Objectivism Online Forum

# lex_aver

Regulars

203

1. ## A fair warning and four questions

What we have here is a failure to communicate.
2. ## A fair warning and four questions

sNerd, are you just pretending to not understand the basic things? I said multiple times that I believe that the best criteria of truth available is empirical. You understand what the word means, right? And the fact that you can't achieve total certainty for statements of law quantified over an infinite range of possibilities is just something you'll have to put up with. In case you're a child English lit. student who won't accept anything but the total certainty, here's a nice essay by Isaac Asimov that should clear things up: http://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm
3. ## A fair warning and four questions

dream_weather, what is this, a pathetic attempt at bullying? It doesn't phase me, whatever it is. Since you didn't object to my arguments, I will assume that you admit that you're wrong.
4. ## A fair warning and four questions

> How then would you propose logic works? I'm not opposed to the law of identity in logic, I'm opposed to a vague metaphysical notion of "identity" which is supposedly enough to reason about things-in-themselves. That one is bullshit. > How then would you propose logic works? It's first formulated as a formal system. You'll ask how it's validated: it is applied to statements of fact, and the conclusions are tested empirically. It's a simplification (first someone must construct a semantics), but it's a nice summary, I guess. > Can you provide some example of logic that doesn't utilize identity? Depends on what you mean, exactly. If you mean A = A, it's accepted in all logics - it merely reflects of our desire to stick to our chosen symbols. If you mean "(A & ~A) -> contradiction" (which is what Rand seems to use most often), then there's this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraconsistent_logic If you mean Rand's assertion that things have well-defined attributes, which we passively observe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_logic > I doubt you seriously think trees can also be clouds at the same time I doubt that your question is as well-posed as you think
5. ## A fair warning and four questions

> All propositions depend on the axiom that the things being discussed must already exist before you can discuss them! If you treat entities as heuristics for reasoning about observation and assume no more than that, then I agree with you. However, you are trying to extend this to a metaphysical claim that entities are behind the observations but are different from their sum, and this is just not something that you can conclusively establish in any way. You can't deduce anything from such a hypothesis which would affect my expectation of future observations. So it goes to the trash can with the rest of metaphysics. > You have to have some standard by which to judge things, or else you're lost. The only standard which makes sense is empirical: a hypothesis is judged by how accurately it predicts future observations. > everything that exists self-evidently has boundaries and "first principles." You should distinguish between something which is is self-evident and something which you believe in. > Concerning this bit above: how are you to know that there can be no first principles without first accepting some standard first principles on which to based your arguments? I already gave you the links to Carroll's story and Godel's second incompleteness theorem. I even threw in Tarski's undefinability theorem to highlight general issues with determining truth.
6. ## A fair warning and four questions

dream_weather, > Yes, deduction can only go so far. It depends on the validity of your premises. Since you contend that you are unable to determine if your premises are valid or invalid, it would appear you are also unable to determine if anyone else premises are valid or invalid either. Have you even read the links? It doesn't depend on what your premises are: any rich enough formal system is limited by these theorems, no matter what axioms are there. You missed my point: deduction can only go so far, because no useful deductive system can establish its own consistency, you need a larger deductive theory for that, which in turn also cannot establish its own consistency etc. That's why there cannot be any first principles from which you can go and deductively prove the truth of every single statement, including the one that you have indeed chosen the right principles. > Then, like a standard of perfection based on an unattainable ideal, you reference a standard of induction, which is also based on an unattainable criteria. I don't reference "a standard of induction" whatever that means. I'm merely stating the obvious: if you have a statement of law like "all swans are white", and so far you have observed N white swans and no swans of other color, you still can't expect that every swan you'll observe is white (unless whiteness is a part of your definition of "swan", in which case the statement is a tautology), you can merely have a certain degree of certainty that you will. If the (N+1)th swan you observe is white, this certainty increases your certainty, doesn't it? And if it's black, your hypothesis is toast. There is nothing new or profound in this, it's been said many times before. > This looks strangely like a recipe for frustration and dissappointment. You are arguing from consequences, which is a fallacy. > You should probably try to address sNerd's use of meritenacity. A made-up word? Sorry, I'm not even going to bother with this man. JASKN, name one proposition that can be deduced from your so-called "axiom". Just one. Or, if you want to go Cartesian on me, prove that my rejection of this axiom is self-refuting. Actually, I'd like to see you do both
7. ## A fair warning and four questions

Eiuol, I guess it's Poe's law
8. ## A fair warning and four questions

sNerd, you missed the point so hard it's even funny
9. ## A fair warning and four questions

I don't. Coming back to Plasmatic's original request, proving (conclusively, deductively) that my view of the world is indeed correct is impossible, as was illustrated nicely by Carroll's story. In fact, if we entertain for a minute the thought that one's worldview is a formal system, then two crushing no-go results are available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godel_incompleteness_theorem#Second_incompleteness_theorem https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarski%27s_indefinability_theorem That's just it: deduction can only go so far, and consistency of a theory can only be established within a framework of a larger meta-theory. And is we allow induction in, then the point is moot, since all statements quantified over infinite entities (or, as Ayer calls them, statements of law) cannot ever be validated conclusively - unless you claim that you can reduce any such statement to a finite number of cases, which I highly doubt is possible.
10. ## A fair warning and four questions

dream_weather, no, I meant Carrol's story Eiuol, > Objectivism is not a deductive system, but metaphysical axioms do establish an understanding of reality in an explicit way. And, at least in your formulation, they utterly fail at that, for I've yet to see an example of a proposition concerning observations which relies on them. > Thinking was probably a bad word choice in that sentence. I should have said "I am aware of something, so at least something exists". Same objection. > The hallucination question though, how do you establish what a hallucination even is, enough so to even use it as a potential counter-argument? My argument doesn't require me to demonstrate this, it merely provides an example where the application of your principle leads to non-trivial questions. > Err, every argument? How so? I can't see any way to deduce an implication from any argument to these assertions, so clearly their truth value (if well-defined) doesn't depend on theirs. To make it worse, their original formulation is unintelligible garbage. > I don't know what you mean it's ludicirous and unnecessary. Because I get along without it just fine. So much for the foundation of the whole thought. > It just means that A can't also be ~A at the same time, metaphysically, as an entity. Metaphysically, you haven't established what "~A" even means yet. If "A" is a predicate, then you're out of luck, because you've just banished predicates from your metaphysics. If it's an entity, then "~A" is meaningless. > But the next part about unneeded metaphysics, I don't understand. Why would it make sense to throw out something like "existence exists"? Sure, in fact for several reasons. When we're talking about entities, "X exists" is not a predicate. So for this sentence to have non-trivial meaning, "existence" as a whole cannot be an entity. It cannot be a collection of entities either, because such a notion is not a part of your theory of metaphysics. You do not need to use this "axiom" once in any deductive reasoning about observations. In other words, it's utterly useless.
11. ## A fair warning and four questions

First I'll finish Ayer's Language, Truth, and Logic. Then maybe I'll read Rand right away, or maybe I'll first familiarize myself with some works of Quine, Popper, Hume, Kant and Descartes, and then give her a shot, I haven't decided yet.
12. ## A fair warning and four questions

Have you read a story about Achilles and the Tortoise?
13. ## A fair warning and four questions

sNerd, considering that "identity" is a vague blob that Rand didn't bother to adequately explain, the statement you've just made is also nonsense. Even supposing I understand what Randian "identity" is, does a sentence's "identity" include its meaning? It would seem bizarre, considering how identity is supposed to work on the level of entities, and meaning requires at least two: the sentence and the one reading it, because even literal meaning can be slightly different for different people. So how can a sentence have a meaning by itself? Eiuol, > (1) and (2) are arrivaed at in a "natural" way, that is, self-evident to the degree it is a perceptual foundation Yesterday I've read Ayer's criticism of Descartes' approach. He claimed that there is no way to deduce (a) "I am conscious" from (b ) "There is a thought now". It sort of applies to Rand's views, too, because only (b ) is really obvious. Do you know a way to deduce (a) from (b )? Or do you claim that it can be established by induction? If so, why is (a) and not (b ) considered one of the fundamental axioms? > "I am thinking about something, so that means I am aware of something" Yet claiming that this proposition implies that "something" necessarily refers to some metaphysical entity is an abuse of grammar, see my post above on that. Also, a weak argument against this notion would be considering a hallucination: you think about what you see, you are aware of what you see, yet claiming that it refers to some metaphysical entity is a stretch. > Rand's solution is that P doesn't exist in a literal sense. Attributes are epistemological, nothing more. Then Rand's metaphysics amounts to "there is stuff, you can be aware of stuff, and one stuff can be different from the other stuff". It's ludicrous and completely unnecessary: what kind of non-trivial argument would require such a theory for support? > Contradictions don't actually exist, but are certainly possible in your thinking. In other words, contradictions are epistemological. There's more than one logical system, you know. Also, if attributes don't exist out there, and contradictions are possible in thinking, than what does it even mean to say that contradictions are impossible in reality? The only possible answer refers us to observations, so we may as well adopt empiricism and dispose with the unneeded metaphysics entirely. > Anything that exists exists as something. Again, abuse of grammar without any literal significance. > You can reach this conclusion inductively, at least based on repeated experiences in life. And I can also validate this with psychology research I know, so if you want that, I'll provide it. And this would have nothing to do with metaphysics whatsoever
14. ## A fair warning and four questions

> So why are you going around calling something nonsense? What made SoftwareNerd's post non-sense? It didn't look like it had literal meaning, at least I wasn't able to parse it that way.
15. ## A fair warning and four questions

Nicky, probably not. I have some intuition for it, but that's about it.
16. ## A fair warning and four questions

Nicky, it's not an easy task: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_(philosophy_of_language)
17. ## A fair warning and four questions

> I was just reading "The Cashing-In: The Student 'Rebellion'" when I made the connection that lex_aver is probably currently studying Linguistic Analysis. And you're wrong
18. ## A fair warning and four questions

sNerd, you do realize you're saying nonsense, right?
19. ## A fair warning and four questions

sNerd, so the meaning of a word which is an essential part of one of three axioms which Rand claims are enough for everything has arbitrary meaning? I hope I misunderstand you now, because this doesn't bode well for Objectivism at all.
20. ## A fair warning and four questions

> I do wonder though, what sort of standard is it that you thus far find "identity" to be doing poorly against? It literally seems meaningless. Suppose I have a sentence involving "identity". For example, "Logic is consistent applicaton of law of identity without contradiction". Suppose I've chosen a logical system (like natural deduction or first-order logic), and a systematic way by which I apply it to sentences about observation, which I'll call *application rule*. By which process am I supposed to collect empirical evidence to determine if such a system of logic + application rule fits the definition "consistent application of law of identity without contradiction"? In particular, which observation would result in invalidation of such a system?
21. ## A fair warning and four questions

Boydstun, I apologized about that one. Thanks for the link, BTW, "free will of the gaps" is a flaw in Objectivism that I'd caught up to early Generally, if you claim that you've validated something through introspection, yet a lot of people don't seem to be able to do that, what does it mean? Are they stupid, damaged people? If you need a significant proportion of human beings to be stupid in order for your philosophy to work, you're doing something very, very wrong. bluecherry, suppose for the sake of the argument that I've read all of Rand's works, and I still "identity" too vague. What does it say about Objectivism? What does it say about me?
22. ## A fair warning and four questions

I have issues with these answers, like I stated in my responses. Don't wanna help? Fine, I don't mind.
23. ## A fair warning and four questions

virginia, JASKN, why do you choose to focus your attention on my character, motivation, etc.? Why not answer my questions or just ignore me? Or not. I don't like being preached to, so why would I read a book which doesn't argue its main points and instead just states them?
24. ## A fair warning and four questions

Question 1 is the one I'm most interested in, yet I haven't been given a straight answer to it yet. How hard can it be? Don't tell me what I can't do I'm trying, Ringo, I'm trying real hard...
25. ## A fair warning and four questions

"Psychologically, the choice “to think or not” is the choice “to focus or not.” Existentially, the choice “to focus or not” is the choice “to be conscious or not.” Metaphysically, the choice “to be conscious or not” is the choice of life or death . . . ." Yeah, right, no fluff at all... To clarify certain things. I'm certainly not interested in them enough to read hundreds of pages of what seems to be a sub-par assertions gallery from what I've seen in the links to the lexicon.
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