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Everything posted by Eiuol

  1. From the article. But this is basically what philosophy of mind a information needs to be a significant field of philosophical study. Among our mundane and technical concepts, information is currently not only one of the most important and widely used, but also one of the least understood. We need a philosophy of information. nd language does. He's not wrong, but he's behind the times. Perhaps ethics is a bad field to be in. From my limited experience in upper level academia, the jargon-laden works are in a some humanities like sociology or gender studies. Philosophy isn't doing so bad. On the other hand, cognitive science is my area. I only really deal with people concerned about information, knowledge, and concepts.
  2. The entity itself. That is, any meaning comes from particulars, and exactly those particulars. Any uniting essence is epistemic as far as being a mental construction, classifications of particulars of features that other particulars also have. There is nothing that unites this cat and that cat as the concept 'cat' except my identifying a similarity between them. There is no "perfect" cat either in the sense some features are not shared. This is how I understand Rand as not a nominalist but not like Aristotle either. I believe nominalists like Wittgenstein deny that perception is direct or at least would argue for some subjective notion of perspective.
  3. To add to this: while of course we can commend people for helping to fund an objective legal system, paying legal fees for a legion of good lawyers suggests that the system has issues. Would Hogan deserve less justice if he had no money to afford lawyers? The law is one area where the market isn't a good idea - there is no -market- for justice, as there is no -market- for violence. So setting caps may make sense - such a regulation is permissible when the point of law is that it underlies all of society. If unbalanced punishment were the only option, this would not be justice. I find "it'll take care of itself" isn't reassuring either - there has to be a definite means provided beforehand. Markets don't need that, but legal systems do. A lot of non-liberal leftists (e.g. Communists) largely claims that ANY capitalistic society with markets cannot implement equal justice. But the important thing about Oism is importance of the law as the means to protect a person from rights violations. The markets in a society have no say in forming legal systems, as proper law is the -basis- of those markets anyway.
  4. That doesn't mean 71% of animal torturers harm people. Indeed, there are moral quandaries with animal torture, but it doesn't mean animal torturers are a threat to human lives. EDIT: You misread the stat, it says 71% of domestic abusers harm animals too. It's not 71% of animal abusers are domestic abusers. That's why my post seemed odd at first.
  5. I'm not sure you noticed exactly the problem I'm trying to solve. I phrased it this way: As characterized, perceptual ontology is immediately vulnerable to subjectivity in metaphysics. I point out the implications to epistemology, true, and ask how one would -know- what an object is. But the bigger issue is what in fact exists as an object regardless of perspective. If I simply say "some objects are ungraspable" then I am forcing the problem into questions of epistemology and taking for granted that I rejected the law of identity. But we already know anything metaphysically real is graspable in some way - so all I'd need to do is define 'object' in a way that still works with identity. Yes, the beard problem is quite similar. The difference is that I'm asking why a beard isn't an object but a molecule is. I'm not asking about a conceptual category. It's not the only solution. I mean, the final words in the paper are a possible and rational solution. We know -this- solution ("invisible and ungraspable objects") is impossible because it requires a God or some totality that goes beyond human comprehension. It's part of my writing style to offer bad solutions first because it frames why it matters that I provide any answers.
  6. I wrote this paper for my own purposes to explain and think more about what makes an object an object. I don't think my idea is incompatible with Objectivism, and it offers new and interesting ideas. Feel free to nit-pick, I edited it to get the exact words I want. Might the universe be an object? I look at something in front of me. I recognize it as a table: four legs, flat surface, wooden. Other things are placed on its surface, like a pencil and a camera. I am comfortable with these identifications. After all, I can touch them, see them, even hear them if I move them in a certain way. Furthermore, I can see edges where one thing ends and the other begins. In other words, these things are entities: things which are bounded and distinct[1]. Through their behavior, they exhibit an identity. Even more, the identity of these entities is independent of my seeing or recognizing them. The entire world in front of me is this way, filled with entities. My perception allows me to see this. Consider that a table is made of parts which are not accessible in a perceptual way. Certainly, I can chop off the legs of the table and then have individual legs, but this is no problem because the legs still remain directly accessible to unaided perception. The parts that I am talking about are not accessible to unaided perception, that is, what the table is decomposable into and is therefore constituted of. The table is constituted of molecules, which cannot be detected just by looking. With a microscope molecules can be detected, and they would have the same distinctness I recognize when I looked at the table without any help. In order to make the distinction between things which I can see without assistance of the things I can't see without assistance, I will consider objects to be both of these, while I will consider entities to be those things that I can see without assistance. Such a distinction is important because I cannot recognize the aspects of a molecule in the same way I can recognize the aspects of a table. A different method is required in order to comprehend a molecule, that is, reliance on tools. A related consideration for the ontology I am sketching out is the objects on the table. To put it simply, the objects share no causal identity to the extent they are distinct and unconnected. The only aspect they all have in common in relation to each other is a spatial characteristic. The camera is on the table, which is as far as the relationship between table and camera extends. I could refer to them as “objects on the table”, and treat them as a set in order to talk about statements like “I knocked over the table, so everything fell off” or “the table is full, I can't put another object on it”. However, there is nothing causal about one object to another in the set of objects on the table. They do not form a system whose constituents operate together. So far, this ontology is nothing radical, and even common sense. Is this all there is to consider though? If I stop here, I may as well say it was sufficient for the Greeks to consider what was immediately and directly available to their perception. As soon as I recognize concrete constituents of an object, and recognize that these constituents are also objects, I need to think about the relation these constituents stand towards other constituents which are not available to unaided perception. Is the relationship only spatial? Or are they directly and causally related, despite my inability to see this possible relationship without a microscope? Intuitively, my answer is that they are causally related exactly because any further distinction I have made is based on having recognized an entity with which I could use a microscope on. The set of objects on the table on the other hand are not reduced from my having seen a larger entity. I did not see an entity and then break it down further. In this way, I have determined that the universe cannot be object. The above view I call perceptual ontology, i.e. ontology bounded and set by perceptual capacities. Important to keep in mind is that objecthood doesn’t depend upon perceptual capacities. Rather, the class of existents (e.g. ideas, concretes, actions) that qualify as objects are specified by what is perceptually detectable without aid and its decomposition. As characterized, perceptual ontology is immediately vulnerable to subjectivity in metaphysics. Indeed, in terms of epistemology, perceptual capacities need not imply a subjectivist epistemology -- there could still be definitive and objective rules to recognizing or knowing that an object is in fact an object. Even more, entities can be considered primary or fundamental to comprehending metaphysics. However, since what qualifies as an object is a direct consequence of a physical reduction from the entity level, I begin to wonder about creatures smaller than humans and what they can see as entities [2]. A microscopic bacteria could detect molecules unaided, that is, molecules would be entities to a microscopic bacteria. Anything too much larger may as well be like the set of objects on the table -- perhaps connected but not complete and entirely contained. Going the other direction, in principle, a massive creature could detect groups of planets like a person detects a dog. The group of planets could plausibly be an entity specifically to that creature. By this reasoning, to a human the group of planets is a set of planets yet not an object because they were not a reduction from the entity level, while the massive creature sees the group of planets on the entity level so the group would qualify as an object. If the very category of existents that qualify as objects in the first place vary based on perceptual differences, the resulting metaphysics would be a direct consequence of the given subject and not a direct consequence of reality. The schema of this problem is easily illustrated: 1. a = {c1, c2, c…, cn}; the constituents of Cx are united as a single abstraction a 2. e = {c1, c2, c…, cn} = {o1, o2, o…, on}; the constituents of Cx are united as entity e. Any element of Cx or unification within Cx is an object. 3. Per(Cx) = e; the function, i.e. the faculty of perception, which recognizes some aspect of the world as bounded and distinct as opposed to an abstraction. The perception of set Cx is sufficient and necessary for set Cx to be an entity and all its elements to be objects. 1 is equivalent to the earlier “objects on the table”. Each constituent is an element of the abstraction. 2 is equivalent to a table constituted by molecules and follows a pattern similar to 1. All constituents of entities are objects. 3 means that what qualifies as an entity will be different for any variation of perceptual faculties. 4. The whole set C being an object or not therefore depends on the perceptual capacities of the creature in question. The unity is an object if and only if the constituents are already a division of an entity. Otherwise, it is an abstraction or mental object, which is by definition neither physical nor independent of one’s awareness. One solution to the problem is that efforts to define objects are inherently subjective, that there is in fact no way to objectively state what is or is not an object in any circumstance. More specifically, there is not a multiplicity of objects in reality. Thus, the word “object” ceases to have meaning - there is either exactly one object, or no objects. With Hindu philosophy, there is singular “object” called Brahman, the underlying nature of reality[3]. Any further distinction is considered “maya”, illusion[4]. At worst, maya is human conceit attempting to satisfy a constant desire to label and categorize, a cause of suffering. At best, it is the world of appearances that the subject acknowledges, which need not determine how the world really is. Brahman is in fact a singularity of all, the only “object” which really counts. So on it goes, towards the denial of one's own ego, towards passive acceptance of existence. Such a consequence is hardly worthwhile. Argument by consequence, however, is not reason to reject a metaphysical claim. If existence is exactly one object, then that’s how it is, for better or worse. The consequence only alters my response to the fact; it may impact the epistemology I develop, or my ethical theories, but disliking the consequences is not a counterargument. The idea of a singularity is wrong because it is parasitic upon more fundamental premises: to speak of a singularity requires having already defined or conceptualized a variety of objects. Denying a multiplicity of objects would just as well deny the means to conceptualize or witness Brahman – denying perception. Ultimately, then, the “solution” is to wipe away a perceiver, such that perceptual faculties are ignored. While metaphysics does not take into account a perceiver for a claim to be valid, coming to understand metaphysical claims takes addressing how one is conscious of reality. It seems that rather than reality being a singularity, there is a threshold on the number of objects one is able to grasp[5]. So, perception’s limits leave me unable to determine which things qualify as objects - besides what I see as an entity, and its constituents. Accepting that there is a threshold on the number of qualifiable objects due to one’s perceptual faculties is no solution, either. This would be taking a stance in favor of maya instead of a singularity. I’d be saying there are an unknown and ungraspable set of objects in reality[6]. If the set of all objects in reality include these “invisible” objects, then all the criteria for an object to fit into the set of all objects are unknown. By this point, it would not be determinable if the known objects really qualify as objects. I would not be able to say if they should be disqualified as objects – for I would be admitting no one will ever find out all the necessary criteria of objecthood. Some currently-known objects may turn out to be non-objects. Unfortunately, no one would ever be able to find out. As a result, no objects in reality are graspable. Imagine the set of all known fruits, then also yet-to-be-discovered fruits. Both sets are graspable, the criteria for qualifying as a fruit can be understood differently in the future, perhaps leading me to recategorize. But if there are a set of extra-dimensional fruits that are unknowable and ungraspable because of the limits to perception, then the set of all fruits would lack any definable criteria. Apples qualify, as do bananas, but I would never know about gooblegorks. If I will never know of gooblegorks, nor why they qualify as fruits, likewise, I won’t know why apples or bananas qualify. So, the entire category of fruit becomes arbitrary or merely nominal - maya. There would be no basis to say what fruits are or are not besides a subjective impression. The same form of reasoning would apply to “invisible” objects. Of course, the above paragraph is a discussion of epistemology. At the same time, any solution to a problem can only be reached by referring to the thinking required. The greater point is to emphasize that all solutions so far are parasitic upon defining objecthood already by means of my awareness and consciousness. A solution requires keeping the idea that entities are distinct and bounded - explaining objecthood any other way is parasitic. The solution I see is to say that objects are also the things entities supercompose into. Just as a table decomposes into molecules, certain entities may supercompose[7] into greater objects. In this way, all things that are objects depend on composability. Entities help with a starting point for qualifying objects; composability as a principle makes use of entities; entities are not a threshold for objecthood. Thus I avoid parasitism issues. I am maintaining premises 1 and 2, the premises pertaining to entities as a basis to qualifying an ontology. Explicitly, I am denying that function 3 expressed as perception (and the tools to extend perception) and decomposability expressed as 2 are sufficient to determine objecthood. Rather, I am proposing that composability is needed – decomposition only works because of composition. Stated generally for any object: 5. Comp(c1 + c2 + c… + cn) = o; the function, i.e. the composing, of a set of constituents. The composibility of set Cx is sufficient and necessary for set Cx to be an object and all its elements to be objects. Stated for any object greater than an entity: 6. SuperComp(e1 + e2 + e… + en) = o; the function, i.e. the supercomposing, of a set of entities. The supercomposibility of set Ex is sufficient and necessary for set Ex to be an object and all its elements to be objects. Why not instead suppose that composition extends infinitely? Because a supercomposition is a combination of entities. If the cardinality of E is 30, then the possible number of supercompositions is 30c30. Each round of compositions will be fewer, and so on until the resulting combination in a single object. A number of the proceeding arguments are why compositions end at a single object as opposed to two or more. If tables decompose into molecules, then molecules compose into tables. In principle, there is no reason to say nothing composes from entities like tables into “supertable”. There is no necessity to stop composition at the level of entity. All that can be said is that determining composition is difficult. Certainly, “supertable” is not an object, because a group of tables have no causal relation, only a spatial relation like objects on a table. Yet if a group of entities have a causal relation, the group is just as much an object as a table composed of molecules. Not just any causal relation will work, though. Two balls bouncing off each other is a direct causal relation, but they still are not singular. They need to be a bounded and distinct unity to be a singular “ballcluster” object as well as two balls. Similarly as an example, two molecules passing through one another doesn’t alone render them into a table. Three necessary conditions are robust enough for a group of objects to be a composition. Among the group’s elements, there would need to be causal relation strong enough to be called an object as opposed to an abstraction. Systematic The elements in a group of objects operate together simultaneously and affect one another. A loss of one constituent will affect how the group behaves. Taking flour out of a cake recipe will radically alter all aspects of a cake, including texture, shape, baking time, and more. Flour itself will not alter the nature of eggs, but the unity of flour and eggs along with the rest of the ingredients make a specific cake. The nature of the group is different if any element is taken out. Relational A function exists which binds the elements in a group of objects. Being relational makes explicit that the elements are connected. “Next to” is a relation, as is “X > Y” and “the moon orbited the earth”. Emergence The resulting group possesses one or more attributes which none of the individual elements possess. For example, people are volitional, but their constituents are not volitional – a single neuron is not volitional. Likewise, the process of life and the resulting attribute of being alive don’t make all of a creature’s constituent elements alive. The fact that properly arranging constituents in just the right way (the right mix of carbon molecules, the right external conditions like temperature, etc.) results in a living creature suggests that the constituents form a causal unity with each other. There are no good examples of a supercomposition aside from science fiction. However, one particular candidate may qualify as a supercomposition: the universe, the unification of all objects that exist. If true, there would be interesting clarifications and ideas regarding identity. First, I need to determine if the universe is an object. The universe is systematic. All objects that exist make up the nature of the universe. The actions of a planet orbiting a star impacts other stars and other stars’ planets. It is possible to focus on planets as singulars, but the idea is planets and impacted stars, and so on, operate as a system. The more alterations within a system, the more each element will be altered. Taking into account all objects at once is only an expansion of this. Moreover, given that causality never ceases at some ultimate point in time[8], the effects of one object will necessarily continue eternally within the system to the degree the system is complete and bounded. In terms of the universe, it is bounded by all that exists. The universe is the most complete system there is, and its bounds are definite. There is nothing to remove from the universe, and there is nothing to add. Otherwise, the system is incomplete, meaning that it is something different than the universe as defined. The universe is all related. At minimum, by virtue of being physical, there is a spatial relation between all objects. Two asteroids, or two atoms, placed at opposite ends of the universe bear a spatial relation. The spatial relation makes it possible in principle for any two objects to effect a causal relation. There is always a chronological relation as well, as any group of objects will be acting in some manner. The universe has emergent attributes. Exactly the emergent properties of the universe are for cosmologists to discover through science. Cosmology, however, is not the only way to figure out in general attributes unique to the universe. As a complete whole, time holds between all objects at once, which requires a unique time standard. A universal time standard cannot be identical to time standards of more narrow systems. If it were identical, it would be part of an identical system – identical standards would mean using a standard not defined by the context of all objects. So, a time attribute of the universe is emergent, assuming the universe’s systematicity is true. This leads to saying all objects operate together; the actions of one object affect the rest because time applies equally. This is why knowledge of one fact affects how all knowledge is structured. Many more examples of all three are possible. The main idea is that causality spreads in a systematically related way across a system with emergent attributes, or for all constituents of a given object. Applied to the whole universe, causality is eternal and will not cease as long as the universe exists. Eternal causality entails a systematically related universe with at least one emergent attribute. Thus, the universe is an object. A similar idea is that the universe is plenum[9], a continuous substance that connects all things that exist. To be clear, a theory of compositionality is not compatible with universe-as-plenum. Plenum would be a theory that the universe is an object because all objects are directly related spatially - the universe is a Jell-O slab with pieces of fruit suspended inside. But as I argued before, a spatial relation is insufficient for a group of objects to be an object. The added “closeness” of plenum does not help. Instead, compositionality is a theory that the universe is perpetuum[10], a total expanse of all that exists linked by causality. I call it perpetual ontology. <<>> [1] This sense of the word entity is intended to be the same as Rand: "The first concepts man forms are concepts of entities—since entities are the only primary existents. (Attributes cannot exist by themselves, they are merely the characteristics of entities; motions are motions of entities; relationships are relationships among entities.)" -ITOE, page 15. [2] I'm reminded of Peikoff's thought experiment on meta-energy puffs. OPAR, pages 45-47. [3] The Brahman is not apprehendable by human means. A yogi may feel being one with the Brahman, but not through their perceptual faculties to see or grasp it. C.f. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman [4] Maya is not just perceptual illusion, but all ways of conceiving of the world whether through perception or cognition. C.f. http://www.davar.net/EXTRACTS/FICTION/INDIAN.HTM [5] To grasp is used here as a term to cover any form of grasping from mere perceptual awareness to conceptualization. Knowledge is a grasp, as well as perception. Witnessing Brahman would be a grasp, but something distinct from knowledge and perception. [6] Unknown objects are not necessarily ungraspable, just as atoms were not always known. Atoms were always possibly graspable. The issue is proposing that a theoretical, yet-to-be-demonstrated object that cannot ever be grasped. [7]The prefix super- is used to convey that the composition is a composition at or above the level of entity. A supercomposition is not a special form of composition with unique attributes. [8] Time is itself a relation between two actions, so a time which lacks a coinciding action is no time at all. Furthermore, a causal-free point in time implies regions of reality which lack causality. In both ways, the absolute end to any causal chain would be an absolute end to the universe, or at least the universe would be in a frozen state. I’d argue that a frozen state is identical to nothingness, i.e. is nonexistence. [9] Latin - (with genitive, or ablative in later Latin) full (of), filled, plump; https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/plenus#Latin [10] Latin - perpetual, continuous, uninterrupted; https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/perpetuus#Latin
  7. A simpler way to look at it is that the whole book is about -Dagny-. I barely see Galt as a hero personally because he's more symbolic as a supporting character. It seems that monomyth really just isn't relevant to narrative arcs with static characters. Galt isn't a refinement of monomyth then. Just based on what people are saying, as cool as Campbell's work looks, monomyth only really works in the narrower sense of particular dynamic heroes, not narratives in general. Or maybe that's the point?
  8. To get this on track again, I'll address two points that seemed to get at the meat of my essay. Relationships pertaining to consciousness and mental existents don't contribute to objecthood because those relationships are already understood to be created by the mind. We already notice as self-evident that consciousness is not primary. Furthermore, I'm aiming at identifying what exists apart from one's awareness. Introspection shows that there is an identity to who we are as thinkers, but looking "deeper" into that doesn't alter that this is a feature of an entity all the way inside. Keep in mind these ideas depend on at least already thinking Rand is right about the axioms, and her notions of what concepts are as distinguished from entities. This so-called failure to integrate is unrelated - the concept existent already does that job, and existence itself includes all existents. I'm writing about -concretes- (hence the title saying "universe", not "existence"). Time is not a unique attribute, but its application to ALL objects is emergent. There's a sense of time relating all objects in motion. By relating all these objects together, we attain a unified universal time that is unique to the the whole of reality. But even with times relative to two molecules, time is emergent. It exists only when there is a systematic relationship. On the other hand, I am not aware of notions of time that can apply to singular objects. If there is no possible type of time like that, I'd argue that time being measurable is thanks to an emergent property that "enables" time (that time is only real as far as being part of a total system). No "universe as object" would mean there are gaps in reality where causality and time does not exist.
  9. Any evaluation of a person's actual threat to others isn't going to be a matter of how distasteful an act is. You would look at what a person does that would be dangerous to others - harming animals isn't really proof that the person intends to harm other people or fails to understand that humans are a hard limit. Is torturing an animal for pleasure really all that different than killing a cow for a great tasting burger? We don't go saying meat-eaters are more likely than vegans to kill and eat people. So, while there are reasons animal torture are immoral (depending on the reason and the animal), people harm animals for pleasure on a regular basis.
  10. Pet theories as in nonsense theories you use for odd arguments. Jung is not a serious psychologist at all. Serious objections are welcome, not mysticism.
  11. Nouns are the same thing in all languages. Not all nouns are entities, e.g. "happiness" Uhh... Please Ilya, the forum isn't for your pet theories. That's why I reject it. I won't respond to more as most of your comments appear as if you wrote them before reading all of the essay.
  12. Anytime one has a concept, existence is implicit. Implicit is any pre-conceptual sense of all the content that makes up what the explicit concept would be. One doesn't "think of all concepts" at once at all here, no idea how you got that idea.
  13. Rand said that the concept of existence is implicit in all concepts. When a concept is implicit, it is unformed (my phrasing) - Rand expands on it in the appendix. But then the concept 'existence' is as explicit as any other formed concept. " Axiomatic concepts identify explicitly what is merely implicit in the consciousness of an infant or of an animal. (Implicit knowledge is passively held material which, to be grasped, requires a special focus and process of consciousness—a process which an infant learns to perform eventually, but which an animal’s consciousness is unable to perform.) " That's in the lexicon, not any of the "deep cuts" in Rand's writing. The concept 'existence' only exists in your head, while the referents are all and every existent. As such, existence itself isn't all in your head - so SL is saying that you see existence itself as "all and only in your head". The issue seems to also be that you don't notice that the "concept of X" isn't the same as "X" according to Rand. "X" doesn't even need to be metaphysically real (e.g. Easter Bunny, the ghost of Elvis, the astral plane, contradictions). In this case, there's the axiomatic concept 'existence', then there's existence itself. Kyary is onto something that I also noticed, Ilya. You seem to be going towards the way some Hindus and Buhddists think of existence. See Nagarjuana: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna
  14. No, a concept is an existent because it is a discrete mental something.
  15. Existence -as a concept- is an existent. That's how Rand uses the word existent. Thus the problems you have for interpreting 3 and 4 above should be resolved.
  16. Just to put this aside first, I think too much of Objectivist thought in the political arena has been overtaken by American libertarian ideology which stems from the likes of Rothbard and perversion of the word 'libertarian'. I don't agree with Chomsky on his political conclusions, but his discussion on the -meaning- of libertarian is correct First, to frame my answers, much of it has to do with reforming the legal system. Sometimes, there is now answer except to fix the legal system and you're screwed until then. One's financial standing ought not have any impact upon justice. I do not know enough about the law to say how this can be done, except to say that being able to hire lawyers shouldn't translate to receiving proper justice. My answers are what I'd say before the law is fixed. Parts I don't address mean that I don't think anything can be done besides political action. Here, you'd have to, perhaps through the FBI and federal government, to bring the crimes to light. Additionally, protests of some sort help bring attention to the issue. The rest depends on the crime. Regarding ideal law, it should be possible to make lack of transparency a sign of wrongdoing. That is, a -lack- of paperwork regarding waste dumping when an issue pops up is a sign that something is hidden. Some paperwork might be legally required, perhaps with certain classes of toxic waste (e.g. lead, asbestos, nuclear debris) that are inherently life-threatening at relatively small doses. Besides that, it would require some study to trace activities with the help of journalists and scientists. Public reporting would be wise. I don't think there's a good single answer. All you can do is something like the Nuremberg trials, and dissolving the responsible institution(s). A company is more than its CEO. Corporations are (supposed) to be a way to determine legal responsibility through corporate personhood. Officers of a company are especially responsible in the sense they take it upon themselves to see to it that the company works in a certain way. Any wrongdoing is essentially their fault if they perpetuate the secrecy. But if the person is a whistleblower, that's different. For bringing about political change, there's this thread:
  17. Frankly, I think then the issue is one of how you use the word relationship - and it's not what people usually mean in English. A relationship is a word that can be used to convey "a connection understood by means of another", as in here one can only form a concept like 'non-existence' only through the concept 'existence'. Not only that, the relation is between concepts, not entities. Also, when Rand says existent, she means also concepts, e.g. the concept itself is an existent despite not being a tangible thing. (" the concept of an “existent”—of something that exists, be it a thing, an attribute or an action." ) So it is possible to have the negation of a concept as a relationship.
  18. It's the negation of a thing that exists, not proving that "non-existence doesn't exist". Except I think you're doing some sort of Hegelian dialectical analysis, so you aren't using the standards of logic that make a lot of sense with Objectivist standards. Rand isn't using "nonexistence" to "get rid of nonexistence" - nonexistence is "real" as an existent insofar as it is a concept denoting an existent that has since ceased to be.
  19. What is his epistemological method like? Is he proving a theory by enumerating examples, or something else?
  20. It's just a negation. There's no reduction involved here.
  21. Rand's view is this: " Non-existence is not a fact, it is the absence of a fact, it is a derivative concept pertaining to a relationship, i.e., a concept which can be formed or grasped only in relation to some existent that has ceased to exist. (One can arrive at the concept “absence” starting from the concept “presence,” in regard to some particular existent(s); one cannot arrive at the concept “presence” starting from the concept “absence,” with the absence including everything.) " So Rand sees it as absence of fact in the sense of -negating- facts and existents. Your criticism isn't even responding to Rand's position.
  22. Well, Ilya seems to think that Rand saw the -concept- of nothing as beyond existence, e.g. as apart or separate from existence thus making it nonreal. And he says Rand is wrong about this, given that in his eyes Rand seems to reify 'nothing' in order to prove its "nonreal"ness. Rand doesn't think that anyway. 'Nothing' exists qua existent insofar as it depends on the concept 'existence'. She says "non-existence" identifies the negation of a fact, suggesting that the concepts 'nothing' and 'non-existence' are about reality, not some intuitive sense of being "nonreal". Stating it this way, this easily explains why the question "why is there something rather than nothing?" is a bad one. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/non-existence.html
  23. I think SL missed that 'nothing' was in quotes. I did that too at first. But then this doesn't make sense. Why would she think 'nothing' is beyond existence? You need quotes.
  24. Your objection doesn't make a lot of sense. Your point here makes less sense. "Rand's everything and every thing" is not a distinction she makes in a unique way - and you offer no citation. If you mean she failed to make distinction between "a set of every something from a wider group" and "EVERY SINGLE THING that exists", that's also wrong. Rand knows what a subset is as seen in her discussion on forming concepts in ITOE. She also knows that existence is not -within- anything, made explicit by saying nothing is beyond existence. Existence is not treated as a unitary -thing- by Rand anyway.
  25. I agree, it certainly is a controversial claim. For one, his epistemology is not Aristotelian at all. N had a little respect for Francis Bacon, but nothing substantial. N is more like Wittgenstein for epistemology. Where N starts to look Aristotelian when it comes to aeshetics and ethics. Now, he certainly did not not believe in objective morality, but he loved to rank values. In particular, at least his higher rankings had to do with pursuing life for the agent's own end. He seemed to appreciate heroism in the ancient Greek and Roman world a great deal, for their life-focused attitudes and attention to personal growth. Even more, aesthetics was interesting to him as far as glorification, and a person's attitude reflects their psychology and way of thinking. This is what Aristotle may think of as the habits one forms. Aristotle appreciated drama, and N had a lot to say about how art reflects a manner of thinking. That is, for N specifically, the art one makes is a matter of the sort of "lies" one wants to tell about the world. That's not a similarity - the similarity here is the attention to drama and art rests on his analysis and beliefs of how people think. Aristotle believed people sought art for the ideals it can show, meaning psychology and epistemology were important for the purpose for art. It was a while since I read Poetics, though. N had more in common with Greeks and Romans than any of his contemporaries. EDIT: Joseph Campbell's Wikipedia page mentions that he cites N a lot. The value SL sees in Campbell is similar to the value I see in Campbell. The crossover here seems interesting, although it's also why I'd say he too was more Aristotelian than not.