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An error in Rand's Metaphysics?

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Rand was brilliant in many ways, but the crux of her metaphysics, the doctrine of primacy-of-existence vs. the primacy-of-consciousness, seems flawed.

Objectivism holds that existence exists as an axiomatic primary. Fine. Nowhere does objectivism deny that consciousness exists. However, Objectivism does claim that existence is primary as opposed to consciousness, without providing any reason unless I have missed it. I am looking at OPAR currently, when I state this. If consciousness exists, then it is just as likely to be primary as anything else which exists. That is, no one can know just exactly what is or is not primary. The concept of eternity itself obviates such an idea of primacy.

The error has to do, in large part, to the myopic emphasis on perception as (for the purposes of the metaphysics) the role of consciousness.

the very concept of eternity obviates any notion of primacy, does it not?

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When talking about primacy, it's generally an issue of whether consciousness is part of reality (and therefore subject to natural laws) or whether our consciousnesses somehow create reality. That last has always sounded just absolutely silly to me, yet so many people actually believe it.

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It sounds like she thinks eternity eliminates primacy in that she thinks Rand holds to a metaphysical hierarchy.

Meghan, can there be a non-existent consciousness ? Or does all consciousness presuppose existence?

Could you elaborate on this notion of perception "as" consciousness and why you think Rand held what it is you meant by it.

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However, Objectivism does claim that existence is primary as opposed to consciousness, without providing any reason unless I have missed it.

Consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists. To be conscious means to be conscious of something. The world around us exists separately from our consciousness.

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I think what will help you here, Meghan, is this:

Consciousness exists. To consider (any!) consciousness to be outside of existence, is equivalent to considering consciousness non-existence. This is what gives existence primacy over consciousness. Existence is not dependent on consciousness.

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Existence exists and that includes consciousness. The primacy of existence means that consciousness cannot exist outside of existence, that would be a contradiction in terms. Consciousness is a faculty which allow to be aware of existence, and this is a precondition of self-awareness.

In Ayn Rand's words :If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something." ( Galt speech)

I think this makes sense.

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