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By Eli Hirsch

The vital query during this ebook is why it sort of feels average for the phrases of our language to divide up the realm in traditional methods instead of different that you can think of methods. Hirsch calls this the department challenge. His ebook goals to deliver this challenge into sharp concentration, to tell apart it from a number of comparable difficulties, and to think about the simplest clients for fixing it. In exploring a variety of attainable responses to the department challenge, Hirsch examines sequence of "division rules" which purport to specific rational constraints on how our phrases should classify and individuate. the resultant dialogue bargains with a variety of metaphysical and epistemological themes, together with projectibility and similarity, substitute analyses of normal houses and issues, the inscrutability of reference, and the relevance of such pragmatic notions as salience and financial system. the ultimate chapters of the publication strengthen what Hirsch contends is the main promising reaction to the department challenge: a concept during which constraints on category and individuation are obvious to derive from the required constitution of "fine-grained" propositions and the mandatory dependence of a few options on others.

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Extra resources for Dividing Reality

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33A very extreme example of classificatory strangeness is found in Quine 1954. In Quine's imagined language, all ordinary words are replaced by a single relational word whose domain contains highly abstract items on the level of numbers. Since this example seems perplexing in certain rather special ways, I will not employ it in what follows. A more complete treatment of the topic, however, should certainly take it into account. < previous page page_25 next page > < previous page page_26 next page > Page 26 in any special relationship to each other, for example, a language containing a word "trable" that denotes the sum of any tree and table.

In this section, I want to provide a general characterization of such examples. a Classificatory Examples A famous example of classificatory strangeness is the Grue language. The reason why that example would not have served well to introduce the division problem is that it is too closely associated in the literature with the problem of projectibility, a problem which, as we will see in the next chapter, may be only marginally related to the division problem. 2, it will turn out that the strange words must be analyzable.

These claims suggest such principles as: The general words of a language ought to denote things that are similar to each other. The general words of a language ought to denote things whose stages are causally connected. The general words of a language ought to denote things that are important to us. The hybrid meta-language serves the purpose of allowing such claims and principles to be expressed in an intuitive fashion, without immediately getting involved in the ontological issues dividing the believer and disbeliever.

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