Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ontological McNuggets for your Sunday Brunch

There is a reason why our principle ontological essay is titled “On What There Is” rather than “What the meaning of “Is” is”.

The Platonist position is Realism for mathematical truths, or patterns  if you prefer.   It is not committed to Objects in any well-defined sense.   We may, for convenience, speak of them casually, but if challenged, are happy to retreat.

The position known as Ontological Phenomenalism maintains that physical objects are nothing but bundles of sensations.  This leaves undetermined, what they were, before Ontological Phenomenalists  strolled into the café.
Perceivables existed prior to any preceivers, other than their Maker.  Whatever they were, they are yet (though we ourselves bring further matter to the table).  The nub of the problem (assuming that the Meaning of Being will remain forever impenetrable -- whether because of the nature of the case, or because the problem is ill-posed)  lies rather in that “they” -- the Roster of Things -- thus, on what there is, the 'is' part being largely presupposed and left unexamined.   For, what counts for us as a material object  is not predetermined in the total quantum equation of the cosmos, and their delineation does not produce bright outlines.   From the unquestionably existent, but in many respects unfathomable or indeterminate,  physical totality (the πείρων of Anaximander),  we ourselves parcel out chunks for the convenience of our calculations and our everyday life.  For stock-keeping purposes, this item is a coffee-cup;  for the purposes of materials science, a mass of atoms.  For the chemist, this atom stands on its own, and enters into contracts with other atoms;  for the physicist, it is a complexus of nucleons and electrons.  And that nucleon is either a proton, or another complexus, of quarks.   Which in turn …

Raphael: Anaximander, striving to figure things out

Sed- sileo.   I won’t be diving down that bottomless rabbit-hole.  Yet rest content, to nurse this darkling java, its surface glinting with Cusp Catastrophes, steaming and swirling in this Ontological Coffee-Cup.   And to praise Him  who all this hath made.

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