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Everything posted by KyaryPamyu

  1. It's only 'clearly' not part of logic if one holds the position that concepts lead to percepts, and not the reverse. To disprove this position, one can't rely on experiments, since allegedly your concepts construct the experience of doing the scientific experiment. Whether those experiments seem to be amiable to idealism or not, it makes no difference either way to the idealist.
  2. There is an alternative way to view this: In other words, existing precedes perceiving. That which leads to perception, performs the integration of sensations. And if we integrate this insight with other available evidence, that would be the brain.
  3. Two gasses, oxygen and hydrogen, change their status into a liquid when combined. A liquid has properties which neither of its constitutive parts have. This might shed light on that seemingly incomprehesible gap. Any legitimate discovery - philosophical or scientific - is made through the same method: induction.
  4. EF, Try to imagine a line that has no color, texture and resembles absolutely no line that you've seen (with your eyes) before. If you can't, that's likely because you can't summon any memorized percept whose defining quality is that 'you haven't experienced it'. A line is a percept. The measurement of a line is an action enabled by a specific mental faculty that you possess, and other species might not. That action (measurement) can itself be conceptualized, but only by noticing what you are doing while measuring chalk-drawn lines or the roundness of tomatoes. No measuring = no way to conceptualize measurement. Mentally conceiving something depends on the prior existence of that which is doing the conceiving: a faculty that is precisely what it is, not less or more than that. Existence (the world) is the starting point, not the product of that faculty. You can conceive a circle without impurities, or a perfectly square-shaped opera singer if you want, assuming you have a prior acquaintance with circles, squares, human males and opera. Reversing the percept-concept order does not make a point for 'immaterialism'. Physical vs. Immaterial doesn't mean Unalterable vs. Alterable by mind. It's a distinction between two different classes of existents: mind, plus the general category of whatever else there is, including but not limited to: matter, energy, choco-puff wave-squares and not-yet discovered particles.
  5. Geometry presupposes the ability to perceive shape, size and position, otherwise you wouldn't even conceive of a science dedicated to that. Percepts don't just 'aid' in the formation of concepts. The latter is literaly impossible without the starting point of perception. Abstraction allows you to mentally isolate aspects of things, such as action, size or weight, but those remain aspects of something that acts and is of a certain size or weight. "Pi" does not depend on the actual existence of a perfect circle, any more than knowing you can count forever (1, 2, 3...) depends on actually doing it. However, those do depend on the ability to know what a circle is, and the ability to regard percepts as units.
  6. LB, My suggestion is the opposite: self-impose a ban on all reading of this subject - no Rand, no evo psy, no Shakespeare, no statistical overviews of data organized according to the modern scientific method. For a period of time set by yourself, direct your mind out of books or articles and invest your time into doing something that you've always wanted to do (and monetize it if you can). Whatever is true of human nature, is in you, not in Aristotle or Freud's minds. One century of meticulous study will not replace a single week of closely introspecting yourself as you work to bring into existence something that you actually care about. At the end, you'll likely find something curious: your interest in other people's theories will diminish. Considerably. There's also a chance that you'll find most of what you've read to be absolutely useless in practice. No thinker can be judged without a point of reference, namely a set of principles one is already using - not when arguing, but in regular life choices. This turns ideas into tools and henchmen of a living breathing reality, and refining them becomes no more than that - a means to an end. Right now, your arguments read like more-or-less accurate overviews of western thinkers. But what you are casually doing is a monumental task - scholars spend many years struggling to accurately communicate the essence of just one thinker and his influences. There is also the danger of the truth being on the fringe, and not in the mainstream. But 'what ifs' are empty talk - only individual minds exist and only individual minds can recognize reality. The test of one's philosophy (and the accuracy of its view of human nature) is ultimately the quality of the practitioner's life, and his liberated status of being able to judge ideas without the aid of an external source.
  7. Reality is absolutely unalterable by human wishing. On a desert island, if you don't produce your necessities, you die; no positive thinking will alter this. Not surprinsingly, when there's more than one person around, nobody wants to give their toil away for free. If anybody tries to take stuff away by force, there is the inconvenient aspect of self-defense. And if the attacked person is too physically weak to defend himself, his self-defense can take the form of pretending to go with the swine's demands, and taking care of him while he is sleeping. Two things would result from a widespread recognition of reality: productive competition, since innovation actually results in more profit; and widespread aversion to fraud, since nobody wants a smartphone that crumbles in the hand, regardless of who the producer's aunt is. In other words, honest people would gang up on the frauds, because nobody wants that guy to mess their cosy life up. There does seem to be a way out, however. The information of the senses is not enough to understand reality. If you see a flying stick, you have to integrate that sense data with memorized facts, such as gravity. This is the process of reason, and that process is voltional. Meaning, it's like a TV set. You turn it on when you're using it, turn it off when you don't. And when it's off, your ability to judge what's in front of your eyes is impaired. Fraud counts on this obliviousness. But this lack of awareness is not an absolute, and may always come up in the form of the victim's ploys. The tyrant lives on the edge for when the sheep will turn wolf. Incidentaly, tyranism is not the only expression of this drive. Modern art is like that as well. 'I don't like that art is challenging to make, I want reality to be such that anything I feel is good because I feel it'. There is only one way for the tyrant, modern artist, religious clerk or philosopher to allegedly escape the ironclad laws of reality: cast doubt on man's ability to know facts with certainty. Examples: - Words are conventions, and have no connection to reality (The nominalists, Wittgenstein). - You do not know reality, you only know how reality looks to you. The unknowable realm beyond your senses might have God and immortality (Kantianism). - Man can recognize that his choices will nuke him off the earth, but he has no choice. He can't help it. His knowledge and his emotions are in conflict, because emotions are unalterable (Original sin, 'human nature'). - Your genes/Freudian id brainwash you into thinking you are acting freely, when if fact you're not. Knowledge of this fact does not give you any alternative, since when you are fooled cannot be detected. - You don't get ideas from sense observation, your ideas are the blueprints that make up reality. Hence, for art you must look at pure ideas, not contingent nature. LB, you don't seem to suspect that the theory of gravity is infected by traces of the belief in Alchemy, even though Newton was an avid believer in it. In other issues, you seem almost obsessed with the idea that thinkers might be unknowingly influenced by a theory without their knowing. If its clear to you that man can peek behind the veil of his 'programming', you can identify what logically follows: that this fact is the decisive blow to any of the theories I mentioned above. Whether you are programmed or not, the ability to adjust your mind to act with full awareness of every piece of related information means that determinism and freedom both lead to the very same path: the paradoxical self-anihilation of determinism. The fact that man is oblivious without enaging in volition is not a license to condone the mindless things that result from that: injustice, corruption, poverty, nepotism, anxiety, tyranism, genocide, misery and so on. Rand made a crucial distinction in this regard: the metaphysical and the man-made. The metaphysical is facts such as: hydrogen and oxygen turn to water. The man-made: historical contingencies of which countries had the most tyrants. The man-made is not the fault of reality, but of men. Whatever is not right today, is the result of previous generations acting blindly. This is true regardless of the dishonest copouts that philosophers, pastors and Harvard professors might try to delude themselves with. It also sheds light on what the business of philosophy is: the study of the facts which have the most implications for the most areas of your life. People like Wittgenstein, one of the richest men in Europe, can afford to act on his hatred of reality's impartiality to his wishes. Rand, who had to flee for her life from a country that pillaged her father's business and the welfare of everyone, knows better than taking those unalterable facts lightly, a pretty intellectual exercise.
  8. LB, Rand's point is that whatever out-of-context desire, drive or motive the subconscious spits out, it will always get overwriten during the process of raising one's awareness of the situation at hand, and noticing that the 'drive' will prevent you from getting something you want. It's in this sense that mystic impulses and subconscious drives are basically the same principle. Rand was a pretty good psychologist, going by the testimony of close associates that were helped by her. 'The Romantic Manifesto' is chock full of examples of how one's childhood events, way of thinking and other factors influence one's psychology. Except, she thought that one can identify the source of one's mental disposition through meticulous introspection.
  9. No. The central issue is how value is calculated. If the criteria is conformity to reality, then the value is truth or falsehood. If the criteria is temperature, then the value is cold and heat. And so on. If the criteria is survival value, then the value is good and bad, as in: beneficial or detrimental. That is Rand's thesis. This rejects the notion that good and bad is a property of things. For example, the presence of sugar is a property of fruit. But goodness or badness is not a property located in the fruit, which can be separated from the fruit and put into a jar. Good and bad is a calculation. If life didn't exist, then some machine could still calculate temperature or truth values, but there would be no criteria to judge the good. That is because the calculation is based on the specific kind of organism. Jogging is good for humans, pointless for fish. For humans, actions are motivated by prior intentions. You don't have to worry that your legs will suddenly start moving on their own and jump of a tall building, because you don't do things unless you have some reason. Now, prior to any choice between alternatives - sleep or TV, steak or ice-cream, music career or enginering career - there is a prior choice. That choice is how 'awake' you are. Awake, as in how much context you are aware of. For instance, if you just go by your immediate feelings, you might pick ice-cream instead of steak. But if you enlarge your awareness of the context, you might remeber that you are trying to build some muscle and therefore you want to fill your stomach with the protein first, since there's limited space in there and ice-cream might curtail your appetite. This primary choice, behind all other choices, Rand identified as volition (or free will). Her phrasing was: "the faculty of reason is the faculty of volition". The basic virtue for human survival is rationality. The 'hunter-gatherer' mode of existence only became obsolete some 10.000 years ago (despite this species being 200.000 years old) precisely because so few souls ever stopped to do what Rand was talking about, i.e. question their mode of living and come up with easier, better ways to live. They went by the seat of their pants, and for this reason did not achieve a better existence than that of animals. Rand defines instinct as an innate 'know-how'. Not an ability, but a method: a method of building dams (beavers), where to go (bird migration) etc. People learn stuff like this from thinking or from the initial discoverers, and they stagnate for millenia if they don't have the benefit of busybodies that keep questioning things. Rand locates the locus of human survival in three values: - A rational mode of operation - Making nature conform to our needs through production and trading, contra the hunter-gathers and animals - Moral absolutism and determination. The more bad things you let accumulate in your life, the harder undoing them becomes. It's the bad apple/domino effect. Or, to use her terms: reason, purpose, and self-esteem. Her ethics is based on metaphysics only in the sense of being based on the kind of species man is (his metaphysical, i.e. natural characteristics). Philosophy, to Rand, is a set of disciplines required universally by man, regardless of career, interests and so on, namely: - how to discover new things, and detect B.S (epistemology) - how to determine what's beneficial and detrimental for living (ethics) - how to ensure that living with others does not wreck the requirements of your life (government) - the 'why' of upholding naturalism or supernaturalism (metaphysics) - examples, heroes, concrete statements of one's worldview (art). Neither of these sciences are 'derrived' from each other. They are connected only in the sense that a field will make use of discoveries from other fields.
  10. In other words, natural science. The common classification of sciences is into three branches: formal (such as logic, mathematics), natural (chemistry, biology) and social (psychology, economics). I go with Rand in classifying a science as philosophical if it's realistically needed by everyone regardless of their occupation, interests and other considerations. In the essay The Objectivist Ethics she laments the lack of a scientific ethics and arrives at one by observation of facts, not experiments.
  11. Even if the specialized sciences depend for their discoveries on philosophical knowledge (such as the laws of deduction and induction), the latter is still classified as one of the sciences. Rand defined philosophy as "the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence".
  12. LB, The idea that courage is a middle way between cowardice and foolishness implies that they are one single thing, in various gradations. But cowardice is not a mild form of courage. Only a mild form of courage is a mild form of courage. This error, to my knowledge, did not lead the greeks to believe that murder was a less extreme version of letting someone live. While the golden mean didn't affect much, Aristotle's virtue ethics did lack something crucial, which was the 'why'.
  13. Yes, but the use of 'science' here might be misleading. What they mean is that ethics is an offshoot or sub-topic of something else, such as biology. Every science, from logic to music theory, serves some biological purpose. This does not make physics or mathematics a sub-topic of biology. A science is categorized as philosophical if it's required by life in some fundamental way. For example, living in general requires distinguishing truth from falsehood (epistemology) and the beneficial from the destructive (ethics and politics).
  14. Principles are contextual absolutes. To give an example: 1. A judge strives to give correct sentences 100% of the time. 2. A second judge gives correct sentences, except when some mafia guy requests otherwise. For the first judge, the guiding principle is justice (hence the attempt at 100% correctness), for the second judge it's serving his boss (hence the division between corrupt and correct sentences). This is why morality is black and white. There is no golden means, such as cutting people's heads in moderation. You can convert this example in ethical terms: 1. A person who seeks his self interest, which can extend to caring for loved ones or even random strangers that might request help on the street. 2. A person who eats, sleeps and thinks for the sole purpose of keeping himself alive to serve the goals of others. The second principle is impossible to apply, and nobody would voluntarily choose it, ever. Now, we all know that kind of person who is perfectly capable of spending wisely, saving money, being productive, not getting into bar fights and so on, yet always brings up the 'I can't help it!' line. There are also people that are very insecure about their abilities, even if their insecurity is just an over-reaction and they can do fine with some encouragement and time. The correct thing to do is to provide opportunities for honest people, and to tell the 'I can't help it' guys to solve their own life. That is, if you want a country with a high-quality of life, and not a Venezuela. The altruist doctrine doesn't need to be introduced in full undilluted form for it to be deadly. Nothing will justify moderate genocide, moderate corruption, moderate destriction of our best minds. The moment you go moderate, the good loses, period.
  15. Kant's ideas did open the path to Nazi ideology, but those are two very distinct systems of thought. Most people keep a distinction between the ideas of a thinker, and ideas influenced by that thinker. A concept of 'Randianism' would be closer to the latter, since that's what Aristotelianism or Kantianism typically refer to: a sphere of influence, rather than one system. Objectivism explicitly refers to one system. If you have a personal view of what a philosophy is, it's important to check what your audience means by the term, in order to know how to situate your arguments. While I agree with O'ism, I also think that 'isms' should never exist in science. But unlike physics, philosophy is The Land of the Isms, so there's no escape from that at the moment. While I don't think philosophic principles should be any more personal that math and medicine, I do believe, for the same reason, that people should be more interested in applying universal principles to their own particular case (a sort of mini-philosophy), rather than appending oneself to some denomination. (Making a philosophy popular is another issue. Creating a public movement is one possible strategy). So I share your eagerness to simply look at 'philosophy as such'. Returning to the issue of system, I have no qualms with Kelley philosophizing in the Randian spirit, or even coming up with a Kelley-ism. I do however think that altering someone's work is wrong; no matter how close your philosophy is to someone else, you should philosophise under your own name.
  16. This seems to be your point: There is a science called philosophy Objectivism is true Therefore, Objectivism is philosophy as such, just with a fancy name Philosophy must be perfected and expanded Under this model, the concepts of 'theory' and 'system' do not exist for you. Theory or system simply means: philosophic claims. A collection of true philosophic claims is a true philosophy. Under this category, you put: Objectivism. A collection of false philosophic statements is a false philosophy. Under this category, you put: Kantianism, Actualism, Hegelianism etc. And you probably agree with the following: claiming that Aristotle had a theory of quantum physics is an example of rewriting history, or commiting forgery. --------- Peikoff is protesting against attributing quantum physics to Aristotle. Kelley is protesting about Peikoff claiming that philosophy must not be perfected. That is Kelley's misunderstanding. No argument can, or will, solve a debate where the two parties argue for completely different things. This is what I mentioned a while ago: you are arguing for one thing, to people who mean something completely different.
  17. Here's an analogy: There is gravity We can formulate a theory of gravity Newton and Einstein formulated a theory on the same subject, gravity Since both theories cover the same subject, they are the same theory. In other words, if by theory of gravity you understand: the concept of gravity, then yes, concepts are open-ended and allow for revisions. If by theory of gravity you understand: a theory about gravity, then different theories of gravity have their own corresponding (closed, non-revisable) concept. The concept 'Objectivism' does not stand for philosophy. It stands for a system of philosophy originated by Rand, distinct from the systems of Aristotle, Giovanni Gentile, Kelley etc.
  18. Proving, entirely from consciousness, that there is a world outside of consciousness, is not as straightforward as other philosophical issues. This is because the arguments for the primacy of consciousness do not always immediately strike rational people as unjustified, even if they hold the opposite view. In such cases, analysing those claims can help us grasp exactly where the uncertainty about 'direct perception' comes from, and why it occurs. In ITOE, Chapter 6, Rand mentions: In other words, consciousness is a specific instance of seeing, tasting, feeling something. An awareness-as-such is the same as 'feeling without feeling'. With that in mind, we can explore various statements that occur in arguments for the primacy of mind. ______________ Table of Contents: 1. Awareness of sense objects 2. I am the Seer 3. A consciousness independent of the brain 4. Why is there qualia? 5. I am consciousness 6. Reality is hallucinated 7. Consciousness is not a thing 8. Time is ideal, not real 9. Space is ideal, not real 10. Free will is an illusion 11. The self is an illusion 12. Matter must be formed by Universals 13. Hegelian coherentism 14. Mind-independent causality = no free will 15. Why are things the way they are? ______________ 1. I am aware of sense objects. Not true. The sensory field is not located outside of the sensory field, waving at us from the next room. Awareness is the sensory field. 2. I am the Seer. In eastern philosophy, this means: do not identify with what you perceive (the embodied person of a certain sex, age) and instead recognize yourself as the Eye who is seeing, perceiving that person from afar. Here, awareness (the Seer) and the sensory field (the seeing of an embodied man) are separated like previously. They are, in fact, not separate. Note that this applies even to states of consciousness where sensory awareness is suspended, or minimal. In such cases, the Yogic sense of 'I am' or 'am-ness' is the relevant instance of consciousness. 3. Why does consciousness need to be connected to a brain or a man? Can't instances of it simply exist independently of some other agent? Whatever exists, is what it is (lawful). It doesn't matter whether it's made of matter, energy, or neither. Sensory experience is not less real than the brain's electric signals and synapse firing. Normally, we can point out that actions are the actions of entities, such as the rolling of a ball, or the waving of a hand. But here, we are not connecting an object with its motions. We are linking two kinds of motion: the motions of the brain, and the motions of sense data (colors, tastes etc.) However, consciousness cannot create an instance of seeing color, because consciousness is that instance of seeing color. A perception that already is, needs not create, because it is itself the product of some external condition. 4. Biological organisms can pick up data, and act on it, without an accompanying sensation, such as pain or sound (qualia). So what's the point of having any sensation at all? Humans have a limited alphabet of sensations, which are arranged into various combinations to 'tag' received information, the same way concepts tag percepts, and letter-combinations tag concepts. This allows the mind to store information, and locate it, by means of its specific 'qualia-combination'. It also enables it to link certain qualia-codes to other information, such as 'danger'. Without memory, an organism cannot combine pieces of information to expand the range of its awareness. 5. I am consciousness The argument states that a good life would be irrelevant if we didn't experience it. Therefore, we can say that we are not the material body, we are consciousness - the experiencing of this raspberry, or of this mountain hike. Except, 'I am the experiencing of this raspberry' is not true. The correct statement is: 'the experiencing of this raspberry, is the experiencing of this raspberry' (A=A) Awareness is a specific instance of awareness, not an independent entity which takes the form of all experiences, like water takes the form of snow, vapor and ice. The closest referent to a concept of 'awareness as such' is not an instance of experiencing, but the totality of existents and processes that lead to consciousness. 6. What if what we perceive is all a hallucination, like in the Matrix? Are we a brain in vat? This argument assumes the existence of brains, vats, and Matrix techology, even though we got this belief from our (possibly hallucinatory) perception. Philosophy can show that the base of cognition (sense perception and its corresponding axiomatic concepts) grounds all arguments - and so, no arguments can be made through cognition against cognition. This puts the question outside of philosophy, and within the onus of proof. 7. Consciousness is not a thing; all things are its perceptions. It's not subject to time and space. Time and space are notions of consciousness. Consciousness cannot create its own instances of sense perception, such as that of a color, thing, or space-time notion. Put differently, it can't create its own self. The reason is covered in point 3. Note that 'consciousness is not a thing' assumes that it is, in fact, a thing: 'the identity of X is not this, but that'. 8. Motion is actually a sequential view of an unmoving thing, hence Time is an illusion. No, relating a sequence of mental pictures mistakenly implies that the pictures are outside of awareness, and you are relating them from afar. We grasp motion directly. If you study a painting sequentially, it does not follow that you've seen a movie. An unmoving consciousness is a consciousness that does not grasp (move), i.e. not consciousness. 9. Space is a perspective on a non-spacial thing. In awareness, separate perspectives on that thing, are spread out like photos in a collage, making it seem as if there are many things. Space is just a snapshot's position relative to the other within the totality of the sensory field. We do not spacially relate the contents of perception, because that implies that the objects of perception are situated outside perception. We relate actual positions of objects, by means of direct perception. 10. If the source of consciousness is not within itself, how do you prove that your brain isn't tricking you into believing that your choices are free? Proof means: 'self-verify the properness of your argumenting'. The ability to do so is presupposed by all proof demands, i.e. is already accepted by the question. 11. By introspection I only see various sense data, thoughts, feelings. I see no self. The self is a superstition. Various brain processes work in concert to give rise to the unitary experience of self, but that self has no referent in reality. (An instance of seeing color, does not act. It is the act of some existent.) The existent which performs judgements, chooses values, and is aware of doing it, is a self. Existents which perform action, but are not aware of it, are not a self. Involuntary processes - such as sense data, feelings, and the sense of being/existing - are not a self. If that which acts and is aware of it (the self), stops being aware that it is acting, then it is no longer a self. 12. Is something that is continually renewing itself, or changing, the same thing throughout? That's not possible unless that object is a concept whose elements self-organize to bring that concept into existence. Changes are undergone by entities. If a ship changes, e.g. gets slightly damaged, then it is the same ship. If the ship is completely pulverized, its components no longer form a ship, but a dust pile. If part of a ship is changed, then the ship is partially not the same. If all of its parts are changed, then it is a completely different ship. If a kidney is renewing itself, then it is the same kidney. If that kidney is replaced with another kidney, then it is obviously not the same kidney. One can't describe reality in terms of disembodied universals. For example, If things are what they are because of an Universal of Identity, it means that the Universal in question can be what it is without the legislation of a second Universal of Identity. Platonic universals disprove themselves. Universals are epistemological (see Rand's ITOE). Natural laws, and categories such as 'potentiality', are not independent existents which legislate things. E.g. 'potentiality' is an identification of what things can do in a specific situation. 13. Aren't the 'categories' (being, becoming, quality, quantity etc.) merely the same category viewed from less or more comprehensive viewpoints? Knowledge is indeed hierarchical, since it is relational. Understanding the concept 'life', for instance, is rooted in concepts such as: existence, alternative, goal-directedness. However, concepts condense percepts. When we think a concept, we involuntarily need to recall the percept for which it stands. This is especially true of abstract concepts, like 'relation', because one can only grasp them by observing things acting - using that as a 'perceptual aid' to hold the meaning of such abstractions in mind. (Concepts, also, cannot be recalled without a concrete perceptual code, such as spoken or writen word.) One can only go from categories like 'quality' to 'quantity' if he already holds perceptual knowledge. Considering concepts in their 'pure' form is akin to reaching 'xxq, from yqz, because qqw'. 14. Causality disproves free will. Freedom requires a mind-first universe. Causality means that how a thing is, affects how it acts. Biological structures act in a goal-directed fashion. Rocks act with no goal directedness. Goal-directed organisms are made out of particles which are not capable of goal-directedness. Consciousness is enabled by neurons which are not capable of consciousness. Free will results from structures of elements which are not capable of free will. The cause of human action is motives. One's legs do not randomly start walking by themselves, without their owner's volition, i.e. without an intention motivated by a goal (such as reaching the refridgerator). Man can question his motives. He is forced by nature to make a choice between grasping reality clearly (conceptually), in honest fashion, or not. He can choose either, but cannot choose not to choose. Free will, like everything, is an instance of the law of identity. 15. Why are emergent properties, as described in the previous point, possible? This is akin to asking why the universe exists, or why do things move. There is no why. Causes are rooted in entities. Entities are not rooted in disembodied causes. Philosophy describes what is. What is, is.
  19. You equate a philosophic system/worldview (a limited treatement of a set of issues) with the entire field of philosophy. In other words, you're arguing for the latter, to people who mean the former. One can only judge by himself, by studying the system and determining which principles add up to the total worldview. I am copying my own summary. Anybody who is at home with the following, I personally call an objectivist.
  20. It's not complete. In her late years, Rand was planning a theory of induction: Any kind of essay, book etc. is complete if it fully covers what the author intended to cover. It's his decision how in-depth that treatment is. A system is a collection of interconnected principles. It is not a theory, but it can contain any number of theories, completed or not. The system is the main work, and is distinct from any presentation it might receive in full books, short essays, spoken lectures and many more. With Objectivism, Rand was concerned with the essentials regarding five fundamental needs: the status of reality (mind-independent); proper cognition; survival; protection of individual rights; condensing our widest principles. Systems that cover this many branches are not commonplace in history. The system craze reached its peak in the 19th century. Everything in the universe is interconnected (and thus all knowledge). We can expand any subject we want until we exhaust it completely. This is obvious to anyone. Protestations for 'openness' are simply calls for such expansion. If you fiddle with the core ideas behind a worldview, you reach a different worldview (even if it's a close sibling of the original). According to my judgement, Kelley's corrections are not congruent with, and misinterpret, parts of Rand's system. When Fichte become involved in a scandal, Kant had to publicly repudiate his philosophy because Fichte kept suggesting that his own system was simply the Kantian system, with a few rough edges softened. (It wasn't).
  21. The answer is readily available to anyone. To live, we can't escape making judgements. What should I eat, what should I do this weekend, why is some people's behaviour the way it is? You mentioned that you want to flesh out some theories in the future, so let's go with that. We want to know whether our theories are certain, or, only plausible. Or not plausible at all. So we need a study-aid, a method to help us validate the theory. This method helps us avoid errors. Cusation vs. correlation, using a certain word but meaning something different, straw manning when referring to other people's theories etc. This is logic and epistemology. They are useful for any theory, any judgement, about anything. They are the province of philosophy. Now let's say that some philosophers with PhD's from the Catholic University of Divine Studies read your book, and come to your book launch event. In the Q & A section, they mention things like this: "Well, all of this is perfectly logical. And I can't spot any methodological erros either. But, on what ground is logic supposed to be an infallible authority? If you try to prove logic, the proof is circular: you prove logic by means of logic. See? And Kant showed how reason can disprove God, and also fully prove God - so logic can prove anything you want. Plus, we don't see reality as it is, because it's filtered through our five senses. What if God is behind those filters?..." Now, if you know metaphysics and epistemology, you know how to refute this, and the million other objections raised throughout the history of thought. You can't do a science experiment to show that the senses are valid - you have to use your eyeballs to see the results. So you're stuck with concluding (internally) 'Well, I guess I can't be 100% certain. But I'll go with the sciency camp because unlike theology, it has shown great results in other realms, like technology". Under this situation, it would be a miracle if anyone would prefer objectivity to simply a hobbyist-kind of stacking the deck, as you mentioned. The Copenhagen interpretation, evo psy, Chomsky's theories and so on, are examples of what happens when people do not have a firm grasp of proper epistemology and metaphysics. In every day and age, we need guidance on how to dissect an idea without appeals to its pedigree. If you told me that the science whose topic is causality and the law of identity was originated by the Sumer civilization as a means to develop magic spells to control nature, I would never say 'well, time to drop causality'. It would not make a damn difference regarding the function of metaphysics for human cognition, not to mention holding an accurate view of it. Anybody can pick this post, or any other post in this thread, and show how the claims contained inside are grounded on metaphysical assumptions.
  22. I was addressing the origin of the name, not of the science (Aristotle didn't originate metaphysics). The first metaphysician in the western tradition was likely Anaximander. The SEP article on metaphysics suggests Andronicus of Rhodes as "in all probability" the originator of the term. As I said, opinions in metaphysics range from naturalism to full blown mysticism. --- To add to the biology - metaphysics connection, let's imagine that Homo Sapiens has evolved an innate biological instinct of procuring as much meat as possible. A biological adaptation occurs, namely a science called 'meatosophy'. The function of this science is not truth, but helping people persuade or trick other people into giving away their meat supply. What does this theory entail, metaphysically? Existence: there is something, as against nothing. Identity: biological theories can be true, even if theologians disagree. Causality: biological organisms act in ways which further their survival and reproduction. This tongue-in-cheek example illustrates how the philosophical approach works, more or less. You are already operating under a metaphysical framework, whether you argue for nihilism or the best TV drama. And this fundamentality to human cognition or living is what makes it philosophy, not physics or biology.
  23. The part in bold is the category under which WW2, femininity and your other examples fall in. Rand herself changed her mind on some of these, such as homosexuality. More is explained here. As for the fundamental principles, they were gathered into a single volume by Peikoff (OPAR). Nothing wrong with trying to complete a system. IMO Kelley's additions are at odds with several important O'ist principles. Maybe somebody in the future will author a system that is in line with Rand's but much more comprehensive.
  24. In the first century CE, an editor put togheter a few fragments of Aristotle into the treatise now known as Metaphysics. The word means 'after the Physics' (the Physics was another of Aristotle's works). It does not mean 'beyond physics', but the order of study within the curriculum, i.e. that the study of nature comes before. Though the proper hierarchy is obviously metaphysics first, since the study of nature relies on its assumptions. Colloquially, 'metaphysical' is used to describe the occult and matters of the supernatural, but that is not what the term means in philosophy. There are naturalistic metaphysics that reject the supernatural, and also many mystical metaphysics. To illustrate what metaphysics means, take this statement of yours: What is presupposed by it? That the world is the way it is, independently of people's knowledge. What is true, was true before B.D. (before Darwin), it's just that people only started being clued on it in the A.D (after Darwin). This is an instance of the law of identity, a part of metaphysics. Are you, then, relying on B.D superstition to discredit B.D superstition? I assume that the biology of philosophy means: for what survival and reproduction purpose does philosophy occur in living organisms; and how does this play out? If so, that's not a question for philosophy, but for science. Say a bird suddenly develops reason, but does not shed its programming, which dictates it must build nests. Such a creature would have the ability to obtain a much better and safer type of shelter, but its programming would force it to backwards-rationalise reasons to keep the nest situation, even if it means obfuscating the truth. This is because its survival strategy is hard coded into its nervous system, and is inflexible. This seems to be the trend in modern views of human nature. Many scientists do not clearly delineate the difference between need (food, reproduction), instincts (such as nest-building) and biological features (e.g. high calorie foods tasting better). It's not metaphysics that needs to catch up to biology. It's advocates of evo psy et. al who need a tighter grasp of logic.
  25. ARI is an institution which, in the public eye, is more knowledgeable about Objectivism than, say, a NY Times columnist or a random Internet commenter. Lots of people put words in Rand's mouth. If ARI wants to make an impact and spread Objectivist ideas, it is also in their interest to dispell falsehoods which circulate around, and indeed, mention if the author of a theory is Rand or some ARI board member. 'Closed', in regard to a system, does not mean complete, nor does it mean that it is perfectly accurate as far as non-essentials are concerned. For example, there's discussion as to whether percepts are really integrations of discrete sensations, as Rand said. But this doesn't affect her theory of epistemology. Compare this to changing some essential, e.g. denying free will or the primacy of existence; that would require massive revisions throghout every branch, to the point of reaching a different system altogheter. There are many closed systems in philosophy, the most famous one probably being Hegel's, which is outlined in his three-volume Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences. Some philosophers, like Schelling, authored several ones, involving vastly different premises and methodologies. Although followers of these philosophies altered or repurposed some parts for their own views or systems, their views were never considered to be Hegel's or Schelling's actual systems.
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