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Jacob86
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I was talking to Ben about this topic and he reminded me of his paper on this topic:

http://www.benbayer....tractionism.pdf

"As a form of direct, non-propositional awareness, the perception of similarity needs no justification for the same reason that direct perception of objects needs none: it is not the kind of awareness that can be true or false."

It seems to allude to non-propositional episodic memory also qualifying as being neither true nor false in this passage:

"One issue is the mere frequency of perceived similarities, and plausibly one could possess rough non-propositional episodic memory of relative frequency, given enough repetition."

I would tend to identify these as the crux of his presentation, with episodic memory serving as the basis for semantic memory.

(edited for text size)

Edited by dream_weaver
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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.

So, you are aware of your own subjective experience of applying those concepts- but what objective ground do you have to believe that you are applying accurately?

The way you have left it turns the whole thing into a subjective experience.

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

Wouldn't it be "arbitrary" to speculate ANYTHING about the unperceived?? Including the idea that "contradictions don't exist"?

What ground do you have for this speculation? And on what ground do you hold such a speculation to be so certain as to make it an axiom in your philosophy?

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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

I agree with the purpose of what he is saying: The lack of omniscience is not equal to the lack of knowledge, per se. In other words, one need not know everything in order to know some things- and even the fact that we may be wrong on some things does not negate those things which we are right about.

I am a VERY strong supporter of this view toward knowledge. However, if there is to be any order in the "Epistemological Universe", we must make clear distinctions between "what we know to be true with certainty" and "what we think to be true by conjecture". We must have strict and clear criteria for distinguishing "certain fact" from "conjecture" and even "probability".

According to the Prime Objectivist Criteria (Perception), the idea that logic (or anything else) is universal is merely a high probability at best, and simple conjecture at worst.

The fact that you observe no contradictions now and then conclude that contradictions are impossible (on that basis alone) is no less arbitrary than a child observing that when he cries he gets milk and then concluding that it will always be so.

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According to the Prime Objectivist Criteria (Perception), the idea that logic (or anything else) is universal is merely a high probability at best, and simple conjecture at worst.

The issue seems to be one that I do not question that the data of sense is given, and also accept the relationship between first level concepts and the non-propositional concretes they represent as given. Even the concept of contradiction requires an understanding of where they arise. A contradiction only exists as a refusal to accept that our propositions have a relationship between the words used to express them, and the data of sense from which the concepts were derived. A contradiction is admission of an error of knowledge, A contradiction is an indicator that the method used to conceptualize ones grasp of reality has erred. It is an epistemological, not a metaphysical term. If you are wondering how you know that contradictions cannot exist metaphysically, perhaps you are applying the test of validity to the wrong realm.

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

You form concepts based on what you perceive, and as you perceive more referents of your concepts, you learn that the things you learned before apply to new things.

As you explore the world, you find that the world is bigger than you thought it was when you only knew the inside of your house. And you find that certain things you've learned apply to everything you've seen so far. Implicitly, at first. Then explicitly if/when you develop a conscious recognition of it. It all exists. (Existence.) Everything is something specific. (Identity.) You know of these things by perceiving them. (Consciousness is to be conscious of something.) But it was there before you perceived it, it remains there when you're not perceiving it, and you can't affect it unless you act on it physically. (Primacy of Existence.)

Applying what you've learned about the world so far, you can conclude that those three axioms apply to everything that exists, even if you haven't perceived it yet. Everything that exists, exists. Everything that exists, is something specific. And in order to know about anything, you have to be conscious of it.

Everything you've ever encountered in your life was there. It existed. Even when you weren't looking at it, it was still there acting according to its nature. Everything you've ever encountered in your life was something specific. It had certain properties. It had an identity. Everything you've ever (truly) known, had to be justified by perception at some point. Anything not conceptually traceable back to perception is a floating abstraction with no connection to reality.

Is it really that difficult to understand? Or are you going to continue to complain about the law of identity and the contextual nature of knowledge applying to your senses/mind because you can't know the whole universe?

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According to the Prime Objectivist Criteria (Perception), the idea that logic (or anything else) is universal is merely a high probability at best, and simple conjecture at worst.

The fact that you observe no contradictions now and then conclude that contradictions are impossible (on that basis alone) is no less arbitrary than a child observing that when he cries he gets milk and then concluding that it will always be so.

And thus the cat is out of the bag. You're just a skepticist who believes that we can't be absolutely certain about anything. Either that or you're incapable of applying the knowledge you've gained about the world so far.

If I shove you off a cliff, how can you be certain you'll die?? After all, you haven't perceived your death yet!

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"Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned." - Avicenna

umm.. agreed. I love how I explicitly and repeatedly state that I am DEFENDING the LNC and then get accused of denying it. LOL!

I deny your ground for the LNC for the same reasons that we would both deny the Altruist's grounds for Capitalism. In doing so, we are not fighting against Capitalism, but for it.

Objectivist Epistemology is to the LNC what Altruism is to Capitalism.

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And thus the cat is out of the bag. You're just a skepticist who believes that we can't be absolutely certain about anything. Either that or you're incapable of applying the knowledge you've gained about the world so far.

If I shove you off a cliff, how can you be certain you'll die?? After all, you haven't perceived your death yet!

In the HOPES that the moderators will catch and correct your rude, arrogant, and ignorant comments, I will refrain from responding to them for now and simply ask that you read the Original Post and familiarize yourself with my *actual* position and the *actual* nature of the discussion being had in this thread so that you can (perhaps) contribute to it in a meaningful way. I think you will find that you have grossly misunderstood my positions and the points that I am attempting to make.

*EDIT*: In addition to the original post, I would like to also direct your attention to post #15

Edited by Jacob86
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Jacob86-- Maybe this will go more smoothly if you explicitly state how you believe the Law of Non-Contradiction is acquired by a person? Since you seem to reject that a person implicitly learns about it by directly perceiving reality as a child and then sometimes understands it more explicitly as he gains more knowledge (of philosophy, etc.) learning how you believe the process develops will help us.

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I've re-read the posts you mentioned. Post #15 being a quote of Post #1.

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.

You can't really validate an axiom, since the axioms are the basis of all validation. But this doesn't mean the entire system of Objectivism is arbitrary. Objectivism, including its axioms, is grounded in observation of reality at every step of the way. Rand didn't just sit in an armchair and pull Objectivism out of her ass. She induced the whole system. It only appears to have been deduced because she integrated her knowledge of reality so tightly that it can be easily traversed logically.

Objectivist epistemology can't undermine the law of non-contradiction. Objectivist epistemology is explicitly and implicitly the only way you could ever grasp the law of non-contradiction (in reality itself, not just in logical systems of thought).

I made fun of you because I don't take your position seriously. You basically think that Objectivist epistemology undermines one of its own axioms somehow. (The Law of Non-Contradiction is basically the Law of Identity.) People who don't understand Objectivism and how it was derived from reality and then claim that they have a false/contradictory position that is superior to the (true, consistent) Objectivist position don't really deserve to be taken seriously. Especially when they vaguely misrepresent the Objectivist position and never reveal their own.

If you want us to explain to you how Objectivist epistemology supports the Law of Non-Contradiction (Identity, which is, you know, an axiom of Objectivism), you should explain to us what you think is wrong with it and how you think it should be done. Then we'll correct you. Since you support the Law of Non-Contradiction by some means other than observation, why don't you explain to us how you've done it. What is this superior method of knowing the Law of Non-Contradiction (Identity) that you have discovered?

In addition to this post, I would like to direct your attention to #108, #109, #113, and to the world around you.

EDIT: I should correct myself. An epistemology can neither support nor undermine the Law of Identity/Non-Contradiction. Reality has primacy over consciousness, therefore the Law of Identity is true whether your epistemology is true or not. Your epistemology is simply your means of knowing the Law of Identity.

Objectivist Epistemology supports the Law of Identity insofar as it allows you to identify it.

Edited by Amaroq
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No, Amaroq, I'm afraid you have it all wrong. Indeed Rand too had it all wrong with her epistemology. In her system, in order to gain knowledge about anything unperceived, you have to establish a relation to something that is perceived via the process of measurement omission and abstraction. But this is all wrong. I am in total agreement with Jacob's philosophy. How did I come to acquiesce in this you ask? Well, I was able to achieve a Plotinus-style "standing outside of my own body" (I don't know if this is how you discovered your epistemology) and I have indeed discovered, through an entirely non-subjective process of direct necessitation, that the law of identity and its corollaries do indeed apply to all things unperceived by man, and for another that there is no God. Now I know Jacob might object to such conclusions and demand evidence that I have indeed had such an experience (you know, in order to relate it back to your perceptual-awareness), but I remind you that just because you didn't perceive me do it doesn't mean that you can go applying the laws of logic to it, on your argument's own grounds. I understand that puts you in a strange position, but I'm sure you will think of something.

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Also, being rude was kind of intended. I was, after all, emphasizing how ridiculous your position is. But I find it interesting that you think of my comments as arrogant and ignorant.

I've recently discovered, in a first-handed way, the phenomenon of people making out their own inferiorities to be superiorities and their weaknesses to be strengths, simultaneously implying that my strengths, and the things about me that make me better than them, are really things that make me inferior to them. Ever since I discovered this, I've been seeing it everywhere. Christians telling me that my reliance on reason means I can't "think outside of the box" about the "bigger picture". Altruists telling me that being self-interested means I'm "incapable of thinking outside of myself." Any number of people telling me that my well-thought out, well-articulated positions tell them "how little know".

Your claim that I'm arrogant and ignorant amuses me greatly, because now that I've identified this principle, I see you doing the same thing that I see all these other irrational people doing. I have the correct position, and you have the ridiculous position, and I'm willing to say so without apologizing. I didn't apologize for having the right answer and I didn't apologize for being confident in my answer. And in your eyes, that makes me "arrogant" and "ignorant". In other words, the very things that make me better than you, actually make me inferior to you in your eyes. Or rather, you want it to make me inferior to you in my eyes. But I reject that notion and laugh at it.

Edited by Amaroq
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Amaroq-- I know also that your position is correct, and I also don't think there is anything wrong to a certain point with being a little rude to people who either purposely won't or can't see obvious answers or state their own. To a degree it is moral and just. But... I don't think a childish sing-song chant of "I am better than you" helps matters or your position, especially if your goal is to prove that you are correct.

Edited by EC
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For all-- The reason why I asked how Jacob believes that knowledge of the laws of logic are acquired is because if they were not gained as O'ism states that only leaves two other irrational means. Such as being born with such knowledge which is impossible since all men are born tabula rasa and have knowledge of nothing when they are born, or it is acquired via supernatural means which is irrational and completely arbitrary.

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Well he did ask me if A=A applies in a galaxy far far away (not those exact words, but close) so via implication he was at least suggesting that.

So you are stating that logic doesn't apply to things that you are another person has not yet directly perceived but due to the nature of the universe must exist? How is this not primacy of consciousness?

Edited by EC
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So you are stating that logic doesn't apply to things that you are another person has not yet directly perceived but due to the nature of the universe must exist? How is this not primacy of consciousness?

No, I'm saying that I have perceived via a mystic revelation that has taken me outside of my own body that I have indeed been able to verify that logic does apply to all of the unperceived, and that since Jacob claims not to be able to apply the laws of logic to things unperceived, then he doesn't have any grounds to deny this revelation of mine is in any way contradictory of facts known.

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No, I'm saying that I have perceived via a mystic revelation that has taken me outside of my own body that I have indeed been able to verify that logic does apply to all of the unperceived, and that since Jacob claims not to be able to apply the laws of logic to things unperceived, then he doesn't have any grounds to deny this revelation of mine is in any way contradictory of facts known.

Ahh... clever trick.

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I don't think you are addressing the issues Jacob raises -- you are simply engaging in stupidity and/or ad hominem attacks.

The questions he raises are valid -- I've wrestled with them myself -- and it doesn't help to have mere invective raised as an argument.

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Didn't he say that he didn't think logic could be applied to the un-perceived?

No. He said that IF the Oist Doctrine was true, then logic can't be applied to the unperceived.

It's called "Reductio Ad Absurdum". He's assuming the objectivist doctrine that perception is the only source of knowledge and being consistent with it by applying it to something that most Objectivists would never think to apply it to: axioms- particularly Identity or "Logic".

It seems like he made that clear in the original post.

But, why not just ask him directly if you are unsure about what he has meant?

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