Log24

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Poetry of Universals

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:59 PM

A search today, All Souls Day, for relevant learning
at All Souls College, Oxford, yields the person of
Sir Michael Dummett and the following scholarly page—

(Click to enlarge.)

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11C/111102-CrispinWright222-360w.jpg

My own background is in mathematics rather than philosophy.
From a mathematical point of view, the cells discussed above
seem related to some "universals" in an example of Quine.

In Quine's example,* universals are certain equivalence classes
(those with the "same shape") of a family of figures
(33 convex regions) selected from the 28 = 256 subsets
of an eight-element set of plane regions.

A smaller structure, closer to Wright's concerns above,
is a universe of 24 = 16 subsets of a 4-element set.

The number of elements in this universe of Concepts  coincides,
as it happens, with the number obtained by multiplying out
the title of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets .

For a discussion of functions that map "cells" of the sort Wright
discusses— in the quartets example, four equivalence classes,
each with four elements, that partition the 16-element universe—
onto a four-element set, see Poetry's Bones.

For some philosophical background to the Wright passage
above, see "The Concept Horse," by Harold W. Noonan—
Chapter 9, pages 155-176, in Universals, Concepts, and Qualities ,
edited by P. F. Strawson and Arindam Chakrabarti,
Ashgate Publishing, 2006.

For a different approach to that concept, see Devil's Night, 2011.

* Admittedly artificial. See From a Logical Point of View , IV, 3

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