TRINPsite 55.51.5 - 55.52.1  
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There is no need to distinguish the having of parts from the having of attributes and the having of relations. (If it is believed that attributes or relations do not exist, then the having-of-attributes-or-relations does not exist either, and also then the result is still one type of having: having-as-an-element.) This having is purely factual and in this sense not different from the having in having a pen, having paper and having a table where these objects are actually near at hand, or used. A fundamental difference lies in the logical necessity to have something one is made up of, that is, a body or (if preferred) a mind. In the sense of having-as-an-element one must have something, if not a part, then at least one attribute or relation; otherwise one would not even be identifiable. In the sense of being-close-to, owning, and the like, having is a contingent matter: one need not have anything in anyone of these senses. If both types of having were not distinguished, one could not even tell anymore who you were. Are you a set of which a pen is an element, or are you a whole which consists of a piece of paper among other things? The table you have has four legs, but do you have these four legs in the same sense as you probably have two legs? The answer is no, because whereas all these objects (other than your two legs) may be owned by you, or had in some other sense, they are not elements of yourself. Maybe one also feels 'physically close' to one`s body or its parts, and to the attributes and relations one has; maybe one 'controls', 'keeps' or 'uses' them in a sense; yet, this would all be in addition to having them as an element (of oneself). Furthermore, one may feel that one has one`s (own) body in the sense that one owns it, that it is one`s personal property. This use of having lays claim to a cultural or subcultural norm or law, or to a normative institution believed in, such as that of natural or human rights. But then --again-- one does not only 'have' one`s body in the factual, noncultural (and nonlegal) sense of having as an element, one also `has` it in the logically contingent, normative, cultural or legal sense.

The conceptual framework we shall use as the supporting structure of our thought will allow for one relation of having-as-an-element, that is, for things having both parts and attributes and relations. We shall also employ the term existence (or being) in such a way that attributes and relations exist, or rather can exist (but not necessarily as things). For those speaking the language which is our present means of communication here this may all sound very trivial. However, it is philosophical analyses and formal systems which exclusively recognize the having or possession of (component) parts, or exclusively the having of attributes or properties (whether or not in addition to two- or more-place relations) which force us to state our basic assumptions explicitly. Altho we did try and shall try to avoid deviating from traditional language and its presuppositions as much as we can, traditional language is never an argument by itself, because it may be incoherent, ambiguous, wrong or immoral in its terminology and assumptions (as it not seldom is). Thus we shall accept the having of parts, attributes and relations as one kind of having, but we shall not consider the having of extraneous objects, or things looked upon as being extraneous, to be identical to it. And altho we do recognize abstract entities as existing besides concrete ones, we shall later reject as pseudo-entities many (if not most) attributes and relations implicitly recognized in ordinary or traditional language.

It cannot be proved that a certain ultimate conceptual framework --or 'ontology' for short-- is the best one, or the sole adequate one, as an ontological framework is itself a prerequisite for any logical proof. It can be illustrated, however, that constructional systems which only recognize the existence of wholes and parts, or only that of attributes or relations, suffer from the conflation of having-parts and having-attributes-or-relations just because they neglect the presence of the one or the other category. The illustration of this shortcoming can only be done within our own frame of reference tho, and could therefore be consistently dismissed by others.

Whatever the disadvantages of our own conceptual supporting structure, it will show to be very useful. In spite of this, the edifice we are going to construct can stand without it, and could also be erected with the help of a different scaffolding. There are hardly any logical objections which can be made to our constructional system, but some might reject our choice from an ontological or some (other?) metaphysical point of view. And while we have no absolute pretensions with respect to our ontology, we must be prepared to meet the criticisms of those who have.

©MVVM, 41-55 ASWW


Model of Neutral-Inclusivity
Book of Instruments
Having and Thingness
Having Component Parts, Attributes and Relations