Saturday, January 26, 2008

Existential Crisis, Pt. 2

Originally this post was going to be my commentary on equality. However, I've been distracted by end-of-semester finals. Thankfully, an anonymous comment left on my last entry (maybe not so anonymous, I think I know who it is) has provided me with a question to address. It also segways into another topic I had wanted to discuss, but had previously forgotten about. This is what I was asked:

Where do abstract certainties like 1+1=2 or bivalence come into your view?

Now this may seem like a store shelf type of answer, but when I was discussing uncertainty in terms of knowledge, I was referring to the physical universe (or concrete objects, if you are so inclined). I should have clarified that. Abstract ideas make the matter far more complicated.

It can be argued that abstract ideas do not actually exist (and are therefore abstract) because they lack a location in space, the lack of casual power, etc. This puts abstract ideas in an interesting position. Can abstract ideas be true if they do not exist? I see no reason why they cannot. Common tautologies include mathematical proofs. To use an example from above: 1+1=2, 2=1+1

I'm not really sure where to take this entry from here, so I'll leave it up to my readers. Any comments, questions, or criticisms are welcome.

P.S. I know I'm one entry behind. I'll try to come up with something interesting to keep you entertained.


Bryi said...

I could probably comment in greater detail on this post if I actually understood the theory of abstracts and reality better. *laughs*

But it still entertained me. :)

Anonymous said...

It all depends what you mean by "exist" and "true". I don't think the number 3 exists (point to it) in the same sense that you exist. And as for propositions, consider two propositions "Toronto is in Canada" and "There are infinitely many prime numbers". How much of the truth of a statement depends on how we ascertain its truth?