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epistemologue

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Everything posted by epistemologue

  1. Someone asked: "is determinism (or causation, I may be mixing the two up if they're different) not the way all logic and science works when talking about anything? ... studies that seem to indicate that free will may be more of an illusion" The reductionist materialism of the "scientific worldview", does embrace determinism and the idea that free will is an illusion. Logic does not dictate this, though, actually the reductionist worldview is incoherent. Without free will, morality or ethics would be a meaningless science, people will act strictly according to prior causes, and can't change their behavior based on a morality. So there would be no "good" or "bad", no right or wrong, no justice, nothing. These terms would be essentially meaningless. If behavior is determined, then what people do, just *is* what they do, there's no alternative to compare it against, it wasn't right or wrong, or better or worse, it just *happened*. Worse than that, if reductionism is true, then all that exists in a metaphysically basic sense are millions of identical particles, behaving according to simple mathematical rules, a la Conway's game of life. There is no real line you can draw around one group of particles and think of it as a person, that would be a purely subjective choice that doesn't actually mean anything in reality. The things that you think you see around you aren't real. There are no men or women, there isn't even a self. Furthermore, statements or propositions you make don't have any meaning in the sense of true or false either since the concepts that make them up don't mean anything, and therefore neither does logic hold. So in this materialist worldview there is no justice, no morality, no truth or reason or logic, or even self. These concepts are all contradicted by the nature of reality. They are essentially meaningless and impossible. Yet despite all of this, they will still continue to speak as if these were true. They will talk about what you ought to do for your well-being, how you should be rational, use reason, seek truth, be logical, and speak as if people are real, that things around them are real, that they matter, and that there is meaning in life. All of this is contradicted by their own philosophy, and so they are being incoherent, and engaging wholesale in the fallacy of the stolen concept.
  2. epistemologue

    The Law of Identity

    Again, they could only be "perfectly entitled" to those things on the premise of nihilism and relativism in aesthetics and morality. If instead, these norms follow from their metaphysical base, then nobody who doesn't have that biological foundation could legitimately claim any of the norms which follow from it.
  3. epistemologue

    The Law of Identity

    Very well said, and unfortunately we see exactly this sort of subjectivism even among prominent "Objectivists" like Diana Hsieh, http://www.philosophyinaction.com/blog/?p=14774&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+noodlefood+(NoodleFood) This view of one's own mind as an unintelligible black hole, an unreasonable force of emotions, is actually quite sad... Ayn Rand did a lot of work to describe the connection between reason and emotions (especially in The Romantic Manifesto, as well as in Atlas Shrugged). She taught how one can understand their own mind in just this respect, but it seems to have been lost on the likes of subjectivists like Diana Hsieh.
  4. epistemologue

    The Law of Identity

    I would just like to make a point regarding aesthetic ideals and utilitarian optimization. You are trying to say that there is no meaningful connection between one's biology and one's behavior. I would say that is a form of nihilism and relativism in the realms of aesthetics and morality which is quite contrary to the philosophy of Objectivism. Starting from the metaphysically given, in this case one's biological sex, there are going to be certain choices which are more or less consistent with the ideal aesthetic form and with the optimal utilitarian function for the person with said metaphysically given characteristics. Let's just keep things superficial here and think only about a few of the statistically significant biological differences in the population of males vs. females to start with. For men: Grip strength Height Preference for rough-and-tumble play Throwing ability Upper-body strength https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201711/the-truth-about-sex-differences Now what do these traits imply as far as the ideal aesthetic form and the optimal utilitarian function of males as opposed to females? Because of the differences in these metaphysically given characteristics in males, it is going to aesthetically consistent for them to choose to be physically big, strong, muscular, and physically fit (and it would be aesthetically inconsistent to choose otherwise), and because they have a competitive advantage in these functions, it's going to be more useful for them to be employed in these sort of roles in the home and in the economy. As I said, this is just a superficial example, this analysis can be applied much more deeply to the differences between men and women by nature and therefore in the differences in aesthetic ideals and utilitarian optimization which follow, and from there ultimately the differences in choice which would rationally and morally follow from an objective standard.
  5. Now obviously these deterministic machines aren't acting with any libertarian free will like we know humans do, so to that extent there are going to be issues with applying human terms which rely on volition. But I'm not sure what to say about these terms beyond that...
  6. The materialist conceptions of concepts, learning, and so on, have a very limited meaning, and can only produce limited results for that reason. "Learning" is the accumulation of regularities, and statistical estimates from there. "Concepts" are bundles of correlated properties grouped together according to statistical or pragmatic standards. A more Aristotelean or Objectivist conception of concepts or learning have a stronger meaning, and can produce much stronger results when implemented. Concepts are universals, which classify all units of a kind, and have a logical definition based on the rule of fundamentality. Learning is induction of universal concepts or propositions from particulars using the methods and within the limits of logic and non-contradictory identification.
  7. I think there is a valid concern here, but not in the way you're suggesting. I think there are practical, technological consequences to having a correct or incorrect philosophy. A philosophy based on materialist premises is going to imply a nominalist approach in epistemology, which as a technical approach, will lead to inappropriate forms of knowledge representation (e.g. Humean bundles of properties), and bad methods of inductive learning (e.g. cataloging statistical regularities).
  8. epistemologue

    The Audit

    here you agreed with my characterization of you as a "positive utilitarian", despite having just said I don't anymore think that position is correct
  9. Do you think death is necessary to make life meaningful? Is the struggle for survival necessary for happiness? I've heard Objectivists and others argue that we have to struggle for survival, and if and when we ever achieve immortality, we might as well kill ourselves, because we have no purpose anymore and therefore happiness is impossible, since happiness is defined by a struggle to survive. This position is incomprehensible and very disturbing to me. I love my life and I'm happy to exist despite the struggle to survive - if we were immortal and survival weren't a struggle that would be a load off of my back, I could settle into just pursuing the things that make me happy, without needing to worry about this survival problem.
  10. epistemologue

    You should choose to live

    Man's life is the standard of moral value, and his own life is his moral purpose. So morally speaking, choosing to live is the most basic moral choice, that is the most basic thing that you should do. Anyone who chooses not to is abdicating their moral values, and contradicting their moral purpose.
  11. epistemologue

    IPS Chat Discontinued

    Can a button be added to the top banner like it used to be? https://tlk.io/objectivismonlinechat
  12. Can you summarize the main point in these articles?
  13. epistemologue

    IPS Chat Discontinued

    @JASKN have you had any chance to look at PHPFreeChat? or anything I can do to help? I'd love to get a chat back up here on OO again. maybe we could even do a regularly scheduled chat meetup on Sunday nights or something like that.
  14. The following is a summary critique of "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" by Ayn Rand, that I'm going to post here in reply to Eiuol's question: The study of concepts is about the study of abstractions or universals - not the concrete things which are everything that man perceives (p. 1-2). The question of whether *concepts* refer to something real, something that exists, is a question of whether *universals* are real, whether they exist. Put another way, it's a question of whether there are "natural kinds" - are the concrete things in reality grouped into such natural "kinds", such abstract or universal "identities", or are the things in reality entirely concrete and unique, and there are no such *natural* kinds, no shared universal identity between things - no universals, no abstract *concepts*, only *categories* grouping together concretes? This is the real "problem of universals", the question that concerns whether concepts "correspond to something in reality" (p. 2, 52-53, 74). The issue of concepts is an epistemological issue, but it depends on metaphysics. If all that exists are concretes, if metaphysically there are no such things as "universals" (or "kinds", or "essences"), then this leads to a radically different epistemology than if such abstractions do exist metaphysically. When it's put forward that we group things based on measurable criteria, this can be interpreted one of two ways: if there *are* natural kinds, that these kinds have distinctive measurements, and we can identify their essence by the method of measurement (and no supernatural revelation is necessary, as claimed on p. 53-54) - or, if there are *not* natural kinds, and that we can define a type of measure with which we group things together as "the same" or "different" according to subjective or pragmatic standards. Everything in reality does have measurements, and we can objectively identify the measures of each thing, and choose to group things according to whether their measurements fit some given criteria. But such categories as we devise on this basis alone do *not* "have a basis in reality" - the entities are real, the measurements are real, and we can define groupings which do contain real things, but if there is no *natural* kind, a *natural* grouping of things that share the same measurements because of some underlying metaphysical *necessity*, then the category is not something based in reality, but rather it is based on our own subjective criteria. Either a concept is defined in order to *correspond* to a metaphysically real identity and *identify* its referents, or a category is defined in order to "provide an identity", by one's own subjective convention, and *specify* its referents (p. 11, 40). Subjective criteria outlined by Rand include: 1) defining categories based on the utilitarian requirements of the entities, as in defining a table by how we intend to use it instead of by its constitutive characteristics (p. 12, 22), 2) defining categories for the sake of unit economy, in cases where we have to employ long descriptions frequently and can shorten our thought by defining a new name (p. 63), or 3) constructing a definition of a category relationally, for the purpose of differentiating some group of entities from what's *not* in the category within your current context of knowledge (p. 13, 40), instead of constructing a definition for the purpose of identifying the constitutive measurements of the object itself (p. 42, 45, 73). The appeal to there being strict rules without any room for arbitrary whim does not mean that the formation of a category is not ultimately justified subjectively (especially if it's admitted there's room for optionality, as in p. 70-73) - it is still subjective as long as the formation is based on your own subjective, pragmatic requirements, rather than on the objective requirements dictated by the objects in reality (p. 43, 70-71). Such subjective categories cannot be held without contradiction as your knowledge expands. Since every individual concrete differs in at least some measure (p. 143), any universal claims over a category would be contradicted by at least some other concretes in the given category if there is no metaphysical principle that ensures they are essentially identical (p. 43). This is the usual justification for having a skeptic epistemology (such as those philosophies of science propounded by Popper, Kuhn, etc.) where all truth is subjective when coming from materialist and empiricist metaphysical premises (p. 48-49, 75). Another point that seems frequently equivocated: a concept is *abstract*, and thus subsumes all possible entities of a certain kind (whether any have been perceptually observed or not). The meaning of such a concept is the *kind*, and *all* entities of that kind (p. 17-18, 21). Creating a system of categories merely for grouping perceptually observed entities is rather concrete-bound, and the meaning of such a category is *only* the collection of those concrete entities that have been perceptually observed previously (p. 10), and *not* the kind itself, and the infinite variation of possible entities of that kind. A concept can, in principle, be reduced to a set of measurements and observable perceptions (which one may have never actually perceived), but a category is directly, concretely reducible to the set of one's previously observed perceptions which are a part of that category (p. 15). While it's true that a sensation itself cannot be communicated to someone incapable of perceiving it (e.g. the color blue to a blind person), the meaning of a concept can be, since a concept is abstract - it's only the meaning of a *category*, which reduces *concretely* to perception, which cannot be communicated (p. 40-41). Either there is no universal identity between concretes which logically necessitates the universal concept and therefore our concepts are defined subjectively and pragmatically, and our claims over them have no real truth status, or else there *is* a universal identity, metaphysically, which holds it together and makes universal concepts, claims, and induction possible. You can't have it both ways. Since Rand vigorously denounces intrinsicism and essences on the metaphysical level, her epistemology must necessarily be subjective and pragmatic, essentially no different from any logical positivist or philosopher of science, and just as meaningless and lacking of rational justification. The same goes with the ethics and politics, too, I'm afraid.
  15. This is one of the most dishonest, malevolent things I have ever read. You are a true representative of Objectivists these days.
  16. Plasmatic I comprehended the argument before I read Scott Ryan. The mini-critique of Oist epistemology in this thread was written before I'd ever heard of the book. Oist epistemology is broken and it's conclusions are unjustified. I'll have to take whatever this necessarily commits me to, if it's Platonic Forms with "bizarre abilities" - then they aren't so bizarre, if they are necessary for the justification of knowledge, are they? But I have no idea if that sort of thing is in the cards or not.
  17. It makes any general knowledge or induction unjustifiable. I don't know if I can say much more than I already have, I haven't studied enough metaphysics. In my opinion, Objectivism has a fundamental problem in metaphysics, and it's a fracture which runs through and corrupts the entire philosophy. I agree with Scott Ryan on that. I am still in the midst of reading his book. I don't know how much else I agree with him on (it may be a lot or a little), he seems to be "Absolute Idealist", which is some kind of Hegelian thing that I simply don't understand. I'm going to put forth a legitimate effort to study the field of metaphysics; I've bought a number of textbooks on the subject and will also consult various online articles and lectures. I want to improve my knowledge (virtually everyone in both threads keeps talking about universal "entities", I don't understand this at all), as well as improve my arguments, and refine my judgment on these matters and the individuals and philosophies involved. The philosophical system as laid out by Rand and followed by Peikoff and other major Objectivist figures I believe to be fundamentally broken, from metaphysics on up - though of course I agree whole-heartedly with it's spirit of non-supernaturalism, free will, rationality, egoism, Rand's list of virtues and values, and capitalism, among many other things (I also love Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, I've read both 7 times each). The question at this point is whether to "reinvent" Objectivism from the ground up, keeping with Rand mostly only in spirit if not in philosophy, or else to abandon "Objectivism" entirely to the dust pile and work from some other, more suitable foundation, perhaps "Objective Idealism", as Scott Ryan calls it, or Brand Blanshard's "Absolute Idealism". or maybe something else entirely, or something new, I don't know. If anyone's interested in studying the field of metaphysics and corresponding send me a message. Otherwise I'll try to come back these threads and the various issues involved at a later time.
  18. I'm not saying that everything metaphysically given to us needs explanation *in order to exist*... are you serious? I'm telling you that without some metaphysically real universality, any identity between two units of a concept is logically inconsistent with one's premises. That is, on the metaphysical premise that everything that exists is particular, there is no *shared* identity between particulars.
  19. I was curious if anyone else has read this book by Scott Ryan. I am still only on Chapter 1, but I think the author has a lot of clear insights that I haven't read anywhere else. The argument in Chapter 1 is that she missed the "problem of universals" entirely - which is properly a *metaphysical* question, not an epistemological one. Personally I've always thought it was odd that she began the book stating that it was all about the problem of universals, but the word "universal" is not defined, nor is it ever actually substantively used again at all throughout the rest of the book. Instead she talks about epistemological "abstractions". She seems to dismiss and avoid the metaphysical issue entirely. The only thing she mentions is that Plato and Aristotle (and intrinsicists in general) are wrong, that universals do not exist on the metaphysical level. But her only argument is that such universals could not be "perceived" directly, by no means - which is not a necessary feature of intrinsicist metaphysics. And her entire epistemology seems to be aimed at the idea of creating abstract concepts which themselves have both universality and correspondence with reality. If there are no such metaphysically real universals, then to what would these correspond, what meaning or use could they possibly have? The typical nominalist who denies intrinisicist metaphysics doesn't try to steal a notion of universal "concepts" like this, they will openly admit that concepts refer to a collection of concretes and have strictly pragmatic value (and are not any kind of universal abstractions which correspond with reality). Available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Objectivism-Corruption-Rationality-Critique-Epistemology/dp/0595267335 Available in pdf here: http://www.scholardarity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Objectivism-and-the-Corruption-of-Rationality-Scott-Ryan.pdf
  20. epistemologue

    IPS Chat Discontinued

    ah I see. I'll look for another option.
  21. You either have to accept universals exist *metaphysically*, or else any similarity between concretes is inexplicable and unnecessary; any particular from one point in time to another can't even be justified as "the same", if *all* you believe is metaphysically basic is the particular itself, and nothing is metaphysically real on a higher order that guarantees identity between any two particulars, or between any "one particular" at one point of time and another.
  22. "Metaphysical" does not mean "material". Gravity exists metaphysically, but it's not "just another concrete". So you've got a fundamental problem here.
  23. epistemologue

    IPS Chat Discontinued

    https://rocket.chat/ Someone wrote: "It's possible [to integrate Rocket.Chat with IPS4] with Oauth plugin from Marketplace. A friend of mine already did it and it looks stunning." Another person: "I have it integrated in my site. Pretty easy with this free plugin" https://invisionpower.com/forums/topic/429968-oauth-server/#comment-2638024 Here's how to configure the OAuth Server application to integrate IPS4 with Rocket.Chat. Rocket.Chat Install and setup Rocket.Chat. A walkthrough is beyond the scope of this guide. Create an initial administrator user and password, then login as that administrator. Administration > OAuth > Add Custom OAuth button (at the very bottom). Enter a unique identifier for this integration (ex: ips4) Find the Custom OAuth: <IPS4> section and expand it. Make a note of the Callback URL, e.g. https://your.rocketchat.com/_oauth/ips4 IPS4 Site ACP > Community > OAuth Server > Applications > Add Application. Enter a unique name for the integration (e.g. Rocket.Chat) and the Callback URL you obtained from Rocket.Chat above. Click Save. Select the user groups you wish to be able to authenticate against IPS4 for this integration. Do not select Guest! Click Save. Click on the Edit pencil again and take note of the Client ID, Client Secret, and 3 integration URLs. Rocket.Chat Change the following settings: Enabled: True URL: Top-level URL for your IPS4 site, such as https://your.ips4.com/. If your site is not installed at the root of the webserver, include any subdirectory here, such as https://mysite.com/ips4. Token Path: applications/oauth2server/interface/token.php Identity Path: applications/oauth2server/interface/me.php Authorization Path: applications/oauth2server/interface/authorize.php Token sent via: Payload or Header both work, it doesn't matter. ID: your Client ID from IPS4 here Secret: your Client Secret from IPS4 here Login Style: I recommend Popup Button settings as you wish. You may have to restart the Rocket.Chat server at this point. I had to, but I cannot guarantee that is is mandatory. Logout as Administrator and use the new button to log in as an IPS4 user. Log back in as the Administrator user and give admin access to your IPS4 user (#general chat > people icon on the right > click on user > MAKE ADMIN). (Optional) Disable username/password login for Rocket.Chat: Administration > Accounts > Show Form-based Login set to False. WARNING: Do not do this until you have made at least one IPS4 user an administrator or you will lose admin access to your Rocket.Chat server!
  24. epistemologue

    Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

    What I'm asking is, what does this substantively add to the characterization? I haven't read the article you linked yet.
  25. epistemologue

    Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

    I really don't understand the significance of this semantic distinction. in other words, so what?
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