I'm trying to further define adjectives such as "beautiful" in an ontological sense.

Can adjectives which denote abstract OR concrete nouns, be concrete?

Can "beautiful" be an attribute, or is only "beauty" an attribute? (If anything else, what could it be?)

Is the ontology of adjectives dependent on their logic? (auto / hetero)

I would be very thankful for help with this.


For the purpose of responding, because I don't have enough rep and because I don't see another option, I am resorting to editing the original. If this is not OK, I apologize!

Thank you All for your replies!

I would like to use different types of adjectives to substitute nouns in a comedic peace (like in puns, where things adopt meaning of similar things), but since it would be 10 pages long, I'm afraid it would lose the funny silliness and be regarded as just to stupid!

I would like to use different types of adjectives: "dirty" (as in not clean) instead of "dirt", "one" (as in single) instead of "individual", and many others. I would also like to use phrases such as: "very nice", and "just awful"... However, they would all have to act as human-like, living, talking beings (and so nouns), with the attributes they themselves are describing. So for instance: "Blue" is angry, because he has a red rash...... Or: "Just awful" is doing fine and we all wish him a speedy recovery....

As someone without technical knowledge in Philosophy and Linguistics, I am wondering what argument (if any) I could use if it would be regarded to stupid merely because of the use of adjectives.

Thank you All for your consideration!

closed as off-topic by Swami Vishwananda, Conifold, virmaior, Mr. Kennedy, John Am Feb 22 '17 at 9:36

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "While this question may be related to philosophy or occur in a philosophical context, the question itself doesn't seem to be about philosophy, and is therefore not a good fit for our site." – Swami Vishwananda, virmaior, Mr. Kennedy, John Am
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to philosophy SE. Unfortunately, it is unclear what you mean either by adjectives being "concrete", or by "ontological sense". Whether "beautiful" or "beauty" is an attribute sounds like a question of mere verbal preference. Could you rephrase what you are after in less abstract terms. Also, when you say "further define" you mean further than what? – Conifold Feb 22 '17 at 4:27
  • Are user25680 and Luka the same user? Based on the edit the question is more suitable for Writers SE, where a similar question was just posted under yet another username. Using adjectives as names is just fine, if that's all the question amounts to, color names are even used as baby names. – Conifold Feb 22 '17 at 22:49

One traditional way of modeling adjectives ontologically is as sets of things that satisfy the property identified by the adjective. 'The beautiful' would be the collection of all things that are beautiful.

Classical philosophers working in Greek or Latin tend to do this extensively because it is very natural in Classical languages to have weak boundaries around the parts of speech, much the way English sometimes does: e.g. 'running' is an adjective (running water), a noun (the running of the water past us) and a verb (the water is running). So it is easy for us to identify the activity of running, the state of being in the process of that activity, and the set of all things or people taking part in that process all as a single complex of ontological entities that we can treat as closely related nouns, or even as different perspectives on a single thing.

The same notion applies to 'beautiful' or 'chaotic', though the verb form is absent, and it results in a less flexible category.

To the extent that you stay away from the boundaries around your sets, so that vagueness and paradoxes of similarity do not undercut you, that model works well for simple logic.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.