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The wording of the consciousness axiom?

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james_h
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Would there be any harm in rephrasing this axiom from "consciousness exists" to "my consciousness exists"? Meaning: for any individual person it is axiomatic that his own consciousness exists.

It seems clear to me that there is no harm in doing so, but the reason I ask is because Objectivism just uses the phrase "consciousness exists". But I was arguing with someone recently and it was convenient for me to rephrase the consciousness axiom in these terms. What do you think, is this a misrepresentation of the philosophy?

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Would there be any harm in rephrasing this axiom from "consciousness exists" to "my consciousness exists"? Meaning: for any individual person it is axiomatic that his own consciousness exists.

I would say they are more are less equivalent. If I see a single horse, I know that horses exist. Likewise from the fact I have consciousness, I know conscousness exists. Phrasing it as "I exist possessing consciousness" or "my consciousness exists" would emphasize that consciousness doesnt exist in itself - only in individual subjects (ie there is no Absolute mind or floating consciousness detached from any particular bodies). I'd maybe compare it to the difference between saying "redness exists" and "red things exist" - both are pretty much identical in most situations, but in certain technical philosophical discussions you might prefer one to the other.

On the other hand, "my consciousness exists" sounds more sceptical. It seems like youre laying the ground for an "other minds" argument by saying that you only know your own consciousness exists rather than any else's. If someone said that phrase to me, I'd almost certainly assume this was his intention.

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Would there be any harm in rephrasing this axiom from "consciousness exists" to "my consciousness exists"? Meaning: for any individual person it is axiomatic that his own consciousness exists.

It seems clear to me that there is no harm in doing so, but the reason I ask is because Objectivism just uses the phrase "consciousness exists". But I was arguing with someone recently and it was convenient for me to rephrase the consciousness axiom in these terms. What do you think, is this a misrepresentation of the philosophy?

Where does Objectivism use the phrase "consciousness exists?" I don't remember seeing that phrase before.

A reference to a specific book and page number would be helpful.

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Would there be any harm in rephrasing this axiom from "consciousness exists" to "my consciousness exists"? Meaning: for any individual person it is axiomatic that his own consciousness exists.

I would suggest reading "Existence, Consciousness, and Identity as the Basic Axioms" in OPAR, Chapter 1 and the "Axiomatic Concepts" portion of the appendix to ITOE, particularly the section entitled "Self."

I wouldn't say that there is an "official" wording for the axioms so I think that this question is based on a misunderstanding.

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Would there be any harm in rephrasing this axiom from "consciousness exists" to "my consciousness exists"? Meaning: for any individual person it is axiomatic that his own consciousness exists.

It seems clear to me that there is no harm in doing so, but the reason I ask is because Objectivism just uses the phrase "consciousness exists". But I was arguing with someone recently and it was convenient for me to rephrase the consciousness axiom in these terms. What do you think, is this a misrepresentation of the philosophy?

I don't know the context of your conversation, but the axiom is not "consciousness exists," it is "consciousness is conscious (of something)." What you said is not wrong, however. I don't recall seing the exact phrase "consciousness exists," but this clearly follows from "consciousness has identity" and "existence is identity."

Still "my consciosuness exists" is a rather weird way to put it. Better would be "I am conscious." In this simple sentence you are saying 2 things - that you exist, and that some consciousness exists, and that consciousness happens to be yours. Then again, this may depend on the context or what you are trying to say.

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I've been thinking about this very issue lately.

As I understand these axioms (and I could well be mistaken here), the idea is that one cannot utter a meaningful statement without implicitly affirming these axioms. Thus any statement explicitly denying them is self-contradictory and so incoherent.

It seems that the only consciousness that can be referenced in such a context is the consciousness that is now comprehending the statement.

But that leaves a problem. Person A can deny the consciousness of person B without contradiction. Person B can read the statement denying B's consciousness. So to B the statement is self-contradictory and incoherent, but it is not so to A.

This means the statement is not inherently incoherent but is so to a particular comprehender.

No with the axioms on existence and identity the statement which contradicts them is incoherent to all comprehenders. So the axiom of consciousness seems to function differently.

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But that leaves a problem.  Person A can deny the consciousness of person B without contradiction. 

Denying that person B possesses consciousness is not the same as denying the axiom that "consciousness is conscious." The axioms don't tell you any specific knowledge--about person A, person B, person C...not about anyone. They don't tell you about anything particular; they are general and all-encompassing. The axioms presuppose any knowledge, including the concept "human" and the understanding that other humans possess consciousness. I think you're taking the axioms to mean more than they do (if I understand what you're saying properly).

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Person A can deny the consciousness of person B without contradiction.

When you talk to someone, you may not even be aware of all the statements that they make, which presuppose consciousness on their part. Try to remember the things other people have told you and then suppose that they aren't conscious.

For example, let me deny that Ayn Rand was ever conscious. Were that so, how could she have come up with an axiom of consciousness? It would be quite impossible, lest there truly are otherworldly means of enlightenment, which incidentally I do not perceive. So, you do come into contradiction, although your error is not a metaphysical one.

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Where does Objectivism use the phrase "consciousness exists?" I don't remember seeing that phrase before.

A reference to a specific book and page number would be helpful.

Actually I seem to have remembered this incorrectly. I was thinking there was some offical way of stating the axioms, I thought it was this.

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Actually I seem to have remembered this incorrectly. I was thinking there was some offical way of stating the axioms, I thought it was this.

Perhaps this will help?

On page 59 of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Ayn Rand states:

"Existence exists—Consciousness is conscious—A is A. (This converts axiomatic concepts into formal axioms.)"

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Does the concept of consciousness apply to animals? Objectivists and most other observers undoubtedly would say: "Of course it does. One would have to engage in massive evasion to claim otherwise." Yet I did see a TV program on PBS once that regarded the question of whether or not animals are conscious as a seriously debatable issue. (I think that program was implicitly limiting the concept of consciousness to mean only *human* consciousness, i.e., *conceptual* consciousness.)

Assuming that we accept that animals are conscious, then we should ask how we know it. I.e., what objectively observable evidence is our conceptual application based on? Once we understand that kind of evidence, then we ought to be able to see that it *would* be a contradiction to assert that Person Whoever is not conscious if, in fact, he *is* consciousness. Being conscious (or not) is an objectively observable issue.

Note that we also routinely use the concept of "sleep," and we apply it to animals as well as humans. What is our evidence for *that* concept, particularly in regard to others, where the evidence is non-introspective? Is there an unstated and unvalidated assumption being promulgated by some (perhaps unwittingly) that being conscious or not is knowable only by introspection?

A further note: in addition to asking how we know animals are conscious, we should also ask how we know that plants are not. That is precisely something that primitive pantheistic mystics do *not* know, as they ascribe all kinds of "god-like" qualities to trees, bushes, flowers, etc.

---------------

In defense of Reality and Reason, Life and Value, Freedom and Rights, Spirit and Happiness, through epistemology and individualism -- RReLV_FRiSH

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Would there be any harm in rephrasing this axiom from "consciousness exists" to "my consciousness exists"? Meaning: for any individual person it is axiomatic that his own consciousness exists.

It seems clear to me that there is no harm in doing so, but the reason I ask is because Objectivism just uses the phrase "consciousness exists". But I was arguing with someone recently and it was convenient for me to rephrase the consciousness axiom in these terms. What do you think, is this a misrepresentation of the philosophy?

Consciousness is defined as "that faculty which is aware of that which exists." I have also heard it defined as "that faculty which perceives that which exists."

This axiom applies directly to the first person. I must first be aware of existence in order for my mind to have volition in existence. I must be awake. I must be cognizant. In this sense, consciousness is an active state of mind. It must be experienced first hand in order to be able to make any other statement.

If I am not conscious, if I am not aware of existence, then I certainly cannot involve myself in a debate or discussion with someone else about anything.

If someone else tells me that they are not conscious then they are telling me that they have no awareness of existence either internal or external. In essence, I might as well be talking to a brick wall if I continue the discussion with them.

If someone tells me that I am not conscious then, they are telling me that I am not aware of existence.

Consciousness is axiomatic in the sense that it is a necessary ingredient of any thought or action that I do.

To say that something else is conscious is to say that something else, another person or a dog or a cat, possesses that faculty which is aware of that which exists. This statement also involves the axiom of identity and the use of the unit concept. That is, there are units of consciousness. These are usually called brains.

In order to say that consciousness exists, the speaker must first be conscious to begin with. Consciousness is axiomatic in the sense that the speaker must experience consciousness to define or to identify consciousness as an existent.

To say that the statement "consciousness exists" is axiomatic, the speaker must be conscious to begin with.

Implicit in every statement that I or anyone else makes is the statement by the speaker that "I am conscious and..."

In order to say that "consciousness exists," the speaker is , implicitly, prefacing this statement with "I am conscious and..."

Thus, the statement becomes "I am conscious and consciousness exists."

The first conjunct is axiomatic in that it must be implied in any utterance. The second conjunct is an observation made based upon the first (implied) conjunct.

I would understand what someone meant if they worded the axiom as "consciousness exists" but crafty logicians, such as some college professors and many politicians, might be able to wangle it around if it is phrased this way. Therefore, I would be very careful about using this wording.

I hope I have been of some help.

If someone thinks that I am incorrect here then please bring it to my attention.

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Assuming that we accept that animals are conscious, then we should ask how we know it.  ..then we ought to be able to see that it *would* be a contradiction to assert that Person Whoever is not conscious if, in fact, he *is* consciousness.  Being conscious (or not) is an objectively observable issue.

I agree, it is quite objective--

From "The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made":

consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists
We can see that animals have sense organs, such as eyes, ears, tongues, and noses that we can easily compare to human sense organs. Furthermore, we know that animals act based on these sense perceptions (i.e. a small animal scurrying away when a predator comes near)--that is, the sense organs don't just exist and not do anything. So, we know the animals have sense organs and respond to sense perceptions--so they perceive reality--so they are conscious.

Notice that this is a much higher (scientific) argument than the more fundamental issue of a person denying an axiom. It requires more than just the axioms to deduce that other humans are conscious, so someone denying that other humans are conscious is not _necessarily_ denying the axiom of consciousness (there are other places to make errors).

Note that we also routinely use the concept of "sleep," and we apply it to animals

Yes--because animals sleep. At night (at least for diurnal species), animals close their eyes, don't respond to senses as perceptively, their heart rates slow, and all evidence points to them being asleep.

How, by this sort of logic, could we possibly know that bears hibernate? I mean, after all, since humans don't hibernate and these types of things are introspective, there would really be no way of knowing. The fact is, though, that there is a lot of evidence outside of introspection that goes into making these assertions.

...we should also ask how we know that plants are not [conscious]...

Plants react around the hormonal level, and don't have sense _organs_ like animals do. They have no means of _perception_, only a reaction at a more molecular or cellular level.

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I would understand what someone meant if they worded the axiom as "consciousness exists" ...

Notice that all three axioms are repetitive. They are naming a fact--existence, consciousness, identity. Stated propositionally--existence exists, things are themselves (or A is A), and consciousness is conscious. Sure, you can say consciousness exists--but it doesn't mean any more than "tables exist" or "plants exist." These aren't axioms. It's just an identification of an existent (which, by the way, presupposes all three of the axioms, including consciousness).

For clarification--I know you aren't saying you support that wording, and I'm not arguing that you are wrong about anything--I'm just trying to add to what you said.

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It seems that the only consciousness that can be referenced in such a context is the consciousness that is now comprehending the statement.

True. That is the aspect in which they are unassailable.

But that leaves a problem.  Person A can deny the consciousness of person B without contradiction.  Person B can read the statement denying B's consciousness.  So to B the statement is self-contradictory and incoherent, but it is not so to A.

This means the statement is not inherently incoherent but is so to a particular comprehender. No with the axioms on existence and identity the statement which contradicts them is incoherent to all comprehenders.  So the axiom of consciousness seems to function differently.

This does not follow. Person A can deny the consciousness of person B (and may be right in certain circumstances), but person A cannot deny his own consciousness, and therefore of the existence of consciousness. The axiom is "consciousness exists," not "person X is conscious."

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In discussing Objectivism's view of axioms, it is helpful (essential, actually) to remember Objectivism's overall view of how *all* concepts are formed, including axiomatic concepts.

In ITOE Chapter 1, Ayn Rand writes: "Although, chronologically, man's consciousness develops in three stages: the stage of sensations, the percpetual, the conceptual -- epistemologically, the base of all of man's knowledge is the *perceptual* stage. ... Discriminated awareness begins on the level of percepts."

On the role of sensations, Ayn Rand explains [ibid.]: "Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident. The knowledge of sensations as components of percepts is not direct, it is acquired by man much later: it is a scientific, *conceptual* discovery."

Concepts, according to Objectivism, are integrations of percepts -- specifically, percepts of *existents*, with the existents regarded as *units* of a type or kind. The type or kind is an *integration* (essentialization) of the units. [iTOE, Chap. 1]

So, if this applies to axiomatic concepts as well as non-axiomatic ones, what is the purpose or function of classifying certain concepts as axiomatic? The term "axiomatic" in Objectivism pertains to the process of *validating* concepts, i.e., of establishing a concept's relation to reality. Axiomatic concepts differ from other concepts in that axiomatic concepts are *perceptual self-evidencies*. [OPAR, p. 8] No "proof" of an axiomatic concept is needed or possible beyond pointing to abundant examples of it (ostensive definition), preferably along with representative "near misses" (instances that closely resemble the concept in question but don't quite qualify), and showing that the concept is axiomatic, i.e., that it identifies "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 all knowledge." [iTOE Chap. 6]

OPAR emphasizes the validation issue very succinctly [p. 11]: "The foregoing is not a proof that the axioms of existence, consciousness, and identity are true. It is a proof that they are *axioms*, that they are at the base of knowledge and thus inescapable. This proof itself, however, relies on the axioms. Even in showing that no opponent can escape them, Ayn Rand too has to make use of them. All argument presupposes those axioms, including the argument that all argument presupposes them."

In what sense, then, are axiomatic concepts "starting points" for knowledge? Are they to be taken as the exhaustive "givens" for all sorts of deductive chains purporting to derive all other concepts and propositions from the axioms by deductive logic? Clearly not, according to Objectivism. Knowledge -- propositions and concepts -- is derived from observation of reality (ultimately percepts) and integration of those observations into abstractions. In essence, we look at reality and report what we see. It's only when we have sufficient knowledge to begin *proving* various propositions that we discover that all our proofs depend on certain fundamental concepts that we necessarily must accept as axiomatic, inescapably and ostensively verifiably so.

The idea of simply looking at reality and reporting what one sees may seem fraught with pitfalls. Prof. John Ridpath once commented to a live audience at a talk on a college campus [i'm quoting approximately from memory]: "As children you probably had total confidence in your sensory-perceptual apparatus; it took a sophisticated 20th Century argument to talk you out of it." Objectivism, however, navigates all the pitfalls astoundingly skillfully. See especially ITOE and OPAR.

--------------------

In defense of Reality and Reason, Life and Value, Freedom and Rights, Spirit and Happiness, through epistemology and individualism -- RReLV_FRiSH.

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In discussing Objectivism's view of axioms, it is helpful (essential, actually) to remember Objectivism's overall view of how *all* concepts are formed, including axiomatic concepts. 

In ITOE Chapter 1, Ayn Rand writes:  "Although, chronologically, man's consciousness develops in three stages:  the stage of sensations, the percpetual, the conceptual -- epistemologically, the base of all of man's knowledge is the *perceptual* stage. ...  Discriminated awareness begins on the level of percepts."

On the role of sensations, Ayn Rand explains [ibid.]:  "Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident.  The knowledge of sensations as components of percepts is not direct, it is acquired by man much later:  it is a scientific, *conceptual* discovery."

Concepts, according to Objectivism, are integrations of percepts -- specifically, percepts of *existents*, with the existents regarded as *units* of a type or kind.  The type or kind is an *integration* (essentialization) of the units.  [iTOE, Chap. 1]

So, if this applies to axiomatic concepts as well as non-axiomatic ones, what is the purpose or function of classifying certain concepts as axiomatic?  The term "axiomatic" in Objectivism pertains to the process of *validating* concepts, i.e., of establishing a concept's relation to reality.  Axiomatic concepts differ from other concepts in that axiomatic concepts are *perceptual self-evidencies*.  [OPAR, p. 8]  No "proof" of an axiomatic concept is needed or possible beyond pointing to abundant examples of it (ostensive definition), preferably along with representative "near misses" (instances that closely resemble the concept in question but don't quite qualify), and showing that the concept is axiomatic, i.e., that it identifies "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 all knowledge."  [iTOE Chap. 6]

OPAR emphasizes the validation issue very succinctly [p. 11]:  "The foregoing is not a proof that the axioms of existence, consciousness, and identity are true.  It is a proof that they are *axioms*, that they are at the base of knowledge and thus inescapable.  This proof itself, however, relies on the axioms.  Even in showing that no opponent can escape them, Ayn Rand too has to make use of them.  All argument presupposes those axioms, including the argument that all argument presupposes them."

In what sense, then, are axiomatic concepts "starting points" for knowledge?  Are they to be taken as the exhaustive "givens" for all sorts of deductive chains purporting to derive all other concepts and propositions from the axioms by deductive logic?  Clearly not, according to Objectivism.  Knowledge -- propositions and concepts -- is derived from observation of reality (ultimately percepts) and integration of those observations into abstractions.  In essence, we look at reality and report what we see.  It's only when we have sufficient knowledge to begin *proving* various propositions that we discover that all our proofs depend on certain fundamental concepts that we necessarily must accept as axiomatic, inescapably and ostensively verifiably so.

The idea of simply looking at reality and reporting what one sees may seem fraught with pitfalls.  Prof. John Ridpath once commented to a live audience at a talk on a college campus [i'm quoting approximately from memory]:  "As children you probably had total confidence in your sensory-perceptual apparatus; it took a sophisticated 20th Century argument to talk you out of it."  Objectivism, however, navigates all the pitfalls astoundingly skillfully.  See especially ITOE and OPAR.

--------------------

In defense of Reality and Reason, Life and Value, Freedom and Rights, Spirit and Happiness, through epistemology and individualism -- RReLV_FRiSH.

Doesn't this just make Rand's "axioms" simply a variety of Kantian transcendental induction whereby the thinker is able to reach conclusions about what is required for knowledge to be possible in any coherent way? That is a form synthetic a priori statement?

I understand the desire to use "axiom" to refer to a statement that should be obvious, and is in any case taken without proof. But, normally "axioms" are thing that are used together with rules of inferences to deduce things. If these "axioms" aren't used in deduction, then what is the point?

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If these "axioms" aren't used in deduction, then what is the point?

As a check on your conclusions. If you come to a conclusion that something is A and not A in the same respect and at the same time, you can know you are wrong because of the axiom of identity. If you come to the conclusion that, say, consciousness does not exist since it cannot be weighed in a laboratory, you can know you are wrong because of the axiom of consciousness.

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As a check on your conclusions.  If you come to a conclusion that something is A and not A in the same respect and at the same time, you can know you are wrong because of the axiom of identity.  If you come to the conclusion that, say, consciousness does not exist since it cannot be weighed in a laboratory, you can know you are wrong because of the axiom of consciousness.

I agree with this, only I'd just like to add that when you come to a conclusion about consciousness such as you mentioned, you don't really have to think along the lines of "Oh, yes, there's the axiom of consciousness, so my conclusion can't really be correct."

Axioms are self-evident truths and you don't even have to think about their formal statements when reaching conclusions. In fact, if your thinking is consistent with the axioms, you'll never reach a conclusion that contradicts them. You just don't reach a conclusion that contradicts identity, because the law of identity is obvious and in many ways implicit in your thoughts that you don't have to think "Identity is valid, so that means... [whatever you're thinking about]". You can reach wrong conclusions, but the reason for them is not misapplication of the axioms or their denial, but the fact that your knowledge consists of floating abstractions and unchecked premises.

Without using the axioms implicitly, you can't reach any conclusions - correct or incorrect. Your mind is paralyzed and only responds mechanically to the stimulus of the moment. Without implicitly accepting the axioms, thought is impossible. This is why no matter what you say and no matter how hard you try to deny the axioms, you implicitly have to accept them.

The axioms have been formally defined in order to show that these are the basic truths upon which further knowledge will be built. They are the terms to which every conclusion must conform before being accpted as true. For some conclusions, it is possible, as mathematicians would say, to be able intuitively to say whether or not they are true. This is usually so when the conclusions are near to perceptual level and not abstract concepts, mainly because the axioms are obvious truths about the world. As for other, more complex conclusions, you can't. You have to check them, and the axioms (as formally stated) are the tools that help you do it.

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Source, axioms are "self-evident" philosophically (not requiring antecedent proof), but that does not make them "obvious": not every person will automatically understand or follow them. In fact it took the genius of Aristotle to fully articulate identity (and existence?) and the genius of Rand (I think) to first fully articulate the axiom of consciousness. Even now, after they have been stated so unequivocally, most people still contradict them at some point in their thinking.

That is the reason they must be explicitly stated, and explicitly checked. It is true that after you come to fully understand them, you can automatically follow them with no conscious effort on your part, in the same way that you can learn to add automatically. But that does not mean that rules of addition have no point, which (I believe) was the point punk was making when he asked, "If these "axioms" aren't used in deduction, then what is the point?"

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Source, axioms are "self-evident" philosophically (not requiring antecedent proof), but that does not make them "obvious": not every person will automatically understand or follow them.  In fact it took the genius of Aristotle to fully articulate identity (and existence?) and the genius of Rand (I think) to first fully articulate the axiom of consciousness.  Even now, after they have been stated so unequivocally, most people still contradict them at some point in their thinking.

That is the reason they must be explicitly stated, and explicitly checked.  It is true that after you come to fully understand them, you can automatically follow them with no conscious effort on your part, in the same way that you can learn to add automatically.  But that does not mean that rules of addition have no point, which (I believe) was the point punk was making when he asked, "If these "axioms" aren't used in deduction, then what is the point?"

I was very careful to point out that I'm talking about implicitly accepting the axioms when I was explaining certain points. By "accpeting implicitly" I meant that you don't know what identity is, but you use it in your reasoning. For example, you see an apple and you say "It's an apple". To do that, you don't need to know a thing about identity whatsoever, even though you are uttering it. You are also uttering the axiom of existence ("It's"), and implicitly you are uttering that you are conscious of it (you are able to identify an apple as an apple).

In this sense I meant that the axioms are obvious truths. Obvious does not imply understanding them, it means that when you say to someone who has no insight into the field of philosophy whatsoever that "existence exists" or "A is A" they wouldn't disagree with it, but in fact would see no importance in making such a claim even though it is true.

So, yes: it takes a genious to formally (explicitly) state the axioms. But implicitly, they are always with you, in every conclusion, in every perception. They are unavoidable. I gave some of the reasons for incorrect conclusions in my previous posts - others may include forgetfullness, context-dropping, etc.

And the important point to stress out here is the following:

It is of outmost importance to explicitly formulate the axioms because of the reasons I stated before. When you don't consciously know the axioms (i.e. when you apply them only implicitly) you are not able to fight off an incorrect notion. You can come to a wrong conclusion when you make one of the beforementioned errors and think it is correct, but have no means to check whether or not that conclusion is valid. And when you try to integrate that conclusion, or build further concepts upon it, you come into contradictions, then you proclaim that it is not possible to know anything at all. The axioms will prevent that. I stated in my previous post how.

So that is the point of explicitly stating the axioms.

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  • 3 weeks later...
...It requires more than just the axioms to deduce that other humans are conscious,...

Actually, the inference that other humans are "conscious" is a _sub_-conscious, pre-conceptual, _implicit_ knowledge which infants grasp from observing the behavior of parents (or their equivalent). The axioms are _implicit_ knowledge from infancy.

How, by this sort of logic, could we possibly know that bears hibernate?  I mean, after all, since humans don't hibernate and these types of things are introspective, there would really be no way of knowing.  The fact is, though, that there is a lot of evidence outside of introspection that goes into making these assertions.

There certainly is! Inferring the nature of the consciousness in other animals is a task for comparative psychology. All we can do is observe an animal's behavior and infer

from that what it _might_ or might not be aware of. To be more certain, requires  experimentation geared to eliminating some possibilities and reinforcing others.

After enough evidence is gathered (see the OPAR chapter regarding "certainty"), you can then infer something which might be valid.

Just for example, if you feed squirrels peanuts, you'll observe there are _individual_differences in their responses; some search out the food more quickly and effectively than others; but they all (in a given group) seem not to "see" the food, but rather "smell" it's existence and location. Yet they apparently can navigate tree branches by sight fairly well. Do their consciousness' have seperate _modes_ of operation for the different actions in regard to the different objects involved?

Plants react around the hormonal level, and don't have sense _organs_ like animals do.  They have no means of _perception_, only a reaction at a more molecular or cellular level.

This is assumed (as far as I know) correctly from the lack of any identifiable equivalents to animal perceptual organs. The logical inference is that any _perception_ of reality has to come from some physiological organ _similar to_ an animal's organ of perception. If any plant had an _awareness_ (even at a very primitive level) of that-which-is-outside-itself, it would have to have consciousness of two facts: that-which-is-outside-itself -- and itself. So far, only animals have this awareness.

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Perhaps you might want to re-format your post so that we can tell which part of it is your words and which part has the words of others. You can check to see how your post looks before sending it out to the forum by clicking on the "Preview Post" button near the bottom of the window.

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