Another attempt to define “number”

Oi, another repost. With slight editing.

A “number” of a thing presupposes two qualities: separability and interchangeability. The former is an interpretation of sense data, and the second is subjective.

-Separability: We can’t say there are “two” things unless it may be agreed that they are not the same thing or two parts of the same thing.
-Interchangeability: We also must agree that the two things share characteristics of the same sort of thing (for our purposes).

There are, therefore, three sorts of objections a person can make to a numeric categorization: that the objects so categorized are not separable, are not interchangeable, or both. Because this is an abstract sort of thing, I’ll provide some examples of the objections:

The objects so categorized are not separable: Siamese twins. Two people with separate souls and minds (etc.), or one person? Also, two tree trunks with a common root system- two trees or two branches of the same tree? Depends on the definition of tree.

The objects are not interchangeable: This is a word I learned in history class. Apparently, it was a big deal when people learned you could mass-produce rifle stocks that would fit on a bunch of different rifles (see Similarly, we can decide (subjectively) that there are “two red cars”, rather than “one red car and one maroon car”.


About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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