Topic: objects as a set of attributes

topics > Group: philosophy


abstraction by common attributes
associative memory
attribute-value pairs as information
collection class
data record
database entities
denoting phrases and definite descriptions
fundamental concepts such as type, attributes, relationships are all the same
names as abbreviations for descriptions
names as rigid designators
object-oriented objects
property sheets for objects
value as an abstraction
using a description as a name


Objects clearly have properties or attributes. An attribute is that which is shared by multiple objects. For example, every person has a height and a weight. An attribute is a universal or abstraction that ignores inessential details. For example a person's height is never exactly 67 inches, but the error does not effect most uses of a person's height. Because they are an abstraction, attributes have a discrete representation that can be represented by a number.

It is natural to go one step further and equate an object with its attributes. Now attributes can change without undoing an object. So it's not all the attributes that matter to identity. Those that do matter are the essential properties. But what properties are these?

Here is where we get into trouble. Any attribute can change and yet the object is still the object. Since an attribute is an abstraction, a collection of attributes is itself an abstraction. But an object is not necessarily an abstraction. The relationship between objects which share an abstraction is more like a family resemblance. What ultimately does in objects as a set of attributes is just that, i.e., that what matters to an object is its relationships with other objects. This can't be pinned down by abstraction because it is part of life. (cbb 5/94)

Subtopic: objects as attributes up

Quote: cluster theorist sees objects as no more than a set of characteristics, i.e., a complex of universals [»louxMJ_1970]
Quote: real-word attributes are interrelated; things are intrinsically separate [»roscE7_1976]
Quote: every property value set includes two values: undefined (alpha) and missing (omega); distinguished from zero [»bosaR4_1962]
Quote: a subject is anything that possesses attributes [»millJS_1843, OK]
Quote: information algebra deals with sets of points in a space; each entity has exactly one datum point in a given property space; e.g., (employee number, hourly payrate) [»bosaR4_1962]
Quote: an abstraction is completely defined by its attributes; it can't be modified [»maclBJ12_1983]
Quote: a value is completely determined by its internal relations and properties
Quote: all concrete names are connotative because the denoted subjects are defined by attributes; e.g., man is corporal, animal, rational and human [»millJS_1843, OK]
Quote: attributes are intensions of a single free variable; e.g., spyhood is z(z is a spy)
Quote: a substance satisfies predicates or qualities at various times; e.g., the Ego
Quote: every proposition is reducible to one which attributes a predicate to a subject [»russB_1937]
Quote: a subject is defined by its predicates; hence except for existence, every true statement is analytic
Quote: to explain something, find what provides that trait; e.g., fire, being the hottest, is the reason why other things are hot; a prototype
Quote: an individual substance can not be predicated of any other subject [»russB_1937]
Quote: every soul is a world apart; contains all predicates past and future; by principle of sufficient reason
Quote: except for God's existence, every existential proposition is synthetic; the subject need not exist

Subtopic: objects have attributes up

Quote: each attribute corresponds to an entity, F-ness, which characterizes an individual; e.g., wisdom and "Socrates is wise"; realist approach [»louxMJ_1970]
Quote: properties or universals are things that particulars have and can share with others; predicates similarly shared [»martAP_1990]
Quote: objects have properties; allow changes in appearance, layout and behavior; e.g., Star's property sheets [»johnJ9_1989]
Quote: represent an object's properties by associating its identifier with property values [»kentW6_1991]

Subtopic: examples of objects as attributes up

Quote: identified mugshoot features by distinguishing all pairs of photos, and selected 90 features with good properties; e.g., thin vs. thick neck [»leeE4_1993]

Subtopic: identity vs. attributes up

Quote: information objects have an identity independent of their structure or attributes [»borgA10_1986]
Quote: an object has properties but it should not be identified with its properties or a subset [»kripSA_1980]
Quote: a concept is a unit, i.e., it is discrete; e.g., easier to remember discrete relationships than continuous quantities [»sowaJF_1984]
Quote: since things change, they are perceived by mind alone; self perception is the clearest of all [»descR_1641]
Quote: Moses might not have done anything ascribed to him, but he still could have existed [»kripSA_1980]
Quote: an object has an identity and a set of properties; an Aristotelian view of the world [»taivA4_1993]
Quote: the discovery of animals with unicorn characteristics might be coincidence instead of the unicorns of the myth [»kripSA_1980]
Quote: concepts can change their properties, e.g., the number of inhabitant's of Germany [»fregG_1884]
Quote: an entity is the same entity even if any or all of its attributes change
Quote: could test identity in terms of propagation of effects; doesn't work under inheritance or derivation rules [»kentW6_1991]

Subtopic: relationships vs. attributes up

Quote: a poor way to form concepts is through a list of characteristics; instead the elements of a definition are richly interconnected [»fregG_1884]
Quote: can't represent a thing by its description; due to its relationships to other things [»kentW_1978]

Subtopic: objects more than attributes up

Quote: Wittgenstein--ordinary words like game have no common properties; instead games share a family resemblance [»sowaJF_1984]
Quote: compare "Bring me the broom" with "Bring me the broomstick and its brush"; the decomposition is nonsensical [»wittL_1958a]
Quote: a general term does not imply having some characteristic; e.g., what attribute characterizes a game? [»louxMJ_1970, OK]
Quote: can know how a clarinet sounds but not say what it is; similarly with the concept of 'games' [»wittL_1958a]
Quote: all furniture is the same shape when wrapped up in enough paper [»searJR_1992]
Quote: a particular is not a bundle of qualities; since quality is abstract, a bundle of qualities is even more so [»kripSA_1980]

Related Topics up

Group: sets   (7 topics, 148 quotes)

Topic: abstraction by common attributes (19 items)
Topic: associative memory (5 items)
Topic: attribute-value pairs as information (57 items)
Topic: classification (65 items)
Topic: collection class (11 items)
Topic: data record (57 items)
Topic: database entities (12 items)
Topic: denoting phrases and definite descriptions (21 items)
Topic: elements (22 items)
Topic: fundamental concepts such as type, attributes, relationships are all the same (37 items)
Topic: names as abbreviations for descriptions (35 items)
Topic: names as rigid designators (43 items)
Topic: object-oriented objects (39 items)
Topic: property sheets for objects (29 items)
Topic: units (23 items)
Topic: value as an abstraction (25 items)
Topic: using a description as a name
(21 items)

Updated barberCB 10/04
Copyright © 2002-2008 by C. Bradford Barber. All rights reserved.
Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.