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Jacob86
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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?

That is exactly backwards. The pre-existing similarity is the basis for making claims about what is not directly perceived. If the underlying similarity doesn't exist the concept you might have used simply does not apply. It is possible to misidentify or to presume a similarity that does not exist. So what? That is an error by the person not the method. There is no cure for fallibility. The conceptual method is the only method we have for effective thinking.

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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.

There are the base level perceptual concepts that you form implicitly as a child, then after that you use abstractation to make concepts of concepts. Knowledge beyond the base level that you can point at is a hierarchy of conceptual abstractions.

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What's the difference? And how does this change the issue?

If your only *source* of knowledge is perception, then you can only know that which has been perceived.

Exactly. And you know what you have perceived. You are validating the perceptually given by implicitly thinking, "It is as apposed to it isn't", ie., "it exists" You can't question it unless you are questioning the validity of the senses?

It exists is direct perceptual knowledge available directly to your sense. All later knowledge is about figuring out what it is, and is conceptual.

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That is exactly backwards. The pre-existing similarity is the basis for making claims about what is not directly perceived. If the underlying similarity doesn't exist the concept you might have used simply does not apply. It is possible to misidentify or to presume a similarity that does not exist. So what? That is an error by the person not the method. There is no cure for fallibility. The conceptual method is the only method we have for effective thinking.

I completely agree. But it has yet to be demonstrated that any of the above is possible by perception alone.

For instance, where did you perceive the following?

"If the underlying similarity doesn't exist the concept you might have used simply does not apply."

I agree that this is true. But, not because I've perceived it. It doesn't seem like the type of thing that one CAN perceive-- and if you have perceived it, please point my perception in that direction. If you didn't perceive it, how do you know it?

Might it be because it is simply logically necessary?

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There are the base level perceptual concepts that you form implicitly as a child, then after that you use abstractation to make concepts of concepts. Knowledge beyond the base level that you can point at is a hierarchy of conceptual abstractions.

I agree. But I am arguing that this process involves something (logic) in addition to perception such that this thing (logic) is ALSO a source of knowledge in addition to perception.

Perception+ Nothing = Perception (Percepts)

Perception+Logic= Concepts

Logic+Nothing= Logic (A is A)

It seems as though the Oist position is as follows:

Perception + Nothing = Concepts... which is to say that Perception=Concepts.

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Yes. I have read ITOE. Yes, I know what it says about concept formation. And, Yes, I agree with what it says... about concept formation.

But I do not agree with what it says about epistemology.

It's a GREAT book on concept formation (how we happen to develop concepts from infancy, on).

It's not so great of a book on epistemology (the study of proper truth criteria).

Objectivism mixes the two so that there is no distinction between "how I come to discover truth" (SUBJECTIVE) and "how I test my ideas in order to make sure they are true" (OBJECTIVE).

It basically says "because we start subjectively with perception in truth discovery, therefore perception is THE sole foundation to objective truth criteria".

There are (at LEAST) two problems with this though:

1) Perception alone does not give you any knowledge. Perception must be used in sync with logic (IDENTIFICATION-- re-read p.6 middle paragraph) in order to form concepts and thus knowledge.

2) Perception alone cannot be an objective ground for logic because logic applies to all which has not been perceived.

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It basically says "because we start subjectively with perception in truth discovery, therefore perception is THE sole foundation to objective truth criteria".

There are (at LEAST) two problems with this though:

1) Perception alone does not give you any knowledge. Perception must be used in sync with logic (IDENTIFICATION-- re-read p.6 middle paragraph) in order to form concepts and thus knowledge.

2) Perception alone cannot be an objective ground for logic because logic applies to all which has not been perceived.

Foundation, yes. You form concepts based upon perception through the use of logic, since perception alone cannot give you knowledge. Then, you can make concepts based on concepts. Also, any concept is an abstraction. I'd argue that any concept is at a minimum abstracting out time from a percept in order to think about its behavior past, present, and future. This also applies to first-level concepts, and the three axiomatic concepts Rand talks about. Logic can be objective ground for logic *if* logic is applied to concepts *based* upon perception. Where's the problem? I'm getting the idea you think perception is subjective, and since logic is not an act of perception, logic is the only means of objectivity. Logic itself is based upon perception, though. You reach the idea "A is A" through perception. Actually, I'm 99% sure I covered this with you in some other thread, but I'm posting for anyone else reading to benefit from, too.

Edited by Eiuol
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Foundation, yes. You form concepts based upon perception through the use of logic, since perception alone cannot give you knowledge. Then, you can make concepts based on concepts. Also, any concept is an abstraction. I'd argue that any concept is at a minimum abstracting out time from a percept in order to think about its behavior past, present, and future. This also applies to first-level concepts, and the three axiomatic concepts Rand talks about.

Agreed.

Logic can be objective ground for logic *if* logic is applied to concepts *based* upon perception. Where's the problem?

IF logic can be an objective ground for ANY bit of knowledge, then perception is not the SOLE ground for all knowledge.

Perhaps you will emphasize that logic must be "applied to concepts *based* upon perception".

But this leaves the question "how does one know that logic is even valid?" One cannot use perception to know that logic is valid concerning the unperceived.

The only possible objective ground for the validity of logic is logical necessity (the fact that it cannot be gotten around).

I'm getting the idea you think perception is subjective,

Because it is. I cannot perceive your perception and you cannot perceive my perception.

and since logic is not an act of perception, logic is the only means of objectivity.

No. Not logic alone. I am not saying "I'm for logic and against perception". I'm simply saying that you must have both as grounds for knowledge.

Logic, by itself, can give you *some* (not all) objective knowledge. And Logic coupled with perception also gives you objective knowledge. But perception without logic gives you nothing but percepts.

Logic itself is based upon perception, though. You reach the idea "A is A" through perception.

You are confusing the difference between Epistemology (objective grounds & truth criteria) and Cognitive Development (How I subjectively discovered this piece of information).

In respect to Cognitive Development, I agree that chronologically I came to "A is A" after a LOT of perception.

In respect to Epistemology, perception is not and cannot be an objective ground for the validity of "A is A".

If you still want to insist that the validity of logic is objectively based in perception, then please explain how, by perception alone, you know that logic applies to that which has not been perceived. If you cannot (and you can't), then perception is not the objective ground for logic.

Actually, I'm 99% sure I covered this with you in some other thread, but I'm posting for anyone else reading to benefit from, too.

You're right. We discussed it in a different thread in the middle of a completely different topic and it didn't seem to get a full treatment, so I wanted to start a thread for this specific issue.

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It stirkes me that while you agree with what it says about concept formation, you are trying to segregate it from epistemology. Miss Rand did not find it necessary to re-establish the entire field of logic, only to "repair" the foundation - to show how concepts are a relationship between the objects and the mental concretes by which we hold our understanding of them.

In the case of first level concepts, the test of the idea is by the word "dog", the concept "dog" is a mental integration of the similarities I observe between this collie, dashound, greyhound etc. that is different from all the other concretes that I observe.

In the case of abstractions from absractions the test is the same, but involves longer heirarchal chains, multiple steps, to demonstrate the relationship to the perceptual level.

Animals involves being able to trace it back to dogs, cats, man, lions, etc, being different from rocks, trees, clouds.

Logic is the fundamental concept of method. In essence, it would be the process of concept-formation - the art of non-contradictory identification.

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You don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone, I don't know where you're even getting this from. Go back and read page 262 "The Explicit Formulation of Axiomatic Concepts" for instance.

A lot of misunderstandings in there, but I get the feeling that you just sort of don't even want to understand, you just want to be argumentative and keep reading assertions over and over without really trying to get what anyone is saying.

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You don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone, I don't know where you're even getting this from. Go back and read page 262 "The Explicit Formulation of Axiomatic Concepts" for instance.

A lot of misunderstandings in there, but I get the feeling that you just sort of don't even want to understand, you just want to be argumentative and keep reading assertions over and over without really trying to get what anyone is saying.

I don't have time at the moment to read that section but I will later today. I very much DO want to understand.

I am mostly taking issue with the idea that "Perception is the only source/ground of knowledge"

If Oism teaches that "you don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone" then "perception alone" is not the only source of knowledge.

One or the other.

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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.

This, if accurately stated, is where the law of identity has its perceptual roots. It is the perceptual basis for A is A, This is the fundamental root of logic.

When you state: "If Oism teaches that "you don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone" then "perception alone" is not the only source of knowledge.

One or the other." the question comes to mind "Where does Objectivism teach that you do not reach the laws of logic by perception alone?"

Edited by dream_weaver
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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?

It does not give me knowledge that there are necessarily other X's, only that if there are, I will recognise them as X's because they will be similar to the X's I have observed before.

This, if accurately stated, is where the law of identity has its perceptual roots. It is the perceptual basis for A is A, This is the fundamental root of logic.

When you state: "If Oism teaches that "you don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone" then "perception alone" is not the only source of knowledge.

One or the other." the question comes to mind "Where does Objectivism teach that you do not reach the laws of logic by perception alone?"

I should have probably included the preceding referencess prior to the following.

This, if accurately stated, is where the law of identity has its perceptual roots. It is the perceptual basis for A is A, This is the fundamental root of logic.

When you state: "If Oism teaches that "you don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone" then "perception alone" is not the only source of knowledge.

One or the other." the question comes to mind "Where does Objectivism teach that you do not reach the laws of logic by perception alone?"

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Because it is. I cannot perceive your perception and you cannot perceive my perception.

This is where you are incorrect. We are both perceiving the same reality, and it is objective. A person might might be blind, or color, blind, or deaf, or even an alien that only can see infrared wavelengths; they are all perceiving the same reality objectively and will all come to the same conclusions, science, physics, etc., if they are rational. They will all come to understand the universe from different starting points but the conclusions will be identical. At no point is any of this subjective. I may have to elaborate or reword this later, I'm watching football right now and only half-concentrating on this.

Edited by EC
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Technically, Jacob86 is correct. We cannot perceive one another's perceptions. Technically, we cannot even perceive our own perceiving of things. Perception is the form by which we apprehend reality.

The broader point that we are all perceiving the same reality, and can objectively arrive at the same conclusions provided the proper methods are discovered and implemented is accurate.

edited to add:

As a side note: Harry Binswanger did a lecture some time back entitled "Conscious As Identification" that burrows into or "chews over" the various views on perception rather nicely.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Technically, Jacob86 is correct. We cannot perceive one another's perceptions.

I'm not saying that we can perceive other's perceptions, just that that by their nature any perceptions we do perceive are an accurate reflection of reality and are therefore objective. Just because the means of perceiving are slightly different or completely different between two individuals doesn't make the perception subjective since the object they are perceiving is still the same.

Also it is not the perceptions that are important as far as epistemology goes, but perceptions that are processed by a volitional consciousness.

Edited by EC
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Also it is not the perceptions that are important as far as epistemology goes, but perceptions that are processed by a volitional consciousness.

Thanks. That's what I was struggling to recollect. It is not perception alone by which we reach the laws of logic. It is perceptions, as processed by a volitional consciousness.

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Or your premises are wrong...? But no, don't bother considering that option or anything...

Umm, re-read what I said.

"If Oism teaches that 'you don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone' then 'perception alone' is not the only source of knowledge. One or the other"

This isn't about my premise. This is about A or ~A.

Either "you don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone" (A) Or "perception is the only source of knowledge" (~A)

Both are statements from Objectivists on this forum (NOT "my premise"). Both cannot be true.

Pick one.

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Thanks. That's what I was struggling to recollect. It is not perception alone by which we reach the laws of logic. It is perceptions, as processed by a volitional consciousness.

And does a volitional consciousness apply ANYTHING other than perception in order to validate the laws of logic?

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This is where you are incorrect. We are both perceiving the same reality, and it is objective. A person might might be blind, or color, blind, or deaf, or even an alien that only can see infrared wavelengths; they are all perceiving the same reality objectively and will all come to the same conclusions, science, physics, etc., if they are rational. They will all come to understand the universe from different starting points but the conclusions will be identical. At no point is any of this subjective. I may have to elaborate or reword this later, I'm watching football right now and only half-concentrating on this.

I agree. What I am saying is that you can't know ANY of that by perception alone. Perception alone would give you nothing but percepts- which would be nothing but subjective experiences unique to you as the subject... from which you would never be able to rise above in order to "objectify" and see that the object of your perception is identical to the object of another's perception. Everything would simply be phenomena on your perceptual field.

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This, if accurately stated, is where the law of identity has its perceptual roots. It is the perceptual basis for A is A, This is the fundamental root of logic.

When you state: "If Oism teaches that "you don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone" then "perception alone" is not the only source of knowledge.

One or the other." the question comes to mind "Where does Objectivism teach that you do not reach the laws of logic by perception alone?"

I read you'r later post with the other quotes, but I still don't understand what (or perhaps why) you are asking here...

I was quoting 2046 from the post right above mine who said "You don't reach the laws of logic by perception alone. I don't know where you're getting this stuff from"

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