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Dormin111

Analytic-Synthetic Dichotmy Question

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I have read Peikoff's refutation of the ASD, but I think there is one case in which the ASD applies.

 

Logic is a concept which man deduces from the world. It does not exist within him apriori or through any supernatural injection. The way man discovers logic is through perceptual observation. From a tabula rasa mental state, man perceives the world around him and deduces the laws of logic by noticing that there are no contradictions and that every entity acts according to its nature. Given that man did not know about logic before this perceptual observation, that means that the fact of logic's existence (as a property of metaphysical existence) is empirically true, but not rationally true. This means that the existence of logic is the only "fact" which the ASD actually applies to.

 

Is my line of reasoning correct?

 

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" is empirically true, but not rationally true"

What would this even mean?

Logic was implicit before one conceptualized it. (rationally)

 

How can logic be implicit before it is perceptually noticed in the external world? Wouldn't that mean that babies are born with "apriori" logic as Kant suggests?

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One must use logic to identify the method of logic. Thats why its axiomatic. What do you mean by perceptually noticing logic? Logic is a concept of method and pertains to concepts of consciousness. I think you intend to point at the validation of Identity in perception.

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I have read Peikoff's refutation of the ASD, but I think there is one case in which the ASD applies.

 

Logic is a concept which man deduces from the world. It does not exist within him apriori or through any supernatural injection. The way man discovers logic is through perceptual observation. From a tabula rasa mental state, man perceives the world around him and deduces the laws of logic by noticing that there are no contradictions and that every entity acts according to its nature. Given that man did not know about logic before this perceptual observation, that means that the fact of logic's existence (as a property of metaphysical existence) is empirically true, but not rationally true. This means that the existence of logic is the only "fact" which the ASD actually applies to.

 

Is my line of reasoning correct?

 

 

There's a whole bunch wrong in there, but I'll try to take a stab at what I think your confusion is.

 

Humans are part of reality, and humans can observe themselves and that observation is grounded in precepts. Just because we may not, within any given state of knowledge, know how we think, we still think. You may not know how your car works, but you can certainly observe that it does work in a very direct way.

 

So no, the ASD doesn't apply to logic or any other concept. Your line of reason makes the exact mistake that every form of ASD makes: that the human mind is some sort of cosmic thingamabob and not just a plain old entity that follows the same laws of nature than anything else does.

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man perceives the world around him and deduces the laws of logic by noticing that there are no contradictions and that every entity acts according to its nature.

Where you write 'deduces' is where I disagree with your identification. Noticing a common element and focusing on it, omitting every other characteristic of every existent having that common element is an act of abstraction. Abstraction is not deduction.

Integration and abstraction are two components of thought that are more fundamental than logic. Logic is demonstrated, its referents are shown. In the Objectivist jargon, logic is validated.

Logic cannot be used to derive or prove logic itself without falling into the logical fallacy of circular reasoning, A.K.A. "begging the question" or assuming itself.  As deduction is the use of logic, the phrase "deduces the laws of logic" is  fallacious.

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Is it incorrect to state that any defense of the ASD must rest on a primacy of consciousness pov?

 

And further I think logic should be seen as an explicit recognition of the law of identity. When 'using' logic one means that they are consistently aware that any and all propositions or statements are formed by only including 'proved' facts.

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I have read Peikoff's refutation of the ASD, but I think there is one case in which the ASD applies.

 

Logic is a concept which man deduces from the world. It does not exist within him apriori or through any supernatural injection. The way man discovers logic is through perceptual observation. From a tabula rasa mental state, man perceives the world around him and deduces the laws of logic by noticing that there are no contradictions and that every entity acts according to its nature. Given that man did not know about logic before this perceptual observation, that means that the fact of logic's existence (as a property of metaphysical existence) is empirically true, but not rationally true. This means that the existence of logic is the only "fact" which the ASD actually applies to.

 

Is my line of reasoning correct?

 

 

>>>From a tabula rasa mental state, man perceives the world around him and deduces the laws of logic 

 

Sorry, but the concept "deduce" means to apply the laws of deductive logic. Ask yourself how a tabula-rasa being could possibly "deduce" anything without making use of "deduction", i.e., logic. Obviously, then, a being must *already have* access to a logical faculty in order to "deduce" anything. To believe otherwise is to use "deduce" as a stolen concept.

 

 

>>>by noticing that there are no contradictions 

 

Same problem as above. A contradiction is not something that can be perceived with the eyes, heard with the ears, felt with the fingers, smelled through the nose, or tasted with the tongue. A contradiction is something that is grasped by the intellect in a logical act. We don't perceive contradictions any more than we perceive syllogisms.

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Logic is a concept which man deduces from the world. It does not exist within him apriori or through any supernatural injection. The way man discovers logic is through perceptual observation.

 

Is my line of reasoning correct?

Neuroscientific experiments have shown that infants are born with some basis for logical reasoning.  They assume, before able to speak, that objects remain in existence even while not directly visible and that a lamp yesterday will still be a lamp tomorrow.  (something about watching their eye movements, facial expressions and brain activity while playing a very complex game of peek-a-boo)  Otherwise there would be no way to learn that voices belong to the faces which move when they're audible.

But note that this isn't really a priori knowledge, at all.  It's not innate knowledge-before-experience; it's the physical mechanism for gaining any sort of knowledge in the first place (and this mechanism may, in adulthood, be enhanced into formal logic).  And neither does it function automatically.  It is only there, ready to be actualized, by virtue of being born a human being.

 

>>>From a tabula rasa mental state, man perceives the world around him and deduces the laws of logic 

This is incorrect, but it would accurately describe the intentional and explicit realization of one's own rational mechanisms.  (common sense into formal logic)  This is required for any sort of success with science, philosophy, or purposeful reason of any degree of difficulty.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Edit:  I'm currently in the middle of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.

 

Neuroscientific experiments have shown that all infants are born with some logical mechanism already hardwired into their brains.  After reading part of ITOE, I think this may directly correspond to Axiomatic Concepts, which have no concrete referents (except for everything and everyone) but are experienced as self-evident, underlying every thought in every person's mind, at all times.

 

It's an intriguing idea.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Neuroscientific experiments have shown that all infants are born with some logical mechanism already hardwired into their brains.

Or rather neuroscientific experimenters have attributed their results to suggest logical mechanisms that are hardwired, how do they define 'logical mechanisms'? Are they like synaptic golgi apparati(sp?)?

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Or rather neuroscientific experimenters have attributed their results to suggest logical mechanisms that are hardwired, how do they define 'logical mechanisms'?

They didn't suggest the term; I did.  I knew I remembered something along those lines but I didn't want to imply a priori knowledge so I thought 'logical mechanism' would be less than controversial.

After sitting down and finding the sources for my information, it occurs to me that I may have exaggerated a bit.  :whistle:

 

http://www.livescience.com/14344-babies-reasoning-complex.html

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20110526/babies-think-therefore

 

It's still an interesting idea.

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Given you think it may be less controversial, how would you define a logical mechanism?

(Without implying innate knowledge and or dismissing the tabla rosa stance)

Edited by tadmjones

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Given you think it may be less controversial, how would you define a logical mechanism?

(Without implying innate knowledge and or dismissing the tabla rosa stance)

A physical system capable of both processing raw information and extrapolating new and novel information from it; capable of drawing conclusions of things that it has no information of, based on the information that it does have.

As applied to some physical part of the human brain, I really don't think anyone would disagree with that. . . ?

 

Axioms can't be proven.  You don't learn about existence, identity or consciousness in the way that you learn about aerodynamics or neuroscience; they're experienced as immediate and perceptually given.  That sounds like hardware to me.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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A physical system capable of both processing raw information and extrapolating new and novel information from it; capable of drawing conclusions of things that it has no information of, based on the information that it does have.

As applied to some physical part of the human brain, I really don't think anyone would disagree with that. . . ?

 

Axioms can't be proven.  You don't learn about existence, identity or consciousness in the way that you learn about aerodynamics or neuroscience; they're experienced as immediate and perceptually given.  That sounds like hardware to me.

I noticed recently that you stated you are almost through ITOE, reading about a subject and integrating the subject matter are different, and take time, 'chew' on these new ideas and come back to discussing these ideas.

Other than capacity , there ain't no 'hardwired' it's a floating abstraction or stolen concept. That is really the only bone of contention; whether or not it is a floating abstraction or a misused or invalid concept. Mechanisms as per the connotation you invoke are fallicious.

Edited by tadmjones

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Other than capacity , there ain't no 'hardwired' it's a floating abstraction or stolen concept.

Why can't fundamental axioms be the inherent, hardwired capacity?  Just out of curiosity.

I know axioms would seem to be ideas, like all other ideas we hold, but what if they were more like the underlying guidelines for ideas?

 

If they can't be then I'm trying to integrate completely incompatible concepts together and it's probably an anticoncept, if anything.

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Would not having axiomatic concepts hardwired be an example of innate ideas?

Depends on how you define an idea.

Probably; it would be a stretch to define them as anything else.  So you're probably right; I'm not sure.  I'll have to come back to this one.

 

I guess it would come down to exactly what an axiom is; its identity.  If it's an idea then the suggestion is a variation of a priori knowledge; if not then not necessarily.

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Why can't fundamental axioms be the inherent, hardwired capacity?  Just out of curiosity.

I know axioms would seem to be ideas, like all other ideas we hold, but what if they were more like the underlying guidelines for ideas?

 

If they can't be then I'm trying to integrate completely incompatible concepts together and it's probably an anticoncept, if anything.

Okay, there are two main ways to think of axioms. In an epistemological sense, there is the concept of each axiom, and these concepts are formed like any other. Rand describes them as ultimate abstractions, where there is no wider to go. Existence is the concept of basically... everything. To arrive at these concepts requires a volitional process of measurement omission, so to the degree that under Rand's theory one must have information from the world to be able to start abstracting, the axioms cannot be innate, nor any other concept.

 

Another way to think of them is implicit. One doesn't need knowledge of existence to have a capacity to act within the world. Now, it's arguable to how primitive an organism is before implicit acknowledgement of existence is impossible, but my point is knowledge on the conceptual is not required. Anything a perceptual system does depends upon processing and even only operating when there is something to grasp of existence. At least a primitive nervous system might be needed for that, but there is plenty of evidence that sufficiently complex organisms (bees, for example) depends upon thinking/processing existence. What I'm getting at is that a hardwired capacity of the axioms makes sense - without that, I have no idea how one could start to form concepts.

 

Capacity is not the same as knowledge. All people have an innate capacity to learn language, but that doesn't mean anyone is born knowing a language. There are many theories about *how* that is, though. Some propose innate concepts, some don't.

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They didn't suggest the term; I did.  I knew I remembered something along those lines but I didn't want to imply a priori knowledge so I thought 'logical mechanism' would be less than controversial.

After sitting down and finding the sources for my information, it occurs to me that I may have exaggerated a bit.  :whistle:

 

http://www.livescience.com/14344-babies-reasoning-complex.html

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20110526/babies-think-therefore

 

It's still an interesting idea.

 

These links don't show a "hard-wiring" of anything because the babies are all months old and have been living in the world.  Even if the baby had just been born, still not proof of "hard-wiring" in the biological sense.  I'm assuming by hard-wiring you mean something on the level of an instinct.  You don't know what the baby's brain can learn while developing in the womb or why it learns it and I wouldn't exactly call that hard-wiring, more just learning the same way it learns when it comes out.  "Hard-wiring" implies the idea is somehow written in a code passed from mother to child which creates a structure in the brain and not just a result of the brain responding to its environment just like it continues to throughout life.

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Is digestion 'innate'?

I would suggest that it is not, because either the capacity exists in a 'system' or it doesn't. All animate matter has the capacity for digestion , if it does not it is not animate, if a 'broken' unit of animate matter has nonfunctional digestive processes it will not thrive, the phenotypical entity will perish. I think innate ideas or those things considered instinctual are beyond the scope of volition.

I am trying to suggest that the term or connotation of innate is the problem I am having, and I am not sure how to articulate what I mean.

Edited by tadmjones

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Is digestion 'innate'?

I would suggest that it is not, because either the capacity exists in a 'system' or it doesn't. All animate matter has the capacity for digestion , if it does not it is not animate, if a 'broken' unit of animate matter has nonfunctional digestive processes it will not thrive, the phenotypical entity will perish. I think innate ideas or those things considered instinctual are beyond the scope of volition.

I am trying to suggest that the term or connotation of innate is the problem I am having, and I am not sure how to articulate what I mean.

Then it would probably be most helpful if you were to define, in your own mind, specifically what innate means.  =]

 

I would think of 'innate' as being built-into something; prepackaged with it from the start.  So I would consider digestion to be innate to all organisms.

 

Ideas, such as 'freedom', 'justice' et cetera, obviously cannot be innate; otherwise everyone would hold identical ideas.  Even if one were to argue some form of conceptual heredity, in which each child inherited the ideas of its parents, then every idea which everyone holds could be traced back through their ancestry the same way you can discover how you discovered the color of your eyes or the shape of your earlobes.

Innovation of any sort, in any form, is a physical refutation of innate ideas.

 

So, if axioms are ideas then they cannot be innate; if they're something else (something more like a proto-concept) then it's a possibility, although even then it might not be true.

So is 'existence exists' fundamentally different from, or the same as, 'Red Bull gives you wings'?  That's the question.  Or, rather, the first question which will decide if any more are warranted or not.

Do human beings exist, in reality, who do not hold certain identical axioms as true on some level?  People who truly and honestly do not believe that existence exists at all, in any form?

If someone honestly believed that existence did not exist then, presumably, they would act accordingly; how would someone act if they did not believe that anything existed, at all?

(how about identity and consciousness?)

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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I did not mean I did not know what the term innate connotes. The point I was trying to speak to was whether innate is or should be a qualifier of 'idea'. Perhaps speaking of 'ideas' as entities is what leads to my confusion. The concept of idea is highly abstract an ideal as seen a part of a mental process is to isolate a part, though the part can not operate separate from the mental process in toto, we speak of it at times as though we can.

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