Kit. wrote:But sand and gravel also consist of individual objects.
...and if I were talking about a grain of sand
, then that would be the one
object we are talking about. I don't see what you are getting at. In any case I'm talking about one
object; it thus has the property of being the object I'm talking about. "But that's not important right now."
Even on a planet that had no humans to objectify objects, there could be individual pieces of rock. Earth had individual pieces of rock long before humans; in fact, long before any kind of life form existed on earth.
morriswalters wrote:All your distinctions are useful in one way or another. For you. Or more generally, people. It provides a useful way of thinking about things. But the structure of the universe exists independently of those distinctions.
I'm not talking about the structure of the universe. I'm talking about the purpose of an object that has purpose, and the lack of purpose of an object that, while it could have a use, has no (inherent) purpose. Purpose is a high level concept which, while like all concepts only exists in our minds because we have minds (made of matter) that can code for them, acts as a useful embodiment of the important aspects of a topic of discussion. Purpose is a useful package in that regard. It distills the aspects of an object and its relationship to a user or creator that are important in this discussion. Breaking it into its components ("the structure of the universe") loses that focus.
The fact that we will die ("as a process of being alive and living in a place that will kill us absolutely randomly.") is irrelevant. The fact that a hammer is possible is irrelevant. The point is, the creator of a hammer had in mind some reason to create it the way he (or she) did. That reason gives the hammer an inherent purpose, despite the fact that it might be better suited to some other purpose, and actually used for a third one.
morriswalters wrote:Purpose implies meaning
How so? If aliens came upon our (long dead) civilization and found a claw hammer, that hammer would still have been created to drive nails. That's what it was made for. That's what it was for. That was its purpose. Now, with no humans left to drive nails, it may no longer have that use
, at least to us, but it was still made with that in mind.
Likewise, an eardrum evolved in a self-referential feedback loop; that particular loop gave the eardrum the purpose of translating air movements into bone movements, in the aid of allowing a creature to perceive sounds.
Unlike that, rocks (or grains of sand) are not created for any purpose; they have no place in any feedback loop, and no design plan exists for their use. They just are.
morriswalters wrote:I'm leery of the idea that anything ought to be true...
...and I'm not claiming anything with an ought. To be explicit, when I say a hammer has the purpose of driving nails, I am not
saying that therefore, we ought to
drive nails with it.