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A few problems I have with Objectivism

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

Because it is only self-refuting in your minds, a magical place where I am claiming that I know things objectively.

That statement is not self-refuting. It is only self-refuting if you believe statements are either 100% correct and in-line with Objective reality or diametrically opposed to it, and that someone is claiming the former.

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Because it is only self-refuting in your minds, a magical place where I am claiming that I know things objectively.

Objectivity and magic are incompatible by definition.

That statement is not self-refuting. It is only self-refuting if you believe statements are either 100% correct and in-line with Objective reality or diametrically opposed to it, and that someone is claiming the former.

It is self-refuting because if certainty is not possible, then you could not ever have discovered that statements aren't either 100% correct or 0% correct, or whatever the hell else you think. And if you are not certain, then you aren't certain that certainty isn't possible and statements could be 100% correct or 0% correct or 58.3% correct and you wouldn't be able to know if they were or if they weren't, including not being able to know if you're able to know or not. ("How can one form such concepts as 'mistake' or 'error' while wholly ignorant of what is correct?") So the question remains, if you think you can't know ANYTHING, why are you still here?

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

Then I'm sure you're confusing interpretation and perception. You're using them as synonyms.

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

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.

They can't be in error because error simply cannot apply to a thing that is causally determined. It would be like saying a reflex is in error. A reflex can't be "wrong". Blurry eyesight doesn't mean what you're seeing is "wrong". A seismograph cannot be wrong, but it is possible that it is providing data other than the kind you want it to. Maybe you calibrated it in a way that provides meaningless information. So if the reading comes out as 1 but a properly calibrated seismograph is reading as 7, you would only say the 1 reading is "wrong" because it isn't operating as you want it to. But the seismograph isn't wrong, it is doing *exactly* what you told it to do.

You specifically probably say being colorblind is an example of your sight operating wrongly. "Oh one person sees gray, another sees red, that means it's subjective!" But you're not seeing anything "in contrast to [some]thing as [it] exists". Red is not an intrinsic property, neither is gray. A colorblind person receives the same wavelengths as everyone else. And anything after that cannot be wrong for the same reasons a seismograph cannot be wrong. The only time any "wrongness" can occur is when you interpret what you're seeing.

Also to address another question:

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

You can. I'm using that wording *very* loosely here. You cannot talk about values apart from a person, apart from a context. What thing are we talking about? Whose values are we talking about? You can hold any value higher than your survival. For the value to be rational, it would have to contribute to your own flourishing in some way, though.

Edited by Eiuol

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Objectivity and magic are incompatible by definition.

Is not understanding facetiousness an Objectivist trait?

It is self-refuting because if certainty is not possible, then you could not ever have discovered that statements aren't either 100% correct or 0% correct, or whatever the hell else you think.

Re-read my post and try again.

And if you are not certain, then you aren't certain that certainty isn't possible and statements could be 100% correct or 0% correct or 58.3% correct and you wouldn't be able to know if they were or if they weren't, including not being able to know if you're able to know or not.

Do you understand what the word certainty means?

("How can one form such concepts as 'mistake' or 'error' while wholly ignorant of what is correct?")

Being uncertain does not mean you are "wholly ignorant".

So the question remains, if you think you can't know ANYTHING, why are you still here?

You need to take a moment, re-read what I wrote and try to reply when you actually understand what I said.

Is English not your first language? I am sorry for being harsh if it is not.

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They can't be in error because error simply cannot apply to a thing that is causally determined.

Yes it can. Define your use of "error".

Blurry eyesight doesn't mean what you're seeing is "wrong".

Yes it does. The thing itself is not blurry. Out perception of it is.

A seismograph cannot be wrong,

Uh what? Of course a seismograph can be wrong, they are all the time. You are assuming it has been constructed perfectly. Out sense organs are not constructed perfectly.

but it is possible that it is providing data other than the kind you want it to. Maybe you calibrated it in a way that provides meaningless information. So if the reading comes out as 1 but a properly calibrated seismograph is reading as 7, you would only say the 1 reading is "wrong" because it isn't operating as you want it to. But the seismograph isn't wrong, it is doing *exactly* what you told it to do.

Again I fail to see your point. You seem to assume that our sense organs develop perfectly.

You specifically probably say being colorblind is an example of your sight operating wrongly. "Oh one person sees gray, another sees red, that means it's subjective!" But you're not seeing anything "in contrast to [some]thing as [it] exists". Red is not an intrinsic property, neither is gray.

No, they are subjective properties we assign to things.

A colorblind person receives the same wavelengths as everyone else. And anything after that cannot be wrong for the same reasons a seismograph cannot be wrong. The only time any "wrongness" can occur is when you interpret what you're seeing.

Seismographs can be wrong, if they are wrongly constructed. They also do not give us perfect information. Only a highly limited estimation. I don't get your analogy at all here.

Yes a colourblind person receives the same wavelengths, what does this have to do with their perception? How could they possibly not? The difference is then in how these wavelengths are perceived.

Edited by CJM

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Is not understanding facetiousness an Objectivist trait?

Re-read my post and try again.

Do you understand what the word certainty means?

Being uncertain does not mean you are "wholly ignorant".

You need to take a moment, re-read what I wrote and try to reply when you actually understand what I said.

Is English not your first language? I am sorry for being harsh if it is not.

Pardon me if I interperet your unwillingness to answer to the contradiction of your skepticism as an inability to do so.

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Pardon me if I interperet your unwillingness to answer to the contradiction of your skepticism as an inability to do so.

I have already answered it. You refuse to accept that I am not claiming my opinions to be objective reality. I cannot do anything about this refusal on your part.

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I have already answered it. You refuse to accept that I am not claiming my opinions to be objective reality. I cannot do anything about this refusal on your part.

Oh no, I accept that your opinions aren't based on reality. In fact, that's exactly the point. If your opinions aren't based on reality and yet you claim that they are in accordance with the facts of reality, then you are committing fallacy of the stolen concept. If your claim is that they aren't in accordance with the facts of reality and don't need to be, then why are you here arguing about them?

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Oh no, I accept that your opinions aren't based on reality. In fact, that's exactly the point. If your opinions aren't based on reality and yet you claim that they are in accordance with the facts of reality, then you are committing fallacy of the stolen concept. If your claim is that they aren't in accordance with the facts of reality and don't need to be, then why are you here arguing about them?

A. Again you get muddled up. Nothing was said about being "based on reality". It was that they WERE objective reality.

You said, while we were discussing whether I was claiming I knew Objective Reality

You are claiming to know it

B. I have never said my opinions are not based on reality.

I feel the need to stop replying to you. You not only do not seem to understand my arguments, it is apparent you are very confused about your own.

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opinions become fact when based in reality because reality exists consistently. If your opinion cannot be taken back to reality and proven there its pointless conjecture and likely wrong. What you are aiming to do is make it so you cannot be proven wrong by disengaging proof.

Also none of us gets why our sense are subjective. what i see through my eyes is consistent and backed up by the views of other objective senses from em and others. whats more is that my perceptions are consistent with respect to time. Maybe my yes are tired and i see something incorrectly for a moment but that incorrect perception is not consistent and is quickly disproved by correct perceptions.

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A. Again you get muddled up. Nothing was said about being "based on reality". It was that they WERE objective reality.

You said, while we were discussing whether I was claiming I knew Objective Reality

B. I have never said my opinions are not based on reality.

I feel the need to stop replying to you. You not only do not seem to understand my arguments, it is apparent you are very confused about your own.

If you admit that you do not know reality, then it is clear that you have admitted your opinions aren't based on anything other than the reality you invent for yourself in your imagination. Which part of that is too muddled for you to understand?

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The part where you decide I am claiming Objective knowledge.

The part where you decide that I have said my opinions are not based on reality.

opinions become fact when based in reality because reality exists consistently. If your opinion cannot be taken back to reality and proven there its pointless conjecture and likely wrong. What you are aiming to do is make it so you cannot be proven wrong by disengaging proof.

Opinions by their very definition are beliefs that cannot be proven, so I am not sure how much validity your statement holds.

Also none of us gets why our sense are subjective. what i see through my eyes is consistent and backed up by the views of other objective senses from em and others. whats more is that my perceptions are consistent with respect to time. Maybe my yes are tired and i see something incorrectly for a moment but that incorrect perception is not consistent and is quickly disproved by correct perceptions.

They may appear consistent, but this doesn't solve the problem of absolute detail or physiological perfection.

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The part where you decide I am claiming Objective knowledge.

The part where you decide that I have said my opinions are not based on reality.

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

Why must my assertion be objective?

QUOTE

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

Either you are claiming to know all of those things are true, in which case you are committing the fallacy of stolen concept,

or you are claiming not to know any of those things and that they are true, in which case you are committing the fallacy of stolen concept AND and claiming arbitrary statements that you invented in your head are true even though you admit they are irrational and faith-based,

or you are claiming to not know any of those things and that they are false, in which case why are you here arguing them?

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I haven't read the thread, because it seems long and laden with insults, but I'll give answering the OP a try (maybe I'll come up with something new, who knows)

On Objectivist Epistemology

The validity of the senses, this is one I can't get my head around. Rand seems to hold that our perception of reality is objective reality. Is this so? This makes no sense to me, as it seems to suggest physiological infallibility on mans part. What we perceive is not objective reality, since our sensory systems act imperfectly.

We don't perceive with our sensory systems.

AR claims that perception is objective, and that our knowledge is objective. But she doesn't claim that our senses, or the human mind, are universally infallible, which is what you seem to be suggesting.

On Objectivist Ethics

Objectivism seems to hold that a persons life should be their highest value. I see no reason why a rational person could not hold something else, e.g. their child's life to be of greater value than their own.

could/should, seems to. You should watch that, because this way your second sentence has no logical connection to your first.

I can't speak to what Objectivism "seems" to hold, to you (not because perception is subjective, but because you are, and as a result, have the ability to make up anything you want ant think it's Objectivism-which by the way is proof enough of free will), but I agree that anything could be a person's highest value, including their child, murdering a few thousand people, or a car.

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?

Any help on these problems would be greatly appreciated.

The "free will is self evident" statement rests on the validity of percepts. If you don't believe we can perceive objectively, then you don't believe we can realize that we make choices. You may claim that choices may be illusions.

But I do know that my consciousness exists, and that what I perceive about my consciousness (and incidentally, what my senses sense) is real information, so I believe it when I perceive that I made a choice.

And my final point is that you (or anyone I'm aware of) have not demonstrated a contradiction between causality and free will. I don't see why there would be one. If I had to guess, you're misunderstanding what free will is, and assuming that it implies that men have the ability to reverse cause and effect, inside their heads.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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2046, if ya can't understand, you can't. Everything you just said has been tackled already.

We don't perceive with our sensory systems.

With what, then, do we?

could/should, seems to. You should watch that, because this way your second sentence has no logical connection to your first.

I can't speak to what Objectivism "seems" to hold, to you (not because perception is subjective, but because you are, and as a result, have the ability to make up anything you want ant think it's Objectivism-which by the way is proof enough of free will), but I agree that anything could be a person's highest value, including their child, murdering a few thousand people, or a car.

How is this not contradictory to the Objectivist doctrine of holding your life as your own highest value? Two things cannot be your highest value.

An ultimate value is that final goal or end to which all lesser goals are the means—and it sets the standard by which all lesser goals are evaluated. An organism’s life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil.

Without an ultimate goal or end, there can be no lesser goals or means: a series of means going off into an infinite progression toward a nonexistent end is a metaphysical and epistemological impossibility. It is only an ultimate goal, an end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible. Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of “life.” To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is worse than a contradiction in terms. “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible.”

The "free will is self evident" statement rests on the validity of percepts. If you don't believe we can perceive objectively, then you don't believe we can make choices.

This isn't true. Why could we not be able to make choices if we did not perceive objectively?

And my final point is that you (or anyone I'm aware of) have not demonstrated a contradiction between causality and free will. I don't see why there would be one. If I had to guess, you're misunderstanding what free will is, and assuming that it implies that men have the ability to reverse cause and effect, inside their heads.

Unless objectivists hold a COMPLETELY different idea of what free will entails, unless they have given the name "free will" to another concept, I am not.

If volition or will is caused by factors outside our contol(causality) then how can it be said to be free?

Edited by CJM

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With what, then, do we?

With our consciousness. That's why you know what you're thinking or feeling, even though there isn't a special sensory organ for it. You perceive it.

This isn't true. Why could we not be able to make choices if we did not perceive objectively?

I didn't say that. I said you couldn't objectively determine whether you're making a choice or not, because that determination relies on perception, and you don't believe that will result in objective knowledge.

And since perception is (by definition) our only link to reality (reality within and outside of our conssciousness), you don't believe there is objective knowledge of any kind, I suppose.

Unless objectivists hold a COMPLETELY different idea of what free will entails, unless they have given the name "free will" to another concept, I am not.

If volition or will is caused by factors outside our contol(causality) then how can it be said to be free?

Is that your final answer on what causality is? Something caused by factors outside our ontrol?

I'm gonna have to disagree. In fact, I just caused this post, so the relationship between my decision to cause it, and it's magical appearance on your screen (the causality), was clearly within my control. It's an instance of causality, and yet here I am, controlling it as I'm typing.

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Yes it can. Define your use of "error".

From a dictionary: "the condition of believing what is not true: in error about the date. " I also mean this when I use the word "wrong" in my posts.

Uh what? Of course a seismograph can be wrong, they are all the time. You are assuming it has been constructed perfectly. Out sense organs are not constructed perfectly.

You typed this before you read my whole post, obviously. I did not assume "perfect construction", either.

Again I fail to see your point. You seem to assume that our sense organs develop perfectly.

No, I didn't.

No, they are subjective properties we assign to things.

A property cannot be subjective. Redness is just a concept, really. What you call a "subjective property" seems to be more accurately described as a "concept about an object".

Seismographs can be wrong, if they are wrongly constructed. They also do not give us perfect information. Only a highly limited estimation. I don't get your analogy at all here.

Read the paragraph as a whole. Can a seismograph do anything OTHER THAN what it is told to do? "Wrongness" simply does not apply. If you used a different scale of measurement according to your mis-calibration, you would then say the seismograph is "right". To say a tool is wrong or right simply makes no sense, or at the very least, a poor way to describe what is happening. The only thing that is wrong is the person who calibrated the seismograph, because he made a mistake.

Yes a colourblind person receives the same wavelengths, what does this have to do with their perception? How could they possibly not? The difference is then in how these wavelengths are perceived.

What they see IS there and it is valid. The wavelength isn't altered. The wave enters your eye. Neurons react to the light. The neurons fire a signal to the brain. You see something. Up to this point, nothing was wrong in the *same way* a seismograph cannot be wrong. Next, you interpret what it is that is being seen. This is where being wrong is applicable.

Have you read Intro. to Objectivist Epistemology? I think it would be best if you read that first before debating (Why is this in the Questions about Objectivism forum?). That way I can at least see if you simply disagree or if you just misunderstood what Rand wrote. I haven't read ITOE yet, so I don't really have much else to add. I'll take my own advice and read ITOE before I try to go any more in-depth in a discussion here in this thread.

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I said: [Absolute refers to the fact] that I can perceive the keyboard in a way which is non-contradictory with my or anyone else's knowledge.

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

When was the last time somebody told you that your keyboard is an elephant?

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

[...]

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

[...]

I hold no such thing implicitly. [referring to objective evaluation]

[... and...]

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

So you are refuting the standard definition of 'objectivity'! Please provide your own definition if you disagree with the standard one.

Senses are all that we have. If you deny their validity, you have no other recourse to knowledge. Further, (you do not disagree that) perceptual data once properly integrated provides non-contradictory knowledge. Why this isn't sufficient to uphold the infallibility of our senses?

Also, please note that sensory data is not 'knowledge' until it is integrated by our mind. So you can't talk about objective knowledge without talking about integration of perceptual data by our mind.

I said: If a man holds life as his highest value, then it should be the ethical standard for his choice of all other values.

CJM said: Yes, but there is no reason to think the opposite should necessarily be true.

I said: By the opposite, do you mean if man chooses death instead of life?

CJM said: If we were talking about a mans live being his highest value because it was his standard of value thats what I meant. [... and...] 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 reject that argument given to you (whosoever gave it) - it is an attempt to reverse the role of ethics and metaphysics.

So if we ignore that argument, then I presume you agree that if man holds life as his highest value, then it should be his standard of value.

Coming back to the question of why a rational man cannot hold any value above his life, you say:

A huge relationship [between will and actions] does not entail a moving towards, as was claimed.

Are you willfully evading my point that "man's life is not automatic"? If man has no will to live, he cannot live. Goal directed action is a necessity. If he chooses to live, he has to hold values, and act towards gaining or keeping them in order to live.

Your original question was about what values a rational man should hold. Are you are trying to deliberately steer it away from that? You have raised a separate issue, namely: relationship between will (i.e. values) and actions. Even in this respect, you are avoiding straight discussion. Anyone here reading your above quote can see that while it shows your acknowledgement of "huge relationship" (between values and actions), it asserts the exact opposite. You are trying to have your cake and eat it too.

When I tried to previously point out that divorcing values and actions imply that we are not talking about Ethics but fantasy, you completely ignored that point too.

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

I know. But even if you continue using sacrifice in your undefined sense (rather than the Objectivist sense), the issue remains the same: is it proper for man to die protecting his top values - such as his freedom, or his beloved?

And I addressed that issue in my previous posts. Let me repeat: man's nature as a rational being implies he lives in a certain way - as a heroic being, not as a tortured soul. Therefore, it is proper for man to die fighting for that without which he is unwilling to live.

So, was this another deliberate attempt to steer away and not address the point?

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.

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

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

The following are my views on this topic: (they are not contradictory to Objectivism, but I am the sole originator of these ideas. I haven't found them anywhere in Objectivist literature):

It is a contradiction to say "I could not choose any others". Either you made a choice or you didn't. Your confusion comes from picturing consciousness as a mere spectator to our thoughts and mental activity. But that is impossible because it would mean that consciousness is completely detached and outside the material universe. In this case, consciousness would have to be a mystical presence devoid of any existential form. Of course, this leaves several other questions unanswered too, if consciousness is free from existence, why does it have an identity? Why does it "attach" to one human body? What is volition?

The fact is that you can't divorce man's soul and his body. Consciousness is a process actively interacting with the environment. You can't separate mental actions such as making a choice from you consciousness, and somehow claim that your choices are not yours.

Edits: Minor sentence edits to improve clarity, without changing the meaning.

Edited by Rockefeller

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Yes it can. Define your use of "error".

Yes it does. The thing itself is not blurry. Out perception of it is.

Uh what? Of course a seismograph can be wrong, they are all the time. You are assuming it has been constructed perfectly. Out sense organs are not constructed perfectly.

Again I fail to see your point. You seem to assume that our sense organs develop perfectly.

No, they are subjective properties we assign to things.

Seismographs can be wrong, if they are wrongly constructed. They also do not give us perfect information. Only a highly limited estimation. I don't get your analogy at all here.

Yes a colourblind person receives the same wavelengths, what does this have to do with their perception? How could they possibly not? The difference is then in how these wavelengths are perceived.

You naively demand a perfect and total correspondence between things in themselves and our knowledge of them. This is a demand for omniscience, it is a demand for knowledge as an effect without a definite cause. (Just to clear, this is an error.)

Consider just this one answer of yours: "Yes it does. The thing itself is not blurry. Out perception of it is." How the hell did you ever come to know that things in themselves are not blurry? What means of checking was employed? Was it not also sensation/perception? Why, yes it was. Apparently naively leaping to the conclusion that the universe enters consciousness directly and without distortion is an error, and yet the universe does enter consciousness somehow or it would never be possible to discover error at all. Therefore, perfect perception is not necessary for knowledge.

Edited by Grames

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With our consciousness. That's why you know what you're thinking or feeling, even though there isn't a special sensory organ for it. You perceive it.

Consciousness(as I understand the way you and her are using it in this context, to choose to think or not) is held to be subjective and volitional in Objectivity, so therefore what we perceive isn't objective anyway.

Is that your final answer on what causality is? Something caused by factors outside our ontrol?

No I did not say this is what Causality is.

I'm gonna have to disagree. In fact, I just caused this post, so the relationship between my decision to cause it, and it's magical appearance on your screen (the causality), was clearly within my control. It's an instance of causality, and yet here I am, controlling it as I'm typing.

And where did this decision come from? Was it not caused?

What they see IS there and it is valid. The wavelength isn't altered. The wave enters your eye. Neurons react to the light. The neurons fire a signal to the brain. You see something. Up to this point, nothing was wrong in the *same way* a seismograph cannot be wrong. Next, you interpret what it is that is being seen. This is where being wrong is applicable.

You are assmuning the wrong signals cannot be sent to the brain. There is no reason for thinking this.

I will leave your analogy for the moment as this seems to be a bigger problem.

So you are refuting the standard definition of 'objectivity'! Please provide your own definition if you disagree with the standard one.

I do not see how I am, could you elaborate?

I know. But even if you continue using sacrifice in your undefined sense (rather than the Objectivist sense), the issue remains the same: is it proper for man to die protecting his top values - such as his freedom, or his beloved?

And I addressed that issue in my previous posts. Let me repeat: man's nature as a rational being implies he lives in a certain way - as a heroic being, not as a tortured soul. Therefore, it is proper for man to die fighting for that without which he is unwilling to live.

So, was this another deliberate attempt to steer away and not address the point?

You clearly did not know, and the sense I am using it is not undefined. I am not taking words and using them while giving them my own definitions.

Rand argues that we only hold these as values in how they relate to our own lives. If you are sacrificing yourself for another only because you feel life without them isn't truly life/living as a heroic being you are doing nothing but committing suicide, and may as well do it in a way that does not save them if it is more convenient for you. You are not dying for a person or cause, but for yourself.

I reject that argument given to you (whosoever gave it) - it is an attempt to reverse of ethics and metaphysics.

So if we ignore that argument, then I presume you agree that if man holds life as his highest value, then it should be his standard of value.

I accept this rejection.

It is a contradiction to say "I could not choose any others". Either you made a choice or you didn't.

I fail to see how it is a contradiction. I can choose to stand up without remaining seated being a possibility, even if I do not know that it is not a possibility.

Choice requires that we sum up alternatives and come to a conclusion. It does not require that the alternatives which we do not choose be physically possible to carry out.

Your confusion comes from picturing consciousness as a mere spectator to our thoughts and mental activity. But that is impossible because it would mean that consciousness is completely detached and outside the material universe. In this case, consciousness would have to be a mystical presence devoid of any existential form. Of course, this leaves several other questions unanswered too, if consciousness is free from existence, why does it have an identity? Why does it "attach" to one human body? What is volition?

The fact is that you can't divorce man's soul and his body. Consciousness is a process actively interacting with the environment.

No it does not, that is not how I perceive consciousness at all.

You naively demand a perfect and total correspondence between things in themselves and our knowledge of them.

This is not what I demand, this is what you demand. THAT is objective knowledge, which you claim is possible.

his is a demand for omniscience,

I am aware, that is my problem with it.

Consider just this one answer of yours: "Yes it does. The thing itself is not blurry. Out perception of it is." How the hell did you ever come to know that things in themselves are not blurry? What means of checking was employed? Was it not also sensation/perception? Why, yes it was.

Of course it was, and I am not claiming that this position isn't subjective and distorted(distorted to a degree).

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This is not what I demand, this is what you demand. THAT is objective knowledge, which you claim is possible.

Wrong. Reading comprehension failure on your part. THAT is NOT what objective knowledge is because it is impossible. If there is objective knowledge, and there is, it must be something else.

I am aware, that is my problem with it.

Of course it was, and I am not claiming that this position isn't subjective and distorted(distorted to a degree).

There is 'good subjective' and 'bad subjective', but knowledge can be derived from the subjective, distorted material we have to work with.

Edited by Grames

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I said: So you are refuting the standard definition of 'objectivity'!

CJM said: I do not see how I am, could you elaborate?

'Objectivity' means that recognition of a fact is observer-independent. Given that, what should I make of your following statement:

"Just because there is a standard does not mean it is objective." (Reminder: the "standard" that you were referring to is man's non-contradictory knowledge derived from perceptual data.)

Therefore, you are clearly refuting the idea that non-contradictory identification implies objectivity.

Please let me know whether you agree with the definition I provided. If not, then also explain why you still hold that objective evaluation is impossible.

You clearly did not know

What is your evidence? Please refrain from making arbitrary statements unless you can support them by means of evidence.

only because you feel life without them isn't truly life/living as a heroic being you are doing nothing but committing suicide, and may as well do it in a way that does not save them if it is more convenient for you. You are not dying for a person or cause, but for yourself.

Your last sentence is correct and made me smile. But on whole, you are attacking a straw man. Rand never said it is proper to act on an unidentified "feelings" (that life would be miserable). It's about rationally evaluating choices that you have. For instance, the choices could be: "life of pain and misery" vs. "a very risky attempt to save your top value". A rational man's choice in this matter will depend on how much he values and his evaluation of risk. Therefore, it is not a suicide in the loner sense - it's dying in an attempt to save your top values.

BTW, this is what Rand said in Galt's speech:

If a man dies fighting for his own freedom, it is not a sacrifice: he is not willing to live as a slave; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of man who’s willing.

Having said that, I think it is OK for man to choose death if the only alternative is an unavoidable painful survival (e.g. if a man looses all his limbs etc.), but that is a separate issue. Morality applies only to life. Ayn Rand characterized Objectivism as "a philosophy for living on earth."

I accept this rejection.

Thus? Do you now see why a rational man holds life as his highest value?

It does not require that the alternatives which we do not choose be physically possible to carry out.

Seems like you are moving behind rather than ahead. Now you reject the idea of not only choice but also alternatives. Tell me, if you are asked to clap your hands in next 5 seconds, what would you do? Aren't both alternatives - clapping and not clapping - physically possible?

No it does not [come from picturing consciousness as a mere spectator], that is not how I perceive consciousness at all.

If that is not your premise, do you care to explain where does the statement "I cannot chose other [values]" come from?

Since you did not respond to my points on non-contradictory values, validity of senses and "objective knowledge", do you now agree that senses are infallible? If not, why?

Edited by Rockefeller

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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?

Concerning free will, I recommend John Conway's six part lecture series, hosted on Princeton's servers, on his proof of the "free will theorem".

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The validity of the senses, this is one I can't get my head around. Rand seems to hold that our perception of reality is objective reality. Is this so? This makes no sense to me, as it seems to suggest physiological infallibility on mans part. What we perceive is not objective reality, since our sensory systems act imperfectly.

I haven’t read most of the replies, but I will try to clear up the issue for you. The senses merely respond to external stimuli, and that’s all there is to it. You become aware of physical entities by identifying the evidence that the senses give you. A sensation can only tell you that an object exists, but you can’t know what that object is without the employment of reason. Realize that it’s not a task of the senses to analyze their own reactions, but to give you the first evidence of existence. On this basis, you can organize the perceptual material, and then integrate it into concepts. Since this process necessarily involves an interpretation, it may lead you to a failure of thought, but that is why you must establish a specific method of cognition in the first place. Now then, Ayn Rand is not suggesting that the organs of perception are infallible. What she observed is that the different forms in which some people perceive reality are precisely that: a difference in the form of perceiving the same objects of the same reality.

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