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  1. Today
  2. In another recent thread, I was invited to make this one to explore what I'm calling "the transporter problem." In quick summary then, the "problem" considers the famous Star Trek transporter. It purports to disassemble a person (into whatever constituent elements) and then reassemble that person in identical fashion (and perhaps from the same constituent elements) at some distance. In Star Trek, people routinely utilize this technology; however (granting that this would someday be feasible; a separate consideration), I would not use such a thing, because I believe that it would be fatal. This speaks to the question of the "First Person Experience" (FPE) and its metaphysical status -- which is why I'd raised the problem initially; granting that the person who enters the transporter (e.g. James T. Kirk) is identical to the person who leaves it from a third person/scientific perspective, I yet argue that there is a fundamental metaphysical difference which cannot be assessed from "outside," i.e. it is a different person with respect to the FPE. The Kirk who leaves the transporter is not the same Kirk as the one who entered it; the Kirk who entered the transporter is dead. In response it was asked whether sleep was in some way analogous to this situation -- and whether we "die" when we go to sleep. But no, it is not the same thing at all. When I go to sleep at night, I wake up the next morning as the same person. Whatever interruption or discontinuity of consciousness that sleep provides (as well as being knocked unconscious, in a coma, or "legally dead" then revived) it is not the same as the death of the transporter, which I argue is utter obliteration. Then it was suggested that this is some rephrasing of the "Ship of Theseus." But no, it is not. It is not a question as to whether we continue to call the entity who emerges from the transporter "Jim Kirk," but: would we be willing to use the transporter? I argue that the answer to that question depends on whether we believe that a consciousness can be reconstituted such that the associated FPE remains the same, irrespective of what we call it, and whether we believe that the FPE (despite being immeasurable from a "scientific" perspective) has any reality to it. Which is to say that it depends upon our assessment of the FPE metaphysically. Accordingly, I would not be willing to use the transporter.
  3. Yesterday
  4. Devil's Advocate

    What are the basic emotions?

    I agree that the existence of primaries implies the absence of non-primaries, so complex or mixed emotional states shouldn't be considered as a different kind of emotion any more than a brick house would be considered a different kind of brick. I believe there is an emotional landscape comprised of basic elements (such as envy) in complex combinations (such as admiration or ressentiment). As such, the basics remain discernible individually and are not diluted by combination. Unfamiliar territory, for example, is still recognizable as a territory with discernible basic elements. As to what the basic emotions are, I think the list is relatively short compared to the emotional states created by combining them. Envy appears to me to be non-reducible, i.e. basic, whereas admiration and ressentiment appear to be more a sum of their basic parts, i.e. complex mixtures of the basics. Substitution of any of the basics (except envy) could transform admiration to ressentiment, so I would look at the reducibility of an emotional state to find its components and settle for basic as a particular emotion that cannot be reduced.
  5. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Most people who are led by emotions not reason still have free will; they just don't make proper use of it. If a low IQ, low empathy person thinks rape is OK, it is still very wrong. If there are so many such people that it becomes impossible to enforce laws against rape, we have a very serious problem, and a lot of bad things will happen. It might not be possible to have a viable society in that case, especially if they think other aggressions are OK too. I understand there are some pathological circles in which a guy gains prestige and status by raping. I'm sure this is more cultural than anything else. Such a person still has the power to think things through and realize it's wrong. Such people do not dominate society. Fortunately men with similar attitudes and practices who have achieved positions of power are now being weeded out. Is any data available on the IQ's of such men? Some of them have been very economically productive, but weeding them out does not seem to be endangering our society. How many people are there anywhere who consider rape to be OK? Letting reason have the final say in what we do does not mean abstaining from sexual intercourse. It does not mean treating any sex or race as less than human. It probably does not even mean totally abstaining from fast food. It certainly does not mean forcing anyone else to do any of these things. The reason Ayn Rand's solution has yet to materialize is that it can only do so when a lot of people make fundamental changes to their thinking, and that takes a lot of time.
  6. 2046

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Umm, I don't know about the others, but I've read a lot of Haidt, in fact I highly recommend particularly his The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006) which I think is highly cogenial to a general Rand-friendly perspective. In any event, knowing this is what you're basing your "humans are inherently tribal" mantra off of, I'm 100% in agreement with Eiuol that you literally don't know what you're talking about. Haidt isn't claiming what you take him to be claiming. You seem to be reading into him a view that is not present. It hardly follows from that fact that human flourishing is inherently social, or that human flourishing requires social relationships and connections with others (something that all of us are fully saying) that it is tribal in the specific sense meant here (eg., in Rand's PWNI or VOR, notably the social pathology she terms the "tribal lone wolf"), or that said tribalism is actually racial in form, or that statism is required to coordinate these forms of social connectivity. What's completely missing from your non sequitur based off Haidt is that social connections can be formed, reformed, modified, and diversive (owing itself to the fact that humans themselves are particular and diversive), and that a political standard is needed that will allow social life in its widest and most open-ended sense possible without structurally prejudicing one mode or form of social connectivity (such as pre-determined adherence to one static tribe or group) over another. And the reason I bring up other thinkers like Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and John Gray is that they make your point way better than you do.
  7. Eiuol

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    "Racist" describes your position, that is, advocating for specifically judging people based on their race rather than their individual characteristics, specifically for perceived threat and destabilization of your country. You were telling me about immigration policies you want in reference to race, you didn't mention anything about, say, only allowing people with a certain IQ to become citizens or immigrate (although wrong, not racist). Moreover, this isn't an implication of what you're saying, it is what you're saying, you seem to just want a nice word without the connotations. If you think it is offensive because it is inaccurate, and you don't want to judge people collectively according to their race, you should fix what you're saying about immigration. Otherwise, you should own up to the most accurate label you can, even if it is distasteful.
  8. Table of Contents [my comments are in square brackets] Part I Nationalism and Western Freedom I: Two Visions of World Order The history of western civilization is succession of rising and falling empires. Nationalism as an idea makes its first appearance in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament as a state with defined borders living in peace with its neighbors because it disavows expansion by conquest. Nation defined. II: The Roman Church and Its Vision of Empire When Christianity established itself as the official state religion of Rome it adopted the Roman dream of empire. "Catholic" means universal. Protestantism brought back to life long neglected chapters of the Bible and was embraced by peoples chafing against rule by foreigners. III: The Protestant Construction of the West The period between the English Act of Supremacy and the Westphalia treaties gave a new, Protestant construction to the West based upon two principles found in the Old Testament: First the idea of a moral minimum for a legitimate government and secondly "right of national self-determination" [would be more accurate if negatively stated as a "no foreign rulers" principle rather than cast as a right]. IV: John Locke and the Liberal Construction Since the end of World War Two the Protestant Construction has been being pushed aside. The liberal construction of the West assumes that there is only one principle at the base of legitimate political order: individual freedom. The most influential impetus for this new principle overtaking the West is Locke's Second Treatise of Government (1689). Locke critiqued. von Mises and Hayek both quoted as sympathetic to a world government. V: Nationalism Discredited World War Two was a conflict of imperialist ideologies. Communist world revolution, the Third Reich, The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the remnants of the colonial British Empire were all imperialist projects to strip sovereignty from other nations. Self-serving commenters blamed nationalism because they would not give up on their imperialist dreams. VI: Liberalism as Imperialism Much like the pharaohs and the Babylonian kings, the Roman emperors and the Roman Catholic Church until well into the modern period, as well as the Marxists of the last century, liberals, too, have their grand theory about how they are going to bring peace and economic prosperity to the world by pulling down all the borders and uniting mankind under their own universal rule. But unity and diversity are incompatible principles. VII: Nationalist Alternatives to Imperialism There are three anti-liberal camps based upon whether one or the other or both principles underlying nationalism are wielded. These are described as neo-Catholic, neo-nationalist (or just statist), and conservative (or traditionalist). Conservative is used because preserving the Protestant Construction is conservation. Part II The Case for the National State VIII: Two Types of Political Philosophy Philosophy of government is distinguished from philosophy of political order. Political order precedes establishment of government and makes it possible. Whatever is assumed without argument comes to be regarded as self-evident, whether it is true or false. IX: The Foundations of Political Order Politics as practiced by an individual is the art or craft of influencing others to act to accomplish goals seen as necessary or desirable. People join together in collectives to take more effective action for common goals than an individual can accomplish alone. Various motives exist, with various results. X: How Are States Really Born? Hobbes, Locke or Rousseau are invoked to tell the story that, while living in a state of perfect freedom and equality, each individual consents, together with countless others, to form a government and to submit to its dictates. This is compared to a fairy tale. The real story is told, based upon the foundations of political order discovered in chapter 9. XI: Business and Family Business is contrasted with family to further expose the weakness of analyzing politics as the calculations of consenting individuals maximizing their property. XII: Empire and Anarchy A continuum of possible forms of political order is laid out, from anarchy to empire. The difference is not mere scale but the ordering normative principle each enacts. XIII: National Freedom as an Ordering Principle Empire and Anarchy are the horns of a dilemma; Nationalism resolves the dilemma by retaining what is valuable and discarding what is dangerous from each. XIV: The Virtues of the National State Violence banished to the periphery of the state; citizens do not war upon each other. Disdain for imperial conquest as against the interest of one's own nation. Collective freedom is maximized, as the disorder of anarchy and the despotism of empire are avoided. The resulting political order is analogized to a peaceful market competition. Individual liberty is maximized compared to anarchy and empire. XV: The Myth of the Federal Solution There can be no compromise between [food and poison] nationalism and imperialism. Proposed international dispute resolution mechanisms are either voluntary or compulsory. Voluntary participation respects the sovereignty of nations but compulsory participation and enforcement actions destroy sovereignty and are identical to the imperial state model. XVI: The Myth of the Neutral State A state without an underlying nation/culture can only continue to exist with coercion and repression as a protection racket and inevitably fall into civil war. XVII: A Right to National Independence? There can be no universal right to national independence and self-determination. National independence and self-determination are good things but no one can be obligated to provide them. Furthermore dividing up humanity into units smaller than nations is regression back to tribal and clan political order i.e. anarchy. XVIII: Some Principles of the Order of National States Reminder that the idea of "international law" originated in the Protestant political order of nation states. Political independence is for nations strong enough and cohesive enough to secure it. Non-interference in the internal affairs of other nation states. Government monopoly of organized coercive force within the state. [Here Objectivists would use "retaliatory force"] Maintenance of multiple centers of power to prevent the imperial temptation from taking root in a super-power. Parsimony in the establishment of states. [Hazony's Razor?] Protections of minority nations and tribes by the national government. Non-transference of powers of government to universal institutions. Part Three ANTI-NATIONALISM AND HATE XIX: Is Hatred an Argument Against Nationalism? No. Or rather, it fails as an argument. Imperialists also hate. Tribes and clans can be consumed with petty feuds. XX: The Shaming Campaigns Against Israel Using Thomas Kuhn's framework, the paradigm shift away from the Protestant order of independent nations toward imperialist projects makes nationalist Isreal appear to be a throwback to a more primitive era. XXI: Immanuel Kant and the Anti-Nationalist Paradigm Nationalism was an early modern [oddly close the Enlightenment time period] political theory that recognized the freedom of nations to assert and defend their independence against the predations of international empires. Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (Kant, 1795) is Kant's manifesto attacking national states. [You don't want to be on the same side as Kant, do you?] XXII: Two Lessons of Auschwitz One lesson is that the defense of a nation, such as for example the jews, cannot be left to others because they did nothing. Following this lesson, Isreal is the answer to Aushwitz. Another lesson is that neither Germany nor any other nation should be permitted to go to war on its own behalf. Following this second lesson the answer to Aushwitz is the EU. XXIII: Why the Enormities of the Third World and Islam Go Unprotested Because Kant said a world-spanning imperial super-state is the progressive inevitability, but not everyone in every place will join at the same time. It is important that the leading nations join the world government first so the savages can join later when they are less savage. It is the racism of low expectations. XXIV: Britain, America, and Other Deplorable Nations The imperialist perspective is that any nation that is European or descended from a European settlement is expected to obey Kant in renouncing national self-interest and unilateral action. But primitive brown people don't know any better, so will never be described as deplorable. XXV: Why Imperialists Hate Historically, every imperial theory with which we are familiar—whether Egyptian or Assyrian, Greek or Roman, Christian or Muslim, liberal or Marxist—has offered an ideology of universal salvation and peace. And each such imperialist ideology, as soon as it collides with a determined rejection of the salvation it offers, responds to this rejection with an intense and abiding hatred. The universal hates the particular, is appalled and disgusted by it. Conclusion: THE VIRTUE OF NATIONALISM Nationalism is not a form of Utopianism. What is wrong with imperialism is that it is. Such a large and splendid Utopian dream can excuse a host of crimes to bring it about. [That is the only practical application Utopian dreams have ever had, to excuse crimes and warmongering.] At level of personal character everyone who embraces universal salvation doctrines and the empires they call into being participates in being a destroyer of what is not universal. Clansmen and tribesmen esteem loyalty above all. A nationalist knows that there is great truth and beauty in his own national traditions and in his own loyalty to them; and yet he also knows that they are not the sum of human knowledge, for there is also truth and beauty to be found elsewhere, which his own nation does not possess, cannot possess, and has no desire to destroy.
  9. Azrael Rand

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    So we're back to insults and name calling again. That's unfortunate, considering I thought we'd be able to move beyond that. So what's next? Do I get to look forward to you moderating my posts again because you disagree with the content of my speech? I certainly hope that won't be the case. I understand how you might interpret my position as an amalgamation of assertions fetched out of thin air but there's actually a little more substance based on the work of numerous social scientists and authors: Us being led by emotion not reason: Jonathan Haidt, Robert Chialdini, Scott Adams, Daniel Kahneman. Groupish / Tribal nature: Ryan Enos, Jonathan Haidt, et al. My key point is that Ayn Rand's Objectivism does not account for human nature in a complete and integrated fashion. Yes we are mostly selfish creatures by nature that possess a faculty capable of reasoning (with certain limitations attached) but that doesn't mean we get to sweep the other aspects of human nature under the rug and call it a day. Not sure why you're comparing me to other thinkers / critics of Objectivism. Either what I'm saying is correct at face value or it isn't. Why compare me to other thinkers as opposed to holding my argument to the objective standard of facts, reason and evidence? If what I wrote above doesn't fully address this concern I would add the following: Why is it the American experiment is failing? Ayn Rand proposed a hypothesis and a solution. Her solution has yet to materialize despite her best efforts. My assertion is that Ayn Rand's solution has yet to materialize because she did not account for certain factors as part of her analysis in properly defining the problem and therefor her solution to the problem was inadequate and ineffective. My train of thought is that if we properly account for the things she did not account for we should be able to formulate an effective solution to the problem we are facing today.
  10. Last week
  11. 2046

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Of all the meta-ethical theories floating around in philosophy, there are usually 4 types: god, society, reason, or nature. Usually attacks on Rand's views as a naturalist come from one of the other templates. A Kantian, for example, might claim Rand fails to attach moral claims to pure reason, a conventionalist might claim public agreement lends to more altruism than Rand wants to allow. You seem to want to challenge Rand's views from within the context of human nature, by pointing to some tribalistic aspects of human nature that we've ignored or failed to see. You mentioned a number of times bow, humans are led by emotions, humans are tribal, humans are inherently this or that. But it's not as if merely asserting this or that constitutes a reason to believe something. It's fine if you want to map out the territory, well if humans were inherently interested in only members of their own race, then some sort of racist ethical prescription might follow, but your posts in here suffer from serious "argument from assertion" fallacies. To simply assert is not to establish. It's as if your claims become their own mantra "I see what you're saying but, humans are inherently tribalistic, QED." Is this the proper way to do philosophy? Is this intellectual honesty or ethical discussion? There are many challenges to a neo-Aristotelian conception of human nature, a Randian could challenge, eg., A Nietzschean account by challenging Nietzsche's views of human nature. But just making assertions and repeating them as a mantra is sophism, not philosophy. Moreover, there are many conservative and communitarian critiques of liberty that point to a supposed inherent tribalism, and establish statism to arrange society in tribalistic patterns. MacIntyre, for example, argues against cosmopolitan liberalism from even a largely Aristotelian framework. But he does more than assert "humans are tribal" over and over. The right-Hegelians wished to establish a tribal society in the basis of racist scientific claims. In any event, your original post was about being an "open Objectivism" and revision of certain claims. It's not clear how, if one adopted the above views, one would be offering a divergence from, rather than new version of, Rand's views. If one is rejecting free will, the efficacy of reason, and open ended human sociality, and opposition to statism, this just comes across as petty opportunism or entryism, rather than being an honest conservative critic.
  12. Consciousness and the contents of consciousness are also existing within Existence ('reality'). But the contents of a particular person's consciousness are most definitely not independent of that person's consciousness. Contents of consciousness refers to many things and includes the first person experience a.k.a. the subjective perspective. Premise 1 is not self-contradictory just wrong. Re: the transporter sidebar; thats just the "Ship of Theseus" problem again where every last plank and furnishing has been replaced and all at once rather than a piece at a time. This paradox attempts to create a dichotomy between matter and form, substance and structure, and people reveal something about themselves when they favor one or the other as the essence of identity. Paraphrasing Aristotle, there is no form without matter and no matter exists without form so there should be no dichotomy. In my resolution, the transported is not identical with the transportee. But ships, rivers and people are all always changing their parts over time even without transporters and we still use the same names for them. Names are the way to bring a conceptual consciousness to bear on concrete particulars, and our concepts for particular ships, rivers and people allow for and encompass non-essential variation. A transporter duplicates the traveler with no measurable variation so of course the name should stay the same. After the practical matter of the name has been settled it is pointless to dwell further on the abstract degree of identity between the before and after versions of the traveler. Pointless, because the transported person should not be treated any different than if he had not used the transporter.
  13. Touch is inherently 3-D, and the awareness of your own body is 3-D. Whatever the concept "space" refers to that may make it a higher than first level concept in physics or geometry, we don't need that to know height, width and depth all exist at the same time as attributes of the same entities (ourselves, the things we touch, and the things we see). In Kelley's The Evidence of the Senses he did have to allow that perceiving can include acquired skill in discrimination. Certainly it is the case that infants require time and practice before they can learn to focus their eyes and reliably gauge whether something is within their reach or not by visual inspection alone. Still greater skill is required to be professional athlete throwing or catching balls or to be skilled with a firearm. That skill includes so-called eye-hand coordination where control of one's own body (not just hands) is automatized through practice to a high degree. What is the epistemological given is product of the senses, that means the final product after the full causal chain of the senses has acted upon the stimuli given to it including those actions of relatively sophisticated integration incorporating acquired skill that result in (for this example) depth perception. So long as what went on was automatic, meaning beyond the control of conceptual consciousness, it is taken as external to conceptual consciousness. What is external to conceptual consciousness is the given. What was given was both the percepts and the means of perceiving. Yes, those two images and the carefully calibrated differences between them are the cause of the 3-D effect. So that is what is really there, it is not a case of perceiving something not there. Identity and causality are responsible for the 3-D effect. Yes (see my first paragraph), and it is both metaphysically given and via the senses epistemologically given. Not everything that is metaphysically given is epistemologically given; for example atomic theory (even Democritus' version) requires a conceptual framework. Knowing that things move is given; no theory of motion is a given. For what its worth I offer this: Don't get hung up on vision as your only sense modality for thinking about space. Remember that non-human consciousnesses such as bats navigate through three dimensional spaces (sometimes the very same three dimensional spaces where humans are present) largely depending on their hearing. There is no misperceiving, only misidentifying. You can be certain something caused your percept if you have a conceptual grasp of identity and causality. But you don't necessarily know what caused your percept. There is such a thing as a "normal range" within which the senses are most effective, which is daylight on the surface of planet Earth. If the prevailing conditions for perceiving are unusual (dim light, monochromatic color source, dipping your arm in an ice bucket then a different bucket, etc...) then seeing or even feeling is not believing.
  14. Eiuol

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Ah, by now it's safe to just say you're a racist, plain and simple. I think all I can say now is I hope you interact with more varieties of people, because I don't think persuasive argument will change your mind anymore.
  15. Azrael Rand

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    I can answer that by approaching the scenario from the opposite side: If immigration isn't about race then we should just eliminate immigration caps and allow entry to anyone from any foreign country so long as they aren't murderers and rapists. If race and tribalism aren't an issue, then the domestic population becoming a political minority should have no bearing whatsoever on the fabric of society. In my opinion advocacy and insistence on "legal immigration" is a means for conservatives to attempt to justify their white in-group preference without having to publicly endorse racist viewpoints. "We're all for legal immigration" they say, except they're really not when you look at public opinion surveys on immigration. The left of course sees right through this and calls them out on it every time. Why not change the law so everybody can come here so that there's no breach of law? As I stated before I advocate for a social system in harmony with human nature. Selfishness is a defining feature of our inherent nature and freedom is the logical means to account for it. That doesn't change the fact that we are also tribal, but given the selfish aspect of human nature I believe it's best to use culture to account for the tribal aspect assuming where talking about an objective system (I could be wrong here but that's my current view). Of course we haven't achieved the objective system yet so this means we have to work with the tools at our disposal (statism) to try to reach the objective system. Same here, but we're not talking about individual interactions but a variety of potential distributions of more and less intelligent people in society. All things equal, if we increase the number off less intelligent people in society, society will become less free and less prosperous. The fact that more intelligent and less intelligent people can and do prosper (materially and emotionally) based on mutual interactions makes the preceding fact a very hard pill to swallow (emotionally) but that doesn't change the fact that reducing the average level of intelligence in society has adverse consequences. I personally don't mind living by the notion of noblesse obligue to a certain extent so long as our efforts are appreciated and we create a humane society in the process, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Based on human nature, I'm proposing natural in-group preference being a good first draft for drawing that line. If I were a sophist by trade I'd discredit the entirety of your post based on this assertion alone. Free will is possible and it is arguably what makes us humans special but saying that people without free will are a rare occurrence or special case is contrary to the fact that humans are led by emotions not reason. Unless you take active steps to cultivate and maintain it you're essentially just chasing dopamine hits in the here and now. Taking an objective look around you, observing the continuous erosion of freedoms, how could you possibly claim that free will is the norm? The answer to the question is that this assertion wasn't based on an objective observation rather based on wishful thinking (emotional reasoning). That's comparing apples (individual variances) to oranges (group variances). As I stated in my reply to Eiuol's post, decreasing the average IQ in a society has consequences and that's without any consideration to even factoring in the tribal aspect of human nature. Yes we should treat people kindly and we should hold people accountable to a shared standard but what that standard is depends on the population in question. Average IQ, among other factors, impacts this standard. The more diverse the population the more the standard will have to change otherwise you won't be able to enforce it from a practical perspective. If you have a low IQ and low empathy population where certain forms of rape are culturally accepted you cannot legally enforce rape laws if this group of people makes up a significant portion of your population. A society cannot function properly with half of its citizenry incarcerated. Given our selfish nature and human nature in general you can only suppress natural urges to a certain extent and call it a success. We all know what happens when you outlaw sexual intercourse. The Catholic Church being a perfect example to illustrate this point. Or take a look at all the leftist male feminist supporters that treat women as less than human.
  16. For the most part, yes. You're still conscious of some things, but certainly not of the immediate reality around you.
  17. I think it would be useful to quote part of How we know, from the chapter on perception When you say that “there is no third dimension so therefore is follows that there should be no way to perceive it”, you’re speaking of a “perceive that” and not a bare “perceive”. You perceive the thing. Period. You do not perceive a dimension – a dimension is a high-level spatial concept, not an entity. You only perceive entities, and conceptually reason to conclusions about the nature of the entity.
  18. StrictlyLogical

    Metaphysical status of First Person Experience

    FPE is not the determining factor however. FPE is crucially important and we each "have it", but plain old identity can be used to make the argument. In fact, since FPE is not any more or less an exemplar of identity, a car or anything else, even a single electron. It's not the same one here as the one there... it's been created/configured to be a copy ... but THIS is never THAT. Now if we look at a DIFFERENT process, one of replacing dying cells, fixing DNA, allowing the body and brain to heal itself, and (possibly one day) achieve indefinite life (until the heat death of the universe), then we have a slow transformation which we already all undergo as we grow and as material enters our bodies and leaves our bodies... this is not the same ... why? Because of continuity... the being was not destroyed here and rebuilt there... it never died it never stopped functioning as it normally does. I disagree that this goes to the heart of FPE's "metaphysical status". I take any claim that questions FPE counting "as anything at all" as logically incoherent on its face. FPE exists and is undeniable. AS for a new thread to discuss teleportation and identity I think it would be fun and better to continue the discussion there... If you are interested Don, please make a new thread.
  19. Mmm, perhaps. I don't know yet. The reason why I brought up the transporter is because I think it speaks directly to the question of "the metaphysical status of First Person Experience." Whether there is anything "real" there. Those who tend to support transporter-like technology usually accord little or no weight to the FPE: that it doesn't exist, or to the extent that it exists, it is held not to matter. Jim Kirk goes in one end of the transporter, he comes out the other end. It's the same guy, right? All scientific (i.e. "third person") tests will tell you that. Hell, if you ask him, Kirk will tell you that he's the same guy. And, unless he's come to the same conclusions I have on the subject, he will believe it. But is he really? Is it the same person? I say that he is not. That he is a different person. Not in the Heraclitean way of the river's ever-changing waters, but in the much more profound (imo) way of: the First Person Experience that was Kirk died, literally died, upon being disassembled on the one end of the transporter, and some new First Person Experience came into being on the other end. No, of course not -- this consciousness I have today is fundamentally the same one I had last night. Sleep is not comparable to death. (And if we apply some stringent "special science" approach to death, not even death may be comparable to death: a person revived after being technically "dead" is still the same person, too.) But when your molecules are disassembled, you cease to be, and your first person experience -- the you that you are and always have been -- ceases to be, as well. If an identical pattern of molecules are assembled elsewhere, you will not somehow magically come back into existence. You will still be dead. The next case to consider is whether it matters if the exact same molecules are used for the "reconstruction," but I think it would not (and an argument to the contrary, I suspect, would of necessity sound somewhat mystical... though I am disposed to entertain it, still). Does this discussion need a separate thread? Advise if so, but I think it really does get at the heart of the question of the FPE and its metaphysical status, and I suspect that peoples' various responses to the transporter problem (and also to the "sleep problem," insofar as we regard it as problematic) speaks to what we think of the FPE itself, and whether it counts as anything at all.
  20. Eiuol

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Then why do you go on about IQ differences and "moral implications"? If you simply will let it go and allow people to live according to their free will, there couldn't be any implication. People who are less smart than me, I don't treat them as morally inferior, it really doesn't matter, because sometimes they can do things even better than me, and still share similar moral values sometimes. I mean, I think you're wrong to think that homogenous society is the inevitable result of free association, I think heterogeneous society is what happens when you allow people to live according to their own values. But if that's only difference, I have no beef with your political position. And what does your position on immigration have to do with race? If your issue is somebody entering the country illegally, that has nothing to do with race. That's an issue of law, that applies to all individuals, regardless of race.
  21. StrictlyLogical

    Metaphysical status of First Person Experience

    Does our consciousness "die" when we sleep or get knocked out? Break out the coffee...!! Perhaps I should grieve the daily death of me and celebrate my daily resurrection? One could quibble about the wording.. but particular mental states do come and go, are born and die. Emotions are fleeting... you never feel exactly the same way twice.. every moment is precious and unique... that thought I had yesterday is gone...but as an entity I AM more than a single state of consciousness I happen to have at any one time. It is in my nature to exist over a number of different mental states... including sleep which is primarily not conscious. I'm afraid this does not seem to have much to do with the transporter as I understand them to (fictionally) work. Maybe the transporter discussion is worth a new thread?
  22. Doug Morris

    Metaphysical status of First Person Experience

    Here is a question for those worried about the transporter: If you go to sleep, or lose consciousness some other way, and then regain consciousness, is that the same consciousness? Or did the previous consciousness end and a new one arise using the same wherewithal?
  23. StrictlyLogical

    Metaphysical status of First Person Experience

    Here is my first attempt to correct this 1. Every thing exists independent of any consciousness awareness of any kind, OF THAT thing. I am using "awareness" in a broad sense, since it subsumes any kind of conscious perception, conception, contemplation, directed attention etc. in respect of a particular thing. So, even when dealing with the specific case of the THING existing being "my conscious awareness of myself", THAT thing either exists or does not exist, and does not require, i.e. is independent of, anyone's conscious awareness OF THAT THING, including my own. I do not need to be consciously aware of "my conscious awareness of myself" in order for me to have "conscious awareness of myself". In fact it is impossible to require any kind of conscious awareness to be at the base of the existence of ANY thing. It is self-refuting. Conscious awareness of a thing presupposes existence of a thing and cannot constitute the basis for the being of the thing. The first person perspective, although an aspect OF consciousness awareness is not created BY consciousness awareness, it simply IS. I think the above is close but maybe not quite perfectly worded?
  24. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    If there are "non-minor differences in characteristics that aren't just superficial" among races in some statistical sense, there is still even greater individual variation, and it is still essential to think of people and treat them as individuals. None of this shakes the moral foundation of Objectivism as it applies to people with free will. People without free will are insane or severely mentally retarded and are a rare special case. People have natural incentives to do things like eating, drinking water, staying warm, and having sex. As long as we have free will, we can give reason the final word on what we do, although a lot of people fail to do this. If there are any natural incentives to be tribal, the same applies.
  25. dream_weaver

    Metaphysical status of First Person Experience

    No, I seem to be grasping at straws here for the moment. I'll have to be content with having explicitly revealed the error at this time.
  26. StrictlyLogical

    Metaphysical status of First Person Experience

    I’m not sure what the point of the point of the exposition on concept formation is about. Knowledge of or conceptualization of something is nothing like what it is to experience something. Also knowing about remembering and imagining experience is not the same as having it. To be clear nothing stands in the way of conceptualization of first person experience... As for the last bit I think it possibly literally incorrect. A third person “perspective” of first person experience is not different by degree, it is different in kind. Even the same individual, if presented with a scenario whereby they know they will fly for the first time. Imagine that person doing some “third person perspective” visualizations beforehand... they look at simulations of thier brain undergoing the experience, they watch videos of other people undergoing the experience, they speak to other people who describe what it was like to them to have the experience, the person even tries very hard to imagine the experience... all of it fails to create in reality what only will exist while that person is actually in the experience of flying. Perhaps I misunderstood your last post and/or its point.
  27. @Grames I'm sorry I have one more question related to misperception. Let's say for example that I misperceive a temperature, do I have a right to claim that a temperature exists in some quantity even though I haven't perceived it? Or if I misidentify a watercup as a ball, do I have a right to claim that something exists? This kind of relates to my thinking about "depth perception" and it being distorted. If your perception is distorted, you have misperceived something (some object) but I think you must have at least done something right if you were able to achieve the form of perception that you did. And I'm wondering are there any valid claims that you can make based on misperception like the examples I gave?
  28. @Grames you mentioned “Your issue is very much similar to debating if a thing is truly red or merely painted red. The appearance of redness is genuine in either case, and so is the appearance of three dimensionality in your example where the 3-Dness is 'painted on'. That appearances can be deceiving is long known.” So here is what I find troubling about your statement. In your example, there is actually something about the paint that contains physical properties that I perceived as red. It EXISTS and is there for me to perceive it. And it was placed on the object which also EXISTS and is there for me to perceive it. I understand this situation. But I don’t think my example should be granted an equal status and I will try to argue why. In the case when you are focusing on a 2D screen, THERE IS NO THIRD dimension so therefore it follows THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO WAY TO PERCEIVE it. You can’t perceive something that doesn’t exist. You only may perceive something else and you might think that that something else is something, in which case you would be perceiving something but mistaking it for something else. Although this whole situation with 3D glasses is making me doubt what I wrote in my previous sentence so I am actually interested in what you think about being able to perceive something which does not exist. For example, if we did not live in 3D universe, only 2 dimensions, would it even be possible to perceive or even misperceive a third dimension if a third dimension didn’t even exist? I would assume that it would be impossible and I based some further thinking about this situation on this assumption and it gave me another idea. Even with 3D glasses, whatever object you are perceiving, even if it is a 2D screen, is still located a certain depth away from you. And it might be possible that you can misperceive that depth and misperceive it varyingly (by “varyingly” I mean certain parts of it appear closer than others) under the right circumstances. So I read a little bit about what those circumstances might be and I stumbled onto stereopsis. So it turns that there are multiple mechanisms by which we perceive depth, with a major one being by having two eyes spaced a certain distance apart. In normal vision, because the eyes are spaced a certain distance apart, your eyes get two slightly different images delivered to them by light and light is incident at slightly different angles. Your mind than takes those images and integrates them into sensations. Then it integrates those sensations into a perception. And it actually uses the two different images to perform the integration to perceive depth. And it is at this point that I have another doubt and it relates to what to DavidOdden stated about the “metaphysically given.” I find myself asking “Is depth metaphysically given?” If depth is perceptual, then it has to be “metaphysically given.” But it just might be so that only objects are metaphysically given. This is also why I titled my post the way I did. I am starting to suspect that “depth perception” might instead be a first-level concept and I would be very interested in your response to this thought. Besides the question about depth, another reason that I am thinking that “depth perception” could be a first-level concept is that we all make an implicit assumption (and no assumptions are supposed to be involved at the perceptual level of consciousness) that we do not think about when we look at any object. That implicit assumption is also how the makers of 3D glasses trick us into perceiving a 3rd dimension that IS NOT THERE. We assume that we are looking at the SAME OBJECT WITH BOTH EYES. This turns out to be an extremely significant and overlooked implicit assumption because passive 3D glasses actually filter two types of light that are coming from DIFFERENT LOCATIONS from a screen. One lens blocks out one type of light so your eye never sees it and the other lens blocks out the other type of light so your other eye never sees the light the former eye sees. THIS IS HOW YOU GET TWO DIFFERENT IMAGES DELIVERED to your eyeballs. You’re actually looking at two different pictures (objects) and you don’t know it. Active 3D glasses create an almost equivalent situation but not exactly the same. They either function as a screen or synchronize with a T.V screen to alternate back and forth between images that your right and left eyes would see if you were not being deceived. The TV shows an image intended for your right eye and your left lens darkens completely (so your left eye never sees the image intended for your right eye) and a split-second later the TV shows an image for your left eye and your right lens darkens completely (so your right eye never sees the image intended for your left eye) and this happens so fast and frequently that your brain can’t tell the difference. It’s a slightly different situation but it achieves the same end result, you get two slightly different images delivered to your eyeballs that your eyes would not see if they were both simultaneously looking at one image on a screen, but THAT THEY WOULD SEE if you were looking at the object in real life. It’s almost like your mind is performing a trigonometric triangulation calculation with an object being one vertex and your two eyes being the other two vertices… The bottom line is that those glasses deliver two slightly different images to your eyeballs and your brain integrates them into one whole 3D perception. The last question I am hoping to get your response on which is slightly tangent from this OP (but not too tangent) is the following: Is there a spatial relationship that exists between entities in reality independent of the mind? And if it does exist independent of the mind, is it “metaphysically given” (meaning can it be perceived?) or is it just metaphysically real and conceptually identified? I know Peikoff said that “Space is a concept” but he did mention that it refers to relationship between entities so I am thinking that the relationship it refers to has to exist in reality, right? The reason I ask this is because I think depth perception might be based on the conceptual identification of a spatial relationship between “metaphysically given” entities. I don’t know about depth, but I suspect that you can at least know based on observation that we live in at least a 2D universe because you can visually perceive at least in 2D (because the images you get even of the real world are in fact in 2D) and you can geometrically conceptualize that you can two perpendicular line segments between the entities you see that would also determine two axes (or two dimensions of space). I think connecting these line segments and understanding how they determine two axes of space could be the very act of conceptually identifying the spatial relationship between entities. And I think that the way that you know that there is a 3rd Dimension is by connecting line segments from the entities that you see in 2D TO YOURSELF (since you yourself are self-aware and are therefore also at least a “metaphysically given” entity). When you connect this line segment to yourself, I think you have conceptually correctly identified a 3rd dimension of the spatial relationship between you and every other entity that exists. I think by going through this geometric proof you can at least know that there are 3 dimensions and depth has to exist as a result of this conclusion being true and it may exist in any quantity, but it must exist in some quantity.
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