Wednesday, April 18, 2012

long live doughnuts!

The Devils Hole, Ellensburg, Washington

browsing the internet, i read the following in a paper entitled "Being and Almost Nothingness" written by professor Kris McDaniel:

holes have less reality than their hosts

With?? aside the suggestive sartrean title of mcdaniel's paper, how do you measure less* of reality?

let's begin with this lemma: if there is a hole, there is a host. 

holes are not essentially holes. i.e, just as one says that one and the same material individual persists through the loss of its hole. as you eat your doughnut it -and its hole- disappears.

does the doughnut persist through the loss of its hole? that is to say, is the last little piece of doughnut hosting a little piece of hole? 

circular and to the point: holes are where they are, but the thing being referred to is immaterial. you'd think that if a region contains a hole, it would fail to contain the very same individual (that is, if there were no hole-host). the entity in question would not be a hole, which seems to suggest that being a hole is not an essential property of individuals.

sure, that devil of a metaphysician, david lewis, puts it differently:
Either holes are somehow material, or else there are no such things. Maybe a hole is the material hole-lining that, as we so misleadingly say, surrounds the hole; or else
whatever ostensible reference we make to holes is secretly some other sort of language-game altogether, or it's fictitious reference, or it's just plain mistaken.**

by materializing the hole lewis dematerializes the host! or he just throws the baby with the bathwater. how can you define a "lining" of emptiness? unless hole-lining is an oxymoron. 

long live doughnuts!
* "less of reality" presupposes reality.  **Lewis, D. K., and Lewis, S. R., 1970, 'Holes', Australasian Journal of Philosophy 48: 206-212.