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CJM

A few problems I have with Objectivism

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

Maybe in future you should try not to start it, Mr. Moderator?

I am not ignoring anything about the stolen concept fallacy. For my arguments to rely on stolen concepts, I would need to claim they rest on Objective knowledge. I do not. Whether you like the fact I do not is not relevant to the fact that I do not. The fallacy still does not apply. Do you understand?

The stolen concept fallacy also completely ignores the problems I borught up(I like the fact that you calim I am ignroing your arguments while you do the exact same thing) about the reliability of the senses. If my position was a fallacy it still wouldn;t change the problems in your own arguments about gaining objective knowledge, that of physiological imperfection and the impossibility of perceiving absolute detail.

I have also never been to a place where such a large misunderstanding of both the concepts of free will and determinism have abounded, but still rather than deal with the probelm of Volition as causation, a lot of you choose to attempt to provide arguments against beliefs you do not even know if I hold or not.

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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.

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.

If a perception is a valid representation of reality, what else can that be but an "objective perception"? What do you mean by objective? How can something that is subjective *be* a valid representation of reality? At best, it means perceptions may or may not be valid representations of reality. In which case you can't say perceptions *are* valid representations of reality.

I think you're confusing interpretation with perception.

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I have also never been to a place where such a large misunderstanding of both the concepts of free will and determinism have abounded, but still rather than deal with the probelm of Volition as causation, a lot of you choose to attempt to provide arguments against beliefs you do not even know if I hold or not.

It may not be as much of a misunderstanding as you think. I've had college philosophy courses (enough for a minor actually) and I'm quite familiar with the way that the analytical philosophical tradition deals with the idea of free will and determinism. But there is a reason why Objectivists do not discuss this and many other traditional philosophical problems the same way the analytical philosophers do. Many of the questions in philosophy have been debated for so long (thousands of years in fact) because in their typical formulation they are NOT SOLVABLE, even on their own terms. Why in the world continue to tackle a problem in such a way as to be guaranteed no resolution or conclusion from the start?

I have a question for you, though. If there is no truly objective position to be had on anything, and we are all operating from a subjective stance as valid as anyone else's subjective stance, is there any way to discriminate among all of these subjective claims and statements such that some are better or worse than others? If so, how do we do this? If we can't, how do we function day-to-day?

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Some subjective stances would have to reasonably be more in line with objective reality than others, and thus be more valid. The only way to distinguish them is to see which ones correspond more with our interpretation of Objective reality.

If a perception is a valid representation of reality, what else can that be but an "objective perception"? What do you mean by objective? How can something that is subjective *be* a valid representation of reality? At best, it means perceptions may or may not be valid representations of reality. In which case you can't say perceptions *are* valid representations of reality.

I think you're confusing interpretation with perception.

I don't think they are valid, I think that is what Rand holds.

By objective perception I just mean a perception that is wholly and perfectly representative of objective reality.

This is what is required for objective knowledge. Anything less is subjective.

Edited by CJM

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This is what is required for objective knowledge. Anything less is subjective.

This is just an assertion. Where are you getting this? Why do you think not being able to know everything is equivalent to not being able to know anything?

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Some subjective stances would have to reasonably be more in line with objective reality than others, and thus be more valid. The only way to distinguish them is to see which ones correspond more with our interpretation of Objective reality.

I don't think they are valid, I think that is what Rand holds.

By objective perception I just mean a perception that is wholly and perfectly representative of objective reality.

This is what is required for objective knowledge. Anything less is subjective.

CJM, why is it that subjective knowledge can't lead to objective knowledge - to comment on it? You should read my post that is nested in early at the beginning of this thread. The issue that makes so many problems of philosophy unsolvable, and causes so many problems with mysticism is that of the unknown. There is ALWAYS going to be an unknown, any other way requires some reality that doesn't function based on reason. Reason and causality are necessary for anything that exists and matters. I think people accept 'faith' as legitimate because they want to believe that certain things have a meaning when they objectively don't. For example, people want to believe that at the edge of the universe there's some God, rather than say some leviathan monster that will eat our planet tomorrow. That's ridiculous to say, but that's sort of the point when it comes to mysticism and faith. If something affects you, then it is real, its effects can be measured. If something is measured to be consistent, and a logical process describing causal effects is discovered, then you can reason that it exists. Do you know for sure? No!

Consider Hume: will the sun rise tomorrow? We don't know, conclusively, for sure. But, we have every REASON to think it will. That is, from our base of knowledge, it would be utterly preposterous to assume the sun will not rise. This is the source of his error - a desire for mystical omniscience. Subjectively, we desire explanations for things that take our highly advanced abstract concepts - constructed out of reality - and impose them on reality. This is the Platonic idea that meaning trickles down from above, from a mystical realm, rather than being constructed - via reason - from observations of objective reality. The difference is that in one realm, reason is unreliable, in the other, it is everything.

The axioms of Objectivism have to do with our base of knowledge. One conclusion drawn from them is that if something is unknowable, it is irrelevant. Knowable means: you can use reason to describe it. The great insight of all this is that if there is anything, anywhere that affects you at all, then reason can be used to describe it. This is opposed to the idea that there are mystical forces that cannot be described by reason by their nature, and yet they affect us. You have to use reason to even comprehend that, and it is false.

I agree that the senses are subjective. But Objectivism is still correct. Consider the 'mormon' position. Mormons believe that their knowledge of God is not subjectively obtained. They believe that God 'tells' them he is true through a spirit. This spirit is thought of as a 'sixth sense' - that affects how you 'feel'. That might seem obviously subjective, and it is, but mormons don't think so. They believe that one can conclude that a consistent feeling of a certain type is rational evidence for an effect. They are right. Their error is that such a feeling is evidence only that they had a feeling, saying nothing of its source. More often than not, the subconscious expectation for something is what causes the feeling - I believe. Mormons also believe in faith, but if you argue with one as an Objectivist, they will describe faith exclusively according to the terms I just described.

This is relevant to your questions because I think you are right that senses are subjective. The beautiful secret is that reason is not subjective. This means you can take the evidence of the senses, and use reason to integrate what you've observed, and draw conclusions about whatever it is that is affecting you. The resultant picture, though subject to inductive error, is objective reality, because you have no reason to think that it is not.

Also, I think we agree about determinism and free will. This, "You are consciously aware that you could have made a choice, so you really could have," is false. You are only aware that there were multiple choices possible. Interestingly, you are also aware of the reasons why you made your choice over the others - and the reasons for this choice - which presumably were not subject to mystical volition.

Again, the issue with determinism causes the most problems with ethics. "If I have no volition, I'm not responsible for my choices." is the conclusion. But this is the real sentence, "If I have no mystical identity that chooses based on a mechanism that can't be described by reason, then the mystical force of ethics in the universe - also not describable by reason - should not hold me responsible for my choices" which is false.

I think your problem is assuming that there is some 'soul' separate from the decision making process, that it 'deserves' to be coddled for the mistakes of its mind it couldn't control. But I contend that your mind is your soul, and so you should be held responsible for its results - regardless of 'how' the decision making process works. The non-mystical arbiter of this decision is: reality. I agree with everyone who has said that it's not good to worry about the question of free will - that it exists effectively - if not according to some mystical standard.

In reality, where logic rules, your choices defining your volition vs. your volition defining your choices is equivalent. Only under a subjective standard would one be different than the other.

But, I think I've repeated myself more than enough - I hope my argument is now perfectly clear.

Edited by ZSorenson

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This is just an assertion. Where are you getting this? Why do you think not being able to know everything is equivalent to not being able to know anything?

It's not about not being able to know everything, it is about not being able to know everything about anything. If I cannot perceive the totality of something, I am not perceiving that thing as it is in objective reality. You will probably reply with "No, but you can see aspects as they are in objective reality." This is untrue, the same problem of absolute detail arises in relation to any physical objects we perceive down to the smallest part we are capable of perceiving.

ZSorenson, I do not hold any faith in mystical beings or souls.

I agree that the senses are subjective. But Objectivism is still correct.

But if this is true, Objectivism cannot be correct, since it is held in Objectivism that sense perception is not subjective, but objective.

Edited by CJM

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It's not about not being able to know everything, it is about not being able to know everything about anything. If I cannot perceive the totality of something, I am not perceiving that thing as it is in objective reality. You will probably reply with "No, but you can see aspects as they are in objective reality." This is untrue, the same problem of absolute detail arises in relation to any physical objects we perceive down to the smallest part we are capable of perceiving.

All right, I think I see where you're going with this, but I do have this question - what is a totality? How did you arrive at this concept? What work does it do? Most importantly, how did you decide that having knowledge about a thing requires having ALL knowledge about that thing?

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But if this is true, Objectivism cannot be correct, since it is held in Objectivism that sense perception is not subjective, but objective.

Did you read what followed: reason is not subjective. If reason is applied to the evidence of the senses, the resulting picture is objective. The key is reason.

In fact, by reason you can conclude that the senses are usually objective. If you develop some disorder, and colors and sizes of things in your vision begin to vary, you might say that you vision is no longer objective - but you can still use reason, your memory, other senses, to get a picture of objective reality from your flawed vision. I know someone who has this problem when they eat cheese. They realize that the table that looks like they can walk under is in fact too short when they hit their shins on it. Reason is the common standard.

There is a good cause for the 5 senses being objective - evolution favored creatures who senses were objective, for obvious reasons.

Yes, even if objective, senses can't describe all reality (infrared, ultraviolet for example), but generally what they describe they do so objectively. And we know this because reason allows us to conclude so. In the case of a 'sixth' sense - reason dictates that this does not describe reality. Yes, you 'feel' things sometimes, but reason can be used to conclude that these feelings are not revelations, but products of the subconscious (generally, that's just an example).

Reason. Reason. Reason.

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All right, I think I see where you're going with this, but I do have this question - what is a totality? How did you arrive at this concept? What work does it do? Most importantly, how did you decide that having knowledge about a thing requires having ALL knowledge about that thing?

Exactly! Requiring ALL knowledge about a thing presupposes the existence of a totality. Again, it's imposing concepts on reality, rather than deriving concepts from reality. An inductive error at the heart of your thinking.

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Did you read what followed: reason is not subjective. If reason is applied to the evidence of the senses, the resulting picture is objective. The key is reason.

This may be true, but it does not change the thing that Objectivism holds to be true that I have a problem with, which is that sense perception is objective.

All right, I think I see where you're going with this, but I do have this question - what is a totality? How did you arrive at this concept? What work does it do? Most importantly, how did you decide that having knowledge about a thing requires having ALL knowledge about that thing?

If there is an objective reality, it must exist in totality, whatever that totality consists of this. How could it not?

Not knowledge, but objective knowledge. If you are to know a thing objectively, you must know it as it exists in Objective reality. Things in objective reality exist as they are, in totality. If we do not know the totality, we do not know the thing objectively.

Exactly! Requiring ALL knowledge about a thing presupposes the existence of a totality. Again, it's imposing concepts on reality, rather than deriving concepts from reality. An inductive error at the heart of your thinking.

Claiming reality is objective is imposing a concept on reality. Mine is derived from reality the same as yours.

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If there is an objective reality, it must exist in totality, whatever that totality consists of this. How could it not?

Not knowledge, but objective knowledge. If you are to know a thing objectively, you must know it as it exists in Objective reality. Things in objective reality exist as they are, in totality. If we do not know the totality, we do not know the thing objectively.

Claiming reality is objective is imposing a concept on reality. Mine is derived from reality the same as yours.

Why must it exist in totality? What is a totality? Here is, I think, where you are running into problems. What does this MEAN? Is this some kind of holistic argument? Things in reality are separate from each other. They have identities and act according to their nature. You can know, for certain, parts of that nature without having to know ALL of it. I can know, for certain, that a wood table is hard, without knowing the grain composition of wood and how the molecules cohere and all that good stuff. I can be 100% sure that this table is hard. If I choose to ignore that the table is hard and mash my head against it, I do so to my detriment.

Your definition of objective is arbitrary. I think you are arguing for some kind of intrinsicism, not objectivity. What definition of objective are you operating from, such that objective knowledge is separate from "plain" knowledge? And when you say you are deriving your concepts from the same reality as we are, understand that you are making an appeal to the very objectivity you seek to reject, which is what a few different posters have been trying to tell you for a while now.

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Why must it exist in totality? What is a totality? Here is, I think, where you are running into problems. What does this MEAN? Is this some kind of holistic argument? Things in reality are separate from each other. They have identities and act according to their nature. You can know, for certain, parts of that nature without having to know ALL of it. I can know, for certain, that a wood table is hard, without knowing the grain composition of wood and how the molecules cohere and all that good stuff. I can be 100% sure that this table is hard. If I choose to ignore that the table is hard and mash my head against it, I do so to my detriment.

Your definition of objective is arbitrary. I think you are arguing for some kind of intrinsicism, not objectivity. What definition of objective are you operating from, such that objective knowledge is separate from "plain" knowledge? And when you say you are deriving your concepts from the same reality as we are, understand that you are making an appeal to the very objectivity you seek to reject, which is what a few different posters have been trying to tell you for a while now.

Totality is just things as they are. Things exist as something, and totality is just what they are. You could say identity, but totality is important for this line of argumentation. I just mean it in contrast to perceiving certain aspects.

You may think a table is hard. You cannot be sure parts of it are not soft. You cannot perceive the totality of this object. You cannot even be 100% sure that parts of it are, since you cannot perceive the totality of the parts. This continues to the level to which we cannot perceive.

My definition of Objective isn't arbitrary, how do you figure it is. When I use objective, I mean it in relation to Objective reality. We all know what is meant by Objective reality right?

I dot seek to reject objective reality, just knowledge of it.

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Totality is just things as they are. Things exist as something, and totality is just what they are. You could say identity, but totality is important for this line of argumentation. I just mean it in contrast to perceiving certain aspects.

You may think a table is hard. You cannot be sure parts of it are not soft. You cannot perceive the totality of this object. You cannot even be 100% sure that parts of it are, since you cannot perceive the totality of the parts. This continues to the level to which we cannot perceive.

My definition of Objective isn't arbitrary, how do you figure it is. When I use objective, I mean it in relation to Objective reality. We all know what is meant by Objective reality right?

I dot seek to reject objective reality, just knowledge of it.

Clearly, we don't all know what is meant by objective reality or we wouldn't be using it differently as we seem to be here. I am still not clear on where you are getting this totality business from. Is totality equivalent to identity or different? I and I think most of the other posters are explicitly rejecting your claim that you have to know everything about an entity to know anything about it. You are the one making that claim so you have to defend it, you have to give us some reason to accept it. I CAN be sure parts of a table are not soft, because I've observed them to be hard. Now if there's gum under the table and it's still soft and I don't see it at first I could be wrong, but amazingly enough I can look under the table with those imperfect senses and see there's gum there. And even if there is gum under the table, that's really not in any way relevant to my initial assessment the table is hard. The gum is an incidental rather than an essential characteristic.

I dispute that reality is anything like the way you are presenting it, composed of discrete totalities that are either known or unknown. That's a very static and idealized way of interpreting reality. I'm much more certain you are operating from an intrincisist view of knowledge now. That's not how knowledge works. Knowledge is both contextual and hierarchical - that is to say, it nests in itself at various levels of scale and derivation. But most importantly, no knowledge contradicts any other knowledge, or else one of those two propositions is not knowledge.

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Maybe in future you should try not to start it, Mr. Moderator?.

The only thing I started was applying the implication of your argument to your argument. If that was condescending it was so due to the recognition of the obvious contradiction that followed.

Yes, I am ignoring the rest of what you argue because first have to establish that it is based objective knowledge rather than your subjective guesswork. When you make an assertion that is not subjective or arbitrary, then that would be worth debating. What you subjectively hold might possibly may be true based on guesswork has no real value to an objective debate.

I demonstrated to you why you cannot claim your conclusions are a reasonably close approximation based on your on argument. You have no objective standard by which to gauge how close your position is to being truth since you don't know how much detail your senses are missing.

Until you have something of substantive objective value to assert, I'm done here.

Edited by RationalBiker

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I'm glad of that rationalbiker, as you have contributed nothing of value to this discussion whatsoever.

"You are a determinist, your views can nots change!"..........right....applying the implication of my argument to my argument.

Clearly, we don't all know what is meant by objective reality or we wouldn't be using it differently as we seem to be here. I am still not clear on where you are getting this totality business from. Is totality equivalent to identity or different? I and I think most of the other posters are explicitly rejecting your claim that you have to know everything about an entity to know anything about it. You are the one making that claim so you have to defend it, you have to give us some reason to accept it. I CAN be sure parts of a table are not soft, because I've observed them to be hard. Now if there's gum under the table and it's still soft and I don't see it at first I could be wrong, but amazingly enough I can look under the table with those imperfect senses and see there's gum there. And even if there is gum under the table, that's really not in any way relevant to my initial assessment the table is hard. The gum is an incidental rather than an essential characteristic.

I dispute that reality is anything like the way you are presenting it, composed of discrete totalities that are either known or unknown. That's a very static and idealized way of interpreting reality. I'm much more certain you are operating from an intrincisist view of knowledge now. That's not how knowledge works. Knowledge is both contextual and hierarchical - that is to say, it nests in itself at various levels of scale and derivation. But most importantly, no knowledge contradicts any other knowledge, or else one of those two propositions is not knowledge.

You aren't understanding what I mean by totality I see. If we take the example of a table, perceiving it in totality means knowing everything about it.

We do not need to know everything about a table to know about, let us say the leg of a table. However to know the leg of the table objectively, that is to know it as it is in Objective reality, we need to know everything about it.

You feel this does not imply that we can not know things about the leg of the table objectively, but this is to miss the point entirely. To know that a part is soft objectively, let us say a piece of the wood on the leg, we must know everything about that piece of wood. Parts of that part may be hard, parts may be soft, we must know the sum of the parts to know the piece objectively. This line of reasoning continues to the level at which we cannot perceive where our sensory systems can give us no knowledge.

Do you understand?

I do not mean totality in some grand sense. I just mean it as what a thing is, in it's absolute form in objective reality. A lampost exists in objective reality. It's totally is what it is composed of.

As for as I can see, there is no contradiction in equating this totality to identity as it is used by Ayn Rand, however that may be incorrect.

Edited by CJM

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Some subjective stances would have to reasonably be more in line with objective reality than others, and thus be more valid. The only way to distinguish them is to see which ones correspond more with our interpretation of Objective reality.

I don't think they are valid, I think that is what Rand holds.

By objective perception I just mean a perception that is wholly and perfectly representative of objective reality.

This is what is required for objective knowledge. Anything less is subjective.

"Our physical systems are imperfect. Our senses, our physical actions, all of them."

You said "If a picture is blurry, it is blurry. Seeing it as blurry is not inaccurate." The thing is there. It isn't anything other than reality as it is. It isn't an approximation of reality. Like I said before, you simply may not be able to make many conclusions from what you are seeing. When you say subjective, do you mean just "open to interpretation"?

I also asked "How [do] senses being "physical" lead you to conclude they are subjective?" That is more important than anything else I asked, I think.

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I dot seek to reject objective reality, just knowledge of it.

I would need to claim they rest on Objective knowledge. I do not.

If no knowledge is objective, there can be no objectively suppported arguments.

Why must my assertion be objective?

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

You know that you can't know reality?

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You said "If a picture is blurry, it is blurry. Seeing it as blurry is not inaccurate."

This was a response to an argument that was being put forth, it is not my views.

The thing is there. It isn't anything other than reality as it is. It isn't an approximation of reality.

Of course it itself is not, it is our perception of it that is.

Like I said before, you simply may not be able to make many conclusions from what you are seeing. When you say subjective, do you mean just "open to interpretation"?

When I say subjective, I mean it is someones perspective, in contrast to things as they exist.

I also asked "How [do] senses being "physical" lead you to conclude they are subjective?" That is more important than anything else I asked, I think.

I think I said this in a sentence where I was just putting forth the view that they were not magically, mystically incapable of error and were just a part of our physical being, as physiologically imperfect as anything else.

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You know that you can't know reality?

Correction. I think that I can't know reality as it is stands objectively.

There is a large difference.

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I'm glad of that rationalbiker, as you have contributed nothing of value to this discussion whatsoever.

More poor guesswork on your part. I contributed enough to demonstrate that your assertions have no value.

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More poor guesswork on your part. I contributed enough to demonstrate that your assertions have no value.

Good job. Having soundly defeated me, you can ride off into the sunset until I bring up something worthy of you like you said you would a post ago.

Or you could explain how it is concept stealing to suggest that perception is subjective and imperfect, while including your own.

You could explain why subjective knowledge means an assertion has no value.

You could explain how in the sweet jesus a determinist universe forces people to believe that perception is subjective and prevents them believing it is objective. This is the most hilariously inept attempt at an argument, so also the one I'd most love to see you tackle.

Or, and this might be shocking, you could attempt to refute a single one of the problems I originally brought up.

1. How our perceptions can be objective. And no, pretending I am claiming objective knowledge(when I am not) and that it is thus a fallacy won't do.

2. Why a rational person cannot hold a value to be of greater importance than their own life/ a certain type of life.

3. How voltion can be a type of causality. How it is free if it is caused, hot it is at all if it is not subject to causality.

Anyhting? No.....? Nothing at all?

Edited by CJM

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Correction. I think that I can't know reality as it is stands objectively.

If you don't know it, why do you think it? What claim of proof or existence do you have? You feel it's true so it's true? You are claiming to know it, and when presented with that contradiction you retreat and say that you don't know it. You can't eat your cake and have it.

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If you don't know it, why do you think it? What claim of proof or existence do you have? You feel it's true so it's true? You are claiming to know it, and when presented with that contradiction you retreat and say that you don't know it. You can't eat your cake and have it.

I am not claiming I know it at all. I am not claiming to know ANYTHING the way you claim you can which is objectively.

I am not trying to have said cake. I am most certainly not trying to eat it.

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I am not claiming to know ANYTHING the way you claim you can which is objectively.

A self-refuting statement as has been pointed out to you at least three times. Why are you still here?

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