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epistemologue

Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

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Posted (edited)

I was curious if anyone else has read this book by Scott Ryan.

I am still only on Chapter 1, but I think the author has a lot of clear insights that I haven't read anywhere else.

The argument in Chapter 1 is that she missed the "problem of universals" entirely - which is properly a *metaphysical* question, not an epistemological one.

Personally I've always thought it was odd that she began the book stating that it was all about the problem of universals, but the word "universal" is not defined, nor is it ever actually substantively used again at all throughout the rest of the book. Instead she talks about epistemological "abstractions". She seems to dismiss and avoid the metaphysical issue entirely. The only thing she mentions is that Plato and Aristotle (and intrinsicists in general) are wrong, that universals do not exist on the metaphysical level. But her only argument is that such universals could not be "perceived" directly, by no means - which is not a necessary feature of intrinsicist metaphysics. And her entire epistemology seems to be aimed at the idea of creating abstract concepts which themselves have both universality and correspondence with reality. If there are no such metaphysically real universals, then to what would these correspond, what meaning or use could they possibly have? The typical nominalist who denies intrinisicist metaphysics doesn't try to steal a notion of universal "concepts" like this, they will openly admit that concepts refer to a collection of concretes and have strictly pragmatic value (and are not any kind of universal abstractions which correspond with reality).

Available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Objectivism-Corruption-Rationality-Critique-Epistemology/dp/0595267335

Available in pdf here: http://www.scholardarity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Objectivism-and-the-Corruption-of-Rationality-Scott-Ryan.pdf

 

Edited by epistemologue

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Posted (edited)

To touch on the "problem of universals", one reference that comes back on a search is from page 29 of For The New Intellectuals:

They were unable to offer a solution to the "problem of universals," that is: to define the nature and source of abstractions, to determine the relationship of concepts to perceptual data—and to prove the validity of scientific induction.

Also, check out the introduction to ITOE2.

Edited by dream_weaver
correct CD typo

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searching for "Scott Ryan" in the search bar placed on the top right of this page yields several threads.  I think Scott Ryan's critique of O-ist epistemology is a good place to start.

Intrinsicist universals, that is metaphysical universals, just don't exist.  Scott Ryan can hold his breath until he is blue in the face and beyond but there will never be a solution to the "problem of universals" as long as the universals must be metaphysical.  Rand's theory makes universals epistemological and that is its merit.

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2 hours ago, epistemologue said:

If there are no such metaphysically real universals, then to what would these correspond, what meaning or use could they possibly have?

The entity itself. That is, any meaning comes from particulars, and exactly those particulars. Any uniting essence is epistemic as far as being a mental construction, classifications of particulars of features that other particulars also have. There is nothing that unites this cat and that cat as the concept 'cat' except my identifying a similarity between them. There is no "perfect" cat either in the sense some features are not shared. This is how I understand Rand as not a nominalist but not like Aristotle either.

I believe nominalists like Wittgenstein deny that perception is direct or at least would argue for some subjective notion of perspective.

 

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1 hour ago, Grames said:

searching for "Scott Ryan" in the search bar placed on the top right of this page yields several threads.  I think Scott Ryan's critique of O-ist epistemology is a good place to start.

Intrinsicist universals, that is metaphysical universals, just don't exist.  Scott Ryan can hold his breath until he is blue in the face and beyond but there will never be a solution to the "problem of universals" as long as the universals must be metaphysical.  Rand's theory makes universals epistemological and that is its merit.

Yes.  I'll go further to claim Rand discovered the fact of reality that universals are epistemological.

So much insanity for so many millennia... even in today's day and age mysticism, intrinsicism, philosophical rationalism are not showing any signs of stopping.  Humans don't even need drugs to be whack... it's freaking sad.

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On 4/22/2017 at 1:59 PM, epistemologue said:

they will openly admit that concepts refer to a collection of concretes and have strictly pragmatic value

does everyone here agree with this too?

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52 minutes ago, splitprimary said:

does everyone here agree with this too?

Dunno, I don't know what "strictly pragmatic" means here. All concepts are useful, but aren't -only- measured by their utility.

 

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7 hours ago, splitprimary said:

does everyone here agree with this too?

No, concepts are open-ended and can refer to a potentially indefinitely large quantity of referents, existing in the past the present and the future, near at hand or far away.  Nor do concepts need refer to concretes; concepts can be the units of other concepts. 

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First, I believe the author of Corruption is a man, not a woman.

I think the problem of universals is an epistemological issue, so I agree with Ryan. Rand had something similar in its place, calling it entities (as Eiuol mentioned), but entities, to me, is so abstract a term that it can only be used to merely differentiate some terms from other terms with similar meanings, and that's not a very substantial addition to epistemology. The reason existence also doesn't solve the problem of universals is that existence is singular and universals is plural, which is a more important distinctions than 'entities.' Aristotle was directed toward existence and yet he set up the problem of universals by his essentialist philosophy. Since many non-mystic philosophers fail to understand essences (as conceptual things in themselves we hold in our consciousness), they continue to claim that there is the problem of universals. Of course, if you reject Aristotle's essences and Kantian categories, you have a problem with universals.

On 22.04.2017 at 11:58 PM, Eiuol said:

I believe nominalists like Wittgenstein deny that perception is direct or at least would argue for some subjective notion of perspective.

Oh, there is someone else you need to fear on this - the academically accepted Thomas Reid, who differentiated sensation and perception, and yet conflated the latter with conception, calling it illusionary (he didn't believe centaurs were ideas). Reid, who called himself a 'direct realist' and who refuted, in Schopenhauer's words, Locke, was praised by Kant before being completely annihilated by him (of course, thus making him into such an important academic figure of 'direct realism' in the history of philosophy). Hence we need to fear those people like Reid who sacrifice their entire life, from their own naivete, for a straw-man, so future disintegrators could say they 'disproved' direct realism. In this regard, Reid is the same as Rousseau, another idiot whom disintegrators praise before placing all the influence on fascism on him.

On 23.04.2017 at 0:02 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

So much insanity for so many millennia... even in today's day and age mysticism, intrinsicism, philosophical rationalism are not showing any signs of stopping.  Humans don't even need drugs to be whack... it's freaking sad.

Insanity, yes, and also chaos, but this is known as progress in philosophy, didn't you know?

2 hours ago, Grames said:

No, concepts are open-ended and can refer to a potentially indefinitely large quantity of referents, existing in the past the present and the future, near at hand or far away.  Nor do concepts need refer to concretes; concepts can be the units of other concepts.

This may be problematic still if you allow others like Thomas Reid to interpret that because there is a conflation of concepts and percepts in some points of the conceptual continuum then perception must be epistemologically purified into sensation (a darling of Kantians and positivists like Wittgenstein). Hence Rand is rejected by academia as not important.

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15 hours ago, splitprimary said:

does everyone here agree with this too?

I assume you are asking if we agree this an accurate characterization of Objectivism

7 hours ago, Grames said:

No, concepts are open-ended and can refer to a potentially indefinitely large quantity of referents, existing in the past the present and the future, near at hand or far away.  Nor do concepts need refer to concretes; concepts can be the units of other concepts. 

I agree with this.  

A few further caveats I would add:

A concept must have an ultimate referent tied to reality i.e. through indirect and/or direct web of reference, something of reality since floating concepts are invalid concepts.  So although a concept need not directly refer to a collection of concretes, no matter how wide or remote the abstraction it must ultimately refer through a complex web of direct and indirect reference to reality as perceived by the senses... i.e. at least some concrete.

"Strictly pragmatic value" is problematic as it is undefined.  

Furthermore, it is not necessarily the case that concepts have value since value is contextual.  If someone lives in the arctic, knowledge of how to capture a desert mouse for food, and having the concept "desert mouse", are not directly useful to the knower and conceiver in reality.  Hypothetically, such a knowledge and concept could become a value IF the person were to find himself starving in a place where desert mice live.  So the rejoinder then would be all knowledge is "potentially" useful.  This again is not necessary as potentialities are sometimes reduced drastically. Knowing how to exercise one's thumb and index finger to play the piano are not "potentially" useful to a person born with no arms.  A counterargument might be, what of the person with no arms is an excellent communicator and could very well teach people how to do the exercises.  Potentially such a person, aiming to write such a book for money, could find such a concept valuable.  Indeed, however, this depends on volition, this person, to find such knowledge useful must choose to endeavor on that strange path.  The vast majority of people without arms simply have not chosen to be (and it would likely not be the optimum choice) in the business of writing books about muscle exercises for piano players.  Not all valid concepts are a value to everyone.  We cannot know everything, and even if we could, continually gain perfect knowledge (forget nothing we learn and retain it perfectly) such a process requires time, and we have a finite amount of time.  So without our value hierarchy, in our finite lifetime, some concepts and knowledge have value, others simply have no value.  Why?  Because value is contextual and given one has only so much time to learn during life, and one has to choose what one learns, some at the lowest priority must fall in the "there simply is not enough time to get this one" category.

No not all concepts must be a value to everyone during their finite lifetimes. 

What about "pragmatic" value.  Can something be "unused" and yet still be a value?  I think yes, but here "unused" is subtle, a concept can still have instrumental value even if not "applied" to physical action.  If we replace the term "pragmatic" with  "objective value" in the sense Rand used, then there seems to be no conflict.

Concepts which obviously further one's life and enable one to life as one chooses are useful.  It's easy to see how knowledge of how to open a can of soup, trade for food, or plant carrots, furthers life (in context).  But what of knowledge and concepts attained purely for contemplation?  Does knowledge about the origins of the planet and the evolution of life, the concept of "natural selection" for example, have value to a diamond mine excavator operator?  Again, this is contextual. (There is way too much confusion among some who take "objective" to mean something "universal" rather than contextually true)  An objective value is any value that in context sustains life long term.  Psychological health is a crucial objective value.  It is instrumental and indispensable to life.  Taking pleasure in some form is a manifestation of satisfying that objective value, a mode of doing so, (which some refer to as optional values, I prefer to refer to optional form of an objective value which leads to less confusion).  IF a hike in the countryside, fishing in a pond, eating a well prepared gourmet meal, or sitting by a fire with a book by Charles Darwin, are pleasurable rewards to the excavator operator, which he chooses to engage in during times of rest, he is pursuing objective values in his context.  So although the value of reading about natural selection has no direct, choice of action type value to him (he lives on a scale other than millions of years and does not stand to gain from attempting to manage progression of species on that timescale) the knowledge and concepts thereof have objective instrumental value in his context because it keeps him psychologically healthy because he derives enjoyment and pleasure quietly contemplating them.

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Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

This may be problematic still if you allow others like Thomas Reid to interpret that ...

I do not permit it.  But dammit, people just refuse to obey me.  If only Ayn Rand had incorporated jihad into Objectivism maybe some real social progress could be made.

edit:

I have sorted out sensation/perception/conception to my satisfaction largely with aid of Kelley's Evidence of the SensesEvidence was originally a doctoral dissertaion not a work for a popular audience so it is seems fairly comprehensive in covering prior arguments of other philosophers rather than exclusively shilling his own pet theory.

Edited by Grames
added serious reply content

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Posted (edited)

There's a really interesting discussion of this in A Companion to Ayn Rand, Chapter 12, footnote 68. (TL;DR version: Ryan's view of the problem is parochial, and his criticism that Rand presupposes realism is question begging).
 

Quote

In contemporary Anglo-American philosophy, the Problem of Universals is most often viewed as a metaphysical problem concerning whether (and in what manner) “universals” or “properties” exist (Blackburn 1994, 387, Landesman 1971, 3–4, Goldstein 1983, Quine 1953, 9–10, Armstrong 1989, 2, Armstrong 1978, 11, Loux 1998, Legg 2001). This way of defining the problem leads to the view that there are only two (broad) solutions to it: realism, according to which such universals exist and anti-realism (often called “nominalism”), according to which they do not, and “everything is particular or concrete” (see, e.g., Rodriguez-Pereyra 2014). On this definition, Rand would qualify as an anti-realist. However, this way of understanding the problem and its possible solutions is superficial. The existence of universals was first posited by Plato (and is still most often defended) as a means to explain “how universal cognition of singular things is possible” (Klima 2013, cf. Salmieri 2008, 38–55). Once we recognize that the question of how and whether universal cognition is possible is the motivation for the posit, we can see that there are no grounds for grouping together all answers to this question that do not involve positing the existence of mind-independent universal objects; for these answers may be no more like one another than they are like realism.

Among philosophers who understand the problem of universals as a strictly metaphysical problem, some (e.g., Aaron 1952, 231–234, Blanshard 1962, 392–421) are concerned with completely determinate universals – for example, an absolutely precise shade of red. They puzzle over how we should understand situations in which two different things are this exact shade of red – whether, for example, we should say that a single item, the shade of red, is simultaneously in two places at once. I mention this only because a few critics who insist parochially that this is the “real” problem of universals fault Rand for failing to address it (Huemer 1996, §4; Ryan 2003, 19–31). In fact, few of the significant figures in the history of thought about universals have puzzled over this issue – Plato and Aristotle, for example, did not, and neither did most of the early moderns. This is because, whatever the merits this puzzle may have, it is not identical (or at least, not obviously identical) to the concerns about universals that have loomed largest in the history of philosophy. One’s view of how the puzzle is related to these enduring concerns will depend on the position one takes on a whole range of issues. It is for such reasons that different philosophical traditions understand the problem of universals differently.

Huemer and Ryan also allege that Rand presupposes realism (which she claims to reject) by making use of relational properties, like commensurability, which they think are “universals” (in their sense of this word). However, as Badhwar and Long (2012, §2.3) point out, it is open to Rand to consider the relevant commensurability relations “as themselves being relational property-particulars or tropes, rather than universals.” Moreover, since Rand is not addressing the metaphysical problem that interests Huemer and Ryan, she is free to speak of characteristics, properties, relations, quantities, etc., using these terms in their ordinary English senses. One of the things that is at issue between realists and anti-realists about “universals” or “properties” (in the relevant senses of these terms) is what sorts of ontological commitments are presupposed by such language, and to accuse Rand of any ontological commitments because she uses these words is to beg this question.

Excerpt From: Allan Gotthelf & Gregory Salmieri. “A Companion to Ayn Rand.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/w8dX_.l

 

Edited by ThroughWhatCause

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the Problem of Universals is most often viewed as a metaphysical problem concerning whether (and in what manner) “universals” or “properties” exist... This way of defining the problem leads to the view that there are only two (broad) solutions to it: realism, according to which such universals exist and anti-realism (often called “nominalism”), according to which they do not, and “everything is particular or concrete”... On this definition, Rand would qualify as an anti-realist. However, this way of understanding the problem and its possible solutions is superficial.

Once we recognize that the question of how and whether universal cognition is possible is the motivation for the posit, we can see that there are no grounds for grouping together all answers to this question that do not involve positing the existence of mind-independent universal objects; for these answers may be no more like one another than they are like realism.

The thing is, there is no good justification for any method of "universal cognition" without the existence of metaphysically real universals. I don't think it's superficial at all. Ryan thinks Rand doesn't justify this point.

 

Quote

property-particulars or tropes

This whole idea of "abstract particulars" doesn't really help against Ryan's criticism... either there is some metaphysical necessity that binds together two similars as essentially the same, to which such relations can justifiably refer, or else there is no justification for using such relations.

 

Quote

she is free to speak of characteristics, properties, relations, quantities, etc., using these terms in their ordinary English senses ... to accuse Rand of any ontological commitments because she uses these words is to beg this question.

I don't think he begs the question, I think he makes a thorough-going argument against her position, and lays out the conclusions that follow (i.e. she takes certain position while denying what they necessarily presuppose).

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On 4/24/2017 at 10:12 PM, ThroughWhatCause said:

There's a really interesting discussion of this in A Companion to Ayn Rand, Chapter 12, footnote 68. (TL;DR version: Ryan's view of the problem is parochial, and his criticism that Rand presupposes realism is question begging).

Thanks for posting this. I can't "like" your post for some reason.

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epistemologue, what is it that attracts you to this position?

From what you've said, it seems like your issue is that you don't see how concepts formed according to Rand's theory of measurement omission could have something to correspond to unless there were metaphysically real universals. Is that the only issue, or are there others?

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Posted (edited)

On 4/30/2017 at 8:58 AM, William O said:

epistemologue, what is it that attracts you to this position?

From what you've said, it seems like your issue is that you don't see how concepts formed according to Rand's theory of measurement omission could have something to correspond to unless there were metaphysically real universals. Is that the only issue, or are there others?

I would just like to clarify a few of points.

 

Are "metaphysically real universals" some kind of supernatural entities, located in another dimension?

"Metaphysically real universals" does not imply that there are supernatural "entities" floating around in some other dimension. "Metaphysical" simply means that something is in the nature of reality, it's in the nature of our universe for something to be a certain way.

As for "universal", take for example the proposition that "all balls will roll" (taking for granted any characteristics you want to use to specify that so that it comes out to being an absolute and universal claim). So it's not just a claim about particular balls, it's a claim about all balls. So there is some metaphysical meaning and necessity to what a "ball" is. There is something, some term somewhere in the nature of this universe, corresponding to "ball" in general, at least in so much as *all* balls will roll. If it's not contingent on other facts of the matter, if it really is universal, then there is something about it in the nature of reality (i.e. "ball", the abstraction, "ballness", has metaphysical meaning).

I am not positing any kind of supernatural "entity" or any "other dimension", that sort of thing is not intrinsically a part of this claim, even if some philosophers in the past may have taken it that way.

 

Don't metaphysical essences imply that we acquire concepts "by no means", that consciousness has no identity?

The fact of universals existing in an ontologically basic way does not imply that we acquire them "by no means", or that consciousness has no identity, or anything like that. I don't have any general problem with the empirical practice of observation, differentiation and integration, measurement omission, or the process of concept formation in general. I have a number of issues with Rand's account of this process, but in general, this is the normal way humans form concepts, and that is perfectly consistent with there being a real meaning *out in reality* of the universals to which our concepts refer. (again, this sort of thing is not intrinsically a part of this claim, even if some philosophers in the past may have taken it that way)

 

Why are these supposed "universals" even necessary?

Metaphysically real universals are absolutely necessary to an objective philosophy. The whole issue at stake here is that Rand believes we can form meaningful abstractions *without* such universals having a metaphysically basic existence in reality, which I believe is unjustifiable. Without something real to which abstractions can refer, we are left with a process of forming abstractions guided by subjective and pragmatic concerns, with the end result being nominalist categories that are incapable of any universal meaning, and therefore with induction (and ultimately, rationality itself), being impossible.

Edited by epistemologue

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8 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

Rand believes we can form meaningful abstractions *without* such universals having a metaphysically basic existence in reality

Isn't a bigger issue what allows for a universally united notion of some concept? I am not sure what metaphysically basic universals are supposed to be, or why they are needed. Why not a universal-making metaphysically basic fact of all that exists? The way you propose a universal makes it sound like it is either an actual entity (you deny this) or a mental entity like a visualization. Rand seems to say identity and existence are metaphysically basic facts, and that by virtue of having identity, a number of entities can share features. From there, one creates a mental entity - a concept - based on those features. As man-made, the concept is epistemic, but refers to some metaphysically basic truth (identity) and the metaphysically given features of an entity.

You seem to begin with a universal as a mental entity, pre-formed, before explaining how one may sense such an entity.

You haven't addressed how Rand thinks meaning comes from an entity.

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53 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

As for "universal", take for example the proposition that "all balls will roll" (taking for granted any characteristics you want to use to specify that so that it comes out to being an absolute and universal claim).

 

You might want to take a look at this post by John McCaskey, Induction without the Uniformity Principle.

Induction should be about Classification.  The type of example that you give (all balls will roll) while very common when discussing induction is not, in fact, an example of induction.

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13 hours ago, epistemologue said:

"Metaphysically real universals" does not imply that there are supernatural "entities" floating around in some other dimension.

Traditionally, realists about universals assert that they are entities.

"Universals are a class of mind-independent entities, usually contrasted with individuals (or so-called "particulars"), postulated to ground and explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals."

http://www.iep.utm.edu/universa/

As far as I can tell, you have not given a definition of "universals," which is a prerequisite for your position.

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Posted (edited)

epistemologue, your source holds that universals are entities:

"The phenomenon of similarity or attribute agreement gives rise to the debate between realists and nominalists. Realists claim that where objects are similar or agree in attribute, there is some one thing that they share or have in common; nominalists deny this. Realists call these shared entities universals; they say that universals are entities that can be simultaneously exemplified by several different objects; and they claim that universals encompass the properties things possess, the relations into which they enter, and the kinds to which they belong."

Underlining mine. That's from near the beginning of Chapter 1 in Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality.

Will you grant the point now? If you are a realist, you are defending the existence of a kind of entity.

Edited by William O

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Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Isn't a bigger issue what allows for a universally united notion of some concept?

That's exactly the issue I'm addressing. "Rand believes we can form meaningful abstractions *without* such universals having a metaphysically basic existence in reality, which I believe is unjustifiable". That's exactly what you quoted.

 

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I am not sure what metaphysically basic universals are supposed to be, or why they are needed.

Why they are needed I answered in my last post, under "Why are these supposed "universals" even necessary?".

 

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Why not a universal-making metaphysically basic fact of all that exists?

What does that mean?

 

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The way you propose a universal makes it sound like it is either an actual entity (you deny this) or a mental entity like a visualization.

Why does it sound that way?

 

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Rand seems to say identity and existence are metaphysically basic facts, and that by virtue of having identity, a number of entities can share features.

Sometimes she says this (she relies on it while denying it, so she's inconsistent at different times), but she explicitly denies any intrinsic identity or metaphysical universality, and her justifications all eschew these principles, relying instead of subjective and/or pragmatic criteria, from which objective truth, knowledge, or success in induction cannot be justified.

 

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

From there, one creates a mental entity - a concept - based on those features. As man-made, the concept is epistemic, but refers to some metaphysically basic truth (identity) and the metaphysically given features of an entity.

No, that's intrinsicism. You can't go around explicitly *denying* metaphysical essences or universals, denying that such a thing as "manness" or "roseness" exists, justifying your definitions on such grounds as utility, brevity, and differentiation within one's particular context of knowledge at a given time, etc., and then try to tell me that the epistemology *does* refers to metaphysically basic universal identities.

 

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

You seem to begin with a universal as a mental entity, pre-formed, before explaining how one may sense such an entity.

You're contradicting what I just said above, "Don't metaphysical essences imply that we acquire concepts "by no means"?" I said in that section, "I don't have any general problem with the empirical practice of observation, differentiation and integration, measurement omission, or the process of concept formation in general... in general, this is the normal way humans form concepts".

 

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

You haven't addressed how Rand thinks meaning comes from an entity.

Well as I've said, Rand inconsistently maintains both an intrinsicist view, when she says things about how concepts are abstract and there is a real *kind* of thing in reality to which they refer, while also maintaining a nominalist view - which is what all of her justifications depend on, as I've described here: http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/30636-subjectivity-and-pragmatism-in-objectivist-epistemology/

Universal meaning (as in conceptual knowledge or general propositions) is based on the definitions of the concepts, which are defined according to subjective and pragmatic criteria in her epistemology as opposed to being grounded in metaphysical essences / natural kinds / some metaphysically basic universal, and thus don't have any real meaning or any real truth, outside of the observations of the particular concretes which have been previously observed and the nominalistic categories and descriptions derived from there.

Edited by epistemologue

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Posted (edited)

20 hours ago, New Buddha said:

You might want to take a look at this post by John McCaskey, Induction without the Uniformity Principle.

Induction should be about Classification.  The type of example that you give (all balls will roll) while very common when discussing induction is not, in fact, an example of induction.

Thanks.

From the article: "It’s not that you must presume uniformity in order to classify. It’s that you classify to find uniformities."

The whole problem with this is that you haven't "found" any more uniformity than you had to begin with! You're still in *exactly* the same position as he agreed with earlier in the article: "The Scholastics lamented (rightly) that unless you had surveyed all magnets or all animals, the inference was not certain"

"If you have good guidelines and follow them, you can be certain that someone absolutely cannot contract cholera unless exposed to the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, certain that all men are mortal, certain that the angles of all planar triangles sum to 180°, and certain that 2+3=5. And you don’t need any unjustifiable uniformity principle to do so."

No, you cannot be certain of any of those things without some kind of "uniformity principle". The author hasn't justified this at all, and it's contradictory on its face the way it's presented in this article.

"But soon the child learns the difference between truth and make-believe—and the difference between staying the same and changing... The child learns that you can’t rely on some global uniformity principle." - without relying on the existence of some uniformity principle, the child hasn't *learned* anything! Those "things that stay the same" are believed to *stay the same* on the basis of there being such a thing *as* uniformity, that is the very meaning of having such a "uniformity principle" in the first place! "The realization that some things stay the same and some don’t is what, he thought, makes induction possible and necessary" - how can any thing stay the same, by the nature of the thing - i.e. in *principle* - if there is no such thing as a principle of uniformity? That's just blatantly contradictory. He wants to find principles of uniformity while denying there are any principles of uniformity. Come on!

 

Edited by epistemologue
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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, William O said:

Will you grant the point now? If you are a realist, you are defending the existence of a kind of entity.

I really don't understand the significance of this semantic distinction.

in other words, so what?

Edited by epistemologue

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1 minute ago, epistemologue said:

I really don't understand the significance of this semantic distinction.

in other words, so what?

Well, you seemed pretty committed to denying that universals are entities when we spoke in the chatroom and in the post I responded to. I think it clarifies the discussion to have a more substantial characterization of the universals you are defending.

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9 minutes ago, William O said:

Well, you seemed pretty committed to denying that universals are entities when we spoke in the chatroom and in the post I responded to. I think it clarifies the discussion to have a more substantial characterization of the universals you are defending.

What I'm asking is, what does this substantively add to the characterization? I haven't read the article you linked yet.

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