Re: Group Entity "Illusion"

Ian Goddard (
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 17:48:59 -0500

At 09:39 AM 1/26/99 -0700, wrote:

>... 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

IAN: Like rocks, galaxies are distinct *collective entities* defined, as each unique galaxy is, by the ordering of its members. Are galaxies confusing? Can we not define "galaxy" since such is a collective entity? Merriam Webster's seems to think that we can. So I'm really can see your point in saying "collective entity" is confusing.

Clearly, no problem or logical confusion with the definition of "collective entity" as "the ordering of individuals in a system" as been demonstrated, which isn't to say that a problem can't be found.

>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: You've supported a case against there being a "collective entity" that is without content. You deny "collective entity" and then don't, so I'm loosing exactly what your point is.

>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)?

IAN: When did I insist? I reply to your responses just as you reply to mine, so it sounds like your saying you want me to stop making my case. You've not shown that "collective entity" is an illusion.

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"The more restrictions and prohibitions in the world, the poorer people get." Lao Tzu, "Tao Te Ching"