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Ilya Startsev

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  1. As can be seen with an old popular thread I started on Objectivism online forum, I am very interested in putting side-to-side various philosophies, even before I learn that some of them cannot be thoroughly compared! So I would like to find out whether it is even possible to conceive of transcending Rand’s worldview with that of her well-known ‘archenemy’ – Immanuel Kant himself. I’ve spent the last two years trying to figure out this big conflict in contemporary philosophy by studying Kant’s philosophy and debating Kantians, especially on Philosophy forums, which are now, unfortunately, non-operational. So what are some ideas that I’d like to put forward to initiate this discussion? Part I: Describing conflicts First, I want to delineate the premises of my argument as conflicting characters of both philosophies. Let Objectivism take only (a) subdivisions, while Kantianism take only (b) subdivisions. General vs. specific Objectivism is general in respect to being broadly applied to most areas of life, including even sex (in Rand’s words!). Philosophy, according to Rand, is a way of living, rather than only a way of thinking (which is a part of living but not the whole). Hence Rand is more concerned with having an integrated picture of the whole rather than only its parts in isolation or abstraction. Rand’s epistemology starts with metaphysics (most broad or general field of philosophy). Kantianism is specific in respect to being narrowly applied only to thoughts concerning positive knowledge in theoretical science, moral/ethical practice, and judgments in art. Kantian way of thinking takes ideas in isolation and abstraction and only bounded by mind, representing all areas of knowledge within mental structures and through categories of thought. Kant’s epistemology cycles through itself, making metaphysics subservient to it without a possibility of deriving any knowledge about ends. External vs. internal Objectivism is concerned with external experience of reality, where it finds knowledge. Every judgment must correspond to or be ultimately derived from external reality. Kantianism is concerned with internal experience, wherein it claims to find all positive knowledge. Everything considered to be ‘external’ to mind is merely thought to be a representation or appearance structured by our mind as pure reason or inwardly directed by mind as practical reason with aesthetic judgments connecting the two reasons. Public vs. academic Objectivism is well known in general public by means of popular novels, podcasts, presentations, and audiobooks, but not among many academicians, who openly oppose it or try to avoid it. Formal discussions of Objectivism mostly occur in Objectivist journals, and Objectivist scholars do not take these discussions to established and trustworthy academic philosophical journals. Hence the nature of Objectivist discussions and research is mostly closed rather than open, in regard to academic work. Kantianism is popular among many academicians but not in general public. Kantianism is considered by many academicians to be a ‘suble’ and ‘true’ philosophy not comprehended quite enough by most others. Objective vs. subjective Objectivism follows the ethics of rational or objective egoism to the detriment of sometimes being able to develop healthy relationships with others. Objects in this philosophy precede private subjects. Kantianism follows the ethics of rational yet subjective altruism to the point of forcing others (even violently) to heed one’s ‘social’ will (especially of those in power) as if it were universal law. Peikoff describes Kantian influences on Nazism in The Ominous Parallels, and Kant himself praises the sublime in war over peace in Critique of Judgment, §28. Thus, subjects in this philosophy are not only central but the only ones, as physical objects in themselves are non-existent. Political vs. scientific Objectivism has greatly influenced the progress of politics and economics through conservatives, neoconservatives, libertarians, and even some liberals. However, Objectivism hasn’t had much effect on science. Kantianism has greatly influenced the progress of science through Bohr’s Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, Chomsky’s universal grammar theory, and various neuro and cognitive scientists, anthropologists, and psychologists. However, Kantianism hasn’t had as much direct effect in politics. Part II: Transcending conflicts Second, as a possible way to transcend these areas as it would mostly benefit Objectivism (like a stronger connection to academia in 3), I need to provide a potential idea to be built upon. My current and main source of inspiration is Leonard Peikoff’s DIM Hypothesis (2012), which is based on Rand’s epistemology, in particular her theory of concepts. What Peikoff develops in his book called after his hypothesis is a metaphilosophy (although he doesn’t call it that) specifying boundaries of all philosophies involving three categories: disintegrating, integrating, and misintegrating. As a point of contention, these are Peikoff’s words that I reinterpreted in favor of my own hypothesis: I’ve been building on some concepts from Peikoff’s hypothesis this past couple of years and have found another way (a visual method) to describe all philosophies, while also borrowing some of these terms from Peikoff. Based on my extensive research, I would like to show not only that I independently verified some insights from Peikoff’s hypothesis (as I also did a few years back for Rand’s theory) but also describe what he had achieved (and he considers this book his greatest achievement so far) as an understanding of Rand’s epistemology not as an epistemology in academic sense (which they don’t accept as such) but a meta-epistemology that transcends epistemology as conceived by Kant. If Rand’s epistemology be truly a meta-epistemology and Peikoff’s hypothesis be truly metaphilosophical, then we can use these areas to transcend Kant’s ‘transcendental’ philosophy without losing specificity required (as in 1). As far as I know, Kant never covered these areas in his philosophy. Considering that there also exists a term ‘metametaphysics’ (books on the topic: 2009, 2015, and 2016; cf. my metaphysics), maybe this so-called ‘transcendence’ can also achieve greater breadth than Rand was able to conceive, although, as speculative as all this may sound, there is currently not enough understanding of these new ‘meta’ (meaning not just ‘after’ but ‘beyond’) fields because they are on the frontier of contemporary philosophical research. Maybe we can share knowledge and understanding to see whether any of my suggestions have ground for further developments. At the end, if we reach any conclusion, we may find and improve upon the missing links required for Objectivism to hold the center stage it deserves in philosophical discussions.
  2. The scientists-on-Mars illustration is also incorrect because it reduces the categories to experience when they are also conditions for scientific knowledge, which is based on experience. Building on the discussions of this thread, I would like to give three arguments to clarify further my points: Randians and Kantians are unable to understand each other's positions while their levels span the following: Transcendent reality: noumenon Phenomena, sense data Transcendental ideas of Kant Transcendental reality of Rand Positions of their philosophies complement each other in the following way: Noumenon is missing in Rand Phenomenon is included in both Concepts condition phenomena (internalism) Transcendental reality is missing in Kant (externalism) The combination of their positions becomes a condition for a new philosophy like this: Nonexistence, from which matter differentiates Material particles Internal concepts External Existence as a metaconcept, which pre-conceptually conditions internal concepts An important provision of studying these arguments is to remain neutral toward both philosophies.
  3. Thereby, we can delineate three kinds of egoism: Randian egoism: rational and objective Nietzschean egoism: irrational and subjective Kantian egoism: rational and subjective It is important to note that while the first two egoisms differentiate collectivism vs. individualism and are individualistic, Kantian egoism doesn't make this distinction. Thus, in contrast to Rand and Nietzsche, Kantianists don't consider collectivist vs. individualist distinction meaningful, and anything that opposes these two sides is not considered a philosophical question, but rather a triviality for not true philosophers. The reason for this is that 'collectivism' has no meaning for Kantians because society just as a collective is a mental construct that has nothing to do with the nature of an individual.
  4. This is 4b from OP. I am starting to rethink it. The two problems with it that I see are my use of terms altruism and will as applied to Kantianism. The altruism part is false, so Rand was wrong about it in Kant. Aristotle was more altruistic than Kant both in his politics and ethics. In Aristotle, society was the direction for all political and ethical individuals, so congruence with others was important. In Kant, on the other hand, the idea of will is a reduced version of Rousseau's, but it is not the same as Rousseau's general or social will. Instead, in Kant it is a selfish kind of will that projects itself on all egos, thus equalizing egos as per Kant's understanding of the nature of man. Perhaps Rousseau had done more to inspire Nazism than Kant. Kant, however, is closer associated with the politics and ethics of European Union. In Rousseau society must force others (even violently) to make them free. In Kant, society is a mental construct - it doesn't really exist other than in an a priori category of Community. In Kant, only independently existing and similarly egoistical individuals exist as ends in themselves, and they only follow their practical and theoretical categorical laws, none from outside themselves. So, the new 4b should be this:
  5. Yes, and the points I am trying to make is that integration is not automatic, regardless of what concepts who made or what concepts Rand misintegrated, and that you conflate universe and existence whenever you conflate object with context, even while thinking of the universe as an object afterwards, thus referring to an actually existing object (universe) incorrectly. Actually, perhaps universe should be thought as only a context, Cosmos of L14. I don't know what I was thinking earlier by going along with all this universe-as-object deal. This also explains the quandary MS had with the boundaries of the universe. He was right: as a context, universe (I better call this Cosmos, as that's how I integrated the concept)... so Cosmos has no strict boundaries like objects do. To say it has strictly delineated boundaries, which of course you don't, is to ignore the kind of objects within Cosmos that indeed have those boundaries, like The Great Attractor, for example. On the other hand, there are also two problems with your integration of the concept universe: first, you ignore the string theory integration of physics, which is purely evidence-based (in contrast to other theories, like Lisi's 'exceptionally simple' one and inflation), and second, because of the Direction of your consciousness, you cannot integrate the concept universe properly, that is, from the bottom-up, and especially also because it's a context and not an object. Any top-down view on the universe is automatically misintegrative, and a reduction of it is disintegrative. These two problems do not allow you to understand the universe as anything other than a context [maybe?], even though you apply your perceptual ontology on its level. So I recommend you first to integrate a concept that is related to 'context.' Thinking some more on this, the whole discussion of universe as object or as context really is a waste of time because it all depends on the kind of knowledge we have of it, and we have too little to say with absolute accuracy what that kind of 'supercomposition' is other than in vague conceptual terms. A photon, which is a point of spacetime of absolute velocity. But it's obviously a special object, as it is a quantum, which cannot be destroyed. Speed of light, by the way, is known as the speed of causality throughout the universe because on the most fundamental level all events happen, and also caused, with this speed. I know this doesn't address the discussion, but still: I hate whenever someone conflates Kantian and Platonic absolutes. It drives me nuts, a little bit. It's like conflating mind (L7) and metacosmos (L15). The difference of scale is too extreme for a normal being to process it properly. It's like starting from rest and jumping to lightspeed. I like this translation. Yet it only applies from within the fields of ontology and epistemology, but not metaphysics. But then you may call everything I wrote bullshit. By that, I would say you have stretched your category 'bullshit' beyond subjective and understandable boundaries.
  6. I was aware of that. Indeed so, but you may not understand that. After all, non-mystics conflate soul and mind, emotion and thought, and thus contradict themselves. Contradiction, however, only exists in mind-centeredness. It can never exist in the soul, which is why the only non-contradictory way of gaining information from reality, from things-in-themselves, is through the soul, thus all realists are also mystics. I haven't found a single realist who wasn't also a mystic, and I have 63 of them already categorized. The understanding that genuine integrators are realists/mystics (that's the nature of integration) is my breakthrough, going far beyond Peikoff's DIM rationalizations of one and many.
  7. Jung is more serious than Freud. Besides, I love Jung exactly because he was a mystic. Mystics have heart and soul, non-mystics don't.
  8. Actually, I've read everything I wrote after reading the entire thread, so it all reflects my views as accurately as possible. Happiness is not an entity? How would you define a noun then? Collective unconsciousness is not my 'pet theory.' It's a famous psychological understanding started by Carl Jung. You don't know about it?
  9. The first part is unclear. Why call immediately perceived objects a more conceptually heavy term 'entity'? By the way, in Russian linguistics nouns are defined as entities. (Rand might have gotten it from there.) Sounds like space is only within and not around the objects as well. If relation is only an aspect, then this is not different from Kantian category 'relation.' The meaning of 'everything' employed here is 'every thing.' You are using the idea of reduction here as it is used against idealists. Rather, reduction is applied from greater to smaller, not in reverse. It's not a reduction to thought but an ontological reduction from whole to its part(s). Non sequitur. It's like using reduction and then saying the greater object doesn't exist. Besides, while you've mentioned studying molecules by using a microscope, you forgot the use of telescopes to study the greater object in more detail. Oh-oh, welcome Kant. And then you are just equating metaphysics with epistemology. And that's your L8 breaking through. Sounds like you are projecting L8 (your 'perceptual ontology') higher up, unable to understand how planets can be objects without massive creatures floating in vacuum trying to perceive them. By the way, World would be the ultimate context for mat8, like for Schopenhauer. There is nothing beyond it for you, not even the universe. Rather, World is the universe for all materialists. Of course, these kinds of discussions only show how ontology is epistemologized by human consciousness based on its type. If an abstraction or mental object is a thought, then indeed they are physical because they are within the brain and nervous tissues. A thought, by the way, can be conscious or unconscious. We have thoughts when we sleep, for example, and call them dreams, which we sometimes remember and sometimes not. Applying N's criticism of "I", you can see how thoughts can be not in one's awareness like the brain is not in our awareness. Yes, for those who are not integrators. From my point of view, this is also untrue. While, metaphysically speaking, ontological reality can be viewed as an illusion, it doesn't follow that we shouldn't concern ourselves with it. Rather, we are unable not to not concern ourselves with it in each of our own ways. Besides, for integrators like me, metaphysics leads to analyzing, clarifying, and specifying the ontology, not trying to move away from it into some imaginary metaphysical realm, like Brahman. Yes, to rise to the greater you must grasp the lesser. Yes, this is interesting because it not only shows how our consciousness is structured metaphysically but also the reason we cannot understand each other. That's a vast overgeneralization. Just because we don't give much thought to objects we consider to understand, it doesn't mean we don't know them. We do because we perceive them. The thinking processes can be so automatized that they don't reach our awareness. We simply accept apples and bananas without being conscious of what they are in themselves. On the other hand you give a very good descriptions of Buddhist beliefs, but you fail to understand that any of their applications or comparisons do not describe reality for everyone. Not all solutions are 'parasitic,' but only the false two choices from Buddhism or Hinduism that you seem to know so well, limiting yourself only to them. Besides, I don't like the notion of 'parasitic' here, since it's offensive and dismissive of other views. Nice try at red herring. You review mat8 options and come up with your own mat8 option, defined by you. I've started this comment with explaining that your conception of entity is unclear in terms of its relation to objects and that it is overconceptualized. The overconceptualization may help you erase some boundaries in order to compare this to maya/Brahman options, but really you are simply unable to reach beyond the limits of maya/Brahman as they are conceived by a mat8 consciousness (or it's also a reduction from some idealists' quibbles with mat8 illusionists). ??? -- [after reading to the end, I finally understand what you wrote here and that this reflects my own understanding of objects. Good point.] That's also a hefty claim. You have yet to show an ontological model in which these objects are shown to be composed from something else. Yes, why not? Because it's a claim that's easy to 'decompose,' thinking that composition is ongoing, when in fact it may not be so. Humankind may 'decompose' itself through a nuclear holocaust, for example. Its 'decomposition,' however, depends on disintegrators. You then say that it's not infinite, but how about showing that you value compositions above all else? Not a chance. So why can't they end at two or more objects? There is surely more than one object we can perceive in reality. Are you trying to show that objects are infinitely distant from each other in order to grasp at the universe? The issue is that you are still staying on L8, being stuck on it perceptually. I disagree with this materialist-emergentist claim because it reduces consciousness to an appearance or an aspect. Our bodies are alive because they are organic. They are not corpses that decompose into inorganic molecular compounds, such as dried out skeletons. You don't have to go that far. A society is a supercomposition. So is race. None are fictional. That's a high jump. You need to understand the lesser before you rise to the greater. Yeah, if they collide. But even then the 'impact' with other stars would be trivial. After all, they are not billiard balls but relatively stable systems. Why don't you consider solar systems further as supercompositions before you go to the universe? Actually this seems to contradict the proper 'system' understanding and even your emergentist 'test'. If a system has no unique attributes other than its objects, then it's not a system but merely a collection of independent objects. This is very interesting. Indeed this is true of Limits of L17. You must have gotten this idea by accident, however, probably referring it to Nonexistence below L1 as you see universe as merely a collection of particles without a unique attribute other than its composing objects. Basically, you are confusing scales as most materialists do. Not true. String-theorists' omniverse is more complete because it contains all possible sets of physical laws. String-theory interpretation of quantum mechanics is currently one of the most advanced and accurate interpretations there are. This theory subsumes all experimental evidence, unlike many other theories, which are surely less complete. Oh, so if scientific evidence doesn't match your idea of the universe then the theories that use this evidence are incomplete? You have no idea of what a universe is. As I said earlier, start with the lesser before you rise to the greater. If you cannot grasp the lesser, you will never rise to the greater. So, what are the ends of the universe like? This is actually quite an important question because the surface of the universe, as also a surface of a black whole, contains holographic information about what's inside. This is supported by not only string theory but also holofractographic universe theory. I disagree. The structuring of knowledge comes from pre/metaconcepts, not particular concepts themselves. Rather, what happens with an addition of one significant conceptual fact is a growth of knowledge, not the entire (re)organization of it. I strongly disagree here. A plenum has no specific boundary like the universe does. Instead, plenum is metacosmos, a greater contextual whole. This term specifically relates to dark energy, as used and coined (in this context) by Nassim Haramein. It surely isn't because that contextualizes universe, thus making it metaphysical. And it's not, also in Rand. That's false, even coming from your own words. Continuous 'substance' is not an object. Rather, you confused object-context when you first wrote universe-as-plenum. And in such handwaving metaphysics, no statement can be true. It's merely your imagination. And no rationalizations can get you out of this because your premise is false. You cannot make premises true by other premises or by conclusions, Eiuol. Put in other words, your concept of universe contradicts Rand's distinction between universe and existence, a distinction which is crucial in idealism because it shows their Position to be metacosmic, out of reach of any materialist. You've invented this 'closeness' through your imagination, a straw-man of actual theory. Thus, just as you've done with Brahman, you've seemingly dismissed something you don't understand, namely a metacosmic level of ontology, a supercomposition, allowing an analysis of universe from above rather than from below, like you are doing. Yes, so that would be defining it as context, which is metaphysical, yet false because physical things cannot be metaphysical. New Buddha: In TOC of How we know there are two things that interest me: logical hierarchy and Bottom-up vs. Top-down Theories. Also interesting sections are Naïve Realism: consciousness as reproduction and The Failure of Realism. Know anything about these? Maybe I should read it, but I don't have time! It's funny how he talks about 'Kantian reversal' in the overview in 'some' history. It's something I would've started the book with. I've already categorized Binswanger as a Descartean idealist (based on Hsieh's Survey of Objectivist Commentary on Philosophy of Mind), so his secondary-positional convergence with Kant at the end looks legit, all his commentaries and criticisms of Kant notwithstanding. Nonetheless, Binswanger's ideas are surely more interesting to me because he won't confuse universe with existence. I cannot agree more. This is on the spot. Space(time) is the condition of perception. And with this I cannot disagree more. Spacetime is physical, not metaphysical. Perhaps Binswanger idealizes the realistic Direction of Einstein, who idealized light, not spacetime, thus keeping the latter physical. Oh, this is Kantian bull. If you don't, you might as well take it as sensation. Binswanger equivocates like Rand by believing in one thing but saying completely the other. I say: to not evaluate the content of perception is to reject ontology by replacing it with epistemology. Yeah, except 'rainfall' is closer to sensation than perception. That's what happens when you reject ontology: your thought lacks clarity, and anything based on it stops being objective. The rest are his rationalizations of his hybrid idealism. That's another reason I don't want to read his book. Oh, and that's existence, right? (The only way it could be in my metaphysics: Existence as (meta) Space, but this doesn't ignore physical spacetime. Instead it structures it.) I would differentiate your imaginary idea from Binswanger's, though. At least he looks from the metacosmic plane (L15). I like Peikoff's definitions of integration (connection, unity/one, whole/combination, system, necessity) in DIM better (ch. 1, sec. 2). He explains it more broadly than you do. Surely, a Kantian one (L7). I rather agree with Binswanger's and New Buddha's take on this issue. A bowl of applies indeed is perceived, rather than merely sensed, as you've identified it. Except I don't follow how something is metaphysically given here. Rather, it is physically given, since apples and the bowl are physical, and so are all the senses that reach us from them. In a way a good point, but trivial, in this context, I think. Oh, yes, welcome Stefan Molyneux and his 'forests do not exist, but trees do' argument! And you said he was a 'moron,' Eiuol? You seem to confirm the opposite interpretation now. A bowl of applies exists just as a forest exists, both in their own rights of being physical objects (not metaphysical or metaphysically given or some other mumbo-jumbo). We aren't talking about unicorns here, unless you've imagined a bowl of applies on a table where there is no bowl of applies and it's all in your head. Maybe you want to eat some applies? (j/k) To be exact, applies are objects of organic tissues L6 and bowl of inorganic molecules L3 (if it's mass manufactured and has no personal value) or L8 (if it's custom made, and thus prized for its artistic features, say china). Hence there are two levels represented of a bowl of applies while we perceive both, but their compositions are different. The point that this ontological elaboration makes is that we can indeed perceive anything physical, even subatomic particles, but with help of computers or other instruments - yet the latter doesn't make things more confusing or complex to the point that one claims that particles don't exist or that bowls of applies don't. Anything physical can be perceived, sensed, and conceived (on every individual level, every object and every context). My ontology proves this. That you are unable to perceive a bowl of applies is a limitation of your consciousness but not necessarily everyone else's. Imagination of a mat8 who cannot exceed the limits of his consciousness to be someone else. It's okay, Eiuol. No one can. MisterSwig is partially wrong and partially right. The composition part seems to be accurate in terms of trying to grasp the whole (the universe), which Eiuol is unable to do without fallacies at this state. The part of unbounded universe is wrong, though, since anything physical is bounded. Now, this fact is metaphysically given! Yes, but your causality is situational, context-, not object-, dependent. You don't even think that a bowl of applies is immediately perceivable! (Who would perceive it other than a human, though?) Makes no sense. First you talk about objects from different 'ends' of the universe being related spatially, and now you say that the universe is the boundary and cannot be defined accurately. Like I've implied before, you've imagined a self-contradictory universe that doesn't exist other than in your head. Haha, excellent reduction of idealists! Except, MisterSwig, you fail to differentiate physical universe (L14) from metacosmic idea(l)s (L15). And because you fail at this, you are asking to be defined as an materialist. Poor family feud you got here. SL, MisterSwig, and Eiuol - all having the same kind of consciousness but arguing over trivialities, mere ideas! Gentlemen, let me tell you a metaphysically given truth: every person is unique with their own unique ideas. Hence no idea is better than any other because it's only an idea! My goodness... What's the point of meaningless conflicts? To be the devil's advocate I'll help you with the headache and answer on your questions, numbering them for easier reading. The universe is bound by causality the same way every entity or object is bound. In that regard, universe is not so different: it's an existent, an identity. The question of whether the universe caused its own causality or something else did is interesting, but if you consider that there are two directions to take it at, then this makes answering the question simpler: the bottom-up direction (which I prefer) claims that objects and contexts compose the universe, but the universe thus has a unique attribute (which Eiuol ignores and possibly rejects), namely that it is different from objects and contexts that compose it because it is greater than them. The top-down direction is the general idealists' direction (whether atheist or theist - doesn't matter) that the universe is metaphysically (read: metacosmically) necessitated to be what it is and to have what it does (also causally). If you look top-down, then yes, because it's metaphysically necessitated. If you look bottom-up, then no, as absolute nothing preceded it, thus preceding quanta and later formations that came about from the vacuum, forming the universe as we see it now. Causality could be differentiated into metaphysical and physical. However, the bottom-up approach can also be viewed metaphysically, namely that all differentiations of matter, energy, and force resulted from Nonexistence. These physical entities then became the physical foundation of causality while the universe was growing long ago and now has stabilized into the universe we see in the past (like cosmic background radiation) and the future (all the light from the stars far away). Hence the point is that what we know as the universe is not the singularity but the past and the future universe. The singularity, on the other hand, is the unreachable present moment of the universe, which is like Nonexistence. This metaphysical singularity must be differentiated from the universe-as-singularity, but many scientists don't do that, like those who developed and support inflation theory, which is a kind of modern era preformism on universal scale - an imaginary particle-as-the-universe. Unknown present moment of the universe and the known past-and-future one must be differentiated in order to not confuse scales. As a side-note: although I compare present-moment singularity with Nonexistence and claim it is unknown rather than unknowable, I have to add that the present moment itself is Nonexistence and it is unknowable, but the singularity can be known through the bottom-up approach. Once the puzzle of dark energy is cracked, then we'll know what it's like to be a singularity in a non-idealist sense. Oooh, but they are so similar, as you can see from what I wrote above. Yes, as also per my differentiation of present and past-future universe. Nonexistence is (metaphysical) Time, which isn't really a physical time, but rather it exists in physical time, yet can never be reached, known, or comprehended, since it is actually eternal. Oh, yes, so you are agreeing with Eiuol's non-existing bowl of applies and Molyneux's non-existing forest. Join the fray, I was right about you after all! Just because you are not conscious of the social processes doesn't mean they don't exist. Collective unconscious is a real thing, Eiuol, and also the fact that everything that surrounds you and clothes you is conditioned on international relationships of societies (such as businesses, factories, committees, etc.), and not mere individuals who cut the deals. Besides, there would be a society of these individuals, if it's international and, particularly, government trade. Oh, that's my favorite question as of late! Of course she was, but only to the extent of her convergence with Kant. I don't understand what the fuss is all about. It's merely words we assign to mean things. Whether an object is what we perceive or it's a noun (which we also perceive when we read) as an entity, so what? MS ignores the differences between physical and metaphysical on the greater scales and rejects the metaphysical, and yet he can quibble about the differences of Randian categories of objects and entity to no end. In my system, I call objects things we can sense, perceive, and conceive that are thus related to consciousness and also metaphysics. Thus, to me there is no difference between object and entity. They are both nouns we use for same exact things. For example, a human body is an object, but if it's an alien body it's an entity. But a body is a body, right? Maybe if we stop differentiating objects and entities we can get other, more important things straight. This would be a more accurate way of representing things than Eiuol follows. I like the point of 'sub-,' as it allows understanding that there are ontological levels of different scales: below, immediate, and above. Very interesting. I knew there was something fuzzy in Eiuol's discussion of the universe. I agree because there isn't really a difference between objects and entities which you at the same time wish to believe. Proves my point exactly. I like 'object' better though. It sounds more... concrete. "Entity" is like a children's word before they learned to differentiate objects in their awareness. Objects as mental constructs is harder to pinpoint, though, because they exist on the sub-level in relation to our immediate perception. Tissues of nervous system are concrete objects but thoughts would be more contextual, as bioelectromagnetic impulses). Overall, I have to say that Eiuol seems to be on the right track in developing an ontology. Nice work! By using your own terms, MS, to clarify what Eiuol was developing, consider direct or immediate perception being on a particular level of composition, while subcompositions and supercompositions are perceptual but in a compositionally different way from the immediate level upon which someone's consciousness is positioned. Eiuol is completely right in presuming that consciousness is level-dependent and there are different types of consciousness based on their levels. This is confirmed by much evidence, starting with Peikoff's DIM as represented in my Diagram. You can perceive a tissue, an organ, a body, a society. All of these are on different levels of perception. In fact, levels is what differentiates these percepts. No, because information is not coming directly into your brain from the environment. Instead, it's processed by an instrument (which organizes raw sense data) and then enters your brain. This shows perception in this instance not to be direct, but assisted, thus indirect, as Eiuol correctly identified. The idea that MS can't grasp is that concepts also exist on different levels. We conceive of molecules and applies, and what differentiates these concepts is their levels in the hierarchy. However, we also can perceive them, albeit differently. In the first case, concepts are closer related to sensation, and in the second case concepts are closer related to perception. Hence in molecules (L3), the mix of sensation-perception-conception leans more toward sensation, whereas in apple (L6) -- more toward perception, although you can argue that apples are merely somewhere between strict sensation and strict perception, since direct perception for me is L9. Then this is a true ontological object (I use the exact same term and definition). Nice job, Eiuol! You seem to start differentiating ontology and epistemology as you should. MS doesn't get it yet. Wonderful, wonderful. Do you see what the Model is now? Do you see how wonderful it is? Your point also stresses that the singular vs. multiple distinction doesn't really matter. Quantity is not ontological per se. A very interesting speculation concerning possible parallel universes beyond the veil of Nonexistence. Yes, he is not ready yet, but he is trying his best.
  10. So what we find from discussion is that metaconceptual is pre-conceptual, that is, fundamental.
  11. Because you called existence a concept, therefore a thought. But you are right, it's pre-conceptual in a way, and not explicit but implicit. Basically what I wrote to you.
  12. No. Read what you wrote. Existence as the concept is implicit in all concepts. How can you think of all concepts? A thought of all concepts is not explicit or particular in any way. It's like taking all the concepts in your brain, or even your brain, and everything beyond your brain that you made a concept of and... guess what happens next. Concerning her thought in the lexicon quote, it's not very accurate. She made blunders when she rationalized her philosophy on children (we saw this explained by Binswanger in Perception). Rather, Rand only guessed how implicit concepts work, as she defined the thing in the first place. Her definition of this sort, by the way, is very similar to what Kant called an analytic a priori, like bachelor being a single man. This means it's inaccurate. The reason it's inaccurate, I think, is that Rand didn't have an ontology. Without an ontology a thought cannot be as sharp or as accurate as it can be. Ontology is the lesser you must grasp before rising to the greater. If the concept of existence only existed in one's head, then this would not be different from Kantian epistemology. But existence is not an epistemological concept. The point of all this is that Rand wasn't perfect. Her flaws are exactly those I've repeatedly pointed to on these pages. No, it's you with SL who are reducing all metaphysics to being in your head, in a Nietzschean manner. Metametaphysics that I present here is seemingly beyond the grasp of materialists. But why? That's the pity because you surely know what nonexistence is, as that's your primary goal. It's in the Direction of your very consciousness. If X isn't metaphysical, then concept of X may or may not be metaphysical, if my logic is right. The metaphysical 'concept', if you like to call it that, will not be the same as any other concept because it is a concept of all concepts. It's a metaconcept, an implicit, not an explicit one. This is too easy to take as dogma and mix with epistemology in the brain, which is what Rand had done in her division of existence and nonexistence. To me, if Existence is a metaconcept, then Nonexistence is also a metaconcept, since they are related. Bah, I will need to study him as well. Thanks for the tip to you, and also to KyaryPamyu. However, I am not a Buddhist, nor am I interested in their way of thinking, especially if it's in Gautama's tradition. I hate Zen Buddhism too. Also, reading this part: Perhaps this is a reduction to Nonexistence in the style of Gautama. Unless, if Nagarjuana is not mat8, he means that Nonexistence is in all existents. Then that would be right, since Nonexistence and Existence form a continuum, out of which all ontology and its relationships differentiate. On the other hand, I know Buddhists do not believe in dualism and hence mix everything in the single nihilistic concept. I do not mix things like that. I am an integrator because I strictly delineate concepts, metaconcepts, ideas, categories, metacategories, you name it, before I can put them together in a single whole.
  13. A very relevant quote I've come across while reading John Amos Comenius (translated by me from Russian, not original): It may be useful for pedagogical purposes, especially for mat8 like Eiuol and StrinctlyLogical.
  14. How can a thought not be a thought? You contradict yourself by contradicting me, SL. By the way, Rand called existence an implicit concept. edit: your comment is a psychological projection, as you obviously unable to conceive of existence as it is, you must reduce it to a mere thought. You aren't an idealist, SL.
  15. Putting our differences of understanding epistemology aside, Eiuol, a concept is a thought, which obviously exists in our brains. However, Existence is not a thought. If it were, it would have existed in our brains.
  16. I will study him, but if he is the same guy who taught breathing practices for the brain, and not the heart (like in HeartMath Institute), then he is not a mystic but an idealist. The difference is between being centered in the heart and in the brain.
  17. Before anything following the discussion, I would like to point out two things that need to be considered by my opponents: A collection or sum of things cannot be reduced to things because it ignores spacetime as a context, which serves as the condition of the sum. Here is something relevant I wrote on my blog: to claim that reality only exists as objects is to claim that reality is a solid. If we say that a group of swans on a lake is merely individual swans – then there is nothing, no spacetime, to separate swans from each other. Saying that forests only consist of trees would mean that we would go through the trees and not ‘around’ them, since anything ‘around’ them would not exist. Imagine a solid only consisting of trees, or a society only consisting of people. What this would actually ‘prove’ is that we are all living in a solidified state prohibitive to movement, in a world that only consists of objects as if these objects were our reality, were our contexts, as immovable as cadavers frozen in cement or stuck behind a wall in one of Poe’s stories. An identity, or a something, is a necessary outcome of any metaphysical proposition, but then it becomes ontological. To understand what metaphysics is one must understand the condition of something becoming ontological before it so becomes. Hence I am not arguing that there is nothing specific to derive from existence or nonexistence nor that these don't lead to anything specific. Rather, I am arguing that we need to understand the differences between ontology and epistemology before we integrate ontology with metaphysics. If you look at the logical square (not square of opposition), you'll find that the higher level (really meta-level, but whatever) is metaphysical, whereas the lower is ontological, but the two are evidently connected, for otherwise there would be no logic. Reductions would ignore the higher level.
  18. It's realism, but sense data you seek reduce it to materialism, which can never grasp the whole. It's not a bald claim at all, except to a materialist who cannot understand reality. Here is something that Rand wrote in ITOE: And here she directly relates reality to context: So SL, did Rand make a bald assertion? Yes, but it proved accurate, as my Model shows. But you ignore this evidence. Then the only evidence you can get is Kantian in the illustration I've provided in this thread. Have you read it? Do you agree with it? Properties of quality, quantity, relation, and modality are your sought evidence of the senses. And Kant was surely no mystic because he opposed exactly the mystical features of the philosophies of Aristotle, Bacon, and Locke (the latter of whose things-in-themselves he claimed to not be knowable, in contrast to what all realists/mystics -- integrators -- claim). The evidence is the entirety of reality and human knowledge, which is the Model, proven again and again. I haven't found a contradiction to it. I haven't found any other metaphysics that can structure all this evidence. Now, you may be opposed to metaphysics, like Kantian logical positivists are, such as Wittgenstein and Carnap. Then, that's a different topic. If you reject metaphysics, there is nothing to discuss here but your scientific evidence. There would be no philosophy to it. It's only science, you see? Philosophy and science are not the same, even the philosophy that I propose is not a hard science but a special kind of science, which only allows one to study human consciousness based on the Model. Now, I could go on and show, as an example, how the Model would change to accommodate new evidence, such as of new particles found from the collider, if the supersymmetry theory proves to be true. But I guess you would simply dismiss this. What kind of evidence do you seek? That applies and oranges exist? Sure. Or that there are computers or cell-phones (like all the things you see in front of you)? You want this discussion to lead to trivial scientific evidence, and this discussion is not concerned with trivialities. It is concerned with metaphysics, which is the things in themselves. Got it? Jungle is a context but not an existent, since it cannot be reduced to trees or whatever other existents that may be there. (If you think otherwise, then you are a mat8 like Stefan Molyneux, who claims this because he doesn't understand what a context is). What the Model shows with its 17 physical contexts (jungle is a form of Environment) is that each context ontologically is represented as Non-identity. Non-identity is a form of nothing, thus making context, or physical reality, a nothing. This, of course, is different from absolute nothing, which is closer associated with Nonexistence. The difference between ontology and metaphysics is that the first organizes our knowledge of physical evidence, while the latter organizes the organization of this knowledge. The organization of organization is thus not only the structuring but also the nature of this evidence in itself. In contract to the right side of the Model, which consists of contexts, the left side consists of identities, somethings, which are represented as objects, or parts of wholes/contexts. There are 17 objects of different levels. Neutrinos are Particle (l. 1), and galaxies are represented by Hole (l. 13), since there are no galaxies without black holes. (Galaxy could have been presented as a context of Hole, but there is currently no way to differentiate clusters from superclusters by a more technical term, 'group,' 'neighborhood,' and 'constellation' notwithstanding.) Physical reality and metaphysical reality (i.e. existence) are not the same, also as per Rand's quote above. You are calling metaphysics 'mysticism' in the tradition of all Nietzschean materialists, whose metaphysics is based on Body (l. 8), rather than somewhere at the Cosmos, looking from above it, from the metacosmic level of all idealists. In Rand this level (15) is called existence. It is metaphysical, not physical. A true Objectivist (i.e. Randian idealist) should know this. Yes, the sum is called existence. However, you cannot point to this sum because it involves also the sum of contexts. No, it cannot, since you cannot point out what it is - pointing to physical environment is not the same as 'Existence,' since environment only exists immediately in relation to your body but not to all that is. Existence is neither in your mind nor in reality. Rather it is something you can grasp by your mind only when you understand all the realities there are (all the levels of the Model), or the reality as a whole, to then be able to make necessary propositions concerning the nature of this reality. Anything more specific is a reduction to a particular level at which you may seem comfortable but surely not metaphysically competent: that is, you won't be able to make metaphysical conclusions concerning your part of reality that you directly perceive.
  19. Basically, Eiuol, the point I am trying to make is that existence exists regardless of any existent, hence it cannot be reduced to a mere existent. I understand a concept, like dog, refers to an existent and hence itself can be considered an existent (as a correctly integrated thought). However, existence is not a dog, or an orange, for that matter, because it doesn't refer to anything particular, even an existent as a concept. Hereby you may understand the reason for there to be Nonexistence. Only it can allow us to understand Existence. A side-note: while Nonexistence and Kant's noumenon are equivalent, Existence is not phenomenon because phenomenon is something specific. There is no equivalent of Existence in Kant's philosophy. That's why I consider Kant a materialist: he reduces everything to something without regarding everything as a whole. Rand, on the other hand, does regard everything as a whole, but she does so unjustifiably while reducing it to something.
  20. Existence is everything, reality, which is not an existent. How can reality, or the entire context of every existent and everything as a whole, be a mere something? The fault in logic is Rand's and anyone's who follows her reduction.
  21. I would try to get them out of their comfort zone. But this is not my duty. It's merely something I'd do out of interest.
  22. Oh, no, she didn't do it like that. Rather she decidedly kept those Objectivists in an epistemological stasis, unable to progress beyond the boundaries of reason she set down with an iron fist. Or, rather, a boundary. The rest was like an invisibility spell that made them think that there is no need to try to understand what you don't understand. You can simply dismiss it as a 'word salad.'
  23. Right. Ignoring your calling ontological logic 'mysticism,' I have to say you don't understand existence that is not epistemological but metaphysical. Rand clearly delineates the two. However, the delineation, as we can see, doesn't help because she fails to provide a clear ontological hierarchy. With Peikoff's metaphysical model put aside, there is currently no ontology as complete as mine, and to understand this ontology as it is in itself you need to think -- metaphysically -- in terms of continua and boundaries. The boundaries of the Model are twofold: Existence and Nonexistence. To say there is only metaphysical Existence but no Nonexistence (because, presumably, it's not metaphysical) is to completely reject the ontology that I put forward (which you obviously do). However, I am ever of the mind that in anything, even metaphysical concepts, there are ever boundaries, there are always pairs of things, concepts, or whatever we can speak of. To say otherwise is to submit to one-sided dogma, which is evidently false. There is nothing one-sided in existence, including existence itself. Now, considering that I've mentioned language, to which you seemingly want to reduce nonexistence (and, for that matter, also existence, since those are related), I have to say this: behind the language you are hiding an epistemic fault, namely that language does or should refer to anything concrete. However, we have metaphysics to reject your premise, metaphysical waving of hands or some other mumbo-jumbo notwithstanding. It's like saying Oh, look at this particle that is at the same time a wave! The logical conclusion is: whenever you mix ontology with epistemology you get nothing, a reification of.
  24. This is absolutely correct, and I agree with this completely, but it's not in Rand. existence =/= existent, if it's used to subsume the concept of the whole
  25. A negation of a thing that exists is not a something. That's pretty clear. However, this not a something is related to nonexistence in Rand's words. Calling ontological logic Hegelian is pretty funny. Hegel accepted that, since thought is being, epistemological contradiction also exists ontologically. Thus, for Hegel there is no difference between the two logics. But to the normal few, there is a difference. I reject epistemological logic because it is a self-contradictory logic, as we've seen with mathematical logic of Frege et al. So, what I am using here is not Hegel's but Aristotelian analysis, albeit a more advanced one. When Rand switches from ontological to epistemological logic like that, she makes you poor Objectivists believe that it's okay and that that can be done. However, it is Hegel who showed that it can only be okay if thought (like a fact) is also being (like a fact). In her way of dismissing nonexistence shows her hidden Hegelianism. Nonexistence cannot be real as an existent because nonexistence is Kant's noumenon. There can be nothing said about nonexistence that is related to an existent without reducing the concept to something that it's not, neither something nor not a something. Nonexistence is nonexistence, and can only be related metaphysically to all that is, the whole of existence.