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Ward44

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  1. No, my starting point, as you quote, is that an infant has some implicit knowledge (AR recognized this) which is _prior to_ any subsequent cognitive, i.e., epistemological, development. This _requires_ some cognitive processing, which given the infant's rudimentary level, means an implicit knowledge. The axioms of Objectivism _must_ be present at the primary, initial level of cognition because they identify reality and make possible any continued growth of cognitive abilities. You can't grow epistemologically from infancy if you haven't grasped and retained (as implicit principle or knowledge) the axioms -- one of which involves consciousness, both in oneself and in others by _subconscious inference_ (as opposed to explicit, conscious inference). My point, which you remain unconvinced of (and I'm willing to accept that, and still regard you as rational, objective and a friend) is that an infant _by explict evidence in it's behavior_ is aware of the fact that another's -- his parent's -- consciousness exists -- and has certain actionable, i.e., manipulable, aspects. Obviously, he cannot yet conceptualize the facts involved; but that doesn't preclude his ability to implicitly grasp the fact that "she, and/or he, is aware of me, of what I am doing, of what I want..etc," based on his own prior recognition of "I am conscious; that (the rest of inaminate reality around me) is not."
  2. I assume an infant does "observe the actions and [sub-consciously] identify the nature of another". Otherwise, you can only explain their behavior as a simple awareness of cause-and-effect: they act in a speciifc way (cause) -- and their parents act in a specific way (effect). They recognize the concretes, and learn to use them to satisfy their needs, which is the only way they have at their primitive level to function and survive. So, infants would be implicitly aware of the axiom of identity, and the principle of causality -- without having any implicit awareness of consciousness in their parents. Fair enough. That's a possibility. Child psychological experiments demonstrate an infant's awareness of identity and causality. But I have trouble accepting that an infant could be implicitly aware of identity and causality without _some_, however rudimentary, awareness, some, however primitive, inference, that his parents have _consciousness_, i.e., an awareness similar to his. Just the give-and-take emotional reactions between parent and child would give the infant an _implicit knowledge_ of a similar consciousness to his own ("connect that nature to [himself]"). No _explicit_ chain of reasoning would be needed at this level of development. How much implicit knowledge, other than axiomatic, the infant may have -- and at what levels during his cognitive development -- is still open for argumentation and scientific experimentation, but his behavior, his actions and reactions, point, in my estimation, to _evidence_ of more awareness of another's consciousness than previously considered.
  3. Absolutely. My point was only that the axioms are implicit from infancy:"...in every state of awareness, from the first sensation...(AR, ITOE)" Stephen, I think you may be confusing two different issues here. You're right about a chain of reasoning required to attribute any _specific_ state of consciousness in another as equivalent to my content (or, for that matter, all of the steps in any specific operation or process of consciousness), but that's a seperate issue from attributing equivalence to certain general states of consciousness, without which any explanation of consciousness is impossible. Remember the analytical philosopher's standard arguments (e.g., Quine's "Gavagai" from "Word and Object") about not being able to attribute _anything_ to another's consciousness because consciousness is all "personal"? They based their theories of linguistic interpretation upon this idea. In other words, what's axiomatic to my consciousness is axiomatic to any and every consciousness. The principles are the same for all; no matter the specific concretes of content and/or process. Since I know you know all this, I'm not sure exactly how to interpret your criticism! How's this? ELS
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