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LoBagola
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Forming concepts requires assigning a definition. The definition serves to condense the subject matter to essentials. After this a visual/auditory symbol is assigned to the definition. The visual-auditory symbol (language) mentally concertizes the concept. It allows instant access to infinite knowledge (you can spend your whole life visualizing variations of the concept's units).

 

I'm curious about the requirement for assigning a visual/auditory symbol to a definition. Is it possible to form and retain a concept without assigning it a word? Could we assign it a picture? Memory?

I think it's possible to form a concept but I don't think it's possible to retain it without assigning it a word or symbol.

 

There are some passages in Atlas Shrugged where the characters show knowledge, in some form (I don't know what form), but are unable to articulate it. I'm curious how one acquires this knowledge, how he finds out it is what he thinks, and how one would then validate it.

 

 

“A moment ago, he had been able to feel that he hated Galt above all men, that the hatred was proof of Galt’s evil, which he need define no further, that he wanted Galt to be destroyed for the sake of his own survival. Now he knew that he had wanted Galt’s destruction at the price of his own destruction to follow, he knew that he had never wanted to survive, he knew that it was Galt’s greatness he had wanted to torture and destroy—he was seeing it as greatness by his own admission, greatness by the only standard that existed, whether anyone chose to admit it or not: the greatness of a man who was master of reality in a manner no other had equaled. In the moment when he, James Taggart, had found himself facing the ultimatum: to accept reality or die, it was death his emotions had chosen, death, rather than surrender to that realm of which Galt was so radiant a son. In the person of Galt—he knew—he had sought the destruction of all existence.
It was not by means of words that this knowledge confronted his consciousness: as all his knowledge had consisted of emotions, so now he was held by an emotion and a vision that he had no power to dispel. He was no longer able to summon the fog to conceal the sight of all those blind alleys he had struggled never to be forced to see: now, at the end of every alley, he was seeing his hatred of existence—he was seeing the face of Cherryl Taggart with her joyous eagerness to live and that it was this particular eagerness he had always wanted to defeat—he was seeing his face as the face of a killer whom all men should rightfully loathe, who destroyed values for being values, who killed in order not to discover his own irredeemable evil.
“No ...” he moaned, staring at that vision, shaking his head to escape it. “No ... No ...”

 

 


“The lights went back to the green of safety—but she stood trembling, unable to move. That’s how it works for the travel of one’s body, she thought, but what have they done to the traffic of the soul? They have set the signals in reverse—and the road is safe when the lights are the red of evil—but when the lights are the green of virtue, promising that yours is the right-of-way, you venture forth and are ground by the wheels. All over the world, she thought—those inverted lights go reaching into every land, they go on, encircling the earth. And the earth is littered with mangled cripples, who don’t know what has hit them or why, who crawl as best they can on their crushed limbs through their lightless days, with no answer save that pain is the core of existence-and the traffic cops of morality chortle and tell them that man, by his nature, is unable to walk.
These were not words in her mind, these were the words which would have named, had she had the power to find them, what she knew only as a sudden fury that made “her beat her fists in futile horror against the iron post of the traffic light beside her, against the hollow tube where the hoarse, rusty chuckle of a relentless mechanism went grating on and on.”

 

 

Edited by LoBagola
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The definition specifies the units of the concept by means of their essential characteristics.  The units of the concept retain all their characteristics.   (See the last two entries:  http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/definitions.html )

Both the passages you've quoted reflect the operation of the subconscious (or perhaps what Harry Binswanger has since referred to as the periphery of consciousness--the area which is not quite subonscious or fully conscious).  

It's important to distinguish what sort of 'knowing' is going on.  In the first passage what Taggart "knew" by means of his emotion in the part you've bolded is his own internal state--this is the only actual knowledge emotion can bring you.  The other description "all his knowledge had consisted of emotions" is a description of a pathology.  If all a person does is feel that things are true, then what they've got isn't knowledge.

In the second passage Cheryl is seeing patterns in reality which she does not have the ability to name.  She senses their meaning wordlessly and experiences her evaluation of that wordless meaning as an emotion.  Don't be thrown off by the word 'knew' in "...what she knew only as a sudden fury...".  In that instance I think 'knew' is being used in the sense of 'experienced'.

Wordless thoughts can be brought to the surface by a commitment to always being explicit and specific in your thinking.  The subconscious is accessed by asking questions or using prompts such as Jean Moroney talks about here:

http://thinkingdirections.com/Tip41Wishing.htm

Wordless or subconscious material comes from the same places your fully conscious thoughts come from:  experiences, memory, imagination, etc.  For any of it to be knowledge you have to have established its non-contradictory connection to sense experience and integration with your other knowledge.

Edited by Fawkes
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Ok I understand the issue in Taggart's case. That's an emotion - terror - he's unable to explain but those are the words given to the thought process behind his subconscious. 

 

With Cheryl she's seeing patterns, meaning? she retains concepts through memory of certain scenes / interactions /  events ? I think she may be capped by her study of English and *this* is the whole reason I started this thread. I'm thinking there may be enormous benefits to thinking and introspecting if you expand your vocabulary by studying English and writing (your actual conceptual content). I wasn't sure entirely but it's a lead I started pursuing by picking up grammar and writing books.

 

Can you recommend any of Moroney's products? I just worked my way through Locke's introspection series and I imagine there would be some crossover in terms of material covered.

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I'm curious about the requirement for assigning a visual/auditory symbol to a definition. Is it possible to form and retain a concept without assigning it a word? Could we assign it a picture? Memory?

I think it's possible to form a concept but I don't think it's possible to retain it without assigning it a word or symbol.

It is possible, both to form one and to retain it without a name.  It's excruciatingly difficult.

 

Think back to when you first discovered Ayn Rand and began reading her works; the sort of things which would go on in your mind.  You likely experienced something similar to your thoughts today, but how easily could you take mental inventory of, understand and clearly remember your own philosophical musings?

A robust vocabulary, on any given topic, is not completely necessary to discuss or think about that topic.  It is extraordinarily helpful.

 

It all ties into that mental economy which Rand discussed in the ITOE; particularly the crow's epistemology.

 

There are some passages in Atlas Shrugged where the characters show knowledge, in some form (I don't know what form), but are unable to articulate it. I'm curious how one acquires this knowledge, how he finds out it is what he thinks, and how one would then validate it.

Cheryl Taggart's knowledge is implicit.  She doesn't have the words for what she knows and she doesn't understand precisely how it all fits together, but she has some vague idea of the connections and she knows that she knows SOMETHING, vaguely but rationally.

This is how the vast majority of human knowledge is formed, especially in areas and subjects which one isn't familiar with yet.  It's the subconscious processing vast amounts of variables and information in parallell, finding similarities and differences and filling the conscious in on a need-to-know basis; it covers everything from a child's first words to a geniuses' stroke of sudden epiphany.

 

It's important to note that implicit knowledge constitutes almost all human knowledge and that it can be completely rational; comprehension actually precedes linguistic designation.

 

Jim Taggart's knowledge is also implicit, but emotional.  He not only is unable to articulate what he thinks, he doesn't understand it, himself; he only knows that he feels a certain specific way about a certain thing and hasn't any real idea why.

This is a glimpse inside the mind of a mystic and an evader.

---

 

You acquire implicit knowledge, to some extent, all of the time.  Stop and consider all of the assumptions you make on a daily basis, about everything you constantly interact with (such as the motion of objects, price fluctuations of various goods, actions of other people).

The fact that you've never considered such things before, makes it implicit (and once you have realized it, it becomes explicit).  So to some extent you can't really help but gain such knowledge.

But this process is augmented immeasurably be intentionally directing your attention towards something and carefully observing what it does.  It's augmented even moreso by actually trying to figure something out about it.

---

 

You find out what you think implicitly, by observing and studying your own thoughts and feelings.  Just simple introspection.  By closely monitoring your own thoughts and emotions, their interaction with each other and with your constant sensory experience, you can find the patterns in your own mind.

That's really all there is.

And once you've realized that you implicitly think something you never stopped to analyze before, you validate it- or reject it- by giving it the same scrutiny you would give to anyone else's ideas.

 

I think she may be capped by her study of English and *this* is the whole reason I started this thread.

Cheryl or Ayn Rand?  I'm slightly confused.

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It is possible, both to form one and to retain it without a name.  It's excruciatingly difficult.

 

Think back to when you first discovered Ayn Rand and began reading her works; the sort of things which would go on in your mind.  You likely experienced something similar to your thoughts today, but how easily could you take mental inventory of, understand and clearly remember your own philosophical musings?

A robust vocabulary, on any given topic, is not completely necessary to discuss or think about that topic.  It is extraordinarily helpful.

 

It all ties into that mental economy which Rand discussed in the ITOE; particularly the crow's epistemology.

 

After reading your reply I'm starting to think they can be retained. But it's not the same type of retention achieved with the designation of visual-auditory symbols. This will be a psycho-epistemological or emotional retention - if you reach a conclusion. I can retain a few things in my mind in any given moment and put them together to make some kind of conclusion. Once that conclusion is accepted it's then stored in my subconscious and will be part of my psycho-epistemology or emotional responses. However, if I come up with some concept but never name nor do I make any conclusion about what it means to me or how it connects to other concepts I don't think it can be retained long-term and accessible to consciousness (as opposed to the subconscious). This relates to the crow epistemology; you can hold 5 un-named units in mind but as soon as you focus on something else those un-named concepts need to be formed again. But in that moment you might make some conclusion which will send the un-named concepts to your subconscious.

 

If this is true then it may mean that you may not have any articulate conclusion for a given emotional response - EVEN if you introspect. It might just be automated based on concepts strung together which you held in that moment and have now forgotten. Then in seek to repair one's subconscious you may not be able to dig out the underlying premises - only infer them and 'guess'. You would seek to store new knowledge to replace whatever unknown conclusion was there.

 

Does this make sense?

 

This is how the vast majority of human knowledge is formed, especially in areas and subjects which one isn't familiar with yet.  It's the subconscious processing vast amounts of variables and information in parallell, finding similarities and differences and filling the conscious in on a need-to-know basis; it covers everything from a child's first words to a geniuses' stroke of sudden epiphany.

 

 

The process of concept formation is volitional - shouldn't that mean conscious and not subconscious?

 

 

It's important to note that implicit knowledge constitutes almost all human knowledge and that it can be completely rational; comprehension actually precedes linguistic designation.

 

 

Right assigning words to concepts is the final step of the process. Like you said it serves the purpose of mental economy.

 

Cheryl or Ayn Rand?  I'm slightly confused.

 

Cheryl Of course   :)

Edited by LoBagola
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LaBagola asked:

"

I'm curious about the requirement for assigning a visual/auditory symbol to a definition. Is it possible to form and retain a concept without assigning it a word? Could we assign it a picture? Memory?

I think it's possible to form a concept but I don't think it's possible to retain it without assigning it a word or symbol."

No, it is not possible and you should question anyones knowledge of Oist epistemology who says it is. This is covered in detail in ITOE:

Without a auditory-visual symbol all you have is a "perceptual group".

"But here, as you described the process of forming

a concept of three perceptual entities, when you've

reached the point you described—that is, you now

regard them as units of one group—that knowledge

as such is not going to be a concept in your mind, for

the following reason. In order to hold the group, you

still have to mentally project, visualize, or deal with

three entities. Therefore you are not yet mentally out

of the stage of perceptual awareness.

Prof. D: In other words, at this stage there would

be just this perceptual group.

AR: That's exactly what you would have: a

perceptual group."

The discussion takes place on pg 167 (at least in the kindle version)

Edit: Ms Rand goes onto say, "what you are describing is exactly the preconceptual stage". Remember language is primarily a "tool of cognition", not communication.

Edited by Plasmatic
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Plasmatic,

 

Of course, you may assign an icon to a concept. What is more, you may even assign a touch sensation to a concept. The blind do that all the time. Any combination of sensations may be assigned to "name" a concept. It is customary to use auditory and visual symbols since those are the primary human means of communication. However, even alone you may need to form concepts and you may choose non-verbal means at your pleasure.

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Plasmatic,

Of course, you may assign an icon to a concept. What is more, you may even assign a touch sensation to a concept. The blind do that all the time. Any combination of sensations may be assigned to "name" a concept. It is customary to use auditory and visual symbols since those are the primary human means of communication. However, even alone you may need to form concepts and you may choose non-verbal means at your pleasure.

Why are you reiterating what I said to me? Did you assume "auditory-visual symbol" meant to me verbal-written words only? Edit: (un-symbolized) Edited by Plasmatic
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Lolagbola:

Yes it's possible to form an implicit conclusion and emotional response without ever realizing explicitly why; you're right about that as well as its implications. It's not a good thing. Someone who regularly experiences such seemingly causeless emotions should try to get onto a habit of examining their own feelings immediately when they happen.

And consciously explicit concepts are formed volitionally.

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If an implicit concept is only a "perceptual group" then fine; it's possible to form and retain "perceptual groups" without any designated symbol.

I'm not saying that names are superfluous; if everyone approached every issue with Cheryl`s tortured struggling then the human race would be extinct. All I'm saying is that implicit knowledge, by its very definition, lacks them.

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Why are you reiterating what I said to me? Did you assume "auditory-visual symbol" meant to me verbal-written words only? Edit: (un-symbolized)

A rational man says what he means. "Auditory-visual" leaves out three other senses, one of which is a regular means of communication by the blind. My comments added substantially to your insufficient description.

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Care should be taken in the use of the term "knowledge". Ancient philosophers required knowledge to be justified true belief. An emotion would not have been considered knowledge by Plato. It seems to me that this term is being slung around as a stolen concept in this thread.

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A rational man says what he means. "Auditory-visual" leaves out three other senses, one of which is a regular means of communication by the blind. My comments added substantially to your insufficient description.

Thats fine. I added "un-symbolized" to my response for that reason. Isolate, abstract, integrate, symbolize.

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True, A1; I suppose I have been using "knowledge" rather liberally.

Emotions do not constitute tools of cognition, nor knowledge, but there is a distinct and implicit analogue. I believe "implicit awareness" or "understanding" were the terms rand used?

However we phrase such, it doesn't require designated symbols.

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Ok here's what I'm thinking now. It ties into the point of my discussion. 

 

I've been doing a lot of introspection in the attempt to uproot my bad premises and I'm finding that many of them a rationalistic catch phrases thrown onto a set of memories combined with emotions. So I might remember 5 separate incidents where I failed at something and then conclude "life is unfair", "existence is misery". I may even use anti-concepts or noises (learned via parrot epistemology) in my catch phrases. So in a sense it's not knowledge but still it is something there underneath dictating my actions and sense of life. It's based of memory, images tied together by catch phrases (beliefs). In the case of Cheryl I believe this is what happened. She connected together certain events and while she may not have had a catch phrase for it she still experienced the feeling as it was tied together by something in her mind. It is not knowledge in the formal sense but she was right even though she never validated it (she didn't know how!).

 

What do you guys think?

 

As a side note in addition to all the reading I've done on introspection I've began exploring CBT and I'm seeing where Objective thinking will be an ENORMOUS help in mending the roots of my mind. You need some way to determine whether your beliefs are true/false. A formal theory of induction would be of huge help here too but I see we are far off from it. I'm happy but so sad at the same time because I think if these ideas would have had time to develop and be taught at a young age we would all be superhuman by today's standards.

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That's it! 
 
Imagine the day when man is man. He can fail in achieving his value, he can lose his value(s) but he knows through a formal theory of induction that the failure was not natural, that it was not normal, that he cannot conclude that *that* instance of failure reflects any inability or moral imperfection on his part and that achievement and happiness is always open to him. 
Imagine from birth he is set on that path where is given the chance to grow with right premises. Imagine all the time saved in thought. The time saved from frustrating, guilty, sad, confused internal monologues groping to understand, groping to make sense of things. Trying but falling short of complete and total integration.  This time which is then directed towards productive ventures, thoughts, discoveries and joy. This is the superman!
But no it is not really the superman it’s man as he should be. A is A. Man is Man. Man with the highest feeling possible! The highest ! Just imagine all those people who are against reason but want feeling. They don’t know that in reason is where they can find the highest and most amazing feeling possible. We... even though we seek this may never get there in our lives. I’m trying.
 
I now know what Galt meant when he said

“Swinging like a helpless branch in the wind of an uncharted moral wilderness, you dare not fully to be evil or fully to live. When you are honest, you feel the resentment of a sucker; when you cheat, you feel terror and shame. When you are happy, your joy is diluted by guilt; when you suffer, your pain is augmented by the feeling that pain is your natural state. You pity the men you admire, you believe they are doomed to fail; you envy the men you hate, you believe they are the masters of existence. You feel disarmed when you come up against a scoundrel: you believe that evil is bound to win, since the moral is the impotent, the impractical.”

 

 

Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy- a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your won destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but using your mind’s fullest power.
 
Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seek nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing bu rational actions.

 

 

 
See! Everything is and can be connected! I love this!
Edited by LoBagola
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You're right on all counts. Cheryls "knowledge" was an implicit awareness. A society of raised-objectivists would be full of people living the way they should (which would seem impossible to most people today).

Interesting tangent: there are a few people today who have been raised oist, such as kira peikoff, author of Living Proof (haven't read yet).

And what you felt when typing that post was true joy; love of your own life. To find and keep that as long as possible, as your highest priority, is true selfishness.

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I just realised that empathetic joy... "feeling" joy via empathy or happiness in response to knowing someone else's happiness.. IS a very selfish and natural thing.

 

I think only a person who feels anger when someone else feels happiness or feels happiness when someone else feels sad would ever come to the thought that empathy is somehow selfless or laden with duty.. but such a selfless concept of empathy is fraudulent and dishonest... in some sense anti-empathy, strained-empathy, or pretend-empathy.

 

It's a little off topic.. but I felt something here and thought I'd mention it.

 

LaBogala it was wonderful hearing you speak like that in post #19! I selfishly enjoyed it!

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Forming concepts requires assigning a definition. The definition serves to condense the subject matter to essentials. After this a visual/auditory symbol is assigned to the definition. The visual-auditory symbol (language) mentally concertizes the concept. It allows instant access to infinite knowledge (you can spend your whole life visualizing variations of the concept's units).

 

I'm curious about the requirement for assigning a visual/auditory symbol to a definition. Is it possible to form and retain a concept without assigning it a word? Could we assign it a picture? Memory?

I think it's possible to form a concept but I don't think it's possible to retain it without assigning it a word or symbol.

 

There are some passages in Atlas Shrugged where the characters show knowledge, in some form (I don't know what form), but are unable to articulate it. I'm curious how one acquires this knowledge, how he finds out it is what he thinks, and how one would then validate it.

 

 

 

 

 

Definitely yes. We all do that. Only I wouldn't call it concepts. By definition concepts are integration of percepts. The difference is that concepts give us an ability to retain thousands of percepts in one single word and to apply it to the entities which we never perceived and never will, but which are exist nevertheless. If I say "tree" I mean all trees in existence. If I just retain a picture of tree in my memory I could refer only to this particular tree. Besides, from that picture i cannot build up the higher degree concepts, like a forest, plants, biosphere, life. The perceptual thinking stops with the percept. 

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Forming concepts requires assigning a definition. The definition serves to condense the subject matter to essentials. After this a visual/auditory symbol is assigned to the definition. The visual-auditory symbol (language) mentally concertizes the concept. It allows instant access to infinite knowledge (you can spend your whole life visualizing variations of the concept's units).

 

I'm curious about the requirement for assigning a visual/auditory symbol to a definition. Is it possible to form and retain a concept without assigning it a word? Could we assign it a picture? Memory?

I think it's possible to form a concept but I don't think it's possible to retain it without assigning it a word or symbol.

 

There are some passages in Atlas Shrugged where the characters show knowledge, in some form (I don't know what form), but are unable to articulate it. I'm curious how one acquires this knowledge, how he finds out it is what he thinks, and how one would then validate it.

 

reality of means is to positive truth, which is fully objective fact, that is why any self conscious being can see some else means without meaning it nor realizing it

 

positive truth, is the fact that resolve infinite superiority to end objectively as being constant freedom in a positive sense, like  present free

 

which infinity resolve being truth existence, in the concept of else rights to exist verified objectively being real in objective else superior rights existence,

so yes, concepts can b retain without assigning it anything, but only when self conscious is objectively real in truth, so freely right too

 

then it is about checking  own being objective stand, so seeing being consciously

bc reality so being is always of different positive free sources that mean everything reasons being superior right means

 

so a kind of translation of anything wether of onself being mean or objective else concerning then everything, is always possible easily since the mean is the reason of any sense so clearly done

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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