On questions and answers in realism and nominalism

When we (humans) invented language (ie, conceptualization), it offered us two fundamentally different ways to pose questions:

1. What is it? and,

2. How does it work?

The first is traditionally called “realism” and the second “nominalism”, because the first asks for what we talk about (ie, what is it really), whereas the latter assumes what we talk about (ie, if we call things like this “X” and things like that “Y”, then how do X:s and Y:s interact).

The first is thus circular, because in order to answer such questions, we have to begin by assuming that something is something. This fact also means that it is contradictory, because asking for what one assumes is contradictory, but not, however, in the sense of the contradiction between yes and no (ie, a pure contradiction), but rather in the sense of between elks and elephants as mammals if all mammals are either elks or elephants (ie, a paradoxical contradiction). That is, asking for whether a particular mammal is an elk or an elephant is (in this context) paradoxically contradictory, because a mammal is (in this context) BOTH and elk and an elephant per definition (ie, if a mammal is either an elk or an elephant, then mammals can’t be both, that is, mammals can’t be both either and both elks and elephants at the same time). The answer is thus paradoxically contradictory between the alternatives that the assumption presents. This way to pose questions (ie, what is it?) can thus never reach an unambiguous answer, because the answer is paradoxically contradictory per definition.

The second can neither ever arrive to an unambiguous answer, because the answer to the first is paradoxically contradictory. That is, the fact that we can’t find an answer to the question “what something is” means that we can’t arrive to an unambiguous answer to the question of “how something works”, because there are different answers to such questions depending on the answer of what somethings are.

It means that our invention of language put us in the situation that we can’t find an unambiguous answer to any question. Instead, the answers are either paradoxically contradictory or ambiguous. Fact is thus that we’re restricted to making better or worse models of how reality works, without any possibility to finding out what this reality is.

(But, if particle physicists indeed have found “the Higgs particle”, then everything is the other way around, which is actually impossible to describe.)


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