Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Nominalism

 

Nominalism says, "Abstract concepts are names for individual things. There is no reality corresponding to abstract concepts". Here reality means the cause of all sensations.

Nominalism states that concepts are names. Here the artificial IS makes a distinction. It sees three different aspects related to each part of the reality, the concept , the name and the thing itself. Normally abstract concepts include many lower level concepts as their content. A mathematician would say an abstract concept is a set, containing many elements. In referring to concepts we had to name them, we had to talk about them, stating their names. But the name is not the thing itself, nor the concept for the thing. The word "uncle" is not an uncle, it's a word, consisting of five letters; neither is it a concept designating a relationship.

The artificial IS, besides concepts, has their names on file, for purposes of communication. A name is a concept that contains the sound or picture used for the designation of another concept. That is, the name is another number. Under this number it stores the numbers expressing sounds or parts of a picture of the word. It represents these on the screen or executes them by the loudspeaker when communicating. "Nero" is the name of a certain dog. Writing "Nero" is the way the artificial IS refers to the concept of a certain dog. It is a reference to a concept that it represents internally by a number. Also, the concept "Nero" (not the name) together with those referring to other dogs is then abstracted into a number representing the concept "dog". Dogs and cows and others it abstracts into the concept "mammals", and so on.

It is interesting that humans, too, do not use names for reasoning. Often we reason, using a concept, but at the moment the name escapes us. We have the name at the "tip of our tongue". If we would reason with names, we would not have to search for the name, since, at the same time, we are using it.

So yes, we agree; there are names for things. But these names only refer to concepts. They are not the concepts themselves.

 

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Last Edited 30 July 2013 / Walter Fritz
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