What is an Object?

In this series of articles, we will discuss some basic ideas about the concept of object.

30 mins read
What is an Object?

Ideas about the object constitute the basic thoughts that determine one’s basic conceptions and basic judgments about existence. For example, the first fields of ontology, existence and theology are formed under the guidance of these conceptions and judgments. Even if one has not organized a specific body of thought, one who has a conception of the object already has an ontology, a primitive idea of existence. Without a conception of the object, it is impossible to carry out daily work, daily conversations.

Even someone whose intellectual interests and preoccupations lie outside the fields of ontology and theology, no matter what he or she does, as soon as he or she begins to think or speak, he or she also begins to think about the object, to speak about the object. In short, this is a general and fundamental issue.

However, despite its fundamental and generality, it is not directly related to the question “What is an object? What are the nature and foundations of the object? What should be thought about the concept of object itself?” Studies that ask such questions and conduct research directly on the concept of object are not common and never have been. Even in philosophy and theology, the two well-established institutions that can best study this issue, this type of research is extremely rare. The most important reason for this is that the object of this issue is the concept of object itself. Conducting a conceptual research whose object is the object requires a fundamental inquiry into the very objects used in the research itself. Such an interrogation, on the other hand, requires taking the risk of examining, testing, that is, questioning the space in which the research is conducted, all the equipment used, and all the foundations on which it is based. And this is not something that everyone can afford or wants to afford, and never has been. However, without such an interrogation of the object, we cannot know whether we are in fact in the world of objects with a solid and real knowledge and a life that walks with this real knowledge. In this respect, for someone in search of truth and solidity, it is not as difficult as it is for others to risk this kind of questioning. But it is still difficult, always has been difficult, to see it through.

In short, taking these contexts into account, it is possible to envision the panorama of the path this series of articles will take.

It is likely to tire the reader as the subject matter is difficult in many ways and unfamiliar in others. To the best of our ability, we will try to walk the path without neglecting to draw attention to the main points to be considered, but without making it too complicated. We hope it will be of some use and meaning to the reader.

First of all, for the sake of hearing what we are saying, and for the sake of convenience, we can start our research and discussion by looking at the linguistic meanings of the word object.

The word object comes from Old Turkish. It is formed from the expression “what if”. It means what it is, what it is, how it is, in what state it is, in other words, whatever it is. It expresses the essence or state and structure of an entity. The plural is “objects” using the suffix -ler.

In our language, the meaning of “object” is also covered by the word “thing”. The word “thing” is derived from Arabic and originally from the Holy Qur’an. The origin of the word is disputed, but the general opinion is that it comes from the verb “sha’e” meaning “wanted, wished”. As such, it has very interesting connotations. This is why “meşiet”, which means “to want”, is also thought to be related to the word “thing”. Its plural is “thing”. The words “thing” and “thing” have been the subject of much debate and fundamental definitions in the lexical, theological and philosophical fields.

Today, the word “object” is also used instead of object and thing. This also entered our language from French. It is also a word inherited from Old Latin. Obje is the Turkish use of the word “objekt”, which is generally used in the world to mean “object”. Objekt also comes from “obiectivus” in Old Latin. The meaning of this word is also very interesting. Obiectivus means “forced out”, “gushed out”, “thrown”.

In our language, words such as “entity”, “creature”, “existent” can also be used instead of object. Let’s take a brief look at these as well.

Varlık means to arrive, to arrive. To arrive means to reach somewhere, to go somewhere. Varlik means to acquire property, to own. It is thought to come from the verb “git”, which is originally “bar”, due to the change of “v” and “b” sounds in Turkish. In this respect, it has the same root as the word “peace”, which we use to mean peace. Peace, with the participle “ış”, means mutual “arrival”; in other words, it means reconciliation, coming to a common place, reaching.

Creature is also used for “creature”. Its origin is thought to be “yara” meaning compatibility, equipment. Yarasmak has the same root as yaramak. Although its use in the sense of “created” can express very different understandings depending on the context, the common situation in all these understandings is that this thing is in a “passive” position. In other words, it is something created, made, acted upon. In this way, it is in a similar situation to the word object, that is, in the context of an agent and an effect. However, for “object” and “thing”, it is not necessary to think of a direct agent-eff’ul relationship. However, it may be necessary according to the context. The agent considered in the context of “object” is expressed by the word “subject”. In our language, this is pronounced “suje”.

Mawjud, without further ado, is a passive word derived from the Arabic root “wajada” which means to find. It means brought into existence. It is sister to the meanings of the words to find and to be. Considering its relation to words such as conscience and ecstasy, it can be seen that this word is also very interesting in terms of its load of meaning.

However, in addition to all these, it should be noted that although it is important and necessary to know and understand the roots of words and the various meanings they have taken on over time and to always take them into consideration, the more essential and primary goal is to formulate “concepts” beyond etymological meanings. One of the main considerations in concept formation is the needs that the concept formulator takes into account. In this respect, concept formulators can take into account many things that can transcend some of the purposes and foundations in these areas, without ignoring the many linguistic and cultural meanings. Therefore, in essence, the nature of the needs taken into account determines the nature of the concepts to some extent.

Therefore, some of the organized fields in which the craftsmanship of concept formation is carried out can give the words used in such studies and the activity of their formation many different functional characteristics. We can easily understand these with some examples. For example, a concept that is formulated for an association’s bylaws may differ in many respects from a concept that is formulated and processed in a field such as philosophy or ethics. Similarly, the meanings determined for a linguist may not be sufficient for someone who is engaged in an intellectual or spiritual science. Therefore, such fields may process and reproduce some words with different limitations and expansions in order to give them sufficient meaning for their own problems.

Our research here also aims to deal with the concept of object from a scientific perspective. And it takes into account needs that can be considered different from many fields. For this reason, it is perhaps possible to develop a specialized understanding of “object” whose framework of meaning may be limited to this article. Nevertheless, this specialized understanding of the object may also have some commonality of meaning with the understandings of other fields and languages. Moreover, if a specialized understanding has the possibility of extending to understandings outside this understanding, this specialization may also become suitable for generalization and thus for giving law to external understandings. In fact, this type of possibility arises spontaneously in relation to the nature of the problem recognized, that is, the generality of the remedy requested. The more general and fundamental a need is, the more general and fundamental is the response obtained or produced in these contexts. This response to the need is transformed into a meaning and made ready to be loaded. The word to which this meaning is attributed, in this respect, becomes capable of displaying a different characteristic of generality and essentiality in terms of this meaning load.

In these respects, it is necessary to look at the matter from the point of view of the comprehension and comprehension of the one who will compose the concept. Because the grasping of the need and the grasping of a response that can be found is essential here. Consequently, the essence of the concept also depends on the essence of the grasper and the grasped. In particular, it is the essence of the grasper that has priority in terms of constituting the composition. Conducting an entire work on the concept and the words in which the concept is expressed, without taking the grasper into account, therefore leads to error. In terms of the formation of the concept, the essence of the grasper is the activity of conception in the grasper. In other words, in this respect, the conception precedes the concept.

Conception should not be understood simply as the act of imagining or thinking. Conception is a more fundamental activity in which these can also be involved.

From a dictionary point of view, tasavvur is an activity of formalization. In this respect, the word tasavvur should be understood in terms of the concept of “form”. Suret, on the other hand, means “image”, “appearance”, “picture”, “form”, “shape”, “form”, “content”. Conception, in this respect, is an activity related to seeing. Here, too, seeing does not have to be exclusive to seeing with the eyes. Seeing by thinking, seeing by perception or seeing in another way can all fall under the scope of conception.

After all, what is essential in concept formation is conception. And the basis of conception, in a very broad sense, is perception. Here, perception, again in a very broad sense, must be understood within the scope of “experience”. We say “experience” in a very broad sense because, for example, it is an experience obtained through sensation, but it is also an experience seen in a dream, in thought, in imagination, or on another basis, for example, in the heart. Therefore, cognition is experiential in a broad sense, but what is experiential is not limited to thinking and perception.

As a result, the conceptual composition is based on conception on the basis of experience in a broad sense. Concepts that are processed and put into circulation by canceling the principles of experience and conception are, in this respect, concepts whose origin is unknown. What is unknown is either unknown because it is unfounded, or unknown because it has a foundation but has not yet been seen in the experience of the perceiver. In the broad sense, an unknown concept that has been formed by canceling out experience and imagination is a concept that has no origin; at least it is a concept that has no origin in experience and imagination. There are many such concepts. There are even things that have been manufactured to produce false concepts in this sense, such as computers or things called artificial intelligence.

Therefore, it is not possible to identify the unfounded concept simply by thinking about it or analyzing it in this sense. The essence of experience is decisive here. Without understanding experience in a very broad sense, it is impossible to understand these points.

If we look at experience in the broad sense here as, for example, experience based on the heart, then what is meant here can be better understood. It is a concept that has no place in heart-based experience, that has no origin in terms of the heart. Some concepts, for example, can be grounded in a place much lower than the heart; in that case, it is a concept that has a basis only in that place. It can also be a concept that has an origin in terms of a narrowed frame of experience. If this narrowed framework is itself formed, for example, through the closure of some essential places, then the concepts that have an origin within these frameworks, even if they have a place in the narrowed framework, are actually concepts of “closure” because this place is a place of “closure”.

In any case, the basis of every concept is experience and conception. The nature of experience and conception determines the nature of the concept. The state of experience and imagination determines the state of the concept. Concepts that exceed their own experience and imagination violate the boundaries, and those that narrow them neglect the source. Violation and neglect lead to “confusion”. Confusion of concepts is an extension of this confusion and the troubles it causes are incalculable!

Therefore, one must be extremely careful not to fall into confusion. In other words, for someone who understands these conditions, the conceptualization of a concept imposes a responsibility on the conceptualizer. This responsibility is also a debt on the neck of the one who uses that concept. In other words, walking with concepts requires responsibility. Those who do not fulfill their responsibilities cause harm and commit a crime in terms of violating the rights of beings acting on the basis of the concept.

The price for such crimes will be paid somewhere and somehow, but surely… by the hands of those who have been harmed.

After all, the concept is experiential. In this empirical, there are a number of things that initiate the work. We have mentioned “need” among them. The process that starts with what is needed becomes the fundamental determinant of the product obtained at the end of the process, i.e. the concept. This is the working logic.

In addition to feeling the need, there are also ways of expressing it. We can call this thing that expresses the need “question” for the sake of appropriateness of its lexical meaning. It is well known that “query” means both “question” and “a request for the fulfillment of a need”.

Since the nature of the one who needs and the nature of the one who is needed can differ, there is more than one place for a question. To put it in its most familiar form, a desire that has been expressed can be a question, and a need that has not been expressed but is spoken in terms of its state can also be a question. Some beings ask in terms of their states of being, without uttering it in language. In fact, every single thing, in every state and position, is always in a state of questioning its Creator for the continuation of its existence or the perfection of its existence. This questioning is actually a request, a demand. And what is given in return is an answer, a response according to the question. For this reason, the question indicated by the state can be answered by the state. The continuation of existence is also an answer of the One who gives existence to the one who asks for its continuation at every moment and in every situation.

More specific and determined questions can also be answered in different ways. All of this is something that can be examined through experience… provided that experience is kept very broad.

If we want to further clarify the conceptual meaning of a question, we can also consider it in terms of the words “question” and “problem” as we commonly refer to them.

At this point, in order to get into the matter in a better and better way, it would be useful to proceed through the question and the problem.

Here, too, it is necessary to consider the degrees between question and problem. Therefore, let us briefly explain the distinctions between them.

We refer to Teoman Duralı’s “What is the Problem” for his in-depth work on this issue.

In his work titled What is the Problem, Teoman Duralı distinguishes these two words in terms of their conceptual fields. Accordingly, a question is a request that can be answered simply, for example, by asking what a perceived pencil is. For example, if one points to the pencil on the table and asks “what is this?”, a simple answer can be given as “this is a pencil”. The question “what is this?”, which we usually ask as children, is one of the best known and most beautiful examples of the concept of question. This is true for all sorts of things for which definitions are more common and more easily made.

However, not all questions are on the same plane, because the plane of the thing in question is not the same. For example, similar questions for abstract and increasingly hyper-abstract things, unlike their predecessors, are more comprehensive, more difficult, and can touch on many different places, and they are not easily answered. For example, “what is good?”, “what is evil?”, “what is justice?”, as Teoman Duralı puts it, “extremely abstract” things do not have simple answers, as in “this is the pen”. These types of questions require more rigorous reasoning and the ability to comprehend or at least take into account something more than a question like “what is this (the pen)?” asked to a pen on a desk. Therefore, in order to distinguish these types of questions, instead of calling them “questions”, we should call them “problems”.

According to this distinction, a question has an answer, but a problem has no answer. More precisely, the answer to a problem is a “solution” or a “solution”. That is, the problem is solved or dealt with. It is answered in these ways. The views of the late and esteemed Teoman Duralı quoted in this article are as follows. We continue by taking these views into consideration.

Above, we briefly see and understand how a question can be distinguished as a question and a problem. However, we think that this distinction should go further by looking at other common points of both concepts. In this context, it should be noted that one of the common points in both the question and the problem is “incompleteness”. That is, “incompleteness”. When looked at carefully, whatever is missing in the questioner about the thing about which the question is formed, that missing point, as the incomplete point about that thing, creates a “demand” in the person. That is, the person “demands” that the deficiency in the thing be eliminated. Whatever is lacking in the thing that needs to be eliminated is whatever is lacking in the thing; in other words, whatever is not available in the thing is what is desired. Thus, by eliminating the deficiency, that thing is “completed”. In other words, what is desired is, in a sense, “completion”. Therefore, there is a binary of common concepts here that constitutes the question and the problem: “completion” and “incompleteness”.

Again, in this context, there is another binary of concepts. If we look at Teoman Duralı’s distinction, the simple fulfillment of what is asked for in the question is due to the fact that what is asked for in the question is more specific in terms of what it spontaneously offers in terms of the quality in which it exists. In the case of the thing in question, since there is no certainty in this sense, the problem cannot be answered in a simpler way. That is to say, the fundamental difference between asking what that pen on the table is, which is perceived as more “distinct” and can be pointed to by hand, and asking “what is good”, which is not so distinct, is in fact a difference of “certainty” and “uncertainty”, no matter how one looks at it. Therefore, there is another issue here that is as fundamental as the duality of “completion and incompleteness”. That is the states of “certainty” and “uncertainty”. In this respect, another common concept pair of the question and the problem is the concepts of “certainty” and “uncertainty”.

Thus, we understand that the question that expresses need must be taken into account in terms of two concept pairs.

Formulating questions and problems to open up thoughts about the object by taking these concept pairs into account means pursuing general questions and problems that apply to everything and every situation in which these pairs are in question.

In short, we identify the dominating issues of the questions that express our needs in our research on the “object (thing, and object)”: “completeness-incompleteness” and “certainty-uncertainty”.

In this respect, the question at the very beginning of the article reveals its inner meaning. Accordingly, by the question (or problem) “what is the object?” we understand that in this article we are asking the following questions:

What is the essence of the completion of the “object” as “whatever it is”?

What is the incomplete state of the “object” as “whatever it is”?

What is the essence of determinacy of the “object” as “whatever it is”?

What is the state of uncertainty of the “object” as “whatever it is”?

In these respects, what, in fact, is the object?

In this way, we begin to search for answers. In the search for these answers, new needs to be realized later and new internal questions arising from them will spontaneously emerge in this search, whatever they may be, and will work their way towards the completion of the work…

Ahmet Turan Esin

-He is interested in theology, mysticism and philosophy. He publishes his writings on fikrikadim.com. He gives seminars and lectures.

-İlahiyat, tasavvuf ve felsefeyle ilgilenir. Yazılarını fikrikadim.com'da yayınlar. Seminer ve dersler verir.-

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