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Jacob Lets look at the Peikoff quote:

Axiomatic concepts are not subject to the process of definition. Their referents can be specified only ostensively, by <opar_8> pointing to instances. Everything to be grasped about these facts is implicit in any act of adult cognition; indeed, it is implicit much earlier. "After the first discriminated sensation (or percept)," Miss Rand observes, "man's subsequent knowledge adds nothing to the basic facts designated by the terms 'existence,' 'identity,' 'consciousness.' ..." Subsequent knowledge makes the explicit, conceptual identification of these facts possible. But the facts themselves—which are the data or constituents later to be integrated into the concepts—are present to and from the first such awareness. It is in this sense that a knowledge of axioms is "implicit" from the beginning. "It is this implicit knowledge," Miss Rand holds, "that permits [man's] consciousness to develop further."(9)

Being implicit from the beginning, existence, consciousness, and identity are outside the province of proof. Proof is the derivation of a conclusion from antecedent knowledge, and nothing is antecedent to axioms. Axioms are the starting points of cognition, on which all proofs depend.

One knows that the axioms are true not by inference of any kind, but by sense perception. When one perceives a tomato, for example, there is no evidence that it exists, beyond the fact that one perceives it; there is no evidence that it is something, beyond the fact that one perceives it; and there is no evidence that one is aware, beyond the fact that one is perceiving it. Axioms are perceptual self-evidencies. There is nothing to be said in their behalf except: look at reality.

What is true of tomatoes applies equally to oranges, buildings, people, music, and stars. What philosophy does is to give an abstract statement of such self-evident facts. Philosophy states these facts in universal form. Whatever exists, exists. Whatever exists is what it is. In whatever form one is aware, one is aware.

The above is the validation of the Objectivist axioms. "Validation" I take to be a broader term than "proof," one that subsumes any process of establishing an idea's relationship to reality, whether deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, or perceptual self-evidence. In this sense, one can and must validate every item of knowledge, including axioms. The validation of axioms, however, is the simplest of all: sense perception.

Now lets take Rand's words from ITOE:

An axiomatic concept is the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts. It is implicit in all facts and in all knowledge. It is the fundamentally given and directly perceived or experienced, which requires no proof or explanation, but on which all proofs and explanations rest.

The first and primary axiomatic concepts are "existence," "identity" (which is a corollary of "existence") and "consciousness." One can study what exists and how consciousness functions; but one cannot analyze (or "prove") existence as such, or consciousness as such. These are irreducible primaries. (An attempt to "prove" them is self-contradictory: it is an attempt to "prove" existence by means of nonexistence, and consciousness by means of unconsciousness.)

Existence, identity and consciousness are concepts in that they require identification in conceptual form. Their peculiarity lies in the fact that they are perceived or experienced directly, but grasped conceptually. They are implicit in every state of awareness, from the first sensation to the first percept to the sum of all concepts. After the first discriminated <ioe2_56> sensation (or percept), man's subsequent knowledge adds nothing to the basic facts designated by the terms "existence," "identity," "consciousness"—these facts are contained in any single state of awareness; but what is added by subsequent knowledge is the epistemological need to identify them consciously and self-consciously. The awareness of this need can be reached only at an advanced stage of conceptual development, when one has acquired a sufficient volume of knowledge—and the identification, the fully conscious grasp, can be achieved only by a process of abstraction.

It is not the abstraction of an attribute from a group of existents, but of a basic fact from all facts. Existence and identity are not attributes of existents, they are the existents. Consciousness is an attribute of certain living entities, but it is not an attribute of a given state of awareness, it is that state. Epistemologically, the formation of axiomatic concepts is an act of abstraction, a selective focusing on and mental isolation of metaphysical fundamentals; but metaphysically, it is an act of integration—the widest integration possible to man: it unites and embraces the total of his experience.

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Jacob Lets look at the Peikoff quote:

Now lets take Rand's words from ITOE:

Thanks Plasmatic. I agree with *almost* everything in both quotes. I think I need to be more specific about the point I am trying to make and the point at which I think I and Objectivist idealogy are in conflict.

I am not after HOW we form axiomatic concepts. I agree with Oists on this.

I am after the proper justification for belief in one specific peice of knowledge. That peice of knowledge is as follows:

"The axiom of Identity applies universally to everything"

OR

"Contradictions do not exist"

Both statements say essentially the same thing and both statements represent knowledge.

We all claim to KNOW that "contradictions do not exist".

Epistemology, in part, deals with justification for what we know (truth criteria).

What is the epistemological justification for that bit of knowledge.

Remember: I am *NOT* talking about how we form the concept of "contradiction"/"non-contradictions"/ etc...

I am talking about the justification for believing that those concepts should be applied universally-- what is our justification for calling that "knowledge"?

If you say "because we have perceived no contradictions", how is this any different from a brunetter child believing that non-brunette people do not exist on the basis that he has never perceived any?

It's one thing for the child to say "I don't know if non-brunette people exist or not" (if he has never seen any). But it is different for him to say "non-brunette people do not exist".

Likewise, it is one thing to say "I don't think contradictions exist because I haven't seen any"- but it is very different to say "contradictions do not exist". That statement is a claim to universal knowledge which demands sufficient justification- and perception cannot provide sufficient justification for such a claim unless one has perceived everything in the universe.

So, either that statement should not be considered true (for lack of sufficient justification) OR there is some sort of justification in addition to perception which enables us to justly say that it is true.

Edited by Jacob86
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Jacob,

It doesn't seem to matter how you rephrase the question, the same thing keeps showing up to me. Contradiction is an epistemological term. It references the relationship between a concept and the perception that gives rise to it. When they are in harmony or aligned (the cat is black, looking at a black cat) there is no contradiction. When they are not, (the cat is black, looking at a brown dog) the contradiction exists in the "the cat is black" The dog is not a cat, It is brown not black. The contradiction is not out there in the existents, rather it is in the cognition. In that sense, contradictions do exist, it is percieved when you identify an error in your own, or someone elses thinking.

To tie that in with the axiom of identity applies universally to everything, The dog is the dog. Brown is brown. A contradiction is a contradiction.

Hmmm. I wonder. Is it possible to mentally hold a contradiction about the concept of contradiction?

Edited by dream_weaver
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Jacob, you're asking, "How do we know that we won't discover an existent that doesn't exist, something that is, but is not what it is, an A that is non-A?"

Yes- but only as a hypothetical to show that your epistemology doesn't have a sufficient answer.

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Jacob,

It doesn't seem to matter how you rephrase the question, the same thing keeps showing up to me. Contradiction is an epistemological term. It references the relationship between a concept and the perception that gives rise to it. When they are in harmony or aligned (the cat is black, looking at a black cat) there is no contradiction. When they are not, (the cat is black, looking at a brown dog) the contradiction exists in the "the cat is black" The dog is not a cat, It is brown not black. The contradiction is not out there in the existents, rather it is in the cognition. In that sense, contradictions do exist, it is percieved when you identify an error in your own, or someone elses thinking.

So, identity is only epistemological and not metaphysical? So it is possible that a contradiction exist metaphysically, but not epistemologically?

If not, then would you say that contradictions are metaphysically impossible? And if they are, and you are claiming to know this, then what is your justification for this knowledge?

To tie that in with the axiom of identity applies universally to everything, The dog is the dog. Brown is brown. A contradiction is a contradiction.

Hmmm. I wonder. Is it possible to mentally hold a contradiction about the concept of contradiction?

and this begs the question- how do you know that "brown is brown" universally? Maybe brown is brown in respect to the brown dog you are currently perceiving, but what justification do you have for the belief that brown is brown universally?

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So, identity is only epistemological and not metaphysical? So it is possible that a contradiction exist metaphysically, but not epistemologically?

If not, then would you say that contradictions are metaphysically impossible? And if they are, and you are claiming to know this, then what is your justification for this knowledge?

You are trying to divide something that by its nature is more of a bridge. Metaphysically, a thing is what it is. Epistemologically we create the perceptual visual/auditory percept "a word", to represent the "concept" derived from the perception of the thing. Generally, on the first level concept - there is little margin for contradiction to occur there. If you look at a dog, and call it a cat - contradiction is in calling the dog a cat. In this sense, the contradiction exists epistemologically, not metaphysically. In this sense, the contradiction does not exist metaphysically in the dog, rather it exists in your identification of the dog as a cat.

The interesting part in the justification aspect comes from the paper Plasmatic referenced earlier. A thumbnail sketch would be a child seeing, feeling, hearing others refer to "table" and eventually integrating and uttering "table". This is how we build commonality among people in language of language among people. As children, we learn what others have learned to identify things as. This works well at first-level concepts. There are few arguments based about "this is a table" "no, this is an elephant". As the concept moves further from the perceptual level, i.e. "identity", it becomes obvious that abstractions from abstractions are not as "cleanly" transmitted.

and this begs the question- how do you know that "brown is brown" universally? Maybe brown is brown in respect to the brown dog you are currently perceiving, but what justification do you have for the belief that brown is brown universally?

Have you considered using a color spectrometer? Color ranges are measurable today.

Edited by dream_weaver
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and this begs the question- how do you know that "brown is brown" universally? Maybe brown is brown in respect to the brown dog you are currently perceiving, but what justification do you have for the belief that brown is brown universally?

Brown is brown universally because if it isn't we are seeing something new (or just different) and a new (or just different) word is used.

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Concepts are formed in a context of differences. Example: We would never be able to form the concept of blue if everything was blue. The concept of contradiction presuppose a reality of noncontradictions as the contrast. You would, therefore, never be able to form the concept of contradiction by merely looking at reality. Because in reality there are no contradictions. (How do we know this? The same way we know the grass is green. Through direct observation: there are no things out there which are both red and blue, at the same time and in the same respect.) No, the concept of "contradiction" is and was, as matter of historical fact, formed by observing how ideas (concepts, propositions, arguments, etc.) clash with each other and/or clash with reality.

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If a person threatens to press the glowing red tip of an iron poker against your face, would you stop to consider that perhaps it is only your "perception" that makes the iron dangerously hot?

No. You would protect yourself as needed each and every time.

Perception exists first and foremost as a necessity of survival. The moment human beings mastered nature and rendered survival much less difficult and time consuming, the human mind had more time to turn its powers of perception toward intellectual study.

If A can at any time NOT be A, this means that there is a probability that the glowing red iron might actually be cool and therefor non-threatening. Except you KNOW that it is not cool. It will burn you severely every time it touches your skin. No amount of Quantuum mathematical voodoo is going to convince you that the glowing red iron is anything but a threat to you.

The moment you create this song-and-dance about perception vs. non-perception, you lose the ability to reason. In a world where A could potentially not be A, there would be no valid cause to take any action because the goal you strive for today could change or completely vanish tomorrow. This is the point. If you are unwilling to accept that sensory perception is the path to absolute truths, than you condemn yourself to an unknowable chaos in which nothing has any meaning and no action can be validated or invalidated.

Edited by tygorton
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Jacob, you're asking, "How do we know that we won't discover an existent that doesn't exist, something that is, but is not what it is, an A that is non-A?"

Yes- but only as a hypothetical to show that your epistemology doesn't have a sufficient answer.

Well, I wish I read that before I wrote that long post. I gave this more thought than it deserved.

“An axiom is a proposition that defeats its opponents by the fact that they have to accept it and use it in the process of any attempt to deny it.”

Or to put it bluntly, your demand that “Objectivism can’t prove that at some point in the future there might be one instance of A equaling non-A” is completely dependent upon arguing with the tools of that axiom.

You are counting on the axiom being true at a future point to prove it isn’t.

You need A to equal A to do this, which is exactly what Objectivism does in fact say about axioms and logic. You couldn’t even argue the point if contradictions existed.

You need the Objectivist definition to argue against the Objectivist definition.

Or to put it more elegantly than I did:

Nonsense.

Beautifully succinct.

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If a person threatens to press the glowing red tip of an iron poker against your face, would you stop to consider that perhaps it is only your "perception" that makes the iron dangerously hot?

No. You would protect yourself as needed each and every time.

Perception exists first and foremost as a necessity of survival. The moment human beings mastered nature and rendered survival much less difficult and time consuming, the human mind had more time to turn its powers of perception toward intellectual study.

If A can at any time NOT be A, this means that there is a probability that the glowing red iron might actually be cool and therefor non-threatening. Except you KNOW that it is not cool. It will burn you severely every time it touches your skin. No amount of Quantuum mathematical voodoo is going to convince you that the glowing red iron is anything but a threat to you.

The moment you create this song-and-dance about perception vs. non-perception, you lose the ability to reason. In a world where A could potentially not be A, there would be no valid cause to take any action because the goal you strive for today could change or completely vanish tomorrow. This is the point. If you are unwilling to accept that sensory perception is the path to absolute truths, than you condemn yourself to an unknowable chaos in which nothing has any meaning and no action can be validated or invalidated.

*Please* take the time to familiarize yourself with my actual position before responding and accusing me of a "song and dance".

I am a very staunch defender of the laws of logic- and it is for that reason that I have begun this thread. I believe that Objectivist Epistemology undermines the validity of logic and, in due time, will cause people to doubt it.

I hold that just as altruism undermines capatalism (no matter how much someone claims to be both), so Objectivist Epistemology undermines the Laws of Logic.

So, the "song and dance" which you have mistaken for my position is actually a "reductio ad absurdum" argument. I am pretending to take Objectivist Epistemology seriously and taking it to its logical conclusion: Only accept knowledge that is based in my perception- and therefore doubt that which is not based in my perception. I have not perceived the universal validity of the axioms and therefore I can't find any justified reason to believe that they are universally valid (under obj. epist.)

Now can you provide me with any justified reason through perception that one should believe the axioms to be universally true?

I've got my own justified reasons for believing they are universally true-- but they don't follow the Objectivist doctrine that all knowledge comes from perception.

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I do not believe Objectivist Epistemology deals in axioms, and I stated my reason in the above post via metaphor.

At the most fundamental level, life has only one purpose: to survive. All absolutes within the universe are arranged to offer life that opportunity.

Perception is every living oranism's means of survival. If any organism, whether it be an insect, lion, or human being, were unable to hold absolutes based upon their perception, survival would be impossible.

A great example of a human being who was unable to use their sensory perception, as Ayn Rand points out in "Philosophy: Who Needs It?" was Hellen Keller. She was blind, deaf, and mute. She was reduced to an animalistic state completely incapable of survival and had no understanding of the world beyond chaotic anger and despair. Only when her teacher, by her endless efforts, was able to leverage one of her remaining sensory perceptions (touch) in order to sign letters of the alphabet into her hand, did Keller have a breakthrough. Once she grasped that W A T E R was connected to the wet liquid on her hands by way of constant repetition, reality sprang into focus. She not only learned how to communicate, she earned herself a college education.

Now if you are suggesting that Hellen Keller could have come to any understanding about reality and the world around her WITHOUT her sensory perception of touch, I'd love to have you explain it. The truth is, if she had not had the ability to feel touch, in other words, if she had not been able to feel the signed letters into her palm, she would have forever been locked in total darkness. By what method, if not perception, could she have possibly "acquired" any absolute truths about her world??

Again, perception's primary function is to enable survival. Survival requires absolutes, i.e., this plant is toxic and this plant provides nourishment. If perception were unable to provide absolutes wiith absolute accuracy, survival would be rendered a "guessing game" and we would exist in chaos. From that concrete truth, perception is leveraged by the human mind to gain absolute truths that go beyond mere survival. Because we know our perception provides us with every absolute truth we require to survive, how would perception then become any less capable in providing us with absolutes about those things which do not directly pertain to survival?

You are playing this absurd and pretentious game on this forum with the sole purpose of creating doubt in others. You claim that "I've got my own justified reasons for believing they are universally true" but you keep it in your pocket so you can continue this little charade. If you were after a valid debate you would offer your "reasons" and we could move on from there, but you would rather belittle Objectivism and reveal your own petty nature instead.

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You are playing this absurd and pretentious game on this forum with the sole purpose of creating doubt in others. You claim that "I've got my own justified reasons for believing they are universally true" but you keep it in your pocket so you can continue this little charade. If you were after a valid debate you would offer your "reasons" and we could move on from there, but you would rather belittle Objectivism and reveal your own petty nature instead.

Just to save you some time, Jacob has explained his position throughout the thread (there's a post somewhere I'm sure summarizing his ideas), but the issue or disagreement seems to be over how anyone can justify that the law of identity applies to all things if you haven't seen all things in existence. Sort of like "how can an Objectivist say there are no people who are thirty feet tall unless you see all people in existence?" Whether his objections are sensible is a separate issue (and seem to me mostly missing how Objectivist episetmology even works).

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Just to save you some time, Jacob has explained his position throughout the thread (there's a post somewhere I'm sure summarizing his ideas), but the issue or disagreement seems to be over how anyone can justify that the law of identity applies to all things if you haven't seen all things in existence. Sort of like "how can an Objectivist say there are no people who are thirty feet tall unless you see all people in existence?" Whether his objections are sensible is a separate issue (and seem to me mostly missing how Objectivist episetmology even works).

I did read through many of Jacob's post before entering the discussion and came across the points you bring up above. However, I need to point out that what you offer above does not apply to Jacob's "justified reasons for believing they [the supposed underlying axioms] are universally true". All he has offered is why he believes the Objectivist approach does not have any ground to stand on in regard to these so called axioms. He has neatly kept his "justified reasons" for believing in absolutes to himself.

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Very well. Prove to me by perception that we will never discover a contradiction.

From nonsense to insanity, but not at all surprising.

You, Jacob, seem to hold the view that the "Existence," "Identity" and "Consciousness" are dubious and tenuous inductions which can only be validated by gross enumeration, by perceiving everything that exists, has ever existed or will ever exist.

However:

Axiomatic Concepts (Lexicon):

Axioms are usually considered to be propositions identifying a fundamental, self-evident truth. But explicit propositions as such are not primaries: they are made of concepts. The base of man’s knowledge—of all other concepts, all axioms, propositions and thought—consists of axiomatic concepts."

An axiomatic concept is the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts. It is implicit in all facts and in all knowledge. It is the fundamentally given and directly perceived or experienced, which requires no proof or explanation, but on which all proofs and explanations rest.

The first and primary axiomatic concepts are “existence,” “identity” (which is a corollary of “existence”) and “consciousness.” One can study what exists and how consciousness functions; but one cannot analyze (or “prove”) existence as such, or consciousness as such. These are irreducible primaries. (An attempt to “prove” them is self-contradictory: it is an attempt to “prove” existence by means of non-existence, and consciousness by means of unconsciousness.) Axiomatic Concepts, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 55

And:

[The] underscoring of primary facts is one of the crucial epistemological functions of axiomatic concepts. It is also the reason why they can be translated into a statement only in the form of a repetition (as a base and a reminder): Existence exists—Consciousness is conscious—A is A. (This converts axiomatic concepts into formal axioms.)" Axiomatic Concepts, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 59 [my bold]

And:

One knows that the axioms are true not by inference of any kind, but by sense perception. When one perceives a tomato, for example, there is no evidence that it exists, beyond the fact that one perceives it; there is no evidence that it is something, beyond the fact that one perceives it; and there is no evidence that one is aware, beyond the fact that one is perceiving it. Axioms are perceptual self-evidencies. There is nothing to be said in their behalf except: look at reality.

What is true of tomatoes applies equally to oranges, buildings, people, music, and stars. What philosophy does is to give an abstract statement of such self-evident facts. Philosophy states these facts in universal form. Whatever exists, exists. Whatever exists is what it is. In whatever form one is aware, one is aware.

The above is the validation of the Objectivist axioms. “Validation” I take to be a broader term than “proof,” one that subsumes any process of establishing an idea’s relationship to reality, whether deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, or perceptual self-evidence. In this sense, one can and must validate every item of knowledge, including axioms. The validation of axioms, however, is the simplest of all: sense perception.

The fact that axioms are available to perception does not mean that all human beings accept or even grasp axioms in conscious, conceptual terms. Vast numbers of men, such as primitives, never progress beyond implicit knowledge of the axioms. Lacking explicit philosophic identification of this knowledge, they have no way to adhere to the axioms consistently and typically fall into some form of contradicting the self-evident, as in the various magical world views, which (implicitly) deny the law of identity. Such men stunt their minds by subjecting themselves to an undeclared epistemological civil war. The war pits their professed outlook on the world against the implicit knowledge on which they are actually counting in order to survive.

Even lower are the men of an advanced civilization who - thanks to the work of the genius such as Aristotle - know the explicit identification of the axioms, then consciously reject them. A declared inner war - i.e., deliberate, systematic self-contradiction - is the essence of the intellectual life of such individuals. Examples include those philosophers of the past two centuries who reject the very idea of the self-evident as the base of all knowledge, and who then repudiate all three of the basic axioms, attacking them as "arbitrary postulates," "linguistic conventions," or "Western prejudice." Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, 8-9. [my bold]

You, Jacob, are caught in your own Primacy of Consciousness premise, now demanding proof of the self-evident because you have divorced your own mind from reality.

Yet you dare to say that you "believe that Objectivist Epistemology undermines the validity of logic and, in due time, will cause people to doubt it"!

Primacy of Existence vs. Primacy of Consciousness (Lexicon):

The basic metaphysical issue that lies at the root of any system of philosophy [is] the primacy of existence or the primacy of consciousness.

The primacy of existence (of reality) is the axiom that existence exists, i.e., that the universe exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness), that things are what they are, that they possess a specific nature, an identity. The epistemological corollary is the axiom that consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists—and that man gains knowledge of reality by looking outward. The rejection of these axioms represents a reversal: the primacy of consciousness—the notion that the universe has no independent existence, that it is the product of a consciousness (either human or divine or both). The epistemological corollary is the notion that man gains knowledge of reality by looking inward (either at his own consciousness or at the revelations it receives from another, superior consciousness).

The source of this reversal is the inability or unwillingness fully to grasp the difference between one’s inner state and the outer world, i.e., between the perceiver and the perceived (thus blending consciousness and existence into one indeterminate package-deal). This crucial distinction is not given to man automatically; it has to be learned. It is implicit in any awareness, but it has to be grasped conceptually and held as an absolute. "The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made," Philosophy: Who Needs It, 24

You, Jacob, are a few centuries too late to be the savior of God from Reason. Immanuel Kant beat you to it. We live is a Kantian world, a world dominated by Kant's philosophy, and you are one proof.

Edited by Trebor
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I did read through many of Jacob's post before entering the discussion and came across the points you bring up above. However, I need to point out that what you offer above does not apply to Jacob's "justified reasons for believing they [the supposed underlying axioms] are universally true". All he has offered is why he believes the Objectivist approach does not have any ground to stand on in regard to these so called axioms. He has neatly kept his "justified reasons" for believing in absolutes to himself.

Actually I've stated them a few times (and am happy to do so upon request-- all you have to do is ask). :)

In my epistemology, the reason we know that the laws of logic hold universally is because the contrary (the idea that they don't hold... that there are contradictions in reality) is an impossible state of affairs. In other words, because it is impossible that contradictions exist, therefore it is logically necessary that "contradictions do not exist". This is the only justification I can imagine for a belief that the law of non-contradiction applies universally (and therefore I hold to it). It's sort of invincible.

On the flip side, the idea that perception gives us justification to believe that the LNC applies universally is very flimsy. Why in the world (apart from my epistemology above) should someone assume that something they have perceived in existents is a universal among all unperceived existents? There is no justification in perception to believe that what one has perceived is universally applicable.

And for the record, I am very much not "anti-perception". My argument is simply that perception is not enough.

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Perception is every living oranism's means of survival. If any organism, whether it be an insect, lion, or human being, were unable to hold absolutes based upon their perception, survival would be impossible.

A great example of a human being who was unable to use their sensory perception, as Ayn Rand points out in "Philosophy: Who Needs It?" was Hellen Keller. She was blind, deaf, and mute. She was reduced to an animalistic state completely incapable of survival and had no understanding of the world beyond chaotic anger and despair. Only when her teacher, by her endless efforts, was able to leverage one of her remaining sensory perceptions (touch) in order to sign letters of the alphabet into her hand, did Keller have a breakthrough. Once she grasped that W A T E R was connected to the wet liquid on her hands by way of constant repetition, reality sprang into focus. She not only learned how to communicate, she earned herself a college education.

Now if you are suggesting that Hellen Keller could have come to any understanding about reality and the world around her WITHOUT her sensory perception of touch, I'd love to have you explain it. The truth is, if she had not had the ability to feel touch, in other words, if she had not been able to feel the signed letters into her palm, she would have forever been locked in total darkness. By what method, if not perception, could she have possibly "acquired" any absolute truths about her world??

Interesting example. I would suggest that while perception is essential in every living organism's means of survival, your example also illustrates that man's means of survival is reason. "She was reduced to an animalistic state, completely incapable of survival" - until she connected W A T E R to the wet liquid on her hands. At that point, reason simultaneously differentiated and integrated the two percepts together (from all the other sensations of writing on the palm combined with contact of other objects) into a single new mental concrete. The implicit A is A had its foundations laid in W A T E R is "the wet liquid on my hands". By going on from there, she could add C H I C K E N is "this meat", C O R N is "this starchy tasting vegetable" - and would be able to integrate at some point in her future that every thing is what it is. A is A is only an irreducible primary in a philosophic sense. It can, however, be conceptually reduced back to the precepts which gave rise to it.

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From nonsense to insanity, but not at all surprising. You, Jacob, seem to hold the view that the "Existence," "Identity" and "Consciousness" are dubious and tenuous inductions which can only be validated by gross enumeration, by perceiving everything that exists, has ever existed or will ever exist.

Quite the contrary, actually. One of the reasons I began to love Rand's philosophy was because of her strong convictions about those foundational things being firm, certain, and undeniable. I was shocked, however, when I read that she placed such things on such flimsy Epistemological ground.

When I argue that the axioms are "dubious and tenuous inductions" it is only as a reductio ad absurdum argument in which I am attempting to take the Oist Epistemological doctrine seriously.

In effect, the majority of what I have said should be read with a giant IF front of it. "IF the axioms are primarily validated through perception, then the axioms are, indeed, dubious and tenuous inductions which can only be validated by gross enumeration, by perceiving everything that exists, has ever existed, or will ever exist".

Everyone on here keeps ignoring the "IF, THEN" structure of my argument and then accusing me of holding to the "THEN" position personally-- which is exactly the opposite of my position. The "THEN" part is stupid, false, and evil-- and therefore needs to be avoided. That is my purpose on here. I am convinced that the Objectivist position (the "IF") leads to the "THEN", and therefore should be altered/ avoided.

I'm going to ignore your insulting references to primacy of consciousness & similarities to Immannuel Kant because I assume that they were based on misunderstanding my position-- which should be fixed after reading the above.

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From nonsense to insanity, but not at all surprising.

You, Jacob, seem to hold the view that the "Existence," "Identity" and "Consciousness" are dubious and tenuous inductions which can only be validated by gross enumeration, by perceiving everything that exists, has ever existed or will ever exist.

However:

Axiomatic Concepts (Lexicon):

And:

You, Jacob, are caught in your own Primacy of Consciousness premise, now demanding proof of the self-evident because you have divorced your own mind from reality.

Yet you dare to say that you "believe that Objectivist Epistemology undermines the validity of logic and, in due time, will cause people to doubt it"!

Primacy of Existence vs. Primacy of Consciousness (Lexicon):

You, Jacob, are a few centuries too late to be the savior of God from Reason. Immanuel Kant beat you to it. We live is a Kantian world, a world dominated by Kant's philosophy, and you are one proof.

This is a great example of certain Objectivists' impotent debate tactics. You call him insane (not a valid argument against his point), you say he's wrong because he's "divorced his mind from reality" (not a valid argument against his point), then you just link to the lexicon (which doesn't really help, since you don't do anything to explain how these writings bears on his point), then, the ultimate insult, compare him to the nefarious Immanuel Kant, fit with lexicon link and waxing poetically against the "Kantian world" we live in. What Jacob is doing is arguing against a straw man of Objectivism from a Humean position on the foundations of knowledge, it's not "insane" or mentally ill, or anything else. Confused, yes, but this kind of argument from intimidation or hyperbole would not be tolerated in scholarly debate and would not do anything to fight against the anti-realist trend you complain about or to help advance Objectivism.
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What Jacob is doing is arguing against a straw man of Objectivism from a Humean position on the foundations of knowledge, it's not "insane" or mentally ill, or anything else. Confused, yes, but this kind of argument from intimidation or hyperbole would not be tolerated in scholarly debate and would not do anything to fight against the anti-realist trend you complain about or to help advance Objectivism.

I agree, discussion would be more productive if it was argued/discussed why Hume was wrong about knowledge. Kant basically didn't care about perception, while Hume at least pointed at what he thought were problems about perception in acquiring knowledge. I think Objectivism addresses "issues" Hume put forth fine, but focusing on Kantian premises as the error won't work, because that really isn't even the error. Kant isn't the only bad philosopher, he's just one of many. I rather liked how people were talking about contradiction being an epistemological term.

Edited by Eiuol
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