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KALADIN

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  1. Sure, it's from his dissertation. Link below. Champagne, Marc. (2007). Atomism, Wholism, and the Search for a Tenable Third Way. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/32049136_Atomism_Wholism_and_the_Search_for_a_Tenable_Third_Way/link/5b2e63dfaca2720785dc6302/download
  2. From a recent discussion: "Nietzsche also rejects the need for a world beyond the world of appearances (the thing-in-itself)..." Rand does not merely reject the "need" for noumena. She regards the very concept as invalid: "But 'things-in-themselves' as separated from consciousness and yet discussed in terms of a consciousness—is an invalid equivocation" (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Appendix Discussions). It is an equivocation on "consciousness" because in order to metaphysically sunder an object from its appearance, and posit corresponding gradations of Being (letting the "thing-in-itself" alone participate the Real), the form of conscious awareness must be taken to constitute its object - there is precisely nothing else to be aware of - and more this formatic apprehension must be taken as the "disqualifying element" (Rand's terminology) in coming to know the Real. In other words, in order to make sense of "separated from consciousness" or a principle of absolute unknowability, we have to make recourse to this appearance-object distinction which is itself a form of coming to know the object that is the apparently Real relationship between consciousness and existence ("everything is done from the human perspective" - Rand). Awareness is always awareness of something somehow, and there is an equivocation in treating awareness or identification of the Real with the Absolute - out of all relation to awareness - as something not also thereby distanced from the Real. For it treats of awareness as both capable and not of grasping something independent of what it constitutes - beyond the bounds of representation - just like how Rand sees "consciousness" (in the aforementioned quote) being used to capture a principle of separation and not. In truth, it is simply a category error to speak of "things-in-themselves" or "things-as-they-really-are" - let alone have them alone participate the Real - because the form and object of perception are incommensurable; to offer the objects of perception as "things-as-they-really-are-not" is to completely fail to grasp that there is no magically privileged perspective on anything whatsoever, and no standard of veridicality which does not grip the world with a specific identity. Attempts to evade, subvert, or negate these facts are attempts to judge or re-write the metaphysically given. ... Unfortunately, Kant does not posit the relation of his transcendental schema to the world as an accidental one, or some potentially interesting hypothesis. The principle of transcendental idealism is not merely offered as a reflection on phenomenal awareness simpliciter. Kant must be committed to the knowability of the self-in-itself as beyond mere representation if he is indeed to affect the reality of a world of representational content (which is "nothing but representations, and they cannot exist at all outside our minds.” Critique of Pure Reason, B235) whose subject is the seIf-in-itself, i.e., the noumenal mind, which he attempts to establish only indirectly by deduction or inference more generally. But inference is radically dependent upon causality, and for Kant causality is imposed. One does not and can not properly infer the simple existence and operation of those activities which are already a necessary precondition of any right to the concept, performance, and meaning of inference - this is simply another consequence of the illicit character of Kant's epistemological vehicle(s). Indeed Kant is not even allowed some unknown explanans as the cause of the unity of experience precisely because causality is not something to mediate the phenomenal and noumenal worlds. To be imposed is to be of one. To infer the so-called activities of the self-in-itself is to make use of them here, so there is no way to make sense of the notion that their cause could be something beyond representational content, beyond the mere elucidation of an explanatory schema. Knowledge is a causal relation, and the utter incoherence of Kant's transcendental psychology is a consequence of him holding the mind to be constitutive of its contents except where those contents concern the cause of constitution, so as to be offered as something beyond the mere recognition of representational content. The distinction between noumena and phenomena is not synonymous with nor as innocuous as proclaiming the metaphysical independence and priority of the object of awareness, something all realists do. For the realist, form and object are naturally commingled, and the form of awareness is the identity of that specific relationship between consciousness and its objects, the somehow of being aware of something. Think for a moment about the contrapositive of this principle and just how perverse it is to understand the means of awareness as a metaphysical bar to awareness of the Real - that in order to be aware of the Real, of things as they "really" are, you would have be aware of it nohow (I am well aware that Kant doesn't regard our knowledge of the phenomenal world as something delusory). This fashioning the domain of the Real as metaphysically outside the purview of experience and reason is fundamentally Platonic in spirit, and its ruthless philosophical opposition is the basic spirit of Aristotelian epistemology - an unrelenting acquiescence before the evidence of the senses, and a principled recognition that "consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists" (Atlas Shrugged, John Galt's Speech). To quote Marc Champagne: "Aristotle was able to make change intelligible because he shunned facile recourse to 'appearances' and made it a sort of methodological compact to always strive for concordance with the data that set his inquiries into motion. By our lights, this is the aetiologic posture all philosophers should adopt: to eschew ladder-discarding." [emphasis mine] And from Leonard Piekoff, who Champagne quotes immediately after giving the above quote: "According to Aristotle, the question to start with is not: What must reality be like in order to make it possible for us to acquire knowledge of it? But simply: What, as a matter of fact, is reality?" For Rand there are no boundaries of pure intuition. There is no such thing as anything "in-itself", no das Ding an sich Selbst betrachtet. Objectivism does not hold that we perceive things as they really are because there is no such thing as something as it "really is" or "in itself". Things as perceived by your mind - to paraphrase Galt - are not things as they really are but simply things as they are. There is no such thing as the noumenal world, or the completely unknowable Real. Knowledge is prior to ignorance and skepticism for the same reason existence is prior to consciousness; the latter in each case is itself a relational phenomenon, having meaning only in virtue of being commingled with or otherwise actualized through the former. As such, queries like "is knowledge possible?" or "can we be aware of reality as it really is?" are completely invalid. There is no vehicle for these questions that, to be a vehicle - to have weight, does not necessarily depend upon some form of knowledge and some prior apprehension of the real. There is always and everywhere substance before the void, and all voids are simply an absence of substance. Epistemology is never properly about the possibility of entangling the real, of asking when and how our "ladders" can be "discarded", but only of that entangling's norms and reproduction. Recognizing that we have consciousness or knowledge of the real is the starting point of true and efficacious cognition in general. Consciousness is a faculty of knowing reality; consciousness is conscious.
  3. In general, we know patterns of inference as codifications of regularly successful mental policies. In particular, we know logically valid inference patterns as means to certain conclusions, the denial of which results in contradiction. But seeing as conceptual knowledge and method are indivisible, valid forms of inference are less what we may know than that by which we know (conceptually). The knowing of logic and of basic inference patterns are in large part the faculty of knowledge turning back in on itself, and stating the implicit causal relations by which one knows as explicit propositional forms or rules for one to know. Modus ponens is an explicit statement of the indivisibility of cause and effect, a principle implicit in every mental consequence as caused by the apprehension of some object of consciousness. "p therefore q" underscores the premise behind all valuation and recognition, for it is in recognizing the necessary connection between q and its cause that motivation may find real purchase.
  4. If one can only use signs without granting their reality as one can breathe without accepting the reality of air, then the adoption of a metaphysic - usually unstated - is inseparable from any signage, any utterance. But there is a tacit assumption implicit in this analysis: signs are fundamentally means and "metaphysics" concerns the objects of which signs are a potential means to. Is it possible to have a metaphysic which does not answer to the above characterization? I have thought and come up with only two ways to deny the intrinsic, other-oriented aspect of a sign: 1. You outright deny any distance between mind and reality; sign is being. 2. You deny the possibility of a sign ever having worldly friction. A means which is by nature estranged from its intended object is no means at all. Both of these seem to me easily susceptible to self-contradiction. In "1", the identity espoused obliterates any meaningful distinction between "is" and "is not", for both predicates sign and are composed of signs. One could argue against this by stipulating that the form of self-contradiction is itself a sign, leaving the original thesis unscathed. This is where recourse to a reality that is a one and only - to the Objectivist axiom of existence and Parmenides' principles that "what is is" - is necessary. Insistence on the actual reality of what is not can only be met with the injunction "A is A". In "2", the self (and performative) contradiction is more obvious; its truth demands that it be false. One could argue against this by distancing truth from correspondence but even on a wholly "wholistic" or "coherentist" scheme there is inevitable recourse to a correspondence between the whole's parts in their even generating a shared context whereby difference is potentially coherence as opposed to simply *other*. The very idea of saying something right about the world seems to unconditionally presuppose the metaphysical independence of mind and world as well as the necessary contact of the former with the latter in *coming to be* lest we become - among other things - totally incapable of distinguishing between categories of mere assertion and truth, of meaningfully parsing our signs whatsoever. Every anti-realist doctrine is by nature parasitic. Only where realism gives its ideological opponents purchase does its axiomatic status seem to shake. The mind and the world are related (and not as identical phenomena or synonyms) by metaphysical necessity, and they are independent of one another also - by metaphysical necessity. We are not moving from the unintelligibility of contradiction as the form of any claim to something existent to then the doctrine of realism, but from the self-evident unreality of metaphysical contradiction - of the mind being in the world and the world not in the mind - to the admission (not the proof) of realism. To know the world and to know the world is not my knowing - or constituted solely by it - is an axiom, and a first principle not only of scientific demonstration, but of cognition generally.
  5. I look forward to your continued notes especially on Part Two.
  6. Two quotes to begin. The first: “In general, it is absurd to make the fact that the things of this earth are observed to change and never to remain in the same state, the basis of our judgment about the truth. For in pursuing the truth one must start from the things that are always in the same state and suffer no change.” - Aristotle, Book 11, from his Metaphysics. Now the second: “Serenity comes from the ability to say ‘Yes’ to existence.” - Ayn Rand, 1973, from her essay “The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made”. Any science of first principles rightly supposes that the justificatory structure of our schemas and assertions are terminal. It would seem then that there ought to be a terminus of judgment also, for how is one to judge a thing which can not be justified, even in principle? Justification surely is a form of explanation, namely one which identifies a cause whose identification itself deals in adherence to a kind of normativity appropriate to the production of human knowledge. Aristotle points out that all explanation is in terms of something more fundamental, and nothing is truly capable of explaining itself, for nothing is more fundamental than itself - it simply is itself. It has seemed strange then to philosophers throughout history that those concepts and principles occupying the base of human knowledge, being capable neither of having explanation or justification, should still be the ultimate source of both, hence the perennial quest for and atheological concerns towards an explanation of something like Being as such. This sort of meta-attitude is not confined to metaphysics or what calls itself metaphysics. Indeed in Hume’s infamous passage about the inescapable bifurcation or rather the inexplicable marriage of descriptive and normative statements, we see the presence of an anxious, “something from nothing” worry more familiar to us in the context of discussions about God. We may find this sort of sentiment just as easily in epistemologies also of the last century, where neo-Kantians like Wilfred Sellars marshal the notion of inference as constitutive of the perceiving act so as to escape the undesirable conclusion that the perceptually given could at once be justificatory and non-propositional, i.e., not itself justified or justifiable. The ability of certain things to be a power unto themselves has always been met throughout history with skepticism and derision, especially by philosophers. While this fact may owe some to the prevalence and intuitive attractiveness of a naive necessitarian conception of causality (which itself necessarily invokes a prime mover), where the supposed constant conjunction of motion is appropriated as identifying the form of epistemic relations or ethical systems, I believe the source is more complicated in matter if not in form, and partly social. Namely, that in human interaction we constantly seek the identification of a final cause to explain the behavior of the human agents we interact with. And insofar as these motivations are explicit - as is the case with more noticeable, determined action - the cause can be expressed in propositional form, and we are thus loathe to think that any cause ought not to be able to expressed to one another someway, somehow. Even in relations lacking humans altogether, say perhaps the evolutionary development of an alternative organism, we identify the final cause of species survival and propagation as an explanatory summation of the efficient - and principally chemical - causes responsible for an organism’s biological integrity. We understand our mature language to be capable of reaching all corners of nature, both now, before, and forevermore. We understand and believe then that if there are no reasons to accept something, then there can certainly be no reasons not to reject it. And it is precisely here, in elevating a particularly - and this is key - conceptual mode of grasping existence to legislate what is and is not permissible to treat as existent that all philosophical hell breaks loose. The explicit error is thus: the holding of the man-made, for no conceptual artifact is necessary, to constrain the metaphysically given. That is, the total inversion of epistemological primacy, of treating not perception but conception as cognitively basic. There is really only one tradition in the history of philosophy which explicitly recognizes a kind of metaphysical acquiescence as the source of epistemological accuracy, and that is the Aristotelian one, of which Objectivism is a part. Just as Aristotle refuted logical determinism by affirming the direction of truth to move from the metaphysically given to the man-made, so we may chastise those anti-foundationalist tendencies which make much ado about the fact that those so-called primaries of cognition cannot be explained or justified, yet serve as the source of both; the primaries, insofar as they constitute an identification of the relation of man's necessary formatic apprehension (for to be aware is not merely to be aware of something, but to be aware of something somehow) of existence to existence are not to be judged. The man-made can not arbitrate how the metaphysically given ought to be, or how its epistemic status ought to present itself, indeed the very concept of “ought” is inapplicable. It as arbitrary to assert that because primaries are inexplicable they are somehow invalid or untrustworthy as it is to rule out the concept of “inertia” with Aristotelian physics. In both cases, perception, our primitive and primary contact with and awareness of reality - because it is metaphysically given and the identities of the human, sensory apparatus as well as the existents which act upon them are outside the power of human volition, of human making - vindicates what may be thought of as possible and trustworthy, and no more and no less. You may recall that I mentioned that there can be no reasons given not to reject the metaphysically given, and this is true unless those reasons are tied to some normative conception of what it is thought should be about and what it should serve. Indeed one is always free to ask: “why shouldn't I contradict myself?”. Objectivism has no answer to give this question save: man shall not live on thought alone, and if he is to acquire his bread also, he will need non-contradictory thought and a non-contradictory method to achieve it. Objectivism does not judge the metaphysically-given precisely because its recognition, its identification, is the means of making proper judgments about it, its very precondition. To say “yes” to the metaphysically-given is not to judge it as true or good, but to acknowledge the metaphysically-given fact that correspondence between and conformity of the metaphysically-given to the man-made is good or otherwise conducive to the survival of the man-made, and moreover still that the content of this relation is itself metaphysically-given. Objectivism does not promote an attitude of metaphysical acquiescence as true because it is good, but as good because it is true. Power over nature does not come from asserting man's omnipotence, but from asserting where and indeed how power is possible to him. To paraphrase Bacon: Nature, to be commanded, must not be judged.
  7. I will take your ominous capitalization to mean the invocation of something divine, supernatural. Objectivism rejects the supernatural in every conceivable manifestation. But Rand does speak of man's "soul" and this she identifies with his consciousness. Humans make conscious choices by selecting from alternatives they are conscious of. Mere motivation is not a cause and awareness alone is not sufficient to guarantee selection. Were this previous statement false we could have no concept of falsity for the possession of mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive items is indeed a plurality, and the possession of one must necessarily precede the other; we become aware of one alternative first. This is yet another consequence of volition's status as an epistemological primary. No. The idea of volition cannot be disproved because volition is one of the root concepts that makes the idea of proof possible (and necessary). Proof is a species of validation, and all validating acts are volitional ones. The universe does not work "mechanically". Mechanical things work mechanically. Existents simply acts as they do and we may formulate principles of mechanics describing observed regularities but the regularities are themselves a consequence of the identities of the existents involved and not some supranatural artifact or principle constraining action. Identity constrains actions, and in turn the content of human principles; epistemic artifacts do not cause or constrain existential action. There is as much basis for treating the principles describing the regularities of differing existents as interchangeable or all-consuming as there is for treating the identities of the existents themselves as interchangeable, i.e., no basis at all. Volition is not in neurons, but a power possible to and activity of the human neuronal system as a whole. The neuronal action which underscores reflexivity and conscious recursion is and should be recognized as just as complicated and subtle as that which underscores self-animated thought yet the existence of the former only is treated as uncontroversial. This is a consequence of people having understood volition throughout history to be a particularly alien phenomenon. It is a biological one same as the rest. This is actually is an epistemological question which merely assumes ethics as its content. The answer is in the provision of an epistemological method and its adherence. That method is inherently normative. Please see Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology 2nd ed. for an idea of what the normativity of its basic units - its concepts - consists in.
  8. The fact that a living entity is implies only what it ought to do if it is to remain in existence and in the human case, if it chooses to remain in existence. Biological conditionality is the metaphysical basis for normatively valenced existents in an organism's umwelt but that metaphysical normativity for humans becomes immanent only where the man-made desire or otherwise prediscursive, voluntarist motivation to remain a biological entity is present. Ethics is not some categorical imposition and the choice to live is not the sort of thing that can be impugned as immoral; the choice to live is categorically a precondition of evaluation and so therefore its default can never be wrong for the victim, let alone categorically wrong. Lest these remarks tempt you into thinking there is then no way one can morally evaluate those individuals who might not choose to live (for whatever possible actions and duration that might mean), recall the agent-relative character of value, and realize that for those who do in fact choose to live, hardly anything could be more evil than those individuals who are indifferent to wanton destruction of themselves and the world around them insofar as they pose destructive consequences also for oneself. It is the same depersonalization of ethics that gives rise to thinking morality exists outside of individuals to accept and participate such a relation that gives rise also to thinking morality can not apply to those individuals who do not choose to accept and participate that relation. Ethics is about you. The Objectivist Ethics is addressed to you.
  9. The "endemic equivocation" you seem to be calling attention to is the popular conflation of "man's survival qua man" with and reduction to "man's de facto survival". This conflation mistakes the literally derivable survival requirements from man's nature to be necessarily constituted also of those activities which might happen to promote immediate survival. But Rand is not a consequentialist; there is no legitimate distinction between the value of a life - and its species-specific identity - and the values in a life. A further (sufficient) condition must be met by those aforementioned activities - that they be concomitant with reason. How a man's survival qua animal can be achieved bears nothing directly on whether or not man's survival qua rational animal is achieved. I have never seen or read anywhere David Kelley's failure to appreciate these distinctions, and am curious to know where you think he does fail in this regard.
  10. This level of context-dropping is near impossible to believe. I will simply assume you are a troll and move on.
  11. No you are again demonstrably wrong. Divergence, like "randomness", is entirely epistemological. Just how there are no violations of causality there are no magic, computational abrogations of what is programmed but only violations of what is thought to be potentially possible, or is intended, or is expected to happen. Your blatant confidence in your positions is profoundly unwarranted and your continued ability to neglect the substance of my responses non-conducive to your learning the genuine epistemological status of perception.
  12. Notice how that call depends crucially on you, on the importation of some knowledge of what is actually correct beyond the computer's defined inputs. Computers do not diverge from their inputted programming and so can neither err nor know. You've contributed nothing meaningful in your two replies to me thus far (demonstrative of your understanding in agreement or otherwise) and so I think I'll waste no further time entertaining your positions.
  13. Yes they do. One can not be mistaken, can not err, if there exists no choice concerning the adherence to what is correct. The "error" messages of computers symbolize only incomplete processes, not any divergence from the correct ones, i.e. not mistakes or errors. Your continual failure to observe the genetic roots and applicable contexts of the concepts you are using is frustrating and the root of your mistaken positions. Your "perfect" qualifier is invalid for there is no natural actualization of any sense modality that is not mediated by some sense organ, i.e. some incomplete, "imperfect" means of perception. Nature flies from the infinite, and I accuse of attempting to do epistemology without a knowing subject. See my remarks above and further, consider your invalid, implicit conflation of information and knowledge.
  14. Self-evidence is not something which can be assessed third-personally so with this question you are not asking how it is that the senses are self-evident but how it is that the senses can be self-evident. The senses are not actually in question here only your understanding of that fact. In his Metaphysics, Aristotle speaks to the things first and best known as being, in part, that about which it is impossible to be mistaken. To be potentially mistaken is to be fallible, but the concept of "fallible" is inapplicable to the physiological process of perception for this process is in no part volitional. Thus, the evidence of the senses can not be leveraged in genuine favor of any thesis claiming such evidence to ever be "fooling" or "misleading", for the relata necessary to distinguish between what one has or has not been fooled about is too an aspect of the evidence of the senses. The senses can not fool for they are silent. There can be no such thing as a non-veridical percept. Edit: spelling.
  15. I've been a bit busy and haven't had much time for thinking. Will respond when I have thoughts worth sharing.
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