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The Quandary about xorlo


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> > > indeed, I believe names are mass
> > > nouns).
> > > The point was that when you consider the
> normal
> > > behaviour of English mass nouns, the
> behaviour
> > > of Mr Broda seems less odd.
> > >
> > > --And.
> >
> > Gee, I was taught at one time or another that
> > names were logical constants or descriptions
> or
> > quantifiers. I suppose mass nouns will do as
> > well, the bits being spatio-temporal slabs, I
> > suppose.
>
> I think mass nouns are logical constants. And
> constants can be treated as quantifiers. So no
> contradictions here.

Well, logical constants tend to refer to single
individuals, so this move would a) make a part of
the case for Mr. Whatsis and b) therefore bbe
highly suspect. The second step is not so
problemat, though xorxes seems to have trouble
with it.

> > Let's see how names and Dr. Dr. compare
> > to paradigm mass nouns. Well, names are like
> > mass nouns in thet the mass is prior to the
> > slices metaphysically; Dr. Dr. however is
> > derivative from the individual doctors (which
> I
> > suppose are the bits here).
>
> Yes. But the prior/derivative distinction is a
> matter of one's personal ontology. I can easily
> see why you see names & masses as prior &
> Dr Dr as derivative, but I can't see why one
> can't see Dr Dr as equally prior.

Well, I suppose that there cannot be Dr. Dr.
without doctors but there could (logically — and
I think actually) be doctors without Dr. Dr.. Of
course, since the two come into being
simultaneously (and perhaps logically so) this is
a hard point to firm up.

> > Dr. Dr. and names
> > agree in restricting the shapes of bits:
> > presumably a blendreized joint practice is
> not a
> > bit of Dr. Dr. ; bits have to be humanoid in
> a
> > broad geometrical way. Names are strange in
> that
> > the bits have all to be part of the same
> > spatio-temporal continuity (or maybe causal
> to
> > get Buddhist in); some bit not connected to
> > others in such a continuity is not a bit of
> the
> > named (well, there is resurrection but
> problems
> > about mass nouns is the least of its
> troubles).
>
> This is only a tendency. E.g. some nations are
> discontinuous spatially (e.g. Russia) or
> temporally
> (e.g. Poland).

The case of Poland — and several others — is a
hard one. Is the post-WWI Poland the
preNapoleonic Poland. It is the resurrection
problem again, although here we do have a
continuity of (at least some) territory and gene
pool, language and so on. It's a toss-up, I
would say. But in any case, notice what strange
entities the exceptions are: they are entirely
conventional, generally having no
non-conventional correlates (there are probably
some countries that have only natural borders --
rivers, lakes, oceans and mountains, but even
then, the fact that those barriers are boundaries
is only a convention). I don't want to limit
matters to "natural" objects, but I think the
peculiarity is worth noting. The case for proper
names generally is also woth mentioning.

> > Dr. Dr. bits can be disconnected cmpletely
> (and,
> > indeed, typically are) as are paradigm
> masses.
> > All of this is, of course, of little
> relevance to
> > Lojban, which lacks any native mass
> expressions.
> > You can build them up but they always look
> > phoney, since the masses are so clearly
> > etymologically built up of the "bits" — Dr.
> > Dr.'s problem again. Analogies from paradigm
> > masses to either names or Dr. Dr. are going
> to be
> > pretty weak and in need of some pressing
> > consideration to work. For Lojban they will
> be
> > useless, since no pressing consideration can
> > arise in that ontology.
>
> At least you seem to grasp the point I was
> making.

I need a sphube: mi nitcu lo sfubu. The English
is quite possible true (though my need cannot be
filled: {sfubu}: x1 is a Euclidian solid with
twelve edges, each of length-in-meters x2, which
each join four other edges, each at a right angle
and with a point c such that for every point p on
the surface, the line segment pc is
length-in-meters x3, x1 is a cubical sphere — or
a spherical cube). If the second sentence is a
adequate translation of the first then it shold
be true as well. Thus, there is such a thing as
Mr. Sphube. But Mr. Sphube exists just in case
there are possible sphubes (including real ones,
if any). But there are not even possible
sphubes, hence no Mr. Sphube (or sphube mass or
sum-of-sphubes or...). Therefore, the Lojban
sentence is false — and necessarily so, i.e.,
cannot be true, unlike the English. The Lojban
sentence is thus NOT an adequate translation of
the English one.
(It might be argued that the same problem arises
for {mi nitcu lo nu mi ponse lo sphubu} or
whatever is the traditional Lojban treatment.
The point — which I do not think is correct, by
the way — would be that events involving
impossible objects don't exist either. This is,
however, easily circumventable within the
tradition; we could, for example, make {nitcu2}
be a proposition, whose truth is what is needed.
The claim that such propositions do not exist is
not defensible — once we have propositions at
all. I imagine that there will be some at least
prima facie plausibe way to save Mr. Sphube, too,
but for once I will not try to invent it.)

 


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