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"How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

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The error in your description though is that our senses produce an entity, and if it's singular, it's called an entity. First, that's backwards - objects are more "basic" (my term), and then come entities.

Second, it's the sort of error Plasmatic seems to think I am making, that entities are literally created by the mind distinct from reality itself. It's like sense data theory, where we only consider sensory objects created with our senses, not concrete objects. Sense data theory is wide open to the "Matrix" question because if we create sensory objects rather than apprehend objects with perception, we could just create some sensory objects with no way to distinguish between sensing a real object or sensing an object created by software. Similarly, there'd be no way to distinguish a hallucination from a real thing, because as sensory objects, both are identical. They're the same "data objects" as in your analogy.

 

 

Well, if entities are really the results form object-sense interaction, then yes, senses do produce entities. In interaction with objects, that is. Entities don't exist independent of perception. Objects do.

 

"Created by the mind" is something completely different than "created by object-sense interaction".

 

The question is, if we sense an object created by software, whether that software wouldn't have to first bundle that object together in some coherent form/location in whatever memory that requires, before it splits it up and distributes its parts to the components of our sensory apparatus. If there is a way to argue for such a logical necessity, one could maintain that even software objects are real objects.

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Produce the feeling or awareness that one senses an object as an entity, sure, so you need to distinguish what it is that object-sense interaction creates (awareness/qualia/sensory state/modes of presentation/etc) and what it is that awareness is of (totally sensory objects/objects in the world/representations/etc). The "etc" means that each is a different philosophical view. I only mean to say all objects we see are entities, so our -awareness- doesn't exist independent of perception.

I don't follow that last part.

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Well, if entities are really the results form object-sense interaction, then yes, senses do produce entities. In interaction with objects, that is. Entities don't exist independent of perception. Objects do.

 

"Created by the mind" is something completely different than "created by object-sense interaction".

Electrical brain stimulation is reported to produce a number of effects.

 

If the object is a probe(s) delivering strategically placed varying electrical voltage(s) directly to a brain, such that one experiences it in the form of a tree standing in a field hearing the rustle of the leaves, feeling the warmth of a sun and a gentle breeze - isn't this still created by an object's interaction with the subject? How would the by-passed senses in this case involved? Is the tree an object or an entity? Is the probe an object or an entity. Until we discover the probe, how do we know it exists? Until we have reason to suspect a probe, why would we seek to discover it?

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How would the by-passed senses in this case involved? Is the tree an object or an entity? Is the probe an object or an entity.

 

Hey Greg, are you using object and entity as synonyms here?.... :unsure:

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This whole confusion could be cured by using the Objectivist method of identifying the generative context of the concepts in question. An answer to the simple question of what the differentia of the alleged non synonyms entity and object are would make this clear.

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Discover said:

Well, if entities are really the results form object-sense interaction, then yes, senses do produce entities. In interaction with objects, that is. Entities don't exist independent of perception. Objects do.

The form or perception does not contribute anything that the entity-object does not possess in regard to the metaphysically singular status of bounded particulars. This would indeed, as you initially mentioned, be reminiscent of Kant.

Mrs. Rand deals some with the difference between parts and wholes in the appendix to ITOE.

Discover said:

The question is, if we sense an object created by software, whether that software wouldn't have to first bundle that object together in some coherent form/location in whatever memory that requires, before it splits it up and distributes its parts to the components of our sensory apparatus. If there is a way to argue for such a logical necessity, one could maintain that even software objects are real objects.

The difference between your program "object" is that you are referring to and using object in a non primary sense. To be a metaphysical primary, the basis of the Primacy of Existence in Oism, is to be causally mind independent, not contributed by or dependent on consciousness-awareness. Your program object is a integration that constructs-causes the object from parts. The awareness-integration of objects-entities is not like this. The integration is the "by means of which" we are aware of the entities-objects, not the "by means of which" that causes the integrated wholeness of entities. Edited by Plasmatic

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Discover said:

The form or perception does not contribute anything that the entity-object does not possess in regard to the metaphysically singular status of bounded particulars. This would indeed, as you initially mentioned, be reminiscent of Kant.

 

Well, I hope so, that's exactly my point. Would be great to proof that. How do we know this, given that all we have is our form of perception?

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Well, I hope so, that's exactly my point. Would be great to proof that. How do we know this, given that all we have is our form of perception?

 

Seems to me there is no such proof so far. Just considerations in the realm of "well, but it would seem rather odd otherwise", like the ones I have already made.

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Seems to me there is no such proof so far. Just considerations in the realm of "well, but it would seem rather odd otherwise", like the ones I have already made.

By "proof" do you mean "all possible objections have been answered"? I mean, on some level, you'd have to read a book-length argument to say why we can say we apprehend the world as it is. All a forum can do is direct your thinking. A good book to read for an in-depth look at this from an Objectivist angle is David Kelley's "Evidence of the Senses".

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By "proof" do you mean "all possible objections have been answered"? I mean, on some level, you'd have to read a book-length argument to say why we can say we apprehend the world as it is. All a forum can do is direct your thinking. A good book to read for an in-depth look at this from an Objectivist angle is David Kelley's "Evidence of the Senses".

 

Well, why not proof in the form of "the claim has been founded"? But directing my thinking would already help. I don't see why a book-length argument is necessary to get the basic line of argumentation. That would seem rather empiricist to me.

 

And since we are in this forum - I mean from an Objectivist perspective, of course. Not sure about Kelley as a reliably Objectivist source. He is in disagreement about Objectivism as a closed system.

 

So the question to the following claim remains:

 

"The form or perception does not contribute anything that the entity-object does not possess in regard to the metaphysically singular status of bounded particulars." (Plasmatic's statement)

 

How do we know this? Is there anything inherent in the nature of perception that necessitates this?

 

Why does there always have to be a one-to-one relationship between the object and the entity?

Why not many-to-one? Or one-to-many?

Edited by DiscoveryJoy

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Well, why not proof in the form of "the claim has been founded"? But directing my thinking would already help. I don't see why a book-length argument is necessary to get the basic line of argumentation. That would seem rather empiricist to me.

A book-length argument is meant to address many claims. You understand the basic idea well I think, so the next part is answering your objections, and a book probably has objections you didn't think of.

 

Kelley views on that open/closed bit really have nothing to do with his views on the senses. There is no "official" list, so it's up to you to evaluate what he says. It's a good source for what you want, the best one I can name. This thread is just notes on the book. http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=17927

Edited by Eiuol

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Discover, I'm not ignoring you, I am just having trouble getting to posts that require a lot of careful wording and thought. I hope to do so tonight but no promises. I will leave this post with a leading question. What is the foundation of proof and how is it validated?

Edited by Plasmatic

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Discover, I'm not ignoring you, I am just having trouble getting to posts that require a lot of careful wording and thought. I hope to do so tonight but no promises. I will leave this post with a leading question. What is the foundation of proof and how is it validated?

Don't worry, I'm patient. Take your time.... ;-)

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A book-length argument is meant to address many claims. You understand the basic idea well I think, so the next part is answering your objections, and a book probably has objections you didn't think of.

 

Kelley views on that open/closed bit really have nothing to do with his views on the senses. There is no "official" list, so it's up to you to evaluate what he says. It's a good source for what you want, the best one I can name. This thread is just notes on the book. http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=17927

Okay, will look into it...

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OK so my friends "accept" the 3 axioms:

1) Existance exists

2) Concsiousness exists

3) Law of Identity

But then say we can't deduce from those that we don't live in the matrix - or to be more direct that "I'm taking an act of faith by trusting my perception." A classic example is when I cross the street because the light is red, I'm acting on faith that my perception and reason were correct that the line was red and no cars would come. They also say there are "other" forms of obtaining knowledge (revalation, the bible), and that just because those 3 axioms are true, it doesn't mean there is knowledge out there that I am incapable of perceiving or reasoning (ie, the existance of God).

Thus, let's say that no matter what I will never be able to perceive the existance of God (or deduce him rationally), but he DOES exist. Or, I live in the matrix, but I am incapable of perceiving the matrix or deducing from reason that I am in the matrix, but it DOES exist. What would objectivism have to say about these assertions?

For your general query, look in the ayn rand lexicon for the "arbitrary."

Your "faith" based example of crossing the street is using evidence as the basis for "faith", which contradicts faith, so using the law of identity one rejects that example as a faith based example.

One relies on senses not because of faith but from induction; they are never wrong. They are physical phenomena subject to causes and they have no choice in their effect. Our mind learns at a very young age to interpret and integrate them into a frame of understanding. Any errors in what we think we sense is in our interpretation -- it can be tricked, but our senses can't.

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Last night I was in a discussion on Objectivism's View on Atheism and the "Brain in the Vat" argument came up which got me interested in this thread (again). From what I see, the main argument against it is the fact that it is arbitrary which has always been difficult for me to hold mentally.

From what I have gathered, arbitrary is a subspecies of possible.

Possible is:

On 11/13/2006 at 9:56 PM, Vladimir Berkov said:

1. That may or can be, exist, happen, be done, be used, etc.

2. That may be true or may be the case, as something concerning which one has no knowledge to the contrary

3. Capable of happening, existing, or being true without contradicting proven facts, laws, or circumstances.

Arbitrary is:

Possible without any indication and unverifiable

Edited by Easy Truth
spelling

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33 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Last night I was in a discussion on Objectivism's View on Atheism and the "Brain in the Vat" argument came up which got me interested in this thread (again). From what I see, the main argument against it is the fact that it is arbitrary which has always been difficult for me to hold mentally.

From what I have gathered, arbitrary is a subspecies of possible.

Possible is:

Arbitrary is:

Possible without any indication and unverifiable

I would disagree with the final statement.

How do you know that the "arbitrary" is possible?

 

By definition the arbitrary is something for which no evidence has been provided. None whatever.  If there were any tiny shred of evidence for something, i.e. pointing to something, then it is not arbitrary.  Think about what this means and your definition of "possible".

In the realm of an arbitrary existent being claimed you have no reason whatever to accept or even to rationally entertain the existence of the thing.  No evidence whatever points to it at all.  Now think about what you normally must include as evidence.  Evidence includes what you KNOW to be possible.  For example, lego can be stacked in certain ways, so the claim that a certain combination of pieces has occurred or will occur or exists now, is not an arbitrary assertion because it relies on what YOU KNOW possible, from your KNOWLEDGE of lego blocks.  When someone declares the existence of the supernatural, there is literally NOTHING from which you could base any possibility of such a thing... by definition the supernatural is arbitrary because it would need to rely on what you pretend imagine NOT TO KNOW instead of WHAT YOU KNOW.  The fact that you can imagine something (the Walt Disney principle) is NOT a definition of what is actually "possible".

As such, a claim to the arbitrary as being "possible" is ITSELF an "arbitrary" claim.  After all, on what integration of knowledge of arbitrary things could you conclude through observation that they indeed are possible, so that you could base the claim that THIS arbitrary thing, therefore, also is possible?  Arbitrary things do not form any percepts and cannot form any knowledge or concepts thereof... there is no nothing.

Think about the fallacy, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE" and what it is based on... it is based on one thing only, IGNORANCE.  But nothing in knowledge can be based, literally based, on the lack of knowledge.

 

The arbitrary, to be truly arbitrary cannot be "possible", in the sense that its possibility is measured by reference to knowledge of reality.

An arbitrary statement has no evidentiary weight whatever supporting it, and therefore has no evidentiary weight itself... quite simply it is a worthless, groundless, maybe, not deserving of any consideration.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

From what I have gathered, arbitrary is a subspecies of possible.

This is incorrect.  "Arbitrary" has nothing to do with truth or falsity, possibility or impossibility.  Like floating abstractions (see the recent discussion), arbitrary propositions have no connection to reality; they're mere concatenations of words that follow the syntactic rules of propositions.

Assertions about truth and possibility (or their absence) are about knowledge.  If a statement is not knowledge, it is a category mistake to even ask if the statement is true or possible; it is the same sort of error as asking if a concept has polkadots. So, before wondering if a statement is possible, you must first know that the statement is some kind of knowledge.

Knowledge is the product of integrations of percepts.  A statement that does not derive from percepts is not knowledge.  Now, we have the notion of "the matrix" from science fiction (and earlier), but no percepts from which one might derive the possibility that such a thing is more than fiction.  Without that, it is simply an error to ask if "the matrix" is possible.

"But that's not satisfying!"

Awww. Poor baby.

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20 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The arbitrary, to be truly arbitrary cannot be "possible", in the sense that its possibility is measured by reference to knowledge of reality.

 
 

I see, then I would conclude that "arbitrary" is a subspecies of "imaginable" rather than "possible".
"Possible" has to go through verification of cause and effect.

The Jist of the argument is that "Just because you can imagine it", does not mean that it is possible.
(and the proof would be the law of identity and of causality)
That argument did have some effect last night, the idea that everything is NOT possible is understandable to people.

I want to hold it in my mind, for me, I need a sentence like:
Imaginable without any indication and unverifiable.

I understand that I should ignore an arbitrary statement.
But I am concerned about being too quick to judge something as arbitrary.   

There is a difference between refuting "anything is possible" vs. "there are things that don't make sense to me that are possible".
There is past "evidence" of things that did not seem possible that ended up being possible.

At a minimum:
Arbitrary is a subspecies of "Imaginary"
Or must a person not even imagine an arbitrary?

There are categories of arbitrary:

"A blirk will always swoobjat all kobutabees" 
Is arbitrary, meaningless. (I just made it up)`
The meaning is inconceivable, let alone verifiable.

"The bricks in my walls know what I am doing"
Is arbitrary, has an imaginable meaning, but can't pass through the filter of the law of causality
(when imagining it, one sees it happening (doesn't that imply some variety of possible?))
    Is there two kinds of "possible", like possible in the mind vs. metaphysically possible?
    
To determine if it is actually possible, doesn't one have to "assume" that it is possible to determine how it could be verified?
If so, considering it arbitrary (and not allowing the possibility of "possible") does not allow that phase of analysis.

Regarding:(evidence includes what you know to be possible)
There is a problem in the area of incorporating new knowledge.
If what I know to be possible is the arbiter of what can be included in my mind, then truths that I don't know or understand can never get in.

I suppose you will emphasize that even a shred of evidence should give it a foothold to go through more validation.

When cavemen saw birds fly and they imagined that they could fly, was the idea of "human flight" arbitrary at that point?
(or was the fact that birds could fly a shred of evidence that it is possible for man to fly?)
 

 

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

I see, then I would conclude that "arbitrary" is a subspecies of "imaginable" rather than "possible".
"Possible" has to go through verification of cause and effect.

The Jist of the argument is that "Just because you can imagine it", does not mean that it is possible.
(and the proof would be the law of identity and of causality)
That argument did have some effect last night, the idea that everything is NOT possible is understandable to people.

I want to hold it in my mind, for me, I need a sentence like:
Imaginable without any indication and unverifiable.

I understand that I should ignore an arbitrary statement.
But I am concerned about being too quick to judge something as arbitrary.   

There is a difference between refuting "anything is possible" vs. "there are things that don't make sense to me that are possible".
There is past "evidence" of things that did not seem possible that ended up being possible.

At a minimum:
Arbitrary is a subspecies of "Imaginary"
Or must a person not even imagine an arbitrary?

There are categories of arbitrary:

"A blirk will always swoobjat all kobutabees" 
Is arbitrary, meaningless. (I just made it up)`
The meaning is inconceivable, let alone verifiable.

"The bricks in my walls know what I am doing"
Is arbitrary, has an imaginable meaning, but can't pass through the filter of the law of causality
(when imagining it, one sees it happening (doesn't that imply some variety of possible?))
    Is there two kinds of "possible", like possible in the mind vs. metaphysically possible?
    
To determine if it is actually possible, doesn't one have to "assume" that it is possible to determine how it could be verified?
If so, considering it arbitrary (and not allowing the possibility of "possible") does not allow that phase of analysis.

Regarding:(evidence includes what you know to be possible)
There is a problem in the area of incorporating new knowledge.
If what I know to be possible is the arbiter of what can be included in my mind, then truths that I don't know or understand can never get in.

I suppose you will emphasize that even a shred of evidence should give it a foothold to go through more validation.

When cavemen saw birds fly and they imagined that they could fly, was the idea of "human flight" arbitrary at that point?
(or was the fact that birds could fly a shred of evidence that it is possible for man to fly?)
 

 

 

 

Plenty of interesting thoughts.  Concrete examples would likely be very informative.

I'm not sure your definition is workable.  "Imaginable" according to what standard?  Is there anything you cannot imagine?  If so, is the dividing line between what is impossible to imagine and what is imaginable subjective?  Does something have to incorporate some aspects of reality (like a centaur) to be imaginable?  or can it defy all knowledge, logic, and rules of conceptualization etc.?  Is "An inanimate clear glass that blocks sunlight and brings your paper to you in the morning." imaginable or due to its contradictions meaningless?  Well that raises the issue of whether contradictions can exist ... or have meaning... which implies the standard for "imaginable" depends upon who you are...  an Objectivist imagination or a Hegelian one?...

"Imaginable" is too vague and subjective a term.  IMHO

 

By pursuing the idea of identifying a genus, I think you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Why presume "arbitrary" is a species of anything else?  If it were a kind of thing which exists, then there is a ladder of abstractions and concepts in which it fits, but the arbitrary is precisely OUTSIDE of all valid concepts (formed from the evidence of the senses).  The statement IS the only existent, it has no referent in reality (none that can be identified according to evidence).  So an arbitrary statement is a species of statements..  it is simply a statement for which the speaker has no evidence whatever (note humans are not omniscient nor infallible and the standard for making the statement is contextual... Objectivists are not Rationalists)

 

I think there is a strong distinction between the arbitrary and the meaningless.  An arbitrary statement is syntactically correct enough such that it is capable of meaning and being valid if evidence were found... whereas a meaningless statement can never be capable of meaning and being valid.

What you know to be possible is not a limiting arbiter, it is supporting ladder to further knowledge.  Your bird flying is an example of how seeing what is real informs one of what is possible which informs one of evidence pointing to something for which some evidence exists.

The cave man, seeing a bird fly has been provided with evidence that living things do not automatically die when at altitude. They presumably can still breathe, the feathers seem to flutter indicating the presence of air and wind.  The motions of the bird and its interaction indicate an effect that can be observed in leaves and trees swaying, or carried off in the wind and man can feel the wind, there is some pushing and light things can be pushed enough... living stuff can fly under the right conditions, man could fly if he could figure out what conditions are necessary to get enough of that "air" force sufficient to lift him up the way it does a bird, a leaf or a tree.

Evidence is more than mere specific instances, evidence is also in the form of principles and wide integrations and concepts, all of one's knowledge constitutes all of the possible evidence... for believing something is possible. 

 

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7 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

But I am concerned about being too quick to judge something as arbitrary. 

It is pretty easy to distinguish an arbitrary statement from a non-arbitrary statement, so indeed you should be able to judge quickly. For instance, “Some trees commit murder” is arbitrary, and you can judge that it is arbitrary within seconds, once you know that I’m done talking. I’ve given you no evidence to support my claim. If I say “Some trees commit murder. For example the black walnut poisons its enemies with juglone”, my statement isn’t arbitrary (it is a bit whacky, but at least I give some support). In case you didn’t know about juglone, and as a polite rhetorical device, you can say “What evidence do you have that some trees commit murder?”, since the other guy may think that everybody knows about killer walnuts. You should cultivate the habit of identifying and challenging arbitrary claims.

Arbitrariness is about the evidence for a claim, and evidence has to be given, it doesn't just present itself magically. Perhaps your concern is that someone makes a true statement without stating the evidence, because the evidence is so well-known that it needn't be stated.  The global warming claim has two problems, first that it's meaningless (it's an expression, a meme, and not an actual proposition: it stands for many imaginable propositions), and second, it is arbitrary (99% of the time it is accepted on the basis of no evidence). If we take the claim to be that "human activity has changed the atmosphere to the point that average planetary temperatures have increased significantly", we would at least have a concrete proposition. Then there is the question of whether there is any evidence for the claim.

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44 minutes ago, DavidOdden said:

Arbitrariness is about the evidence for a claim, and evidence has to be given, it doesn't just present itself magically.

Then "arbitrariness" is not solely based on the statement (assuming it is not an outright contradiction).
From what I am gathering, it is also based on where in the conversation it is.
You demonstrated what was identified as an "arbitrary statement" at point 1 in the conversation.
At point 2, you asked, "why?".
At point 3, there was a "wacky response, but a shred of evidence"

So at 

point 1 - the statement is arbitrary
point 2 - the statement is arbitrary
point 3 - the statement is possible

First, that implies that arbitrary is within the context of a conversation/discussion/polemic etc.
Second, it is after evidence was asked for, none was given, it is now considered arbitrary.

Is that an element or am I seeing things that are irrelevant?

I have more observations and questions to go through with you and SL but I did not want this to go by.

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9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

"Imaginable" is too vague and subjective a term.  IMHO

The ultimate purpose of identifying arbitrary is to have pristine valid OBJECTIVE knowledge.
But all knowledge initially enters through subjective portals.

I posit that the concept "arbitrary" in this context, is referring and relevant to that point (of entry) in the communication.

In this context, subjective knowledge, in fact, is applicable.
"Imaginable" to the receiver of the information (the subject).
Granted, one would be able to imagine and another would not.
It is all about seeing in the mind's eye.

If it is unimaginable why would it be so?
1. The words are meaningless (subjectively - to the person)
2. The meaning of the words don't make any sense  (contradiction)
3. Too complex to imagine (crow epistemology)

Note that not in that list are:
-Too heinous/ is, in fact, imaginable but rejected.
-a reminder of awful things /same way imaginable but pushed away

These are valid reasons to reject as neither true nor false/arbitrary ... to be ignored.

The label arbitrary in this context can simply mean "not enough information for me to agree to consider/think about it".

The concept "arbitrary" is part of an epistemological rule of hygiene, to prevent trash or disease or poison from entering past the knowledge filter/firewall.

These epistemological rules are personal hygiene rules, personal as in subject/receiver based.

One can object, "but simply going by these subjective rules will not allow unimaginable truths from entering your consciousness".
The counter is that "this applies at the start of communication". You must ask for more information (proofs, simplifications, etc.)

If none are offered, then ignoring (the information) is still the way to go.

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