling the drain here. Is it logical that the future will unfold in some meaningful way... that future events will be governed by the same principles that we see in the present? Is it logic or just assumption at work? Answer: assumption. What accounts for that type of assumption? Dogs do it... at least they appear to.


It is both. You have given a possibility under a conditional. It is as such:

1. If I paint the bathroom wall blue, then it be either wonderful or atrocious.
1. (if P, then (Q or R)).

There is indeed the possibility that this is the case or not the case. However, being that we are finite, we cannot determine that it will be actual, as we are dealing with something that is a future event. Possibility and actuality are two totally different categories of the understanding. I grant you that we do assume in this situation (that it WILL be this or this), but that does not take away from the possiblity of the proposition. We are using both logic and assumption, not merely assumption; logic is always constant. Maybe even a priori.

The word "if" for the most part deals with conditional (the if...then), but its not limited to them. You have biconditionals as well (if and only if) which use if.

---------- Post added 05-21-2010 at 02:40 PM ----------

---------- Post added 05-21-2010 at 02:42 PM ----------

Reconstructo;166689 wrote:
I know I always say this, but I think you would love Kojeve's book, because he traces eternity, time, and the concept from Parmenides to Hegel. And he writes brilliantly on Kant. To me, "eternal" just means timeless. The "a priori" is timeless, right? So Kant is really talking about the relationship between time and eternity. Or that's my opinion. And that's why questions like this amuse me. Carl Jung looked at a priori spiritual instincts, to put it in a clumsy way. I think we philosopher types in general want our the truth we seek to be as timeless as possible. Otherwise we would probably look at more directly applied subjects. Just my thought.
Of course I know "eternal" has certain associations that make it questionable. But let's call a spade a spade, say I. The transcendental is the eternal. I offer this humbly. I like to think of the transcendental as a sort of cooky cutter that experience has to pass thru before we are conscious of it. But this "cooky cutter" and the philosophy of Kant for instance are all of course part of our conscious experience. So the interesting task is looking at our conscious experience to find its unchanging structure. I feel that's what Kant had to do. He said somewhere that coming up with those categories was one of the more dififcult things a philosopher could accomplish. Nietzsche quoted him on this so I don't know where Kant said it.
I know I've sometimes compared Kant unfavorably with Hegel, but Hegel is impossible without Kant. Still, Hegel explains the genesis of philosophical self-consciousness, the structure of TIME. I'll shut up, thought. I''m getting off topic...

which is the eternity (or not) of logical operators like "if or and not":flowers:


1. I thought the a priori simply dealt with human knowledge. How does that make it eternal? Granted the structure is unchanging, but that doesnt necessarily mean that the knowledge generated through it is; nor does it mean that human beings in themselves are eternal. It is simply a constant for human beings: our consitution is to think in such an such a way.
1.1 Humans continue ad infinitum (through reproduction), but that does not mean that we are eternal, or for that matter that our a priori cognitions are eternal. We are not certain as to whether or not we will encompass an eternity. In fact its absurd to encompass eternity.
2. I will probably read Kojeve at some point; reading the philosophers themselves is infinitely more enriching however. Schopenhauer for instance has helped me understand Kant far better than any other professor has. I would rather stick to reading the players, than reading the spectators.
3. Threads always get of topic. So lets try to stay on topic. Maybe we should create a Kant/Hegel thread. Have you read all of Kant's Critique's? That would be the best start for all of this.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 12:46 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;166684 wrote:
The word if might refer to an evaluation of a hypothetical event. "If I paint the bathroom wall blue... will it be wonderful or atrocious?" So we're imagining a possible future event. It seems that logic is circling the drain here. Is it logical that the future will unfold in some meaningful way... that future events will be governed by the same principles that we see in the present? Is it logic or just assumption at work? Answer: assumption. What accounts for that type of assumption? Dogs do it... at least they appear to.


I don't think the word "if" refers to anything at all. I don't suppose that there are any little ifs for it to refer to. Do you? Not all words refer to anything. But all words mean something. Therefore words need not refer to anything in order to mean something. Right? Therefore the meaning of a word is not the word's referent.

"Logic is logic, that's all I can say"
 
fast
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 02:58 pm
@Reconstructo,
MEANING

The lexical meaning of words is dependent on our collective use of them. That's why no one persons individual use or any one groups stipulative or specialized use alters the lexical meaning.

An important difference to keep in mind: 1) what you mean when you use a word and 2) what a word means when you use a word.

REFERENCE

Just because a word has a lexical meaning, that doesn't mean that a word has a referent. The words "if' and "not" are words with lexical meaning, but they are what we call non-referring terms, so not only don't they have referents, they're not even the kind of words that could have referents.

An important difference to keep in mind: 1) What you are referring to when you use a word and 2) if the word even refers to anything (and if it does, does it refer to the same thing you are).
 
 

 
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