On Mar 9, 6:00 pm, David Nyman <da...@davidnyman.com> wrote:
> 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 does, because it is identified with something that does exist

> 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.

Or vice versa. But replacement of a description  by an
equivalent or synonymous one does not show that
neither has a referent

> > 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).

The question of whether we continue using the term is ontological,
because the issue of whether it has something to refer to is
ontological
(albeit not fundamentally so). We *can* stop using the term
"pholgiston" because it has nothing to refer to.

> > 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.

No, you are, because elimnativism and reductionism are
different ideas.

> 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.

Fine. So reductionist materialists only believe that mind doesn't
exist in its own right...whereas eliminativists believe it doesn't
exist at all.

> >> 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.

They are neither: they are what things non-ultimately are.

Aspects of knowledge would be things like truth and justification

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