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CJM

A few problems I have with Objectivism

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I don't really get this analogy. Two people acting differently with the same information wouldn't have to mean they perceived it differently.

Oh, sorry, let me make the analogy's connection clearer. I'm not saying that two people will act differently based on the same input. I'm saying that their perception will be different. A person's action depends on his choice. A person's perception, however, does not (and neither do the programs in my analogy; the functions they perform on the data are deterministic). I'm conceding that two people perceive the same inputs differently, but arguing that this does not make one an incorrect connection with reality.

My point here on detail is simply that perceptive organs are limited physically in their accuracy. I feel this applies to all aspects of accuracy. I see no reason why it wouldn't.

I completely agree, depending on what you mean by "accuracy". It is not inaccurate in that the information you get could be false (a misrepresentation of reality), but it is inaccurate in that the information might be very little and thus relatively uninformative (and hard to interpret). It can't be wrong, but it can be severely limited, depending on conditions. However, the information gained can also be extremely extensive, when those conditions include research labs and advanced observational equipment.

Our senses giving us perceptions with missing information (meaning less information than we might like, not meaning that some information which should have been processed according to our senses but wasn't) does not invalidate the truth of what is given; only incorrect information would do that.

I agree with your definition. I am not sure I understand your question.

I have been arguing that perceptions are directly connected to reality outside ourselves. Under this definition of truth, this is simply another way of saying that our perceptions are true.

Edited by Dante

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On Objectivist Metaphysics

The problem of free will and causality. This is the biggest stumbling block for me, as one who holds no belief in free will. The arguments I have found against this problem have seemed very weak to me. Free will is held to be self evident in Objectivism, but an argument brought for it seems to be that choice and free will are not contradictory to the law of causality, but a part of it, that volition is causality. Seemingly volition is a causa sui?

My point of view on free will is mixed (well, my feelings about my point of view are mixed). I know that if I am ever confronted with a choice, I assume that I make it for one of two reasons: 1) I weigh the choice against my values in a rational process and pick what is demonstrably optimal or 2) A sub-conscious decision making algorithm impels me to choose based on a weighing of psychological and evolved standards.

In both cases, and in a mix (which is the most likely common process), the process is algorithmic - even if hopelessly complex.

So, it seems that every choice is deterministic? I've heard about Roger Penrose who tries to explain why physics says will is not. But his point of view seems to rely heavily on Plato, and it is the mystics that usually offer a 'source' of 'non-deterministic' free will. That's why I am inclined to think choices are deterministic.

However, the truth of the matter is that even if choices are deterministic, they are still possessed, or owned, by those who make them. Thus, a person can feel properly accountable for his or her choices, because they define him/her.

The 'why' when it comes to choice is the product alone of Reason. A creature that can experience pain and pleasure does not know why it does without the faculty of reason. If you would prefer a world without why, with only pleasure and pain I suggest oblivion instead, it has no pain. It is the context, and the why, that gives pleasure its significance. It is the why that gives meaning, and provides motive. An animal without a why is subject to instinct alone, and its experience is meaningless - pleasure is only a token of what to do, but can't be appreciated. The faculty that allows appreciation - the one that makes you think (or feel, but 'feel' in the spiritual sense, not in the physical sense) "I want that" or "That's good" - is the same that allows you to process information rationally.

I think the issue of free will is more the issue of what 'part' of your decision making process has precedent: reason, or instinct. The more 'reason' is working, the more 'appreciation of life' can function.

If your mind - your deterministic mind let's say - fails to grasp that it must start preferring reason and slowly build that faculty over instinct - then you will enjoy existence less. It's not that you are being 'punished', it is a product of reality.

In that sense, reality dictates that you 'own' your decision making process. Because there is only reality, this means for all intents and purposes that you have (possess) free will.

Free will -> You=your choices, and so your choices=You. It's an equality, the order doesn't matter, the implications are the same - in reality.

Edited by ZSorenson

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My question to the guy promoting determinism is: how do you claim to have knowlege about whether determinism is true without contradicting yourself?

If determinism is a fact of reality, then your belief in determinism ("belief in determinism" itself being a contradiction if determinism were true) was a result of determinism and as RationalBiker pointed out a while ago, your argument for the validity of determinism relies on your ability to perceive reality in order to be correct. It requires you to have a reason why reason doesn't exist. A rational belief in determinism is self-refuting, thus belief, knowledge, and volition must be assumed in order to deny it, and determinism is axiomatically false.

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My question to the guy promoting determinism is: how do you claim to have knowlege about whether determinism is true without contradicting yourself?

If determinism is a fact of reality, then your belief in determinism ("belief in determinism" itself being a contradiction if determinism were true) was a result of determinism and as RationalBiker pointed out a while ago, your argument for the validity of determinism relies on your ability to perceive reality in order to be correct. It requires you to have a reason why reason doesn't exist. A rational belief in determinism is self-refuting, thus belief, knowledge, and volition must be assumed in order to deny it, and determinism is axiomatically false.

Well, that's why I have 'mixed feelings'. Of course, I'm still promoting the idea, so I have to defend it. And, naturally, I'd happily accept a convincing argument that refutes determinism.

What specifically is contradictory about determinism and reason? Just because your thought process can be experienced and perceived doesn't mean you have control over it. That's the issue, really. Reason means use of logic, and logic is absolute, firm, irrefutable. The real choice is whether to use reason or not - to think or not to think. And so, what is the source of the mechanism that makes that choice?

Who are 'you'? Are you a mystical soul, who by faculty of reason, judges facts and then is free to choose whatever you want? What is the standard for choosing? If it is reason, perfectly, then there will always be an optimal choice given your situation and knowledge base - reality determines the choice. If it is anything else, what could it be? If it is some aftermath of evolution, a combination of instinct and psychology, then it is assuredly not free will. Otherwise, by what mechanism of 'self' do you choose to use reason or non-reason? A mystical Form of self that makes this choice by some mechanism that's 'above reason'?

I don't think that's true. I think the mechanism of self is a combination of instinct and reason, and the proper thing to do is use reason.

The issue makes me uncomfortable, because a mind confronted with the idea that will is deterministic might become impotent. Though that would be a result of a logical error, I believe. I remember someone telling me once that if people's choices are determined, then they can't be punished for bad choices. However, I think that the issue is that they absolutely can be held ethically accountable for their choices, because reality determined those choices, and there is only reality - no other realm that coddles the rationally deprived and forgives them and values them anyway.

That's IF there is determinism - if there is, the concept of volition still applies. It applies in the sense that it exists in reality as the reverse of its abstraction. Rather than your volition causing choices, the reality is that your choices define your volition. In that sense, I don't bother worrying too much about 'determinism'. My purpose is to refute the logic that determinism means ethics are impossible - because it was listed as a 'problem' with Objectivism.

That's my explanation. As I have repeated, the whole issue still makes me a little uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable in the sense that people tell me I'm supporting an obvious contradiction. So I'd like to hear an explanation of how 'free will' is logical possible - in reality, a place ruled by reason - if someone can offer it. Then I'll be able to see how much I might need to reevaluate my perspective.

UPDATE: I want to add a more direct reply to your comment. According to my theory, belief and volition are the product of pure logical reason, and some hodgepodge of instinct, and learned subconscious routines. They are the 'product' of 'forces'. I'm not a psychologist, but this is the best I can do because I don't understand by what mechanism volition can exist if it is not somehow deterministic. Reason is not the equivalent of volition. Volition is choosing between reason and instinct. Reason is logic, using facts to determine the best choices. 'Believing in determinism' is an aggregate of psychological forces causing someone to feel confident in a set of logical outcomes. In this case, it is logic and reason - even if flawed - that dominate those forces. Whereas, discomfort with the idea that there isn't some mystical source of volition, causing someone to not believe in determinism relies on the same process, but reason and logic are not dominating. Please don't take offense to that, I'm just trying to be as clear as possible over the point of disagreement for me.

Edited by ZSorenson

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UPDATE: I want to add a more direct reply to your comment. According to my theory, belief and volition are the product of pure logical reason, and some hodgepodge of instinct, and learned subconscious routines. They are the 'product' of 'forces'. I'm not a psychologist, but this is the best I can do because I don't understand by what mechanism volition can exist if it is not somehow deterministic. Reason is not the equivalent of volition. Volition is choosing between reason and instinct. Reason is logic, using facts to determine the best choices. 'Believing in determinism' is an aggregate of psychological forces causing someone to feel confident in a set of logical outcomes. In this case, it is logic and reason - even if flawed - that dominate those forces. Whereas, discomfort with the idea that there isn't some mystical source of volition, causing someone to not believe in determinism relies on the same process, but reason and logic are not dominating. Please don't take offense to that, I'm just trying to be as clear as possible over the point of disagreement for me.

Your thinking here is vague and unfocused. What exactly do you mean by determinism? "An aggregate of psychological forces causing someone to feel confident in a set of logical outcomes" is completely unsatisfactory because even a commitment to reason is a 'psychological force', so this fails to highlight any clear distinction between a volitional and determined consciousness.

There are many threads discussing determinism here, just search for determinism in the topic title.

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These two sentences go together quite well. You are now essentially saying that you do not have an objectively supported argument. That makes it REAL difficult to argue anything with you.

If no knowledge is objective, there can be no objectively suppported arguments. Only approximations. This isn't complicated, but if you get confused again let me know, all right?

Nice way to take that completely out of context. The difference I'm referring to is the ability to think for ourselves FREELY versus our ability to think and choose being determined by previous events or event states (more specifically, our ability to think or choose being determined by the sum of all the events or event states which occurred prior to our present thought or choice).

You should go back and check the original context in which my statement was made then.

No, but it is nice that you now reaching for the name-calling. Please stop that now.

Please stop saying incredibly ridiculous things like "You does be a determinist, you cannot change what you think and are stuck like that!!1"(watch out BobG, I'm not being 100% serious and attempting to create a strawman here.) and then refusing to acknowledge it was a ridiculous thing to say now.

I did that already. I think you are just having difficulty seeing the contradiction between your claims and how they impact the validity of your argument. That's not my fault, it's yours.

No, you ignored what was already said, then refused to put forward any real arguments on why there is a contradiction. Me not having perfect, objective knowledge does not mean every argument I come up with must be necessarily wrong. Not objectively true? Of course. A reasonably accurate approximation? No reason to think it is not.

My point of view on free will is mixed (well, my feelings about my point of view are mixed). I know that if I am ever confronted with a choice, I assume that I make it for one of two reasons: 1) I weigh the choice against my values in a rational process and pick what is demonstrably optimal or 2) A sub-conscious decision making algorithm impels me to choose based on a weighing of psychological and evolved standards.

In both cases, and in a mix (which is the most likely common process), the process is algorithmic - even if hopelessly complex.

So, it seems that every choice is deterministic? I've heard about Roger Penrose who tries to explain why physics says will is not. But his point of view seems to rely heavily on Plato, and it is the mystics that usually offer a 'source' of 'non-deterministic' free will. That's why I am inclined to think choices are deterministic.

However, the truth of the matter is that even if choices are deterministic, they are still possessed, or owned, by those who make them. Thus, a person can feel properly accountable for his or her choices, because they define him/her.

The 'why' when it comes to choice is the product alone of Reason. A creature that can experience pain and pleasure does not know why it does without the faculty of reason. If you would prefer a world without why, with only pleasure and pain I suggest oblivion instead, it has no pain. It is the context, and the why, that gives pleasure its significance. It is the why that gives meaning, and provides motive. An animal without a why is subject to instinct alone, and its experience is meaningless - pleasure is only a token of what to do, but can't be appreciated. The faculty that allows appreciation - the one that makes you think (or feel, but 'feel' in the spiritual sense, not in the physical sense) "I want that" or "That's good" - is the same that allows you to process information rationally.

I think the issue of free will is more the issue of what 'part' of your decision making process has precedent: reason, or instinct. The more 'reason' is working, the more 'appreciation of life' can function.

If your mind - your deterministic mind let's say - fails to grasp that it must start preferring reason and slowly build that faculty over instinct - then you will enjoy existence less. It's not that you are being 'punished', it is a product of reality.

In that sense, reality dictates that you 'own' your decision making process. Because there is only reality, this means for all intents and purposes that you have (possess) free will.

Free will -> You=your choices, and so your choices=You. It's an equality, the order doesn't matter, the implications are the same - in reality.

Great post. This is not free will though. If you choose to have certain views about how much we own our choices, thats great(I would in fact agree with most of what you said) but it isn't free willl.

If our choices are deterministic, it is not free will. Our choices are a part of us, someone who chooses to do something still chose to do it, even if it was casually determined. Free will entails a lot more, namely that we(our identity) could have done otherwise.

My question to the guy promoting determinism is: how do you claim to have knowlege about whether determinism is true without contradicting yourself?

If determinism is a fact of reality, then your belief in determinism ("belief in determinism" itself being a contradiction if determinism were true) was a result of determinism and as RationalBiker pointed out a while ago, your argument for the validity of determinism relies on your ability to perceive reality in order to be correct. It requires you to have a reason why reason doesn't exist. A rational belief in determinism is self-refuting, thus belief, knowledge, and volition must be assumed in order to deny it, and determinism is axiomatically false

What RationalBiker said made no sense. My thought processes and reason being casually determined says nothing about how they will operate. There is no reason a determined person can't perceive reality as well as a non-determined one.

I completely agree, depending on what you mean by "accuracy". It is not inaccurate in that the information you get could be false (a misrepresentation of reality), but it is inaccurate in that the information might be very little and thus relatively uninformative (and hard to interpret). It can't be wrong, but it can be severely limited, depending on conditions. However, the information gained can also be extremely extensive, when those conditions include research labs and advanced observational equipment.

Our senses giving us perceptions with missing information (meaning less information than we might like, not meaning that some information which should have been processed according to our senses but wasn't) does not invalidate the truth of what is given; only incorrect information would do that.

Why can't they be a misrepresentation? Our senses perceive in objective reality, this is obciously true, but there seems to be a huge jump in stating that this means they MUST be accurate in the way they function.

I have been arguing that perceptions are directly connected to reality outside ourselves. Under this definition of truth, this is simply another way of saying that our perceptions are true.

They aren't connected outside ourselves? We perceive with our sense organs which are apart of us physiologically, nothing about them is connected to the outside world apart from ourselves. Unless I am misunderstanding this statement?

What does that even mean? Give me an example of a physical absolute. How is a physical "absolute" different from infinite precision?

Absolute is merely a word that means in totality. People were using infinite in a different way, you may not have been.

How are they capable of making judgments without free will? They could not have made such a choice if they're incapable of choice. In fact, you refute yourself anytime you use the word can or capable.

How are they not capable of making judgements without free will? Free will involves the belief that people can make other judgements. A casually determined entity can weigh up options and come to a conclusion, the fact that he could have come to no other conlcuison is irrelevant.

I am not a clairvoyant, therefore it is fine for me to use the words "can" and "capable".

I am still waiting for you to explain how the eyes work improperly. The finite number of light receptors that will fit in your eye receive a finite number of photons and convert them into signals that you interpret. That your eye does not have enough light receptors for you to see stuff far away does not imply that the eyes don't work properly. Each and every one of the receptors works perfectly fine.

And if those receptors do not work fine(as they do not in many people) where does your theory of sense perception go then?

Objective knowledge is not automatic or infallible. Objectivism explains the conscious grasp of existence as happening in a sequence of sensation, then perception, then conception. Sensation is 'mechanical' and automatic, or in other words deterministic. The senses act as transducers creating mental sense data from the physical excitations falling upon them. The Law of Identity applies to consciousness and the senses and therefore requires sensation in a particular delimited finite form. The demand that sensation be perfect is a demand for an indefinite means therefore is invalid.

Perception is the automatic organization of sense data into recognizable entities. The eyes focus and pick out things, not just color patches. Hearing perceives voices and words and notes, not just a power-frequency distribution. Perception is also finite, automatic and deterministic.

Conception is an act of abstraction from percepts (not from reality directly). Conception is not automatic but optional and voluntary, i.e. volitional. It is precisely and only because of its volitional nature that conception can be in error. Free will and volition are taken to be synonyms here. Free will causes fallibility. In this sense then, sensation and perception are infallible without invoking a standard of perfection or omniscience.

How can objective knowledge not be infallible? If it is knowledge of objective reality, it must be infallible, otherwise, well it just isn't knowledge of objective reality.

Here is the gap again. Just because our senses are in objective reality and automoatic, why does this mean that they are not prone to innacuracy in there perception? This gap isn't being explained.

This is only relevant in emergency situations. Emergencies are characterized by the impossibility of survival by the normal means, rational action to achieve values. In emergencies the standard is to cut your losses. The loss of a top value could well be judged as so disastrous that death or risk of death are preferable to a subsequent lifetime of regret and suffering. This is not actually a different standard, it is still 'maximizing value' but in a context where all the options are negative.

But why is it irrational to hold something other than your own life as as your highest value. The arguments so far have been

A. Your life is your standard of value.

This is true, but does not also necessitate that your life should be your highest value. Another gap.

B. That if your life isn't your highest value you move towards self destruction.

This obviously just isn't true. Being willing to do something for a value you hold and moving towards it are two different things, and your own self preservation may be in the best interest of this value you hold in most instances.

Edited by CJM

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We are also stuck with the problem of dying for a cause or person, which Rand states is not against the principles of Objectivism. Since things are only valued in relation to our own life, for example the life of a loved one, you have no more reason to die to save their lives than you do to let them die if the consequence is as bad as death to you. If the consequences of their death on you would be worse than death, you have no more reason to die for them than you do to commit suicide. I fact, rational self interest would just lead us to take the least harmful path.

Structuring values the way Rand suggest we do leaves us in a pretty sticky situation in relation to things like this.

PLAYBOY: Would it be against the principles of Objectivism for anyone to sacrifice himself by stepping in front of a bullet to protect another person?

RAND: No. It depends on the circumstances. I would step in the way of a bullet if it were aimed at my husband. It is not self-sacrifice to die protecting that which you value: If the value is great enough, you do not care to exist without it. This applies to any alleged sacrifice for those one loves.

What moves your limbs is a cause, called your will. Your will also directs your thoughts.

But if your will is causally determined, it is not truly free. If it is not subject to causation, then what the hell is it? An unmoved mover? This makes no sense.

Your will is perceived as self-evident as your sense of being a self. Your will directs your philosophical and causal inquiries into your will, therefore can never logically invalidate itself. An objective yet impersonal and deterministic interpretation of self is a contradiction in terms.

Well this is just consciousness. I don't see what that has to do with free will to be honest.

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Well this is just consciousness. I don't see what that has to do with free will to be honest.

"Just" consciousness ? As in "merely" consciousness ? !!

'Consciousness,' which includes self- consciousness, is that very mechanism that provides the self-evidence of volition at work. What else does one have but awareness of reality, and awareness of one's existence in that reality?

Can you not think about your thinking; or 'see' yourself in action (past, present, and anticipated action) ?

Without this, yes, volition will be a tough concept to grasp.

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Absolute is merely a word that means in totality. People were using infinite in a different way, you may not have been.

I have and always did mean infinite precision - this is what you are demanding, and it is impossible. But even if it were possible, it wouldn't be necessary and still would not constitute a problem with the eye.

How are they not capable of making judgements without free will? Free will involves the belief that people can make other judgements.

Ok, we need some understanding here. You say "choice" is an illusion. Choice involves integrating evidence and knowledge and applying value judgments. For it to be an illusion would be for me to be deceived, which would be for me to make an incorrect judgment. That implies that I had the option to make a correct or incorrect conclusion based on the evidence - that I had a choice. So by saying it's an illusion, you imply the existence of the very thing that you are trying to reject.

A casually determined entity can weigh up options and come to a conclusion, the fact that he could have come to no other conlcuison is irrelevant.

Such a "fact" is by definition untestable and unfalsifiable - faith.

I am not a clairvoyant, therefore it is fine for me to use the words "can" and "capable".

These words imply that one has a choice.

And if those receptors do not work fine(as they do not in many people) where does your theory of sense perception go then?

How do they ever not work properly? Some may work differently, and provide less information (e.g. red/green color blindness), but again, you're dropping the context of their capabilities. They still function according to the laws of physics. It would be magic if someone's photoreceptors were incapable of sensing red, yet still did.

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Brian, as I already said, I am not changing my writing style or vocabulary to suit my metaphysical views.

The future is unknowable to me. When I say I can do this or I can do that, only one may really be possibly open to me. I do not know which, therefore I have no problem using the word can in relation to either. Even so, different possible futures where two "cans" may be possible don't necessarily imply free will any more than indeterminacy and chance. These words imply nothing of free will.

"Just" consciousness ? As in "merely" consciousness ? !!

'Consciousness,' which includes self- consciousness, is that very mechanism that provides the self-evidence of volition at work. What else does one have but awareness of reality, and awareness of one's existence in that reality?

Can you not think about your thinking; or 'see' yourself in action (past, present, and anticipated action) ?

Without this, yes, volition will be a tough concept to grasp.

Yes, but it doesn't show that free will exists. It is just self-awareness in the way he used it.

I have and always did mean infinite precision - this is what you are demanding, and it is impossible. But even if it were possible, it wouldn't be necessary and still would not constitute a problem with the eye.

Infinite may be, absolute is not. It is necessary for objective knowledge. If you cannot perceive anything in totality, then what do you truly objectively know about said anything?

Ok, we need some understanding here. You say "choice" is an illusion. Choice involves integrating evidence and knowledge and applying value judgments. For it to be an illusion would be for me to be deceived, which would be for me to make an incorrect judgment. That implies that I had the option to make a correct or incorrect conclusion based on the evidence - that I had a choice. So by saying it's an illusion, you imply the existence of the very thing that you are trying to reject.

I did not say it, other people did. Choice is not just integrating evidence and knowledge and applying value judgments, the concept of "choice" when used in the context of free will is much more. To the vast majority of people choice does not merely mean that one makes a judgement, but that other judgements could have been possible for that same entity.

Such a "fact" is by definition untestable and unfalsifiable - faith.

Oh I am sorry, and your axioms are not?

How do they ever not work properly? Some may work differently, and provide less information (e.g. red/green color blindness), but again, you're dropping the context of their capabilities. They still function according to the laws of physics. It would be magic if someone's photoreceptors were incapable of sensing red, yet still did.

This is about whether we can gain objective knowledge through the senses, nothing more. No-one is saying you can perceive what is not there, merely that you can perceive what is there in inaccurate ways. If you cannot perceive anything(and I mean anything) in it's totality, then what objective knowledge have you really got? You can bring this argument to it's logical conclusion and say since we cannot perceive the whole of anything, we cannot know anything in it's true, objective state. Colour blindness is a pretty good example, though I am not sure it will suffice.

Edited by CJM

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Until you can explain what you mean by "absolute" in detail without unloading it onto some other vague word, we won't get anywhere. Since you seem to know what you mean, you should be able to provide examples of machines or things that do observe absolutely, or examples of physical absolutes. On top of that, you should be able to provide some means by which we could verify that we had the capability of observing absolutely. So, what are your examples of absolutes and/or observation of absolutes, and what is your test for verifying observation of the absolute?

Oh I am sorry, and your axioms are not?

So you admit that your position is based on faith.

You have misunderstood the nature of an axiom to conclude that it is based on faith. An axiom is something you must employ in anything you say, and so is completely unavoidable. Feel free to reject the axioms, but as soon as there is a thought in your head, or you speak a word, you've employed them.

Edited by brian0918

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CJM said: It was my understanding [of Objectivism] that it was not just knowledge, but objective knowledge that our senses could percieve.

I said: [D]epending on whether or not we properly integrate [perceptual] data will determine whether our knowledge has any errors or not.

CJM said: Coleecdting [sic] data from objective reality and collecting objective data about reality are two very different things.

I said: How does it relate to my response?

CJM said: Because I never claimed we did not do what you responded and told me we did

As you can see above, I was addressing your concern about "objective knowledge" when I wrote about "the role of proper integration in errors". Does that clear things up?

Not really. My concern about objective knowledge has to do with the senses, nothing more.

If it was not an objective evaluation, why would you discuss it? You (implicitly) hold that anyone can see the (alleged) facts that you are providing. But that is precisely what objectivity means, that anyone who has eyes agrees with you on facts of reality.

I hold no such thing implicitly.

By the opposite, do you mean if man chooses death instead of life? In that case, you don't need a morality, and certainly not Objectivist Ethics.

If we were talking about a mans live being his highest value because it was his standard of value thats what I meant. You said

Not so in this context. If a man holds life as his highest value, then it should be the ethical standard for his choice of all other values.

The arguments I have been given have mostly been that mans life should be his highest value since it is his standard of value. I see no reason this must be so.

Alright. Now, in the light of your statement, please consider my earlier statement:

"Our sensory organs are infallible in the sense that they merely "collect" data from an objective reality."

Now, how would you respond to it?

I would respond by saying I see no reason why merely collecting data from objective reality denotes infallibility.

Ahh, I finally got your point. But here is the problem:

"Willing" bears a huge relationship to "acting". Man's premises direct his thoughts, emotions and actions. Otherwise, what is the point of values or even Ethics? And in that case, why do you even care whether man holds his life as the ultimate value or something else?

A huge relationship does not entail a moving towards, as was claimed.

As I explained earlier, it is not a sacrifice, and hence non-contradictory. I wrote:

"If a value is so great to you that your life without it would be rotting in hell, it would be a sacrifice to live without it."

I just meant sacrificed in terms of killing yourself, not in the Randian way.

And thus, sense-perception is infallible. Now do you see the argument?

No, Just because there is a standard does not mean it is objective.

Because my "relevant" post explains why sense-perception is infallible, which you claimed is not.

It is less an explanation than a claim.

I said: Is it possible for you to choose your values?

CJM said: It may be possible for me to choose my values, or it may not, depending on how you choose to define choice.

I said: I define (making a) choice as a volitional act when faced with an alternative. How do you define choice?

CJM said: I would define it in much the same way. [... and... ] Yes I can choose my values. However I could not choose any others.

What do you mean by "I could not choose any others"? Where did we talk about choosing anything other than your values?

If I had chosen otheres(which I could not) what makes you think they would not still be mine?

'Absolute data' does not mean 'all detail'. It merely means that I can perceive the keyboard in a way which is non-contradictory with my or anyone else's knowledge. Now, does it all make sense?

No, your perception could be completely contradictory to another persons knowledge.

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Until you can explain what you mean by "absolute" in detail without unloading it onto some other vague word, we won't get anywhere. Since you seem to know what you mean, you should be able to provide examples of machines or things that do observe absolutely, or examples of physical absolutes. On top of that, you should be able to provide some means by which we could verify that we had the capability of observing absolutely. So, what are your examples of absolutes and/or observation of absolutes, and what is your test for verifying observation of the absolute?

This is hilarious. I don't believe in absolute or objective knowledge being held by machines or living organisms. Thus how can I give you examples? Absolutes exist in objective reality(This is an objectivist view aswell). I just maintain that I am incapable of knowing them.

So you admit that your position is based on faith.

If theri is no objective knowledge ALL positions are based on some degree of faith. Especially yours :P

You have misunderstood the nature of an axiom to conclude that it is based on faith. An axiom is something you must employ in anything you say, and so is completely unavoidable. Feel free to reject the axioms, but as soon as there is a thought in your head, or you speak a word, you've employed them.

I said nothing about faith, that was you. Axioms are untestable and unfalsifiable. By your definition, not mine, they require faith.

Edited by CJM

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Any help on these problems would be greatly appreciated.

It is clear that this is not your intention.

"I don't believe in absolute or objective knowledge being held by machines or living organisms."

Where did anyone say machines have knowledge? Accuracte is not the same as Valid. If a picture is blurry, is what you're seeing invalid? If not, why not? It is not accurate, that's for sure.

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It is clear that this is not your intention.

"I don't believe in absolute or objective knowledge being held by machines or living organisms."

Where did anyone say machines have knowledge? Accuracte is not the same as Valid. If a picture is blurry, is what you're seeing invalid? If not, why not? It is not accurate, that's for sure.

Debate is healthy. Just because the answers that have been given so far are not satisfactory to me does not mean I am not still looking.

Machines observing absolutely was brought up by another poster. I probably should not have referred to it as knowledge, but data.

Your analogy makes no sense. If a picture is blurry, it is blurry. Seeing it as blurry is not inaccurate. The things in the picture are not existing independantly of the picture in some objective universe you are attempting to gain knowledge of.

Edited by CJM

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What RationalBiker said made no sense. My thought processes and reason being casually determined says nothing about how they will operate. There is no reason a determined person can't perceive reality as well as a non-determined one.

Determinism makes knowledge about reality impossible. A prerequisite of knowledge is belief, which determinism makes impossible because a belief involves something being accepted as true (including a belief in determinism, which is a belief that there are no beliefs.)

If the acceptance of determinism was necessitated by anticedent factors beyond your control, then you did not accept a belief in determinism, you just reacted to the validity of determinism in a certain way. If determinism were true, then you are just a super-complicated machine and belief becomes only a disposition to act in a certain way. Machines don't have belief. Machines don't have reason. Machines don't have knowledge. Since knowledge is based on perception and reasoning, which according to you is invalid, knowledge is impossible, including knowledge of determinism.

Since men do obviously know things, including your claim to know determinism is true, then to maintain that is self-refuting.

About what RationalBiker said: you are making the fallacy of the stolen concept by claiming knowledge of determinism and the invalidity of the senses.

"Let the witch doctor who does not choose to accept the validity of sensory perception, try to prove it without using the data he obtained by sensory perception."

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Determinism makes knowledge about reality impossible. A prerequisite of knowledge is belief, which determinism makes impossible because a belief involves something being accepted as true (including a belief in determinism, which is a belief that there are no beliefs.)

If the acceptance of determinism was necessitated by anticedent factors beyond your control, then you did not accept a belief in determinism, you just reacted to the validity of determinism in a certain way. If determinism were true, then you are just a super-complicated machine and belief becomes only a disposition to act in a certain way. Machines don't have belief. Machines don't have reason. Machines don't have knowledge. Since knowledge is based on perception and reasoning, which according to you is invalid, knowledge is impossible, including knowledge of determinism.

Since men do obviously know things, including your claim to know determinism is true, then to maintain that is self-refuting.

About what RationalBiker said: you are making the fallacy of the stolen concept by claiming knowledge of determinism and the invalidity of the senses.

"Let the witch doctor who does not choose to accept the validity of sensory perception, try to prove it without using the data he obtained by sensory perception."

This argument has already been dealt with. The stolen concept is a non-issue. Stating that sensory perception is not perfect and objective does not meant that we cannot have reasonable approximations or reality. Subjective ones.

Not having true knowledge of objective reality does not mean that all other knowledge must be completely false. By false here, I mean opposed to reality diametrically, nothing more.

Something being necessitated does not mean it is not accepted, it just means that it could not not have been accepted. Acceptance is willfully(please don't jump on this word and try to take it out of context, look at the sentence guys) receiving, you can do this without the possibility of alternatives.

Determinism does not imply that there are no beliefs, just that the ones we hold are the only possible ones for us to hold. We could accept no others.

Also, I do feel the need to point out that almost all the discussion in this thread has had nothing to do with the original problem, which is that of Volition as a form of causality, which doesn't appear to make sense. If will is free, it must be uncaused, otherwise it is clearly not free, but subject to causation.

Edited by CJM

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Your analogy makes no sense. If a picture is blurry, it is blurry. Seeing it as blurry is not inaccurate. The things in the picture are not existing independantly of the picture in some objective universe you are attempting to gain knowledge of.

It wasn't an analogy, I just meant that when you look at anything, your eyes (which function entirely automatically and the actual process of light entering your eye cannot be controlled by you) see reality as it is. Now you might not be able to find much meaningful information from blurry eyesight, but that doesn't mean it is an approximation of reality. How you interpret what you see may be an approximation, though. I may *think* I'm seeing a cat, but it's actually a dog. You seem to agree, but you use different words. You said "seeing it blurry is not inaccurate". That's all I was trying to get across. When would seeing something be inaccurate?

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This argument has already been dealt with. The stolen concept is a non-issue. Stating that sensory perception is not perfect and objective does not meant that we cannot have reasonable approximations or reality. Subjective ones.

Not having true knowledge of objective reality does not mean that all other knowledge must be completely false. By false here, I mean opposed to reality diametrically, nothing more.

If you cannot use your senses to perceive reality, then how do you come to a rational belief in determinism? Magic?

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I have not said you cannot use your senses to perceive reality. This perception merely isn't objective. It is subjective.

It wasn't an analogy, I just meant that when you look at anything, your eyes (which function entirely automatically and the actual process of light entering your eye cannot be controlled by you) see reality as it is. Now you might not be able to find much meaningful information from blurry eyesight, but that doesn't mean it is an approximation of reality. How you interpret what you see may be an approximation, though. I may *think* I'm seeing a cat, but it's actually a dog. You seem to agree, but you use different words. You said "seeing it blurry is not inaccurate". That's all I was trying to get across. When would seeing something be inaccurate?

When you said the picture was blurry, I thought you meant that the picture WAS blurry(which obviously makes no sense as an argument lol), not that it appeared blurry. Sorry for the confusion.

What we perceive is objective reality can have a few different meanings. What I take it as, is that our perceptions are valid representations of reality. It could also mean that what we are perceiving is itself objective reality, which seems a redundant statement. One which also tells us nothing about our perceptions.

What you seem to be claiming is more that sensation is valid, rather than perception.

Edited by CJM

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I have not said you cannot use your senses to perceive reality. This perception merely isn't objective. It is subjective.

Which is it, are senses valid or invalid? If it isn't objective, then your assertion of the existence of determinism isn't objective and your argument collapses. This isn't complicated, but if you get confused again let me know, all right?

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Which is it, are senses valid or invalid? If it isn't objective, then your assertion of the existence of determinism isn't objective and your argument collapses. This isn't complicated, but if you get confused again let me know, all right?

They are invalid at attaining objective knowledge, as I have stated numerous times. I am not the one who is confused here.

Lol, why do the arguments collapse?

Why must my assertion be objective?

Do you people not get the idea that the stolen concept only applies if I am caliming my statement to be objective? Stop parroting for a moment and come up with something else, because that argument does nto apply.

Edited by CJM

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If no knowledge is objective, there can be no objectively suppported arguments. Only approximations. This isn't complicated, but if you get confused again let me know, all right?

I haven't gotten confused yet, and if I did I'd rather consult someone who understands that there is objectively knowledge. I don't need somebody giving my guesswork advice.

You are making an argument that cannot be supported based on your own position. By analogy, you are still attempting to use white paint to show that there is no such thing as white paint. I don't have to go any further than that into your argument than that. You say that you have dealt with the stolen concept but you haven't; your way of dealing with it has been to ignore it.

Your whole argument can be summarized like this; "I have a problem with Objectivism based on my subjective view which I cannot actually know is really a problem because I cannot actually know what is objectively real. The best I can do to support my argument is put forth my best guesses."

A reasonably accurate approximation? No reason to think it is not.

A logical application of your position suggests that you cannot know how much detail you are missing in your observation of objective reality. Therefore, you cannot assert how accurate your "approximations" are; they are logically just guesses.

Well, you dropped the name calling, which is good, now drop the condescension as well.

While I applaud many other people taking a great amount of their time and energy trying to explain this issue to you, I realize that it cannot be done no matter how well they advance their argument because right off you refuse to accept that there is objective knowledge. You advance a position which by your own admission you cannot know to be objective reality (which against your own position you determine to be "reasonably accurate approximations"). Since right off you reject that man can have objective knowledge (or more true to your position you guess that one cannot objectively know whether or not there is objective knowledge), then there is no reason to believe that anything anyone says to you will persuade you otherwise because in your mind they are equally saddled with the limitation with which you are saddling yourself; they cannot objectively know their argument to be true either.

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They are invalid at attaining objective knowledge, as I have stated numerous times. I am not the one who is confused here.

Lol, why do the arguments collapse?

Why must my assertion be objective?

Generally you can only prove things to be true by using objectivity instead of claiming that your feelings are the creators of their own facts.

If that is your position, then you admit that your assertions are arbitrary and irrational then I think we are done here.

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Why must my assertion be objective?

This sums it up... your assertion doesn't need to be objective. You can make subjective assertions all day long.

For your assertion to be meaningful it must be objective, otherwise it is pointless to argue against it.

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