Object – What is an Object, What Does It Mean?June 27, 2021
One of the most important questions asked by Parmenides is “what is an object, an object?” is the question. This is the main subject of philosophy.
“What is the object?” with “What exists?” The questions actually lead to the same thing. The term object used here does not refer to something that is just physical. The object is tangible, does not mean visible. This definition is the definition of some objects, their properties. Being tangible and visible are qualities.
The attributes are colour, odour, taste, hardness, softness, shape, sound and mass. It is necessary to separate the qualities within themselves. Some attributes are essential properties of the object, some are attached to the object. We can think of an object without color, but we cannot think of a color without an object. Color is absolutely anything. We can think of a red object, but we cannot know the redness itself without the object. As a real being alone, I wouldn’t know about it. It is possible to divide the attributes of the object into primary and secondary ones.
Primary attributes are things that belong directly to the object itself. If something can be seen and touched by hand, it must fill a certain space. No other object can enter the object it fills. However, it enters the space within the space. It means that the most basic feature of the object is that it takes up space. We call the object in this sense an object or a physical object.
Secondary color, odor, taste, etc. properties are only secondary properties of physical objects. Triangles do not have such secondary qualities. The object is larger than the physical object. Table, tree, triangle; winged horse, angel, each of these is a being. Although these entities seem to be separate things from each other, it is certain that there are certain features common to all of them. The most basic properties of objects are their existence. Whatever the object in question, you can take all the properties of that object from it, but you cannot take its presence. By taking a physical object, I can try to think of it independently of all the qualities it has.
I can think of this state of the object logically and technically. Let’s take a book for example. I can first put aside all the qualities of this book and deal with it alone. Thus, it will turn into a pure mass without color, texture, etc. After this stage, I can even try to abstract the book from this mass. In that case it will just turn into a shape in my head. Mentally, I can actually isolate it from even that way. At this stage, the book will turn into a concept.
It will lose all its physical qualities and become a purely mental content. As can be seen, the concept of a book can maintain its existence even as a purely intellectual thing, even though it is abstracted from all kinds of qualities, masses, and shapes. This means that every feature can be taken from an object called a book, but its existence will always remain. So you can never take away the existence of an object that once existed. According to Parmenides, the most important feature of an object is its existence. At this point, something that does not exist can never be thought of, and according to Parmenides, there are as many objects as there are names.
According to Parmenides, the most inseparable property of an object is its existence. All attributes can be retrieved from the object, but its presence cannot be retrieved.
From this point of view, everything I can think of is an existent. In terms of existence, they are all the same. At this point, it is seen that philosophy deals with the direct existence of the object, not with its qualities. The natural sciences deal with the qualities of the object. We can say that Parmenides distinguishes philosophy from natural sciences here.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook