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Veritas

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Veritas last won the day on June 2

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  1. Ok, so in terms of understanding you I need to retain that you point is the “reasoning” from A to B is the issue. Wouldn’t the correlating reason over and above x,y,z be understood in the meaning behind the words used, such as, life, standard, etc,. There is a lot of reading that digs deeper. Greg Salmieri has some entries in “Blackwells Companions to Philosophy”. I hope you continue in this route to further refine your inquiries. Although, I also understand that people here who endorse her philosophy gives quick access to a response. I would like to be able to fill that role as well as notice the gaps in my own understanding. But, there are great resources if you find value in digging any deeper outside of this forum or having exhausted the replies by others here. Maybe instead of doing textual criticism on what she said in VOS we can just start here. 1. I exist 2. In order for me to exist to be meaningful I have to exist in a particular way (law of identity) 3. My particular existence is subject to my particular identity, which is a living organism. 4. Me as a human living organism cannot live without taking particular actions, which are dictated by my particular identity. 5. I need an ultimate guide to continue to exist as a human organism. The guide is morality. Its why we need morality at all. Otherwise whats the point? 6. Morality as it applies to me is a guide for looking at what I am and what I should do. 7 The most fundamental choice I have to decide is to live or to die. 8. The standard that I have to make that particular choice is an understanding that “mans life”, which would include me requires life giving values (food, shelter, etcs,.) and the method for discovering those values is my mind. It is the only method. My mind learning reality (the identity of everything) and a specific application of what I discover to my unique existence as a human organism. Also, what are you philosophical leanings? You mentioned Kant (nemisis ;-)). Are you sympathetic to his approach to morality?
  2. I think I see your reasoning here. Here are some statements that could be made. 1. A strong nuclear force is a fundamental for binding together matter. 2. Matter is required for life to exist. 3. Matter is a necessary condition to life You are concluding then that in this sense that matter could be a standard for value equal to a strong nuclear force equal to life and that if life could be said to be the standard then any of the above mentioned (matter or strong nuclear force) could be said to the the standard as well. From this you might also ask why not just say “existence is the standard of value”. I want to make sure I completely understand what you are saying before I respond. Is this correct?
  3. Eric, I suppose I do not understand that objection per se. What would be the “host of additional necessary conditions of valuing”? Life is the fundamental condition. Conceptually, in order to understand any condition we must understand that life is the basis and perquisite for any other condition to exist. What can exist without life? Life (fundamentally speaking) is what gives rise to the need for values at all. What would be something equal to or greater conceptually than the concept of life that one could derive the concept of value from?
  4. Oh sorry, this original quote was from a Facebook conversation that I started having with someone that is a bit critical of Ayn Rand view of ethics. I asked him to come over here to make the conversation easier and flow better.
  5. I definitely agree with this. My life shouldn’t be taken as “my life” in a subjective way as if it something other than “the life” that I am living. I see how in talking with people that this gets taken incorrectly.
  6. The choice to remain alive as a child is not based on anything more than mere desire. How to stay alive is where "rationality" comes in. "Rationality" is what we use to make sure that our actions are in accordance with "Reality" for flourishing. Children do not deliberate or make arguments for life. They desire to live because of values that they in-explicitly choose. Also we might be using the term "Standard" differently here. It is not life qua life that is the standard (although, I think we agree with this). Does it follow that the act of deliberating means that "(my)life" cannot be the standard but some antecedent that is "causing the deliberation? No. The act of deliberating simply points to me having some sense of volition. What I would deliberate (later in life) explicitly is how I am going to live and what value I will choose to do so.
  7. A few questions to clarify, In your first paragraph you mention a wold were memory recall is only meant for survival. This is to some degree the world we live in for most species who act instinctually or simply by memory (sensory and or perceptual level). But, then you speak of “us” who are able to operate on a conceptual level. Axioms are not just categories that we have evolved to think of for survival. Axioms fundmental to existence whether we think of them or not. Can you clarify a world world that is “Empty” and where there is no consciousness? I can imagine a world with no consciousness but not a world with no “identity”. To exist is to have identity. Also can you clarify what you mean by we could “think” in a world where there is no consciousness?
  8. Ok, I thought it would be easier to continue the conversation in here and it will be easy to keep track of. Right, it is by being alive that I have a reason to choose to continue to maintain being alive or not. I am not sure I am following your connection that if we have a choice “and it is reason based” that the choice cannot be based on life being the standard. It is not life in general it is ‘my” life. What makes possible the ability to make a choice at all is that there is existence. So as it is, because existence is real and I am something that exists in a particular way (conscious and volitional) in order to stay that way my life specifically is the standard for what choices I make. If I wasn’t alive or there was no one alive there would be no standard for morality at all. There is no standard for morality for a tree. Only volitional beings have the need for morality.
  9. Ayn Rand said in ITOR in regards to concepts “The ability to regard entities as units is mans distinctive method of cognition” Isn’t this what a gazelle is doing when it only gets afraid of the Lion that is nearby and not the elephant or the ground hog? Isn’t it separating in its mind somehow the difference between the group lions? Isn’t it distinguishing particulars amongst the animal existents?
  10. Existence is independent of consciousness. I cannot think, "tree move" and it succumb to my wishes. But, what it is it that makes my hand move? It cannot be my thoughts can it? Thoughts have no influence over matter. What is it that makes my hand move? How is it that the material that makes me me connect to my mind in a way that is different that my mind being connected to the tree? Is it simply because my consciousness it part of my identity? What am I missing?
  11. I think that one can prove a negative in certain circumstances, but it has to be something that pertains to reality. One cannot prove a negative statement about something that is arbitrary and I think that is what they were getting at. For example I can prove that Karl is not in the room by simply opening up the room and seeing that Karl is not there. But Karl is at least a possible person and not arbitrary. The idea of God (strictly the miracle working god) is incoherent (rationally speaking) and arbitrary in regards to reality.
  12. Right, one would have to prove that the Law of Identity is false and then establish a new system of reality in order to prove an existence that can exist with no identity, which is quite arbitrary.
  13. Thank you to the posting contributors. Thanks for giving me both your time and consideration.
  14. I wanted to add this to the discussion at hand as it adds to the very scope of what I presented initially, what was commented on, and how I conclude the matter. Quited from AR Lexicon Arbitrary ¶ “Arbitrary” means a claim put forth in the absence of evidence of any sort, perceptual or conceptual; its basis is neither direct observation nor any kind of theoretical argument. [An arbitrary idea is] a sheer assertion with no attempt to validate it or connect it to reality. If a man asserts such an idea, whether he does so by error or ignorance or corruption, his idea is thereby epistemologically invalidated. It has no relation to reality or to human cognition. Remember that man’s consciousness is not automatic, and not automatically correct. So if man is to be able to claim any proposition as true, or even as possible, he must follow definite epistemological rules, rules designed to guide his mental processes and keep his conclusions in correspondence to reality. In sum, if man is to achieve knowledge, he must adhere to objective validating methods—i.e., he must shun the arbitrary . . . . Since an arbitrary statement has no connection to man’s means of knowledge or his grasp of reality, cognitively speaking such a statement must be treated as though nothing had been said. Let me elaborate this point. An arbitrary claim has no cognitive status whatever. According to Objectivism, such a claim is not to be regarded as true or as false. If it is arbitrary, it is entitled to no epistemological assessment at all; it is simply to be dismissed as though it hadn’t come up . . . . The truth is established by reference to a body of evidence and within a context; the false is pronounced false because it contradicts the evidence. The arbitrary, however, has no relation to evidence, facts, or context. It is the human equivalent of [noises produced by] a parrot . . . sounds without any tie to reality, without content or significance. In a sense, therefore, the arbitrary is even worse than the false. The false at least has a relation (albeit a negative one) to reality; it has reached the field of human cognition, although it represents an error—but in that sense it is closer to reality than the brazenly arbitrary. I want to note here parenthetically that the words expressing an arbitrary claim may perhaps be judged as true or false in some other cognitive context (if and when they are no longer put forth as arbitrary), but this is irrelevant to the present issue, because it changes the epistemological situation. For instance, if a savage utters “Two plus two equals four” as a memorized lesson which he doesn’t understand or see any reason for, then in that context it is arbitrary and the savage did not utter truth or falsehood (it’s just like the parrot example). In this sort of situation, the utterance is only sounds; in a cognitive context, when the speaker does know the meaning and the reasons, the same sounds may be used to utter a true proposition. It is inexact to describe this situation by saying, “The same idea is arbitrary in one case and true in another.” The exact description would be: in the one case the verbiage does not express an idea at all, it is merely noise unconnected to reality; to the rational man, the words do express an idea: they are conceptual symbols denoting facts. It is not your responsibility to refute someone’s arbitrary assertion—to try to find or imagine arguments that will show that his assertion is false. It is a fundamental error on your part even to try to do this. The rational procedure in regard to an arbitrary assertion is to dismiss it out of hand, merely identifying it as arbitrary, and as such inadmissible and undiscussable. Leonard Peikoff, The Philosophy of Objectivism lecture series, Lecture 6
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