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Jacob86
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No I can't see how you infer any of that from the former. So that might be a productive area to focus on, to explain these conclusions and how you derived them.

Sorry, 2046. I think there was a misunderstanding. The scentence you said did not contradict Rand was a small side-response to dream-weaver to clarify a small part of what I said in a previous post. I don't say that Rand disagrees with that part.

The rest of what I posted to you was to make clear where our disagreements are. While, the issues are related, I didn't mean to imply that that was my argument.

My reasoning for those things is spelled out in my past few posts to DreamWeaver and Eiuol.

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Would you consider a recollection a percept?

I'm not sure what you mean.

And what just ground do you have to believe that you can/should commit such integrating & identification?

You see, I agree with you guys (once again) on how concepts are formed. I'm simply wanting to focus in on an aspect of the process which you seem to overlook- an aspect that implies that perception cannot be the only means of validation.

Have you perceived somewhere that you rightly can & should isolate, identify, and integrate percepts in such a way as you do (assuming that A is A the whole time)?

The entire process of forming concepts assumes the universal validity of the LI. How do you know that such an assumption is warranted? Because you have perceived that the assumption is warranted or because you have reasoned that it is (and must be) warranted?

If the former, please direct my perception to where I may perceive this.

If the latter, then we have succesfully validated an idea (that A is A is universally true) apart from appealing to perception.

deja vu.

If reality is not self-evidently convincing enough, . . .

Edited by dream_weaver
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Dr. Peikoff reduced the principle that all knowledge is reducible to the perceptual in his "Art of Thinking" course. It went like this:

Reduce hierarchy (Reduce reducibility) (in this example going from top down)

  1. Knowledge is hierarchical (start)
  2. Knowledge is conceptual
  3. Concepts are abstractions
  4. Some abstractions are of percepts (perceptual level)

Kind of a side point, but wouldn't the Objectivist not want to say "SOME" at the beginning of 4? What about the abstractions that arent of percepts? (Since "some" implies that others are not of percepts).

Regarding 3, I'd say that concepts are formed via abstraction, but not that they are abstractions. That would seem to imply that a any given concept in my head is the same as the abstraction I performed in creating that concept, which would seem to imply that the concept is the same as the particular perceptual content abstracted and not applicable or referring to anything else.

This kind of gets back into the issues of universals, nominalism, realism, etc.. which I think I'd rather focus on in the other thread-- but I suppose they are inevitably linked.

Yes, but the tie to the perceptual is what validates a concept or proposition.

That's the premise that I'm challenging.

NOT that "the tie to perception validates a concept or proposition", but that tying a concept/proposition to perception is the only way to validate it.

What does not relate back to the perceptual is called a floating abstraction.

Then why isn't "A is A" a "floating abstraction"?

Logic alone can find contradictions between propositions but not contradictions between a proposition and the underlying reality to which it refers.

...unless the underlying reality to which it is referring is a relationship.. like it's relationship to itself (A is A), or to it's opposite (A is not ~A).

You see, you are assuming that the only "underlying reality" to which something can refer is that sum of data given by your perceptual grid. Once again, I would argue that there is much reason to believe that there is (and must be) more to reality than what is provided by a perceptual grid, and that your perceptual grid alone can tell you nothing about whether it exhausts reality or not.

To go back to what you said here, would you claim that the laws of logic do not refer to an underlying reality? If not, then they are not valid.

If they are valid, then they refer to an underlying reality (since that is what it means for an idea to be valid).

And now let us show that logic alone can find a contradiction between reality and at least one type of proposition...

Proposition: "A is ~A".

This is a proposition that is false (contradicts reality). And by logic alone, we can "find" that it contradicts reality. The LNC says that "A is not ~A" and (assuming that we both agree that the LNC reflects reality) therefore the proposition contradicts reality.

Furthermore, propositions cannot even be created and examined for contradiction without there first being cognitive content, input from the senses. The relation between perceiving and conceiving is not merely chronological but causal, and therefore logical in every particular case.

You're forgetting once again the difference between forming concepts and criteria to determine if concepts/prop.s are valid or not. Regarding what you've said about the "causal" relationship, you could say that perception is an instrumental cause in conceiving, but it is not by any means a sufficient or primary cause (remember, conceptualizing is volitional and not automatic). There is no reason to think that perception as an instrumental cause would have a logical (rather than merely chronological) priority over conceiving.

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Jacob's metaphysics: God exists because he is the logically necessary Prime Mover-Consciousness who created existence.

Jacob's metaphysics: We know that God exists, because he is the logically necessary Prime Mover- Existent who is conscious- who created all other existents.

Jacob's epistemology: The laws of logic are universally true because it would be illogical were they not.

We know that the laws of logic are universally true because the contrary is impossible.

A is A, A thing is itself, due to our (or God's) awareness of the laws of logic, not because Existence is Identity.

Where does this come from?

Although we can perceive an A, and our perception of that A is self-evident, we cannot say that any (and all) A is A without a prior acceptance of the laws of logic.

Although we can perceive an A, and our perception of that A is self-evident, we cannot say that any (and all) A is A without the prior implication of the laws of logic.

The laws of logic do not rest upon the axiomatic concepts of "Existence," "Identity" and "Consciousness,"

The laws of logic are corrolaries of "Identity" and epistemologically, the other two axioms rest on the axiom of identity because they are functions of that law--- they are propositions which could not be true if the law of identity were not true.

not on the basis of perception, on the evidence of perception (from which we form the concepts "Existence," "Identity," and "Consciousness"), as that would be an induction and could only be validated by omniscient awareness of all things that have ever been, that are, and that will ever be.

Isn't this sort of how all induction works? lol. You don't abstract every attribute you perceive and apply it to all existents universally. There's a strict system that regulates justified extentions of attributes vs unjustified ones. I think one of the problems might be that Objectivists just haven't thought through this system very carefully yet ;)

Regardless, I think we would both agree that you need a justification to extend any given perceived attribute and you haven't supplied a reason (from perception) that one ought to extend identity to all existents. I've listed a reason from...reason.. lol... and I think you are assuming the same reason, but not wanting to admit it because it isn't perceived.

Thank God for existence and logic!

Thank God for other existents and our ability to use logic!

I'm certainly looking forward to Jacob's ethics. God knows that we need morality.

Stay tuned ;D

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

Actually, observation shows that reproduction appears to be the purpose of life: survival is important insofar as it furthers that purpose. There are some examples (spiders, mantises, etc.) of life forms losing their lives for the purpose of reproduction, and, more generally, survival is compromised by reproduction for most if not all life forms (animals risking their own lives to defend their young, the considerable "cost" of raising offspring, the depletion of energy for reproduction seen in both plants and animals, increased vulnerability to predators, etc.). So, survival would appear to be secondary, a means of serving the primary purpose of reproduction.

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Kind of a side point, but wouldn't the Objectivist not want to say "SOME" at the beginning of 4? What about the abstractions that arent of percepts? (Since "some" implies that others are not of percepts).

Some abstractions are from other abstractions. See chapter 3 of Introduction of Objectivist Epistemology, "Abstraction from Abstractions". A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted. The units integrated can be percepts or previously formed concepts. The result is a new concept which is chronologically, causally, and logically dependent on its units' validity in order to be valid itself.

Regarding 3, I'd say that concepts are formed via abstraction, but not that they are abstractions.

Concepts can be referred to as abstractions or as integrations because they are both.

That would seem to imply that a any given concept in my head is the same as the abstraction I performed in creating that concept, which would seem to imply that the concept is the same as the particular perceptual content abstracted and not applicable or referring to anything else.

It would seem that you use the phrase "that would seem" when you want to state something without justifying it.

That's the premise that I'm challenging.

NOT that "the tie to perception validates a concept or proposition", but that tying a concept/proposition to perception is the only way to validate it.

After you learn the secret Objectivist handshake and have advanced to 33rd level Objectivist, you will learn that the reduction to percepts is necessary but not sufficient to validate any concept. But because it is necessary, any concept which cannot be so reduced is necessarily invalid.

Then why isn't "A is A" a "floating abstraction"?
Because "A" can be reduced to any existent, and every existent. Cat is cat. Justice is justice.

...unless the underlying reality to which it is referring is a relationship..
Why not? What is so special about a relation? It is just another existent.

You see, you are assuming that the only "underlying reality" to which something can refer is that sum of data given by your perceptual grid.
No. See "Abstraction from Abstractions".

Once again, I would argue that there is much reason to believe that there is (and must be) more to reality than what is provided by a perceptual grid, and that your perceptual grid alone can tell you nothing about whether it exhausts reality or not.

To go back to what you said here, would you claim that the laws of logic do not refer to an underlying reality? If not, then they are not valid.

If they are valid, then they refer to an underlying reality (since that is what it means for an idea to be valid).

And now let us show that logic alone can find a contradiction between reality and at least one type of proposition...

Proposition: "A is ~A".

This is a proposition that is false (contradicts reality). And by logic alone, we can "find" that it contradicts reality. The LNC says that "A is not ~A" and (assuming that we both agree that the LNC reflects reality) therefore the proposition contradicts reality.

"Logic alone" taken literally is a meaningless phrase because we would not both agree to the LNC unless there was a pre-existing reality that validated it. Unless there was a pre-existing reality we would not exist.

You're forgetting once again the difference between forming concepts and criteria to determine if concepts/prop.s are valid or not.

Proper formation is the single criterion to determine if concepts are valid or not.

Edited by Grames
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After you learn the secret Objectivist handshake and have advanced to 33rd level Objectivist, you will learn that the reduction to percepts is necessary but not sufficient to validate any concept. But because it is necessary, any concept which cannot be so reduced is necessarily invalid.

That secret Objectivist handshake is so much easier to learn than it is to teach. Thank "reason" for those 33rd level Objectivists out there that lead by such fine example.

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Jacob's metaphysics: We know that God exists, because he is the logically necessary Prime Mover- Existent who is conscious- who created all other existents.

We know that the laws of logic are universally true because the contrary is impossible.

Where does this come from?

No, "we" don't know any such thing. You claim to know such a thing.

Although we can perceive an A, and our perception of that A is self-evident, we cannot say that any (and all) A is A without the prior implication of the laws of logic.

The laws of logic are corrolaries of "Identity" and epistemologically, the other two axioms rest on the axiom of identity because they are functions of that law--- they are propositions which could not be true if the law of identity were not true.

This is the Kantianism I referred to. You are saying that because it is incomprehensible to consciousness (God's or our own) that the laws of logic are not universally true, therefore reality conforms to the requirements of consciousness and everything that exists is what it is, not what it is not, and one can confidently say that "A is A" is universally true. That's primacy of consciousness. But then so is your argument for the existence of God, so it's of little surprise.

Isn't this sort of how all induction works? lol. You don't abstract every attribute you perceive and apply it to all existents universally. There's a strict system that regulates justified extentions of attributes vs unjustified ones. I think one of the problems might be that Objectivists just haven't thought through this system very carefully yet ;)

Regardless, I think we would both agree that you need a justification to extend any given perceived attribute and you haven't supplied a reason (from perception) that one ought to extend identity to all existents. I've listed a reason from...reason.. lol... and I think you are assuming the same reason, but not wanting to admit it because it isn't perceived.

What makes you think that "A is A" is an induction?

Thank God for other existents and our ability to use logic!

Stay tuned ;D

So, according to you the Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology are fundamentally flawed and soon you'll be presenting the valid, Christian (presumably) ethics, on a forum for Objectivism no less, showing us, I assume, the logical necessity of the trinity, of Jesus as our personal savior, of the afterlife, of the fundamental virtue of obedience to the will of God and of faith as a valid means of knowledge ("I believe it because it's absurd."), etc. I'm sure that I can't wait.

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Another thing worth noting, is the observation of "the fact that axiomatic concepts are the guardians of man's mind and the foundation of reason—the keystone, touchstone and hallmark of reason—and if reason is to be destroyed, it is axiomatic concepts that have to be destroyed." (ITOE pg. 60)

While trying to explain how one might approach the validation of identity, having actually validated identity for myself (one cannot perform this feat for another) concertizes for me, experientially, how they serve as the guardian of one's own mind. The fact that I may not be able to provide "justification to the satisfaction of the one desiring it", in no way undermines the fact that it is indeed justified. If anything, it only has me questioning my own efficacy of being able to communicate it clearly enough.

Special thanks to Plasmatic. The analysis of the transition from non-propositional knowledge to propositional knowledge was indeed a treat, and provided greater insight to the power that Objectivism can provide in facilitating understanding.

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This is the Kantianism I referred to. You are saying that because it is incomprehensible to consciousness (God's or our own) that the laws of logic are not universally true, therefore reality conforms to the requirements of consciousness and everything that exists is what it is, not what it is not, and one can confidently say that "A is A" is universally true. That's primacy of consciousness. But then so is your argument for the existence of God, so it's of little surprise.

It's not "primacy of consciousness", it's efficiency of consciousness. If you have a problem with me arguing that our consciousness is capable of grasping reality, then I suggest you take that up with Rand.

I do not say that reality conforms to the "requirements of consciousness". I say that reality already is that way (non-contradictory) and we discover it via consciousness (kind of like we discover everything else that is already true in reality).

My argument is not "we can't imagine a world where A is non-A and therefore it can't be true".

My argument is "such a state of fairs is impossible and therefore we can't (and shouldn't) try to imagine it"

My positive argument is as follows: If there is an idea which is necessary to anything being true, then that idea is necessarily true.

The idea "A is A" is implicitly necessary for anything else to be true. Therefore, that "idea" is necessarily true.

The only reason that SEEMS like Primacy of Consciousness to you is because in your mind, perception is our only connection to reality and what I have said does not require perception for validation.

I would remind you though, that you have not perceived the idea that perception is our only connection to reality and therefore, according to your epistemology, you have no reason to believe it.

PS- I'm curious as to why you consider my arguments for God to be Primacy of Consciousness.... I think I thoroughly and sufficiently answered that charge a few times and showed that it was based on a misconception of my position..

What makes you think that "A is A" is an induction?

In your epistemology, it is. Would you care to argue or claim otherwise?

So, according to you the Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology are fundamentally flawed and soon you'll be presenting the valid, Christian (presumably) ethics, on a forum for Objectivism no less, showing us, I assume, the logical necessity of the trinity, of Jesus as our personal savior, of the afterlife, of the fundamental virtue of obedience to the will of God and of faith as a valid means of knowledge ("I believe it because it's absurd."), etc. I'm sure that I can't wait.

Objectivist Epistemology is fundamentally flawed in that it only focuses on the lesser aspect of Epistemology (how we DISCOVER & BUILD ideas vs. how we VALIDATE ideas), and then mistakes the former for the latter.

Objectivist Metaphysics is actually great-- apart from missing pieces due to the above epistemological error.

Objectivist Ethics are superb-- apart from missing pieces due to the above metaphysical missing pieces.

I am on an Objectivist forum discussing these things because I want to show Objectivists that their Epistemology undermines their Metaphysics & Ethics.

I want to save the best of Objectivist Metaphysics & Ethics (and theres a LOT of it) from the worst in Objectivist Epistemology.

Objectivism has a lot in common with my worldview and (like any other active philosophical thinker) I want to find common philosophical ground with others and go from there.

And for the record, I despise, denounce, and repudiate any and all ideas that "faith is a valid means of knowledge" or that absurdity warrants belief, etc... So lets just burn that straw man down right now.

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Because "A" can be reduced to any existent, and every existent. Cat is cat. Justice is justice.

You guys keep doing that. You "reduce" each individual word in a sentence but you seem to forget that those words are arranged in that sentence in a particular way in order to refer to a reality that is not identical to all those words combined randomly.

In other words, a sentence refers to an object (a state of affairs) or an idea about reality.

Reducing "A" is very different from reducing the object/idea that "A is A" refers to.

"A is A" is a fourth concept that is not contained in any of the three "words" in that sentence alone- but to which those words in that specific order refers. It is that concept which you must reduce to perception-- according to your epistemology. And if you cannot (and you can't) then it is not valid-- according to your epistemology.

"Logic alone" taken literally is a meaningless phrase because we would not both agree to the LNC unless there was a pre-existing reality that validated it. Unless there was a pre-existing reality we would not exist.

Haha! Why would you think that "Logic alone" means logic apart from existence. Lol. We are talking about Epistemology- not Metaphysics. I am referring to logic apart from perception-- not logic apart from reality. Unless you would make perception synonymous with reality... then we have deeper problems.

Proper formation is the single criterion to determine if concepts are valid or not.

Really? And how do you know that this concept is properly formed?

Remember, I don't mean each individual word in that proposition, but the whole concept to which all of the words combined in that specific way refer.

And what is the proper formation for concepts? (Spare me the answer, we both know what you'll say...its a rhetorical question to get to the following point...)

"The proper formation of concepts is xyz"

How do you know that this concept was formed properly?

Once again, remember that the "concept" in question is that concept that "the proper formation of concepts is xyz"

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You guys keep doing that. You "reduce" each individual word in a sentence but you seem to forget that those words are arranged in that sentence in a particular way in order to refer to a reality that is not identical to all those words combined randomly.

In other words, a sentence refers to an object (a state of affairs) or an idea about reality.

Reducing "A" is very different from reducing the object/idea that "A is A" refers to.

"A is A" is a fourth concept that is not contained in any of the three "words" in that sentence alone- but to which those words in that specific order refers. It is that concept which you must reduce to perception-- according to your epistemology. And if you cannot (and you can't) then it is not valid-- according to your epistemology.

There is no fourth concept. No valid proposition ever contains anything not already contained in the concepts employed. If it did that proposition would be false. All true propositions are forms of tautology and so anything new (such as a fourth concept) would make the proposition not a tautology and so not true.

"A" names the same referent as "A is A", but "A is A" abstracts and stresses one facet of "A". "A" contains "A is A".

Haha! Why would you think that "Logic alone" means logic apart from existence. Lol. We are talking about Epistemology- not Metaphysics. I am referring to logic apart from perception-- not logic apart from reality. Unless you would make perception synonymous with reality... then we have deeper problems.

Epistemology cannot be compartmentalized away from metaphysics. Perception presents us with the epistemological given, it is not created by consciousness but originates outside of consciousness. Percepts tell us that something exists, and 'that something exists' is metaphysical (and specifically ontological) knowledge. Logic apart from perception is logic apart from reality.

Really? And how do you know that this concept is properly formed?

See the tautology explanation above. Using a concept which is invalid is not what makes it invalid, that can only possibly reveal the defect built-in to the invalid concept.

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Let me see if I understand.

Your argument is that sense perception, existence and consciousness, cannot prove the laws of logic,

That is correct. Perception cannot prove the universal validity of the laws of logic. Just because you click your heels together and say it does, does not make it so. No one has provided a sufficient reason from perception to believe that the laws of logic are universally true... so I don't know why you all cling so dogmatically to that idea-- and imply that I'm a lunatic for doubting it.

I don't see how "existence and consciousness" would prove it either. But if you'd like to take a shot, be my guest.

but the laws of logic can prove them and itself.

If by "them", you mean "perception, existence and consciousness", then no. The validity of the laws of logic is certainly necessary in "proving them" but in and of itself, logic does not "prove them".

If by "prove itself", you mean that it is an irreducible primary, then yes, that is what I am saying.

Therefore the laws of logic (identity) and their prior implication is the foundation of existence and consciousness?

It is the foundation for our knowledge of existence and consiousness (for all knowledge, period). It is an EPISTEMOLOGICAL foundation. This does NOT mean that Identity creates existence/consciousness metaphysically. It simply means that if "Identity" is not true, then nothing else can be true (including the scentences: "existence exists" and "consciousness is conscious of something"). It's epistemologically foundational because if it is not true, then nothing else can be true. Kind of like existence is metaphysically foundational because apart from existence, nothing would exist. And consciousness is psychologically foundational because if you did not have consciousness you would not be conscious of anything. ;)

I don't see what the problem is.

**Remember, I am speaking of "foundational" in respect to validity-- NOT chronology.

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That is correct. Perception cannot prove the universal validity of the laws of logic. Just because you click your heels together and say it does, does not make it so. No one has provided a sufficient reason from perception to believe that the laws of logic are universally true... so I don't know why you all cling so dogmatically to that idea-- and imply that I'm a lunatic for doubting it.

I don't see how "existence and consciousness" would prove it either. But if you'd like to take a shot, be my guest.

Now I denied earlier (and others did) that this was being done, that "perception alone proves logic" or whatever, rather than reasoning from perception arriving at conclusions being the whole case, but you told me that was a "small side-response" and that you agreed Rand wasn't claiming that? So why don't you explicitly cite the passage in Rand that you take issue with and why you think it's wrong, and why you think you're right. Otherwise, it's been 9 pages and it's not clear what you're arguing against (a straw man that nobody ever said? Rand? Someone else? If so, what?) and what your point is.
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That is correct. Perception cannot prove the universal validity of the laws of logic. Just because you click your heels together and say it does, does not make it so. No one has provided a sufficient reason from perception to believe that the laws of logic are universally true... so I don't know why you all cling so dogmatically to that idea-- and imply that I'm a lunatic for doubting it. I don't see how "existence and consciousness" would prove it either. But if you'd like to take a shot, be my guest.

I am honestly trying to get to the crux of your argument. “Just the facts” as Joe Friday would say. My earlier post did offer an opinion but addressed the issue outside of your point which did absolutely nothing of value. Thus I’m sticking to base points now to understand your position fully before offering anything extra.

As for people’s reaction, you can’t expect people who seriously chew on ideas to just give up on something that has had lots of intellectual digest time. You’re going to have to work pretty hard to overcome something that fundamental and that well established. Love the fact you’re swinging for the fence but you shouldn’t be surprised if people start lining up to throw a fast ball your way.

Now, where were we…

You are saying that existence and consciousness are primary metaphysically but when it comes to understanding human awareness (epistemology) this becomes reversed since the laws of logic is how a conscious mind validates existence and its own consciousness. Is this correct?

If by "them", you mean "perception, existence and consciousness", then no. The validity of the laws of logic is certainly necessary in "proving them" but in and of itself, logic does not "prove them". If by "prove itself", you mean that it is an irreducible primary, then yes, that is what I am saying.

I meant the later. You are saying logic is an irreducible primary in epistemology that all facts are dependent upon. Consciousness and existence are not irreducible primaries (when it comes to our awareness) since they require logic to help validate them. I understand you mean this applies to epistemology, not metaphysic (which is the mistake I made earlier).

It is the foundation for our knowledge of existence and consiousness (for all knowledge, period). It is an EPISTEMOLOGICAL foundation. This does NOT mean that Identity creates existence/consciousness metaphysically. It simply means that if "Identity" is not true, then nothing else can be true (including the scentences: "existence exists" and "consciousness is conscious of something"). It's epistemologically foundational because if it is not true, then nothing else can be true. Kind of like existence is metaphysically foundational because apart from existence, nothing would exist. And consciousness is psychologically foundational because if you did not have consciousness you would not be conscious of anything.

You are saying that existence is primary in metaphysics since it is the foundation of all of existence, but when we move to the study of human thinking logic is the primary because it is the foundation of how we understand existence. The argument is that knowledge moves though a hierarchy where each science validates and proves the one above it but Objectivism falls short since it fails to bridge metaphysics to epistemology properly. Since perception cannot validate logic alone, there is a point between metaphysics and epistemology that Objectivism fails to validate. Objectivism makes a metaphysical argument for something we can only understand in the science of epistemology. It is claiming perceptual proof for a method of thinking when we have to use that method of thinking to understand what we perceive. Are to put it simply, the bridge connecting the two sciences flows the wrong way?

I don't see what the problem is.

**Remember, I am speaking of "foundational" in respect to validity-- NOT chronology

Objectivism has a very detailed hierarchy that moves through a long chain of knowledge. It is chronological and you’re dealing with people who consider studying that hierarchy a cardinal virtue. Surely you can see how the perception of reverse engineering that hierarchy then claiming to find fault with it would cause a problem. In fact, that is why I am explicitly working within your approach - So I can understand it from your frame of reference.

Edited by Spiral Architect
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An Analogical Validation of A is A

In pursuit of the Identification of Identity

Here are a couple of peices written relative to this topic.

I cordially request that any issues with the peice as it relates to this topic be addressed within this thread.

Please feel free to leave any comments, constructive criticism relating to the writing style, composition, manner of presentation etc in that thread.

Thank you for your cooperation in this regard.

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  • 2 months later...

Apologies for the late reply :)

I am honestly trying to get to the crux of your argument. “Just the facts” as Joe Friday would say. My earlier post did offer an opinion but addressed the issue outside of your point which did absolutely nothing of value. Thus I’m sticking to base points now to understand your position fully before offering anything extra.

And you honesty is appreciated. I apologize for the shortness in my first reply to you.

As for people’s reaction, you can’t expect people who seriously chew on ideas to just give up on something that has had lots of intellectual digest time. You’re going to have to work pretty hard to overcome something that fundamental and that well established. Love the fact you’re swinging for the fence but you shouldn’t be surprised if people start lining up to throw a fast ball your way.

I do expect people who claim to seriously chew on ideas to be able to seriously chew on an idea - regardless of how personally distasteful it may seem at first. Those who seriously chew on ideas should understand the importance and value of being as objective as possible with new ideas -- as you, thankfully, seem to be doing.

You are saying that existence and consciousness are primary metaphysically but when it comes to understanding human awareness (epistemology) this becomes reversed since the laws of logic is how a conscious mind validates existence and its own consciousness. Is this correct?

For the most part. I would say that when it comes to knowledge (epistemology), logic is the most foundational way that anything is validated.

I say "knowledge" rather than "human awareness" because in my system, epistemology deals more emphatically with objective knowledge and the criteria for objective knowledge, while psychology/cognitive science deals more with "human awareness" (consciousness).

I meant the later. You are saying logic is an irreducible primary in epistemology that all facts are dependent upon. Consciousness and existence are not irreducible primaries (when it comes to our awareness) since they require logic to help validate them. I understand you mean this applies to epistemology, not metaphysic (which is the mistake I made earlier).

Yes, only I would say "knowledge" as opposed to "awareness". Knowledge meaning a consciously held idea that one holds to be objectively true based on certain objective reasoning. Awareness connoting simple passive consciousness.

You are saying that existence is primary in metaphysics since it is the foundation of all of existence, but when we move to the study of human thinking logic is the primary because it is the foundation of how we understand existence. The argument is that knowledge moves though a hierarchy where each science validates and proves the one above it but Objectivism falls short since it fails to bridge metaphysics to epistemology properly. Since perception cannot validate logic alone, there is a point between metaphysics and epistemology that Objectivism fails to validate. Objectivism makes a metaphysical argument for something we can only understand in the science of epistemology. It is claiming perceptual proof for a method of thinking when we have to use that method of thinking to understand what we perceive. Are to put it simply, the bridge connecting the two sciences flows the wrong way?

As long as I haven't misunderstood any of the above, this is a good summary.

Objectivism has a very detailed hierarchy that moves through a long chain of knowledge. It is chronological and you’re dealing with people who consider studying that hierarchy a cardinal virtue. Surely you can see how the perception of reverse engineering that hierarchy then claiming to find fault with it would cause a problem. In fact, that is why I am explicitly working within your approach - So I can understand it from your frame of reference.

Before I began to interact with Objectivists regarding epistemology, I naively assumed that their epistemology would be similar enough to mine that any differences would be irrelevant -- since they had such exquisite metaphysics & ethics (for the most part). The chronological hierarchy emphasis struck me as extremely foreign and slightly irrelevant, but harmless - at first. However, I have come to discover some of the deeper and more important (dangerous) implications.

So yes, I am aware of the epistemological values of Objectivists (NOW), and I do understand the difficulty with which Objectivists may receive my critiques. However, I've done my best to be surgical in my focus, and to avoid unnecessary offense wherever possible.

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There is no fourth concept. No valid proposition ever contains anything not already contained in the concepts employed. If it did that proposition would be false. All true propositions are forms of tautology and so anything new (such as a fourth concept) would make the proposition not a tautology and so not true. "A" names the same referent as "A is A", but "A is A" abstracts and stresses one facet of "A". "A" contains "A is A".

And is that "facet of A" the same thing as A? Is there no difference at all between that facet (attribute) and the the thing it is attributed to?

Is there no difference between saying "Tree" and saying "That tree is tall, with colorful leaves and fruit"?

Tallness, colorful leaves, and fruit may all be attributes of the same tree, but they are not all the same attribute. Each of them is a separate "a" (object of consciousness) being referred to. Further, the tree having those attributes is a separate "a" (object of consciousness) from the attributes themselves. "The leaves are colorful" is different from "The tree has colorful leaves" or just "leaves".

Or what about the following sentences which all contain the same four words:

1)"No, there are trees"

2)"There are no trees"

3)"Are there no trees?"

They all contain the same four concepts but they all refer to different states of affairs.

Epistemology cannot be compartmentalized away from metaphysics.

But can it be differentiated? Or are they synonymous?

Perception presents us with the epistemological given, it is not created by consciousness but originates outside of consciousness. Percepts tell us that something exists, and 'that something exists' is metaphysical (and specifically ontological) knowledge.

Are you speaking of perception apart from logic? Because perception apart from logic tells us nothing but incoherent percepts. Only the application of logic to percepts can tell us "that something exists".

Logic apart from perception is logic apart from reality.

Again, you equate "that which is perceived" with "the totality of reality". Could you please state your justification for such an assumption? And ideally present it via perception..... Show me where you have perceived that only that which is perceived is reality.

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Apologies for the late reply :)

As long as I haven't misunderstood any of the above, this is a good summary.

I more than underatand - I waited to the weekend when I had time to dedicate to a proper response.

Now that I get the crux of your argument, unless there is a subtle point I’m missing, I think you have no disagreement with Objectivism on confirming the Law of Identity. Objectivism does explain the process of going from perception to logical identification. It is based in the fact it is an axiom. Here is a quote from the original NBI Lecture Series on Objectivism, which spent more time on the subject:

“A baby, as we have said, is implicitly aware of the Law of Identity with his first sensory awareness of reality. But he cannot identify it consciously, and he cannot formulate it into a conceptual statement until much later. It is only when man grasps the Law of Identity that he gain control over his conceptual knowledge. By means of this axiom, he can retrace his knowledge. He can check the validity of any concepts, abstractions, and inferences he has drawn so far, check them by retracing them back to their base in perceptual reality, in his direct, immediate perceptions. He can bring his knowledge, his mental files, into non-contradictory order; and then go forward, in pursuit of new knowledge, as a fully conscious adult and thinker, no armed with a standard by which he can test the validity of all his conclusions and inferences.”

Later on the Law of Identity is described as “delayed immediate perception” – Immediate in that you directly perceive something but delayed since it needs conceptual formulation before it can enter your conscious awareness and “move from implicit to explicit”. I don’t care for the term but it was the first lecture so I get the necessity of the phrase to get the point across to the listeners. So Identity is first perceived and a man accumulates knowledge of what he perceives but when he fully grasps the Law of Identity he can logically validate backwards the knowledge he has accumulated. From there he is grounded and can move forward.

This is why Identity is an axiom and ranked with the three basic axioms. It is self-evident and also the base of all proof, including itself. The lecture goes on to point out this process happens with all axioms, which is why they are the base of knowledge. They are directly perceivable but are confirmed later when man uses the Law of Identity to change them from implicit to explicit. That is why Rand had Galt say in the speech, “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.” Axioms prove themselves first by direct perception and then later by being identified as the base of all proof. The first happens immediate and the later happens when we fully grasp the Law of Identity and choose to use it.

So, does that help you out at all?

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I more than underatand - I waited to the weekend when I had time to dedicate to a proper response.

Now that I get the crux of your argument, unless there is a subtle point I’m missing, I think you have no disagreement with Objectivism on confirming the Law of Identity. Objectivism does explain the process of going from perception to logical identification. It is based in the fact it is an axiom. Here is a quote from the original NBI Lecture Series on Objectivism, which spent more time on the subject:

“A baby, as we have said, is implicitly aware of the Law of Identity with his first sensory awareness of reality. But he cannot identify it consciously, and he cannot formulate it into a conceptual statement until much later. It is only when man grasps the Law of Identity that he gain control over his conceptual knowledge. By means of this axiom, he can retrace his knowledge. He can check the validity of any concepts, abstractions, and inferences he has drawn so far, check them by retracing them back to their base in perceptual reality, in his direct, immediate perceptions. He can bring his knowledge, his mental files, into non-contradictory order; and then go forward, in pursuit of new knowledge, as a fully conscious adult and thinker, no armed with a standard by which he can test the validity of all his conclusions and inferences.”

Later on the Law of Identity is described as “delayed immediate perception” – Immediate in that you directly perceive something but delayed since it needs conceptual formulation before it can enter your conscious awareness and “move from implicit to explicit”. I don’t care for the term but it was the first lecture so I get the necessity of the phrase to get the point across to the listeners. So Identity is first perceived and a man accumulates knowledge of what he perceives but when he fully grasps the Law of Identity he can logically validate backwards the knowledge he has accumulated. From there he is grounded and can move forward.

This is why Identity is an axiom and ranked with the three basic axioms. It is self-evident and also the base of all proof, including itself. The lecture goes on to point out this process happens with all axioms, which is why they are the base of knowledge. They are directly perceivable but are confirmed later when man uses the Law of Identity to change them from implicit to explicit. That is why Rand had Galt say in the speech, “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.” Axioms prove themselves first by direct perception and then later by being identified as the base of all proof. The first happens immediate and the later happens when we fully grasp the Law of Identity and choose to use it.

So, does that help you out at all?

I agree with all of the above, but I am driving to be a bit more specific about one particular point - a point which Objectivists seem to disagree with me on.

I can say along with the Objectivist that Identity is perceived in reality before it is conceptualized - that it is implicit before explicit, etc...

However, what is perceived is only one instance/"application" of identity; the particular identity of that particular thing being perceived.

One does not and cannot perceive the identity of any and all existents. In other words, one does not and cannot perceive that it is an axiom.

Does that make sense?

I want to get at the ground for why we consider it an axiom... and because an axiom applies universally, the ground for believing that something is an axiom cannot be found in non-universal perception.

The Objectivist says : "We know it's an axiom because we perceive it"

I am saying : "We know it's an axiom because it 'defeats its opponents by the fact that they have to accept it and use it in the process of any attempt to deny it' "

The Objectivist seems to be saying that Galt is giving a description of an axiom. I am saying that Galt is giving the definition of an axiom which includes its method of validation.

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I understand, I think, unless I'm misunderstanding I answered your question. Or Branden did actually in that quote - You perceive an axiom but validate it later after you have fully formed the idea of Identity. I don't see an argument in the fact the axiom validates itself. It's supposed to.

Well, first I need to preface by saying I can't speak for all Objectivists. While I've been a long time reader that studies ideas, Objectivist or otherwise, I've only recently gotten involved in online discussions in Objectivist circles. What I can tell you from my own reading and use of axioms is that axioms are perceptual but require the Laws of Logic to validate since non-contradictory identification is the method of validating. That is why Identity is listed at the top with Existence and Consciousness versus being a corollary of them.

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I understand, I think, unless I'm misunderstanding I answered your question. Or Branden did actually in that quote - You perceive an axiom but validate it later after you have fully formed the idea of Identity. I don't see an argument in the fact the axiom validates itself. It's supposed to.

Well, first I need to preface by saying I can't speak for all Objectivists. While I've been a long time reader that studies ideas, Objectivist or otherwise, I've only recently gotten involved in online discussions in Objectivist circles. What I can tell you from my own reading and use of axioms is that axioms are perceptual but require the Laws of Logic to validate since non-contradictory identification is the method of validating. That is why Identity is listed at the top with Existence and Consciousness versus being a corollary of them.

This does not seem to be the majority Objectivist view.

Would you agree, then, that perception is not the only ultimate means of validation?

My position is that some ideas can be validated by logical necessity (axioms, etc..) and some by direct observation (perception) and that the former cannot be validated by the latter.

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Jacob, (forgive me if I've missed it in the thread - I did read it over late last night) from where in Oist literature does it state that the only source of knowledge is perception, and/or that A is A is validated perceptually? I'm just curious.

I would ask you to consider the following: how do you know that logical contradictions cannot exist, i.e. are impossible? More specifically, how did you form that idea? As I understand the Oist definition of logic to be "the art of non-contradictory identification" it would be begging the question to assert that you know that contradictions cannot exist because they're a logical impossibility - or perhaps that would be a tautology. Before making that claim or coming to that conclusion, we have to first grasp non-contradiction perceptually...

I think that on the perceptive level we grasp existence and consciousness, then after a lot of observation at the perceptual level, and utilizing consciousness we first grasp a "unit" or existent" as a visual (perceptual) differentiation from the rest of the (seeming) chaos. This, in my opinion, is on a perceptual level, prior to logic or perhaps it is our first instantiation of the process/art of logic: identification. At this point, that differentiation or recognition of the unit/existent is the identification; we then see that this unit/existent is itself, or A is A. If it wasn't the case, we would never have been able to identify it or anything else.

Now, please correct me if I'm misunderstanding your position to be the following: you're saying that there is a leap (induction) from this first identification to the principle A is A, and that logic must fill in that leap since no amount of perception alone can justify or provide the means to take this first identification and make it a general principle encompassing all existents. Is this what you're saying?

If so, I think it's important to note that A is A, or identity, comes and is grasped before non-contradiction: non-contradiction is Aristotle's law which rests on identity. Perhaps it could be looked at as a corollary of identity. In fact, Aristotle never formulated (algebraically) A is A, but he did state it as a general principle in book VII of his Metaphysics. Thus, identity, or A is A, must first be grasped on the perceptual level via consciousness, but only once existence is grasped. Since we can see that a thing exists and it is itself, we see that existence is identity, and identity is existence, thus A is A. This is the reason why there can be no contradictions. It is only after this implicit understanding (and well, much, much later) do we go onto formally understanding non-contradiction explicitly. Does this answer your question?

I hope that in the above I've been able to clarify how we grasp A is A as a universal axiom through perception. I look forward to your (and everyone else's) feedback.

One more thing to note, existence and consciousness are the primary axioms, qua axioms. Identity can be viewed as a corollary of them, but only AFTER the first two have been grasped. Identity is itself an axiom, but it is not, I repeat NOT the primary. Peikoff does touch on this stuff (and an error he made in OPAR regarding clarification of the axiom/corollary difference) this in his podcasts here:

http://www.peikoff.com/2009/08/03/are-you-contradicting-ayn-rand-when-you-state-that-the-validity-of-the-senses-is-an-axiom-and-it-is-a-corollary-of-consciousness-ayn-rand-states-that-identity-is-a-corollary-of-existence/#.T395YKZsbnc.link

http://www.peikoff.com/2009/09/07/you-validate-the-three-axioms-of-philosophy-in-the-following-order-existence-consciousness-identity-can-you-explain-why-you-chose-to-use-this-order/#.T395EchV5uo.link

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