I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

612. Objects, Purpose And Language

612.  Objects, Purpose And Language

In entries 610 and 611 I have been calling teleology a fallacy, because nothing can have a purpose without a person or entity acting towards this purpose, and the tree producing oxygen has not been created by anybody.   The fallacy of attributing the oxygen production to be caused by the animals' needs for oxygen is connected with the fallacy of the religious belief in a creator.  

I am taking it one step further.   Not even human made objects exist for a purpose. 

No objects, only intentional behavior and actions have a purpose.   The purpose of the objects used during specific intentional actions exists only in an acting person's mind.   An object is associated with a purpose in the cognition of the person producing it, using it or having at least knowledge, which other persons' particular intentional actions it is suitable for.
The entire material world exists without a creator and without a purpose.    Some objects are used as tools in the condition, in which they are found, like stones and sticks.   But also tools like a hammer are not made from nothing.   They are produced by collecting preexisting material and modifying it by the impact of chemical and physical processes.  

The teleological fallacy is related to the often blurred distinction between the real physical specimen of an object and the mere concept defining an object's name in a language. 

Defining a tool and giving it a name starts with a person's attempt to improve the successful performance of a purposeful activity.   A hammer is an example of an object with a combination of specific properties labeled with a word.   There is a cognitive sequence of first intending to drive nails into wood, then finding out, what properties are needed to make a tool for this purpose and then giving the projected object with these properties the name 'hammer'.   Without a need to nail something, the concept of a hammer would not have been developed.     Were carpentry exclusively done by using screws, there would be no purpose using nails and hammers.

Materially existing objects have no independent purpose until and unless someone uses them or considers and plans to use them.  A materially real specimen of an object having all the properties of the cognitive concept of a hammer exists in the absence of a human purpose or need for it.   The real hammer has the properties of the defined hammer independently of what it is used for.   While a hammer is produced to have the properties most suitable to nail, this does not make it unsuitable to be used as a weapon or as a paper weight. 
Any effect perceived as connected with the use of an object, is not caused by the object or by its existence, only facilitated and this automatically implies a person realizing a potential purpose of this object.    Without an acting person, any effect is not the result of a purpose.   

The distinction between the mental concept of a hammer and a real specimen is important to understand the impact of the teleological fallacy.
When as in the case of the hammer, the concept is often realized as real specimens, language reinforces the wrong attribution of the purpose, which is only correctly associated with the concept, also to the physically existing hammers.   
If there is a telos drive, it seems to have shaped the languages.   Languages often mislead to express oneself in a teleological way, because it does not offer sufficient ways to avoid the fallacy.    Even while being fully aware of mere coincidences, the limitation of language makes statements appear to express teleological thinking.   Unfortunately the teleological bias of the language also reinforces the teleological thinking, because language is learned early in life, before the full capacity for rational thinking has also been developed.  .

Conceptual objects can have a name and defined properties as being best suited for a purpose, while they do not or not yet exist as specimens.   There are sufficient examples of this in science fiction, fairy tales and fantasy.   The knowledge about objects can be conveyed by descriptions and definitions, while no specimen is present, in reach or available.  

Materially existing objects have no absolute and ubiquitous purpose.   They are more or less suitable, depending on their temporary purpose for and the individual needs of the person using them.    
The potential of serving a purpose for human use is not limited to what is produced, modified or adapted.    A stone and a hammer are both either tools while being used or merely existing material, while outside the scope of human handling and attention.  

Objects can exist without ever being used by any person for any purpose.    

Objects can be temporarily associated with a purpose by being used and discarded.
A stone is just a stone, until someone picks it up and throws it as a tool for the purpose of breaking a window.   When it remains on the scene after the incident, it again is just a stone.  
When someone uses the stone to crack nuts, and hands it over to someone else, who also uses it for the purpose of cracking nuts, it has temporarily become a nutcracker for them.  But the name nutcracker describes a temporary function, not an eternal property.   When they drop the stone and leave, it again is just a stone.   
Objects can be valuable and suitable for a specific purpose for one person but can be a piece of junk for another, who does not share the need for this purpose.   

Only the properties of objects can be observed, perceived and examined by any person, but not the objects' potential of all or any purposes, which they can be suitable for.   The examination of objects does not automatically reveal any information, for which purpose they have been produced and used by persons in a different culture or epoch.  

Persons from different cultures can use the same object for very disparate purposes.   

Teleological thinking is more than a fallacy distorting a person's cognition.   Even worse, the teleological fallacy unfortunately often leads to the subsequent fallacy of deriving justification of and excuses for behaviors from alleged purposes.  Thus also many harming and hurting behaviors are facilitated and reinforced.   Such alleged purposes can be attributed either to the victims themselves or to the objects, by which the victims are harmed.  

The Epicurean principle of not harming and not be harmed requires responsibility and consideration to be stronger than any alleged purpose of any available object.   The mere existence of any object whatsoever does not rationally justify or excuse its use.