[hist-analytic] Two Tables (Sloppy thoughts on Neutral Monism)

steve bayne baynesrb at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 28 20:11:53 EST 2009

Apologies for the brief reply, but consider one of a number of ways of
 thinking of two tables. Suppose one is phenomenal and mental; the 
other physical and unknown "in itself." So we might wish to say we 
have a mental thing and physical thing. But, perhaps, there are not two 
tables but one thing (thing with a table address) and two addresses 
('mental table' and 'physical table'). In this case we might see a connection 
between neutral monism and Eddington's two tables,  But there is a 
more profound way of thinking of tables, and much here depends on
 how you speak the language of "individuation." Instead of speaking of 
particulars which require individuation, we speak of operations. 
Operations not particulars. Let's go one step further inspired at every
step by Eddington (and Russell).

Let's suppose
 that these operations can be argued to serve the 
purpose that individuals did for Moore and Russell (circa 1899-1914). 
Ok? Well if we do this then we ask about the properties of these 
operations when the groups to which they apply are phenomena 
and material things. If we frame the neutral monist these a different 
way than it has been formulated in the past, we might want to say 
that if the operations that select material things and phenomenal 
things constitute a "mixture" that cannot in principle be separated
 then we have the makings of a formulation of neutral monism in 
terms of operations. Consider an expression for an operation 'S^x' 
where 'x' is a variable for a class and 'S' is an operation of selecting 
a class, x.  We can iterate operations; so we can say 'S^xS^x' stands
 for the result of selecting x's and then from the x's selecting x's.
Suppose we take some operation, S^p, and an
 operation, S^m, 
then should it turn out that these operations are such that they 
have the following relation: 

S^pS^p = S^p


~(S^pS^m = 0)

I think we shall have it that the aggregate class combining 
both m and
p is such that neither m nor p can be separated 
from each other. This
might be one way of formulating the thesis
 that mental things and
physical things cannot be separated 
in principle.  What makes this any
good, assuming the formal 
details are straight? The advantage is that
you needn't speak of
 the nature of individual things which are mental
or physical, 
only groups upon which operations are performed. 

this might not work. But I might remain undaunted. Why? 
Because there
may be a way of individuating by operators 
(I think Castenada actually
suggested this)l but then jettisoning
 the individals. We might then
keep operators as tools for
 expressing the properties of groups instead
of individuals. 
Another nice thing. We dispense with talking of the
of individual, if we do the relation of universal and
might be looked at just a bit differently. The asymmetry of
and predicate if construed ontologically may receive a
 formulation. Not sure; but if so the issue of universals
differ, for example, between phenomenalist and 
ontologies. Thus nominalism and neutral 
monism have something of a
family tie. Or do they. This is an 
open question.

Steve Bayne

--- On Wed, 1/28/09, Jlsperanza at aol.com <Jlsperanza at aol.com> wrote:
From: Jlsperanza at aol.com <Jlsperanza at aol.com>
Subject: Eddington's Two Tables
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk
Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2009, 4:38 PM

Eddington, and his outreaching his knowledge of
 the wavicle. 
     -- Dinner's ready!
     (Eddington): _Where_?
               -- and this is _Paul_ Eddington!
In a message dated 1/28/2009 12:29:37 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes:
For now consider this interesting quotation from  

"The knowledge we can acquire is knowledge of a structure  
or pattern contained in actions...But whatever is derived 
in the actual  (highly difficult) study of the atom is knowledge 
of the same type, i.e.,  knowledge of structure of a set of 
unknown operators."
("The Theory of  Groups" in _The World of Mathematics_ vol. I
V. ed. James Newman. Simon and  Schuster, 1956).

I want to propose something a bit radical: heretofore,  
Russell's metaphysics has been pursued by way of his logic 
and, mainly  his logic; but his logic as it relates to, say, 
proof theory, is not what  moves him the most. What moved
him were the ideas of people like Veblen,  Hausdorff and 
Eddington. A new look at the way Russell studies is  
conducted must include a close look at Eddington. This is 
my  intention.


This is _very_ good. I think, and would further  generalise:

"A new look at the way [insert your favourite philosopher  here] studies
is conducted must include a close look at Eddington."

--  This reminds me of some jocular exchange with Dan Frederick. "You
blame  Rawls here". He replied, as I recall, "Yes, I can; I blame him
anything".  Ditto, mutatis mutandis, Eddington. 

In one article that I've only seen  cited in the 'literature'
_once_ -- by 
Warner in a footnote to his edition of  _Aspects of reason_ -- (and this is 
Grice, "Actions and Events", Pacific  Philosophical Quarterly, 1988),
Grice does 
refer to the classical "Eddington's  two tables", I think he

Let's see if the Eddington quote provided  by S. Bayne relates:

"The knowledge we can acquire is knowledge of a  structure 
or pattern contained in actions...But whatever is derived 
in  the actual (highly difficult) study of the atom is knowledge 
of the same  type, i.e., knowledge of structure of a set of 
unknown  operators."

("The Theory of Groups" in _The World of Mathematics_  vol. I
V. ed. James Newman. Simon and Schuster, 1956).

We should  check if the date here can be earlier?

analysis, running bit by  bit:

>the knowledge we can acquire 

is there a supposition  here, perhaps, or is he leaving room for some 
_knowledge_ which we do NOT  acquire, because, as Chomsky would have it, we
possess? I for one  tremble at the abuse of words like 'acquisition' by

professionals in so-called  'language teaching methodology'!

(R. B. Jones
 said, "English I know well"  -- and M. Davies has I
discussed this, 'is knowledge of a language',  "knowledge" at

>is knowledge of a structure 
>or pattern  contained in actions ...

Considering what follows, what he has in mind is  "knowledge of an
atom". And 
the actions, I would assume, are those undertaken by  lab physicists in 
'isolating' the atom -- Heisenberg's 'observational' vs. 
'theoretical' paradoxes?) 

Eddington continues:

>But whatever  is derived 
>in the actual (highly difficult) study of the atom is  knowledge 
>of the same type, 

--- question: same as _what_? It  seems the previous scenario is hardly 
described to allow us now to compare it to  something else. Unless I'm
misled by S. 
B.'s use of  "..."!


>[the same type of knowledge]
>i.e.,  knowledge of structure of a set of 

Oh, my  God. So it transpires that we know we don't know! I mean, Eddington

is reducing  'knowledge' _of a certain type_ to ... er, operations with

And to Platonically erupt it, he has them as "sets"!
As I'll not always will have access to the OED, I'll spend some time in
Searching Eddington I retrieve 113 cites. Let's see if they shed light on 
these  things. 
As physicians go, he seems to have been, shall we say, lexically creative. 

Must say my favourites are under 'least', 'man' and his unique 
For 'least'
"The law of gravitation, the laws of mechanics, and the laws of the  
electromagnetic field have all been summed up in a single Principle of Least 
For the most part this unification was accomplished before the advent of  the 
relativity theory, and it is only the addition of gravitation to the scheme 
which is novel."
For 'man':
"We must describe the amount of humanity in it [sc. Great Britain] as 400 

million man-years." 
For 'wavicle':
"We can scarcely describe such an entity as a wave or as a particle; 
as a compromise we had better call it a ‘wavicle.’"
The first _use_ rather than mention of this Eddingtonism comes from "The 
Scientist", 1976:
"To think that a particle or wavicle or whatever, is small for us, 
it is small for the Universe, is to be biased or homo-centred." (Aug.  26)

Speaking of wavicles, I'm sure Grice found this of interest as he gave 
lectures on "As if" -- Nancy Cartwright has recollected them. Below
complete checklist of Eddington hits. Alas, it includes one on _Paul_
and another on one Eddington author of a book on boating (under

Must rush -- sorry couldn't edit. And good night!
J. L.
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