zondag 19 juni 2016

Sums of Things

Let's talk about sums of things. Or more specifically, let's talk about their ontology. There are three options with respect to the ontological status of sums. First, one may say that sums do not exist. There are no sums. There is no such thing as the sum of A, B and C. What exists is just A, B and C separately. Nothing more and nothing less. Alternatively one may hold that the sum of A, B and C does exist but is nothing more than A, B and C taken together. The sum of A, B and C is nothing over and beyond A, B and C considered as a whole. The sum is identical to these three objects counted as one. Finally, one may hold that the sum is more than just A, B and C taken together. But what does this surplus, this "more", consist in? It's the togetherness hypostatized. It's the act of taking them together that has ontological import.

3 opmerkingen:

Bert Morrien zei

Emanuel,

You wrote: "Finally, one may hold that the sum is more than just A, B and C taken together. But what does this surplus, this "more", consist in? It's the togetherness hypostatized. It's the act of taking them together that has ontological import."
The question is who is taking them together. Me thinks that "them" are apparently capable enough to act on their own. You make things more complicated by considering the capability to act as something that is separate from being. I think being implies the power of acting. In my view nothing is passive.

Emanuel Rutten zei

Bert,

Quite to the contrary: I'm saying that their togetherness is part of being instead of separated from being. The togetherness considered in itself is the surplus or the reason why the sum is more than merely a multitude.

Best,
Emanuel

Bert Morrien zei

Emanuel,

What is the difference between your tougetherness and the ability of the parts to interact? Togetherness without an effect does not add anything to the sum, so what counts must be the effect of togetherness and that is the ability to interact.