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epistemologue

Subjectivity and Pragmatism in Objectivist Epistemology

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8 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

@Grames

Are you saying that any proposition about reality is necessarily only approximately true of reality?

Because that is some serious post-modernist BS, right there.

Not any proposition, there are plenty of modest well-delimited claims one can make with certainty.  Claims about a binary status such as existence/non-existence or dead/alive or "left of"/"right of" can be absolute but quantitative relations such as "laws of physics" are subject to the limits of measurement in both their application and in their derivation and justification.

Omniscience is not a requirement to claim valid knowledge.  What reality is and what you know about reality necessarily differ because of your finite powers of observation.

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9 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

Are you saying that any proposition about reality is necessarily only approximately true of reality?

Because that is some serious post-modernist BS, right there.

 

By framing the question in the way that you do, you are (implicitly) operating from the assumption that we can, or should be able to, know reality independent of the method of forming concepts and propositions.  Understanding this method is what epistemology is all about.  "What we know, and how we know it."   You're taking the position that concepts and propositions are "standing between" us and reality.

The fact that man (and dogs, and cats, and bats, and dolphins, etc.) each have unique methods of acquiring knowledge about reality does not mean that their knowledge is Subjective.  The sensory, perceptual and conceptual nature of each species has a specific nature and identity, and operate causally.

 

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17 hours ago, Grames said:

Reality exists as a whole not as a collection of parts related by laws

True, reality exists as a whole. Reality isn't merely a collection. While the essay I wrote that you read pondering if the universe is properly classified as an object, I'm certain enough to say that all of reality's concretes are causally connected to some degree. Often, we can and do express any relations as abstract relations that are entirely manmade. But there certainly are abstract (non-concrete) relations which have a standing towards each other intrinsically. When I think about reverse square sort of laws, those seem to be about intrinsic aspects of reality, the metaphysically given in a fundamental way. The specific measurements are manmade, yet the part of reality our theories use are based on a law. We can argue which those "intrinsic laws" are (say, if the pythagorean theorem is), though.

17 hours ago, Grames said:

any particular relation singled out by a law was abstracted from reality by a process of thought

Perhaps we disagree on what a law is, though. If a law is best classified as an abstraction, this doesn't affect my position that the reason Rand's epistemology doesn't end up subjective, it is because there are intrinsic relations. Or abstract objects as SK suggested (I find it misleading as a term, so I'm not phrasing it that way). My bigger concern is how we can relate the entities and objects objectively. Identifying particulars is plenty fine for direct realism. But THIS box and THAT box are objectively united as the concept "box" is additionally integration. We need something to allow for that besides -only- grasping onto concrete that are metaphysically given. It looks fine to say when we identify more than one particular, an intrinsic relation exists implicitly. Furthermore,  this does not apply to abstractions of abstractions.

17 hours ago, Grames said:

therefore is man-made not metaphysical simply by that act of selective focus

All that is why your "therefore" doesn't seem to work. The singling out is man-determined, but what would one single out besides a metaphysical given? On the other hand, "singling out" abstractions is real, I can focus on an abstraction like "egoism" when forming arguments. For the context here, perception only focuses on the given, even if the product of focus is manmade.

17 hours ago, Grames said:

 The whole of reality and any of its parts that may attract your attention simply exists and is never true or false (or certain or uncertain or probable) without reference to a thinker.  

Ultimately, then, relations are not the same as the individual parts.  Noticing a tree, just like that, isn't true, or even a logical relation. It just is. It is intrinsic to reality.  "Tree" = false is senseless. A thinker doesn't enter anyway - it's irrelevant. Tree x Tree is sensible. As concretes, there is something intrinsic with how they stand to each other. Their relation.

" What reality is and what you know about reality necessarily differ because of your finite powers of observation. "

So this really does sound like truth is an approximation. The same error theory I spoke of. If I know X, by this reasoning, reality CANNOT be X. If X is a fact, what I will and can ever know cannot correspond to X - they necessarily differ. I can't make any other sense of your statement.

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On 4/27/2017 at 8:43 AM, epistemologue said:

Everything in reality does have measurements, and we can objectively identify the measures of each thing, and choose to group things according to whether their measurements fit some given criteria. But such categories as we devise on this basis alone do *not* "have a basis in reality" - the entities are real, the measurements are real, and we can define groupings which do contain real things, but if there is no *natural* kind, a *natural* grouping of things that share the same measurements because of some underlying metaphysical *necessity*, then the category is not something based in reality, but rather it is based on our own subjective criteria. Either a concept is defined in order to *correspond* to a metaphysically real identity and *identify* its referents, or a category is defined in order to "provide an identity", by one's own subjective convention, and *specify* its referents (p. 11, 40).

You used a couple of highfalutin words in your post, there, so I'd like to make sure I understood it.

 

A "rose", by any other name, would still smell as sweet, and you concede the existence of such subjective attributes as smell or color and even our ability to measure them. However, if the concept of a *rose* was not strictly necessary; if it was possible to join *white roses* and *white lillies* under the single concept of *googledorf* then this means - what? And why?

It doesn't follow that the mere possibly of a googledorf would somehow wipe out the very concept of a rose; all of the similarities between concrete white roses would remain, as well as their difference from any other concrete kind of white flower. You seem to suggest that if more than one possible conceptualizations can be made of any given group of concrete *things* then none of them can be any better or worse than any other.

 

All other issues aside, that just doesn't seem to follow from the information you've presented. The article you linked to appears to be missing; would you please elaborate on the meaning of that paragraph?

 

On 4/27/2017 at 8:43 AM, epistemologue said:

Such subjective categories cannot be held without contradiction as your knowledge expands. Since every individual concrete differs in at least some measure (p. 143), any universal claims over a category would be contradicted by at least some other concretes in the given category if there is no metaphysical principle that ensures they are essentially identical (p. 43).

 

"Red roses are red".

 

Is that a subjective and arbitrary assertion, without any real truth-value? Can it ever be disproven by anything else we learn about anything at all? Or would you simply consider it evidence of such a metaphysical "kind" of thing?

A = A

 

I don't believe we're speaking quite the same language, yet.

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Posted (edited)

On 4/27/2017 at 8:43 AM, epistemologue said:

The appeal to there being strict rules without any room for arbitrary whim does not mean that the formation of a category is not ultimately justified subjectively (especially if it's admitted there's room for optionality, as in p. 70-73) - it is still subjective as long as the formation is based on your own subjective, pragmatic requirements, rather than on the objective requirements dictated by the objects in reality (p. 43, 70-71).

 

I tried to be very gentle in my last post, but it just occurred to me that you've been reading the ITOE; you already have the Rosetta Stone of my language. So in this post I'll hold you to the same standards I hold myself to. Just a head's-up.

 

Let's assume that everything you said, in the preceding quote, is correct. The proposition that "roses are red" is not universally true of every rose; there are other possible colors (and let's even call it "subjective" and "pragmatic" to boot). 

What about a single, concrete rose, though? If I call it "red" that's only because my own personal, subjective eyes make it look that way to me. What if I'm colorblind? The same for texture; the same for shape, smell, taste, length, and any other attribute one could ever find in a rose: I only know about them from my own, subjective point of view. My own senses are completely subjective. So by what method can I ever discover "the objective requirements dictated by the objects in reality"? Even if I had some form of ESP, any information it gave me would also be "subjective" by the absolutely-necessary identity of my subjectively-experienced, first-person kind of consciousness.

So whatever this "knowledge" thing is, it doesn't sound like something you or I could ever do. Which means that you cannot possibly have any good reason for your assertions in the OP, which also happens to disprove your own position. That point doesn't matter too much, though; anything beyond the impossibility of knowledge, itself, is really just gravy.

 

"Man is blind - because he has eyes".

 

On 4/27/2017 at 5:53 PM, epistemologue said:

And that *does* imply that everything is "true for you" - because every concept you use has a definition which is based on subjective and pragmatic criteria, so it's "true for you, for now" - but that definition can and does change; the concept has no universal metaphysical referent to hang on like she tries to make it out to.

Yeah; knowledge is contextual. You can only take account of your own, personal knowledge and there are never any guarantees of its accuracy; even if all of your conclusions are perfectly rational and you never indulge yourself in a single deliberate mistake, you might still be wrong.

 

That's not a hidden flaw in Objectivism; Ayn Rand herself explicitly asserted it multiple times, outlined its role in related ideas (from the possibility of rational men holding contradictory opinions to the impropriety of the death penalty) and even declared, on no uncertain terms, that the sort of objections expressed in the OP stem from a deep misunderstanding of what "knowledge" actually is. That is why, when StrictlyLogical posted:

On 4/27/2017 at 8:58 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

This is not a critique.  It attempts to be one but it fails.

Those of us who've been chewing on this material immediately knew what he meant and why he tossed your conception of "knowledge" aside as arbitrary. Just as when Grames posted:

On 4/27/2017 at 10:06 AM, Grames said:

A metaphysically given abstraction is a contradiction in terms.

We knew that "a metaphysically-given abstraction" means "an unalterable and inescapable result of a voluntary process", which is a self-contradictory description of non-knowledge. Just like when I say "man is blind - because he has eyes" they'll know that I'm pointing out your post's tacit acceptance of Kant's noumenal-phenomal distinction, which annihilates it once again on a third level.

 

In fact there are many different problems with the OP which I won't enumerate any further. If you genuinely didn't see them - reread the ITOE. It contains much more than it may initially appear to.

 

P.S:

 

If you truly didn't know and you need some time to catch up, I won't hold that against you. Part of me wanted to demonstrate what sort of mental rigor this "subjective, pragmatic and arbitrary" epistemology demands; what it takes to "speak my language". I think I've accomplished that.

It's worth it, though.

 

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Postscript

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On 4/27/2017 at 11:06 AM, Grames said:

An abstraction that existed metaphysically would not be an abstraction, it would be just another concrete.  In fact abstractions are concretes, they are attributes of the brains of those abstractors who have preformed that mental action.  But as a product of human action such abstractions are not metaphysically-given, which is why they must be acknowledged as epistemological.

A metaphysically given abstraction is a contradiction in terms.

"Metaphysical" does not mean "material". Gravity exists metaphysically, but it's not "just another concrete". So you've got a fundamental problem here.

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You either have to accept universals exist *metaphysically*, or else any similarity between concretes is inexplicable and unnecessary; any particular from one point in time to another can't even be justified as "the same", if *all* you believe is metaphysically basic is the particular itself, and nothing is metaphysically real on a higher order that guarantees identity between any two particulars, or between any "one particular" at one point of time and another.

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4 hours ago, epistemologue said:

You either have to accept universals exist *metaphysically*, or else any similarity between concretes is inexplicable and unnecessary

The more I read your posts on this subject, your main issue looks to be that you're criticizing Rand for not clearing up how -entities- have meaning. You could call identity a universal, or the identity of something is a universal, but this doesn't follow how people mean an -entity- when they say universal. I seriously doubt that people here would deny that there are metaphysical givens, and some entities share some intrinsic traits, and that such givens are how we create an epistemic "mental entity" (which is a term Rand used). See your other thread for more thoughts...

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, epistemologue said:

"Metaphysical" does not mean "material". Gravity exists metaphysically, but it's not "just another concrete". So you've got a fundamental problem here.

Everything that exists is a force field of some type.  Those force fields are piled on top of each other to create atoms, bananas and planets.  Your backward and obsolete notion of "material" is holding you back.  If gravity is a force-field then it is indeed just like everything else that exists.

Gravity is actually a very bad example for you.  Gravity is in fact actually an example of an abstraction, an inference based on existent patterns of motion.   What exists are the entities in motion and the force of weight, gravity is inferred as a common cause but cannot be perceived directly.  The Newtonian theory of gravity was that mass caused gravity as an attractive force, the more recent Einsteinian theory of gravity is that space-time itself is an existent of which gravity is an consequence of the curvature of space-time.  Perhaps other theories can be crafted that fit the data as well or better. Either way, gravity does not exist metaphysically.  

Edited by Grames
grammar

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5 hours ago, epistemologue said:

You either have to accept universals exist *metaphysically*, or else any similarity between concretes is inexplicable and unnecessary; any particular from one point in time to another can't even be justified as "the same", 

What exists, everything that is metaphysically given to us, needs to be accepted first.  Existence has primacy; that means logical priority and semantic meaning moves in the direction from existence to consciousness.   Existence exists, it needs no explanation to exist, no justification is required.  Justification only applies to where choices are made.  Existence has no choice, existence exists in the form it takes, its identity. There is no choice involved in existence existing.  Justification can only be grounded in appealing to what exists and its identity.  To ask for existence itself to have a justification is a logical fallacy because justification is logically dependent on existence and identity.

"If I can't understand it then it can't exist" is a form of subjectivism.

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, Grames said:

"If I can't understand it then it can't exist" is a form of subjectivism.

This reminds me of the thought process and public lobbying of creationists. 

"I/you can't believe nature could actually cause Life. Some supernatural consciousness must be the cause and therefore the supernatural consciousness MUST exist"

This error identified by Grames is the closest thing to direct and sheer subjectivism there is.  It directly denies the very nature of valid knowledge and belief.  It's not a form of subconscious compartmentalization or even evasion, its using as a tenet of logic, as part of the attempt at a process of logic, that for anything (a proposition a conclusion etc.) to qualify as possibly true, it must "strike one" as believable, independent of any evidence of the senses, and literally for no reason whatever.

This must stem from a process of rationalization (or a psychological predisposition) whereby floating abstractions (invalid and illusory) emerge in the mind, either because they are taught, are the result of more basic floating abstractions or are due to an over imaginative mind which conflates what is with what can be imagined (something like the Walt Disney principle from LPs  History of Philosophy)  

 

I might go so far as to say this mechanism is a species of a broader fallacy that has lead to ALL of the philosophical errors that ever were. 

IF man were led only by evidence, man would never come up with a fabricated explanation of anything.  In cases where he knew enough of the evidence, he would make the correct integrations/deduction to determine the true principle.  If he made a mistake in the process of logic itself, he would soon see the inconsistency between that which is implied by his conclusion and some evidence, and would immediately check and soon correct his logic because he must be led only by evidence.  In cases where he did not know enough evidence he would not have arrived at a conclusion, or claimed to have done so, because by definition NOT KNOWING ENOUGH MEANS NO CONCLUSION IS POSSIBLE.

Faced with the unknown, the part known, and the known, instead of basing his conclusions on the evidence in accordance with this, philosophers have relied on some "sense" or intuition or feeling of believability, which introduced a sort of over the shoulder influence, like a Rasputin or a Steve Bannon: intrinsicism, supernaturalism (primacy of consciousness aspect), rationalism (ideas over reality), skepticism... all played a role nudging the thinker, injecting as pseudo-evidence, their feeling of believability. 

This is a case of products of the mind (feeling, whim, imagination) masquerading as evidence... some ghost of a consciousness fraudulently garbed in the robes of an aspect of reality. 

Monads, dialectic progression, platonic forms, the noumenal, and an unimaginably large number of others insanities are all examples of the result of NOT relying only on the evidence of the senses.

 

I used to think the process of logic was the problem, I see now the problem is the disrespect for true importance of the evidence of the senses, it's the rejection of the fact that any and all knowledge must be based ONLY on the evidence of the senses.

Any breach of this rule inevitably leads to insanity, floating abstractions, false philosophies, flawed thinking and deplorable cultures, death and disaster.  I'm reminded of the ending line of OPAR:

"To save the world is the simplest thing in the world.
All one has to do is think."

 

Grames observation is very astute...  I have much to think about.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
Removed confusing language

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On 5/5/2017 at 2:01 AM, Grames said:

What exists, everything that is metaphysically given to us, needs to be accepted first.  Existence has primacy; that means logical priority and semantic meaning moves in the direction from existence to consciousness.   Existence exists, it needs no explanation to exist, no justification is required.  Justification only applies to where choices are made.  Existence has no choice, existence exists in the form it takes, its identity. There is no choice involved in existence existing.  Justification can only be grounded in appealing to what exists and its identity.  To ask for existence itself to have a justification is a logical fallacy because justification is logically dependent on existence and identity.

"If I can't understand it then it can't exist" is a form of subjectivism.

I'm not saying that everything metaphysically given to us needs explanation *in order to exist*... are you serious? I'm telling you that without some metaphysically real universality, any identity between two units of a concept is logically inconsistent with one's premises. That is, on the metaphysical premise that everything that exists is particular, there is no *shared* identity between particulars.

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1 hour ago, epistemologue said:

That is, on the metaphysical premise that everything that exists is particular, there is no *shared* identity between particulars.

How does that follow? You explained a little bit, but would you flesh it out more?

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1 hour ago, epistemologue said:

 That is, on the metaphysical premise that everything that exists is particular, there is no *shared* identity between particulars.

Yes.  That is exactly true.  There is no shared identity between particulars.  What is common is only in our heads, hence the Objectivist position that universals are epistemological.  That is quite adequate for what we need universals to do, which is to provide a basis for reasoning about entire categories and for thinking in principles.

The danger of arbitrary subjectivity is avoided by insisting on being able to reduce abstractions back down into the components they had referenced (and in multiple steps as is necessary for abstractions of abstractions) all the down to the perceptual basis.   This is an adequate measure because what is given to us by the senses is not arbitrary or random or created by consciousness but is automatic and deterministic.  

The identity of what exists acts upon the identity of our human senses to cause the human perception of any particular.  Similarities among intrinsic attributes of the objects we perceive are noted in our heads, what exists are merely the attributes in their various degrees. No causal relation between them linking them together outside of our minds is necessary to explain their apparent similarity because 'similarity' is a human judgement about implicit or explicit measurements being within a narrow range, and 'narrow' is another human judgement about relative size.  Judgements are epistemological.  Humans are similar enough in their bodies and perceptual capacities that they make similar judgements about perceptual primitives such as 'red' or more complex judgements such as what is 'a throwable stone'.

The only mystery was the source of human similarity but that has been resolved in principle and in ever growing detail by the study of genetics.  Each individual has his own cause of his body and its capabilities.  There is not a mystic single cause of human nature, nor do we half-remember Plato's 'world of forms'.

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Epistemolouge have you read my response in this thread?

What about there being a metaphysical basis for similarity without a need for "strict Identity" makes the view of universality as epistemic problematic? 

There is a factual basis for similarity and it doesn't include the metaphysical nonsense of bizarre entities occupying many places at once but rather a mind grasping individual identities that have common structure/architecture while remaining physically distinct individuals.

 

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7 hours ago, Plasmatic said:

Epistemolouge have you read my response in this thread?

What about there being a metaphysical basis for similarity without a need for "strict Identity" makes the view of universality as epistemic problematic? 

There is a factual basis for similarity and it doesn't include the metaphysical nonsense of bizarre entities occupying many places at once but rather a mind grasping individual identities that have common structure/architecture while remaining physically distinct individuals.

 

It makes any general knowledge or induction unjustifiable. I don't know if I can say much more than I already have, I haven't studied enough metaphysics. In my opinion, Objectivism has a fundamental problem in metaphysics, and it's a fracture which runs through and corrupts the entire philosophy. I agree with Scott Ryan on that. I am still in the midst of reading his book. I don't know how much else I agree with him on (it may be a lot or a little), he seems to be "Absolute Idealist", which is some kind of Hegelian thing that I simply don't understand.

I'm going to put forth a legitimate effort to study the field of metaphysics; I've bought a number of textbooks on the subject and will also consult various online articles and lectures. I want to improve my knowledge (virtually everyone in both threads keeps talking about universal "entities", I don't understand this at all), as well as improve my arguments, and refine my judgment on these matters and the individuals and philosophies involved.

The philosophical system as laid out by Rand and followed by Peikoff and other major Objectivist figures I believe to be fundamentally broken, from metaphysics on up - though of course I agree whole-heartedly with it's spirit of non-supernaturalism, free will, rationality, egoism, Rand's list of virtues and values, and capitalism, among many other things (I also love Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, I've read both 7 times each).

The question at this point is whether to "reinvent" Objectivism from the ground up, keeping with Rand mostly only in spirit if not in philosophy, or else to abandon "Objectivism" entirely to the dust pile and work from some other, more suitable foundation, perhaps "Objective Idealism", as Scott Ryan calls it, or Brand Blanshard's "Absolute Idealism". or maybe something else entirely, or something new, I don't know.

If anyone's interested in studying the field of metaphysics and corresponding send me a message. Otherwise I'll try to come back these threads and the various issues involved at a later time.

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1 hour ago, epistemologue said:

I want to improve my knowledge (virtually everyone in both threads keeps talking about universal "entities", I don't understand this at all),

If you do improve your knowledge you will find that its impossible that you could comprehend Ryan's argument for why "It makes any general knowledge or induction unjustifiable" if you don't even understand what "It" is

For Ryan "It" (universals) are akin to what Plato call the Form. By agreeing with Ryan (knowingly, or not) you are actually claiming that in order to have knowledge we need some kind of Platonic world of ideals (entities) with bizarre abilities.

Does that sound like what you want to be accepting?  

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Scott Ryan's critique is of the Objectivist epistemology.

Two lectures I've found most helpful in understanding concept formation and identification of various aspects of similarity were and still are Consciousness As Identification and Abstractions From Abstractions by Harry Binswanger.

One of the reasons Scott's critique often offers a degree of plausibility is because it is framed from the way most of us were taught how to learn language.

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6 minutes ago, Plasmatic said:

If you do improve your knowledge you will find that its impossible that you could comprehend Ryan's argument for why "It makes any general knowledge or induction unjustifiable" if you don't even understand what "It" is

For Ryan "It" (universals) are akin to what Plato call the Form. By agreeing with Ryan (knowingly, or not) you are actually claiming that in order to have knowledge we need some kind of Platonic world of ideals (entities) with bizarre abilities.

Does that sound like what you want to be accepting?  

Plasmatic I comprehended the argument before I read Scott Ryan. The mini-critique of Oist epistemology in this thread was written before I'd ever heard of the book. Oist epistemology is broken and it's conclusions are unjustified.

I'll have to take whatever this necessarily commits me to, if it's Platonic Forms with "bizarre abilities" - then they aren't so bizarre, if they are necessary for the justification of knowledge, are they? But I have no idea if that sort of thing is in the cards or not.

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Posted (edited)

On 5/4/2017 at 7:08 PM, epistemologue said:

You either have to accept universals exist *metaphysically*, or else any similarity between concretes is inexplicable and unnecessary; any particular from one point in time to another can't even be justified as "the same"...

On 5/5/2017 at 1:01 AM, Grames said:

"If I can't understand it then it can't exist" is a form of subjectivism.

On 5/12/2017 at 6:33 PM, epistemologue said:

I'm not saying that everything metaphysically given to us needs explanation *in order to exist*... are you serious?

Grames:

 

It seems like epistemologue's beef is more with consciousness than existence. "If knowledge doesn't spring out of things without my participation then it doesn't count as knowledge", I guess.

Also, in your clause "if I can't understand it", do you mean within the scope of one's current knowledge or inherently and indefinitely, regardless of any body of knowledge?

 

On 5/5/2017 at 7:41 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

This error identified by Grames is the closest thing to direct and sheer subjectivism there is.  It directly denies the very nature of valid knowledge and belief.  It's not a form of subconscious compartmentalization or even evasion, its using as a tenet of logic, as part of the attempt at a process of logic, that for anything (a proposition a conclusion etc.) to qualify as possibly true, it must "strike one" as believable, independent of any evidence of the senses, and literally for no reason whatever.

If we're reading it as I think it was probably meant then yes. And every evil philosophy has to involve a denial of the senses, at some point (and most of them do it much more than once). However, if we're measuring the horrors of history in terms of sheer body counts then the assertion of existential contradictions (not the unknown but the unknowable, ineffable and undefinable) would be a pretty strong contender, too.

You can't turn human beings into suicide bombers until after you get them to swallow the futility of reason.

That being said, pining for the infallibility of reason is only a slightly more involved path to the dark side.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Clarification

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On 5/14/2017 at 10:03 PM, epistemologue said:

(virtually everyone in both threads keeps talking about universal "entities", I don't understand this at all),

Epistemolgue stakes out a definite position on a controversy he admits he does not understand.  It is waste of time to engage with him.

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2 hours ago, Grames said:

Epistemolgue stakes out a definite position on a controversy he admits he does not understand.  It is waste of time to engage with him.

This is one of the most dishonest, malevolent things I have ever read. You are a true representative of Objectivists these days.

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20 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

This is one of the most dishonest, malevolent things I have ever read. You are a true representative of Objectivists these days.

You sir are calling Objectivism dishonest and malevolent.  THAT is a malicious and gross falsehood.  You are out of order and should reconsider your purposes here.

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, epistemologue said:

This is one of the most dishonest, malevolent things I have ever read. You are a true representative of Objectivists these days.

Epist, you literally said you don't understand what universal entities are - while also criticizing the idea. It's not at all reasonable to criticize it in any sense before you do. It's fine to ask questions about it, but you can't rationally take a definite stand. It's not dishonest to say there's no point in discussing it with you based on that.

If you meant that -now- you realize you don't get quite get it, then I think it's a simple misunderstanding.

Edited by Eiuol

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