Home / Perception Philosophy Part 4: On Properties

Perception Philosophy Part 4: On Properties

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WARNING: This part is more complex than all previous parts and drafts together. If you are new to these posts, I strongly suggest you read Part 1, 2, 3 and 3 bis first, because otherwise you will most likely not be able to follow Part 4.

For now, I am glad I finally got it written down.

For the definition of includes, see part 1.
For the discussion of simple and compound objects, see part 2.
For more information about properties, see part 3.
For more information about color, see part 3 bis.

This is a preliminary version of a work in progress.

Properties in perception philosophy.

First I spoke about natural and non-natural properties. But the picture is more complicated. Certain properties of objects are not real properties. Certain objects we refer to are not real objects either.

So there is a difference between the properties of real physical objects, and those of linguistic objects, as color is a property of a non-real linguistic object. It does pose the question how we are to refer to it. We refer to real objects in layers. We use linguistic objects in any language written or spoken. Those linguistic objects either refer to a real physical object or to a non-real physical object. As such I introduce two new terms: real linguistic objects, and non-real linguistic objects. A real linguistic object is an linguistic object that has as a property that the object it refers to is a real physical object. A non-real linguistic object is a linguistic object that has as a property that the object it refers to is a non-real physical object.

Now, one might pose the question, and correctly, what about emotions, thoughts and so on? And also, can the properties of a linguistic object change, so that at one moment it post to a non-real physical object and the next moment to a real physical object? First let’s answer the first question.

Are emotions and thoughts physical objects? They are the result of physical objects interacting with each other. We may look at them as being not physical, but when a brain scan is done, we can see certain areas lighting up. This is a difficult question to answer, and the answer for the moment may shock certain people. For the moment (but more research is needed), I would say that they are an effect of physical objects interacting with each other. A proof for that idea is that, when people have brain damage, this also can damage the way they react, it damages their capabilities. Our emotions and thoughts are directly related to the human brain. Without the brain, there would not be emotions and language, and thoughts the way we know them. So emotions and thoughts and the thinking process, are linguistic objects that refer/point to the effect of physical objects interacting. This is not quite it, but it will do for now.

Now let’s answer the second question: Can a linguistic object refer to a non-real physical object one day, and refer to a real physical object the next day? The answer is yes. Every time someone comes up with a idea for something, that idea might include references to already existing objects and to not-existing objects. When people first talked about going to the moon, many of the objects they referred to did not exist. They used non-real linguistic objects to refer to them. But once these objects were built, they still used linguistic object to refer to them; but this time the property of that linguistic object had changed. It now referred to a real physical object. This change happens all the time.

Let’s just tackle another example&#8212a computer grid, is it a physical object or not? The answer is, yes it is. It consist of physical objects and the effects of interactions of physical objects. We may think that when a program is being programmed, that the program is not physical. Yet that is not correct. If the program would not be physical, in the way it is represented, stored and how it would work, it would never work at all; the instructions one types work on transistors, chips and the like, and if it would not be stored in a physical way, it would just not work. More thinking is required on this one, but it will do for now.

For example when I described the progress being made on designing the SilverStar (an airship), the SilverStar is a non-real linguistic object. It does not yet exist. Once it is built it will exist, and then the word SilverStar will have become a real linguistic object. (Information on the SilverStar can be found at the bottom of this post.)

So for now, we know that we use two layers. We use the linguistic object and properties in language to refer to non-real and real physical objects. Actually we use more than two layers, but more on that later.

Now let’s have a look at money. We pay with bills that do not hold any actual value. Rather they are a symbol of the money. There are also symbols on the money that refer to the value it represents. Now in this age, we also use wire transfers. In this case, there is not even an object we can touch. Yet we all agree that the $ symbol and the number before it represent a certain value. So what does this tell us about properties?

Let’s first make a distinction between the properties of objects as we use them in everyday language use, and as they will be discussed in this text. In every day use, we refer to objects and properties as those we can see, touch, smell, and refer to. We are not consciously aware, when speaking to someone, of the difference of the nature of the objects and properties we refer to. If we were, it would would make life more difficult.

Yet in this text we will deal with those differences. This is about perception after all, and common language, as Wittgenstein said, is often not clear enough. That is the main reason I use split language, as it is much clearer. Often two words are understood under one word, yet that is not what the word means, rather it is what one is expected to understand under it. As this leads to errors and misunderstandings, I prefer not to use it. For example, I can forgive somebody something, but that does not mean I will accept his/her behavior. Or another example: I can understand why someone does this or that, but that does not mean I have to accept that action. Some examples can be found in The little book of wisdom from the Dalai Lama.

All singular objects have properties. These properties are natural; they are not added by humans. These properties are those found in the head/primary definition, of every single compound object that exists which is compounded from those singular objects. This means that those properties can be found back in all compound objects we can, see, touch, smell; and also those that are too small for us to see, touch and smell.

As there are linguistic objects that refer to real physical compound objects, there are also linguistic properties that refer to real physical properties. There are also linguistic properties that do not refer to properties of real physical compound objects, but to the effects of those properties. So a question that one can then pose is, what if you have a non-real linguistic object, what about its properties? As it refers to a non-existent object, can it have properties that refer to real physical properties of that object? Well as the object it refers to is non-existent, the properties can hardly exist. That would be a contradiction. Yet we can talk about the SilverStar (an airship) that will be painted silver. Silver is a color, an effect of a property. Yet the SilverStar is not built yet. (Actually what will happen is that I will spray the Silverstar with a transparent substance, that reflects light of a certain wavelength, so that it seems silver to me.)

The property “airship” refers to a class of objects, to a head definition. As such, one immediately knows several of its properties without my having to explain them. Yet if one would then conclude that the SilverStar is a lighter-than-air craft, one has a problem. True, it will be a lighter-than-air craft, and the design is like that&#8212but the object does not exist for now. So I know this is complicated for now (it will be made clearer in the next draft), but the problem here is that a non-real linguistic object has real physical properties. The one way to solve this, for now, is to say that the properties it refers to should be those of the object itself. So that if the SilverStar does not exist, then nor do its properties physically exist.

As many of its properties have been described before, we know what they refer to. As such we can say, if the SilverStar is a space-age airship design, and it will be painted silver, and have rocket engines, that those properties are not real yet for that specific linguistic object, but they are for other physical objects. And so we know what they mean. This needs more work, but for now, this will do.

Now a bit more about physical properties.

First, let’s introduce three new terms.
Singular properties;
Ha-composed physical properties; and
separate-composed properties.

Singular properties are the properties of singular objects.

Ha is a Japaneses character and means “c.” So Ha-composed physical properties, are actually c-composed physical properties. In compound objects, we often refer to a property as a singular property, yet most often it is not. Instead it is a ha-composed physical property.A ha-composed physical property is a property consisting of other physical properties from the same compound object, which in spoken language is referred to as a singular property. (Yet it is not.)

A separate-composed physical property, is a property consisting of two or more properties from separate compound objects.

I will give two examples to make this clearer.

In an article I recently read in the NewScientist of this week (I had first intended not to include it as yet), there was mentioned that bacteria form biofilms which then stick to a surface (article p 22, “Printing press spells out bugs’ behavior”). In language we refer to the fact that those bacterias are “sticky” as a property of those bacteria. Yet that is not correct. There do exist surfaces to which the biofilms do not stick. Yet the biofilms’ properties, the bacteria’s properties, have not changed&#8212the properties of the surface have. (A source will be added later.) As such, the fact that the bacteria are sticky is a separate-composed physical property. It is a property composed of properties of separate physical compound objects, which are referred to as a single property.

A dilemma: every time I think about an example on ha-composed physical properties, it always turns out that it will only be fully explained when using separate-composed physical properties. For example, when you pour water in a glass half filled with oil, the oil will float on top. But that is an example of a separate-composed physical property. Water and oil are two separate physical objects.

I may have found one. A block of wood is strong enough for me to sit on. Yet a single cell or a smaller branch of the same wood is not. The property “strong” is a ha-composed physical property, consisting of many properties of compound objects all belonging to the same compound object. This may sound strange, but a cell is also a compound object. Only the elementary building blocks are singular objects. And they are so small that we cannot see them with the human eye. This sounds good, but we’ll see if it stands the test of time (in the next drafts).

Ha-composed physical properties are far more common than first thought. Most properties we see are ha-composed properties. Singular properties are the properties of singular-objects. As such, they are part of every compound object we can see.

So let’s come back to properties.

There are natural and non-natural properties. There are singular and combined properties. There are separate-combined properties and Ha-combined properties. There are physical properties and linguistic properties.

For example: color. We commonly refer to the color of an object, yet that object does not have a color. The color we see, is the effect of a certain wavelength hitting the object and reflecting back towards us, being concentrated and projected inside the human eye, where we can only see a limited amount of wavelengths. Our brain then builds an image from that.

For example: certain plants. The seeds of those plants stick on our clothing when we walk through them. Is the fact that they do this a property of the seeds or not? They stick on our clothing because our clothing has certain properties that come from the materials used and the structures given, and without those properties, the seeds would not stick. It is also so, that the seeds we have studied in detail reveal certain properties that allow them to stick to certain materials with certain properties. One could say that the property we refer to when saying those seeds are sticky is a separate-combined physical property. It is a property that will only work when other compound objects the seed comes into contact with do have certain properties.

A combined property is a property that will only manifest itself when the other properties that it needs are there.

One can then pose the question: if combined properties exist, do singular properties then also exist? Yes, of course they do&#8212how else could combined properties exist than by a combination of singular properties of multiple compound objects?

Singular properties are those of the singular objects. As an object becomes compound, properties are added. As it becomes more and more complex, more properties are added. Most properties we see are a kind of combined properties. So to make a difference between the combined properties that follows from two separate compound objects, and those that are part of a compound object, I will call the first separate-combined properties and the second Ha-combined properties.

Now about the levels. In the beginning of this part I wrote that there are two levels, and then almost immediately followed by a sentence saying that there are more than two levels.

Another level is the difference between singular and compound objects. We refer to many objects as singular objects, yet they are compound objects. Another level, is that between what we describe as a singular property, but which is in effect a separate-combined physical property.

It is necessary to introduce these levels, also called knowledge levels, to give you any chance at understanding the test in the end chapter.

A list of influential references is found at the bottom of Part 1 of this post.

[Information about the SilverStar: SilverStar Gelpacks; SilverStar update; Silverstar an update ; Silverstar an update; SilverStar main ]

Op dit werk is de Creative Commons Licentie van toepassing.

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About Florisv

  • Eeerk! There’s a TEST coming!?! Can we just audit this course?


  • not realy ;-). I have a solution or answer on emotions, have had it for 2-3 years now, but I won’t post it here, as I can as well hit peoples feet whith a hammer at mach 1.

  • part 5 is being worked on, but won’t be here any time soon.

    As for dark matter. It was an example I wanted to include, but I will at least pose a question about. Although drakmatter is more astrophysics and astronomy rather then philosophy. Yet perception philosophy has a far wider impact then is often considerd.

    Dark matter is called dark, because we cannot see it, but is it really dark ?

    If I walk in my room, or I walk from home to the garden I walk trough air. I know its there but I can’t see it. Could the same not be true for dark matter ? Air is transparent it does not have a color. Could it not be that as air, one could send a space craft trough dark matter and notice that one is passing trough but not be able to see it ?

    Its not something that can easily be tested, but it would explain some things. Why there is said to be so much of it, and yet we cannot see it.

    Perhaps that dark could mean that there is no light or wavelenghts at that place. It makes one wonder if its possible that there exist a transparent matter that absorbs most wavelenghts, and as such, looks dark becuase there is no light in any part of the spectrum, but isn’t.

    Its a long shot, and not well researched, so I didn’t put it in. Draft will include more examples, and should include graphics, but how to post them here and on my own blog I have not figured out as yet. Probably best leave the graphics of here. I seem to have deviated from the original draft 3.5, but I’ll worry about that later.

    If you have any question, shoot, and I’ll answer them. Or try to.

  • draft is draft 4

  • Perception philosophy and dark matter.

    The example of dark matter, was not yet included in part 4 on properties because more research is needed. Dark matter is more astrophysics and astronomy but the influence of perception philosophy is bigger then often thought. In short is is about this.

    Dark matter is called dark. Why because we cannot see it. But does it really mean that it is dark ? Dark , like when its dark at night, means that its dark because there i sno light, or any other part of the spectrum we can see. This poases some questions.

    When I walk in the garden or in a park, or any where else I walk trough air. I know its there, yet I cannot see it. Could the same not be true of dark matter ? Recently a possible dark galaxy has been discovered. From what I remember to far to test this idea out. Because what does the above mean ? Supose you send a spacecraft to that dark galaxy, it could happen that it flies trough it but does not see it.

    Lets use a simple methaphor. Imagine a swimming pool, filled whith water and different colored balls to reprensent different stars and planets and so on. If the light is fully turned on you can see them, if its turned off, you could perhaps only see the light generated by the objects themselves. If for example our solar system would be in that swimming pool, a spectator looking form above, would see the light of the sun, and some of the light and wavelenghts coming from other bodies.

    For it to be completly dark, either the objects would not generate any light(the whole spectrum, all wavelengths implied in this, which ones exactley I have to look up) or what they do generate is absorbed by something else. In the methaphor it would mean that the water would absorb the light. Normally it doesn’t. If I shine whith a lamp in the water, the light spreads, the same is true in space. Otherwise the light of the sun would not reach us.

    Now what can absorb light(all wavelenghts) in space ? Blackholes do. As recently as around 400 years ago there was one active nearby. Well far enough away anyway, in Sagetarius, have to look up the exact name, will add that later. The possibillity is that the light from that dark galaxy or another was absorbed by it or something similar, the last time it was active. That also means there is a chance that it will reach us somewhere in the years/centuries to come. There is the effect of lensing which means the location might be somewhere else. Stellar clouds, but mostly they change the wavelenght, and only absorb parts of it. What if they would exist or be surrounded by transparent matter that absorbs all wavelengths. That would fit. It would be dark.

    If there is a galaxy or star behind this dark galaxy its light should normally penetrate, but on the picture that was not to be seen.

    Sagetarisus, is not form horoscopes, but a group of stars. Sagetarisus A, B, B2 and some others.

    How to test this ? Relatilvey simple, use different telescopes who can look at different wavelenghts to look at the same dark galaxy, and see what the result is. I do not like making predictions on this, having only limitted knowledge, but my best most educated guess at the moment is, that it might be turn out that no light comes form that ‘dark’ galaxy, because it is build out of or surounded by transparent matter that absorbs that light. Even if that would turn out to be wrong, you then can at least take one possibilty of the list.

    Dark is said between quotes, because it is a linguistic propertie of the linguistic object dark matter. Dark significies, but will doublecheck, absent of light.

    Now there will be those who think this sounds like SF, and there will be astrophyscist who think that as well. To them I will say, most theorys I have read in the past 3-4 years, sound like SF. But I’m willing to accept them as possibilities, because I know there is a difference between the world as I see it, and as it really is. That is what the text about perception philosophy is about.

    Does this make the world less beautiful ?

    No it doesn’t, I enjoy the colors as much as I did before, but novel insights, allow to see a different world, a different universum. They bring understanding to parts less understood before. It opens up new possibilities.

    Still have to choose which one:

    Op dit werk is de Creative Commons Licentie van toepassing.

  • Parts 5 A, 5 B, 6 and 7 are in progress.

  • Douwe

    I don’t think it matters one hoot why dark matter is called ‘dark’. What matters more is that 99.5% of our universe is made out of something we can’t detect.

    Put that into perspective. I hate to get all Descartes on you, but what do you know?