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Plasmatic, on the dichotomy between primary and derivative entities:

Someone with a far greater grasp of Oism than I once asked me what the correct method was for conceiving of hypothetical unpercievables.

I've given it much thought since then and realized why you were right; an electron cannot be part of the same ontological category as a lightning bolt.

A is A is now making that same point and your response utterly baffles me. What are you trying to assert here, exactly?

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Observation of the Universe implies everything is in motion, i.e., nothing is at rest.  To say, the law of causality is the law of identity applied to action, presumes every identity is already in motion, does it not?  If so, it seems the relevant question is, what is the effacy of willed action applied to altering course?

 

EveryTHING, noTHING, these concepts presuppose the THING/entity that is moving. The statement "every identity is already in motion", could only mean "every entity".

 

I don't really understand the question: "what is the effacy of willed action applied to altering course?"

Edited by Plasmatic

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DA: The effectiveness of the will, to alter the natural course of events, extends exactly as far as your own fingertips.

The trick is in finding patterns in reality; how it all fits together and why, so that each action gains greater causal precision and consequent range.

The motion to press a button is relatively universal, throughout mankind. An African peasant could reproduce that motion ad infinitum without a single substantive effect, as opposed to a rocket scientist who moves the same muscles for NASA.

This difference in causal efficiency lies in the fact that someone discovered other planets above us, someone calculated the precise effects of gravity, someone formulated the rocket equation and then someone designed and built a rocket so that the same motion earned vastly greater rewards.

In short, the effectiveness of human self-determination to control its surroundings is identical to the effectiveness of the human mind. That's why he is a rational animal.

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Harrison said:

 

 

Plasmatic, on the dichotomy between primary and derivative entities:

Someone with a far greater grasp of Oism than I once asked me what the correct method was for conceiving of hypothetical unpercievables.
I've given it much thought since then and realized why you were right; an electron cannot be part of the same ontological category as a lightning bolt.

A is A is now making that same point and your response utterly baffles me. What are you trying to assert here, exactly?

 

Im not picking on you but when you responded in agreement  to my posts on this topic it was clear you didn't understand my position on it. The "correct method of conceiving of hypothetical unpercievables" is my main project at the moment. It is very underdeveloped in Oism. The ingredients are there but it has not been mined deeply.

 

Edit:I do not see A is A as making that point at all.

Edited by Plasmatic

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Then please enlighten me.

I was under the impression that the hierarchy of concepts demands that higher abstractions be dependent on lower (which requires distinction between, right off the bat), that the primacy of existence requires percepts take priority over concepts and that science and philosophy are mirror images of each other; opposite methods of inquiry.

These things lead me to conclude that the very distinction between precept and concept should apply equally to science, as primary entities and derivative entities.

Entities must be causal primaries by necessity. Changes do cause further changes, but regarding what? All is in motion, but all of what? Attributes may affect attributes, but of what?

Seems to be an epistemological imperative that all metaphysical concepts be reducible to entities.

I still have yet to integrate emergence with volition.

But what have I missed? Is any of the preceeding wrong?

Because to be frank, the above would imply "clouds are composed of entities" [unqualified] to be reification.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Harrison said:

 

"These things lead me to conclude that the very distinction between precept and concept should apply equally to science, as primary entities and derivative entities"

 

I have no idea what your saying here. How are you relating perception-conception to primary and derivative entities? To be clear I do not endorse the idea that an entity is not an entity if its imperceptible. Reducing the concept entity to the facts that give rise to it in perception does not mean all entities are perceptible. It means when we refer to imperceptible entities, what we mean by entity is contextually established by the facts that gave rise to the concept. That the referents of a concept is determined perceptually does not mean one cannot refer to an instance of said concrete that one is not perceiving. The meaning is preserved. This is not an instance of divorcing the referent from its generative context of differentiation.

 

Harrison said:

" Because to be frank, the above would imply "clouds are composed of entities" [unqualified] to be conceptual theft"

 

I don't understand how you conclude this. Cloud is the concept used to describe the phenomenon of water dropplets floating near each other. A pile of sand is not an entity but a collection of tiny entities. The derivative sense of entity some extend to these concepts is a qualification that one is using the word "entity" in a sense that is not technically correct.

 

EDIT: "and that science and philosophy are mirror images of each other; opposite methods of inquiry."

 

What? How are the two "opposite methods"? I have no idea where you are getting this from the difference between conception and perception.
 

Edited by Plasmatic

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Harrison said:

 

 

1: Ontological self-sufficiency
2: Solidity (locality)
3: Perceptible
 

 

Ayn Rand never said 3). anywhere. In fact most of what your talking about came from OPAR which was published in the early 90's after her death.

 

EDIT: But I do see problems with certain of her statements related to ontology as Ive said in the past.

 

An entity is an existent with a physical boundary.

Edited by Plasmatic

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Thanks for some very interesting source material.  I'm still combing through it, but is the premise false because of the apparent acausal nature of epiphenomenons?

No, not that.  Its more like, "the distinction between what is an epiphenomenon and what is not epiphenomenon has been a badly drawn line because it now means everything is an epiphenomenon including those once-thought-most-basic particles". 

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Plasmatic: I think your "imperceptible" is my derivative and we may be squabbling over symbols.

But let me clarify to see.

Justice cannot literally be blind, correct? Because "justice" refers to a relational action between multiple conscious entities (like a duet); it cannot be blind because it's an abstraction.

Science doesn't deal with abstractions, but differentiations. However, I suspect there's an analogous hierarchy involved.

So, for instance, a scientist might study the evolution of different species, but they wouldn't dream of declaring that evolution has a short attention span; "evolution" is a concept as well, but formed by the differentiation between what lives now and what lived before (or something along those lines).

---

Edit, because I've failed to clarify:

I would define "derivative" entities precisely by their imperceptibility and their degrees of removal from perception by the number of cognitive steps necessary to infer them FROM the perceptual.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Edit: your cloud comment wasn't a stolen concept of either sort; I changed that shortly after you quoted me. Not entirely sure what's wrong with it but it really doesn't seem right.

And didn't Rand cover percepts/concepts and the distinction between science and philosophy extensively in the ITOE?

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Thank you for the clarification on the 3 criterion for "entity"; that was peikoff.

But why this physical boundary, instead of perceptibility? Since they're causal primaries our definition of "entity" is not a trivial matter, and seriously, why that way?

If "entity" were defined by its solid extension through space then the interstate highway system is a single causal primary while a single tornado constitutes billions.

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Plasmatic: 

 

Do you take the error in the statement of fields being the source of entities as erroneous because

 

1. it falsely claims entities can arise from processes as such and nothing more

2. it falsely labels one kind of entity in a causal relationship (one caused one causing) as a process rather than an entity.

3. some other reason nothing like 1 or 2

 

On the actual physics observed (not the proposed explanations) what do think of as a better way of expressing what is going on when particles come into being or are annihilated during subatomic processes?  What "should" be considered the entities, and how do we describe the changes going on?  Is it one of matter and form?  Should something more fundamental "BE" considered as the entity and which subsumes different kinds of particles and energy itself (or possesses these as attributes?)

 

I think I agree with your disagreement with the assertion re. fields but I wonder what your solution could be.

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No, not that.  Its more like, "the distinction between what is an epiphenomenon and what is not epiphenomenon has been a badly drawn line because it now means everything is an epiphenomenon including those once-thought-most-basic particles". 

Is it correct to say (based on the material you presented) that the locus of causal power cannot be resolved beyond patterns of process, i.e., that causation cannot be delimited to an entity independent of its interaction with other entities?

 

The failure of Determinists to identify fundamental particles as the locus of causal power, doesn't appear to undermine causality per se.  Am I missing something??  It seems to me that free will, isn't diminished by a Determinist view about the locus of causal power, any more than a religious view about the 1st cause; free will simply identifies individuals as causal agents having the ability to effect a preferred outcome.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if causality is better evaluated in terms of effects producing causes, rather than vice versa, given that everything is in play at any given moment; producing may not be the best term...  perhaps attracting?  This would seem to satisfy more recent findings that the human mind appears to react to future events prior to being aware of making choices about them;  free will being an expression of preference regarding the destination of bodies in motion, or the selection of an alternate course.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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EveryTHING, noTHING, these concepts presuppose the THING/entity that is moving. The statement "every identity is already in motion", could only mean "every entity".

 

I don't really understand the question: "what is the effacy of willed action applied to altering course?"

If everything is in motion, then saying, the law of causality is the law of identity applied to action, doesn't add much to the knowledge that round balls roll, or bipeds walk.  In terms of validating the free will of entities in motion, what we are looking for is a change in course, i.e., some indication of intent that distinguishes the intentional movement of humans from the unintentional momentum of every other bit of flotsam in transit.

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DA: The effectiveness of the will, to alter the natural course of events, extends exactly as far as your own fingertips.

The trick is in finding patterns in reality; how it all fits together and why, so that each action gains greater causal precision and consequent range.

The motion to press a button is relatively universal, throughout mankind. An African peasant could reproduce that motion ad infinitum without a single substantive effect, as opposed to a rocket scientist who moves the same muscles for NASA.

This difference in causal efficiency lies in the fact that someone discovered other planets above us, someone calculated the precise effects of gravity, someone formulated the rocket equation and then someone designed and built a rocket so that the same motion earned vastly greater rewards.

In short, the effectiveness of human self-determination to control its surroundings is identical to the effectiveness of the human mind. That's why he is a rational animal.

What I'm looking for is proof of the efficacy of willed action that distinguishes the statement, I acted by choice, from, I was caused to act.  One could counter Objectivism's assertion, that which you call 'free will' is your mind’s freedom to think or not, with, events cause your mind to think, and your only choice is to pay attention or not.

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If everything is in motion, then saying, the law of causality is the law of identity applied to action, doesn't add much to the knowledge that round balls roll, or bipeds walk.  In terms of validating the free will of entities in motion, what we are looking for is a change in course, i.e., some indication of intent that distinguishes the intentional movement of humans from the unintentional momentum of every other bit of flotsam in transit.

The validation of free will is trivial. We observe ourselves making choices. We differentiate the type of motion initiated by decisions introspectively from involuntary motions performed by us, and mind independently, in other non living entities. How do you know a tree is in front of you?

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The validation of free will is trivial. We observe ourselves making choices. We differentiate the type of motion initiated by decisions introspectively from involuntary motions performed by us, and mind independently, in other non living entities. How do you know a tree is in front of you?

Because it's there...

 

Free will is self awareness applied to action; something like volitional causality.

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Strictly logical asked:

"Do you take the error in the statement of fields being the source of entities as erroneous because

1. it falsely claims entities can arise from processes as such and nothing more

2. it falsely labels one kind of entity in a causal relationship (one caused one causing) as a process rather than an entity.

3. some other reason nothing like 1 or 2"

Other reasoning something like 2... What ever acts is an entity period. There are no non-entity dependent existents. But its more than just that in regards to how we conceive of hypotheticals.

What I have to say on this is so needed that I am considering writing a paper on it. Thats why on these topics I haven't said all I want to say.

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Devil's Advocate:  Free will, in the sense that you're referring to [causal effaciacy] is the freedom to act on your intentions.

 

I acted by choice, from, I was caused to act.

 

What's the difference between the two?  Choice, as an integral factor, has been removed from the second.

"I was caused to do X by Y" asserts that Y has caused X.  What's missing from such a statement?

 

Let's concretize it:  "Poverty causes crime" is thrown around a lot as self-evident.  But whose poverty causes crimes against whom?

For an eliminative materialist (disputes the validity of volition) to say such a thing, would be like a biologist to say that "a uterus causes offspring"; it takes equally critical parts of the equation and sweeps them under the rug.

 

So "I acted by choice" is saying that I caused X.  Now, one could dispute whether Y caused I to cause X (since no single event in a person's life ever causes any single action, aside from reflexes), but at that point the inquiry is a valid one since nothing important has been dropped.

---

 

DA:  Pay attention because I don't think you've gotten it before and I know this is right up your alley.

 

Anyone who denies human decisions, as having a real effect on the world, somewhere in their reasoning has completely forgotten about the subject.

And for the record, that's not what I'm denying; I'm denying that human decisions, themselves, can be anything at all.

 

You have the choice to do whatever you want to do.  But what exactly do you want?  That's where the causal effaciacy of philosophy begins (your self-chosen philosophy).

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Strictly logical asked:

"Do you take the error in the statement of fields being the source of entities as erroneous because

1. it falsely claims entities can arise from processes as such and nothing more

2. it falsely labels one kind of entity in a causal relationship (one caused one causing) as a process rather than an entity.

3. some other reason nothing like 1 or 2"

Other reasoning something like 2... What ever acts is an entity period. There are no non-entity dependent existents. But its more than just that in regards to how we conceive of hypotheticals.

What I have to say on this is so needed that I am considering writing a paper on it. Thats why on these topics I haven't said all I want to say.

 

ah, I understand.  but..If you did want to share any ideas still in development I would like to hear them.  I am undergoing a shortage of incoming ideas/answers...

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Devil's Advocate:  Free will, in the sense that you're referring to [causal efficacy] is the freedom to act on your intentions.

Volitional causality is what I'm currently working with, with the term freedom defined as uncoerced.

 

What's the difference between the two?  Choice, as an integral factor, has been removed from the second.

"I was caused to do X by Y" asserts that Y has caused X.  What's missing from such a statement?

 

Let's concretize it:  "Poverty causes crime" is thrown around a lot as self-evident.  But whose poverty causes crimes against whom?

For an eliminative materialist (disputes the validity of volition) to say such a thing, would be like a biologist to say that "a uterus causes offspring"; it takes equally critical parts of the equation and sweeps them under the rug.

 

So "I acted by choice" is saying that I caused X.  Now, one could dispute whether Y caused I to cause X (since no single event in a person's life ever causes any single action, aside from reflexes), but at that point the inquiry is a valid one since nothing important has been dropped.

The foundational premise is that one can effect change as a causal agent, but how is this proven?  To say I caused X to happen requires hindsight to determine the efficacy of my action, while at the same time acknowledging that I cannot account for all of the variables that may have contributed to X happening.  The problem I see is that one cannot test, in any real sense, what might have happened had I acted differently, or not at all.  What's done in a causal universe couldn't have happened any other way...

 

DA:  Pay attention because I don't think you've gotten it before and I know this is right up your alley.

 

Anyone who denies human decisions, as having a real effect on the world, somewhere in their reasoning has completely forgotten about the subject.

And for the record, that's not what I'm denying; I'm denying that human decisions, themselves, can be anything at all.

 

You have the choice to do whatever you want to do.  But what exactly do you want?  That's where the causal efficacy of philosophy begins (your self-chosen philosophy).

One can say that free will is self evidently true according to intent and outcome.  One certainly knows what one intended to accomplish, and one can compare that with the associated outcome, but I fail to see how one can rule out fate having caused both ones intent and outcome.  For example...

 

Lets say the causal variables for outcome X are:

A - Me

B - Influences that can be accounted for

C - Influences that cannot be accounted for

Such that A+B+C=X happening

 

I believe it's possible to maximize A and B in order to produce X, but one can't do much with C and that's where the proof lies.  One can know everything about A and B, but only be aware that C has some undefined influence.  Therefore when X happens, one can presume responsibility, but not with certainty, i.e., one cannot know one caused X to happen without knowing C didn't contribute, or actually cause X happen.

 

I'll have to reflect on this more...

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How does "fate" differ from "determinism" here. What you are trying to prove, via deduction, is that something that has to be derived from or induced from the evidence at hand by reintroducing it as an "influence that cannot be accounted for".

 

Or as you couched it, A+B=X happens until A+B≠X at which point the question arises, what is the influence that cannot be accounted for here, i.e. C.

Identify C, at which point C simply becomes another B. A is the identification of C, turning it into B. "Fate" becomes a matter of applying a proper method of identification or subscribing that such a method is determined by some form of a "basic particle".

Edited by dream_weaver

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DA: You're right to have identified causality as comparative between possible and actual conditions, and that hypothetical possibilities are ultimately beyond empirical testing.

What would the planet be like if it didn't have a moon? How about the magnetosphere?

If we feel confident enough in the causal effaciacy of the sun or the moon to consider hypothetical alterations to their identities, why not ourselves?

Ie: just as, without the moon there could be no tides, without me there couldn't be this post.

Granted, this gets rather convoluted in the context of multiple people (what if Edison hadn't been born? Would someone else have taken his place?) the principle itself is sound.

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Another way to describe the flaw in determinist reasoning is that it is eliminative.  In a proposed causal chain such A > B > C > D the determinist thinks it is valid to simply claim A caused D and eliminate consideration of B and C, that A has special status because it is somehow more real and more causal than B and C.  It is alot like a "prime mover" argument, in that what is first has special status in a hierarchy of existence.  This is what I mean when I and others claim determinists rely on metaphysical hierarchy in their argument.

 

Yet there is no prime mover, no basic particle, and everything that exists is a configuration of ... ultimately everything else that exists, at all scales.

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