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Everything posted by Jacob86

  1. I'm aware of this. But how can one form a concept that applies to the unperceived if one can only gain knowledge by perception? I understand it very clearly. The only pretending going on here is me pretending to actually take the Objectivist Epistemological doctrine seriously in order to show that if one does, one would not be able to accurately form a concept or to know that the concept is universally applicable because one would be using perception as one's sole means of knowledge.
  2. But, by perception alone, all I can know is that those things that I've perceived have similarity to each other. How can I know that anything not perceived will be similar in any way to that which has been perceived?
  3. Different, but related. I am questioning (challenging) the idea that the axioms (particularly, the Law of Identity) can be validated by direct perception. They may be shown to be evident in each instance of direct perception-- but the idea that they are universally valid cannot be since this requires knowledge of that which is not directly perceived. The question as follows: IF knowledge comes ONLY from perception, then how can we know ANYTHING (like the applicability of the axioms) concerning that which has not been perceived? In other words, how can we know that contradictions do not exist by perception *alone*? I say we can't know this by perception alone, but that we can indeed know it- meaning that perception is not the only ground for knowledge.
  4. Because I am attempting to take the doctrine that "all knowledge comes from perception alone" seriously. So which is it? "All knowledge comes from perception alone" OR "By perception alone, you can know nothing"?? Remember- this is a "Reductio" argument. I am taking the Objectivist Doctrine of Epistemology to it's logical conclusion- which does indeed bring you to Empiricism (Locke), followed closely be Skepticism (Hume), and then utter irrationality (Kant). I am trying to show that this is where Objectivism will lead to if this one small epistemological doctrine is not adjusted properly.
  5. But by perception alone, I don't know that. The only way I CAN know that is by assuming that A=A and therefore that Cat=Cat, universally. But by perception alone, I simply perceive the cat that is right in front of me being perceived.
  6. Perceptually self-evident? do you mean to say that you have PERCEIVED somewhere that existence is identity? If so, where I can go to perceive this? OR, did you reason that is such by virtue of the undeniability of it (the axiomatic nature of it)? If the latter, is it's undeniability/axiomatic nature perceived? If so, where can I perceive it? If not, then you know something (namely that axioms are undeniable) that is not perceived.
  7. DreamWeaver, you seem to have missed the point of the thread and my question. I am aware of the Objectivist Theory of Concepts. IF all knowledge ultimately comes from perception (including the LI), and if I have not perceived all that can be perceived, then how can I know that the LI holds universally rather than just among that which I have perceived?
  8. For clarification, when I said "essences" I was not just referring to "that which is essential to a thing", but I was referring to any and all "attributes" so that when I was saying that "essences" are metaphysical, I meant that "attributes" are metaphysical. And if we agree that attributes are metaphysical, then we are "all Realists now". lol. However, if Oism holds that attributes are epistemological and not metaphysical, then that would be Nominalism. Additionally, I think I would argue that an essential attribute is not just essential in an epistemological way, but that it is also essential in a metaphyscial way such that if absent or altered, the metaphyic would also be absent or altered respectively.
  9. If I could sit down and ask Rand questions about ITOE, I would. However, I can't, so I'm here. Again, I am NOT questioning the validity of the law of identity. I am questioning YOUR ground for believing in it's validity. There's a difference. My ground for its validity is logical necessity- the fact that it cannot not be true, that it cannot be consistently doubted or argued against. Your (Oism in general) ground is that it is evident in perception. My problem with the Oist position is that IF it were true, then we could only know that the law of identity holds for that which has been perceived and we would have no way of knowing that it applies to that which has not been perceived. And what is it in any of those three that gives you information about the unperceived? I know Rand's theory of concepts claims that a concept can be applied to any and all concretes which fit into it, but this begs the question. HOW does one know from what they have perceived that x (the law of identity for instance) can be applied to that which has not been perceived? Yes, knowledge is DISCOVERED through experience- but it is not always validated by experience. If it were, all knowledge would be subjective- based solely in an individual's experience. Think about how you DISCOVERED that 2+2=4 vs. why you know that 2+2=4 is valid. Your discovery of it probably involved gradually adding random things together (mixed with instruction from a teacher or something) while the reason you know that it is true, universally, is because you understand that it must be so. If you based the validity of it in your early childhood experience, then you would be treating it as a subjective belief rather than an objective mathematical fact. I'd rather pick that up in the thread on Objectivism vs Nominalism, if you don't mind. It is not that I want to "take down" any of the above. Rather, I am arguing that they take themselves down (in due time) without acknowledging the vital role of logical necessity in addition to the others. Without accepting the epistemological validity logical necessity, one cannot consistently hold to the law of identity or to reason in general. Those who attempt to hold to the latter apart from the former, have no grounding to the latter and therefore only believe in it by virtue of some sort of pragmatic necessity or blind faith or subjective personal experience- none of which is a safe grounding for logic & reason.
  10. But what I am saying is that the attributes to which our concepts refer are metaphysical. Yes, we discover them via perception, isolate them via abstraction, and identify them via concepts, but they are metaphysical (real) the entire time. Our epistemological classification may develop and change over time- but it does so based on the metaphysical reality we encounter. Our epistemological classification of "cat" may start out as "furry animal" and progress into "furry four legged animal with a tail" and then into whatever it is today-- but the whole time, everything that is true about cats being cats has always been true, metaphysically and every difference between cats and dogs has been true, metaphysically.
  11. I've heard of Plantiga but I am not familiar with any of his work or ideas. I've also read ITOE (I'm assuming that is what you are referring to) and don't recall coming across "direct realism". In fact, I started another thread asking about the difference between Objectivism & Nominalism (the opposite of realism) because they seem to be saying the same things. Please explain, though, how one can know "A is A" about the unperceived based in that which has been perceived. I know that the "objectivist theory of concepts" says you can, but I want to get into the details and figure out how and why- because I suspect that objectivists are simply cheating their own system.
  12. Actually, I am saying that something like that is the best one can do using the Objectivist reasoning (the belief that logic is grounded in perception)- IF they are consistent. I, of course, disagree because I realize that logic must have a grounding which allows it to be certainly true at all times and in all situations. Under this reasoning, the most one could say with certainty is "contradictions most likely do not exist". But, as I stated in my OP, that is very different from saying "contradictions do not and cannot exist"-- which is a necessary assumption to knowing anything. If contradictions are even possible, then one cannot know that anything is "A" and not "non-A" at the same time and same relationship. Every bit of human knowledge assumes that "A is A" is universally valid. If "A is A" is not universally valid, then human knowledge (conceptual knowledge) is impossible.
  13. With the exception of 2046 and possibly mdegges, no other responders to this thread seem to have fully read or understood my original post and the whole point of the thread- particularly the following paragraph: "I do not question the validity of logic. However, the ground upon which one validates an idea is crucially important and it seems that Objectivists tend to ground the validity of logic in very intellectual dangerous territory-- such that if one takes Objectivist Epistemology seriously (or, at least, that which is professed by many parts of Oist Epistemology), one cannot also consistently take the laws of logic seriously. So, I want to test that out and reveal what is and is not the proper epistemological grounding for the validity of logic." Now, if that is difficult to understand, ask clarifying questions. But if you don't understand my position and the intent of my post, don't come out guns-slinging at ridiculous straw men that have nothing to do with anything that I've said. The inability/refusal to follow an objective line of reasoning among people on a philosophy forum is very frustrating.
  14. Actually, "A is A" is the main example I'm concerned about. Everything else will flow from that. BTW, I agree that one ought not to believe in something that they have no objective reason for. What do you mean by "similar means"? I agree with everything in the quote about the law of Identity and it's application to things. But I want to know how an Objectivist justifies their belief that "A is A" universally; that contradictions do not and cannot exist. Is this belief rooted solely in perception? And if so, why ought it not be restrained to that which has been perceived?
  15. Haha. No. Not a stealth argument for God. Rather, the flaw in Oist Epistemology which I discovered while discussing the issue of God- which flaw, incidentally, I think allows Oists to superficially dignify their atheism. But that's besides the point. I really am concerned about hammering out the Epistemological issue because left un-corrected, it would undermine many great things in Objectivism. You say that "knowledge of things not perceivable is grounded in thing that are perceivable". How is this justified? I understand that you could have somewhat of a probabilistic justification (i.e. "i've never observed any contradictions and therefore there probably are not any contradictions") but that is VERY different from saying "contradictions do not and can not exist". AND, how do you know that "knowledge of things not perceivable is grounded in things that are perceivable"? Is that bit of knowledge perceived somewhere?
  16. Save the sarcasm. If you are unsure as to the nature of my question, ask for clarification. I'm aware that Identity is an axiom. I am also aware that the other laws are corollaries. But, what do you mean by "perceptually self-evident"? Does it mean that one only knows it is true in what one has perceived (that would seem to be the plain conclusion)? And if so, how does one know that it is true for that which one has not perceived? Please directly answer my actual, particular questions or provide a quote which directly answers my actual, particular, questions- rather than randomly recommending material which vaguely dances around the general issue.
  17. What is the Epistemological ground for believing the universal validity of the basic laws of logic (Identity, Non-Contradiction, Excluded Middle). How does one properly validate that "A is A", universally? Can one know that it is true universally or is it only possible to know it about that which one has perceived? If it is only possible to know it concerning that which has been perceived, then how can one know that "contradictions do not exist"? I do not question the validity of logic. However, the ground upon which one validates an idea is crucially important and it seems that Objectivists tend to ground the validity of logic in very intellectual dangerous territory-- such that if one takes Objectivist Epistemology seriously (or, at least, that which is professed by many parts of Oist Epistemology), one cannot also consistently take the laws of logic seriously. So, I want to test that out and reveal what is and is not the proper epistemological grounding for the validity of logic. Many (if not all) Objectivists hold that the validity of logic is grounded in perception (along with all other knowledge). However, if this is the case, one can only know it's validity concerning that which one has perceived. If one can know that it is valid concerning that which has not been perceived, where did this knowledge come from and upon what is it grounded? Is it simply believed as a pragmatic necessity? Is it assumed by whim or by faith? OR is there some other form of validating knowledge aside from perception? I obviously would argue that there is. I want to ask everyone who participates in this conversation to attempt to accurately understand what is (and is NOT) being said in order to avoid straw men, and that everyone attempt to be CONSISTENT with their professed views. I predict that most (if not all) objections will be the result of failing to do one of the above.
  18. I'm sorry that I haven't had a chance to fully check out the referenced material, but I'd like to throw my own personal working theory out in order to get some responses. Essences cannot be solely Epistemological because they would not accurately coorespond to reality and therefore would be non-sense (Nominalism). Therefore essenses are Metaphysical in some sense. The exact metaphyscial status of essences need not be known (i.e. Plato's theory of "forms in heaven" or Aristotle's theory of it being in the concretes, etc...)- regardless of in what sense they are metaphysical, they must be metaphysical in some sense. **By the way, I think this is where people get so riled up about this issue-- thinking that if realism is true, then some particular brand of realism must be true (whether Plato's or Aristotle's or whoever else). Perhaps no one has yet accurately identified the correct "brand" of realism-- this doesn't mean that it isn't true. It is possible to conclude that metaphysical essences are real in some sense without yet knowing in what sense. Definitions and concepts are attempts (accurate to some degree or other) at identifying the essence of a thing. The metaphysical essence of a thing does not change, but our knowledge and understanding of it does change. This is why definitions can change; not because the essence has changed metaphyscially, but because epistemologically, we have discovered previously unknown information about that thing (information which has been true all along but which we were previously unaware of). Example: Man as a "rational animal" is the best description of the essence of Man given our current knowledge. If a "rational spider" were discovered, our definition (description of the essence of Man) would have to change- but the essence of Man didn't change metaphysically. Metaphysically, everything has an essence. Epistemologically, we don't always know exactly what it is and our understanding of it is gradual. I don't see how you can hold to any other position without logically leading into some irrational ideas. Thoughts?
  19. Yup. And when an entity acts, it either chooses to or it doesn't.
  20. When you say "self-generated" here, though, you mean something different from volitional self-generated action. "Self-generated action" which is non-volitional is just a label given to reactionary action which is a reaction to something internal rather than external-- but it's being internal does not negate the fact that it is a REaction. Instincts are a combination of REactions to genetics and stimuli. Scab formation (and all other involuntary actions) are REactions to internal (and sometimes external) phenomena. As I said above, there is no magical third category for non-volitional action which is not a reaction to prior action.
  21. That's because they do go together. A thing either acts accidentally or on purpose, unintentionally or intentionally, chosen or unchosen, willfully or coerced, volitional or reactionary. There is no possible third magical category for a thing that acts non-accidentally but not on purpose, not unintentionally but not intentionally, not chosen but not unchosen, not willfully but not coerced, not volitional but not reactionary. These are A or Non-A scenarios.
  22. It wouldn't have the necessity to enhance it's existence. It would simply have the necessity to act should it desire to enhance existence. And why do you need a negative end to a standard? I'll submit one, but I don't understand the need. The "negative end" would simply be living a bland, lowest common denominator life as opposed to thriving and enjoying everything possible. I'd like to point out, though, that I have already demonstrated that the doctrine of "the positive being contingent upon the possibility of the negative" to be contradictory and destructive to all of Objectivist ethics. You're only problem now is that it messes up (slightly) your conception of what the term "life" means. Certainly life encompasses the concept of non-death, but it is and must be MORE than that.
  23. The ability and necessity to act in order to enhance existence. OR, simply "the ability to act" would suffice.
  24. Why would my position mean that there is no difference between life and death? Or that the inanimate would act in pursuit of values??
  25. I completely agree. But the positive is NOT the absence of the negative. Allow me to reword this in order to show the devastating error: "A thing can only be said to exist in a meaningful way if there is conceivable alternative." "A is Non-A" A, only if Non-A. Life, only if Death. Pleasure, only if Pain. This assumes that the essence of life is non-death; that the sum total of the meaning of life is avoiding death. It is true that one must avoid death in order to live (and so non-death is a prerequisite) but if there is ANYthing more to life than avoiding death (and all of Objectivist ethics says there is!), then life is possible and meaningful without the possibility of death. So, you would say that the ONLY reason what I do matters is to avoid death? Do you not have a category for ENHANCING life? for THRIVING? For reaching for the absolute best? This is very very dis-heartening to me. I sincerely hope that this doctrine is not widespread among Objectivists.
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