Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum

Welcome to Objectivism Online, a forum for discussing the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For full access, register via Facebook or email.

Ilya Startsev

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Ilya Startsev

  1. The best video I've ever seen against climate change is this: I highly recommend watching it.
  2. Maybe you could also explain, as I am confused on this topic, what led to Peikoff's break off with Harriman. I mean, Harriman is with TAS now. Did Peikoff finally realize that Harriman was off on the topics of the book? Or was it something different? I downloaded Rovelli's article, but I am not sure I'd be interested in reading science any time soon. I am all about philosophy right now, and I can tell you right front: I do not respect Rovelli's philosophy. It's not an attack. It's a matter of fact.
  3. This is excellent news. It shows evidence of a segment of the connection between quantum and cosmic levels (here on earth). Two things I want to elaborate on for you specifically, EC, as you are new to this discussion: I argued against the Loop quantum gravity, a theory that competes with string theory but bases itself also on quantum gravity (but philosophically vastly different). Also, when I mentioned that gravity for strings is an a posteriori fact (and even than a fact of mathematics, not an empirical fact), I want to stress that a posteriori doesn't exclude necessary conclusions, as Saul Kripke wonderfully argued, contrary to what all Kantians believe.
  4. New Buddha, I sincerely apologize concerning ad hominem attacks. I try to delete them when I proofread my comments, but some do get through, based on emotions I feel at the moment. Notice also, although that doesn't excuse me one bit, that they are indirect attacks. I would never directly attack anyone on this forum! Yes, there is also a contradiction on my part (based also on emotions, rather than proper reasoning). When you brought up LQG I was a bit surprised because I've never heard about it before, and since I disagreed with the Atomic article I decided to attack the theory too, not realizing that my disagreement was with its philosophy, not science, of this particular writer. (It's funny, though, that he also confuses philosophy with science, as in his book on Anaximander.) In any case, we should stick to philosophy here, as I am not a professional scientist, just an amateur like Peikoff is. The 'deception' part is a rhetorical tactic I've used too often, so I will try to hold off on that. I respect Peikoff greatly (much more so than Rovelli), and when the contradiction was obvious I hated attacking him. I am also surprised that Lee Smolin "approved" of Harriman's book (that's indeed quite a shift in the scientific community if that is indeed so!), as I didn't grasp that from your previous comment. Could you reference exactly the "approval"? Only a posteriori as an explanation, yes, as happens in M-theory (necessitating the presence of gravity by the structure of strings). In any case, as I quoted from Wikipedia, gravity is added after quantum evidence was coded into strings. Yes, and here I once again refer to string theory. Notice that Einstein's and Hawking's original explanations (equations, descriptions) had nothing to do with actual quanta. The idea that information is not lost in black holes and that holographic principle is fruitful in understanding them comes from Leonard Susskind, one of co-founders of string theory (and the principle exponent, I would say). In the Diagram I've added him as an integrator of a completely new kind, undiscovered yet by Peikoff or any of Objectivists. But seeing that someone on this forum is actually approving of him is another great surprise (of today)!
  5. I stopped reading Harriman after two of his passages. The first one is his inaccurate attribution of rationalism and 'secularism' to Aristotle: That's deception concerning knowing who Aristotle really was (if you were ever serious about studying him). The second passage showed the complete failure of Harriman's entire project of The Logical Leap (edited by Peikoff): This is an overgeneralization that is flawed at the root. First of all, there is no way of knowing everything that's going on, as integrations are complex and multi-leveled. Secondly, only someone who is looking top-down (from an authoritative position) could even attempt to judge such absolute knowledge possible to acquire in this lifetime. And thirdly, Harriman contradicts himself when he starts to enumerate various points and aspects of integration, even though in this quote he evidently says it is not necessary to do so, when you are dealing with a (nebulous) "total." Frankly, and additionally, neither Harriman (M.S.) nor Peikoff (PhD in philosophy) grasp the current work in quantum mechanics and the interpretations of this theory, which are not all fantasies, contrary to what these men would like us to believe. One obvious flaw of The DIM is its consistency in getting all the advanced physical facts wrong. (Ask any professional physicist and they will laugh Peikoff's Ch. 6 out of discussion.) Now, as for the quoted attacks on string theory: About each point: 1) That is called the false vacua of the multiverse, a complexity of a much greater scale than we before could even imagine about our reality (and some unfortunately still can't, even after given rigorous formalizations). 2) I've already said in the previous comment that observation of a multiverse is not impossible a priori; the theory is very new and so ahead of its time that experimental science of a greater scale still needs to catch up to it. Perhaps starting to develop one's imagination won't hurt before we tackle the advanced problems of physics with this theory. 3a) Even though its far-reaching conclusions have yet to be proven, string theory (in toto) depends only on observable evidence already gathered thanks to quantum and relativity theories. In contrast to what some may believe, string theory doesn't postulate any new and undiscovered forces (such as gravitons) or fields (such as inflatons). Instead, it only describes all the currently known evidence and data about both the quantum and the cosmic scales (distinguishing the two). Without yet being able to observe the internal structure of particles, string theory postulates particles as strings, that is, strings being particles themselves, particle motion and quantum numbers attributed to how strings behave. Each unique string structure corresponds to factual data of individual particles (electrons, quarks, etc.). Hence, each particle from The Standard Model is visualized as a string. This visualization is crucial, both mathematically and intuitively, to be able to grasp problems of the universe that we would otherwise fail to even approach. 3b) I am not sure if you realize that Einstein's 'spooky action at a distance' came out to be true and is a fact today known as quantum entanglement. Without the string theory's explanation of particle motions in multiple dimensions, there is no intuitive way of explaining quantum entanglement. Hence, it is the strength of the string theory in taking account of actual, otherwise unexplainable phenomena on not only quantum level but also on the cosmic level (such as black holes). Concerning advanced physics that you seem to favor without actually understanding what it entails, here is something: The inductive approach shared by integrators is to go ground up. In this case, ground-up, and not top-down, is the view of string theory. LQG, in its very description, contradicts integration. On the other hand, let me be more sympathetic. There is a new, more or less promising theory that combines spacetime quantization and multiple dimensions. Roberts seems to integratively grasp how spacetime can be properly quantized without atomistic reduction of LQG, and he also simplifies (or dumbs down) the 11 dimensions from the M-theory extension of string theory. Now, his view is interesting and may provide new ideas and perspectives on old problems, but I doubt it could count for more, as it is still very limiting, compared to competing theories. In any case, I will leave you with your own thoughts.
  6. Actually I quite grasped this. That's why I wrote that they perceived nature as a whole. The only way something can be a whole is if it is determined by its form of essence. Hence the failure of Kant's epistemology. I am also aware that Newton and Locke didn't use the essentialist thinking of Aristotle; however, they still retained essences by other means, as things in themselves and centers of mass, somethings that directly inhere to objects and have a unifying (integrative) nature. Quantum gravity is a false flag problem operating in physics to promote the kind of disintegration I spoke of. In order to realize that there is no gravity, as such, on the quantum level, one needs to make a single mental operation: distinguish quantum and cosmic levels. Once you do, you'd realize that just because they find gravity on the cosmic level, it doesn't necessarily follow that quantum level will have it too. Searching for gravity as such on the quantum level is like searching for Santa Claus. No matter how much you believe in it (him), you won't find the actual thing (person), but you may find imitators. Frankly, I don't understand what the big deal is with not accepting string theory. The intuitive aspect of string theory is that it finds gravity in the connection of quantum and cosmic levels, not on each level alone. Now, a connection would have gravity, surely, as you have gravity on one end of this line. Without this connection, however, you cannot find gravity among quanta, no matter how much you'd try to reduce the entire cosmos to quantum phenomena: your ultimate result is a failure, which, of course, if you are a DIS, you'd cover up to suit your purposes and continue to go at it or maybe even LIE about it (gasp! some scientists lie about global warming data because they believe in it so much and want others to believe (i.e. be deceived)!). This is the B.S. that I am talking about. Santa Claus. Only with a different name. It's like saying that 1 (quantum) = 14 (cosmos). In reality, those of us who are reasonable enough should know the absolute truth that 1 =/= 14, or that 14 =/= 1. In fact, it is necessarily so that 14 can never equal 1, so cosmos can never equal quantum. Are you an Objectivist, New Buddha, or what? Why be deceived by these people, when Rand or Peikoff never would? Now, concerning empirical predictions of string theory. People like Rovelli indeed have claimed that it is impossible to show that multiverse exists. However, we also thought other things were impossible to show, such as that atoms exist or what happens at the moment of the Big Bang. It takes time to find a way to prove or show something. Today, there is no way to prove that multiverse exists, but that doesn't exclude the possibility that in the future we could find such an apparatus (whether mathematical or experimental) that would help some genius prove this by showing that multiverse exists. At least it shouldn't be as hard as finding a graviton or an inflaton, in which so many anti-string theorists believe so vehemently. It would help, however, to find such a (logical) frame of reference that would allow one to see how a string-theory multiverse (vs. gravitons or inflatons) is possible. All it is is a grander scale universe, say, a 16, compared to our very limited observable one.
  7. The conclusions I hold from my research is that labels, influences, and theologies are independent from philosophy. The fabric of the history of philosophy is full of dynamical interactions between philosophers. As an example, let's briefly examine five of them: 1) Berkeley, 2) Descartes (interchangeable with Leibniz), 3) Kant, 4) Hume, and 5) Newton (interchangeable with Locke). All five are within different types of philosophies or philosophical traditions (formalized into categories) with different Positions, Directions, and/or Scopes. Here is a cut from the Diagram, reflecting the structures of these five philosophers (philosophies). Note also that these structures are not dependent on time (or space or horizontal representation) and thus are metaphysical (it doesn't matter whether Democritus is found 2 million years into the future and Kant 2 million years in the past, the point is that they are included within the same category). To relate to Peikoff: 1 & 2 are MIS, 3 & 4 are DIS, and 5 is INT. Note their differences. They were all influenced by materialists, perhaps, as you mention, but nonetheless they have differences that are significant. I wrote before on this thread that I believe Descartes and Hume had the greatest influence on Kant. The reason I wrote that is that the substance of Descartes and Hume indeed could have genuinely affected Kant because they all share Kant's Scope. In contrast, Newton and Berkeley do not share Kant's Scope and hence Kant could have only been affected by (his or his mentor's) interpretations of their works rather than the substance of their work. Now, I know some of you may be saying: but wait, Hume was following Berkeley's tradition! Well, not really. It's like saying that Kant was following Newton's tradition, but he really wasn't, as Boydstun's article shows. Instead, Hume was following a radically reduced version (an interpretation) of Berkeley's philosophy. The significant difference between these two so-called empiricists is that Hume was basically a skeptic and Berkeley wasn't. For an example, consider Berkeley's 'conflict' with Malebranche, who claimed that all ideas and all of reality are only known by God, not by people. Berkeley was furious. He said that nothing contradicted his philosophy more because he believed that we can know everything, since, according to him, everything is simply our ideas. Now, if only he compared Malebranche and Hume then the differences would have been much more pronounced, showing that actually he had much less conflict with the first than with the second. This is an example of how one (Hume) was influenced by Berkeley but did not keep the substance of that philosophy. Influences like these lead to faulty labels (as Hume called himself an idealist because of Berkeley), showing that not only labels but also influences can be in name only and understood incompletely indeed. A question: does anyone know whether Berkeley and Hume ever met or corresponded, and if so what they told or wrote to each other? I am interested in whether they found more similarities or conflicts between them. Re Atomic theory article: "Einstein provides, after 2,300 years, the proof of the accuracy of Democritus’s insight: matter is granular." - This is fascinating, considering that Einstein at first, following Mach, didn't believe in atoms, and then that his views match more Platonic than Democritean philosophy. Talk about how suppression of information works out at the end! "the loss of the works of Democritus in their entirety is the greatest intellectual tragedy to ensue from the collapse of the old classical civilisation" - I would say the same about the loss of the works of Anaximander, the author of the first philosophical tractate. "We have been left with all of Aristotle" - this is false. His dialogues are not extant. "Perhaps if all the works of Democritus had survived, and nothing of Aristotle’s, the intellectual history of our civilisation would have been better." That's a jump to a conclusion. It would have been different, for sure, but with Democritus we would have had science progress much more beyond spiritual evolution and so we would have lost our humanity much sooner. Democritus was anti-spiritual, a kind of scientist-robot we see today quite often (I would call Richard Feynman as one, although he was a sarcastic s.o.b.). If there was no Aristotle, there would be no civilization, as we would have disintegrated in conflicts, deteriorating climate, and wars, whose weaponry and effects were caused by scientists and engineers of a materialist calling. No one destroys matter more than materialists themselves do. (See collider and fission experiments.) "The closure of the ancient schools such as those of Athens and Alexandria, and the destruction of all the texts not in accordance with Christian ideas..." - I see an underhand anti-Christian tendency here. First, Alexandrian library was set on fire by a Muslim once. Second, Christian Scholastics, by their meticulous and organized reasoning, caused much change in the scientific front. It's just that change in the Middle Ages was slow because science and religion (spirituality) were in continuous interaction, dialogue, and harmony (like we see in tolerant and proper political and academic work, since such evolution is slow). Today's postmodernist tendency (portraying the so-called "life" in the article) is the product of the deterioration of that harmony at a quickening pace leading us to who-knows-where. "The sense of the profound unity of things, derived from the knowledge that we are all made of the same substance as are the stars, and the sea" - That's not "unity" but plurality. Atoms divide, not unite, especially in death. "We are all sprung from heavenly seed. All alike have the same father..." (qt. from Lucretius) - that's some use of religious/spiritual language to displace religion/spirituality by means of reducing the 'divine plan' to the decentralizing ground of being, like that of Giordano Bruno, who, like other materialists, didn't believe in the absolute center of the universe. "For Lucretius, religion is ignorance: reason is the torch that enlightens." - The author is evidently agreeing with Lucretius, ignoring that the premodern constituted reasonable religion, modern - reasonable science, and postmodern - irrationality that claims science must concern itself only with fragments and never unity (unless such unity is ludicrous, as in some of ideas of David Deutsch). Rovelli's skewed interpretation of the bygone era: there was "little attention to nature; the idea that forms preceding things determine the structure of the world". First, there was plenty of attention to nature (indeed nature, and not matter), as shows the idea of form. People back then thought that nature was a whole and not a chaotic and random plurality of independent fragments all battling each other in order to survive but ultimately end their mingling struggles in absolute death. That's the trouble with reading non-academic work like that from AEON: it reflects too much the prejudices of an author. In this case, the author is an easy pick for a materialist and thus a DIS. It's also funny how the author portrays "fear of death" as an evil. As Stephen Jay Gould argued, fear of death is natural for beings with emotions. Only robots do not fear death, robots that only care for disintegration in order to have a peek into matter. And is that peek worth it, or would humanity not handle it after all, without a proper spiritual experience preceding it and preparing us for it? At the end, it's so much Rovelli's poetry for mean ends. The idea should not be merely how you rhetorically describe the fabric of your thoughts but also the substance of that which you favor. All praise the truth in Rovelli's words: "And there is the simple idea of the finite divisibility of things – the granular quality of the world. It is the idea that stops the infinite between our fingers. This idea is at the root of the atomic hypothesis, but it has returned with augmented force in quantum mechanics." One thing that needs pointing out is that scientists do not stop at dividing the finite things ad infinitum (at their "fingers"). Concerning all their fantasies of trying to disintegrate the very fabric of space and time (by calling it a 'reconciliation' of relativity and quantum mechanics), there is no such thing as 'quantum gravity', no 'gravitons', no 'inflatons', and other imperfectly imaginary ways of destroying the world we live in. The reconciliation of relativity and quantum mechanics is fruitfully continuing through string theory, so there is no need for any Democritean jumpstart of whatever anti-spiritual processes the author has in mind. I support things properly and slowly done, not things rushed through because of some inspirational authority. "With quantum gravity, the last barrier will fall" - the last barriers of reason, spirituality, and humanity, I suppose.
  8. I was told it by a professor, and it stuck with me because it goes against of what I generally thought of Locke, even though I have yet to read any of Locke too. (All my conjectures here are formed by the intuitive fit within the Diagram. The ironic thing is that I have yet to get a philosopher wrong.) Here is an example of contextual thinking in my own methodology: An explanation that I currently favor is that Locke could have said such a thing because, for example, he wrote many other strange things, such as the thought experiments of a prince and a cobbler changing bodies and an occurrence of cloning through a teleportation device (see IEP on Nozick, sec. 4). This also favors a conclusion that rationalism and empiricism are pseudoterms because you can never find a 100% rationalist (e.g. what about Descartes' experiments on animals?) or a 100% empiricist (as Locke evidently wasn't).
  9. This is very relevant and insightful. Thank you for this thought. It really brings forth Kant's doing in a new light. Yes, a transition, you are right.
  10. To mix Newton and Leibniz seems abhorrent to me. As Peikoff argues, Newton stems from Aristotle (even while building a mathematical apparatus out of the latter's logical one), while Leibniz, well, is a guy of 'harmonic' and individuating fantasy, which tries to converge the 'parallel' universes of Plato and Democritus. And to further mix fantasy with something true is to, well, get Kant. As Rand properly understood, Kant is indeed a mixture of good and bad, right and wrong. And there surely is nothing worse than this. I would sooner accept Leibniz with his explanation that a hand moves both out of the accord with free will and, simultaneously, out of matter's random motion, fortuitously coinciding with the motion of the hand, than go along with Kant's brown singular upright existent as chair... or tree... or... you get the point. (You can have an infinity of properties, and they won't mean a concrete thing.) Also, leptons are actual physical particles. That they can be mathematized as 'pure points' shouldn't bare the point of stressing, since this fact is secondary, as are interpretations of quantum mechanics compared to the actual things happening on the quantum level. On the other hand, I am still confused over Locke's metaphysical particle that has no extension. I mean, what's the point of that? It has nothing to do with empiricism. In the beginning of the quote on page 14 of Boydstun's piece (sorry for an earlier misspelling), Kant equates matter with sensation. This is very interesting because I also thought so when I read about sensation in Rand's theory of concepts. That is, sensation as physical particles. But while developing my own epistemology, I started thinking of sensation as thoughts externally stimulated by such particles or matter in general. The issue here is whether to think of sensations as internal or external, and even then we indeed have what is external inside of us (the same particles travel in our brains and bodies as well). I guess there is no conflict then, just something to think through. But there is a conflict when you reduce percepts to sensation (matter), however conditioned transcendentally, as in the passage I quoted above from Kant's KrV. Of course, we have the same trouble of promoting sensation over perception with the likes of Thomas Reid and A. N. Whitehead, but for some reason I still have a greater problem with Kant than with these two. I also like Boydstun's pointers toward the fact that noumenon in Kant is a "limiting idea" that regulates how "we employ in thinking our way about the phenomenal world" (p. 18). It is necessary to stress that noumenon is nothing besides this, contrary to what many interpreters of Kant like to think. Noumenon is not really important to Kant other than of such a peripheral role that it plays in his philosophy. The closest concept I can think of to parallel that of Kant is Democritus's bottomless well. Do you know of it, Boydstun? I don't think it's improper to compare the two, since, as New Buddha mentioned (although Boydstun shows that Kant was more like a failure in some instances of physics), they are both physicists to some extent and both employ the same concept about the formation of cosmos in a vortex. (Kant indeed borrowed this idea from Democritus.) Democritus was first ignored by Plato, but then his fame spread in Renaissance and Enlightenment. Nonetheless Kant derides him in Crit3, §72, for subjectivism in causality, even though his own system employs "a subjective principle of Reason for the Judgement, which as regulative (not constitutive) is just as necessarily valid for our human Judgement as if it were an objective principle" (Crit3, §76, italics here). The other issue is why Democritus was ignored by Plato. Is it because Democritus called himself a 'materialist'? That's what I don't understand in academia: so much weight is given to mere words that it's ridiculous. These are just WORDS, people, learn to think independently of what someone else says but don't ignore it. I love these phrases: "corporeal metaphysics" and "metaphysics of matter" (p. 19, from Boydstun's piece). I think it reflects much of Kant's contribution to philosophy. Re New Buddha latest post: Lucretius was an Epicurean, which in my book doesn't count as Democritean. The major difference, paralleling the difference between Hume and Kant, is that the first were indeterminists, whereas the second were determinists. These are very different materialist views indeed (even though the second pair called themselves 'idealists'. It doesn't matter what someone calls himself; we need to look at what they specifically thought and how they related to others.) The link to the Diagram doesn't show reasons for why individuals are added to the list, but merely includes them as a way to demonstrate inductively the choices and outline the data range. The Diagram is an ever-in-progress project. To actually prove every individual on it and many more that I've added since then (currently 666 individuals) would take not only my lifetime but lifetimes of many in the school of philosophy I am trying to start and promote. Hence the reason for my desire to get a PhD in philosophy (by the way today I was accepted into a Master's program in it). Newton's sympathy toward Democritus doesn't necessarily show that he was a materialist like that. Bacon, without understanding Aristotle, also famously quipped against the Socratics and similarly sympathized with materialists. However, if we look at Bacon's tradition, his empiricism is nothing like materialism. There are many other philosophers and/or scientists (even modern ones, like Carl Sagan) who were inspired by Democritus but who evidently didn't reflect him in their philosophies. So the second conclusion that I derive from my research, following not to trust what people call themselves, is not to equate influences (like those shown on Wikipedia) with the substance of philosophy influenced. For example, I am evidently influenced by Rand and Peikoff, but my philosophy also obviously (ask StrictlyLogical, who hates me, for example) has nothing to do with Rand's or Peikoff's. Again, labels and influences mean nothing without substance to prove the connections. As a third conclusion, theology has nothing to do with philosophy, as Kant determinately showed. It bares naught whether an individual is a theist or an atheist, considering that one can be a subjective theist like Giordano Bruno, for a notorious example. Hence Newton's comment concerning theological interpretation of materialists draws no significant content for philosophy in general. There is lots on mechanistic vs. teleological views of nature in the second part of Kant's Crit3. He goes back and forth there like he did in the antinomies in Crit1 and reflects much of Descartes and Democritus. The latter's anti- or quasi-teleological view is reflected in this particular quote from Kant: Cf. to the (long, sorry) passage from Aristotle arguing against Democritus's view (atomists, namely Leucippus (c. 480 BC) & Democritus (c. 460 BC), implied in bold): There are many other passages from other ancient writers who discussed Democritus's views, but this should do for now. Concerning the infinite universe in Kant (as per Boystun, p. 29; and in Crit3, e.g. V), it is very much the infinite worlds in Democritus. There are other similarities as well, but enumerating all is like chasing an inductive rabbit: either you accept my categorization of Kant along with Democritus or you don't; there is no necessary, deductive line of reasoning for me to follow here, as the theory needs to be developed further and come to maturity in the hands of serious philosophers. The funny thing is that if you understand how the Diagram works, there is nothing else necessary to 'prove' categorizations, as they are very intuitive (more so than Peikoff's system of one/many) and bypass all the data debris by getting at the essence of a particular consciousness, and there can be no better proof than the accuracy of this statement. I will have to read the Atomic article later, thanks for the reference!
  11. I am glad that worked out for it. I must hold off reading Boydstrun's piece, however, as reading it on computer is killing me. I will have to take it a piece at a time.
  12. You mean this passage, concerning 'the nature of perception'? I've paid attention to this paragraph from my first reading of the Meiklejohn's translation. I knew there was something wrong about it, namely that it doesn't show what perception is. Rather, it reduces it to properties (such as quantity) and ultimately disintegrates it into nonexistence. A very sad epistemology indeed. Very apt, considering that Kant believed that he was missing the 'physical' part of his philosophy, so he delved into it before he died (see SEP, last pp. of sec. 1). I accept the distinction, especially with Putnam's critique of Quine. The problem is not with this distinction (even though it becomes pretty complex and confused after Carnap plays with it). The problem, as I stated, concerns Kant's epistemic understanding of perception. And no, this doesn't stray from the topic of this discussion. Peikoff was right that Kant was a disintegrator. I have yet to see evidence to the contrary.
  13. Because, like, there is 'brown' floating in imaginary space and so you necessarily imagine a chair? Why not, I don't know, a tree instead?
  14. I wish there were something that had to do with an elaboration on how exactly Kant 'disproved' Locke's realism. Perhaps that discussion should involve Kantian understanding of perception versus the Lockean one. I am still struggling with the so-called 'perception' in Kant. Just because you got abstract properties of objects (a priori categories) put into mental space and time forms and with imaginary and schematic handwaving somehow you get 'perceptions'? I feel like there is a major gap in Kant's philosophy exactly where actual perceptions should be, but some of these Kantian lovers (like from CSKP and NAKS) maybe like to think that 'perception' is complete in Kant and works perfectly well, so there is no need to add anything extra or elaborate further on the topic. Am I right?
  15. I really appreciate this information, Boydstun, and really, anything you write. Your academic style on the topic is out of the ordinary on this or any Objectivist forum. Considering especially that I'd like to write a dissertation on the problem of perception, from Locke, through T. Read, Kant, perhaps some Schopenhauer and some of the moderns (like Merleau-Ponty, Whitehead, and Kelley), your references add to the good cause.
  16. Regardless of Rand's ignorance concerning Kant's epistemology, this is not exactly what transcendental means in Kant. Rather than a creation of reality, it is a mechanism for justifiably, necessarily deriving knowledge (experience) from synthesis of thought and sensation. Hence Maurice Merleau-Ponty's argument that Kant takes reality as the scientific perceiver (idealist) is through the theoretical faculties of mind and not changing reality in any external, mutually interdependent way. On the other hand, the concept 'reality' can be interpreted in two different ways: phenomenal or noumenal, neither of which is changeable. I assumed you meant phenomenal, but Rand understood neither in Kant. Is it true? Source, please. No, The Matrix is purely Platonic, unless you are one of those who confuses Platonism with Kantianism. That's a joke. Peikoff himself said that he couldn't understand Kant other than through interpretations by others. Kant was too difficult to read for him, and, judging by his critique in Synthetic/Analytic dichotomy, he only misinterprets Kant, and does so grossly and unfavorably. Peikoff is simply stuck in the noncontradiction without being able to moderately perceive Kant. His going to extremes of interpreting Kant reflects in such statements that, But Kant showed, through antinomies, that contradictions are located only in mind, along with all definitions and judgements that help us grasp what's real. The problem ultimately rests in the incommensurability of definitions of Rand/Peikoff and Kant. In my personal verdict, Kant's fault is that he mixed up his understandings of practical (read: commonsensical) with theoretical (read: philosophical), losing on the practical end. Subordination to the self-interest of the brain as such, particularly its inner workings. Is that so? Even that Kant was a 'witch-doctor'? Or that he simply should be taken as an a priori evil and false in his writings, without even an ability to prove him so or understand him rightly (and justly at that)? I think the point in Kant is that in order for us to examine the motivation, the clearest way to find the duty is when we receive suffering for our actions. Then either there will be duty involved or there wouldn't. In the case when we receive happiness, our inclinations toward such reward could have entwined with the sense of duty, if there was such, and hence, in this case, we cannot fish out the true reason for our actions and know whether it was a moral duty or a simple emotion. Concerning your comment that ethics, as such, has nothing to do with epistemology, in Kant they are connected. The epistemic element of practical reason that also begins his normative examinations is the conclusion in pure reason from the first Critique. Hence practical reason is also, at the core, a pure (lawful) reason, whose only difference from theoretical reason is that it bypasses the phenomenal and impulsively reaches within toward the noumenal, yet ever in vain and without completing sainthood in life (or eternally, that we could know of). Frankly, B.S. Not even close to a Bachelor at that. Or to a Kantian in canon. Yes, it's ironic that Nazis also killed Jews out of duty to the Führer, who wished to save Capitalism from Jews/Bolsheviks and all other 'degenerates' in order to build a cultural heaven on earth. Not that this connects to Kant in any way, in contrast to what Peikoff believes.
  17. I keep thinking that Kant is an egoist rather than an altruist and that he sacrificed his soul by and for his (egoistic) mind, so his self-sacrifice is purely for his egoistic end, which is also the end of all, according to his ethics. So Kant universalized his self-sacrificial end of killing the soul, the killing of which you seem to call 'self-authored self-sacrifice', by applying it on everyone, as if everyone, at base, was a Kantian, a mind-egoist, a rational subjective egoism at that. I wonder if we can understand common sense under this soul that Kant, along with all of his genuine followers (see the end of this comment), is sacrificing. I think his "On A Supposed Right To Lie from Altruistic Motives" shows how his being irresponsible and accommodating to a murderer, universally and theoretically given, betrays his best friend in a practical situation, and how this contradicts common sense. His epistemology similarly contradicts common sense by ignoring our ability to know of perceptions like chairs. Also, I agree with Rand that there is 'the absence of definitions' in Crit#1. I must add that it's the absence of the definitions most relevant to epistemology, namely 'sensation' and 'perception.' His phenomenology is also so confused in terms of internal vs. external and the 'phenomena' with such concepts as 'nature' and 'substance' that by the end of Crit#3 it basically loses all definition with which it started in the first Critique. Hence Rand's comment that Crit#1 is 'resting on a zero' is not so inaccurate. The following you quoted from Kant draws my ire: "Since, then, neither concepts given empirically nor concepts given a priori can be defined, there remain no concepts on which to try this artistic feat of definition except concepts thought by choice. In such a case I can indeed always define my concept; for I must surely know what I wanted to think—since I myself deliberately made the concept and it was not given to me through the nature of my understanding, nor through experience." It means that we cannot define anything taken from outside (empirically, naturally, experientially) but only our imaginary thoughts and words. A sui generis reduction of the worst possible kind, i.e. Kantian. After two years of studying him, I have yet to find something good and likable in his philosophy. Oh well, I will keep on searching. After all, I did find something good in Rand and Lenin, why must Kant be so different, right? At the same time, my goal is slowly becoming the devotion of my life: to save philosophy from Kant. And in order to reach this goal it might take more than my life. I hope others will follow this path contra Kant. Ah, that sounds like my opponent, Bill Harris, who was banned from the forum (and some other ones, too). Harris, of course, ignores that only Kantian psi promotes such claims (such as given by B.M. Jesse, D.F. Bjorklund, A. Damasio, T.E. Feinberg, B. Hood, J. LeDoux, among others, who believe that our self is a concept merely imagined by the brain). On the other hand, there is the psychology of Nathaniel Branden, Carl Jung, Carl Rogers, and the psi evidence brought by Maurice Merleau-Ponty against Kant (yes, and not simply Descartes, as M.-P. was also attacking transcendental intellectualism). In short, Harris has a problem with Rand's "ditect [sic] realism, in which we just absorb sensory data that's then processed into 'concepts'". Evidently, for such a Kantian as him who has a problem with so many 'you's connected to commonsensical realism, 'naive' in his mind, senses must be processed through a priori categories at the point of them entering our brains and then must be dissected and disintegrated like no tomorrow. At the end we only have a mess.
  18. By the way, I haven't found the upward/downward-causation discussion in Kelley's lecture that Hsieh cited. Then it could have been her interpretation of Kelley's interpretation of Aristotle's matter/form causality vs. antecedent causality in that lecture. What a pity that such an interesting and important (to me) idea has to come up by accident and as some unconfirmed interpretation!
  19. This should probably be in Laboratory section, but I haven't found a way to post there, so I am posting to the next most related forum, which is one concerned with epistemology and metaphysics. I've recently been fascinated by David Kelley's philosophy of mind described in Diana Mertz Hsieh's "Mind in Objectivism: A Survey of Objectivist Commentary on Philosophy of Mind" (2003). Here is an excerpt: The idea of upward and downward causation in terms of brain-consciousness interface is really interesting and, I think, can be applied to a deeper understanding of epistemology. It would be helpful if anyone knows where Kelley elaborates on this idea, if he ever did so. Maybe since 2003 he touched upon it in any of his articles or books? Maybe it can be applied if we consider downward causation a stimulation done by consciousness in the manner of focusing as in Harry Binswanger's understanding of perception. Let me first explain some things before I go into further details. Sensation, as I define it, is a thought that is externally stimulated or excited. There are five kinds of sensation in two groups: electromagnetically stimulated (sight - photons, touch - electric force) and molecularly stimulated (taste and smell - chemical, hearing - vibrational). We may be not aware of these thoughts, such as when we sit we may not be aware of the chair and our body pushing against each other or when we close our eyes we may not be aware of all the photons that are continuously sensed in our eyes. We may be aware of these thoughts but still not focused on them. I think that focus is directly related to our consciousness, and it is the stimulation that is caused by our consciousness internally and in a downward manner. When we focus on a sensation we are more than aware of it - we are also affecting it consciously. Here is the idea: it depends on the strength of sensation whether it would directly get into our consciousness. So if we feel very strong pain, we focus on it, so it becomes a conscious experience. This can be called an upward causation. Upward causation can also occur when we think about something internally (conceptually) and we get a random thought or even a related thought but one we didn't cause with our consciousness but rather that came from a stimulation of some adjacent neurons, thus entering our consciousness from our brain, like other sensation does. I think these ideas can be related to how we perceive. If perception is an integration or synthesis of sensations, then it is also an integration of thoughts. But the question is: what thoughts are being integrated? Are we aware of these thoughts or not, are we conscious of them or not, and are they only internally or only externally stimulated? Moreover, can we have a pure perception, that is from only externally stimulated thoughts, pure sensations? I think this question directly relates to the epistemological questions academically posed: namely by Thomas Reid. Are perceptions conceptually manipulated? Kant took this important point and basically reduced perceptions into his categories and forms of intuition, whose content is sensation. An interesting point is that sensation in Reid, Kant, and also Rand is considered to be pure empiricism and not related to thought per se. But I think that by understanding sensation as thought we are not necessarily mixing it with conscious thought, as I explained. Moreover, this picture becomes more complex when we consider how sensation is synthesized by our brain and consciousness. If we are to form percepts or concepts, all agree that we must somehow synthesize sense data, that is, we need to take multiple sensations as they are co-occurring or coexistent. But how does this synthesis occurs? I think this synthesis is formed by particular processes in our consciousness. First, we focus. The focus implies limitation to what enters our consciousness. We cannot focus on all thoughts that are constantly happening in our consciousness or in the tissues of our body. Instead, we like to work optimally, so we don't go insane. However, we do not know what to focus on if we haven't had enough experience. So how we focus depends on our prior experience. We learn to focus through trial and error in order to know what are the essential areas to focus upon. But this means that concepts that we have formed affect what we focus on, and a lack of concepts affects our ability to focus efficiently and correctly. For example, American Indians never experienced ships before and so hadn't formed a concept of a ship. When Europeans were approaching in ships, Indians had a hard time of focusing on them right away. Instead, they were only able to perceive the ships when those were already near land. Moreover, they didn't even necessarily try to focus, but could have just been unaware of the ships when those were on the horizon. This issue of when our perceptions are affected conceptually can be likened to downward causation affecting our thoughts. For example, the better our concepts are of an object, the more expertly we can perceive and understand it. This also applies to external stimulation from reading. When we read a word we first get sight sensation of which we are aware, and when we focus on the word with our consciousness we start stimulating its thought inside our consciousness which relates to our memory of concepts. The accuracy of our knowledge of the concept that is expressed by this word depends on how many integrations of these thoughts we'd experienced before and thus how proficient we are in isolating essential concepts, which means the same process of focus happens not only on sensation and perception but also in conception. The second process that happens when we focus is our volition or will combining areas that we accept as essential. This is the tricky part that could lead to mixing make-believe hallucinations (upward causation) with our own ideas of what we perceive (downward causation as in Binswanger's explanation of how our concepts affect seeing a pencil bent in water). So can we purify our perception by ignoring our internal stimulation of the externally stimulated thoughts? I think this depends on practice and experience, as mentioned before. The more we learn what are essential characteristics for us to focus on (and this depends on what we do in life, what profession we choose, what we perceive more than anything), the better our essentials become. This means that our concepts change based on practice because we change what essentials we focus on. When we are children we do not yet know what areas of sensation we need to focus on, so we may focus on things that we later deem to be not essential. Education also helps us (if not just inculcates us) to form better concepts, which condition how we perceive the related objects later on. The point that our concepts affect our percepts is very important. It shows that concepts are required for us to be better observers (this especially applies in art). With concepts internally stimulated, we can become more efficient and knowledgeable concerning our interactions with environment and other people. In a way, concepts precondition our percepts, if we accept that there is evolution of our consciousness in terms of how we 'grasp' things by focusing on them and using our will to synthesize or integrate thoughts to better connect with external things. So in order for external things to be reflected better in our consciousness, we need to have a developed internal 'environment.' That is, we need to have our own concepts to help us better integrate sensations and perceptions. An interesting consequence of this is that sensations (S) and perceptions (P) that we experience vary from person to person. Additionally, concepts also vary through conception (C), depending on what your area of expertise is. Because of variations of S, P, and C, we may presume that all three are infinite in possibilities. So the next question becomes is there some area that is limited to all people, regardless of what they do or how they conceive. One way to answer this question is no, we are all conceptual beings and thus are different because we all conceive of things differently and relate them to different words. However, we find in this answer a hint that something is still shared in this infinity besides even the trivial understanding of us as human beings. Or perhaps it indeed helps that we as human beings share something that is limited for our purposes of more efficient conceptualization. We call this categories. Categories are not concepts, but instead they are preconceptual conditions. Categories are in all concepts and also beyond concepts as metaconcepts. We use categories to think more concisely, like we use concepts to perceive better. Categories are filled with concepts like containers with objects or rivers with water. In this case, categories can be viewed as the stage of epistemological development after C. All philosophers, and perhaps most people, use categories of thought. Rand's category, what she called an implicit concept, was existence. She used existence as a precondition for all concepts. Categories thus metaphysically necessitate particular ways we conceive. When we focus upon many concepts that we can summon to our minds from memory encoded in neurons, we learn that we cannot focus on all of them but only on specific ones, as the amount of units we can be conscious of from memory is limited and based on what we are dealing with or thinking about. Categories help with this as essential features of concepts that we pick out when we focus conceptually. In contrast to S and P stages, or stages of externally stimulated and internally/externally - mixed - stimulated thoughts, C and categories (C2) are purely internal stimulations, whether of downward or upward causation. In any major philosophy, C2 plays a pivotal role in structuring what we conceive. In Kant, for example, C2 are the conditions of deriving knowledge from experience (S, to which P is also reduced). To describe C2 Kant uses a lot of abstract C, which makes it hard to understand. Because there is not one C2 chosen by Kant but instead a bunch (but not all!), we can become kind of lost in his realm of C2. Perhaps what is needed is to simplify C2 further like we had in Rand. Because C2 have a limited number in contrast to the units of S, P, and C, we may think right away that why can't we simplify this number to, say, a single C2. And Rand's way shows that it can be done. However, it also shows that there can be other ways to simplify C2, based on our experience with this internal realm. I will mention how I categorize categories metaphysically just to complete the whole picture of my discussion. To select a unity among categories you need to conceive (select a word with some conceptual connotations, of course, and not a mere idea) a metacategory that can structure other categories and contain them precategorically. Such a metacategory also needs to organize other categories. For me, existence is a metacategory of choice, but not the only one. Perhaps it would help if we think not of C2 per se but C in terms of infinity of concepts. Since all concepts are organized by categories, they can also be used to understand how we can organize categories themselves. An infinity of concepts involves taking all concepts there are and trying to find basic distinctions among them. Once we think of infinity (which is a daunting task requiring much abstract thought) we cannot help ourselves but think of something singular, like a line, a unity, or singularity. To think of all concepts becomes easy when we think of just one or two. Or three, when we also include infinitesimally small and infinitely large in C. These three ways of thinking of C is how I think of metacategories. The infinitesimally small is nonexistence and infinitely large is existence, but both at the same time, as in singularity, is APEIRON, which cannot be comprehended as it becomes meaningless from the metaphysical equation of nonexistence and existence, thus continually mixed, spread through all space and time, containing all that is conceptually physical but themselves are categorically metaphysical. Nonetheless this fifth stage, let's call it A, provides a condition for C2 that is based on belief, since we already know that all our C2 are internally stimulated and condition our internal stimulation retroactively. To understand A, we reduce it to C2, to understand C2, we reduce it to C, C to P, P to S. Once we grasp each stage, we can understand how epistemology, through David Kelley's two causations, works in both directions. Any thoughts?
  20. I am a little bit confused about your term 'deliberation' perhaps as you are confused about my term 'thought.' It looks like deliberation is synonymous with thought but a kind of thought which you focus upon, am I right? If so, then okay, a focused thought can be called deliberation. But an unfocused thought you still call mental content. Is it because it's unfocused that it is vague like the term mental content is vague? However, consider particles. There are many particles that pass us and around us, and we are surely not aware of all of them, but we also don't call them physical content or any such vague term. They are still particles, even when there is no one to observe them. So there must be thoughts, of which no one is yet aware. I've mentioned dreams before, but you haven't commented concerning them. Dreams are concrete enough entities to be more comparable to thoughts than merely mental content. However, even after having dreams, we don't necessarily remember them or become aware of them. Hence dreams are somethings that can exist within us while we are not aware of them, and yet they are not just mental content which is unorganized in itself. Dreams surely can be organized in a comprehensible framework if we focus on the memory that we have retained. By the way, the topic of why we cannot retain some dreams is interesting to me, but I don't know enough about it other than that our states or brain wave frequencies (Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta) during dreaming affect our memory of them, right? But the change in conception surely affected their change of perception, no? I am not saying there was no perception, but I am arguing that perception can be vague as a misintegration, for example, caused by interfering concepts, especially ones that are not correctly related.
  21. While listening to David Kelley's lecture on The Nature of Free Will, I've come across an idea that when something sudden happens in our environment, say, like in Kelley's example, while we are reading a book and focusing on it, someone or something scratches against a door, we focus on this sensation quickly and clearly, thinking whether it's a dog, our close one, or a serial killer. I would explain this phenomenon with emotional perception. When something sudden like this happens, our heart rate rises, which means emotions upwardly cause entrance into our consciousness (for some people, of course, who are more prone to react like this or be fearful). Emotions make us more clearly and strongly focus on something. So, returning to the example with ships and Indians, since the ships slowly glided into view, Indians didn't react to them strongly and thus didn't need to perceive them clearly because they were focusing on something else at the moment. But if the ships appeared suddenly to them, they could have reacted to them as danger and perceived them more clearly than they would have otherwise, regardless of the lack of conceptual affect on awareness.
  22. How can you forget philosophy if it covers everything there is? Would you rather reduce this discussion to science and its terms? I don't know enough about cognitive psychology to be your opponent. All I can do is continue examining your words through my philosophical lens. Ontologically speaking, thoughts and emotions are in consciousness but not of it or on the same level with it because consciousness is a whole that cannot be broken without losing its wholeness and thus without stopping being consciousness. For this reason thoughts and emotions are not consciousness, and also consciousness is limited in its scope, as you know, because we don't consciously feel, for example, our brain or other parts of the body, sometimes even when focusing on them. In fact we aren't consciousness of our inner organs because we cannot wholly perceive them. We can sometimes feel the beating of our heart or our stomach's sounds but we can't actually feel the heart or the stomach. This shows that what is ontologically within our consciousness (and therefore within our body) is not of consciousness, as we cannot perceive it or focus on it. There are pulses and impulses in our body of which we are not necessarily aware as well. Because these (im)pulses are similarly not of our consciousness as thoughts and emotions aren't, and since these (im)pulses are on the same level with thoughts and emotions I associate the two to be one and the same. Because I associate thoughts and emotions with (im)pulses in which our tissues (nerve and blood) exist, then it follows that thoughts and emotions, in themselves, are sub-subconsciousness or even unconsciousness. The idea of 'mental content' is confusing the scales here because, even though it connects things to the brain and mind (which one, though?), it doesn't differentiate between consciousness and the parts of our body and consciousness, such as those existing on the level of tissues and (im)pulses. Also, I describe emotions as correlating with changes of heart rate. This means that excitations like we experience in gym would also be emotional, but we surely don't necessarily experience them as emotion because we don't necessarily focus on them. If we do, we may express these emotions (and people sometimes do that in gym, whether positively or negatively but strongly). I think it has to do with essentials upon which we learn to focus with practice. For example, maybe Indians focused only on the sail and thus kept the boat vague in their sight, ignoring it because of their focus on the different part that had no people in it. If only the sails drew their attention, then they didn't find enough danger in them or thought them natural, maybe like whales spurting water. So in this case, yes, their perception of some essentials was vague because they focused on the wrong sensations of the ships.
  23. The point why I call sensation internally represented as thought and not mental content is actually really important. Mental content is too vague and ambiguous a term. It's ambiguous because it doesn't differentiate emotions from thoughts, and this differentiation is extremely important in my philosophy. It's the difference between mystical and idealistic tendencies. The mystical tendency is not presented in this article, however, because currently there don't seem to be problems of attaining knowledge in this framework, so it is explained without emotions. If such problems occur, then the emotional perception will need to be explained to avoid disintegrations of knowledge caused by skeptics and such like. I am aware that skeptics reject any kind of emotion as its own thing, but that is explained by their form of consciousness as it maps ontologically. The downward/upward directionality is actually the important idea that connects this epistemology with my ontology.
  24. The issue is in the bolded words. What you don't desire may be against your better judgement. This relates to Derek Parfit's criticism of self-interest as self-defeating. Besides, if the OP initiated this thread then he surely desires communication, advice, and criticisms. The point of him going back to the hole from which he came is abnegating the entire point of this thread.
  25. I have several recommendations. First, Rand's philosophy is a kind of a dark tunnel that leads you away from correctly identifying and understanding other, more academic, philosophies, especially Kant's. This means that if you want to get serious about philosophy, it's better to start with historical philosophers, like Rand had done by reading Aristotle, than with Rand herself. You can always return to her when you think you have a better grasp of others' philosophies. This was actually my mistake, since now I want to get an education in philosophy, but I realize that I've started off with the wrong foot. Second, it sounds -- from 'other than' the four identified groups -- like you may be thinking of grouping with or at least comparing Objectivists to libertarians or anarchists because, for starters, Rand is one of the three founding mothers of libertarianism. However, Rand's philosophy has nothing to do with libertarianism or anarchism, but it is, at the core, a minarchist philosophy, just as the other two founding mothers, Isabel Paterson and Rose Wilder Lane, weren't anarchists. And third, Rand's core shouldn't be confused with pure objectivity. Many people think of themselves as objective, such as Marxists, but they also ignore the subject-object interface represented epistemologically. To think of Rand less extremely, I prefer calling her philosophy Randian idealism rather than Objectivism also for the reason that many subscribe to philosophy based on title and not the core. Not all Objectivists are Randian idealists, just as followers of other philosophies do not subscribe to the same tenets as the founders. Nice. So you are basically saying that there is no need to communicate if he is as self-sufficient as you are.