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Regi F.

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About Regi F.

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    Greenville, SC

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    United States
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  • Real Name
    Randall C. Saunders
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    Public Domain
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    Not an Objectivist (or any other kind of "-ist") but a student of Rand for over 60 years.
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    Polymath, Autodidact
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  1. If you are referring to her fundamental philosophical views, she didn't modify them. If you are talking about non-essentials, it doesn't matter. I'm not interesed in her personal decisions or tastes. I'm only interested in her philosophy. If one agrees 100% with her philosophy they cannot also disagree with anything that philosophy teaches. I believe that includes whenever she was speaking as a philosopher and expressing her views. I disagree with many things Rand said as a philosopher. I'm not an Objectivist (or any other kind of, "-ist." Ironically, I usually side with Rand against those who call themselves Objectivists but contradict what she wrote. That's my view. It doesn't have to be yours. Randy
  2. It doesn't really matter; however, I disagree with any claim that what Rand meant was other than what she planely stated or implies that her fundamental views changed over time. She said her fundamental views did not change. I do not have any objection to those who disagree with her, I disagree with her myself. I only disagree with those who claim to embrace her philosophy but make statements that contradicit it. Nevertheless, it is not my responsibility to correct other's views and I have no intention of doing so. Thanks for the question. Randy
  3. Kyary, I wasn't trying to change your mind, only expressing mine. Appreciate the comments. Randy
  4. Mine is. I do not form my opinions about Rand or her philosophy based on anything other than what Rand wrote herself, and what I know factually about her life. I certainly would not rely on anything her philosophical enemies write about her which many of those referenced in the links you provided are, perhaps the worst are those from ARI. Why not form your own ideas using your own reason examining what Rand herself wrote, instead of accepting other's opinions about her second-hand? Thanks for the comment, Kyary. (Is that right?) Randy
  5. Yes of course. The exact quote is: "The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics—the three values which, together, are the means to and the realization of one's ultimate value, one's own life——are: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride." I do not agree with your analysis of Rand's ethical development, however. Randy
  6. Ayn Rand made two lists of virtues, one published in The Virtue of Selfishness, the other unpublished in her Journal, in a section called, "The Moral Basis Of Individualism." The published list of virtues includes: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, Rationality, Productiveness, and Pride. The unpublished list of virtues includes: Integrity [which Rand described as, "the first, greatest and noblest of all virtues"], Courage, Honesty, Honor, Self-confidence, Strength, Justice, Wisdom, and Self-respect. The following links pertain to the moral source of virtues. The first directly addresses your question: Integrity: The Virtues Of The Moral Individual Principles Ethical Principles Ayn Rand's Ethics Objective Ethics for Freedom and Happiness (The Is/Ought Fallacy)
  7. Ontology is a branch of metaphysics and concerns the identification of that which exists independently of anyone's knowledge or awareness. Independently of does not mean separate from, it means whether or not anyone has any knowledge or awareness of it. Numbers and measurements do not exist independently of human minds. They are "existents," but as Ayn Rand said they are "mental" existents, not metaphysical existents. "Mental" existents are an epistemological issue, not a metaphysical one. Your observation of the identicalness of numbers is valid as concerns concepts. It is valid of all concepts. The concept "water" is identical with all concepts of water, just as all concepts of three are identical. Whatever is metaphysically identified by a concept must be different in some way from all other things identified by the same concept. If there were no difference at all, they would not be more than one thing. Everything identified as water must be different some way from all other things identified as water else they would be the same water. All things identified as three must be different in some way from all others things identified as three for the same reason. To use your example: all collections identified as 37 are identified by the same (or identical) concept, but all actual collections must be different from all other such collections in some way, and every individual item of the 37 must be different from every other item of the collection, else there would not be 37. I'm not trying to convince you to see this as I do, only explaining what was intended. I think your question is a very good one, and I appreciate it.
  8. Please see the online book, The Nature of Knowledge, which is a thorough analysis and critique of How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation. [The link is to the Introductioj.] Here is the Table of Contents. Enjoy!
  9. No. Please read more carefully. Only those aspects of human consciousness involvimg volition, reason, and intellect are "mind." Everything else is an attribute of consciousness common to all conscious animals. The mind and its attributes are unique to man.
  10. Harrison Danneskjold "Process of elimination. We effortlessly perceive cohesive entities, in three dimensions Our eyes only sense two-dimensional images Ergo these images must somehow be interpreted as three-dimensional entities, but without any deliberate effort or attention in the act of interpretation. The only logical conclusion to draw is that something interprets them for us, automatically." Only individual's with one functioning eye see things in two dimensions. Two eyes provide stereoscopic vision. It's not magic. It is simply being able to perceive the differentiation of physical position in the field of vision by means of differences in perspective. "And the only question, at that point, is what interprets them and how- and I happen to consider "my own subconscious" to be the only rational answer. I'm actually attempting to figure out how at this time; if you have any suggestions I would be happy to hear them. But Rand's answer to what is the only one I consider even the slightest bit plausible." There is no such thing as the subconscious. This superstitious belief originated by Freud is a bane to Objectivism. How about we just see things as they actually are. How? What are things anyway? Aren't they whatever their attributes are? Of course we cannot directly perceive all of a things attributes, but we can perceive, their color, their shape, the texture, their taste, their smell, their sound if they make one, are what they are, aren't they? What else do we need to perceive then the attributes of an entity to perceive the entity itself? This is a hint to the real nature of perception. If you think about it, you will come up with it yourself. "Perception is not always reliable; that's the point! That's why Binswanger is wrong! But the fact that things aren't always what they seem to be is not a philosophical problem. For Galt's sake; you make a sticker that says "objects in mirror are larger than they appear" and then you compensate for it accordingly! It's not a problem that deserves serious attention!" No, perception is alway reliable. What is not reliable is the human interpretation (at the conceptual level) of what is perceived. Perception of reality is always of that reality exactly as it exists in its total metaphysical context. If one perceives things in a convex mirror they will be perceived as smaller (and more distant) because in that metaphysical context, that is exactly how they must be perceived to be correctly perceived. If things perceived in a convex mirror and things perceived when directly looking at them appeared the same, that would be a perceptual mistake. Fortunately, perception never gets it wrong.
  11. "That is dualism." No, there is only one reality, one material existence. That material existence just happens to be what those with very little discernment confuse with physical existence. Material existence is all that exists independently of anyone's knowledge or awareness. That does not mean outside of anyone's knowledge or awareness, it mean whether or not anyone has knowledge or awareness of it. Material existence is reality, it is what it is and knowledge of it must be discovered and no one dictates or decides what it is. That material reality includes the physical. It also includes life, which is not a physical attribute, but a perfectly natural attribute of the same material reality all the physical attributes are attributes of. Consciousness is an attribute of entities with the life attribute, which is an additional attribute of the material reality beyond the physical and life attributes, and volitional consciousness is an attribute of the same material reality beyond the attributes of the physical, life, and consciousness attributes. It is all the same material existence. There is no dualism at all. There is only one natural material existence which is not limited to attributes of direct perception, that is, the physical attributes. If the physical attributes were all that were possible, there would be no life, no consciousness, and no human mind. No arrangement or organization of dead matter can ever produce life, consciousness, or the human mind. Additional attributes are required, attributes we know there are, because there are life, consciousness, and minds. The insistence that everything be explained in terms of the physical means the end of philosophy, at least for those doing the insisting. If this view, by the way, is incompatible with Objectivism, it is irrelevant. Objectivism is not philosophy, it is only one person's view of philosophy. However, if by Objectivism is meant Rand's view of things, I can assure you she saw that life and consciousness were not physical attributes. "'If you are thinking things like emotions, desires, memories, they are things we are conscious of, not part of the mind, though some are the effects of it.' Why aren't they part of the mind? What are they part of?" I'll reiterate, the human mind, that which is different about human consciousness from the consciousness of animals without minds is the three-fold attribute of the mind, "volition, intellect, and reason." All the other things you mentioned are simply things one is conscious of, things which animals without minds are also conscious of: how they feel, what they desire, and whatever limited memory they have.
  12. Here's the problem: "perception implies an integration of individual "raw" sensations that you are not directly conscious of." The fact of perception implies something must make it possible, but it only implies integration if that is what one assumes must be the method. The necessity of a method does not imply any particular method. Rand just loved the word integration. "... it's a pretty basic fact that there is "raw" input and a resulting complete perception." Why do you characterize it as raw? If I thought perception were some kind signal processing of sensory inputs, I would call it information rich, hardly raw. Audio information actually is signal processed, and very sophisticated signal processing it is, for example. "The improvement over Kant isn't that the proposed process is perfectly rich information, but that perception isn't 'created' by the mind - Kant implied that because there is a process, it will never capture anything in itself." I do not see why a physiological (neurological process that cannot be identified) can be known to be reliable. If someone passed you a box and said it was a method of capturing pictures on MARS, and then showed you the pictures it supposedly took, but wouldn't tell you how it worked, would you trust the pictures? That's why I would not trust that some unidentified process is the basis of my consciousness. "Perception can't be 'wrong'..." RIGHT! "or even 'right'... WRONG! It's always right. It always perceives exactly what is perceived exactly as it is. "especially since there is more to the mind than consciousness." I'm not sure what you mean, unless you mean what one is conscious of. The human mind has three characteristics, volition, the ability and necessity to consciously choose; intellect, the ability and necessity to gain knowledge, and rationality, the ability and necessity to think. If you are thinking things like emotions, desires, memories, they are things we are conscious of, not part of the mind, though some are the effects of it. This is similar to mistaking just anything that goes on in one's head is thinking. "If you suppose no process at all (the alternative to the "demon"), then you are suggesting an "irreducible consciousness" which is really back to Cartesian dualism, i.e. the mind as a distinct entity rather than an active process." No, nothing like that. I do regard consciousness as a unique attribute that no physical process can produce, since it is an attribute of life, but there is no dualism here. "If there is another alternative, explain it to me." That's a pretty big demand. Could Rand explain here entire view in a single post? Well, maybe she could, she was a very powerful writer. I'm not that good. I know how perception "works" and actually posted an early explanation on line some time ago. It does not stand alone, however. One reason the Objectivist explanation fails is because Objectivism has no ontology, and until the ultimate nature of physical existence is understood there is no way to correctly explain how it is consciously perceived. Essentially without ontology, "what" is being perceived is not understood, and "how" it is perceived is impossible to explain." In this case I know what the right explanation is, but even if I didn't, it is not necessary to know a right explanation for something in order to understand another explanation is a wrong one. Are you really serious about wanting to know the right explanation?
  13. thenelli01 To answer your three questions concering this post: 1) Rand didn't "conclude that the brain (or neurological system) performs some automatic process of integration which produces percepts of entities". 2) She did conclude that, but never explicitly stated whether or not that included percepts of attributes. or 3) Something else? I'll answer your questions directly: 1. Rand, and all the self-identified Objectivists following her, state that perception is produced by some automatic process performed by the brain or neurological system, and when named the process is called "integration." I cannot answer any more precisely because sometime it is said to be the brain and sometime the neurological system. Sometimes what is processed is called "sensations," sometimes, "sensory input," and sometime just whatever is provided the sensory parts of the nervous system. The mix of terminology is maddening if you try to pin anything down. 2. She used the expression, "perception of entities," to describe what was automatically perceived. She also wrote about perceiving color, shapes and hearing sounds, and since the only direct consciousness we have in her terms (and mine) is perception, that must mean we perceive color, shapes, sounds. I'm not sure she would call them percepts. 3. Well maybe something else. Let me say one thing. I do not mean this as a criticism of Rand. She covered more ground in philosophy than perhaps any other philosopher, and I think many of the questions, such as these, she would easily have cleared up if she had lived longer. She had additional works planned. However, there is a real problem understanding exactly what she had in mind because she did seem to mix some terms and concepts. I think I know what she meant, and always try to give her the benefit of the doubt, but compare these quotes with the one's I provided earlier, and you'll see why I cannot answer any more specifically than I have: Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology "1. Cognition and Measurement" "Sensations, as such, are not retained in man's memory, nor is man able to experience a pure isolated sensation. ... Discriminated awareness begins on the level of percepts. A percept is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism. It is in the form of percepts that man grasps the evidence of his senses and apprehends reality. When we speak of "direct perception" or "direct awareness," we mean the perceptual level. Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident." ---She clearly says here a percept is a group of sensations (whatever they are) integrated by the brain. She doesn't say if by percept she means percepts of things attributes (their color, shape, texture, temperature, etc) or of entire entities as wholes. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology "4. Concepts of Consciousness" "Awareness is not a passive state, but an active process. On the lower levels of awareness, a complex neurological process is required to enable man to experience a sensation and to integrate sensations into percepts; that process is automatic and non-volitional: man is aware of its results, but not of the process itself." ---Here she says, "a complex neurological process is required to enable a man to experience a sensation," [how does one experience what one cannot be conscious of] and "to integrate sensations into percepts." [i don't know what that means] However she does say the process is automatic, and man is not aware of. [Then how does she know about it?] Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology "5. Definitions" "Paradoxically enough, it is the simplest concepts that most people find it hardest to define—the concepts of the perceptual concretes with which they deal daily, such as 'table,' 'house,' 'man,' 'walking,' 'tall,' 'number,' etc. ... ...Man's discriminated awareness begins with percepts; the conceptual identifications of daily-observed percepts have become so thoroughly automatized in men's minds that they seem to require no definitions—and men have no difficulty in identifying the referents of such concepts ostensively." ---Here she lists as "perceptual concretes" entities (table, house, man), actions (walking), an attribute (tall), which are all metaphysical, and also a purely epistemological existent (number). [i'm not exactly sure what she means by number her, so she may only be referring to the fact we can see groups of things. That's not really "number," number is the method we use to count groups, an epistemological method of identification.] The important thing is, she refers to them all as "perceptual concretes," which to me would mean, "percepts," but she doesn't say, but in the next paragraph refers to them as "daily-observed percepts." Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology 6. Axiomatic Concepts It must be remembered that conceptual awareness is the only type of awareness capable of integrating past, present and future. Sensations are merely an awareness of the present and cannot be retained beyond the immediate moment; percepts are retained and, through automatic memory, provide a certain rudimentary link to the past, but cannot project the future. ---Well, you see the problem here. "Sensations are merely an awareness of....." But she says we cannot be aware of sensations at all, or of the process by which they are automatically turned into percepts. Now I'm going to point out a huge problem with the Objectivist view of consciousness. If there is some kind of "automatic process" that somehow magically turns whatever is provided by the sensory nervous system (whether called senses, sensations, sense data) into percepts, or perception itself (it's not clear), the process must be identified, and how one knows there is such a process must be explained. It cannot just be said, "there is a process that performs this magic integration." Well one can just as easily say we all are born will a little demon in us the turns our sensations into percepts. I do not believe in the "sensory integrating demon." No Objectivist has provided any more evidence for it than any theist has provided evidence for their God. They just all accept it and repeat it. No one questions it. Even if there were such a process, since no one explains how it works, how could there ever be any assurance that the perceptual world it produces is reliable. I cannot see how this so-called process is any improvement over Kant, it just moves the magic percept forming mechanism back from the epistemological to the metaphysical neurological system. There is still no assurance it works. There is an even more serious logical problem with this supposed automatic process as well. But I'll spare you.
  14. It's none of my business, but your response to New Buddha is exactly right.
  15. That is not what she said, but I don't mind if you want to think so.