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 thenelli01

Did Ayn Rand commit the fallacy of reification?

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RegiF, it is not a mistake if you understand that by infant she means a child that is hours and days old.  When a child is first born, he cannot focus his eyes and probably cannot locate sounds in three dimensions with his ears, or differentiate his mothers from his fathers voice.  Same with tastes and smells and touches.  ALL is new to a newborn.  His mind has to experience a multitude of sensations from various sources before it can begin grouping and differentiating them into the form(s) of percepts.

 

And your statement "perception is the only direct awareness we have" is incorrect, too.  Once we reach a certain level of cognitive development, our mind automatically perceives  observes things on a conceptual level. 

 

Added:  It is this atomization that forces her to say "as far as can be ascertained" -- because once we reach the conceptual level of development, there is no going back.

That is not what she said, but I don't mind if you want to think so.

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That's not self-evident though. That's a high level abstraction involving knowledge that is derived via science alone.

If your objection is that the observation of one's own perception requires a certain cognitive context, then it's an absolutely accurate identification.  But I don't consider it a valid objection.  Please show me a single thing which can be perceived without any prior reasoning [i.e. the self-evident].

 

We do not see just one color, and in our field of vision there are many different colors in many different places. To refer to each of those colors as a single sensation would have been bad English in the context of her statement.

That deserves more examination than you gave it.  Are colors perceived, but not sensed first?  Or is the entire field of one's vision a single, indistinguishable sensation?

To treat visual sensations as if they were pixels is the only coherent way to discuss them in English, French, German or Mandarin.

 

When we speak of 'direct perception' or 'direct awareness,' we mean the perceptual level. Percepts, not sensation, are the given, the self-evident.

Self-evident means automatically and infallibly known; it requires no further evidence because it is its own.

In any given moment, perception appears directly self evident; objectively it is always a complex derivative.

So there is no contradiction because that's precisely what she said, within the context of the entire book.  It is, however, a unique and improper way to apply "self-evident."

 

But for someone who redefined the word "selfish" because she thought that every other English speaker on Earth was using it incorrectly, it might be a mistake to assume that this was an accident.

 

what the bits of your eye sense are sensations (bits of R, G, and B ), which you integrate or perceive (non R, G, B colors and forms) as percepts

Precisely.  And that action, itself (seeing a patch of red as a patch, instead of dots) may be one of those self-evident perceptions that require no prior knowledge, whatsoever.

It isn't very important to this thread but I think that's key to understanding some related topics.

 

You may decide what it means, but apparently Binswanger considers the perception of entities some kind undifferentiated whole.

Thank you for providing some quotes (I don't have How We Know); that clears it all up immensely.  Binswanger is trying to deny that perception itself requires any thought at all, ever.

In which case no human being could attempt to perceive better (in a variety of ways) on-the-go because it's all immediate, automatic and infallible- right?

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RegiF, it is not a mistake if you understand that by infant she means a child that is hours and days old.

So, either one can experience sensations directly, or not. In one sentence she is clear to say no one can, then implies that infants can at some point early on. I don't think Rand contradicted her ideas, but the wording by Rand is imprecise. I don't need to do linguistic analysis to figure that "sensory experience" is about "what it's like to have an experience" not "experiencing sensations". I'm not sure, though. Still, I think it's clear that her view is one cannot experience sensations, but can experience integrated sensations i.e. perception.

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If your objection is that the observation of one's own perception requires a certain cognitive context, then it's an absolutely accurate identification.  But I don't consider it a valid objection.  Please show me a single thing which can be perceived without any prior reasoning [i.e. the self-evident].

 

 

 

That things exist and that I exist to perceive their existence. That's two but they go hand in hand. Not that the first relies on the second but second relies on the first.

Edited by EC

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So, either one can experience sensations directly, or not. In one sentence she is clear to say no one can, then implies that infants can at some point early on. I don't think Rand contradicted her ideas, but the wording by Rand is imprecise. I don't need to do linguistic analysis to figure that "sensory experience" is about "what it's like to have an experience" not "experiencing sensations". I'm not sure, though. Still, I think it's clear that her view is one cannot experience sensations, but can experience integrated sensations i.e. perception.

It's none of my business, but your response to New Buddha is exactly right.

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That things exist and that I exist to perceive their existence. That's two but they go hand in hand. Not that the first relies on the second but second relies on the first.

Good one; I hadn't thought of that.

And now a single entity that can be perceived without prior reasoning?

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Infant Vision

 

From the link:

 

Up to about 3 months of age, babies' eyes do not focus on objects more than 8 to 10 inches from their faces.

  • At birth, babies' vision is abuzz with all kinds of visual stimulation. While they may look intently at a highly contrasted target, babies have not yet developed the ability to easily tell the difference between two targets or move their eyes between the two images. Their primary focus is on objects 8 to 10 inches from their face or the distance to parent's face.
  • During the first months of life, the eyes start working together and vision rapidly improves. Eye-hand coordination begins to develop as the infant starts tracking moving objects with his or her eyes and reaching for them. By eight weeks, babies begin to more easily focus their eyes on the faces of a parent or other person near them.
  • For the first two months of life, an infant's eyes are not well coordinated and may appear to wander or to be crossed. This is usually normal. However, if an eye appears to turn in or out constantly, an evaluation is warranted.
  • Babies should begin to follow moving objects with their eyes and reach for things at around three months of age.

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Buddha, all that is correct and I know all about those scientific details. But it says nothing of experiencing sensations in the sense of "components of perception". Those babies still see entities, albeit not as well as older babies. That doesn't mean they are experiencing an individual sensation. The point is that Rand used two senses of sensation on the same page. Of course, it's easy to disambiguate what she meant (as with many philosophers).

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"That doesn't mean they are experiencing an individual sensation."

 

What is meant by "individual" sensation ?  At the conceptual level? Or perceptual level?  Or a purely bio-mechanical, sensory level?

 

What I mean by this is the following:

 

If you are in a room where the light level is being adjusted down, lower and lower, there will be a point at which you can no longer perceive individual objects.  However, this does not mean that photons are no longer stimulating your retina.  It just means that there is a minimum level of light (and retinal activity) that is needed for humans to "see" .  If a cat is in the room with you, he will continue seeing at lower levels of light than you.  So in this mechanistic sense, you are still receiving stimuli, but just not enough to consciously apprehend that you are doing so.  This is true for all senses.  There are measurable, finite limits of perception.

 

Sensations in humans are derived from the following: molecules (taste, smell) photons (sight) electron repulsion (touch) air movement (hearing).  Perception of stimuli occurs in finite ranges and levels (both minimum and maximum).  So, in this sense, we cannot be aware of a single molecule, single photon, single negative electron force, or single air molecule in motion.

Edited by New Buddha

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thenelli01

To answer your three questions concering this post:


    1) Rand didn't "conclude that the brain (or neurological system) performs some automatic process of integration which produces percepts of entities".

    2) She did conclude that, but never explicitly stated whether or not that included percepts of attributes.

    or

    3) Something else?


I'll answer your questions directly:

1. Rand, and all the self-identified Objectivists following her, state that perception is produced by some automatic process performed by the brain or neurological system, and when named the process is called "integration." I cannot answer any more precisely because sometime it is said to be the brain and sometime the neurological system. Sometimes what is processed is called "sensations," sometimes, "sensory input," and sometime just whatever is provided the sensory parts of the nervous system. The mix of terminology is maddening if you try to pin anything down.

2. She used the expression, "perception of entities," to describe what was automatically perceived. She also wrote about perceiving color, shapes and hearing sounds, and since the only direct consciousness we have in her terms (and mine) is perception, that must mean we perceive color, shapes, sounds. I'm not sure she would call them percepts.

3. Well maybe something else.

Let me say one thing. I do not mean this as a criticism of Rand. She covered more ground in philosophy than perhaps any other philosopher, and I think many of the questions, such as these, she would easily have cleared up if she had lived longer. She had additional works planned.

However, there is a real problem understanding exactly what she had in mind because she did seem to mix some terms and concepts. I think I know what she meant, and always try to give her the benefit of the doubt, but compare these quotes with the one's I provided earlier, and you'll see why I cannot answer any more specifically than I have:

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology
"1. Cognition and Measurement"
"Sensations, as such, are not retained in man's memory, nor is man able to experience a pure isolated sensation. ... Discriminated awareness begins on the level of percepts.
A percept is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism. It is in the form of percepts that man grasps the evidence of his senses and apprehends reality. When we speak of "direct perception" or "direct awareness," we mean the perceptual level. Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident."

---She clearly says here a percept is a group of sensations (whatever they are) integrated by the brain. She doesn't say if by percept she means percepts of things attributes (their color, shape, texture, temperature, etc) or of entire entities as wholes.

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology
"4. Concepts of Consciousness"
"Awareness is not a passive state, but an active process. On the lower levels of awareness, a complex neurological process is required to enable man to experience a sensation and to integrate sensations into percepts; that process is automatic and non-volitional: man is aware of its results, but not of the process itself."

---Here she says, "a complex neurological process is required to enable a man to experience a sensation," [how does one experience what one cannot be conscious of] and "to integrate sensations into percepts." [i don't know what that means] However she does say the process is automatic, and man is not aware of. [Then how does she know about it?]

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology
"5. Definitions"
"Paradoxically enough, it is the simplest concepts that most people find it hardest to define—the concepts of the perceptual concretes with which they deal daily, such as 'table,' 'house,' 'man,' 'walking,' 'tall,' 'number,' etc. ...
...Man's discriminated awareness begins with percepts; the conceptual identifications of daily-observed percepts have become so thoroughly automatized in men's minds that they seem to require no definitions—and men have no difficulty in identifying the referents of such concepts ostensively."

---Here she lists as "perceptual concretes" entities (table, house, man), actions (walking), an attribute (tall), which are all metaphysical, and also a purely epistemological existent (number). [i'm not exactly sure what she means by number her, so she may only be referring to the fact we can see groups of things. That's not really "number," number is the method we use to count groups, an epistemological method of identification.] The important thing is, she refers to them all as "perceptual concretes," which to me would mean, "percepts," but she doesn't say, but in the next paragraph refers to them as "daily-observed percepts."

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology
6. Axiomatic Concepts
It must be remembered that conceptual awareness is the only type of awareness capable of integrating past, present and future. Sensations are merely an awareness of the present and cannot be retained beyond the immediate moment; percepts are retained and, through automatic memory, provide a certain rudimentary link to the past, but cannot project the future.

---Well, you see the problem here. "Sensations are merely an awareness of....." But she says we cannot be aware of sensations at all, or of the process by which they are automatically turned into percepts.

Now I'm going to point out a huge problem with the Objectivist view of consciousness. If there is some kind of "automatic process" that somehow magically turns whatever is provided by the sensory nervous system (whether called senses, sensations, sense data) into percepts, or perception itself (it's not clear), the process must be identified, and how one knows there is such a process must be explained. It cannot just be said, "there is a process that performs this magic integration." Well one can just as easily say we all are born will a little demon in us the turns our sensations into percepts. I do not believe in the "sensory integrating demon." No Objectivist has provided any more evidence for it than any theist has provided evidence for their God. They just all accept it and repeat it. No one questions it.

Even if there were such a process, since no one explains how it works, how could there ever be any assurance that the perceptual world it produces is reliable. I cannot see how this so-called process is any improvement over Kant, it just moves the magic percept forming mechanism back from the epistemological to the metaphysical neurological system. There is still no assurance it works.

There is an even more serious logical problem with this supposed automatic process as well. But I'll spare you.

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No Objectivist has provided any more evidence for it than any theist has provided evidence for their God. They just all accept it and repeat it. No one questions it.

Because specifying the system that integrates sensations is what perceptual psychology does. A "magic integration" is what Binswanger requires, but I've been explaining from a philosophical angle that perception implies an integration of individual "raw" sensations that you are not directly conscious of. From my own studies of perceptual psychology, it's a pretty basic fact that there is "raw" input and a resulting complete perception. There are many theories of how the process occurs, but it is induction here that further informs us of Rand's philosophical theory on perception. The improvement over Kant isn't that the proposed process is perfectly rich information, but that perception isn't "created" by the mind - Kant implied that because there is a process, it will never capture anything in itself. Perception can't be "wrong" or even "right", especially since there is more to the mind than consciousness. If you suppose no process at all (the alternative to the "demon"), then you are suggesting an "irreducible consciousness" which is really  back to Cartesian dualism, i.e. the mind as a distinct entity rather than an active process. 

 

If there is another alternative, explain it to me.

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Because specifying the system that integrates sensations is what perceptual psychology does. A "magic integration" is what Binswanger requires, but I've been explaining from a philosophical angle that perception implies an integration of individual "raw" sensations that you are not directly conscious of. From my own studies of perceptual psychology, it's a pretty basic fact that there is "raw" input and a resulting complete perception. There are many theories of how the process occurs, but it is induction here that further informs us of Rand's philosophical theory on perception. The improvement over Kant isn't that the proposed process is perfectly rich information, but that perception isn't "created" by the mind - Kant implied that because there is a process, it will never capture anything in itself. Perception can't be "wrong" or even "right", especially since there is more to the mind than consciousness. If you suppose no process at all (the alternative to the "demon"), then you are suggesting an "irreducible consciousness" which is really  back to Cartesian dualism, i.e. the mind as a distinct entity rather than an active process. 

 

If there is another alternative, explain it to me.

Here's the problem: "perception implies an integration of individual "raw" sensations that you are not directly conscious of." The fact of perception implies something must make it possible, but it only implies integration if that is what one assumes must be the method. The necessity of a method does not imply any particular method. Rand just loved the word integration.

"... it's a pretty basic fact that there is "raw" input and a resulting complete perception."

Why do  you characterize it as raw? If I thought perception were some kind signal processing of sensory inputs, I would call it information rich, hardly raw. Audio information actually is signal processed, and very sophisticated signal processing it is, for example.

"The improvement over Kant isn't that the proposed process is perfectly rich information, but that perception isn't 'created' by the mind - Kant implied that because there is a process, it will never capture anything in itself."

I do not see why a physiological (neurological process that cannot be identified) can be known to be reliable. If someone passed you a box and said it was a method of capturing pictures on MARS, and then showed you the pictures it supposedly took, but wouldn't tell you how it worked, would you trust the pictures? That's why I would not trust that some unidentified process is the basis of my consciousness.

"Perception can't be 'wrong'..." RIGHT!

"or even 'right'... WRONG! It's always right. It always perceives exactly what is perceived exactly as it is.

"especially since there is more to the mind than consciousness." I'm not sure what you mean, unless you mean what one is conscious of. The human mind has three characteristics, volition, the ability and necessity to consciously choose; intellect, the ability and necessity to gain knowledge, and rationality, the ability and necessity to think. If you are thinking things like emotions, desires, memories, they are things we are conscious of, not part of the mind, though some are the effects of it. This is similar to mistaking just anything that goes on in one's head is thinking.

"If you suppose no process at all (the alternative to the "demon"), then you are suggesting an "irreducible consciousness" which is really  back to Cartesian dualism, i.e. the mind as a distinct entity rather than an active process." No, nothing like that. I do regard consciousness as a unique attribute that no physical process can produce, since it is an attribute of life, but there is no dualism here.

"If there is another alternative, explain it to me." That's a pretty big demand. Could Rand explain here entire view in a single post? Well, maybe she could, she was a very powerful writer. I'm not that good.

I know how perception "works" and actually posted an early explanation on line some time ago. It does not stand alone, however. One reason the Objectivist explanation fails is because Objectivism has no ontology, and until the ultimate nature of physical existence is understood there is no way to correctly explain how it is consciously perceived. Essentially without ontology, "what" is being perceived is not understood, and "how" it is perceived is impossible to explain."

In this case I know what the right explanation is, but even if I didn't, it is not necessary to know a right explanation for something in order to understand another explanation is a wrong one.

Are you really serious about wanting to know the right explanation?

Edited by Regi F.

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No, nothing like that. I do regard consciousness as a unique attribute that no physical process can produce, since it is an attribute of life, but there is no dualism here.

That is dualism, where consciousness is irreducible to anything and uncaused by any physical process. Even if all life is conscious (which is quite a claim...), you've treated consciousness as if it were uncaused and not at all a result of real processes. If no physical process can even make X, then no X can do anything in the world. If anything is a demon, it's consciousness "that no physical process can produce". 

 

If things aren't integrated, they are either the same, dis-integrated, removed, or something is "added" to it. The same makes no sense, as the world would be imcomprehensible if each sensory input were its own. Disintegrated makes less sense because that's even more chaos than same. Removed is a complete disconnect from reality, primacy of consciousness, perhaps solipsism. Adding something is more chaos, unless some components are integrated. Another possibility is that percepts are direct from sensory input, where percepts have no components, which I've argued is wrong AND a view incompatible with Objectivism.

 

"If you are thinking things like emotions, desires, memories, they are things we are conscious of, not part of the mind, though some are the effects of it."

Why aren't they part of the mind? What are they part of?

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"On the lower levels of awareness, a complex neurological process is required to enable man to experience a sensation and to integrate sensations into percepts; that process is automatic and non-volitional: man is aware of its results, but not of the process itself."

However she does say the process is automatic, and man is not aware of. [Then how does she know about it?]

Process of elimination.

  • We effortlessly perceive cohesive entities, in three dimensions
  • Our eyes only sense two-dimensional images

Ergo these images must somehow be interpreted as three-dimensional entities, but without any deliberate effort or attention in the act of interpretation.  The only logical conclusion to draw is that something interprets them for us, automatically

And the only question, at that point, is what interprets them and how- and I happen to consider "my own subconscious" to be the only rational answer.  I'm actually attempting to figure out how at this time; if you have any suggestions I would be happy to hear them.  But Rand's answer to what is the only one I consider even the slightest bit plausible.

 

If there is some kind of "automatic process" that somehow magically turns whatever is provided by the sensory nervous system (whether called senses, sensations, sense data) into percepts, or perception itself (it's not clear), the process must be identified, and how one knows there is such a process must be explained.

I emphatically agree.  But that isn't an error; it's room to expand.  It's an unanswered question. 

If it bothers you then I suggest you look for the answer, instead of complaining that there isn't one yet.

 

Even if there were such a process, since no one explains how it works, how could there ever be any assurance that the perceptual world it produces is reliable.

It isn't!  Perception is not always reliable; that's the point!  That's why Binswanger is wrong!

But the fact that things aren't always what they seem to be is not a philosophical problem.  For Galt's sake; you make a sticker that says "objects in mirror are larger than they appear" and then you compensate for it accordingly!

It's not a problem that deserves serious attention!

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Perception can't be "wrong" or even "right",

It properly deserves its own thread, but I don't agree with this.

People claim to perceive super-natural things all the time.  Judging from my own experience I don't believe they're all liars; I think that when people say they've "seen" a ghost, they usually believe it.  If so then logically, either perception can be wrong sometimes- or such claims cannot be (which obviously cannot be true).  Again, it deserves its own thread, but to indicate the mechanism which seems to cause such perceptual mistakes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorschach_test

 

Not to mention that the alternative to perceptual fallibility is:

It's always right. It always perceives exactly what is perceived exactly as it is.

In which case you must find magicians absolutely paradigm-shifting, since you've essentially stated 'if I see a rabbit materialize from thin air, then that must accurately reflect reality.'

 

And if Regi was being sincere then that observation, alone, would be sufficient.

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If someone passed you a box and said it was a method of capturing pictures on MARS, and then showed you the pictures it supposedly took, but wouldn't tell you how it worked, would you trust the pictures? That's why I would not trust that some unidentified process is the basis of my consciousness.

 Ergo:

"Perception can't be 'wrong'..." RIGHT!

"or even 'right'... WRONG! It's always right. It always perceives exactly what is perceived exactly as it is.

Which can be genuinely reconciled with some of Rand's statements.  I'll grant you that.

 

"especially since there is more to the mind than consciousness." I'm not sure what you mean, unless you mean what one is conscious of. The human mind has three characteristics, volition, the ability and necessity to consciously choose; intellect, the ability and necessity to gain knowledge, and rationality, the ability and necessity to think. If you are thinking things like emotions, desires, memories, they are things we are conscious of, not part of the mind, though some are the effects of it. This is similar to mistaking just anything that goes on in one's head is thinking.

What do the faculties of perception and evaluation have in common, that differs from cognition?  I would actually like to know your theory, Regi, out of morbid fascination.  Because I have a hypothesis.  I think that your goal is to refute the existence of the subconscious (in fact any non-conscious part of the mind) and you intend to do so with Objectivist epistemology.

So I'm sincerely curious to see how you might attempt to do that.

 

But I have nothing left to say to you about this.  Live long and prosper.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Not to mention that the alternative to perceptual fallibility is:

In which case you must find magicians absolutely paradigm-shifting, since you've essentially stated 'if I see a rabbit materialize from thin air, then that must accurately reflect reality.'

Equivocation of perception with judgments of perception. Your eyes don't see rabbits or not, they see an entity which you judge to be a rabbit. Only knowledge and cogntion can be right or wrong. There is no "correct" perception if perception is the result of what your sensory organs do automatically. You can say the perception is not informative enough as you'd prefer, but that isn't "unreliable". Relying too much on something does not mean it is unreliable. Now, if the process is broken, then unreliability makes sense.

 

See this for more on the "reliability" of perception: http://www.amazon.com/Concepts-Their-Role-Knowledge-Philosophical/dp/0822944243/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394847706&sr=1-1&keywords=gotthelf

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That is dualism, where consciousness is irreducible to anything and uncaused by any physical process. Even if all life is conscious (which is quite a claim...), you've treated consciousness as if it were uncaused and not at all a result of real processes. If no physical process can even make X, then no X can do anything in the world. If anything is a demon, it's consciousness "that no physical process can produce". 

 

If things aren't integrated, they are either the same, dis-integrated, removed, or something is "added" to it. The same makes no sense, as the world would be imcomprehensible if each sensory input were its own. Disintegrated makes less sense because that's even more chaos than same. Removed is a complete disconnect from reality, primacy of consciousness, perhaps solipsism. Adding something is more chaos, unless some components are integrated. Another possibility is that percepts are direct from sensory input, where percepts have no components, which I've argued is wrong AND a view incompatible with Objectivism.

 

"If you are thinking things like emotions, desires, memories, they are things we are conscious of, not part of the mind, though some are the effects of it."

Why aren't they part of the mind? What are they part of?

"That is dualism."

No, there is only one reality, one material existence. That material existence just happens to be what those with very little discernment confuse with physical existence. Material existence is all that exists independently of anyone's knowledge or awareness. That does not mean outside of anyone's knowledge or awareness, it mean whether or not anyone has knowledge or awareness of it. Material existence is reality, it is what it is and knowledge of it must be discovered and no one dictates or decides what it is.

That material reality includes the physical. It also includes life, which is not a physical attribute, but a perfectly natural attribute of the same material reality all the physical attributes are attributes of. Consciousness is an attribute of entities with the life attribute, which is an additional attribute of the material reality beyond the physical and life attributes, and volitional consciousness is an attribute of the same material reality beyond the attributes of the  physical, life, and consciousness attributes. It is all the same material existence.

There is no dualism at all. There is only one natural material existence which is not limited to attributes of direct perception, that is, the physical attributes. If the physical attributes were all that were possible, there would be no life, no consciousness, and no human mind. No arrangement or organization of dead matter can ever produce life, consciousness, or the human mind. Additional attributes are required, attributes we know there are, because there are life, consciousness, and minds.

The insistence that everything be explained in terms of the physical means the end of philosophy, at least for those doing the insisting.

If this view, by the way, is incompatible with Objectivism, it is irrelevant. Objectivism is not philosophy, it is only one person's view of philosophy. However, if by Objectivism is meant Rand's view of things, I can assure you she saw that life and consciousness were not physical attributes.

"'If you are thinking things like emotions, desires, memories, they are things we are conscious of, not part of the mind, though some are the effects of it.'

Why aren't they part of the mind? What are they part of?"

I'll reiterate, the human mind, that which is different about human consciousness from the consciousness of animals without minds is the three-fold attribute of the mind, "volition, intellect, and reason." All the other things you mentioned are simply things one is conscious of, things which animals without minds are also conscious of: how they feel, what they desire, and whatever limited memory they have.

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I'll reiterate, the human mind, that which is different about human consciousness from the consciousness of animals without minds is the three-fold attribute of the mind, "volition, intellect, and reason."

So anything that is part of human consciousness is necessarily the mind? And if you are not a direct conscious state (as opposed to "being conscious of") then it's not part of the mind? If that's right: then see my earlier posts of why this is dualism (property dualism).

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Harrison Danneskjold

"Process of elimination.

    We effortlessly perceive cohesive entities, in three dimensions
    Our eyes only sense two-dimensional images

Ergo these images must somehow be interpreted as three-dimensional entities, but without any deliberate effort or attention in the act of interpretation.  The only logical conclusion to draw is that something interprets them for us, automatically."

Only individual's with one functioning eye see things in two dimensions. Two eyes provide stereoscopic vision. It's not magic. It is simply being able to perceive the differentiation of physical position in the field of vision by means of differences in perspective.

"And the only question, at that point, is what interprets them and how- and I happen to consider "my own subconscious" to be the only rational answer.  I'm actually attempting to figure out how at this time; if you have any suggestions I would be happy to hear them.  But Rand's answer to what is the only one I consider even the slightest bit plausible."

There is no such thing as the subconscious. This superstitious belief originated by Freud is a bane to Objectivism. How about we just see things as they actually are. How? What are things anyway? Aren't they whatever their attributes are? Of course we cannot directly perceive all of a things attributes, but we can perceive, their color, their shape, the texture, their taste, their smell, their sound if they make one, are what they are, aren't they? What else do we need to perceive then the attributes of an entity to perceive the entity itself? This is a hint to the real nature of perception. If you think about it, you will come up with it yourself.

"Perception is not always reliable; that's the point!  That's why Binswanger is wrong!

But the fact that things aren't always what they seem to be is not a philosophical problem.  For Galt's sake; you make a sticker that says "objects in mirror are larger than they appear" and then you compensate for it accordingly!

It's not a problem that deserves serious attention!"

No, perception is alway reliable. What is not reliable is the human interpretation (at the conceptual level) of what is perceived. Perception of reality is always of that reality exactly as it exists in its total metaphysical context. If one perceives things in a convex mirror they will be perceived as smaller (and more distant) because in that metaphysical context, that is exactly how they must be perceived to be correctly perceived. If things perceived in a convex mirror and things perceived when directly looking at them appeared the same, that would be a perceptual mistake. Fortunately, perception never gets it wrong.

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So anything that is part of human consciousness is necessarily the mind? And if you are not a direct conscious state (as opposed to "being conscious of") then it's not part of the mind? If that's right: then see my earlier posts of why this is dualism (property dualism).

No. Please read more carefully. Only those aspects of human consciousness involvimg volition, reason, and intellect are "mind." Everything else is an attribute of consciousness common to all conscious animals. The mind and its attributes are unique to man.

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There is no "correct" perception if perception is the result of what your sensory organs do automatically.

In which case what you're actually saying is that sensations can't be right or wrong; they simply are (and I enthusiastically agree).

 

Equivocation of perception with judgments of perception.

I'm not sure.  Is it still equivocation if it's explicitly intentional?

 

There is no such thing as the subconscious.

I thought so.

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"A percept is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism." 

 

"A percept is a group of sensory inputs, automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living being."

 

Both statements, by Rand and Bins respectively, rely on an old brain model called 'bucket theory'. Sensational inputting go into a storage facility of the brain, thereby becoming 'perceptions' which are then processed by a faculty called 'cognition'.

 

In terms of research psychology, this model is either false or simply useless.

 

First, no such bucket has been found. Rather, what seems to be true is that sensational inputting is to a great extent pre-selected and directed--'fight or flight' and  analysis being two of the ostensible options.

 

In other words, we're trained by our cultures as to what sensational inputting even gets recognized. Therefore, any stimuli don't become 'perceptions' because they've been mentally blocked. 

 

As for responses, perhaps the 'heuristic' vs 'thought' alternative, as explained by Kahneman, is a good place to start. 

 

BH

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"In other words, we're trained by our cultures as to what sensational inputting even gets recognized."

 

How do you account for persons, with specific neurological damage, who are incapable of differentiating one face from another?  Or people who, when looking at a word, cannot pronounce the word, but can point the word's referent?

 

Or how about the fact that we cannot see in the ultraviolet or infrared frequencies?  Or that there are finite limits to hearing, at both the high and low frequencies, that say, a dog can hear beyond?  

 

The argument is not a "bucket" argument.  It's an argument that perceptual mechanism are finite in nature.

Edited by New Buddha

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