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39 votes
Accepted

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

Yes, the monkeys will do it. No, they don't have to. It's mathematically true that after removing all logistical constraints - which is what we mean when we say there are infinitely many monkeys, ...
Zayn's user avatar
  • 640
19 votes

How many Platonic ideals are there?

Although Plato's Theory of Forms presents as a consistent, "scientific" system of metaphysics, it doesn't really hold up under scrutiny, and there's a strong tradition of thought that it was ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 30.4k
9 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

Do not expect to find a perfect definition. A definition is an expression of the meaning of something (the problem of the thing, what is a thing, is another), and meanings are intended normally for ...
RodolfoAP's user avatar
  • 7,661
6 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

Several options to define a word. 1. Explicitly define a word in any arbitrary way you want and then use it according to your definition. This method often works for new terms that you invented, such ...
causative's user avatar
  • 14.4k
5 votes

Can nominalists believe in their own death?

I don't think there is a problem for nominalists here. I take nominalism to be the view that there are only individuals or particulars - concrete things or signs of concrete things, particular objects,...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
  • 35.8k
5 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

The difference is between in principle and in practice. If you did have an infinite number of monkeys typing at random for eternity they would produce the works of Shakespeare. However, even if every ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 23.6k
3 votes

Can nominalists believe in their own death?

All people, nominalist as well as realists, can believe in: One day, I will die. Or more general, they can believe in: One day in his future, each living being will die. That's the most simple ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 33.6k
3 votes

Do realists and nominalists actually disagree about what really is, or do they just disagree about words?

See the SEP article on nominalism: [T]here are (at least) two kinds of Nominalism, one that maintains that there are no universals and one that maintains that there are no abstract objects. Realism ...
Philip Klöcking's user avatar
  • 14.4k
3 votes

Is nominalism to assert something is only what we call it?

No. The nominalist position is that a name is only a name and does not express any "deeper" reality about what it names. A cat obviously "is" many things, a mammal, a carnivore, an awfully cute ...
Luís Henrique's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

How is nominalism different to universalism?

Mr. Jensen, the problem of universals is usually a heavily obfuscated issue. So, pardon me if my post gets too long because it, since the problem of universals cannot be encountered, without clearing ...
Dennis's user avatar
  • 326
3 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

The odds are just too small for this to happen in any fathomable universe. From Wikipedia: If there were as many monkeys as there are atoms in the observable universe typing extremely fast for ...
Olivier5's user avatar
  • 2,234
3 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

This points to the danger of thought experiments. Clearly this isn't meant to be a realizable scenario. In a real-world version, even putting niceties such as immortality, feeding and materials aside, ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 30.4k
3 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

How about instead of a typewriter the infinite monkeys each have a button for 0 and a button for 1 and truly randomly smacks one or the other until the end of time. We'll group up those 0s and 1s into ...
Banjoe's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

It is fairly easy to show that it is not necessary. First let us simplify the model. Instead of a finite set of monkeys randomly typing keys on a type-writer for all of eternity, let's have a finite ...
Araucaria - Not here any more.'s user avatar
2 votes

How is nominalism different to universalism?

Consider unemployment and its caus(es): one stated simple cause might be that poverty in general is responsible, and a counter-position is that every person has the ability to find employment and ...
Luís Henrique's user avatar
2 votes

How is nominalism different to universalism?

C. S. Peirce* defines nominalism vs. realism (which I think you mean by "universalist") very well (CP 1.27 fn): It must not be imagined that any notable realist of the thirteenth or ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 8,230
2 votes
Accepted

Is nominalism to assert something is only what we call it?

Well, the following extract from the SEP on the problem of universals: it is customary to classify medieval authors as being realists, conceptualists, or nominalists, respectively. The realists are ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
2 votes

If mathematical platonism is true, is mathematics then a discovery?

We could go through the permutations of Platonism, nominalism, intuitionism, empiricism, and fictionalism. The guts of the question is whether, if Platonism is true, we can and do discover ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
  • 35.8k
2 votes

What have been the major achievements in the debate regarding platonism and nominalism?

Mark Balguer's Platonism and Anti-Platonism in the Philosophy of Mathematics is considered a critical text arguing that the ontology of mathematical objects is an open question such that there are ...
Lothrop Stoddard's user avatar
2 votes

Realist vs Nominalist views of empirical data

In sciences, such situation has been encountered where the set of experimental data leads to a variety of conclusions and the analyst has to sieve through the data with background disposition as to ...
drvrm's user avatar
  • 861
2 votes

Nominalistically Finding Radioactive Half-Life?

One way to express the concept of half-life without math is to fill a see-through container with pennies, marking their volume on the side with a horizontal line. Shake the container and then spread ...
Bread's user avatar
  • 2,340
2 votes

Did Gödel think certain math could only be understood if platonism is correct? (and correspondence and nominalism)

We do not have a definition for existence. Take a naïve (read best possible) notion of existence: x is perceivable -> x exists (fails because of hallucinations) x exists -> x is perceivable (...
Hudjefa's user avatar
  • 3,891
2 votes

Did Gödel think certain math could only be understood if platonism is correct? (and correspondence and nominalism)

The correspondence theory of truth can be framed as the equation of the following two questions: Does sentence/belief/proposition A correspond to the facts? Is A true? However, so microscoped, these ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
2 votes

Why should we care about the Platonism vs. nominalism debate?

You ask for a "practical reason", its not completely clear what a practical reason would look like. For example and by way of tenuous analogy (sorry physicists) is there a practical reason ...
emesupap's user avatar
  • 2,462
2 votes

Is nominalism generally considered to be disconfirmed?

There's consistently been an even amount of platonists & nominalists and this continues to be the case in contemporary philosophy, see the PhilPapers survey (actually, right now, there might be ...
kuro's user avatar
  • 141
2 votes

Does nominalism about kinds/universals entail eliminativism/nihilism about ordinary objects?

According to the SEP's article Nominalism in Metaphysics: Nominalism comes in at least two varieties. In one of them it is the rejection of abstract objects; in the other it is the rejection of ...
J D's user avatar
  • 28.5k
2 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

Excellent question. Definitions are a little more complicated than you present them. Robinson in his Definitions covers two major categories of definitions: one is the real definition, which he ...
J D's user avatar
  • 28.5k
2 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines "definition" as: an explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase, especially in a dictionary The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy uses ...
AnoE's user avatar
  • 3,005
2 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

How do we define things? We don't. We define words, the words we use to talk about things. To define a word is to specify what thing we use the word to refer to. We don't define things, but we ...
Speakpigeon's user avatar
  • 8,173
1 vote

Is metaphysical nominalism essentially eliminativism?

Eliminationism is a general class of theories of which nominalism is a subclass. Take any ontological category such as mind, matter, or abstract entities like universals and numbers. For any such ...
David Gudeman's user avatar

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