Re: The "Group-Entity" Illusion
Wed, 20 Jan 1999 10:59:05 -0700

I had written:
>"Collective entity" seems to involve a contradiction, since a collection
>objects can't itself be a physical object, it exists solely as a concept.

Ian replies:
IAN: A stone is an object, and as I understand, it's composed of "a collection of objects" known as molecules, atoms, and subatomic entities; which directly falsifies your claim that "a collection of objects can't itself be a physical object."

Perhaps I should've written "mere collection of objects". A stone is emphatically *not* just a "collection" (a mental grouping or association) but a coherent whole that responds to changes as a unit. You can kick it, you can stub your toe on it. You can't kick a mere collection of things, such as "all the rocks in the universe".

I had written:
>Apparently you wish
>to include concepts such as sets, relations and systems under the
>definition of "entity". But this usage generates confusion, since there
>obvious basic differences between physical things on the one hand and
>arrangements of things on the other, and grave errors ensue from failing
>distinguish different categories.

Ian responds:
IAN: Your error of saying physical objects (which are collections of entities) cannot exist seems the gravest and only error here.

But of course I said nothing of the sort. See above.

Again me:
>Smith's famous invisible hand - virtually synonymous with the extropian
>principle of spontaneous organisation - is the internal organizing
>principle of a complex relational nexus.

And he:
IAN: And the "complex relational nexus" is the "collective entity." I think that the case to the contrary is just semantics.

I'll agree to disagree. "Just semantics" discounts the importance of careful language usage IMO, but have it your way.