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Boydstun

Intimations of My Philosophy Book

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Sorry, but in that second one, I'd transcribed the first line incorrectly, so I deleted that post, and here it is corrected: 

So -oo1.JPG

This is my main home library. I shot the photo from the adjoining glassed-in terrace, which is why the photo also shows an overlay image of the outdoors I see from my desk.

Edited by Boydstun

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“Being is variously divided.” –Aquinas

In her metaphysics, Ayn Rand had four exhaustive ways of dividing Existence. Three of the partitions are altered and then put to work in my own metaphysics that will be lain out in my book in progress. So, putting it schematically, where Rand had Partition I as A/B, I have it as A/L; her Partition II as C/D/E/F, I have as C´/M/N/O/P; her Partition III as G/H, I have as G/Q. What those three exhaustive ways of partition were in Rand’s view I’ll leave to those who want to think-Rand on it for themselves, else find in by book when it is finished and is published.

Rand’s fourth partition is between the actual and the potential. I do not alter this one in my own system, although I greatly elaborate on the actual/potential relation and their relations to the possible. And this fourth partition is integrated with my other three. Rand did not write or talk much about the actual/potential distinction. She talked about it in biological application in an essay about abortion. She discussed it head-on for general metaphysics with George Walsh, Leonard Peikoff, and Allan Gotthelf in an oral seminar-exchange around 1970. That discussion is transcribed in the Appendix of ITOE on pages 282–88.

The actual/potential partition comes up in the Nathaniel Branden lectures “The Basic Principles of Objectivism” as transcribed on pages 72–79, 97 of THE VISION OF AYN RAND. It is addressed also in Peikoff’s OPAR on pages 163–71.

See also endnote 57 of Jason Rheins’ “Objectivist Metaphysics” in the Blackwell COMPANION TO AYN RAND.

One book I’ve found helpful in tracing the rise, the variations, and the fall of the actual/potential partition in the history of philosophy, as well as occurrences of the actual/potential distinction in contemporary science is HANDBOOK OF POTENTIALITY (Engeland and Quante, editors, 2018). Others I’m learning a great deal from (in addition to Aristotle and Aquinas) are: POTENTIALITY (Vetter 2015), MERE POSSIBILITIES (Stalnaker 2012), MODALITY & EXPLANATORY REASONING (Kment 2014), EPISTEMIC MODALITY (Egan and Weatherson, editors, 2011), MODAL LOGIC AS METAPHYSICS (Williamson 2013), ARISTOTLE’S MODAL SYLLOGISTIC (Malink 2013).

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Edited by Boydstun

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5 minutes ago, Boydstun said:

.

“Being is variously divided.” –Aquinas

In her metaphysics, Ayn Rand had four exhaustive ways of dividing Existence. Three of the partitions are altered and then put to work in my own metaphysics that will be lain out in my book in progress. So, putting it schematically, where Rand had Partition I as A/B, I have it as A/L; her Partition II as C/D/E/F, I have as C´/M/N/O/P; her Partition III as G/H, I have as G/Q. What those three exhaustive ways of partition were in Rand’s view I’ll leave to those who want to think-Rand on it for themselves, else find in by book when it is finished and is published.

Rand’s fourth partition is between the actual and the potential. I do not alter this one in my own system, although I greatly elaborate on the actual/potential relation and their relations to the possible. And this fourth partition is integrated with my other three. Rand did not write or talk much about the actual/potential distinction. She talked about it in biological application in an essay about abortion. She discussed it head-on for general metaphysics with George Walsh, Leonard Peikoff, and Allan Gotthelf in an oral seminar-exchange around 1970. That discussion is transcribed in the Appendix of ITOE on pages 282–88.

The actual/potential partition comes up in the Nathaniel Branden lectures “The Basic Principles of Objectivism” as transcribed on pages 72–79, 97 of THE VISION OF AYN RAND. It is addressed also in Peikoff’s OPAR on pages 163–71.

See also endnote 57 of Jason Rheins’ “Objectivist Metaphysics” in the Blackwell COMPANION TO AYN RAND.

One book I’ve found helpful in tracing the rise, the variations, and the fall of the actual/potential partition in the history of philosophy, as well as occurrences of the actual/potential distinction in contemporary science is HANDBOOK OF POTENTIALITY (Engeland and Quante, editors, 2018). Other’s I’m learning a great deal from (in addition to Aristotle and Aquinas) are: POTENTIALITY (Vetter 2015), MERE POSSIBILITIES (Stalnaker 2012), MODALITY & EXPLANATORY REASONING (Kment 2014), EPISTEMIC MODALITY (Egan and Weatherson, editors, 2011), MODAL LOGIC AS METAPHYSICS (Williamson 2013), ARISTOTLE’S MODAL SYLLOGISTIC (Malink 2013).

Are free-will and QM very big players of the potential versus actual division in your formulation, since a purely classical and determinist universe would only present a trivial "single path" preordained future actuality (potential) for the current and all past actualities?

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SL,

There is an excellent chapter “Potentiality in Physics” by Max Kistler in the HANDBOOK. He sorts out what is and is not an occasion of metaphysical potentiality in the various modern physics concepts, classical and modern, going under such names as potentials and capacities. He discusses Heisenberg’s potentia interpretation of QM and sets out his own realist interpretation of QM enlisting metaphysical potentiality. I expect that to result in an endnote in my book, but that area will not fit into my book.

I would mention to you, however, that the contingencies of human brain processing and the freedom of higher volitional neuronal control systems from external stimuli and history requires from physics and chemistry only processes in the regular classical regimes. It may in fact also enlist chaotic classical processes, but it surely does not enlist any quantum indeterminacies for its contingent nature and indeterminism, for the time scales of quantum transitions are far too short for the transitions in neuronal processes, including whole-brain molar processing. I have discussed those things in earlier works and will not be taking them up in this book.

Suffice to say, I’m closer to Peirce and to Aristotle on contingency/necessity in nature and in human nature than to Rand and Leibniz. The picture of a classical-physics deterministic causal stream writ large to the complex of independent causal streams of nature (inanimate or animate) is simply false, notwithstanding the grip it got in the head of Spinoza, of Laplace, and of many intellectuals to this day. I’ve written about those things in my OBJECTIVITY essays (1990-98) “Induction on Identity” and “Volitional Synapses” and in the “Reply to Eilon.” It is old stuff to me and is for some years now available online here.

Virtually everything in my book has never been seen before among my writings.

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I'll broadly conclude that your work is compatible with the idea that physical systems (QM, or conscious, or neither) can exhibit one-to-many causal type linkages, and that physical systems, even if identical in their entirety, (hypothetically) do not necessarily evolve identically.  I suppose I merely thought QM and free will were exemplars, or at least the most obviously discernible, examples of this.  I am curious to read what you have to say about this subject... although I am afraid I will not have the philosophical background necessary to understand your book when finally complete.  I wish you well in your writings.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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.

Perhaps compatible with that. I'll keep it in mind.

Anyone who can read Galt's Speech or Rand's later non-fiction writing will be able to read my book with benefit and enjoy the gripping relentless intellectual roller coaster. Technical terms are always explained in notes, technical ramifications for modern logic and so forth are consigned to notes, and all special new philosophic terms or new constrained senses of old philosophic terms are explained along the way in the main-body text.

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On 10/22/2018 at 12:59 PM, Boydstun said:

Rand’s fourth partition is between the actual and the potential. I do not alter this one in my own system,

Ok then.  You had once posted and later deleted material about the actual and potential that would be controversial (in my opinion).  Glad to see you've reconsidered.  I never got around to writing any specific response on that point nor did I save any of that text.

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Grames, I imagine that earlier text I posted concerned my controversial picture in which not only do actualities that are concrete exist apart from thought, but potentialities of concretes are concrete existents existing apart from thought. Although I still maintain that view (and still distinguish potentials of concretes from possibilities, reserving the latter to the windings of thought), my earlier presentation of it and wider comprehension of it became obsolete because in it I had continued to accept another of the Objectivist exhaustive partitions of existence, the concrete/abstraction partition, which I later saw to be wrong in that right-hand member as the fundamental supplement to the concrete. The routing of that error and its correction has been revolutionary for my project. I’m sorry I can’t share that alteration with you now and indicate some of its ramifications downstream; I should wait for the book to reveal that.

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Edited by Boydstun

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