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Everything posted by AndrewSternberg

  1. Does a work of art speak for itself or must one's esthetic evaluation of it take into consideration the artist's intended "message"? I would say that once a work of art is created, whether it be architecture, a painting or a symphony, etc., it exists and has the nature that is has and should be evaluated on that nature alone. Its history is irrelevent.
  2. I will involve myself to the extent that my free time allows. As of late, it has not been very giving. I have read the book though, and it would be useful to revisit it. However, the subject matter is slightly out of order for me. I am following a particular order of investigation into Objectivism. I am currently delving deeper into Epistemology, as the ITOE discussions indicate. And I have also just ordered HB's "Metaphysics of Consciousness" lectures. Honestly, I expect to spend about a year focusing primarily on Epistemology before moving on. When I do move on, TBBoTC will be a good place to begin for the next phase of my study.
  3. First, what does "pinning" mean? Since our Admin, GC, was planning on subdividing the Premium Forums once there was enough content to break it up into smaller sections, I assumed that it would be then that GC created a new directory(s) for our specific discussions. He could group them, first by book, and then by chapter. Once in these directories, he could rename each thread by simply ommiting the portion prior to the ':'. For example: Main Title: ITOE, Ch. 1: Axioms as Related to Consciousness Sub-Title: When they are grasped implicitly Would be moved into an "ITOE" directory, with sub-directory "Chapter 1" and be renamed to: Main Title: Axioms as Related to Consciousness Sub-Title: When they are grasped implictly So, until these directories are created, maintain the current nomenclature: (Book Title),(Chapter of Book): (Main Title of Thread), (Sub-title of Thread)
  4. I reread that entire discussion and it helped me immensly. I recommend that everyone do the same. And after reading it, I think my earlier formulation is not precise enough: After the discussion mentioned by Bowser, I think it is easiest to understand what an implicit concept is by thinking of it as a POTENTIAL concept. If I hold the concept of a 'pen' implictly, it means that I have enough percepts of pens that I am able to form the concept, but have not yet done so. The steps required to make that concept explicit, are the steps of conceptualization; isolate these percepts by differentiating them from, say erasers and paper; perceive the essential similarity among my percepts of pens through measurement ommision; and integrate these percepts into a new mental entity by associating it with a new perceptual concrete, namely "pen." The concept is implicit untill and unless my mind focuses on the neccesary components in the neccesary context. Thus, the concept "existent" is implicit from the very start, because one has all the requisite data needed for the explicit concept. And this would apply to "Identity" and "Consciousness" as well. In the very act of perceiving something, you are perceiving that it IS (existence) and is DISTINCT FROM OTHER THINGS (identity). In the very act of perceiving something you ARE ACTUALLY PERCEIVING something (consciousness). It is in this sense that these axiomatic concepts are implicit, i.e. potential concepts, in the first act of perception. They do not become explicit concepts untill your "mind focuses on the neccesary components in the neccesary context", and these components and concepts don't come untill much later on in the game. I have a little more to say, but alas my lunch break is over.
  5. While I agree with most of what you say about the concept 'existent' after the ":", I am having trouble connecting it to the idea of 'existent' being implicit in man's sense-perception. You say: "The concept "existent" is implicit in the sense that it is usually not used as an explicit genus." I am not sure that I agree with this. The reason it is not used as a genus in most definitions is that it is too broad of a genus to meet the rules of a proper definition. The purpose of a genus, as I understand it, is to zoom in one's mind on a particular category of existents; the purpose of a differentia is to take that category provided by the genus and indentify the particular concept one is trying to communicate. If cat is the concept one is trying to define, "an existent with fur" does not do the job. Since the genus here, 'existent', doesn't achieve the neccesary 'zooming in', the differentia is unable to differentiate a cat from other furry existents. What all of this has to do with the implicit nature of the concept of existent, I still don't know.
  6. Hey Brian, I am in the process of transfering into the Architecture Program at Drexel. I had read this thread of yours a while ago, but completely forgot about it. It would be awsome if you were able to transfer in too. My decision to transfer is only 2 weeks old!
  7. I would collect gold and then refuse to accept dollar bills in payment for any of my goods or services.
  8. I'm glad you agree here, i.e. TangentMan prevails. Whenever I do go off on a tangent, there is usually a reason. And I try to get back to the main topic as quick as possible assuming that I am able to close the book on the tangential one. And aren't tangents conducive to integrating seemingly disparate ideas? It’s just a tangential thought I had in defense of my tangent mongering. I'm not sure what you are saying here? Is the statement that "there is no immense gap between humans and the next level down" your current opinion or one of the past of which you have now discarded for a more enlightened perspective. Last one-tenth of one percent of what? Are you saying that one small jump from the pre-conceptual to conceptual level is "a doozy" in terms of the power it grants the wielder. I agree if this is what you are saying, but is it? It depends on what you mean by intelligent. Are you using 'intelligence' to refer to a capacity/potential that one is born with as opposed to the knowledge one acquires after birth? I tend to think of 'intelligence' as referring to the former, and 'ability' to the latter. I think our concepts have advanced "as we go along", just as our technology has. But both phenomena are caused by ideas building off of other ideas (i.e. the hierarchical nature of concepts), and not by any increasing intelligence that later generations are born with. I have no proof that the latter is the case, and given the extent of my scientific knowledge on the matter it would be arbitrary for me to assert or accept such a claim. Feel free to provide any evidence if you think you have some.
  9. Would the house be the same entity even if it wasn't knocked down? Is the entity-status of the house time independent. Clearly something has to change with the passage of time, even if it is unnoticable to the human senses. What effect on the entity-status of the house does that change have. Is entity a metaphysical or epistemological concept? In other words, is whether or not a 'something' is an entity depend on the arrangement and relation of its parts (metaphysical), or does it depend on man's automatic integration of the interaction between man's senses and a 'something' (epistemological)? I don't think I can answer the original question without knowing the answer to these questions (and perhaps more).
  10. In order for it to be an entity, it has to be more than the some of its parts. The parts in your example are the blocks. The sum is the house, which is identifably more than the blocks. The "glue" is whatever makes the the collection of entites more than just a collection. It doesn't neccesarily mean that the blocks must be physically connected, even though they are (through gravity).
  11. The purpose of rights, and therefore the government that protects them is to keep the consquences of ones own irrationality confined to the person being irrational; to keep men free from other men.
  12. Just to reiterate what some others have been saying. It is still possible to be immoral when alone on a desert island. Being immoral means taking actions that are harmful to your own life, which one can certainly do by themselves. The initation of force is a sitation where one contaminates another with their irrationality. You effectively irradicate that other person's judgement when you initatiate force against them. Also, a man is harming himself when he initiates force against others. He is harming himself directly by inviting retaliation against his initation. His is harming himself indirectly by implicitly accepting a policy of human interaction that states it is proper for one man to initiate force againt another. Thus, by initiating force against others, he is implictly rejecting the concept of rights. In a society without rights, what is the result? This time, he was the one initating force. Next time, it may be someone else, where he is their target. Who will protect him then? Certainly not anyone who knows that he has done it himself in the past.
  13. Perhaps these seemingly intelligent chimps are limited by an inability to form abstractions of other abstractions, i.e. restricted to "first-level" concepts. Jennifer (or do you go by Jen?), what do you mean when you distinguish between the faculty of conceptualization and the faculty of reason. What is the dividing line?
  14. I wonder how this relates to the Primacy of Existence. It might be useful re-read the section in OPAR about the it while keeping the above in mind with the hopes of integrating the two topics.
  15. The following was mentioned in another thread but is in my opinion more relevent to this topic. I am importing them for the purposes of restricting all comments on them to the confines of this thread and thereby leaving the other thread 'un-infected' by tangential 'bru-ha-ha' (don't ask me what this word means because I will only bombard you with more gibberish) Ummmm, so yeah, the following: (I cut portions from the beginning and end of your post that were too specific to the other thread topic) AisA responded: While I have heard of the monkey sign-language, I was skeptical about it. I view it as a more complex form of perceptual association directed by pleasure and pain. But going back to my original question, is this complex enough to be more than mere perceptual association, yet not complex enough to be conceptual.
  16. While it important to investigate man’s philosophical nature directly, without bringing non-man into the discussion, I find it useful to occasionally do so for the purposes of providing contrast and therefore clarity to the actual object of study. For example in a discussion of sensations and perception, using simple animals with simple nervous systems can help concretize these concepts. With that said… From the fifth paragraph on page 6 in ITOE: I have said elsewhere how volition is indispensable in man’s ability to regard entities as units. And I also have no problem accepting that animals have a non-conceptual type consciousness (primarily because they do not use language). However, is there a level between being able to regard entities as units and being able to use concepts? For example, can a monkey (the most ‘intelligent’ non-man I can think of) temporarily treat entities as similar members of a group, i.e. as units? If it lacks the faculty of measurement omission specifically, would this not keep it on a concrete bound level, never being able to integrate any set of units into a new mental entity? The above implies that the ‘unit-regarding’ faculty and the ‘measurement-omitting’ faculty are separate. They are discussed in ITOE separately, as distinct steps, but perhaps they are simply the same process looked at from two different perspectives. Time to put my extra-large thinking cap on.
  17. My understanding is that a concept can be both axiomatic and a corrolary, and that the two are not in conflict. Doesn't Peikoff describe the axiomatic concept of "identity" as a corrolary of "existence". It is the same fact looked at from a different perrspective. "Existence" emphasizes the difference between something and nothing, whereas "Identity" emphasizes the difference between something and something else. (edit: "Existence is Identity") That aside... Volition is both axiomatic and a corrolary to conceptual consciousness. The exercise of volition is inherent in the act of regarding something as a 'unit'. When you regard something as a 'unit', you are grouping it together with other entities according to a common attribute that you are selectively focusing on. That selective focus is where volition plays its role. When you start to use langauge, any language, you are using words, auditory and visual perceptual symbols, which stand for concepts. These concepts are formed by the following steps: 1) Differentiation: Isolating a group of two or more 'units' according to a commonly held attribute. 2) Integration: combining these common 'units' into a single mental entity by ommiting the specific measurements of the attributewas that was basis for the initial differentiation. 3) Providing a new concrete perceptual entity to symbolize this newly created mental entity so that one may retain and reuse it. The result of this entire process is a concept. Volition is indispensible in step 1. Step 1 is indispensible in concept formation. Concept formation is indispensible in the use of language. And therefore volition is indispensible in the use of language. Volition is axiomatic.
  18. I agree with JMeganSnow that existent, but not existence, is axiomatic on the level of sensations. Existence is an integration of all existents. But since sensations are not commited to memory and last only as long as the stimulis is present, there isn't any retained mental content to integrate. This formulation is new to me, but I like it. I had never thought to integrate axiomatic concepts with the three levels of consciousness. Thank you! I need to think about this more before I atempt to answer the rest of your questions.
  19. Actually, I will be starting a new topic for chapter one for this. I had originally isolated a few more questions to discuss for Ch. 1, but refrained from creating the threads so as not to get overwhelmed. I will however create a new thread for a topic discussing this later tonight or tommorow night.
  20. You are certainly welcome to join in. We do not yet have a study plan beyond what has been said in this thread. Just make sure to read whatever chapter we are discussing and ask questions. We just started so we are on chapter 1.
  21. You have probobly noticed that I have begun a few threads. I am using a specific naming convention for these threads to make it easier for moderators to identify them and then group them together later. Once we are done with Chapter 1, perhaps the moderators can take all topics that are associated with Chapter 1 and either put them in their own directory or merge the threads and somehow mark the beginning and end of any subtopics. Also, if you are going to ask questions, try to follow the same naming convention: "ITOE Ch. X; Title of thread, subtitle of thread" And once we decide to group or merge these threads, the "ITOE Ch. X" portion can be omitted since it will be superfluous.
  22. Thank you both. I think I now better understand the distinction between implicit and explicit. You can be aware, and you can be aware that you are aware. The first is implicit knowledge, the second is explicit. Right? While this distinction clearly only applies to humans, since they are the only beings that are sconscious of consciousness, does it nevertheless make sense say that all knowledge held by non-conceptual beings (i.e. all animals) is held implicitly? And that for animals, they can never transcend this level? So that is settled (hopefully). I am still wondering about the way in which implicit knowledge is used (in humans) as building-blocks. JMeganSnow, you identify ways in which implicit knowledge is used, but there is a difference in using implicit knowledge in general, versus using it specifically as a building-block for the expansion of ones knowledge. And it is the latter that I am asking about.
  23. I agree with this completely, which is why I made sure to include "volitional" in the processing stage. And yes, reflexes bypass this progression since they are automatic. But since they are automatic, it is safe to exclude them from our discussion of epistemology which pertains only to non-automatic processes that must instead be initated by volition.
  24. "A state of a faculty possessed by an entity". I don't know what this means. A faculty is just the ability to do something, in this case, "be aware". If so, then what does the "state of an ability" mean? Are you saying my model is invalid? If so, why? Regardless of what Miss Rand meant in her sentence, It nevertheless caused me to think about the various functions of the mind. And I still want to discuss this thought even if it is not directly connected to her original statment. Is the mind the same thing as consciousness? Or is the mind simply the faculty to which consciousness is a state? (still wondering what a state of a faculty is) The mind seems to do more than just "be consciousness" So I am inclined to keep these things seperate. As I understand it, the mind engages in basically two functions, thinking and acting. Consciousness is the state of mind responsible for thinking. Something else is the state of mind responsible for acting (physical action). What is that 'something'. Does a word already exist for it? The purpose of my model was to separate out the different functions of the mind, and then pin-down the terminology that identifies each.
  25. The fifth paragraph of chapter one in ITOE: I don’t quite understand this. How can something implicit be used at all? What exactly is implicit knowledge? If explicit knowledge is “one’s consciously held ideas about existence” (my wording), then implicit knowledge would then be what, non-consciously held ideas? A non-conscious idea is a contradiction, so help me check my premises. I suspect my problem is that I don’t really know what the implicit/explicit distinction really is.
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