Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Akilah

  1. Now, I want to first make definition of that concept "cause"; for it seems to me that qua verb, a cause is the act of a thing creating another thing; e.g., when men say, "a dog barks" he means that the dog is creating bark(s). And so, cause qua noun identifies a thing that is the creator of another, as it is; and so, e.g., the dog is the cause of a bark (the dog creates barks)--and philosophy is the cause of history; i.e., it is only be means of philosophy that history exists, for philosophy creates history. And here, creation is the act of putting a thing into existence. 

    And so, in regards to those things that are--what seems to me to be a peculiarity--self-caused, these are things which create themselves by no other means than themselves; however, I want to make clear here that I do not mean final causality in the Aristotelian conception of it; i.e., these here derive from my own original thinking on the matter. For in regards to the universe, a man may say, "the universe has a cause"; however, in the sense by which men seem to mean "cause" modernly would amount an extension of deterministic cause (i.e., that all things are the effects of other things; that all things are caused by previous things) as by whatever inclination they have in them, they conflate the concepts of determinism and causality with each other--they think determinism is causality and that causality necessitates determinism and so it goes. And so, when a man says, "the universe has a cause" their mind immediately hastens without doubt to conclude some other thing outside the universe as the cause of the universe; and in this lies the illumination in regards to the actual nature of determinism; for determinism is the rejection of but a single kind or species of cause; i.e., the rejection of self-causality. When we investigate the three modernly popular conceptions or positions on free will, we see that they all share this common premise of deterministic causality; i.e., both the determinist, compatibilist, and the libertarian accept without suspicion the deterministic premise of causality (that all things are effects of, or caused by previous things; for them, this is what it means to be a cause, and what causality is). But it is this premise of which I precisely call into question: are all things really caused by previous, other things? Or is there a class of things which need not to be caused by previous things? And therefore, in regards to the universe, the consistent determinist would then need to point to some mystic, supernatural entity which caused the universe (determinism leads us directly into mysticism, not on account of choice, but necessarily despite the determinists position that he is scientifically inclined, it couldn't be more untrue).


    However, my primary question would be in regards to the kinds of things that would be self-caused (i.e., what kinds of things are self-caused?); I can imagine that the most rudimentary constituents of matter (of particles or whatever they are) would necessarily be self-caused as they cannot be analyzed further. 

    And finally, in regards to free will, it seems that (just by means of observation) that the act of making a choice itself devoid of any content of that choice is self-caused--i.e., it is indeed caused (just as everything else is), but it exists by means of itself. 

  2. 3 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

    I disagree.


    So if I need 3 sentences and 100 words to convey something in L1 and only 1 sentence and 25 words to convey the same meaning (with as much accuracy) in L2, then L2 is the better language... it is more powerful and efficient to communicate, express, and/or record (for posterity) complex ideas.


    (That said L2 would be harder to learn than L1, and would likely also have a larger dictionary)

    That would be an aesthetic preference; I would prefer it as well. 

  3. 2 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

    The question of “best language” has plagued (pestered) linguists for decades, the question being a plague because there are so many different purposes that could be used as the standard for evaluating. Admirably, you specify a particular function – converting concepts into concretes (not e.g. “physical efficiency”, “popularity” and so on). I think it would be advisable to say what it means to evaluate a language as a means of concretizing concepts. However, I have to disagree with Rand’s statement that the function of language is expressing concepts: it is expressing concepts and propositions. We don’t just utter words – “horse”, “eat” – we utter propositions – “I need to borrow your horse so I can get something to eat at the store”. What would it mean for a language to be good for this purpose, or bad?

    If it were completely impossible in some language to express certain propositions (including contradictions), that would be a “bad language”. But every human language has that capacity. Differences between languages are not in terms of what can be somehow expressed, but in terms of computational efficiency. As an example, in North Saami, there is a word gabba which in a single word refers to “an all-white reindeer”. That language has a concept that is lacking in English: we can express the same thing, but it requires a more complex propositional arrangement (not just white, not entirely white; that color is then attributed to “reindeer”). So where Saami has more vocabulary in a certain domain, we can call on the resources of language rules (and can express “all-white pig; all-white house; all-white horse” and so on in an analogous fashion, where Saami does not have specific words for these other all-white things). Of course they can use the same rule-based mechanism as we do for expressing thoughts about all-white horses; they just have some additional concepts, befitting their particular circumstances.

    Languages do differ substantially in their systems of rules in a way that might seem to relate to “goodness”. In some languages, the rules for putting words together are very transparent, general and simple (Turkish is usually the example brought out to illustrate that point), and in other languages, the rules are very complex and item-specific – English is on that end of the spectrum of complexity. For example, you know what “up” means, but it doesn’t mean that in collocations like “look up”, “take up”, “mess up”, “give up”.

    While English is more chaotic in this respect, we still can convey all possible concepts and propositions using the resources of English. It’s just that we have to call on a larger set of more specific rules to do that. There is no real cognitive downside to having more rules that are more specific compared to some other language, as long as there are, in fact, rules in the language. If every proposition required its own rules, that would be a bad language, because you can express an unlimited number of propositions, but you can’t learn an unlimited set of rules.

    Back to my question: what does it mean for a language to be good or bad for the purpose of expressing propositions?


    1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

    I think every language of sufficient complexity could be used to express ideas which are beyond everyday complexity and use of a language... but if a language included, as part of everyday usage, words which automatically express, clarify, or distinguish that extra complexity, then slightly more complex ideas are more straightforwardly communicable, and understandable.

    Assuming all languages can express any idea with sufficient number of words and sentences,  then the economy of words and sentences with which a language can convey complex meaning is likely a good standard to judge languages, one against another.


    That said, some conceptual conflations may be avoided if the language has inherently built in checks to avoid them.

    I do not have any real world examples (I am no linguist) but I would assume if a language included modifiers to attach to nouns and such for everything previously experienced in reality, versus other modifiers to label nouns and such in connection with imagination or fiction or invention then that might be useful in orienting a mind toward distinguishing reality from fancy.

    A language without the word form of "wish" (as a verb), as in mentally wishing something...  while doing nothing... might be equivalent to our lack of a common everyday single term designating something like: "casting a spell to do the impossible" or "using the force to move things" or "invoking a supernatural agency to effect some cause" (although "curse" or "bless" comes close to this last... two words I would also strike from the language if I could) ...  The term "wish" then might commonly be replaced with more sensible phrases (whose use causes some reflection regarding the validity of the sentiment): "if that were to happen it would make me happy", or "if I had the ability to somehow cause that to happen, I would act to do so", or "I really would prefer it if you would stop talking". or "I would be much happier if it were the case that reality was different from the way it actually is"


    Again I have no real world examples, but since culture causes the evolution of language, a culture's philosophy and thinking inform and shape the commonly used words and phrases... so I would conjecture, a culture of rational thinkers would produce a better language.


    Okay, so let us suppose the premise, that, all languages can perform the function of a language by one way or another—the means matters not, so long as the process of conceptualization is able to be achieved.

    Now, the only differentiating factor between languages then, is how they sound; i.e., Latin doesn't sound like Mandarin of which Mandarin doesn't sound like English—is language preference then just reduced to a matter of aesthetics? And if so, by what criterion does a Man judge this language better sounding than another? 

    I absolutely love the way Latin sounds, and hate the way Mandarin sounds; but I cannot answer why that is, and whether it is rational. I have hypothesized it is because of the crisp, clear-cut sounds of Latin as opposed to Mandarin. 

    Also, Latin was the spoken language of the Renaissance, so one may speculatively infer that the rational aesthetics of that age manifested in Latin. 

  4. Now, I presume we are all familiar with the proposition, "no language is better than another"; but, just as the proposition, "no culture is better than another culture" is false, so it for the language proposition. I.e., the standard by which a language is judged as "good" or "bad" is by its achievement of that function of a language; per Ayn Rand, "language is a code of visual-auditory symbols that serves the psycho-epistemological function of converting concepts into the mental equivalent of concretes" (IOE). And so, my question is thus, "what language performs that function of language the best"? 


  5. 1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

    I believe your conundrum has been caused by your implicitly equating "subconscious" with "emotional".

    None of what you indicate represents a contradiction.

    Can you be more specific as to what has you confused?

    The DIM Hypothesis deals quite a bit with the subject, if you do not already own it, you should think about getting a copy (or borrowing one from a library).

    No, I understand that the subconscious has a primary role in, generally, automatizing knowledge; of which, includes evaluations of existents (emotions).

    I am trying to understand what exactly "integration" means and how the subconscious performs it. I understand it to mean a mental process of differentiation (of any existent, whether perceptual or conceptual) and synthesis of that which was differentiated by a uniting unit. 

    In the case of Rand's conception of an emotion, how is that process of integration carried out subconsciously? Isn't integration a feat only performed by reason? 

    I think she meant that the integration is performed by the conscious mind (reason) and then that integration is then automatized (memorized) by the subconscious.

  6. What does Rand or Peikoff mean by "integration"? Rand says emotions are the automatic responses to an evaluation of some existent integrated by the subconscious. Or, the process of consciously integrating? Branden says evasion is the process of avoiding integration; that is of consciously initiating the process of disintegration. 

    And it's further complicated when Peikoff says the subconscious is necessarily an integrating mechanism. 

  7. 8 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Maybe they don't care enough about health, and maybe they do evade the importance. I don't know, and I'm not that interested. Health does matter, I agree with you there. I'm not arguing that lack of health is an evasion, I'm saying that lack of beauty is not necessarily an evasion.

    But what does this have to do with being beautiful and evasion? You're trying to say something about them not being beautiful, as if it is a moral failure on their part. A lot of the time health has nothing to do with what you do, it's not actually rare to have a genetic disease because there are so many. Forget disorders even, a beautiful nose is genetic. You could talk about fashion and makeup in order to look more beautiful, but those don't have to do with health. 

    No, the problem is within treating 'genetic' disease as self-evident (the immutable given) - i.e, unfortunate, distasteful events which Man cannot reverse with the use of his mind; that is, not thinking, limited to the concrete and specific. There is a cause of disease, just as there is a cause of a man's choice to eat junk food or refuse to study philosophy. 

    It likens to the common view of life and ageing (or senescence) - the unstated and uninvestigated premise (unthinking) that ageing is the given, immutable, unchangeable fact of life; "Man is doomed to age, wither, acquire cancer, and succumb to his genetic defects of which we call ageing, its just what it is".  Instead of investigating the cause of senescence to which a man then may grant himself a state of biological non-senescence, non-aging, infinite youth (and if it is, in fact, genetic, the next step is then to particularize in the cause even further; "what genes, or what methylation processes cause this".., etc. 

    Or more commonly, the notion that an individuals intelligence is 'genetic' hence immutable (why? blank out) - this same argument is then thus applied to the overweight and obese, "Its just the way it is, my hormones, my inexplicable desires and emotions, those damn thyroids, my genetics, I cant help it". Again, it is treating the concrete and specific as the self-evident and the given. 

    But, again, morality is absolute, only contextually; so, I would say that, to the extent that one knows a certain action or blemish is in opposition to his beauty  (or any other value, as judged after the complex process of assessing all of ones objective values in their respective hierarchy) and continues to pursue that action (say, eating doughnuts, candy, not studying philosophy or going to the gym) constitutes and overt evasion. 

    In the case of an ugly nose - I would ask, "why is it ugly?". As, the beauty of a nose is defined contextually on a persons face (another persons nose is unlikely to be beautiful on me); is it ugly because I have gained too much fat on my face? Or is it ugly because of a genetic defect of which I have identified which results in the size of my nose being far out of proportion in regards to the size of my face? And so on. If one knows the former (and is trying to know) and continues to over-eat, then he is evading.  

    I just find It peculiar to observe a host of intellectuals and not one of them seem concerned with health and beauty - perhaps they are, and I just don't know. That is all. 

  8. 4 minutes ago, Nicky said:

    There's no mention of baseball either. Doesn't mean they don't care about it, it just means it's not relevant, beyond the painfully obvious: a rationally selfish person should take care of their health.

    Rand smoked, and her body type didn't really allow her to appear thin, but she was not obese either. Clearly she paid attention to her diet. I would write off the smoking to the Oist tendency to be skeptical of popular and government advice...because such advice is usually wrong. So it took her longer to buy into it than most.

    And her husband was thin through his life. So are all the men you mentioned. I doubt that's just by coincidence. No indication that they drink to excess or smoke, either. Clearly, they value their health more than the average North American.

    I know most about Peikoff's habits, because I listened to his podcast. He is very careful to maintain his weight, at all times, and has been for decades. But he does so without the "nihilistic" approach of denying himself food he craves. He just has less of it, or switches off fattening foods for a few weeks, when he notices any weight gain.

    P.S. But by all means, e-mail prominent Objectivists and ask. You'll probably get an answer from some of them. Or show up to an even they're speaking at, and ask. I'm sure you'll get the same answer back: health is obviously a value, and we should take care of our bodies.

    "There's no mention of baseball either. Doesn't mean they don't care about it, it just means it's not relevant, beyond the painfully obvious: a rationally selfish person should take care of their health". 

    Thanks, that clears it up. 

  9. 1 minute ago, Eiuol said:

    This is fine, or at least defensible. What does this have to do with evasion? It sounded like you were saying lack of beauty is a moral failure.

    I am pretty there is some rational explanation for their lack of interest in health -I've read OPAR about 3 times now and cannot recall any discussions on physical health. It just seems there is a disregard for physical health and beauty among popular objectivists. 

    And, lack of health is an evasion (to the extent that one knows, and is trying to know) - with the exception of certain genetic-dependent diseases. My primary concern is if I am thinking about health incorrectly - I see it as one of the highest values (up there with reason, purpose, and self-esteem) - thus the reason for popular objectivists lack of concern with the matter (or perhaps I just don't know). 

    It reminds me of those ivory tower intellectuals who regard their abstractions as far more important than any application of those abstractions (which Peikoff devotes a whole section to in OPAR) and thus disregard their health and beauty. It parallels the man who eloquently speaks of great plans and endeavors to supreme virtue; but, then never accomplishes his tasks - there exists a kind of disconnect. 

    25 minutes ago, EC said:

    So a woman (or a man too, I guess) can not be beautiful if she was born with something like diabetes or sickle-cell anemia, etc? This may a subject we will have to disagree on, although I think you are trying to apply a principle too wide.

    Well, no - beauty and health are measured in degrees; someone with sickle-celled anemia resulting in yellow eyes and so on is not as beautiful.., etc. 








  10. 2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

    I'm sure there's a connection between health and human beauty. That being said, do you believe that we can tell a person's health (or their concern for their own health) from the way they appear, or their beauty? And do you believe that health is the only source of human beauty?

    Yes, and yes.

    59 minutes ago, EC said:

    The bolded part is overall false, although often true in practice. Beauty involves symmetry for the most part. A beautiful woman born with diabetes, for instance, would still be a beautiful woman especially in her relative youth.

    As to the second part, I don't understand. Are you saying all these people are ugly, and this is somehow self-caused (overweight?)? I've never even thought of judging any of these people on the "beauty scale" fwiw, except Rand who I agree wasn't physically beautiful imo.

    Someone who is not healthy cannot be beautiful (a contradiction in terms) - I use 'health' as defined by, the proper biological (physical) functioning of man; thus, human beauty as, the proper physical appearance of man. 

    Beauty being a subset of aesthetics; i.e, a depiction of man in his proper metaphysical state (which is thus genetically dependent upon his proper biological functioning). To set beauty against health - or the reverse - is a logical error (an error in judgement; which could have serious anti-life consequences); as, there is no proper physical appearance of man if he has no proper biological functioning. 

    This error can be seen in common hip-hop-rap female artists (think Minaj) who inject themselves with all kinds of synthetics and plastics at which a large portion of men then judge that as "beauty" - which it is not; its a perversion in judgement. Beauty is objective. 

    I agree with Aristotle's definition of beauty (symmetry, definiteness, and proportion) as those are the precise characteristics which indicate proper biological health - forming a kind of harmony between the two. 

    I must stress however, that, there is a distinction between beauty as applied to living systems as opposed to nonliving physical concretes; as, the standard of biological beauty is the proper functioning of that living system. Whereas with physical concretes, this cannot be so. 

    (To say, as applied to a random sample, "she is beautiful" while she is obese, living with atherosclerosis, and has a disfigured face, perhaps, from a car accident is to err in judgement). 

  11. Now, it is true - when objectively assessed - that health is a value - and that, physical beauty is thus a manifestation of health; i.e, there exists no physical beauty apart from health; that gross error would be a stolen concept. And so, when observing the common intellectuals of objectivism (I am an objectivist) such as Brook, Peikoff, Ghate, Binswanger, and perhaps Rand herself - there appears to be a complete absence of this consideration (an objective value); one can merely glimpse at the physical disposition of these men (and Rand) and observe their *seeming* carelessness about health (and consequent, beauty). Is this just some gross evasion shared among them - or, are they simply unaware?  

  12. 8 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

    Not necessarily.  Emotional states are complex but in some sense are integrated nonreducable wholes.  You speak as though an emotion is made up of atomistic emotional simples or monads.

    Also you are looking at emotions as if they were in a sort of logical hierarchy the way knowledge is hierarchical or the way a complex argument is structured to prove a conclusion from premises.

    There is no reason given in the OP to assume emotions work this way.  I do not have any reason to accept some emotions are more primary that others, that any are constitutive of others, or that any precede any other (except in time ordering).

    The lack of any evidence tending to show such an hierarchy of emotion suggests the opposite of “surely they must”.

    I suppose I was conflating concepts and emotion--i.e, any kind of particular emotion being a concept, hence, having units which constitute that state of consciousness. 

    My error lies in thinking that, the concept of emotion is the emotion itself--which is untrue. 

    So, you think that emotions (each and every particular) exist as primaries?  

  13. On 10/17/2018 at 11:48 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

    I think there is an interesting issue with cause and effect here.

    Joy and Suffering are emotions in the sense that they are feelings in a sense caused by the entire state or context of a person, both present and past.  In a sense it is a post facto introspective reactive emotion to the sum of the metaphysical situation of a person currently happening and everything that has occurred in the past.

    Motivation, also in a very real sense is a type of emotion or feeling, seems to arises in reaction to a specific context or concrete AND the recognition of the possibility and need to act: you see something you want and an emotional motivator such as desire arises, you see something you wish to avoid and an emotional motivator of aversion arises.  These are prior to actions in respect of the specific context or concrete.  Once action is taken (here either an attempt to obtain the subject of desire or avoid the subject of aversion), I would suggest upon introspection an emotion of happiness or disappointment (temporary or immediate versions of joy and suffering) will arise based on the post mortem analysis of the success or failure of the act to obtain performed or the act to avoid performed.

    Although a crucial precursor to action, desire and aversion, as motivations are temporary and vary moment to moment and context to context whereas joy and suffering are a kind of integrated sum of everything.

    Oh, I see; so, instead of 'basic' I am trying to find the 'primary' emotions if they exist--surely they must?  

  14. On 10/18/2018 at 7:25 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

    Adding to what EC quoted and stated, joy and suffering being “basic” means something akin to being fundamental in an integrated totality fashion rather than being fundamental in an atomistic reductive fashion.  

    I.e, you cannot expand the concept of joy and suffering to then obtain hatred and love? 

    What I grasp from joy and suffering being "basic" is that they are the primary emotions; meaning, no other kinds of emotions precede them. And so, all other emotions are 'narrowed' abstractions from those primaries which serve as their basis. 

  15. On 10/17/2018 at 11:46 AM, Reidy said:

    Can you give us a quote? She said in The Objectivist Ethics that pleasure and pain are the lowest-level signals of whether we are being affected for good or for ill, but I don't recognize the claim you mention.

    Hunger and satiety are built-in, automatic signals, but they aren't enough to tell us what to eat or how to obtain it.

    I think there exists a difference between hunger and the sensations of hunger; i.e, 'hunger' is the concept of recognizing that food is necessary at that moment (hence, the desire of it) as concluded from the evidence of the senses (the feeling of an empty stomach). 

    Hunger is not built in--the sensations preceding it are. 

    Sorry, my mistake; she describes the basic emotions in Atlas shrugged.  

  16. On 10/18/2018 at 6:05 PM, EC said:



    The quote says that joy/suffering dichotomy is a "barometer of" the state of a man's mind. It says that joy and suffering are "basic emotions". It doesn't state that these two are "from which all others are derivatives" as you claim. 

    Is that not what basic means? 

  17. Ayn Rand in her book the Objectivist ethics--while not explicating the reason for this truth--claims that the basic emotions are joy and suffering from which all others are derivatives; but, perhaps this is merely a result from my past Stoic philosophy before my conversion to Objectivism, however, are not the basic emotions desire and aversion? I.e, joy, being the result of the successful state of life is then necessarily the result of the satisfaction of desire, and the aversion of that which is bad.  Desire being the logical correlate of volitional thought--i.e, value judgments. E.g, the desire for food is not some innate biological instinct, but the result of value-judgments; the frustration of that desire is what results in a host of other negative emotions, and if prolonged long enough, results in suffering. 

  18. The good is that which promotes life as per individual qua man; and the reverse applies--however then, what is the 'right' or 'wrong'? Is it that which is correctly identified as good or bad? Meaning that the differential between that which is right and good lies in the 'right' being the factual evaluation of a certain object (action, material good.., etc) as 'good'? I.e, "You are wrong about this matter, eating cake is not good for health" and so on. 

  19. Given that a choice is a concept before an action, that is, it is the predicate of action. But, what is a choice? I have worked out that, a choice is merely the result of judgment of what, amongst  alternatives, is right or wrong. The necessary result, is that, it is fundamental to human nature that he can only act on what he has judged right or wrong. Making the choice between the slice of pizza and ribeye steak is to say, "is the pizza right or is the steak right and the pizza wrong?"; Man cannot act out of morality - it is his nature to be morally perfect. 

    Let me stress this, action is the result of judgment amongst alternatives; that is, choice, which is merely that precise judgment of those alternatives as right or wrong. Man cannot act outside of this judgment - it is the kind of identity he is, his nature. To choose, is to judge, and to act, is to choose. To act impulsively is to judge whims as right and planned action as wrong (choosing) and so on.

    Necessarily, then, what is fundamentally wrong cannot possess any rationale as to why it is 'right' - that is, if an action is wrong, then there exists no contexts, no circumstances, no rationales as to why it is right for that specific context. Exempli gratia, if one has proclaimed that eating healthy foods is right and eating unhealthy foods is wrong, then, there exists no rationale to justify eating unhealthy foods (that is to say, a reason for why, granted a specific context, it is right to eat unhealthy food) - I am tempted to say, that, it is a stolen concept to answer otherwise, in that, when an object is fundamentally wrong, there cannot exist any pretexts for which it is right because it is already wrong.

    The resulting, and rather exciting, conclusion is that mans nature is to be morally perfect; that is, he cannot act outside his judgments - so much for "man isn't perfect"; it is his job to be perfect.

    *Note: I am looking for objections from my fellow objectivists, am I wrong? I want to know the truth*.

  20. Very simply, the three cardinal values are reason, purpose, and self-esteem. Which I presume are ranked in that order as well. My question is, how does one integrate his own values with the three cardinal values and remain consistent? Exempli gratia, 'health', or 'wealth' and so on.

  21. 20 hours ago, Boydstun said:

    “The process of a child’s development consists of acquiring knowledge, which requires the development of his capacity to grasp and deal with an ever-widening range of abstractions. This involves the growth of two interrelated but different chains of abstractions, two hierarchical structures of concepts, which should be integrated, but seldom are: the cognitive and the normative. The first deals with knowledge of the facts of reality—the second, with the evaluation of these facts. The first forms the epistemological foundation of science—the second, of morality and art.” (Rand 1965a, 10) --quote in my From Integrity to Calculus


    Rand tells the religionist: “Whenever you committed the evil of refusing to think and to see, of exempting from the absolute of reality some one small wish of yours, whenever you chose to say: Let me withdraw from the judgment of reason . . . the existence of God, let me have my one irrational whim and I will be a man of reason about all else—that was the act of subverting your consciousness, the act of corrupting your mind” (1037).

    Rand was not opposed to feelings. She was not against the idea of the human soul, provided it is thought of as naturally part of one’s living body and mortal as one’s body. In Fountainhead she has dialogue between Keating and his wife Dominique in which soul is given the expressly nonreligious meaning: that in one that is one’s genuine person—not only one’s body—one’s will and meaning, that in one which independently thinks, values, decides, and feels (GW II 454–55; cf. 1957, 1057). -- from my Mysticism - Kant and Rand (Part 1 -Reason)


    When philosophers lay out theories of good definition, they are theories of an explicative kind of definition (see David Kelley’s Art of Reasoning, chapter 3). Consider Rand’s definition of reason as the faculty that identifies and integrates the evidence of the senses. In my dictionary, I find reason defined as the capacity for rational thought, rational inference, or rational discrimination. The terms rational and thought go to already familiar synonymies with reason. The differentia within the rational, in this dictionary definition, are the discriminatory and the inferential.

    Rand’s definition stays close to the common usage reflected by the dictionary, but it replaces discrimination and inference by their kin identification and integration, it eliminates the non-explicative rational, and it adds a base for the activities of reason, specifically, deliverances of the senses. Rand’s definition is explanatory of the common usage found in the dictionary, and it is tailored to tie neatly to a particular wider philosophical view.

    Quine could say this is a fine explicative type of definition. Rand has given the term reason a new synonymy. The various contexts in which reason under the dictionary definition is properly used remain contexts in which reason under the new, explicative definition is properly used. The new definition covers the processes of drawing distinctions and making inferences. The new definition also applies to the wider processes of identification and integration of sensory evidence, processes in which the narrower processes are embedded. --from my On Quine's "Two Dogmas"

    PS - Welcome to Objectivism Online.

    So, can we definitively say that, using the faculty of 'reason' is reduced to asking 'why' and 'how'?

  22. The way Rand and Peikoff use it in their books is extremely vague; how can one practically use his faculty of reason? And what relations does the faculty have in terms of emotions?

    The epistemology of objectivism states that man first senses, then he perceives, at which he then gains concepts. Perceptions are merely collections of sensations - that is, all existents are different, it is the stage where a conscious being "identifies". From this, a unit of measure can be obtained from the perceptions to which that unit becomes a concrete concept which man decides to express in symbols. Where is 'reason' in this process? How can I consciously use 'reason' over emotion, and why does emotion conflict with 'reason'?


  • Create New...