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In discussing Plato's Phaedo, I need to analyze Socrates's assertion that a soul can not be more or less of a soul. Is there a single word or phrase which expresses the notion is either a member of a class or not, and can not be more or less of a member?

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    Absolute, binary, Boolean...
    – RegDwigнt
    Nov 19 '15 at 13:57
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    In the case of one specific class, the idea that you're either in that class or not is often expressed by You can't be half pregnant! On the other hand, you can certainly be heavily pregnant if your "class membership credentials" are manifest to all. Pregnancy is a binary category. Nov 19 '15 at 14:24
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    Actually, the word is "immutable."
    – Ricky
    Nov 19 '15 at 14:34
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    @Ricky: Immutable means the state cannot change. Which is not the same thing as saying that at any given point in time the state must be one of two possible values (i.e. - it's never some "intermediate" value). Nov 19 '15 at 14:37
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    @FumbleFingers: "He's immutably a member of that class" means he cannot be more ... or less ... a member of said class. What am I missing?
    – Ricky
    Nov 19 '15 at 14:46
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atomic. Originally in chemistry, and now used outside the physical sciences, it means the smallest part of a substance which retains the properties peculiar to the substance. Now, we recognize some physical exceptions to this as it applies to the structure of matter, such as isotopes, and perhaps more generally, compounds.

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Consider elemental:

of the nature of an ultimate constituent; simple; uncompounded. (Random House)

Or ultimate:

incapable of further analysis, division, or separation (MW)

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    You can add to elemental, and subtract from ultimate. "Immutable" is definitely the right word here.
    – Ricky
    Nov 19 '15 at 14:35
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    @Ricky If you add to something elemental, it's no longer elemental. If you subtract from something ultimate, it's no longer ultimate. "Immutable" emphasizes the changelessness, not the state. Nov 19 '15 at 14:40
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    I beg to differ. You are correct in saying that adding to something elemental CHANGES it to something else. That which is immutable cannot be changed no matter how much you try to add to it or subtract from it. It's like the concept of infinity in math. Infinity + 7 = Infinity.
    – Ricky
    Nov 19 '15 at 14:43

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