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Axiomathes

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–24 | Cite as

Infinity in Ontology and Mind

  • Nino B. CocchiarellaEmail author
invited paper
  • 183 Downloads

Abstract

Two fundamental categories of any ontology are the category of objects and the category of universals. We discuss the question whether either of these categories can be infinite or not. In the category of objects, the subcategory of physical objects is examined within the context of different cosmological theories regarding the different kinds of fundamental objects in the universe. Abstract objects are discussed in terms of sets and the intensional objects of conceptual realism. The category of universals is discussed in terms of the three major theories of universals: nominalism, realism, and conceptualism. The finitude of mind pertains only to conceptualism. We consider the question of whether or not this finitude precludes impredicative concept formation. An explication of potential infinity, especially as applied to concepts and expressions, is given. We also briefly discuss a logic of plural objects, or groups of single objects (individuals), which is based on Bertrand Russell’s (1903, The principles of mathematics, 2nd edn. (1938). Norton & Co, NY) notion of a class as many. The universal class as many does not exist in this logic if there are two or more single objects; but the issue is undecided if there is just one individual. We note that adding plural objects (groups) to an ontology with a countable infinity of individuals (single objects) does not generate an uncountable infinity of classes as many.

Keywords

Formal ontology Ontology Universals Conceptual realism Conceptualism Nominalism Logical realism Natural realism Plural objects Infinity Potential infinity Quantum mechanics Multiverse String theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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