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Ilya Startsev

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  1. 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!
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Because it passes through nerve tissues. When we dream, especially lucidly, we don't experience mental events but actual thoughts that are otherwise subconscious or unconscious. I meant to say to focus better. It also implied that we may focus without experience, but trial and error implies we can get to focus better or more purposefully. You are right, the example is not actual but perhaps a misrepresentation of Indians. However, I never wrote that the ships weren't detected, they were, but not at first because maybe Indians didn't have enough experience to detect them right away or they didn't think them to be dangerous. That's what I tried to describe. But instead of just narrower distinctions it's more essential distinctions.
  10. I really don't understand why no one could understand such a simple argument that consisted of showing two ways of interpreting the statement "we can't know ourselves": We know ourselves from interactions with others, and if we don't interact with others (because we are a priori 'independent' of them), then we cannot know ourselves; We know ourselves from interacting with environment and not others, but by reducing ourselves to a priori tools of reason independent of others, then we cannot know ourselves. The rejection of my argument as incomprehensible can be interpreted as anti-intellectualism, which may be quite dominant among Objectivists, although they, unjustifiably, think of themselves otherwise.
  11. Really, but what about Peikoff illustrating the nature of society as that “the independent man is as alone in society as on a desert island” (OPAR, 1991, p. 381, cf. pp. 202, 252)? Very commonsensical of you, SL. Also very illuminating of the nature of rejection I've mentioned and that the OP needs to be aware of.
  12. I hope the OP would elaborate on whether this interesting paraphrase reflects the actual standpoint of someone with whom he agrees. I see two ways in which to take such a position involving questions of self-hood. The way I prefer is that it is very difficult for us to not merely know but understand our own consciousness without relating to consciousness of others. Say, if you are living on an uninhabited island, understanding who you are, as per your essential character, is nearly impossible. You may be really good in growing food, hunting, gathering, and building things, but philosophically you would be very malnourished, since you don't have anyone with whom to get involved in dialectics and no books of this nature either. The second way I deem to be incorrect. This would sounds very, very bad if we took for understanding ourselves our pragmatic endeavors on such an island. Equivocating such materialistic tendencies with our very being is one point that is perhaps criticized by Repairman when he refers to the current world's state. In contrast to him, however, I do not deem such destructive tendencies mystical at all but Kantian as in rejecting any understanding of human nature per consciousness, replaced with an instrumental, end-in-itself internalist approach (based on the prior equivocation). It's like living with a blindfold, praising math and science above commonsensical humans. Rather than mystics, generally only materialists believe in such a power of science that overshadows humans as perceptual beings. As can be seen from my comment here, which I intend to serve as an example of a correction for the popular belief of Objectivists in the supposed irrationality of mysticism, one of my own major criticisms of Objectivism is their misunderstanding of mysticism taken as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. On the other hand, this misunderstanding also verges on a complete rejection of anything labeled as 'mystical.'
  13. Welcome, fellow critic of Objectivism. To understand your view of Objectivism it would be most helpful to understand your personal philosophy. Have you yet developed your own philosophy, and, if so, would you kindly direct me to where your own views are displayed (in whichever form)? That's what Peikoff now would have you believe, although he rationalized a lot with Rand prior, in the history of Objectivism. As any other philosophy, Objectivism evolves over time, so it's not correct to criticize a single, obsolete version of Objectivism. Rather it needs to be taken as a whole throughout its lifespan. So in this regard Objectivism is not even reducible to what Rand or Peikoff wrote. Rather, it's a way of living. Of course not, because that would be tautological. Rather, Rand offered new ideas that have no precedent in the way she explained them. The law of identity is one of her axioms that is necessitated by her overarching (realistic) metaphysics.
  14. First, I believe the author of Corruption is a man, not a woman. I think the problem of universals is an epistemological issue, so I agree with Ryan. Rand had something similar in its place, calling it entities (as Eiuol mentioned), but entities, to me, is so abstract a term that it can only be used to merely differentiate some terms from other terms with similar meanings, and that's not a very substantial addition to epistemology. The reason existence also doesn't solve the problem of universals is that existence is singular and universals is plural, which is a more important distinctions than 'entities.' Aristotle was directed toward existence and yet he set up the problem of universals by his essentialist philosophy. Since many non-mystic philosophers fail to understand essences (as conceptual things in themselves we hold in our consciousness), they continue to claim that there is the problem of universals. Of course, if you reject Aristotle's essences and Kantian categories, you have a problem with universals. Oh, there is someone else you need to fear on this - the academically accepted Thomas Reid, who differentiated sensation and perception, and yet conflated the latter with conception, calling it illusionary (he didn't believe centaurs were ideas). Reid, who called himself a 'direct realist' and who refuted, in Schopenhauer's words, Locke, was praised by Kant before being completely annihilated by him (of course, thus making him into such an important academic figure of 'direct realism' in the history of philosophy). Hence we need to fear those people like Reid who sacrifice their entire life, from their own naivete, for a straw-man, so future disintegrators could say they 'disproved' direct realism. In this regard, Reid is the same as Rousseau, another idiot whom disintegrators praise before placing all the influence on fascism on him. Insanity, yes, and also chaos, but this is known as progress in philosophy, didn't you know? This may be problematic still if you allow others like Thomas Reid to interpret that because there is a conflation of concepts and percepts in some points of the conceptual continuum then perception must be epistemologically purified into sensation (a darling of Kantians and positivists like Wittgenstein). Hence Rand is rejected by academia as not important.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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:
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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?
  23. 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.
  24. So what we find from discussion is that metaconceptual is pre-conceptual, that is, fundamental.