Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Supplements to the Ontology Article (Object--Concept)

I have researched and found what I think are some valuable add-on notes to the Ontology article I wrote a few weeks ago (and have continued to add on and edit):

Ontology: Object, Form, First Form, Existence, Concept, Referrent

The first is a brief note on Gottlob Frege.

From Philosophy of Language and Logical Theory by Khatchadourian (p.309-11)

A concept-word, according to Frege, is predicative; it is a possible grammatical predicate of a range of otherwise different sentences. To predicate a concept-word of a grammatical subject is to relate a concept to a logical subject, i.e. to an object. Another way of saying this is that to predicate a concept of an object is to state that the object falls under the concept. The predicative character of concepts is what Frege calls “incompleteness” of concepts. In terms of this the difference between a concept and an object is that an object falls under a concept but that the converse is impossible. “An equation is reversible; an object’s falling under a concept is irreversible” (p. 44) [note that Frege never figured out why: objects have form, concepts lack form; they are relations between two or more objects worked out in thought]. It seems to follow from this that “completing” a concept can be regarded as stating that a given object falls or does not fall under the concept. We “complete” ‘() conquered Gaul’ by ‘Julius Caesar’, when we state that Julius Caesar falls under the concept conquered Gaul, i.e. when we make the statement ‘Julius Caesar conquered Gaul’.

Concepts are attributes. Hence what we have said about the “incompleteness” of concepts, put in terms of this notion, is that attributes are “incomplete” in isolation from objects. Another way of saying this is that attributes, in order to be attributes at all, have to be attributes of objects. An attribute is “completed” when it is related to an object, is thought of as attributed to the object [objects precede concepts]. Relations [also concepts], which are in a similar position, are functions with two arguments, i.e. are doubly “incomplete”, and so require two objects to be “completed”. Speaking about concepts Frege says:

It is clear that a concept cannot be represented independently as an object can but that it can occur only in combination. One can say that a concept can be distinguished out of it. All apparent contradictions which one can come upon here result from treating a concept as an object, contrary to its incomplete nature. (Uber die Grundlagen der Geometrie)

Black says that this suggests that Frege’s contention that functions (and so concepts) are “incomplete” is that “it is logically impossible to make a function the subject of an assertion” (p. 246).

Concepts are a relation of two or more objects.  Frege took a sort of negative approach and never completely solved the problem, see my article above.  Gaede on the other hand came up with a perfect definition of 'object' and built an entire philosophy and physics off of this insight. 

The second add-on is a very valuable set of quotes taken from Thought and Language by Vygotskii, considered to be a landmark in cognitive science.  I found it most interesting and will post the notes in the next blog because of length.

Concept Formation in Children by Vygotskii  

I cannot stress enough how important it is to discern between objects and concepts in discourse.  This simple practice has so many implications for philosophy, physics, and even theology and Sacred Scripture interpretation.  

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