SUO: Re: [KIF] CL Motivators and the IFF-MT
On Wed, Jul 10, 2002 at 01:23:50PM -0700, Pat Hayes wrote:
> >On Tue, Jul 09, 2002 at 10:00:51AM -0700, Robert E. Kent wrote:
> >> In a recent message Chris Menzel gave reasons (motivations) for the
> >> elimination in CL of the distinction between predicates and individuals.
> >Just to clarify, the distinction that was eliminated was a *syntactic*
> >one, viz., the distinction between predicate SYMBOLS and individual
> >CONSTANTS. Conceptually, we still distinguish between RELATIONS and
> >ordinary INDIVIDUALS like people, automobiles, electrons, etc.
> Speak for yourself, Chris.
Well, of course it should have been understood that by "we" I meant "I".
> >It is only that, conceptually and metaphysically
> >significant though it may be, it does no *formal* work in CL and hence
> >is not explicitly represented. But we do know the difference between,
> >say, being famous and Yo-Yo Ma's cello. :-) (Actually, I'm not at all
> >sure that Pat knows the difference, judging from a few past messages...)
> *I* know the difference. But I also know that whatever that
> difference is, it is beyond the capacity of any CL-style logic to
> express it; and I think it is important that we do not try to pretend
I agree with this.
> PS. I also know the difference between Yo-Yo Ma's cello and an
> automobile, by the way. It might be a useful exercise to try actually
> *writing down* some criteria which, in your opinion, one could use to
> distinguish individuals from non-individuals, rather than constantly
> appealing to some primal intuition which is apparently found in the
> genome of Australasian philosophers.
No, that's the trope gene, and I don't have that one. Though I do wish
I lived in Australia.
> My own criterion is Quine's, essentially linguistic one: to be (an
> individual) is to be the value of a bound variable. In CL, that makes
> relations squarely into individuals.
Ah, but I do agree with that, whole-heartedly! But "individual" for me
is a logical notion -- individuals are the things that we can refer to
with singular terms and which are in our domain of quantification.
The metaphysical distinction I would make (between individuals) is
that between predicable things and non-predicable things. I can
predicate fame of you, but I can't sensibly predicate Pat Hayes of
But really, Pat, for our purposes, you and I are in full agreement.
There are no grounds for the distinction in CL. We can duke out the
metaphysics over a Guinness.