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Jacob86
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Jacob,

"Existence is Identity, consciousness is identification" . The relation of the identifier (subject) to the objects of perception, is just that , a relationionship. We have a conceptual consciousness that uses language. The mental concretes our consciousness uses to hold the referents originating in perception are as particular as the entities they refer to. Contradictions are the epistemological equivalent of perceiving something that is nothing in particular. The content of consciousness originates in perception but "necessity", contradictions and facts are derived from the relationship of subject to object.

Edited by Plasmatic
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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.

Why?

Perception is the source of knowledge. You use some cognitive process to then create a concept. Are you asking what cognitive process is used to reach a concept of a law of logic? You reach the laws of logic through differentiation and integration of percepts. Perception + Differentiation + Similarity + Integration = Knowledge. You could also say that differentiation/similarity/integration are functions that require perception as the input. The output of the function is some kind of concept, which might be the laws of logic.

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Why?

Perception is the source of knowledge. You use some cognitive process to then create a concept. Are you asking what cognitive process is used to reach a concept of a law of logic? You reach the laws of logic through differentiation and integration of percepts. Perception + Differentiation + Similarity + Integration = Knowledge. You could also say that differentiation/similarity/integration are functions that require perception as the input. The output of the function is some kind of concept, which might be the laws of logic.

Exactly. I agree with all of that. However, there are two things I would add.

1) one bit of knowledge you have is that those functions are accurate- or at least that there is an accurate way to use those functions. They are not just arbitrary or automatic. I am after how you KNOW (or rather, WHY you know) that those functions are objectively accurate.

2) If those functions are necessary in order to form any bit of knowledge, then they are also a source of knowledge in addition to perception.

BTW, I would say that "those functions" are simply functions of logic.

So, 1) Why do you know that the use of logic is objectively warranted? This cannot be answered by perception because the use of logic assumes universal applicability (meaning that it applies to the unperceived).

and 2) If the use of logic is necessary in order to form any bit of knowledge, then it is also a source of knowledge along with perception.

Edited by Jacob86
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What, aside from the active process of differentiation and integration (of percepts), do you think is missing?

The very thing that makes differentiation and integration possible: logic.

Not only is it necessary in the formation of knowledge, but in order to KNOW that it is valid (i.e. why should we use it in forming knowledge?) one cannot use perception to justify its universal validity. One must simply use its axiomatic nature/ logical necessity/ inescapability. And if one can (and must) use logical necessity in order to know that logic is valid, then logical necessity is one other way (in addition to perception) to gain knowledge.

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I'm just saying, if you want to understand something you have to be fair. You have to make an attempt to understand what the other person means by something. If I mean "source of knowledge" to be "pancakes," then it does me no good to go through a whole argument against the statement "the source of knowledge is perceptual awareness" and make sweeping objections while holding certain premises as unquestioned assumptions. What even is a "source of knowledge" according to you, according to Rand, how might these differences contribute to your troubles?

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The very thing that makes differentiation and integration possible: logic.

Differentiation and integration I'd argue are not made possible by logic, they are made possible by perception. Although, for higher level concepts, logic is what would make differentiation and integration possible. I'm not actually sure what you're trying to ask or demonstrate at this point.

Forgot to answer your questions:

So, 1) Why do you know that the use of logic is objectively warranted? This cannot be answered by perception because the use of logic assumes universal applicability (meaning that it applies to the unperceived).

and 2) If the use of logic is necessary in order to form any bit of knowledge, then it is also a source of knowledge along with perception.

How does it follow that requiring some process in addition to perception mean that the other processes are necessarily a "source" of knowledge? All I'm saying here is that I think it's fine to say logic is the source of knowledge, but the source of logic is perception. There is an indirect relationship going on. I only know that logic (if we say it's the same as using the law of identity) is warranted because your percepts are just THERE, implicitly meaning any one thing perceived has a kind of identity, even if just blurry sights. In a sense, logic is just a necessity, but only because that's part of what we require to have knowledge anyway.

Edited by Eiuol
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The very thing that makes differentiation and integration possible: logic.

This is not true. Acts of micro-differentiation and micro-integration occur within the process of sensation and perception. For example, when a cell in your retina preferentially responds to a red light stimulus, it is performing an act of abstraction from the total scene that fell onto the retina. When you automatically recognize an entity in your field of vision as a cat that is an act of integration. When several cells are linked together able to detect motion, that is both abstraction and integration. None of this requires logic, and in fact the relation is in the opposite direction. Logic is predicated upon the prior existence of differentiation and integration, or there would be no categories and no conclusions possible.

Edited by Grames
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The laws of logic are implicit in a man's first percepts, this is how everyone first gains knowledge of them and how they are validated ostensibly. When you perceive one thing versus another and that they both can not be the same you have your first evidence that A is A. I could go on, but this is covered in ItOE, Galt's Speech, etc.

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One must simply use its axiomatic nature/ logical necessity/ inescapability. And if one can (and must) use logical necessity in order to know that logic is valid, then logical necessity is one other way (in addition to perception) to gain knowledge.

Isn't this just begging the question on your point? Aren't you essentially saying: logic is valid because logic dictates that it is valid? What do you mean by "inescapability?" What makes it inescapable? Does reality, i.e. that which we perceive?

Your whole point just seems argumentative and confused.

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The very thing that makes differentiation and integration possible: logic.

Not only is it necessary in the formation of knowledge, but in order to KNOW that it is valid (i.e. why should we use it in forming knowledge?) one cannot use perception to justify its universal validity. One must simply use its axiomatic nature/ logical necessity/ inescapability. And if one can (and must) use logical necessity in order to know that logic is valid, then logical necessity is one other way (in addition to perception) to gain knowledge.

You disagree with the fact that logic is the fundamental concept of method, and that it's nature, as a method, needs to be discovered, identified and validated, it's relationship conceptually reduced to the units which comprise identity, as outlined in this very thread, and wish to reject and evade this in favor that it is some form of innate ability or process, a priori to that of differentiation and integration, disregarding that fallibility stemming forth from mis-integration or in this case dis-integration precludes this?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Differentiation and integration I'd argue are not made possible by logic, they are made possible by perception. Although, for higher level concepts, logic is what would make differentiation and integration possible. I'm not actually sure what you're trying to ask or demonstrate at this point.

Conceptual differentiation & integration is what I meant as the things that logic is required for. Rand even hints at this in the opening of ITOE by discussing the implicit use of Identification of attributes in the process of abstraction. Of course, in animals, there is a sort of "sensational" differentiation, but that's not what I was referring to.

In order to abstract a quality, one must first identify it (implicitly) and in order to identify it, one must implicitly apply the laws of logic to it: It is A. It is not B. It is not A and B.

The only reason I brang it up was in response to someone else asking "what else (in addition to differentiation & integration) I considered to be required for knowledge.

Forgot to answer your questions:

So, 1) Why do you know that the use of logic is objectively warranted? This cannot be answered by perception because the use of logic assumes universal applicability (meaning that it applies to the unperceived).

and 2) If the use of logic is necessary in order to form any bit of knowledge, then it is also a source of knowledge along with perception.

How does it follow that requiring some process in addition to perception mean that the other processes are necessarily a "source" of knowledge? All I'm saying here is that I think it's fine to say logic is the source of knowledge, but the source of logic is perception. There is an indirect relationship going on. I only know that logic (if we say it's the same as using the law of identity) is warranted because your percepts are just THERE, implicitly meaning any one thing perceived has a kind of identity, even if just blurry sights. In a sense, logic is just a necessity, but only because that's part of what we require to have knowledge anyway.

This is the part that I am taking issue with though. If I only use perception, I cannot know anything about that which I have not perceived. I'm just trying to be consistent here. If I can only have knowledge which has come from what I have perceived, then I cannot know that "contradictions do not exist" concerning that which I have not perceived.

I'm not saying that logic isn't "testified to" or "evidenced in" perception-- it certainly is. But, perception alone is not sufficient to establish a universally true idea- like logic.

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Conceptual differentiation & integration is what I meant as the things that logic is required for.

And there is also non-conceptual differentiation and integration. Yes, there probably is a kind of implicit use of logic, which doesn't mean using logic.

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At the end of chapter 2 in ITOE, Rand points out that the "unit" is at the base of both mathematics and conceptualization.

1. A concept is not formed by observing every concrete subsumed under it, and does not specify the number of such concretes. A concept is like an arithmetical sequence of specifically defined units, going off in both directions, open at both ends and including all units of that particular kind. For instance, the concept "man" includes all men who live at present, who have ever lived or will ever live.An arithmetical sequence extends into infinity, without implying that infinity actually exists; such extension means only that whatever number of units does exist, it is to be included in the same sequence. The same principle applies to concepts: the concept "man" does not (and need not) specify what number of men will ultimately have existed—it specifies only the characteristics of man, and means that any number of entities possessing these characteristics is to be identified as "men."

Observe that the concept is formed from the perceived concretes. It applies to the unperceived concretes as well. While you are using perception to form the concept and derive any knowledge about it, you are conceptually applying it thereafter

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And there is also non-conceptual differentiation and integration. Yes, there probably is a kind of implicit use of logic, which doesn't mean using logic.

When you say "use" you are referring to the SUBJECT, consciously thinking about "the laws of logic" explicitly. When I say "use" I am talking about the OBJECTIVE validity of the laws- whether the Subject is explicitly thinking about it or not.

Again, I am NOT talking about how we, as subjects, come across ideas. I am talking about how an idea, as an object, can be considered to be valid or not-- particularly the idea that "contradictions do not exist".

Oists keep stressing that "we begin with perception as infants and build from there". But this is a chronological beginning- not necessarily a logical/systematic beginning, which is what I am after.

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At the end of chapter 2 in ITOE, Rand points out that the "unit" is at the base of both mathematics and conceptualization.

1. A concept is not formed by observing every concrete subsumed under it, and does not specify the number of such concretes. A concept is like an arithmetical sequence of specifically defined units, going off in both directions, open at both ends and including all units of that particular kind. For instance, the concept "man" includes all men who live at present, who have ever lived or will ever live.An arithmetical sequence extends into infinity, without implying that infinity actually exists; such extension means only that whatever number of units does exist, it is to be included in the same sequence. The same principle applies to concepts: the concept "man" does not (and need not) specify what number of men will ultimately have existed—it specifies only the characteristics of man, and means that any number of entities possessing these characteristics is to be identified as "men."

Observe that the concept is formed from the perceived concretes. It applies to the unperceived concretes as well. While you are using perception to form the concept and derive any knowledge about it, you are conceptually applying it thereafter

I agree with all of that. But I am saying that one cannot know that this is true by perception alone.

"A concept is like an arithmetical sequence of specifically defined units, going off in both directions, open at both ends and including all units of that particular kind."

How do you know that this is true? How does one know that a "[concept] is open at both ends and refers to all units of that particular kind"? Was this piece of knowledge perceived somewhere? And if not, how can it be considered valid knowledge according to the Objectivist doctrine?

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Isn't this just begging the question on your point? Aren't you essentially saying: logic is valid because logic dictates that it is valid? What do you mean by "inescapability?" What makes it inescapable?

I'm saying it's valid because it can't not be valid. If it is impossible for something to be false, then it is necessary that that thing be true. Or, another way to put it: If there is a necessary requirement for anything to be true, then that requirement is necessarily true.

I'm really just saying, in my own words, what Objectivists say about Axiomatic truths.

Do you contest such axiomatic reasoning? If so, why?

Does reality, i.e. that which we perceive?

I'm not sure what you mean here... could you elaborate?

Your whole point just seems argumentative and confused.

I can assure you that I very much do not find pleasure in argument for argument's sake, and I certainly do not think that I am confused. If you think I am confused, teach me. If you are not sure what the discussion is about, perhaps you are confused and you can go back to the original post and then ask clarifying questions for further assistance.

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The laws of logic are implicit in a man's first percepts, this is how everyone first gains knowledge of them and how they are validated ostensibly. When you perceive one thing versus another and that they both can not be the same you have your first evidence that A is A. I could go on, but this is covered in ItOE, Galt's Speech, etc.

I've read all the above. This may be the process by which everyone DISCOVERS logic, but it cannot be the way that logic is VALIDATED for the reasons that I have repeatedly listed.

By perception, you may know that logic is true concerning that which you have perceived, but there is no way to know that the idea of logic applying to the unperceived is valid. The validity of the universal application of logic cannot be established by perception- unless one is omniscient and has the entire universe available to his perception all at once.

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I agree with all of that. But I am saying that one cannot know that this is true by perception alone.

"A concept is like an arithmetical sequence of specifically defined units, going off in both directions, open at both ends and including all units of that particular kind."

How do you know that this is true? How does one know that a "[concept] is open at both ends and refers to all units of that particular kind"? Was this piece of knowledge perceived somewhere? And if not, how can it be considered valid knowledge according to the Objectivist doctrine?

I know this, because I can be aware of the process of myself applying the previously formed concepts to new previously unperceived concrete instances. From rocks, trees, dogs, cats, to non-first-level abstractions like number, judaical proceedings, applications of the fundatmental concept of method referred to as logic, etc.

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I've read all the above. This may be the process by which everyone DISCOVERS logic, but it cannot be the way that logic is VALIDATED for the reasons that I have repeatedly listed.

By perception, you may know that logic is true concerning that which you have perceived, but there is no way to know that the idea of logic applying to the unperceived is valid. The validity of the universal application of logic cannot be established by perception- unless one is omniscient and has the entire universe available to his perception all at once.

Nonsense. It would be arbitrary to speculate otherwise without proof, not the other way around.

Edited by EC
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Peikoff summarized it this way straddling page 172 of OPAR:

The point is that one cannot demand omniscience. One cannot ask: "How do I know that a given idea, even if it has been proved on the basis of all the knowledge men have gained so far, will not be overthrown one day by new information as yet undiscovered?" This plaint is tantamount to the declaration: "Human knowledge is limited; so we cannot trust any of our conclusions." And this amounts to taking the myth of an infinite God as the epistemological standard, by reference to which man's consciousness is condemned as impotent.

The given idea: logic.

Proved on the basis of knowledge men have gained so far: validation

New information as yet undiscovered: unperceived

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I am struck by several passages I've looked up in trying to better address this issue.

On page 119 of OPAR,

The law of contradiction is the fundamental principle defining the method of reality-based thought, whatever its forms or complexities. (The study of these forms is the subject of the science of logic.)

I was under the impression that logic was integral to epistemology, but on page 3 we read:

Epistemology is the branch that studies the nature and means of human knowledge.

So, both the science of logic and epistemology have their specialized studies. On page 41 it is suggested that:

Science, indeed, is nothing more than the conceptual unravelling of sensory data; it has no other primary evidence from which to proceed.

The conceptual unravelling is in its essence the process of concept formation. On page 74 it is suggested:

To understand man—and any human concern—one must understand concepts. One must discover what they are, how they are formed, and how they are used, and often misused, in the quest for knowledge.

If the summary of Kant's error was that he attempted to use reason to show how reason was invalid, a similar error could be made by implicity relying on the validity of concepts to try and demonstrate how they might be invalid.

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