Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Regi F.

Regulars
  • Content Count

    111
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1

Everything posted by Regi F.

  1. I didn't change anything. Attributes aren't nothing, they are something. Life is an attribute, it is the thing that differentiates between mere lifeless matter and living organisms, and as an attribute of organisms, it cannot exist or have any meaning apart from organisms. An organism is a material existent with the attribute life, but that attribute cannot be produced by or arise from any organization of matter, because it is a unique attribute of nature not found in non-living matter, only in living organisms. (By matter I mean the physical.) "If a dead body is a physical entity, then your statement leads me to believe that "being alive" or "living" is an attribute of an entity, namely, matter or a physical system, but is not itself as such matter or a physical system. So the what, the existent which has the attribute of "living" or "being alive" is matter or a physical system. It is "what" the attribute is "of". Every attribute is an attribute "of" something. In the case of life, it is the attribute of a physical entity that is alive, an organism. Life depends on the physical in the sense that life is a process that sustains the organism as the kind of extent it is, but it is the life attribute that makes the process possible. If anything goes wrong with the physical aspects of the organism the process requires, the process will cease, the organism dies, and there is no longer any life attribute, but it is the attribute life that makes the process possible, No organization of matter or system of matter will ever produce the living process. "Consciousness is also an attribute, it is an attribute of a living entity. More accurately, the physical system has two attributes, 1 "living" and 2. "conscious", let's assume that having the attribute 1 is a precondition for any system to have as an attribute 2." That's correct. "That does not change the fact that the "what" which has the attributes is matter or a physical system." That's right. And it doesn't change or violate any physical principle or property of that physical system. It depends on those physical properties as the means of sustaining itself. "I assume you are not claiming that an attribute (living) of a physical system, itself has an attribute (consciousness)? In any case, the second attribute (consciousness) according to the hierarchy is still an attribute of the base, i.e. matter or physical system." Attributes do have their own attributes, but consciousness is not an attribute of life, but of a living organism. Yes, consciousness is only possible to physical entities, so long as they are organisms, living physical entities. If not matter or a physical system, WHAT has the attribute of "living" or "consciousness"? and where does THAT go when all that is left upon dying is matter or a physical (non-functional) system? It doesn't go anywhere anymore than the breathing and digestion go anywhere. They just cease to be. I can only explain that by means of an analogy. Remember, it is only an analogy, but the principle is true, even within the analogy. Consider some properties of the physical world. If you know some physics you know that all physical properties can ultimately be reduced to three characteristics, which no one ever does because it would just be too clumsy, but it is still true. That attributes are position, motion, and acceleration. Every static physical relation can be described in terms of positional qualities, that is, every thing and every part of every thing can be identified in terms of the two measures of position, direction and distance. If there were a physical world with no other attributes than positional ones, it would be a totally static world. in order for there to be a dynamic world another kind of attribute is needed. No arrangement or organization of positional attributes can ever produce that other needed attribute. In order to have a dynamic world, there must be another attribute, motion. But motion is actually a result, not the actual cause of a dynamic world. All that is required to produce motion is change, because a change in position is motion. In the same way that no arrangement of positions will every produce motion, not arrangement of motions will every produce acceleration, which is necessary for such attributes as mass, energy, and force etc. The only way to get acceleration in a world that is strictly position and motion is to introduce another change, because change of motion is acceleration. The analogy is this. There is no way to organize or arrange the physical, that is, the world that can be described entirely in terms of position, motion, and acceleration, to produce life. The only way to get life is to introduce another change, just as a change of motion produces acceleration, a change to the physical is required to produce or enable life. It is a perfectly natural attribute or level of existence, but it is one level beyond the physical, and our direct perception is limited to the first three levels of existence, position, motion, and acceleration. The same is true of consciousness. Life cannot be organized or arranged to produce consciousness. To have consciousness another change is required, another lever of natural existence. Notice, each level is totally dependent on the previous level, and never violates or changes any attribute of the previous level, and every level includes all the attributes of every previous level, motion includes all the positional attributes, acceleration includes all the positional and motion attributes and life includes all of those (which are the physical aspects of the organism) and consciousness includes all the attributes of life and the physical, and the human mind includes all the attributes of consciousness, life, and the physical. It is a sort of hierarchy of existence, the human mind being the top level of the hierarchy. This is only an analogy. The properties of the physical are all always present in all things. The property life is only present in a very few physical things. The property of consciousness is in even fewer entities, and only in those that are living, that is organism. And the human mind is only present in a very few conscious organisms. Even if life, consciousness, and the mind did violate some physical properties, it would hardly be noticeable because they are such rare phenomena, but none of them violate any physical properties, and depend on them for their own existence. There is no conflict between life and physical existence, but one does not produce the other.
  2. That's really going to tough on the animals that get left behind.
  3. Observation only means to discover something, some existent, event, attribute, or relationship, which might be physical or epistemological. If I observe a car going down the street it is by perceiving it. If I observe that Rand uses the words material and physical interchangeably, that observation is epistemological. i know I had to see the words to read them, but there is know we I could directly see how they are being used. I can discover that only by means of reason.
  4. I want to make it clear I definitely do not mean "substance" in any sense suggesting the Aristotelian ousia, or ultimate substance of some kind. If Peikoff truly had some reservation about the use of the terms entity vs matter, or substance and entities, I think it would have to be similar to mine. I don't have a fierce disagreement with entity ontology, I think it is mostly imprecise. I would prefer the term "existent" to "entity" to cover the ambiguous cases regarding substances and the entities composed of them. Perhaps magma could be considered composed of entities, but water, and at least some kinds of smoke, like the purple smoke produced by the sublimation of iodine can only be considered composed of entities, if one regards atoms and molecules entities. Of course it would not be terrible to regard them as entities, but I do not. Atoms, and all sub-macro physics describes the behavior of the directly perceived physical world by means of very useful very powerful models. Atom, for example, is not a concept derived form direct observation of atoms, but from the long history of scientific investigation in chemistry. There are two reason I do not regard atoms as entities: the description of what is meant by atom has changed continuously since the concept was first introduce--that is the models keep changing, and the current model does not at all reflect what is meant by an entity. Every entity that exists must be different in some way from every other entity that exists. That is part of my ontology, but it should be obvious that if two things were identical in every way, they would not be two things. Existents exists because they are different from each other. The description of atoms makes them all identical, which is ok for a model, but not for physical existents.
  5. I do not regard the entity/matter question crucial. If we agree that matter exists, and that all existents are material, the rest is somewhat simantic. Philosophical issues are not resolved by agreement in the end, but by how each of us conceives reality, and we will only be right, philosophically, if what we think is in agreement with reality, not each other. "Sculptures, pans and bags are just reshaping that matter to fit one's purpose." Yes, certainly, but here's the problem. What is that is reshaped to fit one's purpose? Yous say it is "matter." If matter is entities, shouldn't it be "Sculptures, pans and bags are just reshaping other entities to fit one's purpose?" That's why I say, in the end the issue seems like it could be semantic. Thank you so much for the link. I'll definitely have a look.
  6. Describing the nature of a thing is not attempting to get behind it or beneath it, as in attempting to explain why existense exists, or explaining the cause of consciousness as if it were not actually an aspect of the nature of conscious being. Describing the nature of a thing only explains exactly what it is one is talking about when they use the concept. Didn't Rand spend considerable effort explaining exactly what she meant by existence and what she meant by concsiousness? I totally agree our individual conscious experiences are alike, even if we cannot directly perceive another's consciousness. It is unlikely that similar creatures with similar attributes could have attributes deriving from that nature that would be very different. The difference would be exactly what you point out, differences in the physical and neurological aspects of a man, not consciousness itself. Well I greatly admire Rand and appreciate the advances she made in philosophy. In some ways, because she was so affective, she inadvertently (and through no fault of her own) brought a halt to philosophical progress. Most of those who have discovered her philosophy are so dazzled by it, they think they have discovered all there is to ever be known about philosophy, and ceased all new philosophical enquiry.
  7. "If consciousness had no relation to matter (as you're insinuating) ..." Well I didn't know I insuated any such thing, since I quoted so many of Rands statements saying that matter is what consciousness is conscious of. Material existence is all there is to be conscious of, and consciousness is that what which directly perceives the physical (material) existence. I'm sorry if I mislead you.
  8. I was sure I responded to this, but apparently not. What I thought I said was that your thought reminds of an issue I've long had with Objectivism that there is no ontology, and the only metaphysics consists of the three axioms: existence, consciousness, and identity, which is good, but hardly a complete metaphysics, and Objectivism practically ignores the most important of them, beyond stating A is A, but they never bother asking, what exactly is A. That would have been the beginning of a sound ontology (and cure for many of Objectivism's mistakes). They do actually know what A is, because they (Rand and Peikoff) say "a thing is whatever it attributes are," but they never make the ontological connection. Your quote about the concept material is a good example. Rand does tend to confuse terms, such as "material" and "physical" to refer to the same concept, or sensation and perception, sometimes within the space of a few paragraphs. I do not mean these as criticisms, just one of the things one has to be careful of when reading Rand. The passage you quoted from ITOE is about a different use of the word material, which I think Rand was mistaken about (but I think she was aware of the problem. I think it is easy to become enamored of a term that seems to answer everything, and then to rationalize away evidence or reasoning that seems to make the term doubtful. Rand's attempt to insist that all existence is entities is the problem here. The better term would be existents (which she uses when she wants to include epistemological "entities"). Obviously an ice sculpture, an iron frying pan, and a plastic bag are entities, but the meaning of the concepts ice, iron, and plastic or not entities. The Objectivists try to explain this away by saying all examples of material exist as entities, like an ice sculpture, frying pan, or bag. Materials are substances that do not have to exist in the form of entities at all. They exist physically and have definite physical properties by which they are identified, but surely atmosphereic water, smoke, and volcanic magma, are not entities. The problem is not serious and easily remedied. Materials are substances. Everything that exists physically consists of some substance or substances, and most substances exist in the form of entities, but not all. I think the attempt to force all matrial existence into the concept of entities, is a mistake. Not a horrible one, but conceptually limiting. When discussing exitents as substances, like water, it is only the properties of water as a subtance that need to be addressed, not water in the form of an entity. In order to have entites composed of substances, you first have to have the substances. Existents is just the better term because it subsumes both entities and substances.
  9. Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Death means that those attributes that were life, consciousness, and the mind are no longer attributes of the now dead matter (corpse). Life, consciousness, and death did not go anywhere, they just ceased to be attributes of the entity that was the organism, just as the breathing and digestion cease to be attributes of the organism.
  10. Along the way, I think we both might have. This is not an easy subject and the nature of the language relative to consciousness is extremely ambiguous.
  11. I'll address your descriptions one at a time: 1. Almost--it is claimed it is not a physical attribute. The physical has attributes we describe as physical, but those attributes themselves are not physical, they are what "make" the physical what it is.(Actually they are what it is, "an entity is the sum of all its attributes.") The claim is that there are addition possible attributes in nature that are not those of the physical, but as attributes can only be manifest in entities that already have physical attributes, such as life, which as an additional attribute of a natural entity that makes an merely physical entity a living one, an organism. 2. Well it is a property of something physical, because it is a property of an organism, it is just not a physical property, because the physical properties alone only result in unconscious dead matter. It is the additional property of life that makes it possible for otherwise dead matter to be a living organism. 3. It cannot be observed by perception, the way the properties of the physical can, but it certainly can be observed by the result of its existence in every living organism. The next level of non-physical natural properties is consciousness, which, just as life can only be a property of physical entities, consciousness can only be a property of living organisms. Like all properties, they are not something added to or done to the entities they are the properties of. Like all properties they do not exist independently of the entities they are the properties of, they are the entities. Volitional consciousness (the mind--intellect, reason, volition) is, like life and consciousness, the final level of properties which makes it possible for a living conscious organism to consciously choose, reason, and gain knowledge. Consciousness is certainly observable, unless one denies their own consciousness. Consciousness cannot be perceived because it has no physical attributes to perceive, but consciousness cannot be denied. There is nothing supernatural about life, consciousness, and the human mind, they are just existents with all the properties of the physical, with those additional properties that make them the kind of entities they are. The fact that there are entities with those properties is all the evidence that is needed to observe them. Why so many people are terrified there might be properties of the real natural world that cannot be reduced to the mere physical I think is a bit of mystery. My view does not suggest anything beyond what we can know by means of what we can be directly conscious of (physical existence) and the fact that we are conscious and that there are living, and conscious, and volitional beings, which physical attributes alone cannot explain. Can everything be explained in terms of physical attributes? I do not think so, but would be delighted if they were, because anything that truly explains is the truth, which is what I live by and for. I have no objection to the possible discovery of a physical expanation of life, consciousness, and the human mind, it's just that the best evidence I presently have, and the best reason of which I am capable does not convince me such a discovery is possible. In fact it is quite the opposite.
  12. I think we are talking about two different things. We are certainly conscious or our own conscious acts, our choices, feeling, thoughts, etc. What I mean is just as we cannot consciously perceive anyone's else's consciousness: [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech" "Mind and Body"] "No consciousness can perceive another consciousness, only the results of its actions in material form, since only matter is an object of perception..." ... we cannot perceive out own concsious, for the same reason, because it is not a physical object of perception. We are conscious of what we are consciously doing, but we cannot perceive that consciousness as a thing, because it has none of the qualities of the physical that can be perceived. I don't think this is at all arcane.
  13. I won't interpret anything. I'll let Rand speak for herself: Rand used the word "percepts" about 65 times in all she ever wrote that we know of. She almost always referred to the concept of consciousness as "perceiving" or "perception." I have no idea what your prejudice against the word perception is, when it is the word that Rand used to identify human consciousness. [introduction to Objectivist Epistemology '4. Concepts of Consciousness'] "Consciousness is the faculty of awareness—the faculty of perceiving that which exists." [Atlas Shrugged, "Part Three / Chapter VII" "This Is John Galt Speaking"] "Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists." [The Journals of Ayn Rand' "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech," "Mind and Body"] "Man is an entity of mind and body, an indivisible union of two elements: of consciousness and matter. Matter is that which one perceives, consciousness is that which perceives it; your fundamental act of perception is an indivisible whole consisting of both." It is Rand who says. "consciousness is the faculty of perceiving," not me. As for sensations, she clearly stated we are not conscious of them. [Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "1. Cognition and Measurement", pg. 5] "Although, chronologically, man's consciousness develops in three stags; the stage of sensation, the perceptual, the conceptual--epistemologically, the base of all of man's knowledge is the perceptual stage. "Sensations, as such are not retained in man's memory, nor is man able to experience a pure isolated sensation. ... "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. The knowledge of sensations as components of percepts is not direct, it is acquired by man much later: it is a scientific, conceptual discovery." Though she did speak of a, "conceptual level of consciousness," she had to mean consciousness of concepts by means of the perceivable part of concepts, words. You cannot perceive (be conscious of) concepts directly, which is why a concept must have a perceivable word to be complete: as she said in the continuation of the following reference, "as far as concept-formation is concerned, the word is the result of the process. ... I meant exactly what I said: [a word is necessary] to complete the process,". [Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "The Role of Words," pg. 153] "I have stated that words are perceptual symbols which stand for these products of mental integrations [concepts]. "...Why did I say 'perceptual?' Because words are available to us either visually or auditorially. They are given to us in sensory, perceptual form. And by means of grasping them, on the perceptual level, we are able to operate with concepts as single mental units. ... 'table' as a sound or visual image is on the perceptual level. Mentally, it stands for the particular integration of concretes which we haved called 'table.' "so the word is not the concept, but the word is the auditory or visual symbol which stands for a concept. And a concept is a mental entity; it cannot be perceived perceptually. That's the role played by words." So words are the part of concepts that we can directly perceive, and since, as Rand said, "consciousness is the faculty of perceiving," it is by perceiving words that we are consciousn of concepts. Read the passages in the original yourself, so you get them in their total context.
  14. It is delimited because you chose to use the word "experience" instead of "perceive." What does it mean to experience something, in terms of consciousness, since the only consciousness we have is perception. You only have your own perception, that is your experience, but you don't perceive your own perception, you don't experience your own experience, (which logically leads ot an endless regress of experiencing your own experience of your own experience of your own experience....). You just have the experience. If you have followed this, I would be happy to expand the limits.
  15. Rand eventually revised that to call it, "introspection," rather than perception, because she was aware that one did not really perceive their own perception. Rand was human and made mistakes like all of us. Unlike most of us, she admited it when she became aware of it.
  16. I described what I thought direct evidence would be. Sorry if that does not satisfy you. Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I do not know any other way to deal with others except by reason. If the ability of either of us is inadequate to the task, we'll just have to let it go.
  17. Who are you talking about. Perception is the only consciousness we have. It is absolutely reliable and all we know is based on what we directly perceive and the fact that we perceive it. It is obvious you do not understand the Objectivist view of concsiouness, It is definitly not "sense" perception. "When we speak of 'direct perception' or 'direct awareness,' we mean the perceptual level. Percepts, not sensation, are the given, the self-evident. The knowledge of sensations as components of percepts is not direct, it is acquired by man much later; it is a scientific, conceptual discovery." [Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivism Epistemology, Page 5] Our whole means of being aware of the world is by means of the physiological neurological system. That is entirely physical. No one denies that. It is the end result, the actual concsiousness that is not physical.
  18. Since it is Rand that wrote all of the following, just exactly whose ideas do you suppose they are. The following are Rand quotes from Post #70, where the entire quotes are provided for the context. "Man's consciousness is not material." "Man is a being endowed with consciousness—an attribute which matter does not possess. His consciousness is the free, nonmaterial element in him." "Man is an entity of mind and body, an indivisible union of two elements: of consciousness and matter. Matter is that which one perceives, consciousness is that which perceives it." Here are a couple more Rand quotes: [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952, February 15, 1947"] "And above all, above absolutely all, he must not lose the commitment to reason—because if he does, everything crashes. If he does, he is a screaming pain in the midst of terror and chaos. His essence, as a being, is his consciousness—not his body, because the body without consciousness is just inanimate matter. Whether he has a soul or is a material being with the attribute of consciousness, in either case his distinctive, essential attribute is consciousness, not matter. And his consciousness is his reason. When he renounces that, he has renounced himself, his essence, his nature—and the result can be nothing but horror and self-destruction." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech, Mind and Body"] "Your consciousness is that which you know—and are alone to know. ... It is that indivisible unit where knowledge and being are one, it is your "I," it is the self which distinguishes you from all else in the universe. No consciousness can perceive another consciousness, only the results of its actions in material form, since only matter is an object of perception, and consciousness is the subject, perceivable by its nature only to itself. To perceive the consciousness, the "I," of another would mean to become that other "I"--a contradiction in terms; to speak of souls perceiving one another is a denial of your "I," of perception, of consciousness, of matter. The 'T' is the irreducible unit of life. "Just as life is the integrating element which organizes matter into a living cell, the element which distinguishes an organism from the unstructured mass of inorganic matter—so consciousness, an attribute of life, directs the actions of the organism to use, to shape, to realign matter for the purpose of maintaining its existence. "That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, the life-keeper of your body. Your body is a machine, your consciousness—your mind—is its driver." You may not like what she wrote, or agree with it, but that's what she wrote.
  19. Oh, consciousness is tied to the physical. The physical is all that we can directly perceive, that is, be directly conscious of. I'd be willing to accept evidence so long as it were correct evidence. I am very much convince of my view on this, but if it could be demonstrated that consciousness could somehow be produced by the behavior of the physical, well then it would be. Only a fool would reject valid evidence. Your examples, however, are not evidence of what you suppose, I think. Human perception is always contextual, that is, what we are able to perceive is existence in its total metaphysical context. The so-called bent-stick illusion is an example. If out perception of a stick half-emerged in water and a stick lying on dry ground looked the same, that would be a perceptual mistake, because a stick in water and a stick on the ground are not the same metaphysical situation. If perception did not exactly and perfectly perceive things in their total metaphysical context, we could never learn much from it, such as the fact that the interface between air and water refracts light. If we saw white paper the same way when illuminated by the sun and when illuminated by a red light, that would be a perceptual failure to perceive things in their total metaphysical context. Fortunately, perception never makes that mistake. You can easily see this principle would apply to all that is involved in perception, including the entire physical state of the perceiver and neurological system. Cognitive problems due to neurological and physical brain damage are slightly different. Memory is only perception of perceptual material stored by the physical brain, and brain damage, or brain deterioration (like the various forms of dementia) will certainly affect memory and other cognitive functions. Those are not really, or not wholly perception, however. There is no doubt in my mind that the neurological system, which includes all parts of the nervous system and brain are the means by which, at the physiological level, what we perceive is made available to consciousness, and anything that affects that system must affect our perceptions (again because they are part of the total metaphysical context of our perception). If we lie on an arm long enough, the decrease in circulation will make that hand and arm numb, and anything we feel with our hand that has been numbed will not be the same as it will feel when the circulation has been restored. How things feel when our hand is numb is not an illusion, or incorrect perception,it is exactly how things ought to feel with a numb hand. The physiological context is different. If things felt the same to a numb hand and a normal hand, that would be a deception. We can only be conscious of what is, as it actually is, and if what we are concsious of is by means of a physically diseased system, the results of that will be what we perceive.
  20. Yes exactly. We know we are conscious, because we are. Here's a thought. If we weren't conscious, we wouldn't worry about it.
  21. Yes, that's right. Everything is whatever its properties are are. Physical things are physical things because their properties are physical ones (which does not mean the properties physical, but the properties pertaining to the physical "Is it invalid to take consciousness as a property of a physical thing?" Well I thinks so, and Rand thought so. My point is that consciousness does not have any physical properties, cannot be demonstrated by any physical means (i.e. any scientific means). Consciousness is metaphysically an aspect of the natural world, as natural as the physical, but life, is not itself physical and as life cannot exist without the physical, consciousness cannot exist without life. "Collections of molecules exhibit heat, oranges reflect orange light, some natural systems of hydocarbons in a sufficiently complex and appropriate arrangement (brains) exhibit consciousness..." The first two are true, but nothing "exhibits" consciousness. Exhibit means it can be made available to direct perception. You can observe heat by means of a physical instrument like a thermometer, you see the color light oranges reflect, but it is not possible to observe consciousness directly or by means of any instrument, because it has no property available to any physical means of detection. That's my view and some of my reason for it.
  22. No, I'm expressing what Rand was very aware of. The physical is not all there is. Reality is all there is the way it is, and it includes the physical, and all its attributes, as well a life, which is not a physical attribute, and that which differentiates the mere physical from living organisms, as well as consciousness, which differentiates conscious organisms (animals) from the merely physical and living (such as plants) and the volitional consciousness (man) which differentiates human beings from all other animals. Life, consciousness, and the human mind are not physical attributes, and cannot be produced by any physical organization or action, but are perfectly natural attributes of reality. No behavior of the physical will produce life, life is the attribute that transforms the merely physical into a living organism. No physical organization will produce consciousness, consciousness is the attribute that transforms an organism from a merely living one to an animal. No arrangement of living protoplasm will produce consciousness or the human mind, only the attribute of volition, the necessity and ability to choose all one's behavior that is the human mind, volition, intellect, and reason, produces the human form of consciousness. Life, consciousness, and volitional consciousness are perfectly natural attributes of reality--they just don't happen to be physical attributes. Why do you think reality is limited to physical attributes? Are you not aware of the fact that your own consciousness is not physical? What color is it? What does it weigh? What is its temperature? Name one physical characteristic or attribute your consciousness has. You cannot, because it has none. It is real, it is perfectly natural, but it is not physcial and has no physical attributes.
  23. No, that is not what I mean. If you are unable to see what I mean by my poor explanation, or Rand's much better explanation, then I doubt you'll ever understand. Not to worry. Most people don't. Perhaps the fact you are in the same boat as everyone else will be a comfort.
  24. No, Im equating "physical" with what can be directly perceived. You can see someone jumping, but you cannot see consciousness. you can hear someone talking, but you cannot hear consciousness. You smell something cooking, but you cannot smell consciousness. Neither can you taste or feel it. I mean exactly the same thing Rand meant: "Man's consciousness is not material—but neither is it an element opposed to matter. It is the element by which man controls matter—but the two are part of one entity and one universe—man cannot change matter, he can control it only by understanding it and shaping it to his purpose." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952" August 27, 1950] I'm sure you've read enough of Rand to know she frequently interchanges the words physical and material. "Most philosophers, in effect, have offered us the choice between a universe consisting of God, or a universe consisting of blind matter. Where is man in the picture? They have figured out everything, except that they forgot the existence of man. Man is a being endowed with consciousness—an attribute which matter does not possess. His consciousness is the free, nonmaterial element in him." [The Letters of Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged Years (1945-1959)" January 13, 1950, To Nathan Blumenthal (You know him as Nathaniel Branden)] "Man is an entity of mind and body, an indivisible union of two elements: of consciousness and matter. Matter is that which one perceives, consciousness is that which perceives it." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech," "Mind and Body"] Just in case I'll be accused of only using unpublished references (though all the material above is published) Please bear in mind the full statement: "Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists. [Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "Foreword to the First Edition"] It is obvious what she intends here is exactly what she said in the preveious quote, From the appendix to ITOE, she makes it clear the by existence here, she means physical existence, but in the broadest sense existence means everything that exists, including consciousness, but not in this case. None of this means you have to agree with it, it only means it is what Rand believed, as do I. It is the Objectivist position. I'm not an Objectivist, but Rand was right about physical existence and consciousness.
×
×
  • Create New...