Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Two Categories of Language: Object & Concept

Object refers to an abstraction or a category used to organize names. Object nests together all the names which relate a human to that which has form. Form is a property used to describe and to define object synonym of thing, entity, body, etc. Below I have a list of quotes from many different thinkers who thought the same, but they never worked out the two categories of language. Concept is defined as a relation between objects worked out by the brain and is used as another category. Some synonyms of concept are idea, intellection, thought, understanding, etc. The Concept Category nests together all other names that cannot possibly be organized into the Object Category.

In this complex naming is a primal concept. Humans enact what we conceive and name: naming. This is a primal relation. We do this all the time. We are doing it now. Object and Concept are two abstractions used to organize our modes of naming so as to clarify our understanding, name usage and communication.

A human can possibly name that which has form, e.g. star, tree, man, woman, apple, door, chair, etc. Form is defined as that which is bounded or contained or demarcated from an immediate surrounding. How an object assumes it's form could be explained in a theory but this is irrelevant here.  This mode of naming that which has form is described in the second chapter of the Bible. Adam names that which has form. That which has form is led to him by God and he relates to that in the act of naming:

The Lord God also said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. Let us make a helper for him similar to himself.” Therefore, the Lord God, having formed from the soil all the animals of the earth and all the flying creatures of the air, brought them to Adam, in order to see what he would name them. For whatever Adam would call any living creature, that would be its name. And Adam called each of the living things by their names: all the flying creatures of the air, and all the wild beasts of the land. Yet truly, for Adam, there was not found a helper similar to himself. And so the Lord God sent a deep sleep upon Adam. And when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and he completed it with flesh for it. And the Lord God built up the rib, which he took from Adam, into a woman. And he led her to Adam. And Adam said: “Now this is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh. This one shall be called woman, because she was taken from man.” (Genesis 2:18-23)

A child does a similar action, however a child adopts nominal conceptions fed by mom and dad in accord with convention. And a human will continue to name that which has form until he dies. This manner of naming relates a human to that which has form and is organized into a language category called Object. We can trace the human act of naming back to that which has form, (both ways, since a human also has form). This naming serves as a basis for language, thinking, and all intellectual endeavor. All languages have the same roots! They are rooted in that which has form. We cannot even have motion (a verb) without that which has form.

A human can also possibly name that which lacks form. In other words a human can name a relation or a comparison between objects which he has worked out via his or her brain e.g. love, justice, gravity, space, time, identity, location, color, dimension, etc. So to play off of Adam above, after Adam named that which has form he retired and started thinking about all these objects. And he began naming his thought. In the act of naming, a human cannot literally relate to a relation which his brain has worked out, let alone a natural relation that happens independent of him. This would break the law of contradiction. One cannot possibly relate to relation.  How is a human suppose to literally relate to a motion of his neural objects rooted in the brain? And so what a human does to remedy this impossible situation is stealthily treat this relation AS IF an object (i.e. that which has form). Humans routinely do this. This mimics the other mode of naming, i.e. naming that which has form (above). They reify their brain-works so as to use in higher order abstractions in thinking, and also in communication. Reification is a human, mentally converting his conception into that which has form. For example, a human will routinely treat space as if it has form. A human can even reify his primal concept called naming. That is he can treat word concepts referencing that which has form as if the nominal relation had form.

Humans speak of concept formation. But strictly speaking this is all impossible. Concept lacks form and cannot possibly form. Concept happens via the brain. Philosophers also speak of thinking in figures of speech or metaphor. And this is it! Converting a concept into that which has form is the ultimate figuration!!! There is no deeper poetry than this trick.  And this is done surreptitiously. No one seems to understand what they are doing!!! And only humans seem to have the ability to do this! Atoms, molecules, stars, cells, plants, animals, in short all of Mother Nature does not seem to be able to convert a concept into an object, but humans seem do it all the time! This ability could perhaps be named:  preternatural.  This is really one of the actions that categorizes a human. And this has it's uses, however if one does not understand this it will lead to epic nonsense. And we see this everyday in physics.

And so to enlighten this process . . . to clarify thinking and communication . . . proposed categories seem to help. These categories come later in the development of the human family or of the child, if we take a child as a reboot of the human race. Adam did not first have abstractions, categories and clear definitions to work with before he began naming and neither do children. Greeks started categorizing and Medieval philosophers followed them. Object and Concept are two proposed categories of language. They are radical. They have their uses.

Some other ways to work out these categories are as follows:

One can possibly lift one's finger and point to that which has form (object). And if one decides one can utter or trace a name.

One cannot possibly lift one's finger and point to that which lacks form (concept). But mentally humans still treat concepts as if they have form anyway. And they can still name their conceptions of the brain.

Captain Ahab lifts his finger to the Sun and says "I'd strike the Sun if it insulted me." This of course is crazy, but at least he is relating to an object (Sun). But if Ahab lifted his finger and pointed to nothing and said "I'd strike space if it insulted me" then Ahab would be beyond crazy because space lacks form as do all concepts.

Quotes to give an idea about how I am using the word Form above:

by form I mean the essence of each thing, and its primary substance -- Aristotle, (Metaphysics, Ch. 7)

For the form cannot desert matter, because it is inseparable from it and matter itself cannot be deprived of form -- Robert Grosseteste (On Light)

The first corporeal form is in my opinion light ---Grosseteste (On Light)

The chief point of divergence is that for Grosseteste matter is not pure potency, as it was for Aristotle, but possesses in its own right a certain minimal reality. (Riedl, Clare C. (Translator) Notes on Grosseteste)

Form, that is to say, the first corporeal form, or light, is in his view more than the 'form of corporeity,' the principle of extension, it is also a principle of activity. . . The intrinsic principle from which this motion or activity proceeds must be the form . . . (From Notes on Grosseteste)

Light furnishes therefore the principle of continuity in nature, for as the first corporeal form it is common to all things in the universe from the lowest of the elements, earth, up to and including even the firmament. Thus 'all things are one by the perfection of one light.' (From Notes on Grosseteste)

For where there is no shape nor order, nothing either cometh or goeth -- Augustine (Confessions, Book 12, Ch. 9)

where there is no form there can be no distinction between "this" or "that” -- Augustine (Confessions, Book 12, Ch. 13)

The term 'body' [object] therefore can signify that which has such a form as allows the determination of three dimensions in it, prescinding from everything else, so that from that form no further perfection may follow. If anything else is added, it will be outside the meaning of body thus understood. (Aquinas, On Being and Essence) [in other words there are extrinsic and artificial properties that we relate but these cannot define an object. Only form can define an object]

The term body [object] can also be taken to mean a thing having a form such that three dimensions can be counted in it, no matter what the form may be . . . (Aquinas, On Being and Essence)

Now matter and form are so related that form gives being to matter (Aquinas, On Being and Essence) [in other words all objects in the set named matter have the native-inherent property called form and this may qualify them under the category existence].

Matter then cannot exist without some form but there can be a form without matter (Aquinas, On Being and Essence) [in other words he realized that there is a fundamental form that underlies the set of objects, i.e. matter.  In other words, a set of fundamental subatomic objects constitute all hydrogen atoms (or protons and neutrons) and these same mediate light and gravity between them all].

As Avicenna says, "The quiddity of a simple substance is the simple entity itself," (Aquinas, On Being and Essence) [in other words there is a fundamental object that belongs to all objects in the set of matter and this object is what is bound of itself]

A boundary is that which is an extremity of anything. (Aristotle, Metaphysics)

A figure is that which is contained by a boundary or boundaries.” (Euclid, Elements)

the knowledge of the universal consents of things …. I … understand as the science which applies the knowledge of hidden forms to the production of wonderful operations; and by uniting (as they say) actives with passives, displays the wonderful works of nature. (Francis Bacon IV, 366–7: De Augmentis III.5)

Who existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal with God something to be grasped (Saint Paul) [Even God has Form].

A complete answer would amount to a history of thought, for in one sense everything possesses form. In some contexts the Greek words Eidos, Schema, and Morphe, and the Latin word Forma, which are often translated as “form” mean no less than “the qualities which make anything what it is.” (Notes from Accent on Form by Whyte)

Around 1250 we find Thomas Aquinas regarding forma as the essential quality or determining principle of every individual thing. (Notes on Accent on Form by Whyte)

But more importantly, shape is what an object has before light even reaches our eyes from the object. (Fatfist, Physics--What is Shape and Why Does it Define an Object?)

[for fun add a quote from Avengers: Age of Ultron . . . ]

Ultron to Jarvis: Where is your body?
Jarvis to Ultron: I am a program. I have no form.]

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