Reply: mind-object/thing-object distinction

I am completely happy and grateful for these questions. They are at the heart of the matter.

The issue revolving before us is whether there are objects, and then also objects of the mind. I forget what you termed the first one.

My issue has directly to do with how you are able to know that there is an object only of the mind, and then an object that is not of the mind. What criterion do you hold up in front of us To confirm that whatever object you’re talking about is an object of the mind as opposed to an object somewhere else? 

Suppose your example is a rock. We’re standing together and you hold up this rock in front of me. And you say here is an object that is not of the mind and you throw it in my face. And it hits my nose and “ouch”.

OK. Now I hold up the object in front of you called “abstraction”.  how are you to know, what criteria are you using, to say that the object called abstraction is merely an object of the mind?

How is it that you are holding up a something called “abstraction”?

So when I hold up a physical rock and I hand it to you. You may well hurt me with it.

Is it because I can’t touch it with my fingers? Shirley when I stick my fingers into snow I am feeling an abstraction. In this case, coldness. 

Snow is a thing. Coldness is a quality of things.

It seems abstraction is equated to substance. Substance (in Aristotle) only pertains to the category of “things”, for example, “horse” as a primary substance and “animal” as a secondary substance. All else are non-substances (quantity, quality, relation, place, time, position, state, action and affection). Coldness is, thus, not a substance but a category. Substance is but one category of ten categories.

In Aristotelian logic (which is about truth statements, not facts) substance forms the subject without the ability to be a predicate. I do not wish to argue logic but talk of facts (that is, ontology, what exists and what does not) only.

I am asking what criterion to knowledge. What criteria that is happening in the knowing of these things, what logistical routes do you use to confirm to me that such and such is a object merely in my thinking of it, as opposed to an object somewhere else?

I submit that whatever criterion you show me or present to me, so much as I might know it, is at once both an Object of the mind and an object of something else. For how could I even have any sort of knowledge whatsoever about what abstraction is if the very term “abstraction” was not referencing some thing of the universe? Does abstraction exist outside of the universe?

I can give you snow, and I can give you cold things, but I cannot give you coldness.

You may argue that you have given a representation of these and not actual things or qualities. We can talk of only mind (rationality). But it seems we can do so only so far as to ignore (sensory) experience.

To return to the rock. Suppose you did throw the rock at me, it hits me in the eye and I go blind in that eye. I know the cause of the loss of sight. But I also know it did not cause the loss of mind. Suppose I lose sight in the other eye as well. I still have (visual) objects in the mind, no less than objects of people and things of the past, present or future.

You can call it “fridge-door philosophy”. I close a fridge door and the items inside remain there. I open the fridge door 5 minutes later and is it there? Yes. Suppose I place a slice of cheese inside and I walk away for 15 minutes. I come back and it isn’t there. Between the time I put it in and came back to it something happened. I look for causes. I do not I have 15 minutes but that cheese does not have 15 minutes. We inhibit the same space with the same things and the same time. All these objects of reality (including myself) have a characteristic. That is the reality. Tested with sense (pure sensation) and persense (procedural perception, conceptualisation and symbolisation) experience. I will look for causes.

I met up with a high school friend not too long ago. The last time I saw him was 30 years. Before I met him in my mind he was youthful and cheerful guy. I could not imagine what would look like, only to hold on to the object of the mind that is “him”. Indeed, he had aged. He was still cheerful. He is the same person but he wasn’t the object of the mind anymore. The I updated my object-of-the-mind version of him from the object-of-reality him.

Again, how is my mind able to discern what “actually objectively exists” from what “merely exists in the mind”?

That is how I can differentiate between the two. One stays the same (atemporal/aspatial) while the other changes (temporal/spatial).

Describe for me the logistical route by which these two things diverge such that there are these two essential kinds of existence is, which I don’t even know how we would go on to talk about whether they exist or not as objects or not since we don’t even have a common understanding of what not to exist could possibly mean if I could not know it as existing as some thing that is nonexistent.

We come back to unicorns. Unicorns are hearsay or secondhand information. You and I have never seen one as an object-of-reality. But somehow the description of it with us. Convenient though is the fact that we both know what a straight horn and a horse is from experience.

Suppose I ask you, “Have you ever seen a “unican”? I describe it to you as a horse-like animal with a can on it forehead. Now we both share an image and idea of a “unican”. But just as equally that unicorns do not exist as objects-of-reality, unicans do not also, but only as object-of-the-mind.

I will say, then, I cannot strict call the object-of-the-mind an “object”, just as I cannot call “coldness” an object but a quality of an object. We conceptualise “coldness” as an object and we nominalise it as an object (noun). But it is not an object.

This is how we are able to make objects, with concepts and words. This to me is as fantastic as our imagination. It is our imagination. 

Now, see, I am not making an argument that I don’t believe that if I walk into the house without opening the door I’m gonna slam my face and do something hard and getting a bloody nose. I’m not making any sort of idealist argument or empiricist argument or anything like that. I am simply bringing into question how you know the difference between an object of the mind and an object that is not of the mind.

I do know chess players who can play complete games of chess in their heads without resorting to a board. The skill is amazing. Sure they are doing it in their heads but they are manipulating the objects as they would in reality (as things in space and time). But here is the question: are they playing with the same or different mind-board and mind-pieces?

The rabbit hole we are going down has to do with universals and particulars, and also types and tokens.