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Passions in Poetry

Holes

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Echo Rhayne
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since 09-17-99
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Canyon Country, CA


0 posted 12-22-2000 06:42 AM       View Profile for Echo Rhayne   Email Echo Rhayne   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Echo Rhayne

Holes are an interesting case-study for ontologists and epistemologists. Naive, untutored descriptions of the world and explanations of facts in the world often make essential reference to holes. A hole explains why water flowed out of the reservoir. A colander wouldn’t be what it is, without all those holes in it. It is because there is a hole that somebody has the impression of seeing a hole. Yet it might be argued that commitment to these entities is only illusory:

Problems with Holes
1. For any explanation of a physical interaction that might be offered in terms of holes, there must be some accompanying explanations that invoke material objects; but then, it seems that these explanations alone could be enough. That water flowed out of the reservoir is explained by a number of facts about water flow and the way it can be confined, and at no point in these explanations need the concept of a hole appear; instead, one might happen to talk of the shape of the reservoir.

2. Locke implied that a causal theory of perception is incompatible with the perception of holes; since holes are not material they cannot be the source of any causal flow. (This might be considered an instance of the argument ad 1.) That we do have the impression of perceiving holes should then be considered a sort of systematic illusion. (Unless one rejects causal accounts of perception.)

Theories of Holes
If, on account of such concerns, holes are not taken at face value, a number of options are available.
(a) Holes do not exist. This requires at least a systematic way of paraphrasing every hole-committing sentence by means of a sentence that does not refer to or quantify over holes. (The donut is holed, but there is no hole in it). Provided the language contains all the necessary shape-predicates, this might well be a favourable strategy: after all, holes are a paradigm example of nothings.

(b) Holes exist, but they are something else. For instance, they are (parts of) material objects, say, hole-linings or hole-surrounds. This calls for an account of the altered meaning of certain predicates or prepositions. (What would ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ mean? What would it mean to ‘enlarge’ a hole?)
Or holes are negative, missing parts. On this account, a donut would be a sort of mereological sum of a pie and a mysterious missing bit in the middle. Or again, holes are not categorically homogeneous with their hosts. They are not particulars, but relations between a material object and a volume of space. (But now how can we account for the shape and size of holes? Relations do not have shapes and sizes.)
On the other hand, the possibility remains that holes be taken for what they are. They are full-fledged countable entities, like stones and chunks of cheese. But unlike stones and chunks of cheese, holes are ontologically parasitic: they are always in or through something else, and cannot be detached from their hosts. Holes are immaterial; localized at --but not identical with-- regions of space; fillable; and somehow causally liable. They are subject to part/whole structures. Yet holes are always in one piece--there is no such thing as half a hole.

Holes are topologically assorted: superficial hollows are distinguished from internal cavities; straight perforations are distinguished from knotted tunnels. But the hole realist will not fail to notice the unity of this assortment. These are all species of the same genus. Thus the underlying topology must depart from the basic account of handlebodies and calls for a direct analysis of their topological complements. Look at the donut, but keep an eye on the hole--or on what could fill it.

Was looking at some 'holes' when I wanted to get other opinions on this!  

"The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense."
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
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Michigan, US


1 posted 12-22-2000 08:54 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/holes/

Echo Rhayne
Senior Member
since 09-17-99
Posts 1538
Canyon Country, CA


2 posted 12-22-2000 02:12 PM       View Profile for Echo Rhayne   Email Echo Rhayne   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Echo Rhayne

yes Ron, I know where I got it...wanted to get other opinions on it!

"The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense."
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


3 posted 12-22-2000 02:54 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Echo, when you quote a source, especially as extensively as you did, it's customary to give them credit. Since you forgot, I wanted to add the link so others could find the original.

doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


4 posted 12-23-2000 01:49 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

i don't know anything about all this... lol... but i find it VERY interesting and inspirational in a metaphorical way and within the next day or two, will use images from this post to write a poem!!! hehe

thanks for the inspiration and very nice to see you again!  

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


5 posted 12-24-2000 07:00 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Cute but

"Unless one rejects causal accounts of perception" is an interesting phrase -- as if all philosophy after Locke could be placed in parentheses.

What can't you have half a hole?

A quick way to understand this is a confusion between types and tokens. Tokens in language refer to specific objects, not classifications ("That dog on the street last night"); types refer to classifications (Dogs are carniverous). Thus, if you are talking about one hole at one time, you fill it half way with something, you have half a hole.

Of course, you also still have a hole.

Actually, this is fine. It doesn't violate the principle of non-contradiction.

Actually, the sentence, "There is a hole and not a hole," doesn't either. You're simply using the word 'hole' to mean two different things, two different levels of perception.

There are other ways as well to solve this conundrum.

Thanks,
Brad
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