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Regi F.

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Posts posted by Regi F.


  1. The question of, "What is Subjectivity?," has two answers, because the same word, "subjective," refers to two different things.

    The first refers to the nature of consciousness itself. Every conscious experience is subjective in the sense that it cannot be known to anyone except the individual having the conscious experience. Whatever one consciously perceives by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling it, or their perception of their own body by interoception, or their consciousness of their own thinking and feelings, are subjective experiences, because they cannot be known or examined or detected by anyone else. Every individual consciousness, in that sense, is totally subjective and private and beyond the ability of anyone else to perceive or know it.

    The other meaning of subjective pertains to how one thinks and makes their choices and is based on the difference between objective and subjective.

    The objective refers to the reality all conscious individuals perceive, however they perceive it. It is called objective reality because it exists and has the nature it has independently of anyone's consciousness or knowledge of it. It is that objective reality that determines what is true and not true. Objective, in contrast to subjective, means allowing nothing but one's knowledge of objective reality to be one's guide in all one's thinking and choices.

    Subjective, in that sense, means allowing one's own subjective experiences, their whims, their feelings, their desires, prejudices or sentiments to influence or determine what they think, believe, and choose, in defiance or ignorance of objective truth.

    Randy


  2. 9 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

    One can agree with Objectivism 100% and still think Rand modified her views over time. I assume you do not see a contradiction in that.

    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.

    9 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

    Similarly, one can agree with Objectivism 100% and still think that Rand was wrong on some conclusions, even where she used her philosophy of Objectivism as part of reaching those wrong conclusions.

    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


  3. 3 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

    I don't understand what aspect you're disagreeing with and why? 

    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


  4. 2 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

    "It is not my own analysis"

    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. 18 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

    These three are actually the values that make up the Objectivist code of ethics. In The Objectivist Ethics, these values are related to the virtues as follows:

    Productiveness corresponds to Purpose

    Pride corresponds to Self-Esteem

    Rationality, Honesty, Independence, Integrity and Justice correspond to Reason

     

    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. On 8/2/2017 at 2:56 PM, dadmonson said:

    Benjamin Franklin wanted to achieve moral perfection so he wrote in a journal and marked in his journal everytime he violated one of his virtues... I believe this is one of the reasons he achieved such great success.  I want to do something similar but with the Objectivist virtues...

    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:

    virtue.jpg

  7. Consider Corvini's distinction when it comes to the difference between measurement omission, with regard to most concepts, as opposed to concepts of number, where she points out that every instance of the number 3 is exactly the same (identical).

     

    From the online book, The Nature of Knowledge (Introduction):

    (Taken from Basic Principles of Ontology, about half-way down)

    Corollary 2: The Necessity of Difference Anything that exists must be different in some way from everything else that exists. No two things can be identical.

    "Since it is an existent's qualities that determine what an existent is, if existents are different (which they must be) they must have at least one quality which is different."

     

    Measurement (Taken from Cause, Induction and Mathematics, about half-way down)

    When counting entities, counting is absolute. If there are thirty seven entities, counting will tell you exactly how many there are, that is, 37—and there are 37, absolutely.

     

    Counting is a form of measurement. Two different counts of 37 are exact, or identical (even especially after measurement omission.) According to Miss Rand:

    The building-block of man's knowledge is the concept of an "existent"—of something that exists, be it a thing, an attribute or an action.

     

    Number is the relationship of a group to one of its members taken as a unit. Each instance of "3" is exactly the same. Bear in mind that two instances of three may occur in two different locations. Location, however, is not the same existent as quantity.

     

    Edited: former, later.

    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. So anything that is part of human consciousness is necessarily the mind? And if you are not a direct conscious state (as opposed to "being conscious of") then it's not part of the mind? If that's right: then see my earlier posts of why this is dualism (property dualism).

    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.


  9. 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.


  10. That is dualism, where consciousness is irreducible to anything and uncaused by any physical process. Even if all life is conscious (which is quite a claim...), you've treated consciousness as if it were uncaused and not at all a result of real processes. If no physical process can even make X, then no X can do anything in the world. If anything is a demon, it's consciousness "that no physical process can produce". 

     

    If things aren't integrated, they are either the same, dis-integrated, removed, or something is "added" to it. The same makes no sense, as the world would be imcomprehensible if each sensory input were its own. Disintegrated makes less sense because that's even more chaos than same. Removed is a complete disconnect from reality, primacy of consciousness, perhaps solipsism. Adding something is more chaos, unless some components are integrated. Another possibility is that percepts are direct from sensory input, where percepts have no components, which I've argued is wrong AND a view incompatible with Objectivism.

     

    "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?

    "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.


  11. Because specifying the system that integrates sensations is what perceptual psychology does. A "magic integration" is what Binswanger requires, but I've been explaining from a philosophical angle that perception implies an integration of individual "raw" sensations that you are not directly conscious of. From my own studies of perceptual psychology, it's a pretty basic fact that there is "raw" input and a resulting complete perception. There are many theories of how the process occurs, but it is induction here that further informs us of Rand's philosophical theory on perception. 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. Perception can't be "wrong" or even "right", especially since there is more to the mind than consciousness. 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. 

     

    If there is another alternative, explain it to me.

    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?


  12. 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.


  13. So, either one can experience sensations directly, or not. In one sentence she is clear to say no one can, then implies that infants can at some point early on. I don't think Rand contradicted her ideas, but the wording by Rand is imprecise. I don't need to do linguistic analysis to figure that "sensory experience" is about "what it's like to have an experience" not "experiencing sensations". I'm not sure, though. Still, I think it's clear that her view is one cannot experience sensations, but can experience integrated sensations i.e. perception.

    It's none of my business, but your response to New Buddha is exactly right.


  14. RegiF, it is not a mistake if you understand that by infant she means a child that is hours and days old.  When a child is first born, he cannot focus his eyes and probably cannot locate sounds in three dimensions with his ears, or differentiate his mothers from his fathers voice.  Same with tastes and smells and touches.  ALL is new to a newborn.  His mind has to experience a multitude of sensations from various sources before it can begin grouping and differentiating them into the form(s) of percepts.

     

    And your statement "perception is the only direct awareness we have" is incorrect, too.  Once we reach a certain level of cognitive development, our mind automatically perceives  observes things on a conceptual level. 

     

    Added:  It is this atomization that forces her to say "as far as can be ascertained" -- because once we reach the conceptual level of development, there is no going back.

    That is not what she said, but I don't mind if you want to think so.


  15. Yes, I thought that was what she concluded. Please do provide quotes.

     

    Edit: I could be wrong, I am asking you to provide quotes because I am interested, not to be snarky.

    Here is the clearest statement by Rand, I think.

    "The lower of the conscious species possess only the faculty of sensation, .... A sensation is produced by the automatic reaction of a sense organ to a stimulus from the outside world; it lasts for the duration of the immediate moment, as long as the stimulus lasts and no longer ... The higher organisms possess a much more potent form of consciousness: they possess the faculty of retaining sensations, which is the faculty of perception. A 'perception' is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism, which gives it the ability to be aware, not of single stimuli, but of entities, of things." [The Virtue of Selfishness, "1. The Objectivist Ethics"]

    There are more instances, but you have to piece them together from separate assertions.

    Peikoff reiterates the principles in the Rand approved OPAR:

    "In order to move from the stage of sensation to that of perception, we first have to discriminate certain sensory qualities, separate them out of the initial chaos. Then our brain integrates these qualities into entities, thereby enabling us to grasp, in one frame of consciousness, a complex body of data that was given to us at the outset as a series of discrete units across a span of time." [ Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Page 72]

    "The reason you see an entity is that you have experienced many kinds of sensations from similar objects in the past, and your brain has retained and integrated them: it has put them together to form an indivisible whole." [Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Pages 52-53]

    And David Kelly, though not accepted as an Objectivist by everyone, repeats the theme:

    "Perception is thus the awareness of entities as such, and the discrimination of objects requires a great deal of integration on the part of our sensory apparatus."

    [The Evidence of the Senses, Page 47]

    Harry Binswanger in his new book, How We Know, not only bases a large part of his hypothesis on the direct perception of entities, but makes it impossibly extreme.

    "To summarize in a preliminary definition: "Perception" is the ongoing awareness of entities in their relative positions, gained from actively acquired sensory inputs." [Page 63]

    Neither Rand or Peikoff explicitly say whether direct perception includes perception of attributes such as color, texture, temperature, and sounds, though it is assumed throughout the epistemology. Binswanger flat out denies attributes are perceptually "discriminated" and that we only perceive entities as wholes and must discover the attributes, which he also says we perceive, from those whole percepts. In fact he devotes a whole chapter to explaining how we discover characteristics (or form concepts of them) since they are not directly "given" [binswanger's word] in perception.

    "The first concepts a child forms are concepts of entities--e.g., 'dog,' 'table,' 'cookie.' These concepts are formed directly from perception, rather than requiring prior conceptse, and perception is geared toward discriminating entities from each other. Though we also perceive attributes and actions of entites, perception does not discriminate attributes or action from entities. When we perceive a big dog barking, the dog is given as discriminated from the ground on which it is standing (and from every other kentity in the scene), but we are not given any discrimination of the dog's size from the dog; nore are we given any descrimination of the dog's action of barking from the dog." [Page 152]

     

    You may decide what it means, but apparently Binswanger considers the perception of entities some kind undifferentiated whole.

    "Concepts of characteristics are our means of identifying the nature of a thing, breaking down what is, perceptually, an unanalyzed whole." [Page 152]

     

    "I could say the same to you."

     

    Oh certainly. That's why each individual has to be so careful to not make those kinds of mistakes.

     


  16. How did you get from "..e.g., the wavelengths of light and the structure of the human eye, which produce the sensations of color.." [Rand] to "she definitely says 'sensations of color' are what one sees.."? [Regi]

     

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't her position that sensations are produced by an interaction between reality and man's sensory apparatus. That interaction produces sensations (e.g. the sensations of color), which the brain automatically integrates into percepts.

    Your statement is close to what I think her position is. It's not exactly what her final position is, because that concludes that the brain (or neurological system) performs some automatic process of integration which produces percepts of entities. Whether that includes percepts of attributes is never explicitly stated. I'll provide the quotes if necessary.

    I was not talking about what her final position is, only how she was using the terminology. I do not see how you can make what she said in the quote mean anything else than "sensations of color" being "seeing colors."

    You do not have to see it that way, of course, as others apparently do not. But I think not seeing it that way requires some suspension of reasonable interpretation of what one reads, or perhaps interpreting it in terms of what one wants it to say.


  17. thenelli01, Harrison Danneskjold, EC
     
    "I was pointing out that she says sensationS (i.e. plural). I don't see how that contradicts the next passage where she clearly states that sensationS are components of percepts. We see percepts, which are an integration of sensations, according to Rand. So it is not contradictory to say: they produce the sensationS of color. If she said sensation (i.e. singular) of color, as you claimed, then I would agree."

    The passage says specifically, "... which produce the sensations of color", but one cannot communicate what color is like, to a person who is born blind." Why would anyone need to communicate anything about that which no one could not see, if she were only talking about what produced the perception of color. She definitely says "sensations of color" are what one sees. I know this is only a mistake in terminology on her part, and if she had been more careful, she would have said the perception of color or percepts of color. But as it stands, she was definitely referring to sensations of color as the conscious perception of color.

    We do not see just one color, and in our field of vision there are many different colors in many different places. To refer to each of those colors as a single sensation would have been bad English in the context of her statement.

    "Why do you choose to put me in a category with people with whom I haven't any association? You don't even know me."

    Well I don't choose to categorize anyone, and if I've done that, I apologize. I really wasn't thinking about you personally when I wrote that, but about my more than forty year experience with Objectivists. I do truly apologize for that.

    Harrison, I don't think you have been following this discussion. Maybe I'm wrong.   

    EV said: "That's not self-evident though. That's a high level abstraction involving knowledge that is derived via science alone."

    That's correct, but not totally germane to the discussion. Good point though.

    EC also said: "Regi the first is referring to a conceptual explanation of the cause of a sensation the second refers to what the mind actually perceives pre-conceptually. There is no contradiction."

    No, Rand just mistakenly used the wrong term. The whole point of my original post was not about what Objectivism finally believes about the nature of perception, but that Rand frequently mixed her terminology, and one has to be very careful to be sure they know what she is explicitly referring to in any passage. That is all. In the passage in question, she just used the wrong term, sensations where she would on any other occasion use perceptions.

     

    Look she did this same thing within the space of a few paragraphs:

     

    "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]

     

    Unfortunately, this is immediately contradicted:

     

    "As far as can be ascertained, an infant's sensory experience is an undifferentiated chaos. Discriminated awareness begins on the level of percepts." [Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivism Epistemology, Page 5]

     

    But if perception is the only direct awareness we have, there is not such thing as "sensory experience" in infants or anyone else.

     

    It's only a mistake, I know, but one will never understand Rand if such mistakes are ignored.


  18. To be fair -- she says [they] produce the sensations of color. Not that color is a sensation.

    No, she specifically refers to, "the sensations of color," What else can that mean but that color is a sensation.

     

    Here's where she said it:

     

    The existential causes of sensations can be described and defined in conceptual terms (e.g., the wavelengths of light and the structure of the human eye, which produce the sensations of color), but one cannot communicate what color is like, to a person who is born blind. [Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "5. Definitions"]

     

    And that contradicts, "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." [introduction to Objectivism Epistemology, "1. Cognition and Measurement"]

     

    Why are Objectivists reluctant to admit the truth? Isn't truth the objective of philosophy?


  19. Rand was not always careful about the meanings of the words she used. The word "sensation," is a good example:

    "Sensations are the primary material of consciousness and, therefore, cannot be communicated by means of the material which is derived from them. The existential causes of sensations can be described and defined in conceptual terms (e.g., the wavelengths of light and the structure of the human eye, which produce the sensations of color), but one cannot communicate what color is like, to a person who is born blind. To define the meaning of the concept "blue," for instance, one must point to some blue objects to signify, in effect: "I mean this." Such an identification of a concept is known as an 'ostensive definition.'"
    [introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "5. Definitions"]

    "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." [introduction to Objectivism Epistemology, "1. Cognition and Measurement"]

    She specifically says that color is a sensation and uses blue as an example in the first case. In the second case she says we are not directly aware of sensations at all. Which is it?

    Isn't it necessary to first sort out which meaning of "sensation" is the Objectivist one before the Objectivist theory of perception can be understood?


  20. You completely miss the point.  Man's perception (sight, smell, touch, taste, sound) of entities is as different from a dog's, as from a moth's as from a bat's as from a dolphin's as from an ant, as from a blind mole, etc.

    Well, maybe. I miss a lott of points, sometimes intentionally.

     

    I am very curious to know how you know what a dog's perceptioin is, or a moth's, or a bat's, or a dolphin's, or an ant's, or a mole's. Are  you clairvoyant, do  you have ESP. How can you possibly know what a dog, or moth, or bat, or dolphin or mole perceives? Unless you can enter into the consciousness of other beings, it is impossible. If you can really do this, if you really have such a mystic power, why are you wasting your time arguing about petty Objectivist views?


  21. There is not a big market right now for new, objectively pursued, philosophical enquiry. It is easy to be dazzled by something so brilliant. I would hardly attribute Miss Rand to being causal in the halt to philosophic progress. It is the pragmatic and empiricist flavors that are effectively halting the philosophic progress and currently dominate the transmission belts that have done all but proved that philosophy is ineffectual; evidence Miss Rand uses throughout her works to concretize just how effective philosophy is.

    You have that right, but there has never been a big market for the truth, and it's not going to get bigger. It's not the market that matters, because philosophy is not a social issue, it's an individual issue. Just learn the truth and live by it. You'll be despised for it, but you'll live successfully and happily. Those who'll despise you don't matter.

     

    I definitely do not blame Rand for the halt in philosophic progress, I blame her sycophants. I totally agree with the rest that you wrote. You've given me much confidence that there are still independent minds.

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