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The way Rand and Peikoff use it in their books is extremely vague; how can one practically use his faculty of reason? And what relations does the faculty have in terms of emotions?

The epistemology of objectivism states that man first senses, then he perceives, at which he then gains concepts. Perceptions are merely collections of sensations - that is, all existents are different, it is the stage where a conscious being "identifies". From this, a unit of measure can be obtained from the perceptions to which that unit becomes a concrete concept which man decides to express in symbols. Where is 'reason' in this process? How can I consciously use 'reason' over emotion, and why does emotion conflict with 'reason'?

 

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Humans notice causal chains when they're pretty young. This means, they start to figure out that when thing A happens followed by thing B, it is a common pattern, and if thing A happens followed by thing C it is probably coincidental. As they observe more closely, they start to understand the other elements in reality that are playing a role, and thus understand certain causal chains not just as "there's a pattern of correlation", but in a more detailed way: of seeing how that causal chain works and leads up to the observed effect.

This faculty is reason.

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2 hours ago, Akilah said:

The way Rand and Peikoff use it in their books is extremely vague; how can one practically use his faculty of reason? And what relations does the faculty have in terms of emotions?

The epistemology of objectivism states that man first senses, then he perceives, at which he then gains concepts. Perceptions are merely collections of sensations - that is, all existents are different, it is the stage where a conscious being "identifies". From this, a unit of measure can be obtained from the perceptions to which that unit becomes a concrete concept which man decides to express in symbols. Where is 'reason' in this process? How can I consciously use 'reason' over emotion, and why does emotion conflict with 'reason'?

 

This is one of my main disagreements with Objectivism. The description of human cognition that Rand and Peikoff give us sounds good on paper, but then when you actually try to go and use it... you can't. It simply doesn't work. To this date, I have never seen even a single detailed step-by-step account of an interesting and/or useful idea being formed and validated using the Objectivist method.

Formal logic and probability theory are the way to go.

 

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42 minutes ago, SpookyKitty said:

To this date, I have never seen even a single detailed step-by-step account of an interesting and/or useful idea being formed and validated using the Objectivist method.

Isn't it reasonable to doubt what you said? What is your motive in participating in this forum if its backbone is so useless?

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3 hours ago, Akilah said:

The way Rand and Peikoff use it in their books is extremely vague; how can one practically use his faculty of reason? And what relations does the faculty have in terms of emotions?

The epistemology of objectivism states that man first senses, then he perceives, at which he then gains concepts. Perceptions are merely collections of sensations - that is, all existents are different, it is the stage where a conscious being "identifies". From this, a unit of measure can be obtained from the perceptions to which that unit becomes a concrete concept which man decides to express in symbols. Where is 'reason' in this process? How can I consciously use 'reason' over emotion, and why does emotion conflict with 'reason'?

“The process of a child’s development consists of acquiring knowledge, which requires the development of his capacity to grasp and deal with an ever-widening range of abstractions. This involves the growth of two interrelated but different chains of abstractions, two hierarchical structures of concepts, which should be integrated, but seldom are: the cognitive and the normative. The first deals with knowledge of the facts of reality—the second, with the evaluation of these facts. The first forms the epistemological foundation of science—the second, of morality and art.” (Rand 1965a, 10) --quote in my From Integrity to Calculus

,

Rand tells the religionist: “Whenever you committed the evil of refusing to think and to see, of exempting from the absolute of reality some one small wish of yours, whenever you chose to say: Let me withdraw from the judgment of reason . . . the existence of God, let me have my one irrational whim and I will be a man of reason about all else—that was the act of subverting your consciousness, the act of corrupting your mind” (1037).

Rand was not opposed to feelings. She was not against the idea of the human soul, provided it is thought of as naturally part of one’s living body and mortal as one’s body. In Fountainhead she has dialogue between Keating and his wife Dominique in which soul is given the expressly nonreligious meaning: that in one that is one’s genuine person—not only one’s body—one’s will and meaning, that in one which independently thinks, values, decides, and feels (GW II 454–55; cf. 1957, 1057). -- from my Mysticism - Kant and Rand (Part 1 -Reason)

.

When philosophers lay out theories of good definition, they are theories of an explicative kind of definition (see David Kelley’s Art of Reasoning, chapter 3). Consider Rand’s definition of reason as the faculty that identifies and integrates the evidence of the senses. In my dictionary, I find reason defined as the capacity for rational thought, rational inference, or rational discrimination. The terms rational and thought go to already familiar synonymies with reason. The differentia within the rational, in this dictionary definition, are the discriminatory and the inferential.

Rand’s definition stays close to the common usage reflected by the dictionary, but it replaces discrimination and inference by their kin identification and integration, it eliminates the non-explicative rational, and it adds a base for the activities of reason, specifically, deliverances of the senses. Rand’s definition is explanatory of the common usage found in the dictionary, and it is tailored to tie neatly to a particular wider philosophical view.

Quine could say this is a fine explicative type of definition. Rand has given the term reason a new synonymy. The various contexts in which reason under the dictionary definition is properly used remain contexts in which reason under the new, explicative definition is properly used. The new definition covers the processes of drawing distinctions and making inferences. The new definition also applies to the wider processes of identification and integration of sensory evidence, processes in which the narrower processes are embedded. --from my On Quine's "Two Dogmas"

PS - Welcome to Objectivism Online.

Edited by Boydstun

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Don't we start using the Objectivist method to the best of our abillity at a very young age?  Two things may obscure this.

We use the method long before we are able to articulate it.

We get a lot of help because other people are already using concepts and we can learn from them.

What role do formal logic and probability theory play in forming concepts like "red", "chair", "food", and "kid"?

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14 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

To this date, I have never seen even a single detailed step-by-step account of an interesting and/or useful idea being formed and validated using the Objectivist method.

Wouldn't that just be any idea? The Objectivist epistemology is intended as a fully general account of how knowledge is arrived at.

Edited by William O

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17 hours ago, Akilah said:

The way Rand and Peikoff use it in their books is extremely vague; how can one practically use his faculty of reason? And what relations does the faculty have in terms of emotions?

The epistemology of objectivism states that man first senses, then he perceives, at which he then gains concepts. Perceptions are merely collections of sensations - that is, all existents are different, it is the stage where a conscious being "identifies". From this, a unit of measure can be obtained from the perceptions to which that unit becomes a concrete concept which man decides to express in symbols. Where is 'reason' in this process? How can I consciously use 'reason' over emotion, and why does emotion conflict with 'reason'?

 

Also, in Rand's epistemology, it's not the sensations that are being conceptually united by the process of reason, one does not experience sensations in most normal circumstances (ie., unless you have diminished mental capacity, are in a sensory deprivation experiment, etc.) The process of integrating sensations into perception is physiological, not rational (as in Kant), one experiences a united perceptual field, rather than sensations. The process of reason proceeds, under this theory, by abstracting from the field of perception, and then integrating the units conceptually as you described.

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18 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

The description of human cognition that Rand and Peikoff give us sounds good on paper, but then when you actually try to go and use it... you can't.

Why not? Would you be more specific? You'd be right to say that it's incomplete, or that a fully fledged theory needs more to it, but this doesn't invalidate what is there. I would like to see a detailed step-by-step account from an Objectivist academic as well, but the lack of one doesn't mean that the sketch given by Rand in ITOE can't be used.

On top of that, not even Rand thought her theory of concepts was complete.

Take this quote from Peikoff:

"Ayn Rand regarded her theory of concepts as proved, but not as completed. There are, she thought, important similarities between concepts and mathematics still to be identified; and there is much to be learned about man’s mind by a proper study of man’s brain and nervous system. In her last years, Miss Rand was interested in following up on these ideas—in relating the field of conceptualization to two others: higher mathematics and neurology. Her ultimate goal was to integrate in one theory the branch of philosophy that studies man’s cognitive faculty with the science that reveals its essential method and the science that studies its physical organs. (109)"

[My secondary source: http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/24356-from-integrity-to-calculus/)

I don't really see how your reply has much to do with the OP's question anyway.
 

18 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

Formal logic and probability theory are the way to go.

These aren't epistemological theories per se. You can't say "they are the way to go", especially because they aren't excluded from Objectivist epistemology. Or any theory that takes advantage of reason for that matter. If you say it as if these are the only valid options, it makes a sound like you will not have any knowledge until you learn formal logic and probability theory. They aren't things people do naturally.

You would still need to explain basic concepts like 'dog', and how children can have knowledge of that concept without using formal logic.

Edited by Eiuol

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19 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

 

This is one of my main disagreements with Objectivism. The description of human cognition that Rand and Peikoff give us sounds good on paper, but then when you actually try to go and use it... you can't. It simply doesn't work. To this date, I have never seen even a single detailed step-by-step account of an interesting and/or useful idea being formed and validated using the Objectivist method.

Formal logic and probability theory are the way to go.

 

You seem to think that the "Objectivist method" is some thing, like an actual sui generis "method," apart from a philosophic explanation of the scientific method of observation and experimentation and why it works. In a sense, we start out from knowing that we have knowledge, we know that we have useful ideas, epistemology is then going back and saying "what was the method that I used and how does that work?" And yeah like Eiuol said, I'm not sure how formal logic and probability theory are opposed to, say, the world of Bacon or Mill or a Rand.

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20 hours ago, Boydstun said:

“The process of a child’s development consists of acquiring knowledge, which requires the development of his capacity to grasp and deal with an ever-widening range of abstractions. This involves the growth of two interrelated but different chains of abstractions, two hierarchical structures of concepts, which should be integrated, but seldom are: the cognitive and the normative. The first deals with knowledge of the facts of reality—the second, with the evaluation of these facts. The first forms the epistemological foundation of science—the second, of morality and art.” (Rand 1965a, 10) --quote in my From Integrity to Calculus

,

Rand tells the religionist: “Whenever you committed the evil of refusing to think and to see, of exempting from the absolute of reality some one small wish of yours, whenever you chose to say: Let me withdraw from the judgment of reason . . . the existence of God, let me have my one irrational whim and I will be a man of reason about all else—that was the act of subverting your consciousness, the act of corrupting your mind” (1037).

Rand was not opposed to feelings. She was not against the idea of the human soul, provided it is thought of as naturally part of one’s living body and mortal as one’s body. In Fountainhead she has dialogue between Keating and his wife Dominique in which soul is given the expressly nonreligious meaning: that in one that is one’s genuine person—not only one’s body—one’s will and meaning, that in one which independently thinks, values, decides, and feels (GW II 454–55; cf. 1957, 1057). -- from my Mysticism - Kant and Rand (Part 1 -Reason)

.

When philosophers lay out theories of good definition, they are theories of an explicative kind of definition (see David Kelley’s Art of Reasoning, chapter 3). Consider Rand’s definition of reason as the faculty that identifies and integrates the evidence of the senses. In my dictionary, I find reason defined as the capacity for rational thought, rational inference, or rational discrimination. The terms rational and thought go to already familiar synonymies with reason. The differentia within the rational, in this dictionary definition, are the discriminatory and the inferential.

Rand’s definition stays close to the common usage reflected by the dictionary, but it replaces discrimination and inference by their kin identification and integration, it eliminates the non-explicative rational, and it adds a base for the activities of reason, specifically, deliverances of the senses. Rand’s definition is explanatory of the common usage found in the dictionary, and it is tailored to tie neatly to a particular wider philosophical view.

Quine could say this is a fine explicative type of definition. Rand has given the term reason a new synonymy. The various contexts in which reason under the dictionary definition is properly used remain contexts in which reason under the new, explicative definition is properly used. The new definition covers the processes of drawing distinctions and making inferences. The new definition also applies to the wider processes of identification and integration of sensory evidence, processes in which the narrower processes are embedded. --from my On Quine's "Two Dogmas"

PS - Welcome to Objectivism Online.

So, can we definitively say that, using the faculty of 'reason' is reduced to asking 'why' and 'how'?

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I’d say the asking and finding of why and how is at the core of reason provide it is taken as understood that reason is always with a body and brain with a living developmental history and within a social context of coordination and training during in its development. However, I’d also stress observation, and by that I mean more than just a perceptual apprehension along one’s way. I mean a centered deliberate attention to something in perception (or thought) or how to get a new perception of that sort. There is a stage of the crawling infant, before any language acquisition, in which the infant cannot make visual observations while crawling. He or she crawls a bit, then stops and looks, then resumes crawling. Those self-world and inter-human observations of the infant are part of its growing package of reason, I’d say.

Of course, it’s with languaged observations and languaged pursuits of why and how that we have full-blown reason. But at this fuller stage, I’d still want to stress the factor of observation and add the factor of reason thinking about itself. It needs to get to know what it can reasonably expect of itself. I don’t know how self-conscious they were about it, but the Babylonian observations of the paths and times of certain things in the heavens, their recording of those things and trying to fit mathematical schemes capturing those recurrences was not much pursuit of how and why. But it was within their ability in that culture, and it attained a better picture of the surface-what, which could be helpful later to other astronomy folk in more advanced cultures trying (sometimes terribly prematurely) to get somewhere with the how and why.

Back when I first read Atlas Shrugged (while in college, but on the side), 10 years after it was first published, I formulated a saying for myself: “to reason is to question.” That’s fine if that is understood to mean that questioning is essential to reason, but not so hot if it is understood to mean that anything passing for a grammatically correct question can pass for an episode of reason.

I do rather like Rand’s definition of reason as the faculty of identifying and integrating the evidence of the senses. I’d note, however, that our reason we put to work in pure mathematics is circumscribed by that definition in only a nebulous way. Also, the definition is on its face too much setting us pondering the givens in perception as merely evidence to use in winning our way to the real physical world, when really that is not her full picture of our way with the world and our blend of thought and action.

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