Trigger's Broom

I don’t know how many people here will be familiar with this clip but the link below provides a video of it.

Trigger, refers to his broom as having lasted 20 years, yet having been mended with 17 new heads and 14 new handles.

Despite the obvious comedy to be found within this claim, does Trigger have any grounds for claiming to still posses the broom he did 20 years ago?

Sure he does.

This depends on how we conceptualize the broom.

When we speak of Trigger’s broom, do we refer to the idea or concept that exists in Trigger’s mind of a form that Trigger calls his broom, or the actual individual parts which when arranged together make a broom that Trigger then claims property over. If we take the latter, then Trigger has no grounds. The broom was different a second after he claimed property over it; and the broom he thinks as being the same one is actually a collection of different individual particles arranged in the same form. If the former, then as long as the entire broom is not scraped at once, so that the form of “trigger’s broom” keeps on existing in Trigger’s mind, then it is the same broom. Meaning that as long Trigger has in his mind the form, or essence maybe I should say, of that particular broom, then if we go by Trigger’s mentality, then it’s the same broom as he had 20 years ago…

The latter position is, I think, the most common view among learned people, while the former the most common among the plebeian.

ps. To summarize what I just said: It’s the same broom 20 years after as long as Trigger abstracts it in his mind with the same idea. Otherwise it’s not the same broom.

Very good topic by the way. I’ll be looking forwards for intelligent replies.

pps. Here is perspective on this worth noting, but which I don’t have the time to really follow suit on. Suppose there exists a super advanced race of aliens that has isolated and identified every single atom in the universe. And then suppose even further that this same race of aliens has also identified every single possible arrangement that these atoms may take, and at all different size-wise perspectives. In lieu of this, the answer to the question seems clear that it’s not the same broom.

An object’s telos can only be understood from the perspective of the perceiver, so while the nature of the broom is empty the construct of the broom that Trigger makes is real. So it is the same broom because Trigger makes it so.

I agree that clearly if we are talking in pure matter, then the broom cannot be the same, indeed nothing can be the same, as nothing remains constant. So is talk of any object, simply talk of an idea/concept of that object?

But how can we even be sure that the idea is the same? Trigger’s idea of his broom may have changed unknowingly over the 20 years and hence it may not be the same idea now?

Also clearly this faculty could be abused, and ridiculous claims could be held.

That depends on whether or not the perceiver is correct for the object. Now, I agree this is in-and-of itself an object of perception but within a hermeneutic reality, I don’t see this as a problem.

So, under my paradigm Plato’s saw about how a rock wants to fall can’t be. Can’t define an object with respect to itself . . . doesn’t end prettily. So what about me? I’m the center of my universe, so why not? But how to define the rock’s behavior? Does it want to move away from me? That doesn’t work in a variety of scenarios that I imagine you can create in your head. So what about the inter-relational aspect where both the ground and the rock seek each other out? Now that works, that is a reference frame we can model and when we do it works quite reliably. Seems to me like that is approaching the truth.

It depends why you need to know.

I think there really isn’t, nor can there be, any conclusive proof that humans’ conceptualized model of the world actually resembles the world itself, but most if not all take this as a given.

Locke, in his “Essay…” makes a comment that we couldn’t possibly use language if we had words for every individual thing we saw. There are just too many things. But, fortunately for us, or maybe because we will it be so, many of the matter tastes (for lack of a better word) similarly, and so we categorize matter based on the way in which they impact our sense perceptions. So if I were to say that there’s an egg in front of me, you’d know that I’m talking about a mass of matter, oval in shape, smooth to the touch, white in color, has distinctive smell, and which has a distinct taste as well. You wouldn’t, off course, know which exact mass of matter I am referring to, but you have an idea of what I’m referring to. Thus, I think the obvious answer is that in communication, and in thought, we refer to the categories in which we place in the wide variety of things which we sense, and not the actual things themselves.

If language did in fact have a word or gesture for every individual thing, and we humans could in fact make use of this language, then also given that our sense perceptions do actually report to us what and how the things external to ourselves really are llike, then I think one could make the claim that our ideas, communicated and understood through language, refer to the actual individual things themselves. But lacking this, then we are left with a language that refers only to categories of things. (I think we categorize things based on how they (presumably) affect our senses, so that a thing that produces in us the sensations we have categorized as ‘apple’ we call an apple.

I don’t think that Trigger’s idea could have possibly remained the same. The form that he abstracted from presumably the first broom into an idea in his mind of a broom probably changed with every modification to that broom.

This could be a huge and entertaining thread. It’s a shame that only a few people are seriously participating.

Exactly, but it is only when we critically think about this, do we come to this conclusion. I wonder why? If it were so obvious, why would we form such a delusion. It reminds me of a line from the matrix, that said the human mind couldn’t handle a perfect world. Perhaps the human mind cannot handle no knowledge of the world, so it tricks itself into the belief that there does exist an external world.

This makes sense. So Trigger in talking about his broom is referring to common language concepts. So when he talks of his broom lasting 20 years (‘That’s two decades’, ‘Well I wouldn’t go that far!’) we can all visualise what he means. So language allows us to refer to objects. But does language allow him to assert ownership?

Unless the conceptualized model of the world is based off of real world dynamics.

Humans could never tell two different shades of light appart from one another, unless we were programmed with massive regularities to an environment with changing levels of light. (for example planet going around a star with a cycle of day/night and rotation)

so yeah, you’re wrong in some limited ways at least.

I think ownership exists only in the mind and either understood or expressed through language. Ownership or property is not a quality inherent in an object, and I don’t see how it could be. If Trigger were not there to say or think the broom is his, I don’t see that the broom would then lack any inherent quality it would otherwise posses if Trigger thought or said the broom was his. Such a notion strikes me as absurd. Ultimately, it is through language alone that ownership is asserted.