At 02:45 PM 1/28/99 -0700, Dick.Gray@bull.com wrote:
>>IAN: A constellation is a collective entity
>>defined by an arbitrary selection of ordered
>>stars based upon a given point of view. A
>>galaxy is also a collective entity defined by
>>an ordering of stars, however, this ordering
>>isn't arbitrary or based upon a given point
>>of view, but may be caused by a black hole.
>The salient difference is not "arbitrariness" but category of existence. A
>constellation exists entirely within someone's mind, whereas a galaxy is an
>objective, coherent configuration independent of any mental state.
IAN: A constellation is also a "coherent
configuration" independent of the mind,
or as independent as a galaxy is. The
stars that form the big dipper are
where they are regardless of me.
If we say those stars are a big dipper, that dipper is a superimposed identity. If I say one star is a candle flame, that too is a superimposed identity, but simply because I can superimpose an identity on the star does not mean a star is not an entity, and so superimposing an identity on a group doesn't mean that the group isn't an entity.
>If you doubt this, try this thought experiment: imagine yourself 2 billion
>lightyears away orthogonally to the direction of the apparent position of
>the constellation. Where is the constellation now? Only in your memory. But
>you can still identify the Milky Way and other galaxies.
IAN: A galaxy also looks different from different angles, so no point is made. That X looks different from different angles does not mean X is a delusion.
>A clear distinction must be made between mere abstractions or perceptions
>on the one hand and physical existents on the other. How else can we
>distinguish reality from Alice's Wonderland?
IAN: Your seeing a stone as a single thing, not as the collection of entities it is, is no more or less an illusion than seeing any collection of entities as a single entity. The "group entity illusion" is a non-case.