Re: Anti-Holism Flops... again!

Anton Sherwood (
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 ( 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!

Please pay attention: I explicitly called your attention (once again) to
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,
> we would not know about bad.

Do you understand the difference between that statement (with which I do
not disagree) and the statement "good is bad"?

"How'd ya like to climb this high without no mountain?" --Porky Pine
Anton Sherwood   *\\*   +1 415 267 0685