# Re: Anti-Holism Flops... again!

Anton Sherwood (dasher@netcom.com)
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 00:27:54 -0700

> >> We can relate two things that are
> >> similar only to the extent that they are different,
> >> for example that they occupy two different spaces.

> Anton Sherwood (dasher@netcom.com) wrote:
> >Or different times. If a cat walks into my room tonight, I will assume
> >it's the same cat I saw this morning (unless its coloring is visibly
> >different). I mentally relate (compare) two perceptions and judge them
> >to be of the same entity; this is vernacular identity. I can never be
> >certain that the cat hasn't been replaced with a similar cat while I
> >wasn't looking, but as an operationalist I generally rely on the
> >assumption that if I can't perceive a difference I can safely assume
> >it's the same cat.

Ian Goddard wrote:
> IAN: Silly argument. The relation is meaningful
> only because the relation exists between two
> DIFFERENT times.

By "meaningful" do you mean "nontrivial"?

> You just tried to find an
> example of meaningful self-relation and did
> so only by including exactly that which you
> purported need not be a part of relation!

the distinction between vernacular identity and mathematical identity.

Also, you're failing to distinguish between two things and two
perceptions of the same thing. When I say "I believe this cat is the
same as yesterday's cat" what I really mean is "I believe that my
present perception and yesterday's perception are of one and the same
cat" -- not at all that "the two cats are equal".

> Also, the cat is always relatied to not-cat.

Everything is related to everything in *some* way. My quarrel is with
your contention that everything is related to everything (except
possibly itself) in the *same* way.

> >If I were in a black void and the only thing illuminated were
> >a cat, I would say, without looking about for another comparand,
> >"That's Fluffy" (or not, as the case may be).
>
> IAN: Fluffy is being related to the black void!
> Fluffy is DIFFERENT than the black void. How more
> obvious could it be? How more transparent can the
> infection by the "same as" crackpot meme be? It's
> causing you to make the most absurd arguments,
> arguments that defeat themselves by 100%!

Yawn. Okay, what if there's only the black void? Can I say that the
black void which I perceive right now is the same black void as the
black void which I perceive right now?

> >And then there's binocular vision: two perceptions of the same thing at
> >the same place and time, yet slightly different.
>
> IAN: "Slightly different" is still different.
> Good grief. All your cases against holistic
> identity are actually cases for it!

Please pay attention: two PERCEPTIONS, not two things perceived.

> Still wa[i]ting for an example of
> a nonholistic identity.

You'll wait forever, because you reject the DEFINING example, which is
the trivial example.

> >> The perfect "same as relation" would be a relation of a
> >> thing to itself, but such a relation is a null relation.
> >> Therefore the prevailing atomist definition of identity
> >> is false, irrational, an clearly contrary to reality.
> >
> >And yet everyone but you finds a use for it.
>
> IAN: No they don't. They don't know what
> they're doing... confused as you are.

YOU don't know what we're doing. There's a difference.

> "Same as" simply defines the "=" symbol.
> Is that useful? Yes; but it does not
> tell us what identity actually is.

By such standards, do we know what *anything* "actually is"?
I'll let you in on a little secret: I don't much care what identity
"actually is", any more than I care what an electron "actually is" --
what interests me is how they behave.

> >> Identity is difference, and difference is holistic.
> >
> >War is peace.
>
> IAN: If we did not know about good,
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