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An Analytic truth is a proposition that can be validated merely by an analysis of the meaning of its constituent concepts (also called "logical truths").

Example:

i)Ice is solid.

ii)Ice floats on water.

The first proposition is Analytic, the seconed synthetic.

I'm sorry, I still don't understand what difference you're referring to. Both of your statements are true, and they are validated by analysis of the units identified by the terms. How do you decide that "Ice is solid" is analytic and "Ice floats on water" is synthetic, and not the other way around? Is there a reason to make such a distinction (sometimes called a "dichotomy" when there are exactly two choices).

"A 'Synthetic' proposition is defined as one which cannot be validated merely by an analysis of the meanings or definitions of its constituent concepts."

I see: so you were just jokingly using the term, without implying that it refers to a valid concept. I thought you were serious with that Kant example.

Maybe these smiley faces are a good idea, like if you had inserted :( at that point I could have avoided :). Anyhow, I'm sorry I stepped on your joke.

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How do you decide that "Ice is solid" is analytic and "Ice floats on water" is synthetic, and not the other way around? Is there a reason to make such a distinction (sometimes called a "dichotomy" when there are exactly two choices).

This is how I decide:

The definition of ice is: Solid water.

The proposition is: ice is solid.

Ice is water = ice is ice.

Try another example (also from IOE):

i) 2+2 = 4

ii)2 qts. of water mixed with 2 qts. of ethyl alchohol yeild 3.86 qts. of liquid, at 15.56 C.

The first is obviously analytic

(2+2 =4 => 1+1+1+1=1+1+1+1)

do you think the seconed is also analytic?

I see: so you were just jokingly using the term, without implying that it refers to a valid concept. I thought you were serious with that Kant example.

Nol, I wasn't joking. What made you think that?

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Consider two definitions:

1) A Philosopher - A person who deals with philosophy.

2) A Philosopher - A person who deals with, and studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence.

[...]

I claim that Kant is not a philosopher because he doesn't deal with reality (even if it is only to some extent). He deals with his own fantasy world created out of his own pschological problems and failures.

What I see here is a rationalistic attempt to reach a predetermined conclusion ("Kant is not a philosopher.") based on what Ayn Rand called "the fallacy of the frozen abstraction" and which consists of substituting some one particular concrete for the wider abstract class to which it belongs. ["Collectivized Ethics," The Virtue of Selfishness]

By substituting the Objectivist metaphysical view of "the fundamental nature of existence" for ALL views -- including Kant's view that reality exists but is unknowable to man -- he rules out many valid units of the concept "philosopher" -- including Kant.

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The fallacy of the frozen abstraction? Not really.

It may be hard for some people to understand that fallacy without a proper example. Rand offered one:

In this case, substituting a specific ethics (altruism) for the wider abstraction of "ethics." Thus, a man may reject the theory of altruism and assert that he has accepted a rational code - but, failing to integrate his ideas, he continues unthinkingly to approach ethical questions in terms established by altruism.
(Rand, 'Collectivized Ethics', VOS, 94.)

The fallacy of the frozen abstraction can be easily identified by the best tool for any epistemological analysis - Rand's 'Theory of Concepts.'

Let's check Rand's example and later, mine.

The definition of the term 'Ethics':

Ethics is the third branch of philosophy that, in Ayn Rand's words, provides "a code of values to guide man's choices and actions - the choices which determine the purpose and the course of his life. It is a code by means of which he judges what is right or wrong, good or evil"(Rand, 'Faith and Force', PHNI, 61.)

'Altruism' is:

The ethical theory which regards man as a sacrificial animal, which holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.
(Rand, 'The Objectivist Ethics', VOS 37-38.)

Now, it is clear that if one raises a question such as :"What will be done about the poor or the handicapped in a free society?", "he accepts thereby the collectivist premise that men's lives belong to society...". Why? Because the term 'Ethics' is not defind as 'the best (good, right, etc,) way to live' but as a code of values to guide his choices. Man is free to choose whether he wants to live or die. Ethics simply guides him after he makes that choice. If he chooses to die, the specific ethics of Altruism could guide his actions, but not if he chooses to live. Here, the fallacy of the frozen abstraction screams out.

Let us now check my alleged fallacy.

First, identifing the accusation: I was accused of using the fallacy of the frozen abstraction when I said that "Kant is not a philosopher because he doesn't deal with reality (even if it is only to some extent)."

The term that need to be investigate is: 'Philosopher'.

As I wrote before, the first thing that comes to mind when asking what is a philosopher is :"A Philosopher - A person who deals with philosophy."

But that is not enough. The following question would be: What is 'Philosophy'? Or better yet, what precisely is a philosopher (since the first definition uses the same concept in it)?

I wrote that a Philosopher is "a person who deals with, and studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence."

If I were to prove that Kant didn't 'deal' with the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence, would it still be right to accuse me of the fallacy? I'll assume that the answer is no, and proceed to prove my argument:

If one's concern is to deal with, and study the fundamental nature of existence and of man, he would have to start with the axiomatic concepts which are the base of our knowledge. It is in this point that Kant departs himself from the realm of reality (The axiomatic concepts are: Existence, Identity and Consiousness).

The entire apparatus of Kant's system, like a hippopotamus engaged in belly-dancing, goes through its gyrations while resting on a single point: that man's knowledge is not valid because his consiousness possesses identity. "His argument, in essence, ran as follows: man is limited to a consciousness of a specific nature, which perceives by specific means and no others, therefore, his consciousness is not valid; man is blind, because he has eyes - deaf, because he has ears - deluded, because he has a mind - and the things he perceives do not exist, because he perceives them." (For the New Intellectual.)
(Rand, 'Consciousness and Identity', IOE, 80.)

And, reffering to the 'philosophy' of Kant, as well as others like him, Rand writes:

The motive of all the attacks on man's rational faculty - From any quarter, in any of the endless variations, under the verbal dust of all the murky volumes - is a single, hidden premise: the desire to exempt consciousness from the law of identity.
(Rand, 'Consciousness and Identity', IOE, 79.)

Kant denies the axiomatic concepts (which are, of course, undeniable), therefore denies the base of human knowledge, thus does not deal with reality but rather evade it, not study the fundamental nature of existence but rather teach us that such a study is impossible, not search to discover the truth but hide it and make all that can be done in order for the truth never to be revealed.

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Let us now check my alleged fallacy.

First, identifing the accusation:  I was accused of using the fallacy of the frozen abstraction when I said that "Kant is not a philosopher because he doesn't deal with reality (even if it is only to some extent)."

The term that need to be investigate is: 'Philosopher'.

[...]

I wrote that a Philosopher is "a person who deals with, and studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence."

[...]

If one's concern is to deal with, and study the fundamental nature of existence and of man, he would have to start with the axiomatic concepts which are the base of our knowledge. It is in this point that Kant departs himself from the realm of reality (The axiomatic concepts are: Existence, Identity and Consiousness).

(Rand, 'Consciousness and Identity', IOE, 80.)

THIS is where you're getting "frozen."

You are quoting AYN RAND's view of the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence. Kant has a DIFFERENT view, but it is A view of the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence nonetheless.

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Tomer,

In essence - your error is that you are taking what you think is good philosophy, and define ALL philosophy according to that. This is a wrong approach, as you reverse the right order of things.

If you did the same with art, you would declare that Dostoyevski is not an artist. Fortunately, you remember Ayn Rand's very good definition. I'm sure someone can dig up Ayn Rand's definition of philosophy, and show you how it includes the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and every other philosopher. ;)

Oh yes - and Kant certainly DID treat what he thought was the nature of reality. The fact that he did not believe we can know it, is HIS VIEW OF REALITY, as Betsy said before me.

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Tomer,

In essence - your error is that you are taking what you think is good philosophy, and define ALL philosophy according to that. This is a wrong approach, as you reverse the right order of things.

Yes, it certainly is the wrong approach. But, if you go back and review the earlier posts from both Tomer and Dolev, in the other threads, there are two related errors being used which underlie this wrong approach here.

(1) The use of definition as a means to create facts. Rather than defining concepts with referents to reality, the concepts are defined so as to create the referents. That is part of the essence of the 'wrong approach" above. It is, in effect, a subjectivist approach, an attempt to create a reality, rather than observing one.

(2) The use of Ayn Rand's words as out-of-context absolutes. There is frequent reference to Ayn Rand as apparent justification for that wrong approach, disregarding or misconstruing the purpose and intention of her remarks. It is, as if, reference to Ayn Rand legitimizes that wrong approach, giving it a stamp of approval that it does not deserve.

These are fundamental, and grievious errors.

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THIS is where you're getting "frozen." 

You are quoting AYN RAND's view of the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence.  Kant has a DIFFERENT view, but it is A view of the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence nonetheless.

You quoted me right and then referred to another concept which doesn't really fit here:

I wrote that a Philosopher is "a person who deals with, and studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man and of man's relationship to existence."

I used the terms 'Deals' and 'Studies'. You used the term 'View'. Do you see the difference?

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I used the terms 'Deals' and 'Studies'. You used the term 'View'. Do you see the difference?

After reading this, I found that it may not be as clear to you as it is to me. I'll explain -

the concept of 'View', epistemologicaly, may not be regarded always as metaphysicaly infalliable.

When one uses it in such a way as - "Mr. X's view on abortion", it doesn't neccecerily have to be consistent with reality or not. The sentence simply states Mr. X's opinion.

The concept 'Deals', pretains to one's reaction to the metaphysicaly given. I think that it is a psychological term that reflects how one relates to facts of reality - to knowledge that was already gained.

The concept 'Studies', on the other hand, is not psychological. To study means to gain knowledge about reality, which means to gain it through facts and only facts.

One may very well have A view on the fundamental nature of existence but until he STUDIES those fundamentals, it is not a philosophy because it is not yet KNOWLEDGE, ONLY OPNIONS.

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I think what oldsalt means, is that if your definition does not include Kant, then it is wrong to begin with. And I think that's right.

When you are trying to define a concept, you must look at reality (in this case - the philosophers), and try to identify the common traits. You don't arbitrarily blurt out a definition, and then see if anything fits it.

In this case you will notice that the same method you used to exclude Kant, can be used to exclude MOST philosophers, including Plato!

I would define philosophy as "the science which studies the fundamental nature of reality and man's relation to it." I think Ayn Rand gave a similar definition... but I don't remember exactly where. Help anyone?

Anyway - if Kant thinks the fundamental nature of reality is that we create it with our minds, and the relation is that man can never know if there is anything outside his projected reality - then this is DEFINITELY a philosophy. A wrong, evil, deadly philosophy.

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I would define philosophy as "the science which studies the fundamental nature of reality and man's relation to it." I think Ayn Rand gave a similar definition... but I don't remember exactly where. Help anyone?

That's pretty close to Ayn Rand's definition:

"Philosophy is the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence." ["The Chickens' Homecoming," The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution]

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Yes, I meant what erandor said. You have sought to define away over 2000 years of philosophy, from Thales on. By your definition, only a correct philosophy may be called philosophy. That negates virtually every philosopher, including Aristotle, Thomas, Locke, because they made their mistakes. Even primative religion is a philosophy of sorts, a kind of pre-philosophy where men tried to understand their relationship to the world around them. Philosophy began as science. It began when men turned from looking for a supernatural explanation of man and nature and looked for their explanations in natural law and natural man. (Sorry for the awkward sentence. It's late and I'm tired.)

By denying the name philosophy because the ideas expressed are wrong is to deny Objectivist epistemology. All knowledge is contextual. All knowledge is hierarchical. You cannot expect a person to know everything at once, which is what your definition demands. Miss Rand built her philosophy, and argued for it, based upon the man's history and his long, slow acquisition of knowledge. She had this advantage over Aristotle, who was at the beginning of knowledge. This takes nothing away from her accomplishment, of course. She advanced man's knowledge further than anyone has since Aristotle. The fact that there has only been a tiny number of philosophers who have risen to this level shows just what a remarkable mind she possessed. She stands above them all without changing the definition to put her there.

I'm rambling and I apologize. Perhaps I can do better tomorrow. I'll try to be more explicit and use your own words to explain what I mean.

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Yes, I meant what erandor said. You have sought to define away over 2000 years of philosophy, from Thales on. By your definition, only a correct philosophy may be called philosophy. That negates virtually every philosopher, including Aristotle, Thomas, Locke, because they made their mistakes. Even primative religion is a philosophy of sorts, a kind of pre-philosophy where men tried to understand their relationship to the world around them. Philosophy began as science. It began when men turned from looking for a supernatural explanation of man and nature and looked for their explanations in natural law and natural man. (Sorry for the awkward sentence. It's late and I'm tired.)

By denying the name philosophy because the ideas expressed are wrong is to deny Objectivist epistemology. All knowledge is contextual. All knowledge is hierarchical. You cannot expect a person to know everything at once, which is what your definition demands. Miss Rand built her philosophy, and argued for it, based upon the man's history and his long, slow acquisition of knowledge. She had this advantage over Aristotle, who was at the beginning of knowledge. This takes nothing away from her accomplishment, of course. She advanced man's knowledge further than anyone has since Aristotle. The fact that there has only been a tiny number of philosophers who have risen to this level shows just what a remarkable mind she possessed. She stands above them all without changing the definition to put her there.

I'm rambling and I apologize. Perhaps I can do better tomorrow. I'll try to be more explicit and use your own words to explain what I mean.

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Why does Objectivism support Israel?  Didn't Palestine have the property rights to that land before the U.N. gave it away?  (On this issue I am very unclear mostly because a lack of knowledge concerning the entire history of the area.)

To establish a very, very cursory history, the UN did not give Palestinian land away. The British took the land on which today stands Israel and Palestine after WWI, because they were breaking up the Ottoman Empire (more accurately, they did not take it but governed it as a mandate). They expressed vague interests in a Jewish homeland there, but promised nothing solid. After WWII, the British felt bad about all of their previous anti-semitic racism and, with the help of Zionist pressure, finally conceded the land to the Jews.

Now, if you are to assign any blame, it would be to the British for making contradictory promises. However, the bottom line has nothing to do with Palestinian property rights--they don't believe in property and never consistently protected it as a concept. The relevant issue is not who was promised what or who got there first. Indians were here first and neither they nor the British promised America to Americans. We fought to create a free land. The reason why America is a legitimate nation, and the only reason, is that we are a just nation that respects man's natural rights. Likewise, Israel protects individuals far more than any Arab nation ever would. It is not perfect, and if Palestine proposed to establish a perfectly free, laissez-faire capitalist system based on Objectivist principles, I would say to hell with Israel. But as it stands, an individual (any individual, regardless of race) is freer in Israel than in any Arab nation. Thus I support Israel.

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I understand why they support them in the conflict against the Palestinians, and I agree. However, I have heard Objectivists refer to Israel as a nation that promotes individual rights...I have a hard time believing this, since Israel is rather socialist and has mandatory military service. Do Objectivists truly respect Israel, or is it just sympathy for its current conflict?

(Merged topics. Also see this thread. Please search first next time.)

Edited by GreedyCapitalist

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I understand why they support them in the conflict against the Palestinians, and I agree.  However, I have heard Objectivists refer to Israel as a nation that promotes individual rights...I have a hard time believing this, since Israel is rather socialist and has mandatory military service.  Do Objectivists truly respect Israel, or is it just sympathy for its current conflict?

Israel, in my opinion, would be an example of "a far far far lesser of two evils in that part of the world.

For instance, Canada, as bad as it is, is far, far, better politically.

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I understand why they support them in the conflict against the Palestinians, and I agree.  However, I have heard Objectivists refer to Israel as a nation that promotes individual rights...I have a hard time believing this, since Israel is rather socialist and has mandatory military service.  Do Objectivists truly respect Israel, or is it just sympathy for its current conflict?

It's not just socialist, it has highly theocratic elements, just like our worst enemies.

The point Yaron Brook has made, however, is that they are mostly productive, wealth creating, and life enjoying in action. For all the zionist ceremony, Israelis love life and are on the side of it. The transformation of the desert that was once Palestine into the fertile civilization it is today is given as exemplifying that benevolence.

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It's not just socialist, it has highly theocratic elements, just like our worst enemies.

The difference is that the theocratic elements in Israel are very limited compared to the theocratic elements in Islamic states. Religious laws in Israel dominate marriage and divorce, but Israeli law recognizes civil marriages conducted abroad. There is no Israeli law that requires circumcision. There is no "Kosher Police" on a par with the "Modesty Police" of Moslem countries. You can eat pork in public in Israel. There is no Israeli law against premarital sex or adultery - the secular Israeli law trumps the Jewish religious law. In addition, Israel does not have the death penalty, period. In contrast, Mulsim countries execute those who commit premarital sex or adultery.

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I would just like to point out, and other Israelis actually living in Israel can corroborate the facts, that Israel is an extremely secular society. You can read more on the severe conflict between Orthodox and secular Israelis here.

The explanation is quite simple. Rabbinic Judaism, a branch which evolved from archaic, Temple-based Judaism alongside Christianity, was meant to preserve a Jewish identity outside the land of Israel, to prevent assimilation and the eventual disappearance of a people. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Jews returned to Israel and Judaism suddenly became irrelevant in peoples' personal lives. What had once been a system of laws to keep a people distinct and tied to their history were no longer needed. The people returned to their land, and that alone made them Jews.

Of course, some (a minority in Israel) chose to stick with tradition and seek a theocratic state. They want state funding for seminaries, exemption from military service, and insist on retaining Israel's presence in the West Bank & Gaza. Secular Israelis have no desire for state funded seminaries, despise the fact that some are exempted from military service while others are not, and the vast majority of Israelis would like to see a Palestinian homeland in the West Bank.

Edit:

Oh yes, and the socialism is rampant. But Benjamin Netanyahu's new economic plan is encouraging. Let's hope it passes.

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