Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum

Welcome to Objectivism Online, a forum for discussing the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For full access, register via Facebook or email.

StrictlyLogical

Regulars
  • Content count

    1543
  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About StrictlyLogical

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Contact Methods

  • ICQ 0

Profile Information

  • Gender Not Telling

Previous Fields

  • Country Not Specified
  • State (US/Canadian) Not Specified
  • Relationship status No Answer
  • Sexual orientation No Answer
  • Copyright Copyrighted

Recent Profile Visitors

12261 profile views
  1. Nicely resolved. Off topic if I might add this might be caused by the all too common conflation ( even when it is very minimal) of "objective" and "universal". What a work means presupposes a mind providing that meaning ... and it is separately objectively (not universally) due to the identity of the work and the identity of the one contemplating it. The above of course intended for those (such as NB and KP) who I think actually understand the difference between "objective" and "universal".
  2. This implies a single work of art need not attempt to sum up every and all aspects of a man's relationship to reality. In fact to really get at any particular important subject, i.e. any particular aspect of metaphysics and man being dealt with, what is not important to its presentation is eliminated. Selection implies a work of art does not need to be about the whole of man's metaphysics, but can (and properly) be about some aspect of it. Now what is presented needs to be provided in a single concretized whole summing up what the artist is drawing the viewer's attention to... but the subject of the work of art can and should be delimited. An artists sense of life may inform the chosen subjects and what he/she is aying by the art but each piece is not about that single monolithic sense of life, it is about the specific subject it is directed to. There is not but only one painting depicting the metaphysical reality of man but uncountably many possible works showing various particular important aspects thereof. Does this make sense?
  3. Does Art necessarily have to represent the entirety or the whole of a metaphysics? Must it be THE summation? It would seem such would imply art cannot be about i.e. depict and explore an "aspect" or "part of life" which is important and profound. (As for the highest form of art.. I suppose some restrictions need to apply) A work such as the fallen angel, although it is sad, might not be about sadness as such. It might be about loss, and by implication, it might actually be about value, and specifically and more importantly about the greatest value one can have in another: Love... by seeing how devastating the loss is, one sees how great the love was and can be, and by seeing how great the love, one perchance sees how wonderful life can be... but with full knowledge and acceptance (not evasion) that neither life nor love lasts forever. Is this a malevolent view? I'm not so sure. Would a sculpture of a woman smiling and dancing in the flowers with a doting husband smiling and watching her conveyed the greatness and the depth of the emotion he had for her and her importance to him? Only so much can be captured in a sculpture of a smile... Set backs are a part of life, and dare I say they are important challenges that test people's character and resilience and provide opportunities to grow and flourish in the face of them. So an artwork which presents a challenge or a disaster or a loss, unless it is clearly shown that there is and can never be recovery (granted another possible interpretation of the fallen angel...) the art can present positive sense of life, one which is psychologically adjusted to the facts of reality which face man but which exalts his ability to adapt and to flourish. I don't think art is limited to the widest presentation of metaphysics. Specific, selected and important aspects of life, of man's relation to reality can be portrayed. A work depicting a freak and tragic accident befalling a man and his triumph over it is NOT about the metaphysics of the randomness of reality (which is a fact), it is about the more important fact (also a fact of reality) of the resilience and strength of man, the potentialities possessed and residing inert within every man which perhaps not even the viewer would have otherwise suspected he himself possessed. A sense of life is NOT about what the universe does to you: Life is not what "happens" to you. A sense of life is about man, about man's place in the universe, his ability to deal with it, no matter what part of it he faces: Life, wherever you find yourself, is what you do.
  4. Let me know what you think Kaladin. Also if you still have any specific example (of the unknowable) for contemplation I would be interested to hear about it.
  5. You sir are calling Objectivism dishonest and malevolent. THAT is a malicious and gross falsehood. You are out of order and should reconsider your purposes here.
  6. It depends upon what you are claiming is "unknowable" and what you mean by "unknowable". The existence of a thing is "knowable", a knowledge of literally everything about a thing is generally not possible even for a single thing (limitations of physics and complex nature of simultaneously varying properties of constituents, fields, particles, etc.) unless the thing is particularly simple (even knowing everything about a particular electron, is not plainly given... recall the uncertainty principle). Of course the identity of a particle in a particular interaction is knowable. Some things are simply not simultaneously knowable... like a list of the names of everyone in Kansas... to a single mind... but that I gather is not the same kind of "unknowable" you are contemplating. Because each individual in the list is knowable, and there is nothing more than the individuals in the list, in principle, in one sense, the list is knowable. Patterns of existence or causation may be too subtle or too complex for human's to grasp directly, but with integration, conceptualization, and reduction they can be understood at some level of abstraction. To the degree necessitated by man's existence and pursuit of value, he may need to investigate and understand some levels of some things to a greater or lesser extent than on other levels. Similar to what I mention above, knowing every thing about something at "every" level is generally impossible and in any case likely just not practicable if it were possible (time and effort versus usefulness of the knowledge). Here is an interesting example, which I think ties a few concepts together. You can never know what it is like to be that which you are not. For example, you will never know what it is like to be a tree, or what it is like to be a Dog. Such are unknowable because of the nature of what you are, because of your identity. Now, in reality, there is something akin or parallel to knowledge (analogous) which a dog possesses, and by which it knows what it is like to be itself. At face value it looks like an example of yours, where by the nature of your identity you cannot know something about the universe. But a dog's nature and yours, and a dog's knowledge and yours are wholly incommensurable. In a sense you do not lack what is impossible for you to possess. So although at first it might seem that such "knowledge" is truly unknowable to you, in another sense, it does not constitute, even potentially, knowledge. It makes no more sense to say "the universe lacks what blue sounds like"... color and sound are incommensurate: the experience of being a dog, and knowing something as a human, are equally unrelated. Back to your question: to claim such a thing as "what it like to be a dog" simply does not exist would be false on its face... all dogs self-evidently due to their nature experience "what it is like to be a dog", it's just something you can't ever experience yourself. The key is that what is proposed as the knowledge you are missing (what it is like to be a dog) simply does not qualify as knowledge. So in summary I would say (and it may seem trite now but I think accurate): "Knowledge of a something" is impossible in cases where the something is in fact not a something, or if the proposed knowledge would not in fact constitute human knowledge.
  7. This is better re-worded as: The universe is a connected whole and by the means of careful non-contradictory identification you can likewise make your mind and your knowledge a connected non-contradictory whole.
  8. First of all epistemic predicaments do not legislate what is the case. Existence has identity, it is our task using consciousness to succeed at the exercise of identification. You imply there may be "something" about existence which is "impossible to know". Moreover you posit that such a possibility might be due to a specific kind of flaw with our means and/or form of acquiring knowledge, whereby the very act of "acceptance" entails that impossibility. First, as regards the identity of our means of knowledge, this is a bald assertion that the means in fact is broken. It implies our means of knowledge because of its nature, although it may work in many areas, directly fails in some specific area. What would have to be the case for such to be true? What would the nature of the thing which would be unknowable have to be? First consider that we have levels of understanding from the most direct and concrete to the widest abstraction. Second, note that reality as independent from man's mind is complex ever evolving and interacting. Third, man has the ability to make multiple observations, interact with reality on various levels, and the ability to collect ever more evidence and correct his knowledge as required. Lastly, man has the ability and the responsibility (if he is to know) to process the contents of his mind to resolve any contradictions. Now, take for example the knowledge conveyed by a blip on a screen, which is connected through a complex apparatus to a multi tonne reservoir with sensors in it which interact with neutrinos coming from the sun which pass through the entire Earth. Neutrinos hardly (weakly) interact with anything, they barely have any mass at all. For all intents and purposes this a ghostlike particle that as a free and individual particle does not interact or participate in causality to much of a degree. Yet, we have knowledge of these things which in comparison to a human level of existence, can be said hardly to exist (this is a metaphor). Why can we know of such a thing? Because no matter how weakly, how statistically improbable, as pat of reality which has a causal interaction with other parts of reality, we can arrange detecting apparatuses such that their presence can be directly causally connected (through a complex chain) though our senses to the mind. Everything that has any consequence in reality (i.e. everything which forms part of reality) can be causally linked to our senses to reveal its existence. As such nothing which exists can go completely unnoticed by man. As such we can know of all things that are. What about this unknowable thing? Well certainly, if it is interactively and causally cut off from all other things which are knowable i.e. it never interacted with things like neutrinos, matter, energy, humans, planets, galaxies, then if would qualify as unknowable but it would also not qualify as part of existence. It would be arbitrary by definition because by definition evidence of it is impossible. What if it did interact with reality, but we could not "fully understand" it... perhaps it were too complex, or too vast, or its pattern too elusive to identify? Man is finite, grabbing the toe of a cosmic elephant, he would be able to identify a toe, but perhaps not of what the toe was a part, nor perhaps would be able to ever know the entirety of the elephant from the evidence of the toe. But this is not a problem with his epistemology, it is a problem with technology. Man would need to figure out how to expand his knowledge by creating a detector which interacted more fully with that which the toe is a part... the elephant is a whole, its parts are connected in reality, man can know it in its entirety eventually. In the end you are left with the only possibilities that either man's mind is fundamentally broken... i.e. it is faulty in ALL areas or that nature is fundamentally "broken" where some parts are wholly disconnected from others. Observe, both are wholly arbitrary assertions which stand in opposition to all available evidence. If man's mind is wholly broken, knowledge is impossible and you should not trouble yourself with knowing anything. If existence is broken, to the extent some portions are completely cut off from your existence, you might as well forget them, they are literally immaterial and irrelevant to your existence and not knowing of them is of no consequence whatever. In some sense the symmetry between reality and mind is their interconnectedness by causality and interaction. The universe is a connected whole and is by the means of careful non-contradictory identification you can likewise make your mind to be so.
  9. In answer to your question of your recent post, I take that the above assumptions must have some relevance/repercussions i.e. some actual consequence. That consequence is that man will inevitably arrive at contradictions in his knowledge. If his premises are not flawed either reality itself is self-contradictory or man's process of non-contradictory identification (of reality) is inherently flawed. Perhaps I misunderstand your stated or implied state of affairs. Your terms "metaphysical impasse" and "ascension" elude me. If you could concretize and condense it I might be able to respond better. Partially related, "symmetry" is not required, only identification. Man does not hold in his mind little images or reflections which mimic in any way or form that which exists externally. Man's mental content is of the form required for him to identify reality, think about it and remember it etc., and its form need not be (and is not) a "re-creation" of reality. In a sense there is no reason to wish symmetry between mind and reality. If man's faculty of identification works, it works. The mind's internal manner and form of knowledge are valid no matter what their form as long as the form of identification of reality is efficacious.
  10. Query one and Two: What is the purpose of philosophy to you? How is it a value to you and how do you benefit from it? Answers to the above may be "meta" this discussion, but it is important at the widest levels of Objectivism. Certain types are psychologically attracted to "philosophy" because of a mistaken belief that it is "above" the base considerations of things like science, economics, biology, ... engineering... that it is a "higher" exercise into abstractions... the implicit belief being one akin to the "ideal versus practical" false dichotomy. I have seen this mentality over and over and over... it's the one that revels in flights of fantastical imaginative fancy playing at thought by attempting to apply logic to floating abstractions and complete fictions... the kind of mentality which so engrossed in their insanity of the unfounded "possible" (products of the untethered imagination) are offended when the subject of evidence of the senses or perception of reality are brought up. As if the idea that which they think needed to be bounded by that which IS were some distasteful morsel foisted upon their platter of ineffable morsels, spoiling their a la carte... carte blanche that is. Granted, you and this type of mentality may not be related but there is an element of this momentum at play in many who are drawn to ideas as an escape from rather than an acceptance and discovery of reality. Question one: Your query implies the need to accept either: 1) contradictions IN reality itself or 2) man's faculty of consciousness i.e. the faculty of identification is inherently flawed -> it will identify a contradiction where none exists. If there were any evidence to support either of these now would be the time to raise it. As for your questions re. epistemology they seem elliptical and unspecific. Man forms concepts and uses forms of logic to gain knowledge solely on the basis of evidence of the senses which are the form of the direct causal connections between reality and his mind. Query two: The arbitrary is literally something for which there is no, i.e. absolutely zero evidence. The onus falls on one to prove i.e. show some evidence tending to show, the positive. There is no onus on anyone to prove a negative i.e. prove the non existence of what is arbitrarily asserted. For example, take the arbitrary assertion that the Devil exists. Now imagine the proponent of the Devil asking for you to prove the Devil does not exist. There is no evidence in reality to point to which disproves the existence of the Devil. The non existence of the Devil cannot leave behind any little red flags, any footprints, any little notes saying "The Devil wasn't here" to point to. Only what IS constitutes evidence and only evidence in some form supports an assertion of what is. The onus is on he who asserts the positive. This is not the same issue as some philosophers adopting a standard of omniscience as the standard of knowledge. There is and never was an omniscience. There only are men, with finite time, finite memory, finite capacity. The concept knowledge does not apply to trees, they do not have it. The concept knowledge does not apply to Planets or Galaxies, they do not have it. The concept of knowledge does not apply to Gods, they simply are NOT. The concept knowledge is applicable to Man, and is defined in the context of man because it is the only kind of knowledge there is... that knowledge is finite. As such any self-aware computer, or alien (if ever proven to exist) could have knowledge of the same kind (although of different degree) as man, but because of the nature of existence it would be finite. Omniscience however, lies outside of the concept of knowledge. It is an impossible fiction. To state that because man cannot have a faculty of omniscience, i.e. cannot possess an impossible fiction he cannot have knowledge, is an attempt to steal the concept knowledge from the realm of reality and ascribe it to the unreality and to redefine the finite as required to be infinite.
  11. Republicans and Democrats both horrible. Need a new party which recognizes the only proper role of government is the protection of individual rights, with a plan to gradually take us there. Horrible, so Bad, so Bad!
  12. This actually ties in with my position that pleasure actually is instrumental, and that making a narrow choice (all else being equal) based on pleasure (even when purely subjective) is rational and moral. Thank you for your insights. Much to chew on.
  13. Interesting. Nonrational includes the automatic and emotional. Moreover, indulging in emoting when there is no necessity to think further (no better alternative) can also be... moral or would you say (in a parallel manner to not being "within bounds" of morality) simply amoral? Nice. This is interesting, it brings up the issue of an individual's finite resources and finite time. Spending too much time on a decision can be irrational because it wastes valuable resources which may exceed the value of making the decision in the first place. I do want to address squarely the issue of the choice between alternatives which are equally rational, for example, where the choice to do Ax versus Bx is based on rationality (Ax drinking milk daily is good versus Bx drinking Mountain Dew and no milk) but the choice between A1 and A2 is not based on any rational reason (A1 is a healthy vanilla flavored milk and A2 is an equally healthy chocolate flavored milk). If one "feels" like buying vanilla flavor or for a different example drinking from an oddly shaped glass, in the sense that it is solely based on "liking it" the choice to do so is nonrational, but it does not mean the broader action of drinking milk is not rational. Is there a concept or a term for these nonrational preferences (one could even say subjective preferences) i.e. the freedom within the broader limits set by rationality? As a side issue, (not to be a distraction), in many cases there are a very large number of "best" (based on rationality) "choices" ... which are on perfectly equal standing rationally speaking, a particular SUV might be the best choice based on rationality for your family but the color need not require any rational analysis... in fact given the finite resources of effort and time, a quick "I like that color" emotion IS enough... and the attempt to "deduce" or through induction determine a "perfect" would actually be an irrational exercise.
  14. Ellipses were meant to convey its open to discussion agreement or disagreement. In the day to day context an action which one takes is what one does which generally depends on what one thinks. I'm thinking act as in act to gain or keep or action as in human action or moral actions. I would be interested in honest answers rather than more questions. Particularly to C and D. (I appreciate your answer to d)
  15. A. Concepts "Rational" and "Irrational", what is the domain of their proper application? Are they strictly applicable to a process of thought? Generally to the thoughts themselves (not the process)? Are choices irrational or rational or are they only based on reasons which are rational or irrational? Can actions be characterized as rational or irrational? A combination of the above? B. The concept "arational" or "nonrational" valid? Is there a territory between rational and irrational ? (i.e. is it required that something be contrary to rationality to qualify as irrational or merely absent rationality, is there a distinction between that which contradicts rational thought and that which is merely absent of it?) C. The arational or nonational within the bounds of the rational. If "rational" is applied to broadly to more than a thought process, e.g. a rational action, then in the space of all action, there are acts which when informed by rationality are rational. Within the limits of rationality there are arbitrary choices which can be made... the aspect within the rational which is arational or nonrational ... is it irrational or simply nonrational/arational? e.g. drinking milk may be an eminently rational action (in context), doing so while also adding perfectly harmless food coloring, or specifically drinking it from a particularly odd looking glass do not make the overall action irrational but exhibit a nonrational whim within rational actions... i.e. the act itself of "adding food coloring" or "using a weird glass" are not in themselves rational but are within the rational action to drink milk... what do we call this space of action/choice? or Should we sweep the question aside by technically restricting rational/ irrational distinction to the process of thought? D. Would attempting to categorize everything as rational or irrational reveal a sort of error of conceptualization and a psychosis or obsession?