Averroes (d. 1198), I think, has a sound argument that it does.  The context is his Long Commentary (ed. Bouyges, Beirut: 1990) on Aristotle’s Metaphysics IX.3, where Aristotle is addressing the Megarian thesis that there are no inactive potencies i.e., powers or abilities to do stuff. Averroes describes that thesis as follows (ibid., 9.5.5, 1126) :

[Aristotle] said “and among people, e.g., the Megarians, is someone who holds that potency is only with the act (al-quwwa ‘inda al-fi’l faqat)”. He means that among people is one who denies the existence of a potency temporally prior to the thing for which it is a potentiality (yankaru wujud al-quwwa al-mutaqqadima ‘ala al-shay’ al-ladhi hiya quwwiyya ‘alayhi) and states that the potency and the thing for which the potentiality exists exist at the same time (ma’an). […].

Having stated the thesis, Averroes then makes the interesting observation (ibid.,) that:

This claim is now adopted (yantahilu) by the Ash’arites from among the people of our religion. And it is a doctrine opposed to (mukhalif) the natures of human beings.

The Ash’arite theologians, of course, were occasionalists. In claiming that they accept the above view, Averroes is implying that the Ash’arite  doctrine that only God has causal power means, not simply that nothing else does, but that nothing else does before it actually does something. Asha’rite occasionalism, then, presupposes (at least something like) the Megarian thesis that potency and act only exist simultaneously.  Granted that, The Commentator (as the Latins used to call him) then adduces the following argument to show that Ash’arism is a pantheism of sorts (ibid., 9.7.7, 1135-1136):

As for the people of our time, [i.e., Ash’arite theologians], they set a single agent, without mediation, for all the actions of existents, which is God the exalted. It follows for them that not a single existent has its own specific act which God impressed upon it. But if existents do not have acts that specify them, they will not have specific essences (dhawat); for acts are differentiated only by the diversity of essences. And if essences are eliminated, then names and definitions are eliminated, and that which exists (al-mawjud) comes to be one thing. This view is a view that is exceedingly alien to the natures of human beings.

A lot could be said about the argument. But the main lesson of it is this: the way something behaves or acts indicates the kind of thing it is. On this basis, the sort of thing x is will be different from the sort of thing y is. But if nothing has its own specific behavior, nothing will really have its own specific identity either. If x has no proper acts of its own, Averroes is asking, why would you think it’s a distinct type of being from anything else? At this point, either everything, at bottom, will be everything else or, what comes to the same thing, everything will be one thing (and vice versa). And though Averroes doesn’t explicitly say it, this one thing which is the only thing that exists will be God – since it is only God, on the Ash’arite view, that has power and acts of His own. And that’s just pantheism.

There you have it then: by Averroes’ reckoning, a view that is “contrary to human nature” (=occasionalism) ends up in one that is even more “extremely foreign” to it (=pantheism).

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15 thoughts on “Does occasionalism collapse into pantheism?

  1. Asalamu ‘Alaykum,

    If (for the sake of argument) X’s accidents were really what distinguishes X from Y, then X is distinguished from Y because those accidents subsist within X… not because X created those accidents. Therefore, God ﷻ being the creator of X’s accidents, does not remove this distinction (between X and Y), since the fact remains that those accidents subsist within X.

  2. alaykom salam,

    apologies for the delay. school has kept me busy.

    it seems the “subsisting in”relation isn’t enough to distinguish x and y. for consider: take the set of accidents (e.g., heat, orangeish color, etc) that subsist in x (e.g., fire) at a given time t. call it S. now, on the Ash’arite view, God the exalted can make it so that all and only the members of S subsist in y (e.g., cotton) as well. but if so, then Ibn Rushd’s argument would hold. that is, if the same accidents that x has as properties y can also have as properties, then x and y wouldn’t be distinguishable. and yet, they clearly should be, even on the Ash’arite view, insofar as two different types of possessors (dhawat) are involved (i.e., fire and cotton). hence, a mere ‘subsisting in’ relation isn’t enough to tell the difference. but then how do we tell them apart? answer: by the ‘agent of’ relation – and this the precisely the Commentator’s point.

    salam.

    1. First: if Allah ﷻ created the properties of fire in cotton, then this cotton would transform into a flame. In that case, the comparison would not be between two different types of Dhawat… it would be between two flames.

      Second: we claim that a particular accident cannot exist separately from the being it is attributed to. Imam Al-Ghazali discusses this when arguing for the impossibility of the transitioning of accidents (Intiqal Al-A’rad), see pg.27 of Al-Iqtisad fi Al-I’tiqad, Al-Shamela’s version.

      Given the above, if we say both X and Y are attributed with orange-ness, we mean orange-ness in the Kuli sense, not in the Juz’i sense. In other words, the Kuli of orange-ness, is actualized in two different accidents, one that subsists in X and another that subsist in Y. In the same way the Kuli of human, is actualized in the two particulars Zayd and ‘Amr. Thus, X’s orange-ness is not Y’s orange-ness.

      As for distinguishing between the two accidents, this is given the fact that they are attributed to different bodies. So orange-X is distinguished from orange-Y, because orange-X subsists in X, while orange-Y subsist in Y. And so it is impossible for the particular orange-X to subsist in Y, or for the particular orange-Y to subsist in X.

      As for distinguishing between two the different bodies (i.e. X and Y), then this is given the unique space that those bodies occupy at any given moment. Such that X is other than Y, unless both X and Y occupy the same place at the same time. And so it is impossible for two different bodies to occupy the same place, at the same time.

      1. salam,

        ‘First: if Allah ﷻ created the properties of fire in cotton, then this cotton would transform into a flame.’ – no it wouldn’t. for suppose God creates the accident of heat in a metallic body. in that case, the metal would be hot but without ceasing to be metal. that is, He makes it hot while making it metal. hence, He can do the same thing with the cotton. and hence, He can create in the cotton every type of sensible accident that fire has, all the while preserving the cotton as cotton. this is possible on your principles.

        ‘[…] we mean orange-ness in the Kuli sense […]’ – yes, me too.

        if so, then my argument stands – i.e., you wouldn’t be able to distinguish cotton from fire simply on the basis of accidents inhering in them for they’d have the same accidents bi’l-naw’.

  3. “no it wouldn’t. for suppose God creates the accident of heat in a metallic body. in that case, the metal would be hot but without ceasing to be metal.”

    This is not comparable to your previous example. You initially said: “take the set of accidents (e.g., heat, orangeish color, etc) that subsist in x (e.g., fire) at a given time t. call it S. now, on the Ash’arite view, God the exalted can make it so that all and only the members of S subsist in y (e.g., cotton) as well.” According to this first example, Allah ﷻ makes it so that all of the qualities of fire, and only the qualities of fire, subsist within the body previously recognized to be cotton. In this case, the cotton will transform into a flame.

    The above is the case because bodies are all identical in their being corporeal (confined objects with dimensions stretched out in space). We invent labels to describe bodies which are attributed with specific qualities (e.g. white, fluffy, smooth…etc. = “cotton”). So if a body loses all the qualities for which we assigned it a particular label (e.g. “cotton”), and acquired all the qualities for which it deserves a new label (e.g. acquired set S, to deserve the “flame” label), then the body will transform from being “cotton”, to being “flame”.

    As for your metal example: state-1 of this metal bar, is distinguished from state-2, because heat subsists within it in state-2 (which was lacking in state-1). The identity of the creator that brought this heat into existence is not something that needs to be taken into consideration in order to be able to make this distinction.

    “if so, then my argument stands – i.e., you wouldn’t be able to distinguish cotton from fire simply on the basis of accidents inhering in them for they’d have the same accidents bi’l-naw’.”

    But the particular accidents that subsist within each are still completely different… and even if they were two flames, then they would be distinguished because each occupies a unique space.

    Some questions for you to think about:
    1. Do you believe that it is rationally impossible for a creator (whether necessary or contingent, doesn’t matter) to bring more than one effect into existence?
    2. Do you believe that it is rationally impossible for two different bodies to simultaneously occupy the same place? If so, why?
    3. If someone observed two or more contingent existents occupying different places, and this person did not know the identity of their originator, would this person be justified in believing that those existents are distinct from one another?

    1. “This is not comparable to your previous example.” – in that example, i meant the specifically same qualitative accidents, even though i didn’t explicitly specify.

      ” In this case, the cotton will transform into a flame.” – not even in that case. at least, any reason why. that is, i don’t see why the cotton wouldn’t still have its dhat (where its dhat is some particular arrangement (tartib) F of however many atoms you choose), even though the sensible accidents we, to use the language of your ashaab, ‘normally associate’ with it are no longer there.

      “So if a body loses all the qualities for which we assigned it a particular label (e.g. “cotton”), [and acquired new ones, it would transform]” – i don’t see why, on your principles, this should be the case. the body’s being a body consists of being a particular arrangement of atoms; its being a cotton consists of some further atomic arrangement F. its sensible accidents that don’t contribute to its being what it is. so, i don’t see why, when they perish, and it acquires new ones, the cotton-wise arrangement can’t remain.

      “As for your metal example: state-1 of this metal bar, is distinguished from state-2, because heat subsists within it in state-2 […]. – that wasn’t the point of the analogy. i wasn’t saying, on the assumption of the scenario i described, you can’t distinguish two states of the metal bar. i was saying that if God can create one accident in i.e., that of heat, while preserving it as metal, then He create every type of sensible accident we normally associate with fire in it while preserving it as metal nevertheless. if so, you can’t distinguish the metal bar as a metal bar from the fire simply on the basis of the accidents that subsist in each; for they’d have the same accidents bi’l-naw’ and so would appear to your senses as two fires.

      “[…] then they would be distinguished because each occupies a unique space.” – that’s not my point; i don’t deny that you’d be able to tell the apart as two things. what i deny is that you’d be able to tell them apart as two specifically different things i.e., one is fire, one cotton – even though one actually is cotton, despite having all the specifically same accidents as fire subsist in it. (it is still cotton because it still has the dhat of cotton which, again, is the cotton’s F-atomic arrangement).

      “Some questions for you to think about:
      1. Do you believe that it is rationally impossible for a creator (whether necessary or contingent, doesn’t matter) to bring more than one effect into existence?” – for a necessary being, i believe it’s impossible. for a contingent, it is possible.

      “2. Do you believe that it is rationally impossible for two different bodies to simultaneously occupy the same place? If so, why?” – yes.

      “3. If someone observed two or more contingent existents occupying different places, and this person did not know the identity of their originator, would this person be justified in believing that those existents are distinct from one another?” – yes.

      1. Asalamu ‘Alaykum,

        “that’s not my point; i don’t deny that you’d be able to tell the apart as two things. what i deny is that you’d be able to tell them apart as two specifically different things i.e., one is fire, one cotton – even though one actually is cotton, despite having all the specifically same accidents as fire subsist in it. (it is still cotton because it still has the dhat of cotton which, again, is the cotton’s F-atomic arrangement).”

        First: I think I understand your position better now. But there seems to be a disconnect between what you say here, and what Ibn Rushd is arguing for (particularly in light of your comments on the quotes). Since what you mentioned here, even if we assume it to be true for the sake of argument, would not entail pantheism. For even according to the above, the different existents are distinguished from one another (such that we can know that there are a multiplicity of existents). How was the jump made from that to pantheism (i.e. “this one thing which is the only thing that exists will be God – since it is only God, on the Ash’arite view, that has power and acts of His own. And that’s just pantheism.”)?

        Second: Many accidents are understood in light of the arrangement of the body’s particles, so I don’t understand how most of a body’s accidents can be replaced, while retaining the same arrangement of its particles. So for example: the heat of that metal would be understood in light of the motion of the particles on its surface, the quicker the particles on the surface vibrate, the hotter the metal will feel, the lesser its solidity will be, the brighter its color will appear…etc.

  4. salam, apologies for the delay. i was busy with traveling and school. onto what we were discussing…

    “But there seems to be a disconnect between what you say here, and what Ibn Rushd is arguing for (particularly in light of your comments on the quotes). Since what you mentioned here, even if we assume it to be true for the sake of argument, would not entail pantheism. […].

    Agreed. As it stands, I don’t think it would be pantheism proper. But I only suggested it as an option in order to show that mere subsistence (of an accident in a dhāt) isn’t enough to make for really different types of dhawāt (although perhaps it is enough to make for only numeric difference). But still, now you have a kind of monism on your hands – a species monism (i think it’s called). This, however, can be made consistent with Ibn Rushd’s argument; for he says ‘the existent’ would become one thing. And the matn leaves it open what kind of one he has in mind (whether generic, specific, or numeric).

    “Second: Many accidents are understood in light of the arrangement of the body’s particles, so I don’t understand how most of a body’s accidents can be replaced, while retaining the same arrangement of its particles. So for example: the heat of that metal would be understood in light of the motion of the particles on its surface, the quicker the particles on the surface vibrate, the hotter the metal will feel, the lesser its solidity will be, the brighter its color will appear…etc.”

    Your “in light of” locution is vague. By it, either you something like “caused by” or “identical to” or something else. The former option isn’t available to you on the principles of your madhdhab; for there’s no necessary causal connection between ‘motion of atoms’ and ‘heat’. God can create one and not the other. If the latter, that’s just false – motion and heat are two different kinds of accident; for a body at rest can also be hot. If by ‘in light of’ you mean something else, then please clarify.

    1. Asalamu ‘Alaykum,

      “But still, now you have a kind of monism on your hands – a species monism (i think it’s called).”

      This is something we call “Tamathul Al-Ajsam”, and I don’t see why that would be a problem.

      “Your “in light of” locution is vague. By it, either you mean something like “caused by” or “identical to” or something else.”

      “In light of” as in “identical to”.

      We need to distinguish between heat as it is in the world, and our experience of heat. Our position is that Allah can choose to not create burning, or the sensation of heat in your hand, upon touching a hot body. In this case, the body would be hot, even though you don’t feel it to be so.

      As for what “heat” actually is (i.e. beyond the feeling of heat), then that is what I was referring to. It’s ultimately a question of physics. Keep in mind that bodies that appear to be at rest to the naked eye, are actually experiencing a continuous vibration. And ordinarily, the intensity of this vibration correlates with how hot we feel the surface of the body to be.

  5. salam,

    “This is something we call “Tamathul Al-Ajsam”, and I don’t see why that would be a problem.”

    It’s a problem because it’s clearly contrary to experience – I take it as a reductio of your view. But apart from that, it’s a problem also because Ibn Rushd’s initial argument would then re-apply to whatever property (or properties) in virtue of which these bodies are similar.

    “In light of” as in “identical to”.

    Which would be just false, on the principles of your madhdhab. Vibration is a motion, and motion is nothing but a ceasing to be in one place and coming into being in another. So I’d love to know how a particle ceasing to exist and coming into being rapidly is supposed to be identical to its being hot. I don’t even understand how claim is one that has sense.

    It seems to me some other factor (ma’na) has to be introduced over and above the mere motion/vibration of it. In that case, it’s not one of identity, and the connection between that factor and the motion could on your view can be broken.

    1. “It’s a problem because it’s clearly contrary to experience”

      I don’t submit that it is contrary to experience. The different arrangements of the few elements on the periodic table, is what results in the incredible diversity we sense around us. And the different arrangements of a few sub-atomic particles, is what distinguishes each of those elements from the rest. Why would it be impossible for there to be an even more basic building block, whose various arrangements is what distinguishes each sub-atomic particle from the rest?

      “But apart from that, it’s a problem also because Ibn Rushd’s initial argument would then re-apply to whatever property (or properties) in virtue of which these bodies are similar.”

      Can you elaborate? Didn’t you earlier agree that one can distinguish between two different bodies, even if one didn’t know the identity of their originator?

      “So I’d love to know how a particle ceasing to exist and coming into being rapidly is supposed to be identical to its being hot.”

      I don’t believe particles cease to exist and come into being rapidly. The mu’tamad position is that motion refreshes, but the Jawhar it is attributed to remains.

      Also this additional “factor” which you think exists, may just as well be our experience of heat (i.e. the reaction of your hands to those vibrations), as opposed to being a distinct accident which subsists in the metal-bar being felt. Not unlike colors, which are also purely mental experiences, of light waves of varying frequencies entering our eyes (as opposed to some extramental existent which subsists in the colored body).

  6. salam,

    “I don’t submit that it is contrary to experience. The different arrangements of the few elements on the periodic table, is what results in the incredible diversity we sense around us. And the different arrangements of a few sub-atomic particles, is what distinguishes each of those elements from the rest.”

    What I meant was contrary to experience was the fact that we experience beings as unified wholes i.e., my experience of my cat is as of a unified macro being, not an arrangement F of whatever your preferred micro-beings happen to be. It’s the cat as a whole, unified being that purrs and chases mice – not the parts which make the arrangement either taken individually or collectively i.e., qua arrangement.

    For this to be possible, the cat must be an irreducible being qua cat i.e., with properties of its own (among which are powers to do things) – and not simply some arrangement of whatever micro entities not really different from some other arrangement.

    “Why would it be impossible for there to be an even more basic building block, whose various arrangements is what distinguishes each sub-atomic particle from the rest?”

    Many reasons – but this is beside the point at the moment.

    “Can you elaborate? Didn’t you earlier agree that one can distinguish between two different bodies, even if one didn’t know the identity of their originator?”

    What I conceded was that by mere inherence, you can distinguish two bodies as numerically different (i.e., this body here and that body there). But, I denied that you can distinguish them as specifically different (i.e., this cat here and that dog there). And this is what’s contrary to experience. And that is because, for all you know, it could be that the body that you call a ‘dog’ has Cat-arrangement particles but just with different kinds of accidents (that you associate with ‘dog’ through habit). And this applies across the board: for all you know, it may be that there’s a single kind of arrangement of whatever particles but with different accidents attached on.

    When I said Ibn Rushd’s argument then reapplies at the level of your preferred micro-beings, what I mean was:

    Is there some attribute or attributes that bodies have which make them bodies? If so, these attributes will be specify the behavior of such bodies precisely qua bodies (as opposed to say qua cats). But if so, then occasionalism is false insofar such attributes will be sources of effects. If they don’t, how do you even then distinguish them as bodies from non-bodies?

    “I don’t believe particles cease to exist and come into being rapidly. The mu’tamad position is that motion refreshes, but the Jawhar it is attributed to remains.”

    On the mu’tamad position, it’s even more clear that heat isn’t identical to motion; for there are things that move but that, when touched, aren’t hot.

    “Also this additional “factor” which you think exists, may just as well be our experience of heat (i.e. the reaction of your hands to those vibrations), as opposed to being a distinct accident which subsists in the metal-bar being felt. Not unlike colors, which are also purely mental experiences, of light waves of varying frequencies entering our eyes (as opposed to some extramental existent which subsists in the colored body).”

    I’m assuming a realist view of sensible properties. And I’m also assuming that your madhhab also shares this view. I have no interest for the purposes of this discussion in establishing this realist view. If you’re going to deny it, then I’d simply retort: there’s no principled reason why you shouldn’t render all properties you experience the body to have as mental. God simply creates various experiences in you on whatever occasion He deems best.

    And this is perfectly in line with the thrust of Ibn Rusdh’s argument i.e., real differences between beings are eliminated one way or another on Ash’arite occasionalist doctrine.

    1. Wa ‘Alaykum Al-Salam,

      “What I meant was contrary to experience was the fact that we experience beings as unified wholes i.e., my experience of my cat is as of a unified macro being, not an arrangement F of whatever your preferred micro-beings happen to be. It’s the cat as a whole, unified being that purrs and chases mice – not the parts which make the arrangement either taken individually or collectively i.e., qua arrangement.”

      When you look at your cat, you see a body composed of parts forming a particular shape and size. And you hear a purring sound coming out of said body. I don’t see how this would necessitate it being an “irreducible being qua cat”.

      “What I conceded was that by mere inherence, you can distinguish two bodies as numerically different (i.e., this body here and that body there). But, I denied that you can distinguish them as specifically different (i.e., this cat here and that dog there).”

      Kuliyat are completely abstract on our view. “Cat” is merely a label that is assigned to bodies that we encounter, with a particular set of accidents. “Dog” is a label that is assigned to bodies that we encounter, with another particular set of accidents. If God wanted to, He could re-arrange the parts of this cat, by annihilating some accidents and creating some others, and transform that cat into a dog. I don’t see how any of that is impossible.

      “And this is what’s contrary to experience. And that is because, for all you know, it could be that the body that you call a ‘dog’ has Cat-arrangement particles but just with different kinds of accidents (that you associate with ‘dog’ through habit).”

      The arrangement of the particles depends on their accidents. Mainly on the four Akwan; rest, motion, connection, and disconnection (and some have argued that the four can be further reduced to a single accident called the “Kawn”, or the particle’s position in space relative to others). So once again, I don’t see how you can have two different bodies with identical particle arrangements, but with a completely different set of accidents attributed to each.

      If you mean something like, for example, God creating a purring sound coming out of a body with dog-arrangement particles instead of the usual barking sound (and this is not impossible on our view), then we can call this body a “purring dog”, or we can invent a completely new label to assign to this new body. Not a problem if Kuliyat are abstract.

      “On the mu’tamad position, it’s even more clear that heat isn’t identical to motion; for there are things that move but that, when touched, aren’t hot.”

      “I’m assuming a realist view of sensible properties. And I’m also assuming that your madhhab also shares this view.”

      Seem to be fallacious generalizations.

      The fact that some types of motion do not correlate with the feeling of heat, doesn’t mean that the feeling of heat isn’t due to some other type of motion. In the same way not all types of motion will correlate with an observer’s experience of a red shift (which is only experienced when the object is moving away from the observer).

      Likewise regarding realism. Claiming “the extramental world doesn’t exactly match one’s perception of it”, is not the same as claiming “everything perceived doesn’t exist independent of the perceiver’s perception”. You don’t have to be a naive realist in order to be a realist.

  7. salam,

    “When you look at your cat, you see a body composed of parts forming a particular shape and size. And you hear a purring sound coming out of said body. I don’t see how this would necessitate it being an “irreducible being qua cat”.”

    No, I experience the purring sound coming out of a cat, not just a body. It is your view that reduces the cat to body, where body is just some amount of particles bound together. And then you must make the purring an accident of these particles, as opposed to the cat as a unified whole – this is what’s contrary to experience.

    “So once again, I don’t see how you can have two different bodies with identical particle arrangements, but with a completely different set of accidents attributed to each.”

    Easy. On your principles, God can arrange i.e., connect, two sets of (however many) particles in F-arrangement – call them F1 and F2 – and then produce in F1 all the sensible accidents we normally associate with cats (e.g., purring, etc) and produce in F2 all the sensible accidents we normally associate with dogs (e.g., barking, etc).

    F1 and F2 have specifically the same arrangement, but different sensible accidents.

    “[…].“Cat” is merely a label that is assigned to bodies that we encounter, with a particular set of accidents. “Dog” is a label that is assigned to bodies that we encounter, with another particular set of accidents. […].”

    Then, again, I say that Ibn Rushd’s argument reapplies to the level of ‘body’: is there something that makes the claim ‘F1(cat) and F2 (dog) arrangements of particles are both cases of body’ a true claim? If so, what is it? The point is: whatever it turns out to be, this something will be specify the behavior of such a body precisely qua body (as opposed to say qua cat or dog). But if so, then occasionalism is false insofar such attributes will be sources of effects.

    “If you mean something like, for example, God creating a purring sound coming out of a body with dog-arrangement particles instead of the usual barking sound (and this is not impossible on our view), then we can call this body a “purring dog”, or we can invent a completely new label to assign to this new body.”

    Yeah, I mean something like this. The upshot of it though: you can’t distinguish between, say, a cat purring (for it could be a dog-wise arrangement purring) or a dog barking (for it could be a cat-wise arrangement barking). Or suppose we really do have a cat-arrangement, plus all the sensible accidents we’d normally associate with cats, except one i.e. God creates the accident of barking in the cat-arrangement – you can’t tell whether this thing is really cat, however unusual it may be, or some new sort of body hitherto unknown.

    “The fact that some types of motion do not correlate with the feeling of heat, doesn’t mean that the feeling of heat isn’t due to some other type of motion.”

    Yeah, I never claimed otherwise. What I did claim it meant was that heat isn’t’ identical to motion, not that it isn’t caused by/due to motion. Do you understand the difference between “x is identical to y” (your claim) and “x is due to y”?

    “Likewise regarding realism. Claiming “the extramental world doesn’t exactly match one’s perception of it”, is not the same as claiming “everything perceived doesn’t exist independent of the perceiver’s perception”. You don’t have to be a naive realist in order to be a realist.”

    Yeah, except that I never claimed otherwise. What I claimed was: if you’re going to reject some realist thesis about x on grounds of some vague, Kantian-like talk about “your experience of x” as opposed to “x itself”, then that distinction equally applies to any x – so apply it accordingly. Merely employing that kind of talk doesn’t do anything establish ant-realism about x.

  8. “No, I experience the purring sound coming out of a cat, not just a body. It is your view that reduces the cat to body, where body is just some amount of particles bound together. And then you must make the purring an accident of these particles, as opposed to the cat as a unified whole – this is what’s contrary to experience.”

    Body is a genus for type cat, and so there is no contradiction between claiming “X is a body”, and “claiming X is a cat”. And if by experience you mean sense perception, then clearly what you’re arguing for (that it is an irreducible being qua cat) isn’t merely the result of perceiving the cat with your senses.

    Also I would hesitate to call a sound an “an accident of these particles”. Since accidents to us, are qualities that are not intrinsic to the being (Dhat) they subsist within, and the sound that comes out of a body is not a quality that subsists within it.

    “Is there something that makes the claim ‘F1(cat) and F2 (dog) arrangements of particles are both cases of body’ a true claim? If so, what is it?”

    

Yes. Since a body is, by definition, a confined object (a Mutahayiz) that is composite of parts. And both F1 and F2 are confined objects composite of particles.

    “The point is: whatever it turns out to be, this something will be specify the behavior of such a body precisely qua body (as opposed to say qua cat or dog). But if so, then occasionalism is false insofar such attributes will be sources of effects.”

    As mentioned above, body is a genus for types cat and dog. There is no contradiction between claiming “F1 is a body”, and claiming “F1 is a cat”. Or claiming “F2 is a body”, and claiming “F2 is a dog”. So I don’t understand what you mean by “as opposed to” when you say “qua body as opposed to say qua cat or dog”.

    “You can’t distinguish between, say, a cat purring (for it could be a dog-wise arrangement purring) or a dog barking (for it could be a cat-wise arrangement barking).”

    First: it seems like you’re trying to argue that occasionalism is false, because its truth would make the classification process more difficult. That’s a non-argument.

    Second: I can distinguish between a particular sound coming out of a dog, and that same sound coming out of a cat. Since there is no necessary relation between the shape and size of a body, and the sounds that come out of it. And I distinguish between “cat” and “dog” based on the shape and size of the body being judged, not based on the sound that comes out of it.

    And even if you disagree with how I distinguish cats from dogs, then (as previously suggested) you could simply just invent a new label to assign to this new body. No problem.

    “Yeah, I never claimed otherwise. What I did claim it meant was that heat isn’t’ identical to motion, not that it isn’t caused by/due to motion. Do you understand the difference between “x is identical to y” (your claim) and “x is due to y”?”

    “Yeah, except that I never claimed otherwise. What I claimed was: if you’re going to reject some realist thesis about x on grounds of some vague, Kantian-like talk about “your experience of x” as opposed to “x itself”, then that distinction equally applies to any x – so apply it accordingly.”

    We’re not talking about the perceiver’s feeling of heat, which is something we both agree correlates with a quality that subsists within the hot object being felt. The point under dispute: can this quality that subsists within the hot object, be the very same vibrations of its particles, or must it be something additional to this motion (i.e. a separate accident called “heat”).

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