[Inquiry] Objects : Intentional and Unintentional

Jon Awbrey jawbrey at att.net
Tue Sep 28 13:15:30 CDT 2010


Re: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2010-09/msg00300.html

I was having trouble posting this the other day, so let me try again.

JS = John Sowa
RM = Rick Murphy

RM: I'm working hard to overcome my preconception that Entity
     is not only Thing(s), but I'd like a better visual cue,
     like Being.  Have any projects favored the term Being?

The Greeks had a word for it:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dpra%3Dgma

| "No longer wondered what I would do in life but defined my object."
|
| C.S. Peirce, 1861

The complex of meanings rooted in the Greek word ''pragma''
is not really lost in the diversity of meanings gathered in
our Latin-derived ''object'' -- it is only particular styles
of interpretation that tend to become forgetful of their ends.

JS: Both Peirce and Brentano were strongly influenced by
     Aristotle's notion of 'telos' (end or purpose) which
     was a major issue.  Telos isn't one of the categories,
     but it's one of Aristotle's four aitia (translated 'causes',
     but with misleading connotations, since the modern English
     'cause' has shifted in meaning since the Greek 'aition' or
     its Latin translation as 'causa').

JS: See the quotation below by Brentano.  For Peirce, the category
     of Thirdness includes intentionality as a special case, since
     CSP would consider the laws of physics to involve Thirdness,
     but the word 'intention' would be misleading.  I go into
     more detail about related issues in the following article:

JS: The Role of Logic and Ontology in Language
     http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/rolelog.pdf

Saying that "the Category of Thirdness includes intentionality"
is a way of saying that 3 is the minimal adequate dimensionality
of relational models for describing the domain of phenomena in
question, whatever name you choose to give it.  In short, you
need relational data tables with 3 columns to have a chance
of dealing with the intrinsic complexity of the phenomena.

For some reason, the suffix "-ness" tends to make people think of essences,
and these in the form of monadic predicates, and this has turned out to be --
in view of the history of long and fruitless discussions on the subject --
a needlessly obscure and misleading way of trying to deal with the issues
of relational complexity.  I have found that it's almost always better to
try and think of concrete examples of 3-adic relations to illustrate the
domain of so-called "Thirdness".

Jon Awbrey

John F. Sowa wrote:
 > On 9/25/2010 9:42 PM, Rick Murphy wrote:
 > > Am I correct to assume that intentionality is the logos that is not
 > > depicted in Brentano's tree of Aristotle's categories?
 >
 > The Latin word 'intentio' was used by the medieval Scholastics to
 > distinguish _first intentions_, which are language about things
 > outside language, from _second intentions_, which are language
 > about language.
 >
 > Both Peirce and Brentano had studied Aristotle and the Scholastics
 > in great detail.  They independently adopted the word 'intention'
 > for related, but slightly different notions.
 >
 > Both Peirce and Brentano were strongly influenced by Aristotle's
 > notion of 'telos' (end or purpose) which was a major issue.
 > Telos isn't one of the categories, but it's one of Aristotle's
 > four aitia (translated 'causes', but with misleading connotations,
 > since the modern English 'cause' has shifted in meaning since
 > the Greek 'aition' or its Latin translation as 'causa').
 >
 > See the quotation below by Brentano.  For Peirce, the category
 > of Thirdness includes intentionality as a special case, since
 > CSP would consider the laws of physics to involve Thirdness,
 > but the word 'intention' would be misleading.  I go into more
 > detail about related issues in the following article:
 >
 >     http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/rolelog.pdf
 >     The Role of Logic and Ontology in Language
 >
 > > I'm working hard to overcome my preconception that Entity
 > > is not only Thing(s), but I'd like a better visual cue,
 > > like Being.  Have any projects favored the term Being?
 >
 > The English word 'being' can be used as a participle meaning 'ens'
 > or as a gerund that means 'entitas', as in the term 'human being'.
 > Aristotle used the term 'to on' -- which could be translated to
 > Latin as 'the ens', if Latin had a definite article.
 >
 > Heidegger used phrases like "das Sein des Seiendes" -- translated
 > as "the Being of beings".  But to avoid sounding Heideggerian,
 > I would prefer not to use the word 'Being'.
 >
 > As I have said many times, it's irrelevant what you call the top node
 > of an ontology because its intension (with an 's') is empty:  it says
 > absolutely nothing, and it is therefore true of everything.  I would
 > prefer a symbol that is as totally devoid of content as possible.
 >
 > But it's convenient to have a pronounceable word.  Therefore, an
 > technical term, such as 'entity', would have fewer distractions than
 > a more common word like 'being'.  Having a "visual cue" would be a
 > distraction, since it might suggest something that could be seen
 > That content is false for many kinds of "entities".
 >
 > > BTW - I tried this experiment tonight as did my daughter.
 > > With your eyes closed, try to see the number 1.  Can you
 > > actually see it, or can youonly imagine it ?
 >
 > The normal uses of the words 'see' and 'imagine' don't really apply
 > to such questions in any clear way.  But the recent work on brain
 > scans provides some interesting data:
 >
 >   1. The same areas of the brain that are used to perceive an object
 >      (by vision or hearing) are also used when a person is thinking
 >      about the image of sound.  (These points have been suspected
 >      for years, but brain scans have provided much more data.)
 >
 >   2. But in direct sensory perception, the initiating stimulus
 >      comes from the senses.  A conscious effort to "imagine"
 >      something seems to be initiated by the frontal lobes.
 >
 >   3. When somebody thinks about an image or a melody, brain scans
 >      show that the same sensory areas light up that were stimulated
 >      by the senses.  However, the frontal lobes, which tend to be
 >      quiescent in perception, tend to light up during attempts to
 >      imagine the sensation.
 >
 > I don't know whether anybody has done brain scans of people thinking
 > about numbers, but I doubt that they would suggest a better term
 > for the top node of an ontology.
 >
 > John
 > _____________________________________________________________________
 >
 > Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the Scholastics of the
 > Middle Ages called the intentional (or mental) inexistence of an object,
 > and what we might call, though not wholly unambiguously, reference to a
 > content, direction towards an object (which is not to be understood here
 > as meaning a thing), or immanent objectivity.  Every mental phenomenon
 > includes something as object within itself, although they do not all do
 > so in the same way.  In presentation something is presented, in judgment
 > something is affirmed or denied, in love loved, in hate hated, in desire
 > desired and so on.  This intentional in-existence is characteristic
 > exclusively of mental phenomena.  No physical phenomenon exhibits
 > anything like it.  We could, therefore, define mental phenomena by
 > saying that they are those phenomena which contain an object
 > intentionally within themselves.
 >
 > Franz Brentano, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint,
 > edited by Linda L. McAlister (London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 88-89.

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