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Found 7 results

  1. Try as I might, I still do not know what laws and theorems in formal logic such as "A is A" have to do with government. To me, it makes as much sense if she started talking about dinosaurs and tried to connect that to how the government should be run. The two seem to have nothing to do with each other.
  2. Logic study group

    Is anyone interested in getting together and studying logic? I've worked through Peikoff's logic course and every week or two I work on analyzing one essay from Stephen Hick's Readings For Logical Analysis; I also plan on reading & studying with (1) Lionel Ruby's Logic: An Introduction and (2) Joseph H.W.B's An Introduction to Logic, in that order. The way I'd see us study together is by getting together once a week or fortnight and sharing our analyses of an essay from Readings For Logical Analysis. (I've attached my previous week's work from this book to give a feel for my approach.) Readings for Logical Analysis Work.pdf
  3. I am looking for examples of deductive arguments where: the premises are true the conclusion can be "deduced" from the premises if you forget the rest of human knowledge the conclusion is false Units fitting these criteria would help me distinguish good applications of logic from bad "logic" (e.g. context dropping)
  4. Your essay “The Contradiction of Determinism” taught me a lot. Before I share with you all that I have learned from that essay I have one very important point to make regarding a matter on which we seem to disagree. I shall preface this by stating that there are only a few things you have written that I disagree with. I am aware of the meaning of the context here; a young man writing to one of humanity’s most profound geniuses, in fact, his hero, and addressing a disagreement with his hero. You have stated however, that “If someone wants to challenge my theory of self-esteem, I will welcome the opportunity to learn. But first, let’s be clear on what I’ve said and not said.” ( “For The Record”) I assume that this is your principle for discussing disagreements in general. I have immense respect for the optimism and confidence in that statement, sir! Some people are so frightened of the prospect that someone might identify a contradiction they hold that they evade any comment that challenges their convictions. You revealed this implicitly about Ayn Rand when you pointed out that she ultimately encouraged dogmatism. You demonstrate your commitment to reason; to truth. As I submit this to you I want to emphasize that I value your judgement very highly and also, if you disagree with my judgement, if you want to challenge my idea, hopefully it is obvious that “I am open to learning”. Now. I must convey to you as explicitly as possible that the following assertion is a product of my reason; it is not in anyway a pretentious, disrespectful game of semantics. In fact, those who evade word choice and definition are literally doing just that; evading. You have said yourself, definitions are crucial. The issue here is the exact definition of the concepts “think” and “thought” and thus the use of these concepts. In your genius essay “The Contradiction of Determinism” you quote from Atlas Shrugged: “the question ‘to be or not to be’ is the question ‘to think or not to think’”. I submit that the question ought to be “to think logically or not to think logically?”. Here is why: what does it mean, in the clearest terms possible, to think? To the full extent of my awareness, the accepted Objectivist definition of “thought” is “drawing conclusions from evidence”. This is the implied definition when Ayn Rand writes in her book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology : “when he stops to watch her and draws conclusions, from the evidence about her character, age, social position, etc., the action of his consciousness is thought” (p. 30) I note however, that “thought” can be even more explicitly defined as “a distinct connection of concepts and/or anti-concepts”. In reference to this definition it could be noted then that there are two types of thoughts: logical ones, and illogical ones. I shall offer my reasoning. We humans do on occasion, illogically connect concepts by mistake, or, if we are in the process of logically connecting concepts, within that process, we have in our minds; our consciousnesses- fragmented sentences or visions composed of connected concepts /anti-concepts; fragments not yet perfected, not yet clear, and thus illogical. In the most fundamental- metaphysical-psychological- cognitive sense a human’s primary “action of consciousness” is connecting concepts, and to call that “thinking” provides us with the most precise abstraction of what a thought qua a thing is. Without this explicit definition, when someone says that we should “think” that use of “think” is ambiguous. How does one “draw conclusions from evidence”? What is the precise mental action? Suppose I want to “draw the conclusion” that “I love this hotel”. What on the metaphysical and psychological level does the product of the drawn conclusion and sentence “I love this hotel” consist of? Concepts. We can break this content down bit by bit, piece by piece, and see it, as if examining under a microscope. I: the concept I use in reference to myself. Love: the concept I use in reference to how highly I value this hypothetical hotel (where I wish I was as I write this!). This: the concept I use in reference to pointing out the particular hotel I am referring to. Hotel: the concept in reference to the place accommodating thousands of tourists and I. Whether that connection of concepts is logical is a different story, but qua an entity, qua a thing which merits a concept referring to it, a distinct connection of concepts and/or anti-concepts must be identified and to the full extent of my awareness no word in the English language is closer to this exact thing in reality than “thought”. In response to the charge that “to think” necessarily implies a logical act of consciousness, what is it someone is doing when he or she thinks that a “god” exists, i.e., connects the concepts, and the anti-concept “there- is- a- God”? If you would say that that is not a thought but rather a connection of concepts and an anti-concept based on the absence of thought, which concept refers to isolated, consciously/ subconsciously connected concepts and anti-concepts? If I understand you correctly, you would call this an “evasion” however when one evades, one is consciously refusing to acknowledge a fact and this is quite different than somebody who fails to understand a fact. As ironic as it is, a simple axiom like “existence exists”, and all of the implications of “existence exists” can be quite challenging to grasp. If somebody believes that a God exists because he or she doesn’t understand why that is impossible, but consciously, and earnestly contemplates and debates the argument, then we can be certain that he or she is striving for truth. If we were to refer to that as evasion (and thus immoral) we could not prove it. To be fair, I have considered the issue of subconsciously evaded facts however there are two distinct considerations here. 1)Subconscious disinterest in the truth about something (and thus truth as such) and 2)Subconscious disinterest in learning a particular but non-essential idea or skill. The implication, if we were to assume that both circumstances constitute evasion, would be that the nature of evasion is rooted in subconscious disinterest in anything. If this were the case then, if you tried to teach me how to play the piano, but in all honesty, I told you, “I’m not interested in playing the piano, I don’t want to learn, it’s not in my self interest, I would rather write”, that would have to then be classified as “evasion” which it is not; it is merely preference- personal value judgement-personal meaning- personal priorities... (You may read the entire epistle at http://seanoconnorli...haniel-branden/)
  5. A is A?

    What is the Epistemological ground for believing the universal validity of the basic laws of logic (Identity, Non-Contradiction, Excluded Middle). How does one properly validate that "A is A", universally? Can one know that it is true universally or is it only possible to know it about that which one has perceived? If it is only possible to know it concerning that which has been perceived, then how can one know that "contradictions do not exist"? I do not question the validity of logic. However, the ground upon which one validates an idea is crucially important and it seems that Objectivists tend to ground the validity of logic in very intellectual dangerous territory-- such that if one takes Objectivist Epistemology seriously (or, at least, that which is professed by many parts of Oist Epistemology), one cannot also consistently take the laws of logic seriously. So, I want to test that out and reveal what is and is not the proper epistemological grounding for the validity of logic. Many (if not all) Objectivists hold that the validity of logic is grounded in perception (along with all other knowledge). However, if this is the case, one can only know it's validity concerning that which one has perceived. If one can know that it is valid concerning that which has not been perceived, where did this knowledge come from and upon what is it grounded? Is it simply believed as a pragmatic necessity? Is it assumed by whim or by faith? OR is there some other form of validating knowledge aside from perception? I obviously would argue that there is. I want to ask everyone who participates in this conversation to attempt to accurately understand what is (and is NOT) being said in order to avoid straw men, and that everyone attempt to be CONSISTENT with their professed views. I predict that most (if not all) objections will be the result of failing to do one of the above.
  6. On Objectivity -- The Method of Thought By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr. 04/06/2012 I just finished re-reading the chapter in “Objectivism: The philosophy of Ayn Rand” by Leonard Peikoff on “Objectivity” and this essay concerns that topic in a shortened form. Dr. Peikoff says that objectivity at root is a relationship between man’s mind and existence with regard to knowledge, neither coming only from reality (intrinsicism) nor coming only from man’s consciousness (subjectivism) – it is a relationship between the facts and consciousness necessitated by the fact that man has no automatic form of knowledge and therefore must volitionally adhere to existence in his thinking in order to be able to comprehend existence, and to live his life in existence. While Dr. Peikoff doesn’t mention it from the following perspective, I think the term “objectivity” comes from the word “object” – as in an entity or a thing one can directly observe (its attributes and its actions); it also comes from the term “objective” as in “taking specific actions to pursue a purpose.” So, at root, to remain objective one must be focused on the facts (entities, objects, things, their attributes, and their actions) in a purposeful manner to obtain knowledge of existence – to think in terms of identity and causality. But because man has no automatic guide in the pursuit of knowledge, and must develop a volitional / free will based methodology, this method must be clearly identified for a man’s mental contents to be based upon reality. The most fundamental component of being objective is to use logic, the art of non-contradictory identification. Contradictions cannot exist in reality, but are only evident in a man’s improper thinking or lack thereof. While Aristotle clearly identified the method and workings of logic (non-contradictory identification of the facts of reality as given by observation), Ayn Rand added two other components to objectivity that were only implicit in Aristotle’s work: context and hierarchy. Thinking in terms of logic implies context, because in order to not be involved in mental contradictions one must take all the facts into account with regard to one’s topic of consideration. For example, if one is thinking about or talking about an apple, it is important to keep in mind that they are edible and grow on trees; whereas if one is thinking or talking about money, it is not edible and does not grow on trees, but is rather a medium of exchange of values in voluntary trade. Thinking in terms of logic regarding all of the relevant facts is a means of remaining consistent with what one already knows, and therefore to avoid contradictions. So keeping the context is a recognition of the fact that reality is one and that everything is relatable to everything else; that to isolate a thought from all others is to belittle this fundamental fact and to create the potential to have contradictions, which would be contrary to the facts of reality – i.e. of thinking that apples are poisonous to man or that money does grow on trees; neither of which would be helpful to one’s living on earth. Hierarchy is a type of context, and refers to the fact that not all knowledge is graspable on the perceptual level. We can see apples on trees or one’s parents giving money to receive groceries, but grasping “farming” or “working for a living” are not immediately graspable or understandable to a young child. In order to reach the stage where someone can understand farming or capitalism requires a long chain of non-contradictory and contextual knowledge building up on previously understood knowledge; this is the role of being hierarchical – of starting with the perceptually self-evident and building up one’s knowledge. For example, a boy can grasp that things can be cut up – like cutting up the apple for a snack – but he cannot grasp that the apple is made of cells, molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles until after he has learned to organize his concepts into wider and wider concepts – concepts that are logically dependent on the perceptually self-evident, but not possible to directly point to as he can point to the apple. However, to remain objective, it is necessary to be able to trace the hierarchy of concepts and knowledge down to the perceptually self-evident; a process Dr. Peikoff refers to as "reduction." By using logic, keeping the context, and developing his concepts into wider and wider abstractions, a man can rationally understand any aspect of existence as a single sum of knowledge, a single whole that is his guide to living on earth and enjoying his own life. Note: Thinking in terms of principles is an application of being objective; and so long as one follows the general guidance of objectivity above, one’s principles will be in accordance with existence and will represent a sub-set of one’s knowledge applied to specific cases of the facts.
  7. There are many types of integration. There are integrations of units, which are involved in concept-formation. The new unity classifies the input material. There are integrations of facts where you arrive at an abstract principle. The new unity is more general than the starting input. There are integrations where a new fact is filed under an establish genus, such as a minor premise. There is demonstrating that a previously formed proposition can be deduced from some wider proposition. The unity recasts the starting material as a theorem. For example, Galileo's law of fall was arrived at through induction but can be deduced from Newton's laws of motion. There is identification of a previously known proposition as a corollary of some principle, as an implication rather than a deduction. For example, causality is a corollary of identity, not a deduction. There is spiral learning, where you grasp new knowledge about an old something There is a very simple form of integration where you identify what is related to a given fact. There is explanation, where the new unity is said to cause the referents of the starting the material. In these instances, the new unity either classifies, grounds, causes, or provides a more general reason for the starting material. Last night Bluecherry pointed out that ground, explanation, and reason relate the input to reality, whereas classification tells you where it goes in the filing system. The former are about serving as a basis. The latter is about recognizing hierarchy. What exactly is it that a unity does for input material? What action is the genus of all those actions?
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