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lex_aver

A fair warning and four questions

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Lex, Sorry about not formatting, but I don't have a lot of time tonight. I went in order.

 

Deduce from A to B? I don't think so. At the very least at a level like that, I only would be saying that I am conscious to the degree I am aware. It won't necessarily follow that therefore, you have thoughts. This can be established inductively, but to establish those axioms as concepts is all I'm talking about. Objectivism is not a deductive system, but metaphysical axioms do establish an understanding of reality in an explicit way. Recognizing that you think isn't fundamental, but being conscious is.

Thinking was probably a bad word choice in that sentence. I should have said "I am aware of something, so at least something exists". The hallucination question though, how do you establish what a hallucination even is, enough so to even use it as a potential counter-argument?

Err, every argument?  I don't know what you mean it's ludicirous and unnecessary. Because it's simple and so trivial? It's certainly needed to say that there is stuff (existence). There isn't a lot to Rand's metaphysics anyway. You may perhaps say it's thin, but there really isn't much to say beyond some basics.

It just means that A can't also be ~A at the same time, metaphysically, as an entity. Yes, it refers to observations. In a sense, it is empiricism, but not like the British empiricists such as Hume. But the next part about unneeded metaphysics, I don't understand. Why would it make sense to throw out something like "existence exists"?
 

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Alright, I know Objectivism often uses words in ways that diverge from common use, but in the case of the word "identity" it isn't being used in any special, new way unique to Ayn Rand and/or Objectivism. You objected earlier to the use of what you called "folk meanings", but common isn't a synonym for incorrect. When Rand has used words in uncommon ways there is at least some attempt at an explanation for the rejection of the common usage that is provided. So, do you have any objection to the common usage of the word "identity" already? If so, what is it? Is it the earlier mentioned considering of "identity" to be meaningless or something else?

For the sake of argument, lets suppose that we throw out the notion of identity. How then would you propose logic works? Can you provide some example of logic that doesn't utilize identity?


By the way, does anybody else find it mildly amusing that this seems to be a case where it is being proposed that the reason to reject the concept "identity" is because it allegedly lacks an identity (not that the thread creator would agree with that way I've put it though I expect)? :P

Edited by bluecherry

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<snip>

By the way, does anybody else find it mildly amusing that this seems to be a case where it is being proposed that the reason to reject the concept "identity" is because it allegedly lacks an identity (not that the thread creator would agree with that way I've put it though I expect)? :P

Right out of chapter 6 of ITOE.

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dream_weather, no, I meant Carrol's story :)

 

Eiuol,

 

Objectivism is not a deductive system, but metaphysical axioms do establish an understanding of reality in an explicit way.

 

And, at least in your formulation, they utterly fail at that, for I've yet to see an example of a proposition concerning observations which relies on them.

 

Thinking was probably a bad word choice in that sentence. I should have said "I am aware of something, so at least something exists".

 

Same objection.

 

The hallucination question though, how do you establish what a hallucination even is, enough so to even use it as a potential counter-argument?

 

My argument doesn't require me to demonstrate this, it merely provides an example where the application of your principle leads to non-trivial questions.

 

Err, every argument?

 

How so? I can't see any way to deduce an implication from any argument to these assertions, so clearly their truth value (if well-defined) doesn't depend on theirs. To make it worse, their original formulation is unintelligible garbage.

 

I don't know what you mean it's ludicirous and unnecessary.

 

Because I get along without it just fine. So much for the foundation of the whole thought.

 

It just means that A can't also be ~A at the same time, metaphysically, as an entity.

 

Metaphysically, you haven't established what "~A" even means yet. If "A" is a predicate, then you're out of luck, because you've just banished predicates from your metaphysics. If it's an entity, then "~A" is meaningless.

 

But the next part about unneeded metaphysics, I don't understand. Why would it make sense to throw out something like "existence exists"?

 

Sure, in fact for several reasons.

  • When we're talking about entities, "X exists" is not a predicate. So for this sentence to have non-trivial meaning, "existence" as a whole cannot be an entity.
  • It cannot be a collection of entities either, because such a notion is not a part of your theory of metaphysics.
  • You do not need to use this "axiom" once in any deductive reasoning about observations. In other words, it's utterly useless.
Edited by lex_aver

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Out of curiosity, how do you arrive at your basic premises from whence to deduce from?

 

I don't. Coming back to Plasmatic's original request, proving (conclusively, deductively) that my view of the world is indeed correct is impossible, as was illustrated nicely by Carroll's story. In fact, if we entertain for a minute the thought that one's worldview is a formal system, then two crushing no-go results are available:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godel_incompleteness_theorem#Second_incompleteness_theorem

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarski%27s_indefinability_theorem

 

That's just it: deduction can only go so far, and consistency of a theory can only be established within a framework of a larger meta-theory.

 

And is we allow induction in, then the point is moot, since all statements quantified over infinite entities (or, as Ayer calls them, statements of law) cannot ever be validated conclusively - unless you claim that you can reduce any such statement to a finite number of cases, which I highly doubt is possible.

Edited by lex_aver

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That's just it: deduction can only go so far, ...

Sounds like you agree with Rand's stand that there are certain concepts -- existence, identity, consciousness -- which cannot be proven through deduction (i.e. cannot be analyzed in that sense). Rather, they are the assumptions underlying even the request for proof. (Her term for them was "axiomatic concepts".)

As a FB friend of mine quite rightly said: deductive logic is a derivative of the axiomatic concepts "existence" and "identity".

Edited by softwareNerd

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sNerd, you missed the point so hard it's even funny :)

Why do you think he missed the point? If you didn't realize, most of his posts on page 2 were deliberately absurd/wrong in order to make a point about identity!

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I don't. Coming back to Plasmatic's original request, proving (conclusively, deductively) that my view of the world is indeed correct is impossible, as was illustrated nicely by Carroll's story. In fact, if we entertain for a minute the thought that one's worldview is a formal system, then two crushing no-go results are available:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godel_incompleteness_theorem#Second_incompleteness_theorem

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarski's_indefinability_theorem

 

That's just it: deduction can only go so far, and consistency of a theory can only be established within a framework of a larger meta-theory.

 

And is we allow induction in, then the point is moot, since all statements quantified over infinite entities (or, as Ayer calls them, statements of law) cannot ever be validated conclusively - unless you claim that you can reduce any such statement to a finite number of cases, which I highly doubt is possible.

Yes, deduction can only go so far. It depends on the validity of your premises. Since you contend that you are unable to determine if your premises are valid or invalid, it would appear you are also unable to determine if anyone else premises are valid or invalid either.

Then, like a standard of perfection based on an unattainable ideal, you reference a standard of induction, which is also based on an unattainable criteria.

This looks strangely like a recipe for frustration and dissappointment.

You should probably try to address sNerd's use of meritenacity. Rather than being frustrating and dissappointing, it is delicious and refreshing. It tastes like unobtainium and smells like time marching on.

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But the next part about unneeded metaphysics, I don't understand. Why would it make sense to throw out something like "existence exists"?

 

[...]

  • You do not need to use this "axiom" once in any deductive reasoning about observations. In other words, it's utterly useless.

Actually, the opposite of what you say here is true -- that's the entire point, the entire notion of an axiom. An axiom can't be explained away, rather it is something from which explanations follow, or on which they are based. In this case, you or other things must exist before anything else can happen -- deduction included. Every idea and action assumes that there is something which exists to have an idea about, and perform an action with. How could you deduce without things existing to deduce about? You can't explain existence, because then you are ahead of yourself and would have needed to exist first before you could figure out an explanation. Thus, existence is axiomatic.

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dream_weather,

 

Yes, deduction can only go so far. It depends on the validity of your premises. Since you contend that you are unable to determine if your premises are valid or invalid, it would appear you are also unable to determine if anyone else premises are valid or invalid either.

 

Have you even read the links? It doesn't depend on what your premises are: any rich enough formal system is limited by these theorems, no matter what axioms are there. You missed my point: deduction can only go so far, because no useful deductive system can establish its own consistency, you need a larger deductive theory for that, which in turn also cannot establish its own consistency etc. That's why there cannot be any first principles from which you can go and deductively prove the truth of every single statement, including the one that you have indeed chosen the right principles.

 

Then, like a standard of perfection based on an unattainable ideal, you reference a standard of induction, which is also based on an unattainable criteria.

 

I don't reference "a standard of induction" whatever that means. I'm merely stating the obvious: if you have a statement of law like "all swans are white", and so far you have observed N white swans and no swans of other color, you still can't expect that every swan you'll observe is white (unless whiteness is a part of your definition of "swan", in which case the statement is a tautology), you can merely have a certain degree of certainty that you will. If the (N+1)th swan you observe is white, this certainty increases your certainty, doesn't it? And if it's black, your hypothesis is toast. There is nothing new or profound in this, it's been said many times before.

 

This looks strangely like a recipe for frustration and dissappointment.

 

You are arguing from consequences, which is a fallacy.

 

You should probably try to address sNerd's use of meritenacity.

 

A made-up word? Sorry, I'm not even going to bother with this man.

 

JASKN, name one proposition that can be deduced from your so-called "axiom". Just one. Or, if you want to go Cartesian on me, prove that my rejection of this axiom is self-refuting. Actually, I'd like to see you do both :)

Edited by lex_aver

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dream_weather,JASKN, name one proposition that can be deduced from your so-called "axiom". Just one. Or, if you want to go Cartesian on me, prove that my rejection of this axiom is self-refuting. Actually, I'd like to see you do both :)

lex, I don't know how else to explain this to you. All propositions depend on the axiom that the things being discussed must already exist before you can discuss them! And by rejecting this axiom, you are rejecting that you and everything else exists!

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You missed my point: deduction can only go so far, because no useful deductive system can establish its own consistency, you need a larger deductive theory for that, which in turn also cannot establish its own consistency etc. That's why there cannot be any first principles from which you can go and deductively prove the truth of every single statement, including the one that you have indeed chosen the right principles.

He didn't miss your point, just like no one who's responded to you has missed your point. In fact, sNerd even took the time to get clever with his responses to you instead of just laying it out for you why you are wrong. Concerning this bit above: how are you to know that there can be no first principles without first accepting some standard first principles on which to based your arguments? If there are no first principles, how do you know anything at all? How would you know you are right and all of your responders in this thread are wrong?

You have to have some standard by which to judge things, or else you're lost. At minimum, you couldn't go around proclaiming what us true or not. At maximum, you'd literally be nothing, since everything that exists self-evidently has boundaries and "first principles."

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All propositions depend on the axiom that the things being discussed must already exist before you can discuss them!

 

If you treat entities as heuristics for reasoning about observation and assume no more than that, then I agree with you. However, you are trying to extend this to a metaphysical claim that entities are behind the observations but are different from their sum, and this is just not something that you can conclusively establish in any way. You can't deduce anything from such a hypothesis which would affect my expectation of future observations. So it goes to the trash can with the rest of metaphysics.

 

You have to have some standard by which to judge things, or else you're lost.

 

The only standard which makes sense is empirical: a hypothesis is judged by how accurately it predicts future observations.

 

everything that exists self-evidently has boundaries and "first principles."

 

You should distinguish between something which is is self-evident and something which you believe in.

 

Concerning this bit above: how are you to know that there can be no first principles without first accepting some standard first principles on which to based your arguments?

 

I already gave you the links to Carroll's story and Godel's second incompleteness theorem. I even threw in Tarski's undefinability theorem to highlight general issues with determining truth.

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Eiuol, I guess it's Poe's law :)

I'm interested in you replying to bluecherry's question: For the sake of argument, lets suppose that we throw out the notion of identity. How then would you propose logic works? Can you provide some example of logic that doesn't utilize identity?

 

And by the way, the only notion of identity here in this context is just noting something unique. I mean, I doubt you seriously think trees can also be clouds at the same time? If you still claim identity is meaningless, well, I guess you read too much late-Wittgenstein. Everything is just an argument over the meaning of words, isn't it?

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How then would you propose logic works?

 

I'm not opposed to the law of identity in logic, I'm opposed to a vague metaphysical notion of "identity" which is supposedly enough to reason about things-in-themselves. That one is bullshit.

 

How then would you propose logic works?

 

It's first formulated as a formal system. You'll ask how it's validated: it is applied to statements of fact, and the conclusions are tested empirically. It's a simplification (first someone must construct a semantics), but it's a nice summary, I guess.

 

Can you provide some example of logic that doesn't utilize identity?

 

Depends on what you mean, exactly. If you mean A = A, it's accepted in all logics - it merely reflects of our desire to stick to our chosen symbols.

 

If you mean "(A & ~A) -> contradiction" (which is what Rand seems to use most often), then there's this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraconsistent_logic

 

If you mean Rand's assertion that things have well-defined attributes, which we passively observe:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_logic

 

I doubt you seriously think trees can also be clouds at the same time

 

I doubt that your question is as well-posed as you think :)

Edited by lex_aver

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lexicograver, 

 

It's important to read the original text if you want to learn. That, and meritinacity, if only for meritinacities sake.

 

 

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dream_weather,

 

Yes, deduction can only go so far. It depends on the validity of your premises. Since you contend that you are unable to determine if your premises are valid or invalid, it would appear you are also unable to determine if anyone else premises are valid or invalid either.

 

Have you even read the links? It doesn't depend on what your premises are: any rich enough formal system is limited by these theorems, no matter what axioms are there. You missed my point: deduction can only go so far, because no useful deductive system can establish its own consistency, you need a larger deductive theory for that, which in turn also cannot establish its own consistency etc. That's why there cannot be any first principles from which you can go and deductively prove the truth of every single statement, including the one that you have indeed chosen the right principles.

 

Then, like a standard of perfection based on an unattainable ideal, you reference a standard of induction, which is also based on an unattainable criteria.

 

I don't reference "a standard of induction" whatever that means. I'm merely stating the obvious: if you have a statement of law like "all swans are white", and so far you have observed N white swans and no swans of other color, you still can't expect that every swan you'll observe is white (unless whiteness is a part of your definition of "swan", in which case the statement is a tautology), you can merely have a certain degree of certainty that you will. If the (N+1)th swan you observe is white, this certainty increases your certainty, doesn't it? And if it's black, your hypothesis is toast. There is nothing new or profound in this, it's been said many times before.

 

This looks strangely like a recipe for frustration and dissappointment.

 

You are arguing from consequences, which is a fallacy.

 

You should probably try to address sNerd's use of meritenacity.

 

A made-up word? Sorry, I'm not even going to bother with this man.

It's good to see you so wholeheatedly agree.

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dream_weather, what is this, a pathetic attempt at bullying? It doesn't phase me, whatever it is. Since you didn't object to my arguments, I will assume that you admit that you're wrong.

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... ...I will assume that you admit that you're wrong.

It is pretty silly to think that "wrong" is meaningful, or that his "right" may not be your wrong and vice versa, or that what was right wrong when he posted it is still wrong now, or vice versa. As you're well aware, philosophy and logic are pretty much arbitrary systems and the idea of right and wrong comes down to how one defines what is right and what is wrong. The notion that a system must insist on some consistency in rightness is your own personal bias.

In other words, your post is spot on. Thanks for the contributions.

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