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Everything posted by Boydstun

  1. James M, yes. It's my understanding that most of these statues across the South were built near the end of the nineteenth century, when surviving soldiers of the Confederacy were naturally dying. Support for those memorial projects then as now was in large measure continuing support for the fist of white supremacy.
  2. * “Because we are not accustomed to see any of the things within and do not know them, . . . [we] do not know it is that within which moves us: as if someone looking at his image and not knowing where it came from should pursue it. . . . It is truly a greater beauty . . . when you see moral sense in someone and delight in it, not looking at his face—which might be ugly—but putting aside all shape and pursuing his inner beauty. But if it does not move you yet, so that you call someone like this beautiful, you will not when you look inward at yourself be pleased with your beauty. . . . This is why discussions about these sorts of things are not for everybody; but if you have seen yourself beautiful, remember them.” Plotinus, Enneads V.8.2 – A. H. Armstrong, translator
  3. . I lived in Chicago during this one: http://www.jta.org/2013/06/20/news-opinion/the-telegraph/nazis-marching-through-skokie When I was a young man, I demonstrated quite a bit, particularly against taxes (April 15 at the main post office each year) and against reinstatement of the draft registration. A friend recalls I joined the counter-demonstration against the Nazis linked above. I don't actually recall that particular counter-march, but I do recall that on all such occasions all sorts of other political factions will try to join in and get mileage for their own political cause(s). In my era of demonstrations ('70s and '80s), I witnessed no violence from the pro- or counter-side. The most important thing about the events in Charlottesville this past weekend was that a young man (of a fascist, racist political persuasion) drove his car into a bunch of our citizens who were opposed to his views. And the American President stated no specific condemnation of that mayhem and murder, which was a heinous act an order of magnitude more wicked than any other violence there. The public statues of this sort ARE going to come down when all the legal process has been completed. They are today and since they were erected principally monuments proclaiming white supremacy. I live in Lynchburg, about an hour south of Charlottesville. Around here I encourage people to go over to the Museum of the Confederacy just down the road, over at Appomattox. It was completed pretty recently, it is truly informative, and is accessible to folks of all sorts of educational levels or age. The old statues, such as this one of Lee, are unnecessary for historical education and awareness. .
  4. . Peikoff's Dissertation Prep Plato Aristotle I To be continued. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Further Observation on Rand’s Definition of Logic vis-à-vis Aristotle’s Metaphysics I had remarked in “Aristotle 1” that in her differentia (PNC) for definition of logic, Rand may have been led astray by Aristotle’s “‘all who are carrying out a demonstration refer it to this [PNC] as an ultimate belief; for this is naturally the starting-point even for all the other axioms’, which is only a few lines of Aristotle beyond the lines she quotes in the closing scene of 1957.” Her Atlas quotation spans 1005a23–b20, and she uses the Ross translation. The lines of Aristotle just now I quoted are 1005b32–34, also using Ross. Joe Sach’s 1999 translation of Metaphysics has the latter lines as: “Everyone who demonstrates traces things back to this as an ultimate opinion [PNC], since this is by nature a source even of all the other axioms.” The shift from “the starting-point” to “a source” contains a little loosening by shift from the definite article the to the indefinite article a. Had Rand been looking at the latter translation she might not have gone with PNC as the basic element of identification delimiting the aspect of identification of special focus in logic. She and her early expositors might not have attempted to portray first-figure syllogistic inference as under the auspice of PNC. Christopher Kirwan’s 1992 translation of this book (gamma) of Metaphysics goes with the definite article. Reeve’s 2016 translation of Metaphysics goes with the definite article. In a note (390), Reeve works out an example of a mathematical axiom (that proportionals alternate) that can be defended by showing its denial leads to contradiction. But again, back in logic itself, that the valid inference ‘Socrates is mortal’ from ‘All men are mortal, and Socrates is a man’ can be shown to entail contradiction if denied is no showing that PNC is more fundamental, nor equally fundamental, than the logical principle we use straightaway in that inference: identity.
  5. . Budd, I’m pretty sure Rand would have been fine with that 1888 text on deduction by Stock I linked, and that is formal logic. Peirce reviewed that text shortly after its appearance, and complained it made errors on logic of relations, and complained it did not introduce the modern developments of Venn and of what Peirce termed Symbolic Logic. Self-evidence arises in the older, more limited vista of Stock, but as well in the more modern developments. Peirce would not have wanted to call it self-evidence, which he took in close proximity to intuition, which he detested. The self-evident things in logic, Peirce would have simple called facts, necessary facts. A rose by any other name. . . . Whether Rand ever got into learning the contemporary logic, such as was presented in Irving Copi’s text Symbolic Logic (1954) or Quine’s Methods of Logic (1950), I don’t know, but I’d be surprised if she did. She’d have been familiar with material covered in the first-course texts, such as Copi’s Introduction to Logic, of course. She listened to what Leonard Peikoff had learned and concluded on modern logic, to be sure. In my notes to his 1976 lecture course The Philosophy of Objectivism, in the Q&A of Lecture 4, I jotted a reply evidently to some sort of question about modern logic: “Rand’s math/concepts antithesis of Russell <--severs both from reality // Symbolic logic rejected out of hand---arbitrary assumptions, etc.” <--For whatever indication my cryptic notes might contain. (Rand or Peikoff aside, logical relations between Rand’s conceptions of logic and Aristotle’s or Kant’s or contemporary conceptions of logic is topic for any informed intelligence, not only for the reflections of Rand or of Peikoff on those relations.) After the root post linked below, the follow-on posts are in reverse-chron. http://www.solopassion.com/node/6043 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS - I notice now in this link that Fred Seddon's question to me eight years ago included not only the name Peikoff, but the name Veatch. Henry Veatch's book Intentional Logic was a text Peikoff relied on in his Ph.D. dissertation (1964). So Veatch's outlook there might be of a feather with Peikoff those decades ago concerning "symbolic logic." .
  6. . William, this logic text by Stock in 1888 uses self-evident for the principle discussed at this linked page. It nicely mentions Aristotle’s first-figure syllogisms as those known as perfect, the self-evident ones upon which (with some other self-evident logical principles) Aristotle had argued the validity of the syllogisms of the other figures. Stock was an Oxford teacher of logic. At the beginning of the book, Stock had described the three laws of thought also as self-evident. His conception of the identity law among those three is very slender, though rightly conceived as necessary and universal. Were one to enrich the identity law along the lines of Rand’s enrichment, I think it would still pass for self-evident and indeed already encompass the principle known as nota notae discussed at the page of this link. All the same, I don’t think nota notae would be inheriting its self-evidence from that more Randian law of identity. Self-evidence stands on each of its occasions without having had self-evidence transmitted to it from some other occasion of self-evidence. I don’t care for Audi’s grandparents-example in his point 4. There are things we prove are necessarily so, such as Lowenheim’s Theorem in logic or the Pythagorean Theorem in geometry, and that does not necessarily make those propositions self-evident, at least not in an unstrained sense of the self-evident. That is not to say that no propositions that are conclusions of a proof are not also self-evident. Some are and some are not. I can construct a proof to the conclusion “Nothing comes from nothing,” although that proposition were already self-evidently true to anyone who soundly grasped its statement. Discussion of self-evidence of principles in logic, by Frege and by our contemporaries Tyler Burge or Penelope Maddy stays close to logic, recognizing that logic will apply to the actual world. But these proceed without (making explicit) the broad background thesis of Rand’s that “logic rests on the axiom that existence exists,” that two-word proposition being a report of a standing manifest fact, a truth known self-evidently by perception. .
  7. . William, I’m not sure Audi sticks to that list of conditions in all his works, and anyway, the list circumscribes a more narrow concept than the usual. In his The Architecture of Reason, he allows that certain moral principles could be self-evident or at least, more weakly, a priori. Right principles present to us in this way would seem to be at least about the perceptual level and, frankly, in the thick of it. That goes as counter only to his item 2 on the list. The usual definition of the self-evident is the manifestly true requiring no proof. This is still a good place for philosophers to start and not forget. I doubt one would be laughed out of the academy if one did not confine one’s philosophic uses of the term to the constraints Audi was formulating for it. “Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident” (ITOE 5; similarly, early Heidegger). A paragraph from my book in progress: Sextus, Peirce, and Moritz Schlick argued against self-evidence of our cognitive bases.* They erred in supposing self-evidence in cognition is spoiled by any obscure or fallible aspect and by connection of any purported self-evident cognition to other cognition. To the contrary: In one’s present perception is this text. That one perceives those marks in this read, perceptually knowing their existence and character, is self-evident. They are not only perceived as present, but as having the particular character they have. Additionally, they are not only perceived as present, but can then be reflected as self-evident. Their status as self-evident does not require they have no obscure or fallible aspect and have no connections with other cognitions, preceding, overlapping, or subsequent. *Sextus c.200b, I, 151; Peirce 1868b, 19; Schlick 1925, §19; see also Maddy 2011, 118–37; cf. Binswanger 2014, 382. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS Rand rightly held that it is incorrect to try to prove the existence of the external, perceived world.* The world’s existence is self-evident in perception. The existence of character and spatiality and action is self-evident in perception. *Rand 1961b, 28; cf. Gilson 1937, 146–47, 152–55; Heidegger 1953, 202–7/194–200. (1961b is For the New Intellectual, paperback.)
  8. . Of related interest: The Voices Within -- The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves Charles Fernyhough
  9. . The transcription of Rand’s epistemology seminars (1969–71) included in the second edition of ITOE, contain some deep exchanges between Rand and Gotthelf (Prof. B ) and Peikoff (Prof. E). Outside those, the most sustained dialogues (in the transcription) are the penetrating exchanges between Rand and John O. Nelson (Prof. D).* Prof. Nelson had contributed an article on matters political to Rand’s The Objectivist in 1969. A note listing therewith some glimpse of Nelson’s academic stature included: “Professor Nelson agrees with the basic principles of Objectivism in ethics and politics.” That expresses perhaps too much concord even in those areas, but anyway, that statement rightly indicated that Nelson was of another perspective in areas of theoretical philosophy. Jeff Broome, an acquaintance of John O. Nelson (1917–2005), writes in the Preface to a couple of Nelson studies on Hume: “It wasn’t just Wittgenstein who was impressed by John’s penetrating philosophical mind. Ayn Rand would also become friends with John and Edna, inviting them to her Manhatten apartment for weekend exchanges of philosophical ideas. John was impressed with the depth of Ayn’s intellect, especially her ability to talk in depth about nearly countless topics and ideas. John proved her equal in conversations, a rarity among Rand’s inner circle of close friends.” (2010)
  10. . The Political Economy of Public Debt - Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence Richard M. Salsman (2017)
  11. . The strings of the harp return to silence. That is so not only for each individual, but for the species, and eventually for all life in the solar system, and eventually farther, for all life-organization and intelligence-organization in the universe. Stardust to stardust. “When we are here, death is not come. When death is come, we are not here.” –Lucretius Taking a third-person perspective on oneself, one can be in advance conscious of one’s death, one’s full stop. In the first-person perspective, full ending of any object of consciousness whatsoever is collapse of both together, conscious process and object. I like better the third-person perspective, which is the only perspective with real interest for one's endpoint. Value is here on this earth beyond one's own life. Look to here and to the tomorrows of here all through one’s own last look at all.
  12. . You’ll have to do the study and make your own informed discernments. (Record your sources and page numbers in your notes and drafts; it saves you time later and helps you make real progress over the years.) Before Kant what criticisms of Locke’s realism were made by Berkeley, Hume, and Reid? What criticisms were made by Kant of all those predecessors? Chapters 6-12 of Primary & Secondary Qualities – The Historical and Ongoing Debate (2011, Lawrence Nolan, editor) and see Kant’s Prolegomena and his Critique of Pure Reason (Pluhar translation, index). What empiricist rejoinders were promptly made against Kant? Kant’s Early Critics –The Empiricist Critique of the Theoretical Philosophy (2007, Brigitte Sassen, editor) Philosophy of perception continues alive and lively to this day, as in A. D. Smith’s The Problem of Perception. As for the Kant scholars, none find Kant either faultless or the last word worth saying on any of his topics.
  13. Here are the Abstracts. Beyond that, dive in for the swim. “Would Immortality Be Worth It” In this paper, one is invited into a carefully composed thought experiment about the meaning of life. In discussions touching on the meaning of life, one hears ordinary folk and beginning students of philosophy rather complacently assume that immortal life in heaven is the goal of life and that no more questions need be asked. The common contrary position is the view that since in reality we are not immortal, life is ultimately empty of value. Both positions rest on the premise that only immortality, and infinite life span, would make life worth living. This is the premise Hick’s thought experiment challenges. “Can Art Exist without Death” Reviews the currently envisioned [1993] theoretical biological limits on human life span; barriers to the human impulse to live effectively forever. Discusses the validity of the concept of infinity, distinguishing the metaphysically infinite from the physically infinite and from the mathematically infinite. Surveys carefully how and what Einstein's general theory of relativity, in its contemporary development, can tell us about the physical infinity of spacetime (in the large). Assimilates the possibility of effectively endless life with Rand's thesis that the concept of life—as we know it, vulnerable life—is what makes the concept of value possible. Elaborates and extends Rand's gedanken of the immortal, indestructible robot. Answers the question "Can art exist without death?"
  14. . Free online recent papers of high quality on Kant are available at Contemporary Studies in Kantian Philosophy.
  15. . Would Immortality Be Worth It? --Stephen Hicks (1992) Can Art Exist without Death? --Kathleen Touchstone (1993)
  16. . On sensation for Kant: KANT'S THEORY OF FORM --Robert Pippin (1984) On sensation and perception: KANT'S INTUITIONISM --Lorne Falkenstein (1995) On sensation, perception, and definition: Follow Index of Werner Pluhar's translation (1996) of CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. On definition, see especially A727-32 B755-60.
  17. . No, Budd. We do not have or even enter the discipline of geometry, such as that of Euclid without grasp of language stating axioms, postulates, definitions, and permitted constructions and remarking on the lettered diagrams. Prior to having language and any discursive concept, we have action- and image-schemata which of course entails some knowledge of geometrical forms (round, rollable ball / shape and motions of the dog); and without those attainments, an infant nearing its first word, its onset of first discursive concept, could not engage in the co-reference with caretakers by joint gaze or by finger pointing, which are necessary to attainment of first word. But that is not geometry in the sense of the structure Euclid lays before us, extensively and deeply illuminating character of space. Euclid, by the way, should be a prerequisite for study of philosophy in its epistemological and metaphysical wings. Both of those wings today, of course, should also be informed by assimilation of the results of our modern science of cognitive developmental psychology* and our physics. The absolute prerequisites for approach of philosophy in its theoretical parts are an elementary course in logic and a course working through Euclid's plane geometry. (With a serious interest, one can learn those two things in one's own study, without taking a course. That geometry is offered in high school, and what a divine joy it was and is for me. I had elementary logic in college. Then on my own I was able to learn whatever more advanced geometry [synthetic, like Euclid and later, or analytic, like Descartes and later] and more advanced logic.) Not knowing Euclid's geometry is not knowing really much of what Plato or Aristotle or Kant or Peikoff (dissertation) or I are talking about in epistemology or metaphysics. Not knowing both Euclid and the syllogistic logic of Aristotle's from elementary logic is like having a flat tire when turing Aristotle's thought in theory of science, definition, and metaphysics. There is no substitute for opening Euclid and just doing it. Euclid’s axioms (or common notions) are part of the starting points for the system and are not argued for. One is “things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another.” That is a relationship rather far beyond something one was simply presented in perception. It may fairly count as an intuitive induction, but we need to learn more about what that process was thought to be and what have been the problems with it. Work for the sequel of this study on LP’s dissertation.
  18. . Bravo to Tyler against the spoiling of 'begs the question'. Please say 'invites the question' or 'suggests the question'. Preserve the phrase 'begs the question' for our centuries-old informal logical fallacy of that name. I still mount an American flag once a year, for Independence Day, by the road, in our front woods. The republic for which it stands is still a great protector of individual rights, notwithstanding all its downfalls on that score. I recall once in college in the late '60's there was this black man, an older guy, who was a featured guest speaker sponsored by some left-socialist group (perhaps our SDS). He was speaking for socialism and telling of his recent international travels organizing and speaking in Africa. And then he mentioned that when he got back to America, he felt like kissing the ground, and he said there's nothing else this good. His hosts were extremely embarrassed, pretty sure. His vista was not entirely concordant with their own. In those days, we had the military draft, and an Administration with a big war need for our bodies, our lives. Over the arc of my life, that state aggression against our young men has been on hold, and that was some credit of our country in this interval (unfortunately, the recognition the draft's status as an aggression is cloudy in the view of most Americans, pretty sure). Over that arc, in a strand affecting me distinctively, our country legalized consensual adult gay sex throughout the land, got gays and lesbians openly and fully accepted into the armed forces, and recognized a legal power of same-sex couples to marry. We also mounted our flag in our Chicago years upon the attack of 9/11/01. And we mounted it here in Lynchburg on the day we got Bin Laden. I don't care what other people do to the American flag, and I certainly respect the diversity of feelings towards the flag and the republic, and the right to diverse expressions, including flag burning. But from me, respect and love of this flag and the now long line from Valley Forge to now of lives lain down for it and this country.
  19. . Peikoff's Dissertation Prep Plato Aristotle I To be continued. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the 'Aristotle I' post, I had written that “there is some recognition that existence is identity in Aristotle: ‘If all contradictories are true of the same subject at the same time, evidently all things will be one . . . . And thus we get the doctrine of Anaxagoras, that all things are mixed together; so that nothing exists’” (1007b19–26). The translation I had quoted was by Ross. I made an error in my transcription. It should read ‘. . . so that nothing really exists.” That translation of 1007b26 very possibly should be otherwise. These other ways squash the suggestion that here Aristotle is virtually stating Rand’s “Existence is Identity.” The translations of Kirwan 1993 and of Reeve 2016 do not say “. . . so that nothing really exists.” Rather, they say “. . . so that nothing is truly one” and “. . . so that there is nothing that is truly one.” If these later translations are truer to Aristotle’s text here, then the connection between existence and identity is here rather more indirect, turning on rigid attachment of oneness to existence and depending on the fullness of Rand’s Identity being covered by the variety of Aristotle’s ways of oneness. New Reference Reeve, C. D. C., translator, 2016. Aristotle, METAPHYSICS. Hackett. http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/metaphysics/
  20. . Kant and Principia Space, Rotation, Relativity - Kant ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS - In that second link, my essay was written in 1997. I'd like to mention two scholarly grand works appearing since then and pertinent to the topics in that essay: The volume Natural Science (2012) in the Cambridge edition of the works of Immanuel Kant. And by Michael Friedman, Kant's Construction of Nature (2013).
  21. . I’m pretty sure when I first learned the word “libertarian.” It was in a current issue of THE PERSONALIST at my university in around 1970. There was a debate in that issue wherein one side argued for government limited in the way I was familiar with from Rand, while the other side argued for anarchocapitalism. John Hospers was then the editor of that journal. I didn’t give the anarchocapitalist theory much thought until Nozick’s ASU came out (1974) and he made his case against that theory (especially those basing their position on individual rights) in consideration of issues of procedural justice. In 1971 Hosper’s book LIBERTARIANISM had been issued. Therein he defined libertarianism, “according to which the function of government should be limited to the protection of individuals against aggression by others or by government” (27). The last chapter of his book is titled “Is Government Necessary?” which I imagine set out the debate between limited-government libertarians and anarchocapitalist libertarians (his own side would have been the former, to be sure). Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the latter portion of that book including that chapter in my paperback fell off and is lost. In 1972 I was old enough to vote for the first time, and I wrote in the name John Hospers, who was the Presidential candidate of the newly formed Libertarian Party. I was in the Party and worked pretty hard with it until 1984, when I left it. All of our Presidential candidates to that year were limited-government libertarians as I recall. It was at the national convention in New York in 1975 that I spotted and bought Tibor Machan’s HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN LIBERTIES (1975). It was a systematic rights-based defense of limited-government libertarianism by another professional philosopher: “‘Libertarianism’ is the label that has been applied to the theory of society or political philosophy that identifies the initiation of force against others as the one form of human interaction that is impermissible in a human community under all circumstances. I have not used the label thus far because many libertarians base their acceptance of this basic prohibition on something other than a theory of human rights. Some take the principle to be self-evidently true. Others view it as an efficient device for social organization without giving it a foundation based on a moral point of view. But I will henceforth use the term ‘libertarianism’ to indicate the theory of human community proposed in this work” (147). We never thought of our rights-based limited-government libertarianism as some sort of poor stepsister to anarchocapitalist libertarianism. We did not concede the name “libertarianism” to them as most rightly theirs. I did read Murray Rothbard’s FOR A NEW LIBERTY (1974) and THE ETHICS OF LIBERTY (1982). Nice writing, but on his theory of property rights in land and their relations to enforcement institutions, the anarchocapitalist case collapses (again). (This was my comment in the link mentioned by William upstream.) Further, from my 1988 Right, Games, and Self-Realization.
  22. (I’m going to be talking more Rand in this segment, and I want the reader to keep in mind that Peikoff managed to hammer out his dissertation without any mention of Rand or her ideas, though her frame was also his in the years he was writing his dissertation.) Aristotle I Peikoff scrutinizes the broadly empiricist thinkers Aristotle, Aquinas, and Locke in their aspect of opposition to the Platonic views that necessary truths, such as the impossibility of contradictions in reality, are (i) innate in the human mind and (ii) features of essences accessible only by intellect and objectified beyond the particulars accessible by sensory perception. Aristotle recognized that the precise knowledge by demonstrations we make from true precise premises require principles constraining inference that are themselves true and precise and not themselves demonstrable.[1] Like all knowledge, in Aristotle’s view, these indemonstrable, necessarily true principles, such as PNC, must somehow derive from sensory experience. This somehow Aristotle sketched is a process begun in perception and capped by what has long been called intuitive induction.[2] In the decades I lived in Chicago, there were university libraries that allowed the general public, if well behaved, to come in and read and xerox. The one with the most generous access was DePaul, which happened to be only an L-stop away from where I lived. One day I was there perusing bound volumes of The New Scholasticism, and I came across therein an article by Leonard Peikoff titled “Aristotle’s ‘Intuitive Induction’.” I knew what went by the name intuitive induction, that it was also known as abstractive induction, that it was a genre among other genre of induction, and that it “exhibited the universal as implicit in the clearly known particular” (APo 71a8).[3] Peikoff’s published article was composed from portions of his dissertation.[4] My quotation from Posterior Analytics (APo) just now was from the translation in the Oxford volumes edited by Ross (1910–52), which Peikoff had relied on in his dissertation and article.[5] In 1984 a Revised Oxford Translation of Aristotle was completed in which three of Aristotle’s books—Categories, de Interpretatione, and Posterior Analytics—unlike all the other books, were not mild emendations to the earlier translations into English, but were entirely new translations into English. The new translation of APo is by Jonathan Barnes. Some years after that translation, he thought he could do a little better, and he made a second translation. His translation of the familiar old-time Oxford “exhibiting the universal as implicit in the clearly known particular” becomes (i) a class of inductive arguments “proving the universal through the particular’s being clear” and (ii) “proving something universal by way of the fact that the particular cases are plain.” Richard McKirahan paraphrases APo 71a8–9 on the sort of inductive arguments at issue as revealing the universal “through the fact that the particular is obvious” (1992, 237). The obvious example, I say, would be from geometry, such as proving of any and every triangle that its interior angles sum to two right angles. Some proof of that result was known to Aristotle, and hopefully, any modern reader of philosophy knows the Euclidean proof.[6] I should mention that any three stars (not all in a single straight line) in a portion of the clear night sky reflected in still water determine a triangle in a Euclidean plane. The figure triangle exists in the world, whether by nature alone or by our constructions indicating that figure.[7] And for all such triangles, it is a fact that if they lie in a Euclidean plane their interior angles sum to two right angles. (Refer to this fact as 2R.) A triangle is a particular—one clear, plain, and obvious—and we can prove the fact 2R about triangles, a character of triangles holding necessarily for all of them. Is the principle of noncontradiction a fact of the world in the way the sum of angles in a triangle is a fact in the world? Not exactly, I should say. That my right hand has five appendages is part of the character of the hand itself. That five fingers are not seventeen fingers is a fact, although one dependent not only on the character of five-fingered hands, but on auxiliary relations of five-fingered hands to something pretty far afield. Cases of noncontradiction run arbitrarily far afield: a five-fingered hand is not an opera, not an empty region of space, and so forth. A malformed human hand might lie on gradations between a typical hand and other natural or artificial instruments for grasping, but there is no such gradation between a typical hand and an opera. Full-scope noncontradiction depends for its existence in part on thought of negations arbitrarily far afield, negations untied from unities of real physical organization. PNC has some existential dependency on thought. 2R does not. Objectivists could put it this way: Noncontradiction is a ramification of identity. The latter is not per se dependent on thought, I say, as they say. Fundamentally, identity is a fact like 2R, notwithstanding the circumstance that 2R is a demonstrable fact, whereas identity and noncontradiction are primitive principles (presumed, even if unstated) of demonstration (i.e., discursive demonstration, such as demonstration of 2R). An intuitive induction from sensory perception to the principles of identity and noncontradiction is not the same as intuitive induction cum demonstration from sensory experience with triangles to 2R. An intuitive induction from experience to the principle of noncontradiction cannot be a demonstrative proof, though it must be as precise and settled as demonstrations that rely on it. Intuitive induction to principles of identity and noncontradiction are more like proof-lacking inductions to “any three points not colinear determine a plane” and “nothing comes from nothing.” Although, those two facts grasped by intuitive induction do not depend at all on the cognitive power(s), the intuitive induction, under which they are cognized. In that they are like 2R or identity and unlike PNC. We should notice with Netz that, whether or not they are made explicit, certain intuitive propositions—intuitive in the sense of being obviously and necessarily true—are employed in the starting points and inferences of Greek mathematical proofs.[8] Objectivists and some other moderns (e.g. Leibniz, Baumgarten, and Kant) have thought of noncontradiction as ontologically dependent on identity. Aristotle in Prior Analytics shows he knew that not all valid deductions exercise noncontradiction. Rather, the most perfect syllogistic forms of deduction exercise merely universal instantiation or transitivity of identity. Yet he says in Metaphysics: One can, I say, think of a belief (or anything else) and its contradictory at the same time, where “same time” has a small, but nonzero duration. That would be on the duration-order of working memory. But only a mentally defective person could believe a thing and its contradictory within that scale of duration. Peikoff interpreted Aristotle in this passage to be arriving at the proposition, that one cannot believe a thing and its contradictory at the same time, by instantiation of the principle of noncontradiction in application to all existents, in this case the existent human mind.[9] That seems a shaky interpretation and a shaky conception of the human mind unless we have passed on from mere description to proper functioning of human mind. Peikoff’s 1964 position on this point, as straight description of mind, though it was in error, does not affect his characterization of logical ontologism or his contrast between its Platonic and Aristotelian wings. Aristotle’s claim that “all who carry out a demonstration refer it to this [PNC] as an ultimate belief; for this is naturally the starting-point even for all other axioms” is close-but-no-cigar. The ultimate recognition for demonstration (which for Aristotle is a genre of syllogism), I say, is recognition of a principle of identity as rich as Rand’s or approximately that rich. Rand wrote in 1957: The distinction of existence and identity is independent of consciousness, independent of identification. The distinction between existence and identity, as well as the inseparability of the former from the latter, are fundamental facts of the world.[11] Existence in its identity shows the elements of that identity to be without contradiction or self-contrariety.[12] The Law of Identity in Rand’s usage of the title encompassed: A is A, a thing is itself, a thing is what it is, and existence is identity. By “greatest of your philosophers,” Rand meant Aristotle. Unlike moderns such as Leibniz, Baumgarten, Kant, or Rand, Aristotle did not connect a law of identity, in so many words, with his principle of noncontradiction.[13] Aristotle also did not connect the law of identity that speaks to the distinctive natures of things with a formula such as “A is A” or “A thing is itself.” Aristotle would say “A thing is itself” is nearly empty and useless, and he would not connect that proposition to “A thing is something specifically,” which he thought substantive and important.[14] In Topics he holds that each and every thing is predicable of itself, predicable essentially and necessarily. Specifically, this predication is the thing’s definition. In this he means only that a thing and its definition refer to the same thing.[15] He does not convey the further thought that a thing is necessarily and nothing but the instanced definition together with all other instanced specific identity of the thing, along with any particularities of the thing, such as location. He does not convey that further thought from Rand I think right: that all those together compose the existence of the thing without remainder. Aristotle was the founder of logic, and his great contribution thereto was his theory of correct inference, which is largely his theory of the syllogism. Though he did not realize it, the formula “A is A” in the form “Every A is A” can be used to consolidate the kingdom of the syllogism. By about 1240, Robert Kilwardly was using “Every A is A” to show conversions such as the inference “No A is B” from the premise “No B is A” can be licensed by syllogism.[16] Aristotle had taken these conversions, like he had taken the first-figure syllogistic inferences, to be obviously valid and not derivable.[17] Aristotle takes first-figure syllogisms to be obviously valid and the paragons of necessary consequence. The mere statement of these syllogisms makes evident their conclusion as following necessarily. Using conversions as additional premises, Aristotle shows that all syllogisms not first-figure can be reduced to first-figure ones. Their validity is thereby established, by the obvious validity of the first-figure ones and by the irreducible obvious validity of the conversions.[18] In this program, which is in Prior Analytics, Aristotle uses also the principle of noncontradiction; for some of his reductions of second- and third-figure syllogisms to first-figure employ indirect proof, specifically proof per impossibile. However, the per impossibile steps only establish a premise that can then be employed in a direct proof of reduction to first figure.[19] The principle of noncontradiction, like the first-figure inferences and the logical conversions, is self-evident. The principle of noncontradiction is not the entire or main base of valid logical inference, I observe. Rather, I maintain, identity is directly the main base, and indirectly identity is base when noncontradiction is base, for the former is base of the latter. Notice also: That the logical conversions were centuries later shown to be derivable from first-figure syllogisms by using A is A as a premise does not imply that the conversions are not also self-evident.[20] There are places in which Aristotle connects “A thing is something specifically” or “A thing is what it is” with the principle of noncontradiction: “The same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject in the same respect” (Metaph. 1005b19–20). Though not given the pride of place given it by Rand, there is some recognition that existence is identity in Aristotle: “If all contradictories are true of the same subject at the same time, evidently all things will be one . . . . And thus we get the doctrine of Anaxagoras, that all things are mixed together; so that nothing exists” (1007b19–26).[21] Aristotle acknowledges on occasion that any existent not only is, but is a what.[22] He contradicts that principle, however, when he says: “That which is primarily and is simply (not is something) must be substance” (Metaph. 1028a30). The art of noncontradictory identification is logic, in Rand’s conception of it. I take some issue with that definition, for avoidance of contradiction is not the main rule of deductive inference. That main rule is directly identity itself. Mathematical induction, also, does not rest on noncontradiction, but is a variety of identity. Then too, the rule of noncontradiction itself rests on the fact(s) of identity. This asymmetric dependence was evidently recognized in Rand 1957, wherein she had it that existence exists and is identity and that “existence exists” is the basis of logic. She took consciousness to be fundamentally identification and took logic to be the genre of consciousness-endeavor noncontradictory identification. That differentia noncontradictory is an inadequate span of the modes of inference in the discipline of logic. I suspect Rand was led astray by Aristotle’s “all who are carrying out a demonstration refer it to this [PNC] as an ultimate belief; for this is naturally the starting-point even for all other axioms” which is only a few lines of Aristotle beyond the lines she quotes in the closing scene of 1957. The inferences of first-figure syllogisms are, I maintain, licensed directly by identity alone, in Rand’s ample sense of identity, and without recourse to noncontradiction. Nathaniel Branden and Leonard Peikoff in their Objectivist writings erred in trying to support Rand’s definition of logic, with its differentia of the noncontradictory, by appeal to noncontradiction rather than directly to identity as basis of the inference in a certain first-figure syllogism.[23] That certain one is the inference-form of the familiar case: Socrates is a man, all men are mortal, and therefore, Socrates is mortal. Peikoff 1991 and Branden c.1968 rightly point out that denial of this inference would lead to contradiction,[24] but that is not to the point of first, most direct basis.[25] One already knows that these first-figure inferences are valid, that their conclusions necessarily follow, without invoking PNC, just as Aristotle had rightly observed in Prior Analytics and had messed up in Metaphysics. Another class of deductions not fitting Rand’s definition is the direct proof of mathematical identities, such as the trigonometric identities. All such proofs conclude 1=1, showing the initial proposed identity true. No appeal to noncontradiction is made; identity is invoked directly and is the entire basis of proofs of mathematical identities. That identity in a broad Randian sense of the term is more fundamental than and is ground of PNC, though underground in Peikoff’s dissertation, does not undermine his characterization of Aristotle’s logical ontologism. Then too, characterization of PNC as being not only a fact of the world but a fact partly dependent on operation of thought in the world—my own added characterization—does not degrade Peikoff’s characterization of Aristotle’s logical ontologism, though my ontology of PNC may in the end suggest reformation in Peikoff’s divisions of schools of thought in the history of philosophy of logic. In the next installment, I’ll continue with Aristotle and with Peikoff’s treatment of him, beginning with intuitive inductions to necessary truths including PNC. I want to close the present installment by noting the change in translation of APo. II 19 by Barnes concerning the traditional intuition in intuitive induction. The older translation relied upon by Peikoff 1964, 66, reads: “From these considerations it follows that there will be no scientific [i.e. deductive] knowledge of the primary premises, and since except intuition nothing can be truer than scientific knowledge, it will be intuition that apprehends the primary premises” (APo. 100b10–12). Barnes final translation reads: “Hence there will not be understanding of the principles; and since nothing apart from comprehension can be truer than understanding, there will be comprehension of the principles” (APo. 100b10–12). In the Barnes translation, scientific knowledge has become understanding; primary principles have become principles; and intuition has become comprehension. Each of these differences is significant, and Barnes argues for them. On the last of those three alterations in translation, Barnes argues against the traditional English of nous into intuition. He remarks in part: Barnes argues that induction factors into Aristotle’s answers on whether we have innate knowledge of indemonstrable principles that are starting-points of demonstrations and, if not, how knowledge of such principles is acquired. He argues that nous is answer to a different question of Aristotle’s: what is our state that knows those principles? Under Barnes picture, Aristotle has us in the state Barnes calls understanding when we know theorems and has us in the state nous, which Barnes calls comprehension, in our knowledge of indemonstrable principles. “Understanding is not a means of acquiring knowledge. Nor, then, is nous. / . . . ‘Intuition’ will not do as a translation for nous; for intuition is precisely a faculty or means of gaining knowledge. Hence in my translation I abandon ‘intuition’ and use instead the colourless word ‘comprehension’ (268). We can be sure that such issues of translation of Aristotle, and consequent divergent characterizations of Aristotle’s views, have been acute not only in translations into modern languages, but into Arabic and into Latin centuries ago. To be continued. Notes [1] APo. 72b19–24, 99b20–21. [2] APo. 99b35–100b5. [3] Boydstun 1991, 36. [4] Mainly pages 63–79 of his dissertation. [5] The translations in Richard McKeon’s The Basic Works of Aristotle are from the Ross edition. [6] APo. 71a19–29, 85b5–15, 91a3–4; Metaph. 1051a24–27; Euclid’s Elements I.32. [7] On Memory 450a1–4; Metaph. 1089a25–26. [8] Netz 1999, 182–85,189–98. [9] Peikoff 1964, 156–57. See further, the translation and commentary of Kirwan 1993. [10] Cf. Avicenna 1027: “It is evident that each thing has a reality proper to it—namely, its quiddity” (I.5.10). Think whatness for the traditional quiddity (quidditas, tinotiz); see e.g. Gilson 1939, 199. [11] Cf. Heidegger’s ontological articulation and disclosedness in Haugeland 2013, 197–98, notes 6 and 7. [12] AS 1016; ITOE App. 240, 286–88. [13] Leibniz 1678; Baumgarten 1757 [1739], §11; Kant 1755, 1:389; 1764, 2:294. Rand, in the “About the Author” postscript to AS, and N. Branden, in Basic Principles of Objectivism, erroneously thought Aristotle held the tight bond of identity and noncontradiction that had actually come to be recognized only with Leibniz and his wake. [14] Metaph. 1030a20–24, 1041a10–24. [15] Top. 103a25–29, 135a9–12. [16] First mood of the second figure; Kneale and Kneale 1962, 235–36; see also Kant 1800, §44n2. It was through Kneale and Kneale 1962 that I learned of Kilwardly’s recognition of the logical serviceability of “A is A” in the form “Every A is A.” In his 1964 dissertation, Peikoff did not make use of this book by the Kneales. Relying on older books on the history of logic, Peikoff noted in the Introduction to his dissertation that the law of identity specifically formulated as such was apparently not in play until end of the thirteenth century (works of Antonius Andreas). Placing first recognition of the law of identity a century or so earlier by more recent historical studies of logic, such as by the Kneales, still locates inception of the law’s recognition in the medieval era, as alleged in Peikoff’s older histories. [17] Lear 1980, 3–5. [18] Lear 1980, 1–14. [19] Lear 1980, 34–53; Bonevac 2012, 68–72. [20] On Aristotle’s alternative method ecthesis for reducing second- and third-figure syllogisms to first-figure, see Malink 2013, 86–97. This method rests directly on identity, not indirectly via noncontradiction. [21] See also Metaph. 1006b26–27, 1007a26–27. Let EI designate Rand’s “Existence is Identity.” Aristotle, Avicenna, Henry of Ghent, John Duns Scotus, Francis Suárez, Spinoza, Leibniz, Baumgarten, Kant, and Bolzano also reached principles close to (EI), though not the Randian rank of (EI) or near-(EI) among other metaphysical principles. A Thomist text Rand read had included: “What exists is that which it is” (Gilson 1937, 253). That is a neighbor of Rand’s “Existence is identity.” Neighbor Baumgarten: “Whatever is entirely undetermined does not exist” (1757, §53). [22] Metaph. 999a28; 1030a20–24; APo. 83a25–34. [23] Branden c. 1968, 67–69; Peikoff 1991, 119, though Peikoff had not made this error in explicating this syllogism in his dissertation 1964, 134. Leibniz errs in this way as well (1678, 187). But on another occasion, Leibniz writes, after listing some “Propositions true of themselves” (such as A is A), writes “Consequentia true of itself: A is B and B is C, therefore A is C” (quoted in Kneale and Kneale 1962, 338). [24] See further, Buridan 1335, 119–20. [25] See also Kneale and Kneale 1962, 357, and their conclusion that “the principle of noncontradiction is not a sufficient foundation for all [syllogistic] logic.” References Aristotle c. 348–322 B.C.E. The Complete Works of Aristotle. J. Barnes, ed. 1984. Princeton. Avicenna 1027. The Metaphysics of The Healing. M. E. Marmura, trans. 2005. Brigham Young. Barnes, J., trans. and comm., 1992. Aristotle – Posterior Analytics. 2nd ed. Oxford. Baumgarten, A. 1757 [1739]. Metaphysics. 4th ed. C. D. Fugate and J. Hymers, trans. 2013. Bloomsbury. Bonevac, D. 2012. A History of Quantification. In Logic: A History of Its Central Concepts. D. M. Gabbay, F. J. Pelletier, and J. Woods, ed. Elsevier. Boydstun, S. 1991. Induction on Identity. Pt. 1. Objectivity 1(2):33–46. Branden, N. c. 1968. The Basic Principles of Objectivism Lectures. Transcribed in The Vision of Ayn Rand. 2009. Cobden. Buridan, J. 1335. Treatise on Consequences. S. Read, trans. 2015. Fordam. Euclid c. 300 B.C.E. The Elements. T. L. Heath, trans. and comm. 2nd ed. 1925. Dover. Gilson, E. 1937. The Unity of Philosophical Experience. Ignatius. ——. 1939. Thomist Realism and the Critique of Knowledge. M. A. Wauk, trans. 1986. Ignatius. Haugeland, J. 2013. Dasein Disclosed – John Haugeland’s Heidegger. J. Rouse, ed. Harvard. Kant, I. 1755. A New Elucidation of the First Principles of Metaphysical Cognition. D. Walford and R. Meerbote, trans. In Immanuel Kant – Theoretical Philosophy, 1755–1770. 1992. Cambridge. ——. 1764. Inquiry Concerning the Distinctness of the Principles of Natural Theology and Morality. D. Walford and R. Meerbote, trans. In Immanuel Kant – Theoretical Philosophy, 1755–1770. 1992. Cambridge. ——. 1800. The Jäsche Logic. J. M. Young, trans. In Immanuel Kant – Lectures on Logic. 1992. Cambridge. Kirwan, C., trans. and comm., 1993. Aristotle – Metaphysics, Books G, D, and E. Oxford. Kneale, W., and M. Kneale 1962. The Development of Logic. Oxford. Lear, J. 1980. Aristotle and Logical Theory. Cambridge. Leibniz, G. W. 1678. Letter to Herman Conring – March 19. In Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Philosophical Papers and Letters. L. E. Loemker, trans. 2nd ed. 1969. Kluwer. Malink, M. 2013. Aristotle’s Modal Syllogistic. Harvard. McKirahan, R. D. 1992. Principles and Proofs – Aristotle’s Theory of Demonstrative Science. Princeton. Netz, R. 1999. The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics. Cambridge. Peikoff, L. 1964. The Status of the Law of Contradiction in Classical Logical Ontologism. Ph.D. dissertation. ——. 1985. Aristotle’s “Intuitive Induction.” The New Scholasticism 59(2):185–99. ——. 1991. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Dutton. Rand, A. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. Random House. ——. 1990. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Expanded 2nd ed. Meridian.
  23. Thanks! The sound in this production is a poem plus. I close my eyes to enjoy it best. Ode to a Nightingale
  24. . Religious Liberty or Religious License? Legal Schizophrenia and the Case against Exemptions Tara Smith – Journal of Law and Politics (25 April 2017) Abstract
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