DS-2021-02: The Things Before Us: On What it Is to Be an Object

DS-2021-02: Booij, Elbert J. (2021) The Things Before Us: On What it Is to Be an Object. Doctoral thesis, University of Amsterdam.

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What is an object? In this thesis it is this seemingly trivial concept which is up for investigation. Inspired by insights of Immanuel Kant, the concept of object is given a transcendentalist treatment, the central idea of which is that the practice of viewing all of reality in terms of objects, having properties and being related in certain ways, is a human mode of understanding, inherent in our cognitive system.
It is argued that first-order logic should be seen as an expression of the main principles guiding human cognition. These principles are intended to describe what I call 'the draft ontology', our intuitive picture of the world. It is argued that the study of the human cognitive system is an essential element of the methodology to arrive at a more systematic ontology.
The transcendentalist approach is worked out in the form of what will be called 'image theory', a theory centred around the modules of the human cognitive system ('images') that perform procedures on what is perceptually available to us. It is these that determine properties and thereby effect the 'emergence' of the objects themselves.
These ideas are put to work for analysis of two major ways in which new objects arise out of existing ones: mereological fusion and abstraction. Abstraction-the emergence of objects like 'the' tiger and whiteness out of tigers and white things respectively-is a phenomenon showing many similarities with mereological fusion. Image theory also turns out to be relevant for the conditions of being real, being unreal, and being halfway, as they figure in issues like existence, fiction, imagination, and modality.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Report Nr: DS-2021-02
Series Name: ILLC Dissertation (DS) Series
Year: 2021
Subjects: Cognition
Depositing User: Dr Marco Vervoort
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 15:17
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 15:17
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/2188

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