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JacobW

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  1. That just because consciousness does necessarily depend on reality, that fact itself is no reason to suppose consciousness exists. And if it is part of the identity of consciousness that it depends on reality, then we could only know that consciousness exists by observing that dependence--which is impossible.
  2. Now, I may have hideously misunderstood the Objectivist argument for the primacy of existence, in which case I'd appreciate it if someone corrected me; but my basic understanding is that it attempts to show, a priori, that any form of consciousness is entirely dependent on the nature of the external world (and not the other way round), using analysis of the concept of consciousness. Would I be correct in saying that Objectivism holds that the PoE is analytically true--that the dependence of consciousness on reality is contained within the concept of consciousness? I'm not denying that this is true, but if that is the nature of the argument, then how can we know that it applies to the real world without saying that the nature of our concepts determine the nature of reality? (Which would, of course, presuppose primacy of existence to be false). We from conceptual analysis that anything that conforms to the concept of consciousness is dependent upon reality. But in order to know that anything in the world conforms to the concept of consciousness, we would surely have to empirically check it against every characteristic of consciousness--including its dependence on reality--which is impossible and renders the entire process pointless. (To illustrate, you wouldn't claim to know that someone is a bachelor just because you empirically observed that they are unmarried--you would also have to observe that they were a man.) So if conceptual analysis can tell us nothing about the real world without empirical checks, surely we cannot use it to establish the primacy of existence, since it is impossible to check? Or have I gone wrong somewhere?
  3. Thanks for your responses. I think that my confusion arose from failing to distinguish consciousness from awareness and that this lead to assuming emotion could exist independently of consciousness, but I see where I went wrong. So, I would be right in saying that emotion has to be percieved to be known and so depends on consciousness, and so consciousness can only become conscious by percieving external phenomena?
  4. I have recently been looking into Objectivism (along with other philosophies), having recently realised that all of my beliefs untill then were based on unverified assumptions. I understand and accept the argument that one cannot be conscious of nothing or of one's own thoughts, which depend on consciousness, but I don't see how this necessarily invalidates the claim that one can be conscious of one's own emotions or feelings, since emotion is not dependent on consciousness (I mean that it is a feeling, which one is aware of, not awareness itself). How would an Objectivist respond to that? And if it is true, wouldn't it mean that the external world need not necessarily exist as one can be conscious purely of the contents of one's own mind? Thanks to anyone who can answer this.
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