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Would this be a contradiction of man's nature?

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anaira
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The Premises:

1. Man is born with a tabula rasa, aka, he is presumed to have no innate ideas, he has nothing at birth. Or in Rand's words:

Since man has no automatic knowledge, he can have no automatic values; since he has no innate ideas, he can have no innate value judgments.
At birth, a child’s mind is tabula rasa; he has the potential of awareness—the mechanism of a human consciousness—but no content. Speaking metaphorically, he has a camera with an extremely sensitive, unexposed film (his conscious mind), and an extremely complex computer waiting to be programmed (his subconscious). Both are blank.
From: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/tabula_rasa.html

2. There is no such thing as chance, because of the law of causality.

The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action. All actions are caused by entities. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature . . . .
Since things are what they are, since everything that exists possesses a specific identity, nothing in reality can occur causelessly or by chance.
From: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/causality.html

3. Knowledge is acquired through interaction with reality.

“Knowledge” is . . . a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation.
From: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/knowledge.html

4. Contradictions do not exist.

A contradiction cannot exist. An atom is itself, and so is the universe; neither can contradict its own identity; nor can a part contradict the whole.
Objectivism agrees with Aristotle’s formulation of the Law of Non-Contradiction
From: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/contradictions.html

Thought Process:

1. Man starts out as an entity devoid of any knowledge whatsoever.

2. Man attains knowledge through interaction with reality (or if you prefer, by observing reality, and reasoning).

3. But since nothing happens by chance, man's nature causes everything to happen the way it does. (thanks bluecherry) ((to be honest, I think this where the logic falls apart though.))

4. However, man had no nature to start with, because man started out as an entity devoid of knowledge.

5. This is a contradiction. (At least, I think it is)

6. But contradictions do not exist.

7. HUHHH???

I also feel like I've stated a logical fallacy somewhere (aside from argumentum ad verecundiam, the appeal to authority). If so, please tell me. Also, is there anything that causes confusion? (ie, structure, definitions, logical process)

So. What do you think?

Edited by anaira
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Thought Process:

1. Man starts out as an entity devoid of any knowledge whatsoever.

2. Man attains knowledge through interaction with reality (or if you prefer, by observing reality, and reasoning).

3. However, nothing in reality occurs by chance. It occurred because of Man's nature.

4. However, man had no nature to start with, because man started out as an entity devoid of knowledge.

5. This is a contradiction. (At least, I think it is)

6. But contradictions do not exist.

7. HUHHH???

I also feel like I've stated a logical fallacy somewhere (aside from argumentum ad verecundiam, the appeal to authority). If so, please tell me. Also, is there anything that causes confusion? (ie, structure, definitions, logical process)

So. What do you think?

Tabula Rasa means that you have no inborn ideas.

Man still has a particular nature according to his biology, his genetics, his cognitive faculty.

Edited by Lazariun
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First off, "3. However, nothing in reality occurs by chance. It occurred because of Man's nature." I think you probably don't mean this, but it is at least sloppy wording as what you've got there sounds like it could be saying man's nature causes EVERYTHING to happen the way it does.

"4. However, man had no nature to start with, because man started out as an entity devoid of knowledge." <-- THIS though is where your real problem comes up. That man has no built in knowledge is not the same as having no nature. As in the quotes above, we've got that "unexposed film" and "computer" already there, they have a nature, they just haven't seen use yet to acquire information. Blank film is still film, a computer with no files saved to it yet is still a computer, they don't exist in a state at that time where they could do anything at all at random. When they do come to be used, they can only be used in a certain way. We have free will and don't necessarily have one and only one path we can possibly go down at any given time unlike other things, but we can't do just anything at all.

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@Lazarium:

Man's cognitive faculty is the way he processes knowledge. The only problem is that you need knowledge to process it first. A computer program doesn't run without parameters. Assuming man's cognitive faculty runs like a computer. :T

Also, if man's nature is dependent on biology, genetics, then man's nature is unchangeable from the get go. And since his nature is unchangeable from the beginning, the knowledge he attains and actions he performs and all of existence is predetermined. Thus he has no free will?

@bluecherry:

Hahaha. Yeah. You're right. I had trouble wording that one. I'll change it (and attribute it to you). Thanks.

Also, for number four... actually, I don't really get what you're saying. But if I'm to understand, he already has a nature, therefore there is no contradiction. However, then the problem of: where does that nature come from? If it's already built in, then it's unchangeable, therefore... he has no free will? Hmm...

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@Lazarium:

Man's cognitive faculty is the way he processes knowledge. The only problem is that you need knowledge to process it first. A computer program doesn't run without parameters. Assuming man's cognitive faculty runs like a computer. :T

Also, if man's nature is dependent on biology, genetics, then man's nature is unchangeable from the get go. And since his nature is unchangeable from the beginning, the knowledge he attains and actions he performs and all of existence is predetermined. Thus he has no free will?

@bluecherry:

Hahaha. Yeah. You're right. I had trouble wording that one. I'll change it (and attribute it to you). Thanks.

Also, for number four... actually, I don't really get what you're saying. But if I'm to understand, he already has a nature, therefore there is no contradiction. However, then the problem of: where does that nature come from? If it's already built in, then it's unchangeable, therefore... he has no free will? Hmm...

Yes, man has a nature and so there is no contradiction. The nature comes from our biology essentially which leads to our particular type of mind, our being an animal which is notable for its capacity to reason and that the use of reason becomes its primary way to survive. Our type of consciousness though is one which involves freewill, the capacity to think or try not to think, and what we choose to do with that at any given time determines what different things we can do and be within the limits of the physically possible. We aren't completely mechanistic things in the way a clock is, but that our nature is not the same kind of deterministic "one and one possibility only" thing does not mean we have NO nature and/or no limitations on what IS possible to us because of our nature. As an example if this helps clarify things, we have free will and may choose to stop before a cliff or keep walking until we go off it, we may also devise bridges or planes to get safely over it through the utilization of reason, but we can't just morph into a dragonfly and fly over that cliff.

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@Lazarium:

Man's cognitive faculty is the way he processes knowledge. The only problem is that you need knowledge to process it first. A computer program doesn't run without parameters. Assuming man's cognitive faculty runs like a computer. :T

Also, if man's nature is dependent on biology, genetics, then man's nature is unchangeable from the get go. And since his nature is unchangeable from the beginning, the knowledge he attains and actions he performs and all of existence is predetermined. Thus he has no free will?

Yes, man's nature won't change. Your nature is "predetermined" in the sense it will always be that way. If it was different, it'd be safe to say you would not be human. I should add that the ability to process knowledge does not mean you require knowledge of how to process knowledge. Also, when you first see something, that isn't knowledge. It's a percept (or maybe a sensation, I'm not sure the exact word for what I'm thinking of). Knowledge comes later.

Also, for number four... actually, I don't really get what you're saying. But if I'm to understand, he already has a nature, therefore there is no contradiction. However, then the problem of: where does that nature come from? If it's already built in, then it's unchangeable, therefore... he has no free will? Hmm...

Man's nature is what he is, and what he -is- would depend on his biology. But what a person is has nothing to do with being born with certain knowledge of language or being born with knowledge that 2+2=4. Being tabula rasa doesn't mean being born without any abilities, just without knowledge. Obviously though, you can't choose whether or not to have an ability. The key word about tabula rasa is knowledge.

Edited by Eiuol
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3. But since nothing happens by chance, man's nature causes everything to happen the way it does. (thanks bluecherry) ((to be honest, I think this where the logic falls apart though.))

4. However, man had no nature to start with, because man started out as an entity devoid of knowledge.

No, number 4 is where your logic falls apart. A tree has a nature and no knowledge. A cloud has a nature and no knowledge. In fact everything has a nature and no knowledge, except men who also acquire knowledge during their lifetime.

The logical implication that starting out devoid of knowledge means an entity has no nature does not hold up. Everything has a nature, and that has nothing to do with knowledge.

But I think you are hinting at something much bigger, which is that determinism may not allow for free will to exist. Please search those two terms, and you will find massive, very enlightening threads on the Objectivist position on free will and causality.

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