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CJM

A few problems I have with Objectivism

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What correspondence, if we know no things as they are in reality?

Where does this correspondence come from if we know no things identity?

And "correspondence" is a very ambiguous word to use here., it will need a definition.

It seems to me that you are trying to hold that we can hold objective Knowledge, which must conform to reality, while also claiming we cannot know things as they are in reality. This is a contradiction.

Correspondence is the relationship between what we count as true and what exists. Contradiction is the relationship between what we count as false and what exists. There are no contradictions in reality; contradiction is an entirely epistemological phenomenon.

Correspondence comes from a process of causation external to consciousness. The identity of a thing is its perceived and unperceived attributes. The identity of a knower includes its means of perceiving, which determines which of a thing's attributes are perceivable. The attributes which are perceived are part of the things identity. Because sensing and perceiving is a process of causation external to consciousness contradiction at this stage is not possible and correspondence is automatic and deterministic. If you see that a stick in water appears bent that is an absolutely faithful rendering of all of the relevant facts of the stick, the water and your perspective. Concluding that the stick in itself is bent is an error of inference not of perception. The appearance is objective and a proper method of inference which does not lead to contradiction is objective.

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Correspondence is the relationship between what we count as true and what exists. Contradiction is the relationship between what we count as false and what exists. There are no contradictions in reality; contradiction is an entirely epistemological phenomenon.

Correspondence comes from a process of causation external to consciousness. The identity of a thing is its perceived and unperceived attributes. The identity of a knower includes its means of perceiving, which determines which of a thing's attributes are perceivable. The attributes which are perceived are part of the things identity. Because sensing and perceiving is a process of causation external to consciousness contradiction at this stage is not possible and correspondence is automatic and deterministic. If you see that a stick in water appears bent that is an absolutely faithful rendering of all of the relevant facts of the stick, the water and your perspective. Concluding that the stick in itself is bent is an error of inference not of perception. The appearance is objective and a proper method of inference which does not lead to contradiction is objective.

Identity applies to attributes. If we cannot know identity, as you seem to agree, how can we know the identity of attributes?

Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same.

Also I was not suggesting your perception is a contradiction, just your position and thus your arguments on this subject.

Okay guys, I am done here, since I simply won't have the time to reply properly after today, I won't do it at all.

Thanks to the people who took the time to reply, however I am surprised with the amount of contradictions in the info I was given between different people, and the fact I was bombarded with strawman arguments as well as ad hominem ones. There also seems to be a certain crowd who couldn't muster up more than feebly repeating the arguments of others where they did not apply. I found this odd for the champions of individualism and reason, but whatever. On the whole I found the majority of the responses highly stimulating and interesting.

A lot of the issues I had with the Ehtics has been cleared up, though my problems with reconciling causality and free will remain, as well as my obvious problems with the epistemology. The arguments I had on detail didn't seem to be properly understood by anyone, so that is probably my error. Try to think of it as like Zenos dichotomy paradox(lol, obviously not the Tortoise and achilles one, I am tired) without an appeal to infinity but the fact that our senses cannot perceive the absolute detail of anything as it exists.

I will come back and read this in the hope something does come up that clears up the problems I raised , or if you want to call me illiterate or a troll or something else of that nature it will also be perfectly worth your while. I won't reply though, because I feel doing it half assedly would be an insult to you and pointless for both of us.

Cheers.

Edited by CJM

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I will capitalize whichever words I like, sir.

According to you, that is not up to you.

If you are "not certain of anything" (specifically, that existence exists (post 66)), then by what means could there exist any satisfactory answer that would reason your registering and posting here? Why would any will (free or not) have brought you here. This is the inherent contradiction in you that I've been watching since the start of this topic.

I think you should attempt to play Devil's advocate to yourself and see what CONCLUSION that gets you to. If you can come to a conclusion, that will mean you're able to make (by your definition) an objective statement (one way or the other). If you cannot come to a conclusion then you'll see the bind of contradictory arguments and experience what the people replying to you are experiencing (though, granted, your sense of that experience may be imperfect).

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According to you, that is not up to you.

If you are "not certain of anything" (specifically, that existence exists (post 66)), then by what means could there exist any satisfactory answer that would reason your registering and posting here? Why would any will (free or not) have brought you here. This is the inherent contradiction in you that I've been watching since the start of this topic.

I think you should attempt to play Devil's advocate to yourself and see what CONCLUSION that gets you to. If you can come to a conclusion, that will mean you're able to make (by your definition) an objective statement (one way or the other). If you cannot come to a conclusion then you'll see the bind of contradictory arguments and experience what the people replying to you are experiencing (though, granted, your sense of that experience may be imperfect).

Just before I leave

Not being certain does not mean I cannot form subjective opinions in relation to your first point. A satisfactory answer would give me ample reason to hold these subjective opinions.

I can also come to an imperfect and subjective conclusion, it need not be objective and it most certainly need not be true, I just have to believe it.

G,night.

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Try to think of it as like Zenos dichotomy paradox(lol, obviously not the Tortoise and achilles one, I am tired) without an appeal to infinity but the fact that our senses cannot perceive the absolute detail of anything as it exists.

I would suggest scoping your questions a little better. You asked some pretty open questions when what you really wanted to know was, how can you objectively know reality, if you can't (completely) know any single thing. (If I understand your gist)

You're right, you can't know even a dust speck completely. But you can know that it is "that" dust speck (i.e., its identity). And you can know that it is "a dust speck" (i.e., a concept which subsumes all of a certain perceived type). Or failing that, you can know it is a "speck" of "something" (a broader concept).

The point of knowledge is not to know; it is to know in the context of understanding. Understanding is our means of organizing knowledge so that we can create, evaluate and choose our actions to best serve our values. If we are rational, our highest value will be that which allows us to serve all of our other values, that is, our life.

The reason objective knowledge of reality is important is so our actions may be chosen rationally to serve our values. Knowing everything to the nth level of detail is of no value to us, if we can make rational choices at the first or second level of detail. So if someone just shot you, would you get down and call 911, or, to quote the great philosopher, Mona Lisa Vito, "would you give a fuck what kind of pants the son-of-a-bitch who shot you was wearing?"

The question of free will is really one of determinism, on which there are many threads here. The point of view I presume you have is that all particles behave at some level as predictable billiard balls, bouncing around in a predictable manner, and therefore all of our perceptions, choices and actions are, at some level, predictable. Therefore free will does not exist. The counter argument is that we choose to do things, therefore free will exists. For instance, I choose to look at the lamp over there. QED. The counter-counter argument goes that my choice just now to look at that lamp was predestined by the exact locations, velocities, angular momenta, charges, spins, etc. of the particles that were brought into existence at the instant of the big bang. (I assume you don't believe that God forced me to look at the lamp.)

Okay. Say the universe is a big billiard table. Now "choose" to believe that or not. If you do "choose" to believe it, then you have no ability to control your next "choice" which may just be to go up to the attic and eat the sights of your dad's trusty 1911. That didn't go so well. So "choose" not to believe in the billiard balls. Your next choice is to close Firefox and get to work on that paper you've been putting off. Hmmmm... So if you believe in free will, you act rationally, but if you don't, you don't. Which is the rational conclusion to make, that free will exists, or that it doesn't? Which serves your un-chosen values better? Which is more consistent with your perception of reality?

Which is "true?"

Which reminds me, I've got that damned paper to finish. Cheers.

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Identity applies to attributes. If we cannot know identity, as you seem to agree, how can we know the identity of attributes?

By perceiving attributes we perceive identity. Because our senses are the same from one moment to the next, when we perceive one thing and then direct our attention to another thing the perceived differences are due to the attributes of the things perceived.

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I think I can answer by working backwards from one of your own assertions.

From what I've gathered, you claim determinism is compatible with consciousness because consciousness (and all its facets - choosing, believing, liking, feeling etc) is something we experience. For instance we experience making a judgement, regardless of whether we could possibly have made any alternative judgement.

(if you disagree with anything thus far, please explain, because although you may not have used these exact words, they are a sincere extrapolation)

Well, the problem with your position is this: consciousness cannot be experienced, for it is consciousness itself which experiences. Thus, we can re-instate the primacy of free-will, because attempting to reconcile determinism and consciousness yields a contradiction.

Now, as to the question of sensory perception and objectivity, let us consider the senses to be devices and compare them to mechanical devices. A video camera may malfunction and fail to record. It may partially record, or receive interference. The data stored may therefore be insufficient to relay the scene to viewers. But all these deficiencies will be explainable, and any surviving information will be valid insofar as the camera will not record something that did not happen. It will never show 5 people having a conversation in what was actually an empty room. As far as I recall, Objectivism emphasises the role of the mind (faculty of reason) applied to perception of nature to gain knowledge. Sensory perception + reason = knowledge. One might initially doubt sensory input (especially if it is relayed through some further external device), but once multiple observations are made you can find logical connections and establish the reliability of said input, or in other words you can establish objectivity.

Objectivism holds man's own life to be his standard of value. Therefore, if a man accepts death in order to save his daughter, whom he loves greatly, then the decision is ethical because it was made in reference to his love - part of his own life - and thus he still used his life as the standard, the point of reference. Compare this to sacrificing for the sake of something not part of one's life, or because some doctrine demands it - that is altruism, which Rand is trying to reject. Your suggestion that (painless) suicide would be an equally viable option is interesting but I think it ignores (at least) two selfish, human motivations: 1. the desire to achieve 2. the desire to be well remembered

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