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Jacob86
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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?

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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?

Exactly because all knowledge is based upon perception. All knowledge. Anything beyond or apart from perception is arbitrary and cannot be evaluated *at all*. The act of perceiving actually *necessarily* indicates an identity, which also implies the law of non-contradiction. Still, you're more asking "well, I've never perceived a gooblork, so how do I know it obeys the law of non-contradiction?" The answer is, you don't know. You can't know. But a gooblork is a totally arbitrary idea which is not based upon perception, so we can't evaluate anything about the idea and what laws of reality apply to it.

Other than that, you're simply asking how induction is valid. You haven't seen all the swans in the world, so how do you know they all have feet?

Maybe another way to look at things is how a concept of "existence" is an abstraction about everything you have perceived. The act of perceiving itself is perceiving a particular kind of thing that acts in a particular way. So anything that you will perceive in the future will have an identity and behave accordingly.

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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?

The same way you know that the knowledge you know to be true about cats, applies to every cat that is, has ever been, and will ever be, even though you have only formed the knowledge from the specific cats you have percieved.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Because existence is identity. And how do we know this? Because it is perceptually self-evident and undeniable (i.e. axiomatic.)

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.

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The same way you know that the knowledge you know to be true about cats, applies to every cat that is, has ever been, and will ever be, even though you have only formed the knowledge from the specific cats you have percieved.

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.

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Why is it by perception alone? Perception alone, gives you nothing except what you see. By perception alone, you can know nothing. What role does the mind or consciousness play in conjunction with perception? How do you reduce "universally"? By "universally" aren't you implying that knowledge of X applies to every X you have observed, every X is that is, was and will be? Is "universality" an invalid concept? While I cannot isolate precisely why, this line of reasoning reminds me of the analytic/synthetic dichotomy.

Your assessment is one that is essentially comes across as empiricist in nature.

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From the Ayn Rand Lexicon.

“Validation” in the broad sense includes any process of relating mental contents to the facts of reality. Direct perception, the method of validating axioms, is one such process. “Proof designates another type of validation. Proof is the process of deriving a conclusion logically from antecedent knowledge."

Leonard Peikoff,

The Philosophy of Objectivism lecture series, Lecture 3

Bold mine.

and

When we speak of “direct perception” or “direct awareness,” we mean the perceptual level. Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident. The knowledge of sensations as components of percepts is not direct, it is acquired by man much later: it is a scientific, conceptual discovery. “Cognition and Measurement,” ITOE chapter 5

Is this the answer you need or is your question different that what it seems?

Edited by EC
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The denial of universality is the denial that it is valid to speak of types or classes or kinds, or X's and A's. Everything is unutterably unique and no conclusions can ever be transferred from one thing to another. At root it is the denial that there is such a thing as similarity.

But there is similarity. Perception and memory of perceptions gives us similarity directly. Similarity exists, it is valid. Once we are able to name similarity and identify the phenomenon at the conceptual level it is possible to incorporate it into our methods of thought for higher conceptual abstractions where the similarity (if present) is not given directly by perception.

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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.

A perceptual self-evidency is any statement whose information is given in direct perception. No, we should be pretty clear that the axioms of existence, identity, and consciousness are grasped by means of direct perception and (according to Peikoff anyway, though I'm on vague on this) that this actually happens in that specific order as a child.

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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.

This is the difference between the concept "cat" and the concretes that it subsumes, i.e., the specific cat that you can point at in front of you. A concept is not a concrete it is a mental abstraction that subsumes all of it's concretes that either have existed, currently exist, or will exist in the future.

Don't pretend you don't understand the concept of cat vs a specific cat either. If you didn't you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the picture of a cat in the window on Halloween, your own cat, and a mountain lion.

Edited by EC
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Simple similarity given in squares.

Simple similarity given in circles

Δ Δ Δ Simple similarity given in triangles.

Less obvious, but still perceptually given is the small, medium and large size of each representation as well as the columnar and row arrangements.

Memory of previously observed geometric figures allows me to apply the concept integrated from the previous examples to this case deductively. In so doing, I can recognize that I have applied a previously observed similarity to an instance which up until now has remained unperceived. After repeating this application a number of times, seeing more circles today, yesterday, last week, etc, I can recognize that previously unperceived instances continue to share the same attribute of similarity, and at some point understand that it applies to every circle (square, triangle, row, column, ect) that I have ever seen, or will see, and by extension - even the circles out there that I will never experience, they too, would also share that similarity.

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Why is it by perception alone? Perception alone, gives you nothing except what you see. By perception alone, you can know nothing.

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"??

What role does the mind or consciousness play in conjunction with perception? How do you reduce "universally"? By "universally" aren't you implying that knowledge of X applies to every X you have observed, every X is that is, was and will be? Is "universality" an invalid concept? While I cannot isolate precisely why, this line of reasoning reminds me of the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Your assessment is one that is essentially comes across as empiricist in nature.

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.

Edited by Jacob86
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From the Ayn Rand Lexicon.

Bold mine.

and

Is this the answer you need or is your question different that what it seems?

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.

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The denial of universality is the denial that it is valid to speak of types or classes or kinds, or X's and A's. Everything is unutterably unique and no conclusions can ever be transferred from one thing to another. At root it is the denial that there is such a thing as similarity. But there is similarity. Perception and memory of perceptions gives us similarity directly. Similarity exists, it is valid. Once we are able to name similarity and identify the phenomenon at the conceptual level it is possible to incorporate it into our methods of thought for higher conceptual abstractions where the similarity (if present) is not given directly by perception.

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?

Edited by Jacob86
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This is the difference between the concept "cat" and the concretes that it subsumes, i.e., the specific cat that you can point at in front of you. A concept is not a concrete it is a mental abstraction that subsumes all of it's concretes that either have existed, currently exist, or will exist in the future.

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?

Don't pretend you don't understand the concept of cat vs a specific cat either. If you didn't you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the picture of a cat in the window on Halloween, your own cat, and a mountain lion.

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.

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I (we) can only build my (our) knowledge based on what I (we) have perceived, and draw from the continuum of the application of older perceptions the similarity with and to the new perceptions that there are other things which I (we) have not yet perceived which would also qualify as similar. Based on this knowledge I (we) can recognize that this continues to be a recurring phenomenon within my (our) consciousness. Or in other words, there are things which I have not yet perceived that are like (similar, identity) to the things which I have perceived.

Edited by dream_weaver
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I (we) can only build my (our) knowledge based on what I (we) have perceived, and draw from the continuum of the application of older perceptions the similarity with and to the new perceptions that there are other things which I (we) have not yet perceived which would also qualify as similar. Based on this knowledge I (we) can recognize that this continues to be a recurring phenomenon within my (our) consciousness. Or in other words, there are things which I have not yet perceived that are like (similar, identity) to the things which I have perceived.

I'm sorry, this was very confusing to try and read. I understand that you are speaking generally when you say "I" or "you" so feel free to just do that or the other.

From what I can understand of this, it seems that it still doesn't give us a ground for knowing anything about the unperceived.

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FYI Neither Rand nor Locke take the position that you seem to be attributing them.

Eh, disregard that aspect of the post then. I'd rather not muddle the conversation by beginning to debate "who claimed what and how" ,etc..

It probably would have been better for me to leave that part out in order to avoid that.

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I perceive X to the point I conceptualize X.

Later I perceive another X, similar to the X's I formed the concept from.

I have perceived something which I had not previously perceived which is similar.

Later I perceive yet another X, similar to the X's I formed the concept from as well as the X I described earlier.

Later I repeat this again, and later yet again.

I look back at these perceptions and notice (perceive) that this not only occurs with not only with X, but Y, Z and many other things as well.

While it does not give me knowledge of "the unperceived", it gives me knowledge that there are other X's, Y's and Z's that I have not perceived, and that I can apply what I know from before to any of them should and when I come across them. This gives me knowledge of identity, or more informally, universality.

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I perceive X to the point I conceptualize X.

Later I perceive another X, similar to the X's I formed the concept from.

I have perceived something which I had not previously perceived which is similar.

Later I perceive yet another X, similar to the X's I formed the concept from as well as the X I described earlier.

Later I repeat this again, and later yet again.

I look back at these perceptions and notice (perceive) that this not only occurs with not only with X, but Y, Z and many other things as well.

While it does not give me knowledge of "the unperceived", it gives me knowledge that there are other X's, Y's and Z's that I have not perceived, and that I can apply what I know from before to any of them should and when I come across them. This gives me knowledge of identity, or more informally, universality.

How does it give you knowledge that there are other X's? And how do you know that the other X's will have the same similarities as those you have perceived?

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