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lex_aver

A fair warning and four questions

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Anyway, I have an idea. I don't know anything about the philosophy of Gottlob Frege, but I disagree with him. I don't have the time to read about him, but anyone want to start a thread with me so I can show you why he is wrong? 

Edited by secondhander

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Okay, getting back to your questioins. (Thumbs up for your Haruhi avatar, by the way. :P )

The first two statements are the familiar cogito ergo sum, told backwards. That is, where Descartes used deduction to arrive from (2) to (1), Rand simply posited [...]



In the interest of honesty, you do not know too well what Rand posited about any statement, because you already said you haven't read any nonfiction by Rand. It is impossible for you know to what she meant if you never in fact read much of Rand. Read all her fiction that you want, it still is different than her non-fiction. So, don't presume you know, but certainly, you can say what you think Rand might be saying enough to warrant bothering with further investigation. On the other hand, you'd probably get more for your money if you read even *one* chapter of ITOE. If there is one thing anyone here would advocate, make your judgment based on what Rand herself said. Don't use our second-hand account.  

(1) and (2) are arrivaed at in a "natural" way, that is, self-evident to the degree it is a perceptual foundation. You seem to understand that, and agree. But this isn't "Cogito ergo sum" backwards, it's just that "I'm thinking, so that means conscious" and "I am thinking about something, so that means I am aware of something". If I am not aware that there is, the other clear option is that I am aware that there is not. But if there is not, then there is nothing to be aware. Between something and nothing is still nothing.  Now, you may say I'm being deductive, and that is partially true, but the point is, these can be figured out inductively. I'm only explaining why this still makes sense even after the amount I've learned about philosophy and the world. At the very least, I'm trying to suggest there are many ways to think about (1) and (2).

What are attributes? Well, it's not what you say Rand says it is. Entities aren't really defined by their attributes in the sense of an Aristotelian essence. And essence would be an entity defined by its attribute. If the essence of man is rationality, well, man is defined by rationality. Everything about the entity is due to its essence. This suggests that P (rationality) can be independent of X (man), by virtue of that fact everything about X is P. And if X ceases to exist, well, P still exists, and why not apply it to some Y (space aliens)? This is nonsense. What can P possibly be? Well, as you yourself is saying, this starts to fall into Platonism. Rand's solution is that P doesn't exist in a literal sense. Attributes are epistemological, nothing more. We will never find attributes "out there". Concepts, or something like it. What's important to note is that Rand doesn't even discuss attributes until going through metaphysics and began to describe epistemology... So, you are basically coming up with the questions Rand answers in ITOE.

Just to be clear, (3) is true, but only if you keep in mind that Rand believed that attributes are epistemological, not metaphysical. (4) is also related to (3). Contradictions don't actually exist, but are certainly possible in your thinking. In other words, contradictions are epistemological. An apple can't also be notApple, but it certainly can in your mind. You don't need a notion of a possible reality with which to compare, only that certain ideas cannot be true simultaneously. For instance, a tree can't be a carrot at the same time. If you see a carrot-tree, it means it's not really a carrot, or not really a tree, or you just discovered trees aren't what you think they are. All of these points I'm making are epistemological.

Anyway, this comes out of Rand's axiom of identity (which is implicitly where a logical system is connected with reality). Anything that exists exists as something. If you're even identifying something, you have to identify it  as *not* something else. You can reach this conclusion inductively, at least based on repeated experiences in life. And I can also validate this with psychology research I know, so if you want that, I'll provide it.

I did read all the posts in the thread, so you can refer to prior posts if you'd like.

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Euiol said:

"What are attributes? Well, it's not what you say Rand says it is. Entities aren't really defined by their attributes in the sense of an Aristotelian essence. And essence would be an entity defined by its attribute. If the essence of man is rationality, well, man is defined by rationality. Everything about the entity is due to its essence. This suggests that P (rationality) can be independent of X (man), by virtue of that fact everything about X is P. And if X ceases to exist, well, P still exists, and why not apply it to some Y (space aliens)? This is nonsense. What can P possibly be? Well, as you yourself is saying, this starts to fall into Platonism. Rand's solution is that P doesn't exist in a literal sense. Attributes are epistemological, nothing more. We will never find attributes "out there". Concepts, or something like it. What's important to note is that Rand doesn't even discuss attributes until going through metaphysics and began to describe epistemology... So, you are basically coming up with the questions Rand answers in ITOE.

Just to be clear, (3) is true, but only if you keep in mind that Rand believed that attributes are epistemological, not metaphysical. (4) is also related to (3). Contradictions don't actually exist, but are certainly possible in your thinking. In other words, contradictions are epistemological. An apple can't also be notApple, but it certainly can in your mind. You don't need a notion of a possible reality with which to compare, only that certain ideas cannot be true simultaneously. For instance, a tree can't be a carrot at the same time. If you see a carrot-tree, it means it's not really a carrot, or not really a tree, or you just discovered trees aren't what you think they are. All of these points I'm making are epistemological."

The above is wrong and confused.....

Ms Rand in ITOE makes clear in several places:

"the attributes are the entity, or an entity is

its attributes. The attributes are really separable

only by abstraction.When you form concepts of attributes, all

you have done, if you are precise about it, is to

have mentally stated, "By length' I mean a

certain aspect of an existing entity, by 'color' I

mean a certain aspect of an existing

entity" parenthesis: "which cannot, in fact, be

separated from the entity"

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Plasmatic, what you quoted is basically what I was saying. I said attributes are epistemological, and that the statement lex made is only true if we take it in an epistemological sense. Lex was interpreting it in a metaphysical sense like an Aristotelian essence.

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Euiol: " attributes are epistemological, not metaphysical" is the very opposite of what Ms. Rand said. Essence is epistemological, attributes are metaphysical. Just like similarity is metaphysically actual but categories are epistemological.

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I would need a quote demonstrating that. If I'm misunderstanding Rand's position, then point me to a paragraph/chapter/whatever, and I'll read it. I mean, if attributes can only be separated by means of abstraction, then there isn't any actual attribute that can exist separate from an entity. There is no unique and independent sense of attribute, given that an attribute can only exist if your mind or perceptual mechanisms distinguishes something about an entity as such. An attribute only exists in relation to perception. An attribute I doubt would exist independent of a person's recognition. If I were color blind, there would be no way to talk about the attribute "red" because there is no content for me to use or metaphysical "redness" to extract.  

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Nicky, probably not. I have some intuition for it, but that's about it.

So why are you going around calling something nonsense? What made SoftwareNerd's post non-sense? Edited by Nicky

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Euiol:

"Posted Today, 01:02 PM

I would need a quote demonstrating that. If I'm misunderstanding Rand's position, then point me to a paragraph/chapter/whatever, and I'll read it. I mean, if attributes can only be separated by means of abstraction, then there isn't any actual attribute that can exist separate from an entity. There is no unique and independent sense of attribute, given that an attribute can only exist if your mind or perceptual mechanisms distinguishes something about an entity as such. An attribute only exists in relation to perception. An attribute I doubt would exist independent of a person's recognition. If I were color blind, there would be no way to talk about the attribute "red" because there is no content for me to use or metaphysical "redness" to extract. "

The above is so confused its hard to know where to start. First, the quote I gave directly contradicts your claim. Attributes exist and we can abstract and consider them in cognitive isolation as though they they were seperate. Red entities exist but redNESS is an abstraction. If attributes werent metaphysical, talk of ABSTRACTION would be meaningless. Nowhere did I say,nor is it implicit in anything ive said, that "attributes exist apart from entities".

The very idea that "attributes only exist in relationship to perception" is a repuduation of direct perception. You claim attribute are abstractions and then locate them in perception instead of conception. Youve got alot if work to do on this. (No insult intended :))

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I picked my words carefully. I said "perceptual mechanisms". In other words, I am saying attributes can only exist to the degree your mind or perceptual mechanisms notice particular kinds of data available in the world. As you said, red entities exist, but redness as an attribute does not exist in a literal, metaphysical way. Red is just used to describe some entity according to what is perceived. There are so many ways to view colors, and red is actually just conceptual. If you want to talk about innate to an object regardless of a perceiver, that's a little different, like mass of an object. Even then, it might be better to say what constitutes mass is metaphysical, yet mass is conceptual. You won't find "mass-ness" floating around out there. I am talking about color the same way.

Entities exist, and the perceptual system just makes sense of whatever data gathered from those entities. From there, what is gathered becomes information (i.e. is automatically turned into something useful from an information theory perspective), and that's what an attribute is. I think I am right, and I think it happens to be in line with what Rand believed as well. If I'm totally misreading what Rand meant, please point me to something more than a two-sentence quote. If I disagree with Rand, that is fine, but I still don't think I'm misreading anything.

If you want to discuss it more, can you clarify what you mean by metaphysical?

Edited by Eiuol

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You chose your words carefully and they are still wrong. There is no abstraction in perceptual organs. Abstraction pressuposes the metaphysical (mind independent) existence of that being abstracted.

Lets do this the right way. You asserted the positive assertion that Oism holds that attributes are epistemological. Lets pretend I havent already quoted her to the contrary and have you present a single example of Rand claiming this.

Edit: even abstractions are mental EXISTENTS......

Edited by Plasmatic

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So why are you going around calling something nonsense? What made SoftwareNerd's post non-sense?

 

It didn't look like it had literal meaning, at least I wasn't able to parse it that way.

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It didn't look like it had literal meaning, at least I wasn't able to parse it that way.

Don't let that worry you too much, I couldn't parse it either. Parsing something means to find what it is... i.e. to discover it's identity. Trying to seek meaning is also trying to seek identity. If identity is invalid, trying to parse and find meaning is futile.

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Plastmatic, I'm asking you where I can look for myself to see how and if I'm wrong. I explained my position, so I'd appreciate if you explained why you think I'm wrong about Rand's position rather than use a quote alone.

 

Lex, did you have any particular comments on my post #55?

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sNerd, considering that "identity" is a vague blob that Rand didn't bother to adequately explain, the statement you've just made is also nonsense. Even supposing I understand what Randian "identity" is, does a sentence's "identity" include its meaning? It would seem bizarre, considering how identity is supposed to work on the level of entities, and meaning requires at least two: the sentence and the one reading it, because even literal meaning can be slightly different for different people. So how can a sentence have a meaning by itself?
 
Eiuol,
 
> (1) and (2) are arrivaed at in a "natural" way, that is, self-evident to the degree it is a perceptual foundation
 
Yesterday I've read Ayer's criticism of Descartes' approach. He claimed that there is no way to deduce (a) "I am conscious" from (b ) "There is a thought now". It sort of applies to Rand's views, too, because only (b ) is really obvious. Do you know a way to deduce (a) from (b )? Or do you claim that it can be established by induction? If so, why is (a) and not (b ) considered one of the fundamental axioms?
 
"I am thinking about something, so that means I am aware of something"
 
Yet claiming that this proposition implies that "something" necessarily refers to some metaphysical entity is an abuse of grammar, see my post above on that. Also, a weak argument against this notion would be considering a hallucination: you think about what you see, you are aware of what you see, yet claiming that it refers to some metaphysical entity is a stretch.
 
Rand's solution is that P doesn't exist in a literal sense. Attributes are epistemological, nothing more.
 
Then Rand's metaphysics amounts to "there is stuff, you can be aware of stuff, and one stuff can be different from the other stuff". It's ludicrous and completely unnecessary: what kind of non-trivial argument would require such a theory for support?
 
Contradictions don't actually exist, but are certainly possible in your thinking. In other words, contradictions are epistemological.
 
There's more than one logical system, you know. Also, if attributes don't exist out there, and contradictions are possible in thinking, than what does it even mean to say that contradictions are impossible in reality? The only possible answer refers us to observations, so we may as well adopt empiricism and dispose with the unneeded metaphysics entirely.
 
Anything that exists exists as something.
 
Again, abuse of grammar without any literal significance.
 
You can reach this conclusion inductively, at least based on repeated experiences in life. And I can also validate this with psychology research I know, so if you want that, I'll provide it.
 
And this would have nothing to do with metaphysics whatsoever :)

Edited by lex_aver

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It would be better for you to ask yourself why you came to the conclusion you have. For one, you have whats in your head preventing you from seeing what has already been proven. Prove to yourself your integration is correct.

Edited by Plasmatic

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It would be better for you to ask yourself why you came to the conclusion you have. For one, you have whats in your head preventing you from seeing what has already been proven. Prove to yourself your integration is correct.

Have you read a story about Achilles and the Tortoise? 

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ex you would be wise to read Rand yourself as the incorrect info Euiol is feeding you is an example of the pitfall of your approach.

 

First I'll finish Ayer's Language, Truth, and Logic. Then maybe I'll read Rand right away, or maybe I'll first familiarize myself with some works of Quine, Popper, Hume, Kant and Descartes, and then give her a shot, I haven't decided yet.

Edited by lex_aver

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Have you read a story about Achilles and the Tortoise?

Ah yes. The story that tries to focus in on a single aspect while ignoring the full context within which the aspect takes place.

If the progression of time is ignored while focusing in on the distance, or the limited discrimination of perception is ignored while the focusing in on the precision made available by the language of mathematics, does the paradox that seems to arise reveal the futility of rationalization or of the failure to consider the full context?

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