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epistemologue

Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

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1 minute ago, epistemologue said:

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

It implies that when you say that abstractions require universals to be valid, you're saying that there is a kind of metaphysical entity that abstractions have to correspond to. If that's what you're saying, then it's open to the anti-realist to maintain that our concepts correspond to similarities, which are not entities. Likewise, when you say that induction requires universals, what you are saying is that there is a kind of entity that the generalization has to correspond to, as opposed to simply corresponding to the causal connection involved, which is not an entity.

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2 hours ago, epistemologue said:

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

in other words, so what?

 

This may seem to come from out of left field, but Aristotle held that if you have two sculptures of, say, the same athlete in the same pose, size, proportions, etc., -- but one is cast in bronze and the other is carved of marble -- then they share the same Form but differ with regards to Material (Form and Material being two of the four Causes - the others being Efficient and Final).  To Aristotle, Form and Material are metaphysical and exist not only separate from each other, but also exist "beyond Physics" (which is what "Meta-" means).  Form and Material are said to inhere in the sculptures.

The way this ties into the current discussion about Universals is that it was also true for his distinguishing between Species and Genus.  He truly believed that there inheres something in the bronze and marble sculptures that allows us to classify them as "similar" Species of the "higher" Genus that "unites" them.

The role or place that metaphysics held for Aristotle is hard to convey because it is so contrary to what we know about Physics nowadays that it borders on being little more than mystical nonsense (which is one of the reasons that the Catholic Church seized hold of it, bastardized it, and has never really given it up).

You seem to be using the term "metaphysics" in a way not commonly recognized, which I think is the cause of much of the confusion.

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6 hours ago, epistemologue said:

That's exactly the issue I'm addressing.

Good, I only object to you using the word universal. William expressed better than me why your use of the word universal seems so problematic. Your point seems good, but seem to think Rand was a nominalist for not believing in some metaphysical -entity-.

6 hours ago, epistemologue said:

What does that mean?

This is hard to express. I'll take it back and defer to William's post for what I mean.

6 hours ago, epistemologue said:

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".

I thought you were proposing an entity. I don't think you are now.

6 hours ago, epistemologue said:

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,

But it is grounded in something basic! Rand grounds it in an entity, and any entity having identity. We have a direct connection to entities via perception. Sure, Rand adds some pragmatic criteria to form concepts and their definitions. This doesn't at all contradict grounding in entities. After all, Rand says measurement is needed, where measurement is only with the givens of perception.

This reminds me of how you claim consequentialism any time consequences are mentioned in arguments on ethics, as if one pragmatic element ruins objectivity.

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8 hours ago, epistemologue said:

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.

 

8 hours ago, epistemologue said:

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.

What does intrinsicism mean to you?  Rand only applied intrinsicism in ethics in the form the trichotomy of the intrinsic, the subjective, and the objective.  Here is that passage:

Quote

There are, in essence, three schools of thought on the nature of the good: the intrinsic, the subjective, and the objective. The intrinsic theory holds that the good is inherent in certain things or actions as such, regardless of their context and consequences, regardless of any benefit or injury they may cause to the actors and subjects involved. It is a theory that divorces the concept of “good” from beneficiaries, and the concept of “value” from valuer and purpose—claiming that the good is good in, by, and of itself.

To accept that existence exists, and further that everything that exists must exist in a particular form which is its identity, must entail accepting intrinsic attributes because what else can it mean to have an identity than to have intrinsic attributes?  The -ISM of intrinsicism is a theory from ethics as Rand used the term, and it strikes me as bizarre that anyone would think that a perfectly ordinary use of the term 'intrinsic' in metaphysics should be forbidden or else it betrays intrinsicism in metaphysics.  What could intrinsicism in metaphysics even mean beyond Rand's "A is A" that would make it so scary?

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epistemologue, I have a challenge for you.

Can you present a specific example of an intrinsic metaphysical universal? That is, a distinction which exists intrinsically in reality, and which has no borderline cases because there is an "entity" which is exactly the same in each instance. When you do this, I would also like you to present the intrinsic definition of this universal, i.e., a definition that will never be revised or updated in light of new knowledge.

Maybe you have done this, but I have not seen it. If you cannot, then I think that undermines your position.

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I think this thread is really about truth, although no one has put it that way. If there are real universals, then, whatever the defects of this metaphysics, that seems to give a clear meaning to the concept of truth. If your proposition corresponds to an appropriate connection between universals, then it's true; otherwise, it's false.

Plato originally put forward the idea of the universal to combat the Sophists, who said that there was no objective truth, and that every perspective is as good as every other. That's not a stupid or dishonest thing to be concerned about at all. But I think Rand dealt with the issue better, because she managed to come up with a definition of truth that doesn't posit the existence of metaphysical entities that we have no real evidence for.

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