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Everything posted by jacassidy2

  1. Edit for OP - I'm not introducing Kant's innate concepts in his categories, that may come later. This thread asks simply about his innate cognitive synthesis of time and space.
  2. Kant tried to integrate the premises of the empiricists and the rationalists by offering a solution in mental synthesis of sense data with innate cognitive process. Not innate content, but innate process of aspects of identity that earlier philosophers called primary, as opposed to, secondary characteristics - things like space and time. At first look, this view seems to appeal to the metaphysics of consciousness - could reality include an innate, mechanistic, cognitive function to make sense of the relationships between entities? Objectivism recognizes senses, perception (coordination of basic sensation), and conception (abstraction thru reason). If you accept Aristotelian/Objectivist views of metaphysical axioms, you don't fall into the trap of the dualism between empiricism and rationalism. And SO -------------? How is Kant's idea of mental synthesis of the most basic relationships of entities different. Different than Objectivism's idea of sense coordination in the faculty of perception? Perception is a mechanistic function, so why is Kant's view a step too far?
  3. I think maybe Eiuol responded as he did because my post was not clear. So back to the basis of the OP which asked about free will as relates to the cognitive choice to focus. Well, come on. The choice to focus is the most fundamental form of the idea of free will. Free will is based on the choice to focus, the idea that the human form of advanced cognition is volitional. That human focus choice is not strictly sense based. You can experience sense data randomly, or you can choose to perceive, that is, to coordinate that sense data into percepts. So focus, in the context of this argument, functions at a perceptual level and then, of course, at a conceptual level. I think I got it here - please contradict me if I got it wrong.
  4. Eiuol - read my post again. You are confusing basic, but unrelated premises, with the biological conclusions. The change in the "material means" is the evolution in the complex neurology of vertebrates. Did you read my post? "there's lot's more going on inside." -----Inside of what? "an instinct, as a pre-programmed response, implies lack of control." -----Yes it does. "a chemical-less volition." ------- Did I say that? "cognition is not an advancement over instinct." ------- Almost everyone would disagree. How many arbitrary assertions can you make without premises to support them? Are you really investigating Objectivist ideas, or are you looking for an argument? Eiuol - I just don't understand the motivation and research of ideas behind you're post and point.
  5. This is some very good news for a thinker like me who is outside the academic area. Before I found this website, I was temporarily active on another general philosophy forum. I was so shocked at the posts of university students on this other website. It seemed like they got to the study of Hume, or Ayers, or Wittgenstein, etc. and could not get out of a hole created by an idea that was new to the student and seemed interesting on its face. All of them seemed to be unaware of Ms. Rand beyond her fiction and were emotionally bitter or angry about the ethics they learned in that fiction. The few who claimed to be familiar with Aristotelian metaphysics and Objectivist epistemology, couldn't see it thru their post-modern lens of logic and language having metaphysical standing instead of origin in human cognition. Chomsky's, Neo-Kantian view of innate cognitive content - purely grammatical in Chomsky's view, not extending to Kant's categories - was a very popular idea. It seemed like many people found comfort in ideas in philosophy that allowed, forgave, or created an excuse for a lack of focus or clarity in cognition.
  6. William O - What constitutes an "expert" in Objectivism? Thru my ages 30 to ca. 45, I found myself in the position you described above - I had a feel for Objectivist ethics and politics, but it was not "internalized," and so I fell apart in debates with clever people. At age 60, today, after 10 years of retirement self-study - Objectivist (Aristotelian) metaphysics and epistemology and western philosophy generally - I still don't feel like an expert. But, I don't fall apart in discussions or debates anymore because I can now take the premises espoused by others and refer them to the person in history that originated (or made famous and accessible) the idea, and what prior philosophical ideas led to the conclusion. While the philosophical content came from Ms. Rand, much of the method of analysis and debate came from Mr. Peikoff. The ability to spot an arbitrary argument and either dismiss it, or insist that your debate opponent specify the premises on which their arbitrary conclusions are based, is often the key to moving your debate opponent to moving the debate to fundamentals. Anyway, I'd be interested in your take on these points, especially, what makes one an expert. Txs, Jack
  7. The only thing about Christianity I continued to hold after about age 32 was my enjoyment of their traditional Christmas music. While many things taught by Jesus Christ (perverted by men ever since) are human-life-on-earth positive, they cannot be justified or supported in a metaphysics and epistemology based in mysticism and the primacy of consciousness. My 12 years of Catholic education was a series of complete contradictions between what I was taught and how I saw religious people live their lives.
  8. The desire to combine Objectivist philosophy with Christian mysticism is a common trend among people who have experienced Ms. Rand only thru her fiction and her non-fiction essays about ethics and politics. Thirty years ago, as a man with 12 years of Christian education, I read these books and essays in that same context and tried to combine them during the distracting life period of raising kids and making a living. When I got to the epistemology and the Aristotelian metaphysics years later, I hit a wall. You cannot accept the axioms of existence, consciousness, and identity - you cannot accept the ideas of causality and non-contradiction - and continue to believe in the Christian God. To do so requires a contradiction. And so, back to the OP. There is no symbiotic relationship between conscience and reason - conscience is a dependent of sense perception and reason. Having a conscience has nothing to do with mysticism. It's the eventual recognition, that doing to and for others as you would like them to treat you, based on the values you hold, is way more in your best interest than acting like a bully or a predator. You have reason, your neighbor has reason - specialization and trade are in your best interest over force and fraud. That's reasoned conscience and it has nothing to do with God.
  9. Good thread. When to debate and when not. You assume your opponent does not share your fundamental ideas. And so, never enter a debate that begins with an arbitrary assertion with no reasons for the conclusion. You can only successfully debate the reasons for the subject assertion. You might ask your friend, "why do you think that?" You're trying to get to more fundamental premises that may be disputable because trying to dispute the conclusion of a person raised in the environment of pragmatism is a waste of time. In the end you will, more often than not, smile and say goodbye.
  10. Hey txs for this info, it's really interesting. DNA analysis will probably shatter our previous conclusions about human evolution. AND - analysis of the conclusions we made given incomplete sense data - compared to what we learn from the DNA should spark a new human area of inquiry. That is, what are the prejudices in scientific investigation that led us to false conclusions? I think we will find a human tendency that has raised its ugly head in the history of western philosophy too. Historically, scientists and philosophers have been too quick to fall into speculation and skepticism. The historical foundation of religious mysticism has produced a false desire to know it all right now. That desire is not part of reality - the truth of human acquisition of knowledge is hierarchical - a truth recognized by Ms. Rand. With an understanding of Ms. Rand's explanation of concept formation, both scientists and philosophers have a new way to accurately form their ideas. What is true for certain, given your current knowledge? Go no further accept as a recognized tool that is only an exercise in speculation. That way, as you discover more, these days usually by increased sense perception due to technology, at each step in the increased knowledge, you add to, rather than, contradict previous knowledge. This is the cognitive break that, when properly adhered to, provides the reasoned basis for inductive reasoning. Then, given the principle arrived at, you then use deduction to validate future related experiences. It's so simple, it's so easy, it doesn't require language that is not understandable to basically educated people. It doesn't require decades of analysis of mathematics, logic, and language - elevating them to a metaphysical level. It doesn't require a PhD in philosophy. Understanding of the simple truth only requires a basic education and volition.
  11. I don't have any clear science or philosophy answers to this very interesting thread, but as I read the ideas of others, a few ideas occurred that might be of use. 1. What is instinct? I've always considered it to be a genetically programmed response to a precept in a non-human, conscious organism. Its function is an evolutionary step above the simple chemical reactions in invertebrates and plants, but instinct is a more complex formulation in conscious animals. 2. Just as instinct in most animals with consciousness is a more advanced evolutionary system than the simple chemical reactions of lower animals and plants, human reason (and all that implies) is a more advanced evolutionary substitute for instinct. In humans, evolution tested volition and choice over chemical reaction and complex genetic chemistry as a random survival mechanism. This biological shift changed the entire paradigm of living organisms from deterministic materialism in chemistry and physics, to volition and reason. Based on the above descriptions - I wonder if what you observe in human infants is the same as instinct. Could it not be a combination of the genetically determined materialistic function of the body and the simple cognitive curiosity of a new mind's recognition of happiness (a filing stomach) as possible in a most elementary sense of cause and effect? That is, rather than instinct - lips such naturally - and the sense data from doing it to a breast or bottle establishes a primitive happy feeling.
  12. Good offering Jaskin, just for living and being happy. General principles in metaphysics and epistemology remain the same with small elucidations based on new knowledge. The world of men changes constantly and we adapt to each new norm. Sense of life is a derivative concept that is not a category of philosophy, but maybe it should be.
  13. WHAT? We only know entities thru abstraction? Time to re-read the ideas of senses, perception, and conception. Ms. Rand is, to my thinking, the discoverer of the truth of concept formation. But don't allow the premises that support her formulation, to bleed over into the other faculties that are part of human consciousness. It may be that the confusion here is due to the use of the phrase "sense perception." This common phrase has always been a stone in my shoe because it seems to combine sense processes (well known mechanistic and material things in science) with the lesser understood process of perception that takes place in the brain - it is the coordination of sense data and memory to arrive at conclusions, but Fail to see how abstraction applies at this level of consciousness. Abstraction is the ability of humans to consider the characteristics of entities/objects as if they existed independent of entities/objects. They don't, but we can categorize/conceptualize based on this ability to abstract.
  14. I have not read the deal, but does one have to read it to know it is the most recent concrete expression of the ideas contained in pragmatist philosophy?
  15. This is a particularly good and clearly presented essay. Thanks to the author.
  16. Plasmatic - While I am aware of post-modern philosophers, I gotta tell you - I know very little and I'll tell you why. I struggled thru reading the originals of people like Hume, Kant, academic Russell, etc. I'm just not gonna waste my time trying to understand every post-modern who I know from literary reference is going to propose an argument I will not agree with. I resorted to commentaries because I have better things to do then read the original words of people I already know I will not agree with. I know this path limits my exposure to the ideas of the post-moderns. I've spent some time with Chomsky, but little else. I know this view limits my understanding. But it limits my understanding of convoluted explanations of ideas based in fundamentals I would dispute in the absence of the convoluted arguments. I gotta tell ya. I'm just plain tired of reading academic papers in a language style that is suppose to appeal to other academics by its unique specificity. What's the point? I once published an academic biology paper in grad school and my major professor kept correcting me until I got it right. He insisted on a specific format and a language style that could be understood by anyone with a basic education. Modern academic works in philosophy just take to damn much time to understand and the person making this claim is a person who knows the philosophy and made a living writing technical manuals.
  17. I've been active in general philosophy forums for a year or two. I'm new to this forum and I find something completely different. Even when I disagree with the conclusions of the poster here, I most often am interested in their argument. The argument over universal suffrage in this thread assumes the legitimacy of taxation in some form. Some posters go on then, to limit suffrage to those who contribute financially. They accept the flaw of force/fraud being valid if accepted by a majority as an imprimatur for political participation. Hey, it makes sense on the surface, but it is wrong in Objectivism. If I expect the local or national government to provide me with protection, I should expect to pay for it. But the nature of that payment should not affect my representational rights. The real question is how can a legitimate government raise funds for legitimate reasons without becoming the source of force/fraud that they were instituted to prevent. This is not a question of ethics, it is a purely political issue of process method.
  18. Plasmatic - The post is a combination of satire and real confusion. I'd really like to read a definition of pure, versus, wholesale, logic. If reason is synonymous to objective truth, that is, if process is the same as content conclusion and reflects truth, I'd love to hear the argument. I suspect most of my comment here is objection to bad formulation of argument in language and grammar. Many writers don't mean what they say. But, if the writer is a young person, still studying, they should learn that words mean things - that combinations of words into ideas have specific meanings. The equivalence of reason and objective truth is absurd at its base.
  19. Pure reason is objective truth. What is non-pure reason? What is less pure reason? If reason is objective truth, how does one arrive at objective truth and what can a person do with it after they found it? Must one refer back to reason/objective truth to draw conclusions? I know you're joking and must understand that "comedy isn't pretty."
  20. Good stuff in this thread and I think I can offer a few Objectivist ideas. You could argue that the process of sensation DEPENDS on both the object and the sense organ or neither the object or the sense organ. This is because this fact in reality (sensation) takes place at the level of the Law of Causality that applies, thru the identity of the object and the sense organ, as a causal relationship. Not in the sense that empiricists argue the causal or representational method of perception, but simply as a mechanistic relationship between the object and the organ prior to perception. Continental rationalists and British empiricists, along with many post-modern philosophers, fail to see the distinction between direct sensation, a relationship between object and sense organ, and sense perception, which is a faculty of consciousness. At the earliest and direct stage of sensation, consciousness is not yet involved, the cause and effect relationship is purely materialistic. Recognizing this fact is further proof of the fact that existence is primary to consciousness, although I wouldn't use this fact as a basis for any argument in metaphysics. Sense experience is based in the sensing of something outside consciousness and is removed by one step from consciousness. Sense perception is the faculty of consciousness, possessed by many vertebrate animals, that coordinates the mechanistic data provided by the sense organs, with memory and data from other sense organs, to arrive at the most basic conclusions about entities - shape, size, sound, color, taste, etc. based on the nature of the sense organs possessed by the organism. The color blind man doesn't get wrong information, he gets information similar to anyone else looking in the lowest light conditions, limited, but not incorrect. This is because color is another cause and effect relationship between the nature of light and the nature of the chemical composition of the colored object. The color red is a consequence of the relationship between the chemistry of the object, the nature of light, and the nature of the observing sense organ. Now you might become a skeptic because perceived red is founded in a more fundamental cause; i.e. the chemical composition of the underlying material, which is founded in atomic theory, which may be founded in quantum mechanics, etc., etc., etc.. Almost everything you know is founded in a, yet to be known, fundamental cause. So do you throw out metaphysics, or epistemology - or, do you study epistemology in the context of the identity of human reason and sense perception. Cognitively that is, do you expect omniscience as a pre-requisite to human knowledge, or do you look at the facts of reality, the reality of existence, consciousness, and sense organs, and recognize - - - existence exists, consciousness exists, identity and causality exist as an inseparable part of the two former premises ------ and, knowledge is a process that has a hierarchy. If an early, Greek, Atomist, had limited his conclusions to, "I think matter must be composed of very small, common particles, limited in type, and arranged in various ways," he would have been correct but limited. The same analogy could be used with Gallileo vs. Keplar, Newton vs. Einstein, or Aristotle vs. Rand. The trick, after understanding the fact in cognition and human history described in the above paragraph, the fact that the reality is - that knowledge of the external world is not automatic, infallible, nor omniscient - that science is not a parallel substitute for mysticism - is for scientists to avoid speculation beyond sense data and reason except as entertainment, and for philosophers to stop using lack of knowledge as a reason to frame epistemology in a way that can only lead to skepticism.
  21. Like this post. Could you define your take on "pure" versus "wholesale" reason. Is it simply reason with or without innate content, or is it more? I could learn something from your definitions.
  22. Every time I read something like this - the method, not the conclusion necessarily - I wonder if the author is joking. I understand his conclusion after a few paragraphs and then I continue to read - I read and I wait, read and wait. Then I get to the end and ask, "where was the argument?" This guy thinks he's a philosopher? This article is a wonderful example of how pragmatics don't need an argument. Plasmatic - you offered this for its comic value, didn't you? Attempting to counter conclusions, offered without argument, is a waste of time, so I have no comment on his conclusion. This guy makes a living as a professor of philosophy?
  23. I thought of another answer to the OP. I just watched the movie Schindler's List, the second or third time. I am a non-theist at age 60 with a 12 year Catholic education that was very good, generally. We should "fight" for the "cause" so that human beings, at some time in the future and including my grandkids, might be free to pursue happiness by whatever means they see as in their best interest, short of the initiation of force and fraud, which contradicts the defining identity of human beings. I'm teaching my grandkids this idea, so are their parents. Knowing what many of us on this site know - it is so sad to recall many times in human history where bad ideas caused so much pain. Homo sapiens didn't get reason in a flash in evolution, it took many thousands of years to move from the benefit of being a bully to the benefit of being a person of reason. Then the culture of the time and times thereafter had to absorb and understand this truth in the context of some very bad philosophy. We'll never know why it has taken so long to overcome this bully genetic propensity. Today the bullies are drawn to the world of politics, like their ancestors in the past. Today it should be clear that reason, and its result in recognition of the benefit of voluntary trade among people with varied skills is a superior life plan over using force/fraud to obtain value. The intervening history of philosophy, and the resulting political systems, interfered with this biological/cognitive process as they do today. That's why it's worth the time to study, to understand, the truth of knowledge in meta/ep that leads to ideas in ethics and law.
  24. "Something to admire," as a foundation for mysticism. I don't get the argument, but I do understand the desire in the context of an attempt to share a sense of life trying to find happiness.
  25. It's way more simple and impossible based on the understanding of the current crop of teachers. I just note that teachers and media resources in western philosophy base their hierarchy on the dates in history. This method is obvious and somewhat informative, but only if the student is also studying general history, especially the history of the special sciences, at the same time. The incredibly intelligent student might then spot the reason for the errors. Because so much of western philosophy is a failed process of: #1 -using mysticism to support Platonic ideas not usable by living human beings; #2 -later trying to find a substitute for the false certainty of that mysticism in a Platonic universe, where are the absolutes without a God; #3 - and, given that all such attempts are grounded in the attempt to elevate consciousness metaphysically above the rest of reality ----- it seems reasonable to categorize the systems developed by varied thinkers in western philosophy by their ideas, related and unique, according to their conclusions about existence and consciousness. For example, reduce the ideas of vastly different (empiricists and rationalists) thinkers like Hobbs, Descarte, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Locke, Barkley, and Hume. You end up with the same conclusions as relates to external reality, and somewhat, as relates to consciousness with each of these contrary thinkers. I don't mean their particular ideas, I mean a reduction of each of their premises, concepts, and arguments to there fundamentals. It seems like organized education or literature ought to organize this group, not by date of life and work, but by some definition of what means they used to attempt to ignore the basic fact that existence is primary and existence exists. It would be the best way to teach these ideas, but it will not occur. These ideas led to pragmatism and you cannot teach an idea that undermines the method by which you impart knowledge. Sorry William, there is no great new idea to explore here. Jack
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