Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About intrinsicist

  • Rank
    Junior Member

Recent Profile Visitors

594 profile views
  1. intrinsicist

    Ocon 2019

    I've aged out of the discount price, so for me the cost is outrageously unreasonable.
  2. What's your definition of "rational animal"? Why is a late-term fetus (say, 1 week before birth) not a rational animal, whereas a post-birth infant (1 week later) is a rational animal? In general, what is the metaphysical nature of the being in question at various stages in the process? If we break this down, we are starting with a sperm and an egg: two distinct beings of certain kinds. Next, upon fertilization, these two combine into one single being of a certain kind, a zygote. This zygote goes through various developmental stages, from an embryo, to a fetus, to an infant, to a baby, a child, then finally an adult (and lastly, after the adult dies, a corpse). I can see three main perspectives on the various states of metaphysical nature here: 1. At the point of a conception, there is a new living organism that is genetically human. This is one and the same organism from conception to adulthood. This argument seems to be the most defensible from a metaphysical standpoint in my view. 2. At some stage in the development of the fetus this organism attains consciousness, which fundamentally alters its metaphysical nature (this has been known since the time of Aristotle as "ensoulment", usually identified somewhere between 40 and 90 days; or under common law the "quickening" which is identified between 14-20 weeks). This argument is at least defensible from a dual-aspect metaphysics point of view (where the physical body and the consciousness both have basic metaphysical standing), however I see a difficulty in explaining how the post-ensoulment being is not in fact still one and the same being as the original organism, just at a later stage of development. Why is the mental/conscious aspect of its being not relevant or applicable prior to it being fully functional and active? 3. At sometime during post-birth childhood development, the child becomes capable of fully conceptual consciousness, at which point its metaphysical nature is fundamentally altered, since it has obtained the key feature of moral personhood. At some number of months of age (or perhaps years), the baby's consciousness has exceeded the purely perceptual level and is capable of understanding and communicating with language. This position shares the same difficulty as #2, although it seems less defensible metaphysically as the baby already has consciousness at the base level, so there is an even bigger question as to when and how something has truly metaphysically changed. It also raises the question of whether the child may still have conceptual consciousness prior to it's capability of effectively demonstrating it in communication. Based on your metaphysical stance, there would be different moral implications as far as where the line is drawn for a rights-violating murder: 1. Abortion is wrong beginning from the point of conception 2. Abortion is wrong after some point during the first or second trimester 3. Abortion is categorically permitted, as well as infanticide up until some number of months or years in childhood development. There is an additional factor of uncertainty - if you are uncertain whether or not some action is murder, should you do it at all? I think its morally indefensible to commit such an act. So even if your best guess is that #2 is the case, unless you can attain certainty that #1 is not true, you shouldn't engage in abortion at all (likewise if your best guess is #3, unless you can be certain that the consciousness isn't conceptual sometime at or after point #2, you shouldn't engage in abortion after that line). Setting the standard based on "birth" or "independence" isn't basing it on the real issue of its metaphysical nature, so I don't think these lines are defensible.
  3. We already have established elsewhere that you're okay with violating others' rights, up to and including stealing and even murder, for the sake of your own survival, so I doubt flipping a switch would pose any trouble for you. For me it's a serious question, and I have to wonder how I managed getting on a trolley in which I'm strictly prohibited from pulling any of the levers in case of an emergency (that for the sake of argument would be perfectly reasonable and safe to pull, if only I had the permission); it sounds pretty improbable to begin with.
  4. @Easy Truth I'm not following your description... let me try to clarify and tell me if this helps with your question. Let's take a given universal, like say, Man. There is a root metaphysical substance, i.e. manhood, or manness, it is the essence of this universal Man. This metaphysical universal has two aspects: a physical aspect and a mental aspect. Whenever we deal with individual men embodied, each one is an instance of this metaphysical universal, which we are aware of in its physical aspect. Whenever we deal with the concept of "man", this universal concept which we hold in our mind is this same metaphysical universal, which are we aware of in its mental aspect. The universal itself is real and we can be aware of it in both its physical and mental aspects. Neither aspect is more real or more fundamental than the other (that is, it's not the case that the physical is metaphysically real and the mental is epiphenomenal, or vice versa), but rather they are both aspects of the one underlying metaphysically real thing.
  5. @Valdis I've tried to provide some philosophical clarity on this issue on my blog here: Closed Borders: A rights-based defense You are 100% correct in thinking of the US border as the "geographic´╗┐ limit of the jurisdiction of the Federal´╗┐ government´╗┐". However, this is precisely what makes it "our property", because we've delegated our rights to the US government for the purposes of defense. Defending the border is in essence what we're paying the government to do. If that's "collectivist" than so is any agreement amongst a group of people, and we might as well advocate for abolishing all corporations while we're at it.
  6. Exactly. If the lever is owned by the train company, what right do you have to get involved with the workings of their property?
  7. No I wouldn't say that everything "possesses consciousness". These things all posses a nature or essence, which is part material and part formal (or mental).
  8. Like begets like. How can a combination of simple elements combine to form something which can't be explained by the nature and actions of its elements? Logically there would have to be some other element that comes into play, hence the conclusion that this idea of "emergence" is magical or superstitious.
  9. Calm down there Wolowitz, I'm not emotionally invested in this, I'm just not convinced. That's an interesting position to take, but I'm on the side of mental reductionism here. Some relevant quotes from Nagel:
  10. @Eiuol the question isn't whether universals are of the mind, but whether they necessarily imply the existence of a mind. The existence of the physical implies the existence of a body, because "a body" is the most elemental kind of physical thing. But "a mind" is not the most elemental kind of mental thing, hence the existence of the mental does not necessarily imply the existence of a mind. Hence the analogy fails.
  11. I don't think that analogy quite works. The basic element of the physical is a body, but the basic element of the mental is not a mind. For example, you can refer to specific mental entities like a concept, a percept, a memory, a thought, or what have you, and these elements are not in themselves a mind. But no matter how elemental you look at the physical, whether it's an object or an atom, you are still dealing with a "body". I'm not describing a mental substance, no. The basic substance has both a physical and a mental aspect. You could instead say it has both a material and formal aspect, that the mind deals with "forms" and the "formal aspect", but "formal" and "mental" are equivalent here, so it's all saying the same thing.
  12. I don't see that that's necessary. There is an aspect of everything which exists that is Form (or essence), and this aspect is inherently mental. A mind is also something that is mental, and it has the special capacity to grasp the mental aspect of things (in the form of concepts especially, and perhaps in other respects as well). A mind implies the existence of the mental, but I don't see that the mental necessarily implies the existence of any mind in particular.
  13. No, for something to have a mental aspect it merely needs to have Form (or "essence", whatever you want to call it), it doesn't need to have any mental capacity for sensation, perception, or concept-formation. You can think about this in the sense of Aristotle's hylomorphic compounds; everything that exists is composed of both Form and matter (the Form being the mental aspect, the matter being the physical aspect). This doesn't mean everything has a mind, just that an aspect of its nature is mental.
  • Create New...