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Everything posted by Jacob86

  1. And what just ground do you have to believe that you can/should commit such integrating & identification? You see, I agree with you guys (once again) on how concepts are formed. I'm simply wanting to focus in on an aspect of the process which you seem to overlook- an aspect that implies that perception cannot be the only means of validation. Have you perceived somewhere that you rightly can & should isolate, identify, and integrate percepts in such a way as you do (assuming that A is A the whole time)? The entire process of forming concepts assumes the universal validity of the LI. How do you know that such an assumption is warranted? Because you have perceived that the assumption is warranted or because you have reasoned that it is (and must be) warranted? If the former, please direct my perception to where I may perceive this. If the latter, then we have succesfully validated an idea (that A is A is universally true) apart from appealing to perception.
  2. Gotchya. I'm just going to respond to the stuff I hilighted in red. What I am suggesting is that there are a lot of real things in reality to which concepts can refer that are invisible (non-perceptual)-- like the fact that everything is itself, causal relationships, etc... These are things that we can observe evidence of in perception, but we cannot perceive the state of affairs being thought of/ referred to. This means that no concept is entirely reducible to what is perceived because no concept is entirely about perception. At the very least it is about one particular object of perception as opposed to another (A, not ~A). And the isolating of an object of perception from other objects of perception, and identifying it as a distinct object, is not a function of perception-- and the knowledge that one can and should do this isolation & identification is not derived from perception. All of this is the role of reason.
  3. So then, would you agree with me that one need not (and cannot) appeal to perception in order to validate the idea that the axioms are universally true? Would you also agree that most concepts are reducible to perception and the law of identity? And would you also agree, therefore, that the law of identity is at least one concept which is not reducible to perception, but is also an irreducible primary? *Remember- I am not talking about each of the individual words being reducible to perception (ex. "A", "is", "A"). I am talking about the concept to which this specific combination of words refers: "A is A"... The concept that this is a universally true state of affairs. If you (Objectivism in general) disagrees on any of these points, than we have legitimate disagreements and it is these points of difference which I am attempting to focus on and hilight in discussing the role (or lack thereof) of perception in validating the law of identity. I don't want to argue about straw-men, so I am trying to be as specific as possible about the point of my dispute.
  4. Agreed. And that's not in conflict with what I meant. Nothing but percepts can be validated by perception alone. Everything else requires reason and the information given by percepts.
  5. Its because we are talking about two different types of "foundation". In respect to discovery (the idea getting into my head), I would agree that perception is a type of foundation-- a chronological foundation. In respect to validation (establishing that the idea is universally true rather than false / only true in some instances, etc...), it is not a sufficient foundation-- not a logical foundation. I believe Rand makes a similar chronological vs logical distinction (about something different) in the beginning of ITOE but I don't have it on me now. No. What you perceive are percepts. Percepts, as such, require no validation. Ideas require validation and are validated by means of reason. We are not talking about percepts. We are talking about an idea (the idea that A is A)- and this idea is testified to in our percepts, but the idea, itself is not perceived. It can't be. If what you mean here is that "any validation of knowledge requires conceptual thinking and concepts are formed from percepts and therefore prior perception is implicitly used in all conceptual thinking and validation of knowledge", then I could agree. However, if you mean that "Perception must be appealed to in the validation of any bit of knowledge", I would disagree since you would be claiming that THAT is knowledge and it, itself, cannot be validated by appealing to perception. Reduced to the perceptual level and what? To be reducible means to be composite of on or more things. If something were reducible to one thing and nothing else, then it would be nothing but that one thing (percepts in this case). If you were to say that "any concept, if valid, can be reduced to irreducible primaries- such as perception, and identity", then I could agree. I used perception on my way to the discovery, but not perception alone. But what I'm saying is that you can't appeal to the perceptual level to validate the axioms (particularly the universal application of the axioms). The only way to understand that the axioms are valid is to understand that it is impossible for them not to be valid-- that you must assume them in order to deny/doubt them. Any other means of validation (like perception) leaves open the possibility that they are not true universally.
  6. We know that the laws of logic (and axioms in general) are universally true because it is impossible for them not to be true. Any attempt to deny or even doubt them must necessarily assume them and thus prove that they are invincibly and universally true. That is what it means for something to be axiomatic- that it must be affirmed in order to be denied. AND, that (an axiom) is what is necessary as a foundation to epistemology since there cannot be an infinite regress in an epistemic chain. You could say that perception, itself, is also "axiomatic" and therefore "foundational" in respect to all that we perceive... because you cannot go behind perception. Likewise you cannot go behind the axioms and therefore they are foundational in respect to all of our thinking. Perception is its own foundation (it is self evident) and the axioms (particularly the law of Identity) is its own foundation (it is self-evident... meaning evident in itself.. not "automatically known in a particular self/subject"). Perception cannot serve as the foundation to a universal law such as "A is A" and neither can an axiom serve as a foundation to perception. However, in any conceptual knowledge, the axioms are foundational (to the knowledge being true) and the perception is foundational to the subject's grasping of it. "The rose is red" If the axioms were not true, nothing (including this statement or any part of it could be true). That's why they are foundational to the truthfulness of the knowledge. But, I agree that perception is foundational to the subject grasping that the rose is red and not white or blue. Both are good and necessary. However, they play separate (and complimentary) roles.
  7. How this knowledge got into my head, personally, as a subject, has no bearing at all on how I know that it as an object is true. Perhaps you mean to say "but you are not saying how you know this to be true" (which is a more important and DIFFERENT issue)... in which case my response would be: Yes I have. I know it is true because it can't not be true. I know it is true because it must be true. I wasn't born knowing this, but this has been true long before I was born and will continue to be true long after I die. I may have used perception in my journey toward discovering this, but I cannot use perception to validate it as universally true. The only way I can know that it is universally true is by reasoning and realizing that it simply must be true and therefore is at all times and in all respects. You could say that perception was used a lot in the inspiration of the idea, but it certainly is not used in determining whether that idea is universally true or not. This begs the question-- and incidentally could very beautifully illustrate my point if you (or anyone else) is able to follow the reasoning close enough and to correctly identify the contradiction. "The only way to validate [that an idea] is true is by directly perceiving reality"... which basically means that if an idea cannot be validated by directly perceiving reality, then it ought to be "thrown to the flames" (Hume). Is this an idea? Yes. Is it true? You are assuming it is. Can it be validated to be true by directly perceiving reality? No. Then it breaks its own rule and is self-contradictory. You may say "yes", and I will ask you to point in the direction where I may directly perceive this idea in reality. You can't. OR reason- apart from which (as I demonstrated above) you cannot have any knowledge about anything ever-- apart from mere percepts & sensations. You can pretend that you are only using perception but any and all reasoning necessarily involves reason. I don't know why you guys equate "reason" with "rationalism". Reason is just as strict (if not more so) and accurate as the Scientific Method. The difference is that the tests are run in the mind (rather than the lab), they are held in check by philosophical laws/axioms (rather than scientific laws) and the results reach well beyond the concrete-bound range of the moment.
  8. no. it's axiomatic. You should know the difference.
  9. Quite the contrary, actually. One of the reasons I began to love Rand's philosophy was because of her strong convictions about those foundational things being firm, certain, and undeniable. I was shocked, however, when I read that she placed such things on such flimsy Epistemological ground. When I argue that the axioms are "dubious and tenuous inductions" it is only as a reductio ad absurdum argument in which I am attempting to take the Oist Epistemological doctrine seriously. In effect, the majority of what I have said should be read with a giant IF front of it. "IF the axioms are primarily validated through perception, then the axioms are, indeed, dubious and tenuous inductions which can only be validated by gross enumeration, by perceiving everything that exists, has ever existed, or will ever exist". Everyone on here keeps ignoring the "IF, THEN" structure of my argument and then accusing me of holding to the "THEN" position personally-- which is exactly the opposite of my position. The "THEN" part is stupid, false, and evil-- and therefore needs to be avoided. That is my purpose on here. I am convinced that the Objectivist position (the "IF") leads to the "THEN", and therefore should be altered/ avoided. I'm going to ignore your insulting references to primacy of consciousness & similarities to Immannuel Kant because I assume that they were based on misunderstanding my position-- which should be fixed after reading the above.
  10. Actually I've stated them a few times (and am happy to do so upon request-- all you have to do is ask). In my epistemology, the reason we know that the laws of logic hold universally is because the contrary (the idea that they don't hold... that there are contradictions in reality) is an impossible state of affairs. In other words, because it is impossible that contradictions exist, therefore it is logically necessary that "contradictions do not exist". This is the only justification I can imagine for a belief that the law of non-contradiction applies universally (and therefore I hold to it). It's sort of invincible. On the flip side, the idea that perception gives us justification to believe that the LNC applies universally is very flimsy. Why in the world (apart from my epistemology above) should someone assume that something they have perceived in existents is a universal among all unperceived existents? There is no justification in perception to believe that what one has perceived is universally applicable. And for the record, I am very much not "anti-perception". My argument is simply that perception is not enough.
  11. *Please* take the time to familiarize yourself with my actual position before responding and accusing me of a "song and dance". I am a very staunch defender of the laws of logic- and it is for that reason that I have begun this thread. I believe that Objectivist Epistemology undermines the validity of logic and, in due time, will cause people to doubt it. I hold that just as altruism undermines capatalism (no matter how much someone claims to be both), so Objectivist Epistemology undermines the Laws of Logic. So, the "song and dance" which you have mistaken for my position is actually a "reductio ad absurdum" argument. I am pretending to take Objectivist Epistemology seriously and taking it to its logical conclusion: Only accept knowledge that is based in my perception- and therefore doubt that which is not based in my perception. I have not perceived the universal validity of the axioms and therefore I can't find any justified reason to believe that they are universally valid (under obj. epist.) Now can you provide me with any justified reason through perception that one should believe the axioms to be universally true? I've got my own justified reasons for believing they are universally true-- but they don't follow the Objectivist doctrine that all knowledge comes from perception.
  12. Very well. Prove to me by perception that we will never discover a contradiction.
  13. So, identity is only epistemological and not metaphysical? So it is possible that a contradiction exist metaphysically, but not epistemologically? If not, then would you say that contradictions are metaphysically impossible? And if they are, and you are claiming to know this, then what is your justification for this knowledge? and this begs the question- how do you know that "brown is brown" universally? Maybe brown is brown in respect to the brown dog you are currently perceiving, but what justification do you have for the belief that brown is brown universally?
  14. Yes- but only as a hypothetical to show that your epistemology doesn't have a sufficient answer.
  15. Thanks Plasmatic. I agree with *almost* everything in both quotes. I think I need to be more specific about the point I am trying to make and the point at which I think I and Objectivist idealogy are in conflict. I am not after HOW we form axiomatic concepts. I agree with Oists on this. I am after the proper justification for belief in one specific peice of knowledge. That peice of knowledge is as follows: "The axiom of Identity applies universally to everything" OR "Contradictions do not exist" Both statements say essentially the same thing and both statements represent knowledge. We all claim to KNOW that "contradictions do not exist". Epistemology, in part, deals with justification for what we know (truth criteria). What is the epistemological justification for that bit of knowledge. Remember: I am *NOT* talking about how we form the concept of "contradiction"/"non-contradictions"/ etc... I am talking about the justification for believing that those concepts should be applied universally-- what is our justification for calling that "knowledge"? If you say "because we have perceived no contradictions", how is this any different from a brunetter child believing that non-brunette people do not exist on the basis that he has never perceived any? It's one thing for the child to say "I don't know if non-brunette people exist or not" (if he has never seen any). But it is different for him to say "non-brunette people do not exist". Likewise, it is one thing to say "I don't think contradictions exist because I haven't seen any"- but it is very different to say "contradictions do not exist". That statement is a claim to universal knowledge which demands sufficient justification- and perception cannot provide sufficient justification for such a claim unless one has perceived everything in the universe. So, either that statement should not be considered true (for lack of sufficient justification) OR there is some sort of justification in addition to perception which enables us to justly say that it is true.
  16. I'm not sure if I entirely understand your meaning here (and which paper are you referring to)? Yes, perception a relationship between one subject and particular object(s)-- but it is not a relationship between subject and all objects. So how, through perception, can a subject grasp anything about objects which one has not yet perceived? I understand that one ABSTRACTS from what one has perceived- but what is that rational justification for doing so? There is no justification for abstracting "cat" and applying it to all living things or to all existents in general. Where is the justification for abstracting "identity" and applying it to all existents in general? Such a justification can not come through perception. I certainly don't intend for it to be a strawman- and I don't think it is.
  17. But you do not perceive that which is implicit in the perception-- and it takes much more than perception to realize that the axioms must be universally true in order for what you have perceived to be true.
  18. I have read and am very familiar with that passage and the reasoning behind it. I will ask you to re-read and think through it a bit more carefully-- which is what I think I am doing. Try and follow the line of reasoning and be consistent with it. Don't just blindly give Rand the benefit of the doubt (though it's tempting- I understand), but question whether the conclusions can follow soundly from the premise. Ok. This works for the specific case of looking at the tomato in front of me (or for that which is being directly perceived). I am directly perceiving something which means that this something exists AND I am perceiving it which means that I am aware of it in some way. Therefore the existence of this particular something and of my consciousness of it are validated in my sensory perception at this moment. BUT, how in the world does my sensory perception of this particular thing validate any knowledge about everything else in the universe that I have not yet perceived? You wouldn't say that you can know the color, shape, size, chemical properties, etc... about that which you have not yet perceived-- so why would you say that you can know that there are no contradictions among that which you have not perceived?? Rand makes a huge assumptive jump here and generalizes that which is "evident" in the directly perceived (the axioms) and applies it to that which has not been perceived. Where is the ground for such a generalization? On what ground does the Objectivist know anything at all about the unperceived (i.e. the "universal")?? *By the way, I DON'T think that Rand was "trying to pull a fast one" here or that she was even aware of the assumptive jump. What she says after about the axioms being universally valid is and must be true-- it's the only way that humans can think rationally. But her conclusion that the universal applicability of the axioms is validated by sense perception simply does not follow and would render it impossible to know if the axioms were valid among the unperceived.
  19. I know. And my response has been to argue that you "cheating" (not that you are meaning to, but you are). The "cheat" is that you are not sticking strictly to what you have gotten from perception. If you stick only to what you have perceived, then you cannot know anything which you have not perceived. If you know something that you have not perceived, then there is at least one more way to know something then perception alone. I understand that the only 2 alternatives that YOU can conceive of are "innate ideas & mysticism", but I am suggesting a third-- and rejecting both of the former along with you. The one I am suggesting is simply "reason" or "logic". I don't know that "A is A" universally by perception alone. I don't know it by some innate ideas or by some mystical revelation. I know that "A is A" universally because the contrary is impossible- I have reasoned and realized that it is impossible and that therefore the contrary is necessarily true. I know the reason that Objectivists have somewhat of an allergic reaction to this type of thinking is because it reminds them of rationalism-- but I would encourage Objectivists to not be distracted so easily. The sin of rationalism was that they tried to say that ALL knowledge was SOLELY in "reason"/"logic"- which is vastly different from what I have said above. I am saying that SOME knowledge is solely in "reason"/"logic" (namely "A is A", etc...) and that the rest is the product of combining reason/logic with perception.
  20. Yup, and I have argued that there is no justification (within your epistemological guidelines) to claim to know anything about the unperceived. That's what the discussion is about. Obviously you say you can and I say you can't (again-- WITHIN THE OIST EPISTEMOLOGICAL GUIDELINES), and now we have to back up our claims with discussion and explanation. My objection against your position is that you can't perceive the universal applicability of the axioms and therefore either A) you can't know that the axioms are true or perception is not the only source of knowledge. Your objection to my position is as follows: You think that the only alternative to perception is mysticism/innate ideas. However, I reject both and hold that the other source of knowledge is logical necessity (necessary truths)-- like "A is A", "Existence exists", "There is objective truth", etc... This is not mysticism. It is also not innate ideas: it can easily be mistaken for innate ideas, though. I agree with Objectivists that we as subjects do not automatically know the axioms (or anything else), but rather we discover/learn via concept formation, etc... But perception only gives us the occasion to contemplate logical connections. Perception does not give us any information about the unperceived. It reveals instances of non-contradiction, but it (alone) does not give us any justified reason to believe that contradictions do not exist among the unperceived. We must appeal to something besides perception in order to know this- and that something besides is logical necessity.
  21. Yes. A is A. & That which is directly perceived.
  22. EC, I have stated repeatedly that I in fact AGREE with your above description concerning how a person acquires/ learns LNC, etc... I don't care about how we as subjects DISCOVER ideas. I am talking about how those ideas are validated- known to be true. There is a huge difference between how one first learns something and how one knows that his ideas represent objective knowledge rather than error/imagination/etc... Concerning discovery/learning/acquiring, I completely agree that we start with perception. Concerning validation/truth criteria/distinguishing truth from falsehood, however, we disagree. One may (and in fact does) discover logic through perception. However, one cannot validate the universal application of logic (an idea about the unperceived) by perception alone. I don't know how to make the difference any more clear. To make it more "explicit" as you requested, I am addressing the following crucial question: "On what ground/basis does one hold that Logic is universally valid- rather than a mere pragmatic tool/imagined fantasy/ gross error/ etc...?" My Answer is: "On the ground/basis that it can't not be true. It is a necessary condition in any possible world. It is a necessary condition for anything to be true- and if there is a necessary condition for anything to be true, then that condition is necessarily true." Or, to put it more simply, "It's contrary is impossible". The Objectivist Answer is: "On the ground/basis that we have perceived no reason to doubt it" I am taking issue with the Objectivist answer because it does not adequately defend against the objections I have raised in this thread- and therefore does not adequately provide sufficient reason to believe that Logic is universally valid for serious thinkers who will attempt to be consistent with Objectivist Epistemology. If* the ONLY reason one has to believe that contradiction do not exist is "I've never perceived any", then their belief that contradictions do not exist has no epistemological grounding to support itself- it is nothing more than a subjective belief. *I did my best to make the "If" stand out so that I could make it abundantly clear that the GREEN is not MY position, but rather the logical conclusion to the position stated in BLUE. I know that "IF/then" statements can be confusing, so I did some color-coding to help.
  23. No. He said that IF the Oist Doctrine was true, then logic can't be applied to the unperceived. It's called "Reductio Ad Absurdum". He's assuming the objectivist doctrine that perception is the only source of knowledge and being consistent with it by applying it to something that most Objectivists would never think to apply it to: axioms- particularly Identity or "Logic". It seems like he made that clear in the original post. But, why not just ask him directly if you are unsure about what he has meant?
  24. In the HOPES that the moderators will catch and correct your rude, arrogant, and ignorant comments, I will refrain from responding to them for now and simply ask that you read the Original Post and familiarize yourself with my *actual* position and the *actual* nature of the discussion being had in this thread so that you can (perhaps) contribute to it in a meaningful way. I think you will find that you have grossly misunderstood my positions and the points that I am attempting to make. *EDIT*: In addition to the original post, I would like to also direct your attention to post #15
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