Re: Group Entity "Illusion"
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 09:39:14 -0700

>I defined "collective entity" as
>"the ordering of individuals in a system."
>Are you saying that we cannot discriminate
>the ordering of entities in a given system?

No, I'm not saying any such thing. I'm pointing out that when a term is defined too broadly, it loses the power to discriminate between referents of the term and non-referents, since everything comes to be subsumed under the term. IOW, it loses its meaning. Clear meaning requires distinctions.

If - as it seems under your definition - anything (using "thing" in its broadest possible sense) is an "entity", what do we need the word for? What term shall we use to distinguish physical objects from mere collections of objects, for example? Or things "out there" from concepts or percepts?

I believe I'm using the word "entity" in more or less the usual way, to refer to a physical object. To me, your use of the word is just plain confusing.

>Nobody's defending "atomism" here. No one here has denied the existence of
>holistic connections and structures.

>Really?! Wasn't it you that said "a collection
>of objects can't itself be a physical object," and
>then modified that by saying "Perhaps I should've
>written 'mere collection of objects'." That sounds
>like a very radical denial of holistic structures.

Just exactly how is it a denial of the existence of holistic structures to observe that they don't constitute physical objects in their own right? I suppose you think I don't believe in beauty or love either, because they're not physical objects.

Ian, I've agreed to disagree on the definition of entity. Why do you keep insisting that everyone play only on your terms (pun intended)? It seems that we probably agree more or less in essence, but we're spinning our wheels on semantic oil slicks. Can we get some traction here?

Toward clarity,