On 9 March 2011 17:22, 1Z <peterdjo...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> The point of eliminativism is that the eliminated thing doesn't exist
> at all.

Just so.  At a reduced ontological level, heat doesn't exist at all -
it's just molecular motion, no more, no less, and any explanation
invoking heat could in principle be entirely eliminated by one
invoking molecular motion.

> Moreover, it is difficult to see why anyone would complain
> about a sense of "elimination" that just means non-fundamental,
> when we don't necessarily know what is fundamental, and
> we are going to continue using the term

Not knowing what (if anything) may ultimately turn out to be the
bottom level doesn't stop us from knowing that, in the hierarchy of
explanation, molecular motion is a more fundamental level than heat.
And the question of whether we go on using the eliminated term is an
epistemological matter (i.e. it concerns what we know and can say) not
an ontological one (concerning what ultimately exists).

> More importantly, the concept has a referent. It is just the
> same referent as another concept. But if your are going to
> call that "elimination", what are you going to call
> what happened to phlogiston? "Extermination"?

If here you want to say that phlogiston was eliminated, then you are
clearly using the word in a non-standard way.  Phlogiston is just a
theoretical term of an incorrect theory of combustion, and hence no
longer has a place in the replacement theory.  Heat, on the other
hand, is believed to refer correctly to a more fundamental underlying
molecular phenomenon, and hence can be retained as a theoretical
concept, though eliminated as a fundamental entity in its own right.

>> The reductionist programme seeks to eliminate any need (in
>> principle) to appeal to any and all non-fundamental ontological
>> entities in precisely this way, and hence show ontology as resting on
>> a single fundamental base, thereby situating composite entities at the
>> epistemological level.
>
> It is hard to see what you mean by "epistemological" there.
> I don't think it is a synonym for "non fundamental"

In effect, it *is* a synonym for non-fundamental.  If, as reductive
programmes envisage, ontology can be grounded somewhere in a finite
set of ultimate entities and their relations, then non-fundamental
entities (composites) must be aspects of what we know, not what things
ultimately are.

David

>
>
> On Mar 9, 3:25 pm, David Nyman <da...@davidnyman.com> wrote:
>> On 9 March 2011 14:39, 1Z <peterdjo...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>
>> >> So on this basis you would claim that heat is *ontologically* (i.e.
>> >> not merely epistemologically) distinguishable from molecular motion?
>>
>> > No. I would say it is ontologically the same as molecular
>> > motion, and molecular motion exists, so heat exists, so
>> > heat was not eliminated
>>
>> It seems that you persistently misunderstand the meaning of
>> elimination in this context. If something can be shown to be a
>> composite of more fundamental ontological components, it is of course
>> disqualified (i.e. eliminated) thereby as an ontological fundamental
>
> But that's *not* what elimination means as in eliminativism.
> The point of eliminativism is that the eliminated thing doesn't exist
> at all.
> Moreover, it is difficult to see why anyone would complain
> about a sense of "elimination" that just means non-fundamental,
> when we don't necessarily know what is fundamental, and
> we are going to continue using the term
>
>> else such use of the terms "ontological", "fundamental" and
>> "eliminated" is rendered meaningless.  Hence heat can indeed be
>> eliminated from the catalogue of ontological fundamentals in this way,
>> and understood as consisting in the more fundamental phenomenon of
>> molecular motion.  Of course the *concept* (and a fortiori the
>> sensation) of heat isn't thereby eliminated epistemologically
>
> More importantly, the concept has a referent. It is just the
> same referent as another concept. But if your are going to
> call that "elimination", what are you going to call
> what happened to phlogiston? "Extermination"?
>
>>, but
>> this is the very distinction we are trying to establish on a firm
>> footing.  The reductionist programme seeks to eliminate any need (in
>> principle) to appeal to any and all non-fundamental ontological
>> entities in precisely this way, and hence show ontology as resting on
>> a single fundamental base, thereby situating composite entities at the
>> epistemological level.
>
> It is hard to see what you mean by "epistemological" there.
> I don't think it is a synonym for "non fundamental"
>
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