Tuesday, October 26, 2021


Aristotle says that a necessary accident of the human being is risability—the capability for laughter. As far as I can tell, necessary accidents are supposed to derive from the essence of a thing. So, how do we derive risability from the essence of the human being?

Here’s an idea. The essence is to be a rational animal. A rational being reflects on itself. But to have an animal that is simultaneously rational—that’s objectively funny. Thus, a rational being that is an animal is always in a position to discover something objectively funny, namely itself. And it just wouldn’t be rational not to laugh at that funny thing!


Arath55 said...

Dr. Pruss, this is unrelated but I generally have a problem turning a grammatical format into a symbolic form in relation to pred calc. So if I could give you an example for u to turn it in symbolic form. I think I would be able to grasp it.

So if you could, could you translate this?
Ex1: Apple growth is spurred by rain
Ex2: All titans are motivated by hunger and power

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't think you can handle claims like this in First Order Logic unless your ontology includes universals or tropes.

If appleGrowth and rain are universals, then we can say Spurs(rain,appleGrowth), and if hunger and power are universals, then we can say Ax(Titan(x)→(Motivates(hunger,x) and Motivates(power,x))).

With tropes, it's a little more complicated. I think we will need predicates like IsHungerOf(h,x) which says that h is a hunger trope belonging to x.

One should be able to do it with Second Order Logic, but I suspect that Second Order Logic basically has a commitment to universals.

Arath55 said...

Thanks for the answer. Also im wondering whats with the use of the lowercase x constantly. Does it represent a statement or subject?

Also would this be valid? I did this to practice:

P1- ∀x(a(c) ⊃(Mot(d(x) ⊃ FS(x)
P2-∀x(a(x) ⊃(D(b(x) ⊃SI(x)
C- ∴ ∀ x(SI(x) ⊃FS(x)

Alexander R Pruss said...

Lowercase x is a variable.

I don't understand P1 and P2. The Mot() and D() predicates seem to have something other than just names and variables in them.

Arath55 said...

Can you not put other predicates within a predicate? The way i styled Mot() is
“d motivated implies FS”

Alexander R Pruss said...

No, predicates apply to objects.

Arath55 said...

Ok that was a misinterpretation by me. Thanks for the clarification.