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What is an instantiated concept in philosophy? My class has a question asking

What is an instantiated concept in philosophy? My class has a question asking TRUE or FALSE: A sphere made of solid gold is an instantiated concept. However, I am confused as to what they mean by that term. If someone could help me better understand that would be great!

If a concept (say tame tiger) is instantiated that means that there is in fact an instance of the things falling under it: there is at least one tame tiger. An uninstantiated concept, square triangle, for example, is one that has no instances: there are no instances of square triangles. But the phrase "instantiated concept" is bad grammar or "usage", it seems to me. Just as an abstract concept is a concept which is abstract, so an instantiated concept is a concept which is instantiated. That ought to mean that there is an instance of it. But "it" here is that concept, so to say that there is an instantiated concept is to say that there is one of it, one of that concept. Something is wrong here, obviously. Of course one can twist the language to give "instantiated concept" a conventional meaning, or any other meaning, but why bother?

If a concept (say tame tiger ) is instantiated that means that there is in fact an instance of the things falling under it: there is at least one tame tiger. An uninstantiated concept, square triangle , for example, is one that has no instances: there are no instances of square triangles. But the phrase "instantiated concept" is bad grammar or "usage", it seems to me. Just as an abstract concept is a concept which is abstract, so an instantiated concept is a concept which is instantiated. That ought to mean that there is an instance of it. But "it" here is that concept, so to say that there is an instantiated concept is to say that there is one of it, one of that concept. Something is wrong here, obviously. Of course one can twist the language to give "instantiated concept" a conventional meaning, or any other meaning, but why bother?

Hello Philosophers!

Hello Philosophers! Can anyone defend the Ontological Argument against Kant's criticism that existence is not a predicate?

Some random suggestions: (1) David Pears pointed out that even if Kant's argument were wholly clear and wholly successful, which it is not, it could only show that existence is not an ordinary predicate, if it is a predicate. His view is that it is a predicate, just a very peculiar one; (2) There is also the view of the celebrated logician, mathematician and philosopher Bolzano, who writes in the Theory of Science ("Kinds of Propositions") that 'I take being [Sein] or actuality [Wirklichkeit] to be precisely what language makes it out to be, namely an attribute; whoever denies this confuses (I believe) actuality with substance. By substance I mean an actuality which is not an attribute of another actuality; hence I admit that we cannot truly predicate the putative abstractum of the substance (substantiality) of any object. For it is part of the concept of substance that there is no property of this kind. But it is not the same with actuality, which I consider to be a mere attribute, not only of substance itself but of each of its attributes, since every attribute of an actual thing is itself actual. And since every attribute of an object can be ascribed to it in a judgment of the form 'A has b', why not the attribute of actuality?' (3) There is a related argument deriving from Russell's Theory of Descriptions in my own Philosophical Propositions, despite the fact that Russell himself took the implication of the theory to be that the ontological argument is no good; (4) There is a defence of a stripped-down version of the ontological argument by the late Gary Matthews and Lynn Baker Rudder in Analysis for 2010.

Some random suggestions: (1) David Pears pointed out that even if Kant's argument were wholly clear and wholly successful, which it is not, it could only show that existence is not an ordinary predicate, if it is a predicate. His view is that it is a predicate, just a very peculiar one; (2) There is also the view of the celebrated logician, mathematician and philosopher Bolzano, who writes in the Theory of Science ("Kinds of Propositions") that 'I take being [Sein] or actuality [ Wirklichkeit ] to be precisely what language makes it out to be, namely an attribute; whoever denies this confuses (I believe) actuality with substance. By substance I mean an actuality which is not an attribute of another actuality; hence I admit that we cannot truly predicate the putative abstractum of the substance (substantiality) of any object. For it is part of the concept of substance that there is no property of this kind. But it is not the same with actuality, which I consider to be a mere attribute, not...

Do you really believe that the entire universe was made by a "big bang?" Doesn

Do you really believe that the entire universe was made by a "big bang?" Doesn't it seem like there must be some type of higher being something? It just doesn't seem like all the pieces of the puzzle come together from a few dust particles...

I believe that your question is a good one, and that there is a further one that it suggests. The further question is where the dust particles might have come from. Or if we mean by "the universe" absolutely everything, including dust particles, then the universe did not come from a few dust particles or anything else, as, if it did, then the universe came from a part of itself, which is clearly impossible.

I believe that your question is a good one, and that there is a further one that it suggests. The further question is where the dust particles might have come from. Or if we mean by "the universe" absolutely everything, including dust particles, then the universe did not come from a few dust particles or anything else, as, if it did, then the universe came from a part of itself, which is clearly impossible.

What does it mean to exist?

What does it mean to exist?

I agree with Jonathan Westphal that there's no simple answer to your question as you pose it.

One (no doubt overly simpleminded) way to approach an answer to the question is to make a list of things that exist and then see if they have any properties in common. But what would you put on this list?

You could think of beginning with a list of all of the kinds of individual things that exist: There are people, there are plants, there are animals, etc. That's going to be a pretty long list, but do these kinds of things really exist? Or is it better to say that only individual things of these kinds exist? So, instead, you should list all the individual people (Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, ..., you, me), list all the plants (the rose on my desk, the rose on your desk, etc.), list all the animals (my pet cat Bella, your pet dog Fido, etc.). That's going to be an even longer list.

But are there such things? Consider any physical object. We know from physics that it's not really a single thing, but a complex thing consisting of atoms. But we also know from nuclear physics that it's really an even more complex thing that consists of quarks (etc.). So maybe people don't exist, only complexes consisting of quarks and other ultimate subatomic particles. (See Peter Unger's essay "Why There Are No People", Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1979).)

What about artifacts like tables or chairs? Do they exist in addition to such "natural kinds" as people, plants, animals, etc.? They, too, are such complexes of subatomic particles. But even if you want to consider all ordinary, medium-sized spatio-temporal objects as being the kinds of things that exist (instead of just the subatomic particles), artifacts depend on their users for their existence in the sense that something is a table if and only if someone uses it as a table. So, a suitably sturdy cardboard box or a flattened tree trunk could (also) be a table. So, maybe tables don't exist in addition to things like flattened tree trunks.

Instead of making a list (technically called an "ontology") of things, or kinds of things, that exist, you could give a criterion for existence. Two of the most famous are:

(1) Bishop Berkeley's proposal that to be (or to exist) is to be perceived (this is the source of the famous "if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, then it doesn't make a sound"): If x exists, then someone perceives x (and that someone might have to be God, just in case no human or animal perceives x but you want to maintain that x exists); and if someone perceives x, then x exists (but then what about dreams and hallucinations?).

(2) Willard Van Orman Quine's proposal that to be (or to exist) is to be the value of a bound variable. In other words, any theory (e.g., a scientific theory expressed in a language for first-order logic with variables and quantifiers) that says "there exists an x such that..." is committed to the existence of such x's. (See Quine's essay "On What There Is".)

For more on these topics, look at the articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on "Existence", "Metaphysics", and "Logic and Ontology".

Are you content with the question as you have formed it? What does it mean to exist? Compare: What does it mean to garden? What does it mean to play chess? What does it mean to help someone in need? What does it mean to suffer? What does it mean to kill someone? Compare the last question with the even more serious, 'What does it really mean to kill someone?' One can perhaps accept this as a question without knowing what its full import is. Perhaps it is a desperate expression of remorse and the wish to make amends. But this cannot be true of 'What is the meaning of gardening?' unless it means something tame, though not therefore unimportant, like, 'How does gardening contribute to your life?' Or perhaps you believe that you have wasted your life gardening, and you are now reflecting on this sad fact, if it is one. It seems to me, without complete conviction, that the six questions shouldn't be attacked head-on. It really is pretty unclear what they mean and how...

I believe that there are only 3 possible options. 1) That God or some all

I believe that there are only 3 possible options. 1) That God or some all powerful being created the universe. This is a very bizarre state because it means we are all subordinates to an independent being that has always existed. Strange. 2) The universe was created out of nothing. Truly weird. 3) That the universe has always existed. This is simply incomprehensible. Because these are the only 3 options I see and because each is mind-bogglingly discouraging or incomprehensible - or downright goofy - I think this whole existence thing is either some sort of hallucination or a complete joke. (Another possibility is that I am in some sort of hell.) Therefore, I take nothing seriously and treat this whole thing sort of the way you deal with the pain of stubbing your toe. Kind of grit your teeth and wait for the pain to end. Any thoughts?

The three options you offer for the origin of the universeare: 1) That God created the universe. This, you say, is “bizarre”, becausethen in some sense we would be “subordinate” beings. (Why should that be bizarre?) 2) The universe wascreated out of nothing. This, you say, is “truly weird”. And 3) The universehas always existed, which is “incomprehensible”.

I do notsee how you can get to the conclusion that the universe is a joke, orthat you should take nothing seriously.The conclusion I can see coming from your premises is that things are bizarre,or that truly weird things happen, or at least that one of them has, or thatthe universe is incomprehensible; and you might be very serious about playingchess, say, or helping others by nursing, in an otherwise bizarre or weird orincomprehensible universe. Religious people would agree, I think, with thefirst option, that the existence of the universe is bizarre, and want only toadd that our theology and metaphysics should reflect the fact! Nothing in thisarea of metaphysics is mundane for them - “mundane” here meaning something like“having the character of things in the everyday world”. As to the second option, scientificpeople celebrate the truly weird, and it does not seem to them that theweirdness of a conclusion is a good predictor of its truth. It is pretty weird thatthe universe has a beginning in time, after all, but physics says that it is does. It is pretty weird to contemplate thepossibility that space is not Euclidean, but perhaps it is. And biological lifeis pretty weird, often even weird looking.

Itseems tome that perhaps the least attractive of your objections is the third.There are lots of things we don't understand. And incomprehensiblethings have a way of becoming comprehensible, when we manage toconstruct theright concepts.

Part of theinterest of the part of cosmology and metaphysics which deals with the origin of things must be in trying tomultiply the possibilities, and Peter Fosl is right to suggest that you shouldalso consider the possibility that the universe popped up out of nothing byitself, rather than being created outof nothing.

The factthat the universe is bizarre or weird or incomprehensible actually has on me theeffect of wanting to take things more seriously, not less, and with morereverence for the things we don’t yet understand. It makes the universe feelmore like a mysterious drama and less like slapstick.

The three options you offer for the origin of the universeare: 1) That God created the universe. This, you say, is “bizarre”, becausethen in some sense we would be “subordinate” beings. (Why should that be bizarre?) 2) The universe wascreated out of nothing. This, you say, is “truly weird”. And 3) The universehas always existed, which is “incomprehensible”. I do notsee how you can get to the conclusion that the universe is a joke, orthat you should take nothing seriously.The conclusion I can see coming from your premises is that things are bizarre,or that truly weird things happen, or at least that one of them has, or thatthe universe is incomprehensible; and you might be very serious about playingchess, say, or helping others by nursing, in an otherwise bizarre or weird orincomprehensible universe. Religious people would agree, I think, with thefirst option, that the existence of the universe is bizarre, and want only toadd that our theology and metaphysics should reflect the fact! Nothing...