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1 minute ago, StrictlyLogical said:

KyaryPamyu

I retract the last sentence of my last post.

Why? I think it perfectly shows your own limitation in terms of not being able to overcome the current paradigm of normality through revolutionary means.

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11 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

This reification, however, is implicit, since you do not question what you are actually saying, that is, you do not try to understand your words and thus do not mean explicitly 'nothing' when you are saying it.

Rand's view is this: " Non-existence is not a fact, it is the absence of a fact, it is a derivative concept pertaining to a relationship, i.e., a concept which can be formed or grasped only in relation to some existent that has ceased to exist. (One can arrive at the concept “absence” starting from the concept “presence,” in regard to some particular existent(s); one cannot arrive at the concept “presence” starting from the concept “absence,” with the absence including everything.) "

So Rand sees it as absence of fact in the sense of -negating- facts and existents. Your criticism isn't even responding to Rand's position.

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8 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

The structure of my consciousness, which allows me to understand all this, is different from others.

Very true.

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And to think, Illya, I was looking at the boatload of times Rand used 'everything' versus her two specific uses of 'every thing'. I have to admit you have a flair for introducing 'nothing' into the conversation.

 

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On 13.08.2009 at 5:28 PM, Eiuol said:

nothing can ever be beyond existence

And I've seen others write the same as well. Yes, Eiuol, I was remembering what Objectivists wrote to argue the (meta) point of existence, so you basically interpret Rand's idea of nonexistence the same way as I do. I can go through her quote as well, but this should be the rehash of what I've already been telling you.

  1. Nonexistence is not a 'fact' - yes, because it is metaphysical, not epistemological.
  2. Nonexistence is the 'absence' of a fact - yes, like it is the absence of epistemology.
  3. Nonexistence is a 'derivative' concept pertaining to a 'relationship' - yes, derivative in that we don't know it before we examined all scientific evidence, and yes - a relationship, but to what?
  4. Nonexistence is "formed or grasped only in relation to some existent that has ceased to exist" - no, this is a reification of nonexistence through a reduction of it to 'not identity' and then contradicting nonexistence by starting at 'not identity', thinking that nonexistence is within 'not identity' - that's a second subaltern contradiction, as absolute nothing cannot be derived from 'not something', as then 'not something' is reified as 'something' being contradictorily related to nothing, thus nonexistence cannot be known, and following Rand's contradiction - cannot be 'formed' or 'grasped'
  5. " One can arrive at the concept “absence” starting from the concept “presence” " - how is this exactly? this is a contradiction, but no contradictions can be seen in reality, only in one's mind. If one is arriving to absence from presence conceptually, one is not grasping essential features or the essential change of an existent. Instead this merely shows the conceptual direction of Rand toward nonexistence
  6. " one cannot arrive at the concept “presence” starting from the concept “absence,” with the absence including everything " - yes, because nothing and something contradict each other, regardless of whether you first look from nothing or from something. However, Rand completely ignores that nonexistence metaphysically relates only to existence, that is, nothing relates to everything, not to something. Because she is implicitly contradicting everything through something she thinks it's the same, but relating nothing to everything and relating nothing to something are not the same. Just look at the square of opposition, or listen to Peikoff's lecture on it.

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12 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

no, this is a reification of nonexistence through a reduction of it to 'not identity

It's just a negation. There's no reduction involved here.

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"existent that has ceased to exist" is taken by Rand as an epistemological fact. She switches logic to epistemological in 4-5, thus equivocating absence in 5 with absence in 2. The reduction is parallel to the one she had done with existence (everything is something): nonexistence is not a something. It is not a negation. Just follow the right hand side of the square.

Additionally: Rand is concept-stealing by using nonexistence to do away with it.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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It's the negation of a thing that exists, not proving that "non-existence doesn't exist".

Except I think you're doing some sort of Hegelian dialectical analysis, so you aren't using the standards of logic that make a lot of sense with Objectivist standards. Rand isn't using "nonexistence" to "get rid of nonexistence" - nonexistence is "real" as an existent insofar as it is a concept denoting an existent that has since ceased to be.

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A negation of a thing that exists is not a something. That's pretty clear. However, this not a something is related to nonexistence in Rand's words.

Calling ontological logic Hegelian is pretty funny. Hegel accepted that, since thought is being, epistemological contradiction also exists ontologically. Thus, for Hegel there is no difference between the two logics. But to the normal few, there is a difference. I reject epistemological logic because it is a self-contradictory logic, as we've seen with mathematical logic of Frege et al. So, what I am using here is not Hegel's but Aristotelian analysis, albeit a more advanced one.

When Rand switches from ontological to epistemological logic like that, she makes you poor Objectivists believe that it's okay and that that can be done. However, it is Hegel who showed that it can only be okay if thought (like a fact) is also being (like a fact). In her way of dismissing nonexistence shows her hidden Hegelianism.

Nonexistence cannot be real as an existent because nonexistence is Kant's noumenon. There can be nothing said about nonexistence that is related to an existent without reducing the concept to something that it's not, neither something nor not a something. Nonexistence is nonexistence, and can only be related metaphysically to all that is, the whole of existence.

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12 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

However, this not a something is related to nonexistence in Rand's words.

Frankly, I think then the issue is one of how you use the word relationship - and it's not what people usually mean in English. A relationship is a word that can be used to convey "a connection understood by means of another", as in here one can only form a concept like 'non-existence' only through the concept 'existence'. Not only that, the relation is between concepts, not entities.

Also, when Rand says existent, she means also concepts, e.g. the concept itself is an existent despite not being a tangible thing. (" the concept of an “existent”—of something that exists, be it a thing, an attribute or an action." )  So it is possible to have the negation of a concept as a relationship.

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12 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

one can only form a concept like 'non-existence' only through the concept 'existence'. Not only that, the relation is between concepts, not entities.

This is absolutely correct, and I agree with this completely, but it's not in Rand.

existence =/= existent, if it's used to subsume the concept of the whole

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16 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

This is absolutely correct, and I agree with this completely, but it's not in Rand.

existence =/= existent, if it's used to subsume the concept of the whole

Short of indulging in the insanity of mysticism, "nothing" and "non-existence" and "absence" are purely epistemological.  There IS no "nothing".  The "nothing" we communicate about is a mental result, which sloppily we use to report when there is a failure of consciousness to make a positive identification in response to an inquiry.  We use this term in place of a valid word which normally designates an existent when positive identification by consciousness has succeeded when in fact a mental dead end was found and "no result", "failure" or "null" resulted.

 

You allege that Rand is guilty of reification of non-existence (by implication also reification of the "nothing").  I have never seen any evidence of that in any of my readings.  What evidence do you have to show your case?

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Right. Ignoring your calling ontological logic 'mysticism,' I have to say you don't understand existence that is not epistemological but metaphysical. Rand clearly delineates the two. However, the delineation, as we can see, doesn't help because she fails to provide a clear ontological hierarchy. With Peikoff's metaphysical model put aside, there is currently no ontology as complete as mine, and to understand this ontology as it is in itself you need to think -- metaphysically -- in terms of continua and boundaries. The boundaries of the Model are twofold: Existence and Nonexistence. To say there is only metaphysical Existence but no Nonexistence (because, presumably, it's not metaphysical) is to completely reject the ontology that I put forward (which you obviously do).

However, I am ever of the mind that in anything, even metaphysical concepts, there are ever boundaries, there are always pairs of things, concepts, or whatever we can speak of. To say otherwise is to submit to one-sided dogma, which is evidently false. There is nothing one-sided in existence, including existence itself. Now, considering that I've mentioned language, to which you seemingly want to reduce nonexistence (and, for that matter, also existence, since those are related), I have to say this: behind the language you are hiding an epistemic fault, namely that language does or should refer to anything concrete. However, we have metaphysics to reject your premise, metaphysical waving of hands or some other mumbo-jumbo notwithstanding. It's like saying Oh, look at this particle that is at the same time a wave! The logical conclusion is: whenever you mix ontology with epistemology you get nothing, a reification of.

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On 4/16/2017 at 2:32 AM, Ilya Startsev said:

[ S ]he makes you poor Objectivists believe . . .

How does she do this? Did she find a way to transcend literature and embed a metaphysical gun within it to hold on those poor Objectivists, substituting a bullet for an argument? I doubt very much she did it thusly, or by offering them an endless supply of word salad.

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Oh, no, she didn't do it like that. Rather she decidedly kept those Objectivists in an epistemological stasis, unable to progress beyond the boundaries of reason she set down with an iron fist. Or, rather, a boundary. The rest was like an invisibility spell that made them think that there is no need to try to understand what you don't understand. You can simply dismiss it as a 'word salad.'

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29 minutes ago, Ilya Startsev said:

[ S ]he decidedly kept those Objectivists in an epistemological stasis, unable to progress beyond the boundaries of reason she set down with an iron fist.

You should do something about this. Clearly this is your duty. What is, or should your policy be if and when you encounter someone who you can clearly identify as having no truck with reason?

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22 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

This is absolutely correct, and I agree with this completely, but it's not in Rand.

existence =/= existent, if it's used to subsume the concept of the whole

Existence -as a concept- is an existent. That's how Rand uses the word existent. Thus the problems you have for interpreting 3 and 4 above should be resolved.

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Existence is everything, reality, which is not an existent. How can reality, or the entire context of every existent and everything as a whole, be a mere something? The fault in logic is Rand's and anyone's who follows her reduction.

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Basically, Eiuol, the point I am trying to make is that existence exists regardless of any existent, hence it cannot be reduced to a mere existent. I understand a concept, like dog, refers to an existent and hence itself can be considered an existent (as a correctly integrated thought). However, existence is not a dog, or an orange, for that matter, because it doesn't refer to anything particular, even an existent as a concept.

Hereby you may understand the reason for there to be Nonexistence. Only it can allow us to understand Existence.

A side-note: while Nonexistence and Kant's noumenon are equivalent, Existence is not phenomenon because phenomenon is something specific. There is no equivalent of Existence in Kant's philosophy. That's why I consider Kant a materialist: he reduces everything to something without regarding everything as a whole. Rand, on the other hand, does regard everything as a whole, but she does so unjustifiably while reducing it to something.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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5 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Existence is everything, reality, which is not an existent.

This is a bald assertion.  There is no evidence to accept this.  Please provide evidence of the senses verifiable by independent third party observation or admit this is mysticism.

 

5 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

How can reality, or the entire context of every existent and everything as a whole, be a mere something?

Again.  The claim that reality is a "context" of every existent and everything as a whole is a bald assertion.  There is no evidence for that which is other than "every existent and everything" which forms some kind of context for "every existent and everything" nor any evidence whatever that such a context is "needed" nor evidence that such a context "exists".  

Even if for a moment we ignore the fact that this is an arbitrary claim, what is proposed under the definition is irrational... If the context IS, i.e. exists it can be counted among the "every existent and everything" in which case it does not serve as a context for every existent and everything including itself, it forms a context only for "every other existent and everything else".  The other possibility is the "context" simply ISN'T in which case ... we can stop talking about it completely.  In any case given the lack of any evidence it is to be dismissed outright.

"mere something"???  This is an appeal to supernaturalism.  There are all sorts of "somethings", from neutrinos to Galaxies, to everything.  To say anything is a something is to say it IS rather than it IS NOT.  It is pure mysticism to expect the whole or any part of reality to be itself i.e. that which it IS, while at the same time more than itself, i.e. more than that which it is.

 

5 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

The fault in logic is Rand's and anyone's who follows her reduction.

This is another bald assertion.  There is no evidence to accept this.  Please provide evidence of the senses verifiable by independent third party observation or admit this is mysticism.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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4 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Existence is everything, reality, which is not an existent. [...] existence exists regardless of any existent, hence it cannot be reduced to a mere existent. [...] it doesn't refer to anything particular, even an existent as a concept. [...]

If 'existence' is used as a collective noun to denote the sum of everything that exists, then it does refer to something: to the sum of all existents. 'Existence' can also be used to point out that something exists in actuality, as against existing only in someone's mind.

But you seem to echo, in some way, this quote by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement:

"Underneath the subtlest layer of all that exists in the relative field [of specific existents] is the abstract, absolute field of pure Being, which is unmanifested and transcendental. It is neither matter nor energy. It is pure Being, the state of pure existence. This state of pure existence underlies all that exists. Everything is the expression of this pure existence or absolute Being, which is the essential constituent of all relative life. The one eternal, unmanifested, absolute Being manifests itself in many forms of life and existences in creation."

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29 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Please provide evidence of the senses verifiable by independent third party observation or admit this is mysticism.

It's realism, but sense data you seek reduce it to materialism, which can never grasp the whole.

30 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The claim that reality is a "context" of every existent and everything as a whole is a bald assertion.

It's not a bald claim at all, except to a materialist who cannot understand reality. Here is something that Rand wrote in ITOE:

Quote

[AR:] the concept “existence,” at least the way I use it, is in a certain way close to the concept “universe”—all that which exists.
Prof. B: “Existence” is a collective noun almost.
AR: That’s right. An existent is, then, a particular which exists. (p. 167, digital)

And here she directly relates reality to context:

Quote

...the context (reality)... ("Philosophical Detection"; P:WNI, Ch. 2)

So SL, did Rand make a bald assertion? Yes, but it proved accurate, as my Model shows. But you ignore this evidence. Then the only evidence you can get is Kantian in the illustration I've provided in this thread. Have you read it? Do you agree with it? Properties of quality, quantity, relation, and modality are your sought evidence of the senses. And Kant was surely no mystic because he opposed exactly the mystical features of the philosophies of Aristotle, Bacon, and Locke (the latter of whose things-in-themselves he claimed to not be knowable, in contrast to what all realists/mystics -- integrators -- claim).

42 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

There is no evidence for that which is other than "every existent and everything" which forms some kind of context for "every existent and everything" nor any evidence whatever that such a context is "needed" nor evidence that such a context "exists".  

The evidence is the entirety of reality and human knowledge, which is the Model, proven again and again. I haven't found a contradiction to it. I haven't found any other metaphysics that can structure all this evidence. Now, you may be opposed to metaphysics, like Kantian logical positivists are, such as Wittgenstein and Carnap. Then, that's a different topic. If you reject metaphysics, there is nothing to discuss here but your scientific evidence. There would be no philosophy to it. It's only science, you see? Philosophy and science are not the same, even the philosophy that I propose is not a hard science but a special kind of science, which only allows one to study human consciousness based on the Model.

Now, I could go on and show, as an example, how the Model would change to accommodate new evidence, such as of new particles found from the collider, if the supersymmetry theory proves to be true. But I guess you would simply dismiss this. What kind of evidence do you seek? That applies and oranges exist? Sure. Or that there are computers or cell-phones (like all the things you see in front of you)? You want this discussion to lead to trivial scientific evidence, and this discussion is not concerned with trivialities. It is concerned with metaphysics, which is the things in themselves. Got it?

49 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

what is proposed under the definition is irrational... If the context IS, i.e. exists it can be counted among the "every existent and everything" in which case it does not serve as a context for every existent and everything including itself, it forms a context only for "every other existent and everything else".  The other possibility is the "context" simply ISN'T in which case ... we can stop talking about it completely.  In any case given the lack of any evidence it is to be dismissed outright.

Jungle is a context but not an existent, since it cannot be reduced to trees or whatever other existents that may be there. (If you think otherwise, then you are a mat8 like Stefan Molyneux, who claims this because he doesn't understand what a context is). What the Model shows with its 17 physical contexts (jungle is a form of Environment) is that each context ontologically is represented as Non-identity. Non-identity is a form of nothing, thus making context, or physical reality, a nothing. This, of course, is different from absolute nothing, which is closer associated with Nonexistence. The difference between ontology and metaphysics is that the first organizes our knowledge of physical evidence, while the latter organizes the organization of this knowledge. The organization of organization is thus not only the structuring but also the nature of this evidence in itself.

54 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

"mere something"???  This is an appeal to supernaturalism.  There are all sorts of "somethings", from neutrinos to Galaxies, to everything.

In contract to the right side of the Model, which consists of contexts, the left side consists of identities, somethings, which are represented as objects, or parts of wholes/contexts. There are 17 objects of different levels. Neutrinos are Particle (l. 1), and galaxies are represented by Hole (l. 13), since there are no galaxies without black holes. (Galaxy could have been presented as a context of Hole, but there is currently no way to differentiate clusters from superclusters by a more technical term, 'group,' 'neighborhood,' and 'constellation' notwithstanding.)

1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

It is pure mysticism to expect the whole or any part of reality to be itself i.e. that which it IS, while at the same time more than itself, i.e. more than that which it is.

Physical reality and metaphysical reality (i.e. existence) are not the same, also as per Rand's quote above. You are calling metaphysics 'mysticism' in the tradition of all Nietzschean materialists, whose metaphysics is based on Body (l. 8), rather than somewhere at the Cosmos, looking from above it, from the metacosmic level of all idealists. In Rand this level (15) is called existence. It is metaphysical, not physical. A true Objectivist (i.e. Randian idealist) should know this.

45 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

If 'existence' is used as a collective noun to denote the sum of everything that exists, then it does refer to something: to the sum of all existents.

Yes, the sum is called existence. However, you cannot point to this sum because it involves also the sum of contexts.

45 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

'Existence' can also be used to point out that something exists in actuality, as against existing only in someone's mind.

No, it cannot, since you cannot point out what it is - pointing to physical environment is not the same as 'Existence,' since environment only exists immediately in relation to your body but not to all that is. Existence is neither in your mind nor in reality. Rather it is something you can grasp by your mind only when you understand all the realities there are (all the levels of the Model), or the reality as a whole, to then be able to make necessary propositions concerning the nature of this reality. Anything more specific is a reduction to a particular level at which you may seem comfortable but surely not metaphysically competent: that is, you won't be able to make metaphysical conclusions concerning your part of reality that you directly perceive.

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 Before anything following the discussion, I would like to point out two things that need to be considered by my opponents:

  1. A collection or sum of things cannot be reduced to things because it ignores spacetime as a context, which serves as the condition of the sum. Here is something relevant I wrote on my blog: to claim that reality only exists as objects is to claim that reality is a solid. If we say that a group of swans on a lake is merely individual swans – then there is nothing, no spacetime, to separate swans from each other. Saying that forests only consist of trees would mean that we would go through the trees and not ‘around’ them, since anything ‘around’ them would not exist. Imagine a solid only consisting of trees, or a society only consisting of people. What this would actually ‘prove’ is that we are all living in a solidified state prohibitive to movement, in a world that only consists of objects as if these objects were our reality, were our contexts, as immovable as cadavers frozen in cement or stuck behind a wall in one of Poe’s stories.
  2. An identity, or a something, is a necessary outcome of any metaphysical proposition, but then it becomes ontological. To understand what metaphysics is one must understand the condition of something becoming ontological before it so becomes. Hence I am not arguing that there is nothing specific to derive from existence or nonexistence nor that these don't lead to anything specific. Rather, I am arguing that we need to understand the differences between ontology and epistemology before we integrate ontology with metaphysics. If you look at the logical square (not square of opposition), you'll find that the higher level (really meta-level, but whatever) is metaphysical, whereas the lower is ontological, but the two are evidently connected, for otherwise there would be no logic. Reductions would ignore the higher level.

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