Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Buridan, J.
Books on Amazon
Individuation Geach I 134
Individuation/identification/Buridan/Geach: E.g. a horse dealer has exactly three horses: Brownie, Blackie and Fallow. The customer accepts the dealer's statement: "I will give you one of my horses".
But the dealer does not deliver and denies that he owes the customer anything.
His argument: "I should owe you either Brownie, or Blackie or Fallow.
I 135
But what I said did not refer to Blackie any more as on Fallow or the other way around and just as little on Brownie. I owe you none of the three."
GeachVsBuridan: a part of the difficulties that Buridan has himself comes from the fact that he allows the conclusion of "I owe you a horse" to "There is a horse I owe you"!
But even if we cannot do it in general, it seems plausible in this particular case to allow "I owe you something", so "there is something ..."
We can even accept this without accepting Buridan's invalid rule. (?).
Geach: many authors believe that any case of an invalid conclusion procedure is an invalid conclusion, but that is a great logical error!
Horse dealer: "If I owe you a horse, I owe you something, and that can only be a horse of mine, you will not say because of my words that it is something else I owe you! Well then: Tell me which of my horses I owe you.
Solution/Buridan: One can say that x owes me y, if and only if I am even with him by giving y! Whichever of the three horses should be y, by handing out the two they will be even! So: whichever x will be, the dealer owes the customer x.
I 136
It is true of Brownie, it is true of Blackie and it is true of Fallow that it is a horse that the dealer owes the customer. If we now consider e.g. only Brownie and Blackie, we could say that the dealer owes these two.
But Buridan himself warns us not to confuse collective and distributive use. (> Distribution).
Solution: it is not the case that "there are two horses ..."
But "it is true of everyone that he owes it"!
Buridan: according to his own principle, we cannot conclude from "there are two .." to "The dealer owes two ..". For that would be the wrong "ratio" (aspect), namely that the dealer would have had to say, in a sentence, that he owes the two.
Similarly, we cannot conclude from "Brownie is a horse that the dealer owes" (Buridan: true) to
"The dealer owes Brownie". To do so, the dealer would have had to explicitly express the sentence.
GeachVsBuridan: that cannot be allowed! I cannot conclude from
"I owe you something" to
"There is something that I owe you"!
E.g. The bank has stored somewhere the money of people. From this I cannot conclude: some of it is mine! But this is anything but trivial.
The problem is not limited to this example.
E.g. From "b F't one or another A" I cannot conclude:
"There is one or another identifiable thing that b F't".
That is why we must rebuild Buridan's whole theory.
I 137
E.g. Geach is looking for a detective story: according to Buridan it turns out:
For an x, Geach searches for x under the aspect ("ratio") "detective story".
Problem: even if I was looking exactly for a detective story, there was an identifiable x not necessarily a detective story I was looking for. (?).
We rather need a dyadic relation between Geach and an aspect (ratio)!
Geach sought something under the ratio "detective story". The bound words are an indivisible relative term.
Geach sought something under the ratio which is evoked (appellata) by the term "detective story"
Then "search ... of" is a singular relative term. We can abbreviate it: "S'te"
Then we have a quote rather than a "ratio". Then we do not need to quantify via "ratio". We can say:
"There is a detective story that Geach seeks" as
"For an x, x is a detective story, and for a w, w is a description which is true of x, and Geach S'te w ("sought something under the ratio evoked by the particular identifier w").
Here we quantify via forms of words whose identity criteria, if not quite clear, are clearer than those of rationes.

Gea I
P.T. Geach
Logic Matters Oxford 1972

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-03-26