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"Emergence" succinctly

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A unit is a metaphysical entity viewed in a certain epistemological way.

 

Metaphysically, an entity is a thing which is subject to human interaction (sensation and/or manipulation), which can be cognitively isolated from all other things.

Physical objects are all entities, since they can effortlessly be selectively focused on.  Things such as 'vapor' are borderline because, while they can be isolated under certain circumstances, they cannot always be (nor very clearly).  Things such as laser pointers are even more borderline than vapor.

 

Epistemologically, entities may be organized into a wide variety of units.  A "man" may be subdivided anatomically, abstracted societally, or any combination of both (such as philosophically).

The proper way to organize any entity is within the context of its cognitive purpose.  Doctors should view the entity "man" in terms of anatomical units, because of their purposes in using such concepts.  Legislators absolutely cannot use such organization for precisely the same reason; it's irrelevant to the context of their goals.

---

 

Now there is a specific class of things in the world, which includes:

 

1-  The action of internal combustion engines

2-  Biochemical, metabolic action

3-  Cognitive action

 

Some actions which are subsumed under this class have proven notoriously difficult to define.

 

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=25535&hl=emergence#entry309743

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=22062&hl=emergence

 

I would like to propose an ongoing attempt to categorize these actions as units of a particular category, and subsequently identify its relation to all other types of actions, in precise and coherent terms.

Assistance would be appreciated.

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Cognitive isolation makes entity-hood essentially epistemological. The ontological fact that is fundamental to entities is that they have a physical boundary.

One can remove this confusion by considering this question:

"If an entity is too small to isolate, then, is it by definition not an entity?"

This whole way of categorizing entities by their "cognitive purpose" is to make entities CONCEPTS of method. A rank category error.

To say that entities are "epistemological rather than metaphysical is to say it exists only in relation to your grasp of it, or it requires your

grasp of it in order to acquire existence—it

doesn't. " ITOE on attributes, which presuppose entities. Modus ponens

Edited by Plasmatic
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The ontological fact that is fundamental to entities is that they have a physical boundary.

Boundaries, however, are measurements - and measurements are established epistemologically and always contextual.   What is the boundary of a man?  I'm constantly shedding and regenerating cells, excreting, sweating, respirating.  My mind/body is in a constant state of growing, reproduction or dying.  All matter is in a constant state of change - some fast, some slow.

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Boundaries, however, are measurements - and measurements are established epistemologically and always contextual.   What is the boundary of a man?  I'm constantly shedding and regenerating cells, excreting, sweating, respirating.  My mind/body is in a constant state of growing, reproduction or dying.  All matter is in a constant state of change - some fast, some slow.

 

 

Nonsense. Boundaries are what make measurement possible. What are you measuring? This is what your concept of objectivity is missing. Your position makes multiplicity an illusion, the concept measurement meaningless, rights arbitrary, and objectivity non existent....Differentiation presupposes particularity. 

Edited by Plasmatic
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Just out of curiosity, New Buddha, would you consider existence comprised of matter (and/or energy)? What would a change from existing be considered as? Could there be some merit in the adage that some things never change? Is there a concept for a thing that never changes? To what does it apply?

 

Edited: Added.

Edited by dream_weaver
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I'm not trolling, and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong.  But I don't see that the position that I've taken in this thread (or the other thread which Plas alludes to) contradicts Objectivism.  The argument is based on the Objectivist premise (with which I agree) that essence is epistemological --  and not metaphysical or ontological.  That's the sum of my argument.

 

Our sensory mechanisms, as a species, govern how the Universe is perceived by us.  But we are not limited to perception.  We understand the world conceptually.  When I view a man, I can view him in many different contexts.  He can be a primate, a mammal or an animal (as opposed to a plant).  I can see that a living man is composed of many different sub-systems.  He has bacteria (without which he would die) he has proteins (which can function without him), he has cells (which can also live and reproduce outside of his body).  Not one of these "categories" has any more metaphysical or ontological weight when it comes to defining "man the entity".  All definitions are contextual.  Essence is contextual. Boundaries are contextual.

 

And furthermore, if man cannot live without  bacteria or protein, are they ontologically more important? or less?  My position is that it is a meaningless question, and one that Rand disposed of quite handedly.

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Louie said:

What happened to "man is the measure of all things"?

I hope your joking!

Edit:

A third version of the primacy of

consciousness has appeared throughout

history among skeptics and is well

represented today: the personal version, as

we may call it, according to which each man's

own consciousness controls existence—for

him. Protagoras in ancient Greece is the

father of this variant. "Man," he said—meaning each man individually—" is the

measure of all things; of things that are, that

they are, and of things that are not, that they

are not." In this view, each man's

consciousness creates and inhabits its own

private universe. Epistemologically,

therefore, there are no standards or data of

any kind to which a person must conform.

There is only truth "for me" vs. truth "for

you"—which truth is, for any individual,

whatever he arbitrarily decrees it to be.

In regard to fundamentals, it makes no

difference whether one construes existence

as subservient to the consciousness of God,

of men, or of oneself. All these represent the

same essential metaphysics containing the

same essential error. Objectivism rejects

them all on the same ground: that existence

exists.

OPAR Edited by Plasmatic
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I'm not trolling, and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But I don't see that the position that I've taken in this thread (or the other thread which Plas alludes to) contradicts Objectivism. The argument is based on the Objectivist premise (with which I agree) that essence is epistemological -- and not metaphysical or ontological. ....... Not one of these "categories" has any more metaphysical or ontological weight when it comes to defining "man the entity". All definitions are contextual. Essence is contextual. Boundaries are contextual.

And furthermore, if man cannot live without bacteria or protein, are they ontologically more important? or less? My position is that it is a meaningless question, and one that Rand disposed of quite handedly.

Major rationalism and context dropping here. If I "define" your body as inseparable from mine, does that mean that we are the same person? Is what stops a negative terminal from contacting a positive and completing a circuit my definition of them as being in two different places with space between them?......What makes a category objective is that there is a metaphysical basis for similarity! You are claiming that I can make two things actually the same by deciding they are essentially the same without a metaphysical basis. In other words primacy of consciousness. Edited by Plasmatic
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Definitions are man made, consciousness dependent and not infallible , identity is metaphysic and is neither fallible or infallible.

 

I understand Rand as having solved the problem of universals by recoginizing that 'essence' is epistemologic. The manness of man is not something attached to an entity and 'makes' that entity a man. Men exist as discrete entities , conceptualization allows for the abstraction of mannesss to be applied all the entities that have the attributes separately , without the need to assertain and 'reidentitfy' every instance of perception of that type of entity.

When the process of identification becomes 'automatic' is seems as if it no longer is functioning 'in real time'. I walk down a street and know the identity of the entities I encounter, the people on the street , the street, the cars, the buildings ect. I am doing it automatically , but it still needs to be 'done', it just seems like it doesn't. 

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I hope your joking!

 

"It is here that Protagoras’ old dictum may be given a new meaning, the opposite of the one he intended: “Man is the measure of all things.” Man is the measure, epistemologically—not metaphysically. In regard to human knowledge, man has to be the measure, since he has to bring all things into the realm of the humanly knowable. But, far from leading to subjectivism, the methods which he has to employ require the most rigorous mathematical precision, the most rigorous compliance with objective rules and facts—if the end product is to be knowledge."

 

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/measurement.html

“Cognition and Measurement,”

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 7–8

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Louie, do you honestly think that anything in that quote supports the ridiculous notion that entities are epistemological? Everything I'm saying is about the claim that boundaries would disappear if all consciousness was gone being a failure to grasp what she meant by "objective rules and facts."

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I'm not trolling, and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong.  But I don't see that the position that I've taken in this thread (or the other thread which Plas alludes to) contradicts Objectivism.  The argument is based on the Objectivist premise (with which I agree) that essence is epistemological --  and not metaphysical or ontological.  That's the sum of my argument.

I'm not sure where the denial of trolling came from. The questions I asked arose in my mind after reading the last portion of your earlier statement where you wrote "All matter is in a constant state of change - some fast, some slow.".

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"...entities are epistemological?"

Our KNOWLEDGE of what an entity is epistemological.

"....since he has to bring all things into the realm of the humanly knowable. But, far from leading to subjectivism,...."

You are retracting this statement? :

"Entities" would disappear from the Universe tomorrow if man did.

Our knowledge of Jupiter is epistemological. Would it disappear if man did? (It being Jupiter) Edited by Plasmatic
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Louie, do you honestly think that anything in that quote supports the ridiculous notion that entities are epistemological? Everything I'm saying is about the claim that boundaries would disappear if all consciousness was gone being a failure to grasp what she meant by "objective rules and facts."

I only asked a question, I didn't make a claim in your response to me.

 

Still, entities are epistemological to the extent that a mental process is used to allow you to see anything as an entity in the first place. Metaphysically, entities are not inherently "there" nor does Objectivism suppose ontologies are valid to say what fundamental entities there are - no such fundamental entities exist. There is hierarchy of knowledge which has fundamental entities in some form, but that is entirely epistemological and not an ontology. Entities exist and all entities have an identity, that much is metaphysical. But that boundary is 100% the result of mental processes. In other words, what you define to be an entity is something perception establishes. If all consciousness were gone, there would be literally nothing to establish boundaries. The only boundary is the universe itself in that case. Jupiter wouldn't disappear, all of its features you see as Jupiter will remain, but it just has no one to distinguish it from the rest of reality or label Jupiter as an entity. I happen to agree with Buddha.

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Rand - 

This term [entity] may be used in several senses. If you speak in the primary sense, “entity” has to be defined ostensively—that is to say, by pointing. I can, however, give you three descriptive characteristics essential to the primary, philosophic use of the term, according to Objectivism. This is not a definition, because I’d have to rely ultimately on pointing to make these points clear, but it will give you certain criteria for the application of the term in the primary sense . . . .

  1. An entity means a self-sufficient form of existence—as against a quality, an action, a relationship, etc., which are simply aspects of an entity that we separate out by specialized focus. An entity is athing.

  2. An entity, in the primary sense, is a solid thing with a definite boundary—as against a fluid, such as air. In the literal sense, air is not an entity. There are contexts, such as when the wind moves as one mass, when you can call it that, by analogy, but in the primary sense, fluids are not entities.

  3. An entity is perceptual in scale, in size. In other words it is a “this” which you can point to and grasp by human perception. In an extended sense you can call molecules—or the universe as a whole—“entities,” because they are self-sufficient things. But in the primary sense when we say that entities are what is given in sense perception, we mean solid things which we can directly perceive.

 

 

I know what New Buddha is driving at, but he doesn't seem to be using the term entity in the primary sense. 

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You are retracting this statement? :

Our knowledge of Jupiter is epistemological. Would it disappear if man did? (It being Jupiter)

Please note that I used scare quotes for "Entity".  Indicating, in the context of the discussion, that the particular perceptual form(s) that entities assume in man's mind would disappear from this Universe.

Edited by New Buddha
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Cognitive isolation makes entity-hood essentially epistemological.

I did not refer to such isolation itself; I referred to its possibility. I agree with you that entities are fundamentally defined by metaphysics.

Entities which are too small to be cognitively isolated cannot be conceived of. That is the point.

An "atom" is a mental isolation- OF a hypothetical entity FROM all other h-entities. It is in the extended sense, just as vapor is; we've already gone over this (and I believe, within the present context of my knowledge, that we already essentially agree and are presently bickering over semantics).

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This whole way of categorizing entities by their "cognitive purpose" is to make entities CONCEPTS of method. A rank category error.

Again, I did not say "entities"; I said "units".

For what it's worth, you're absolutely right about epistemological entities; that would be a gross error. Conceded emphatically.

But if "units" shouldn't be arranged by their cognitive purpose, then:

Mammalian in question presents many doodads.

---

It's laughable when applied to speech; I shudder to imagine its application to actual cognition.

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What is the boundary of a man?

The extent of sensation.

This is also contextual and, if examined in EXCESSIVE detail, has some grey areas; this does not invalidate it.

Rand already dealt with borderline cases for us. If you'd like I can fish out some quotes for you, but if so then PM me; it isn't relevant to the current COGNITIVE PURPOSE (*Plasmatic*).

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The extent of sensation.

This is also contextual and, if examined in EXCESSIVE detail, has some grey areas; this does not invalidate it.

Rand already dealt with borderline cases for us. If you'd like I can fish out some quotes for you, but if so then PM me; it isn't relevant to the current COGNITIVE PURPOSE (*Plasmatic*).

Boy...  first Plasmatic is sure that I'm a Berkeley idealist and now Harrison thinks I was truly asking for a definition of the boundary of Man.

 

That was a Socratic question Harrison, used to illustrate in the context of the argument that NO thought takes place on the perceptual level and that man's knowledge of the world is conceptual.  Man ON A CONCEPTUAL level can define boundary relative to the context under discussion - so long as it is objective.  Boundary, since it is a form of measurement, is always measured relative to a cognitively established scale (not ontological scale). Man is the measurer of all things.  "Excessive" detail? Are you arguing that's ontological? (you don't need to answer that, it's a rhetorical question).

 

This post, as was the other post, is a discussion of Objectivist ontology and metaphysics.  These two fields have almost no place in Objectivism, especially when their definitions are pulled from other philosophies.  They have to be radically redefined in Objectivism (and are made largely irrelevant) by essence being epistemological.

Edited by New Buddha
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Our sensory mechanisms, as a species, govern how the Universe is perceived by us.  But we are not limited to perception.  We understand the world conceptually.  When I view a man, I can view him in many different contexts.  He can be a primate, a mammal or an animal (as opposed to a plant).  I can see that a living man is composed of many different sub-systems.  He has bacteria (without which he would die) he has proteins (which can function without him), he has cells (which can also live and reproduce outside of his body).  Not one of these "categories" has any more metaphysical or ontological weight when it comes to defining "man the entity".  All definitions are contextual.  Essence is contextual. Boundaries are contextual.

Accurate within certain key specifications.

 

"Man" can be viewed anatomically, societally, biochemically, philosophically, etc.; there are many different ways to arrange the entity of "man" into units.  But could one define "man" according to the motion of one of Jupiter's moons, or the ideas of his ancestors?

My point being that while there are many possible categorizations, they are not limitless; the units which are possible to apply to any given entity are determined by its metaphysical traits.

 

Now, when you say that essences, definitions and boundaries are contextual, I emphatically agree- and that's what I was referring to by "cognitive purpose"; the context by which we determine the validity of any possible arrangement, is our purpose in using that arrangement.

How we organize it must logically follow from why we organize it, in the first place.

 

Boy...  first Plasmatic is sure that I'm a Berkeley idealist and now Harrison thinks I was truly asking for a definition of the boundary of Man.

My apologies; at times I suffer from sarcasm-impairment.  :worry:

 

Man ON A CONCEPTUAL level can define boundary relative to the context under discussion - so long as it is objective.

Meaning that this boundary follows both from certain metaphysical facts, and man's goals in analyzing them?  If so then I agree.

 

This post, as was the other post, is a discussion of Objectivist ontology and metaphysics.  These two fields have almost no place in Objectivism, especially when their definitions are pulled from other philosophies.  They have to be radically redefined in Objectivism (and are made largely irrelevant) by essence being epistemological.

I don't understand what you're attempting to say, there.

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The upshot of the OP is this.

 

There are certain actions, such as internal combustion, metabolism and consciousness, which I've observed as exceptionally difficult to identify.  I include "internal combustion" in this list because it is a repetitive series of actions in which each step of the process not only accomplishes something, but also creates the necessary conditions for the next step of the process.

I've noticed that such self-perpetuating processes are the building blocks of biological life, and strongly suspect (but have not proven yet) that the same type of process typifies any train of thought.

 

I am using the provisional definition, within my own mind, of a "looping cascade" to isolate this type of action from all others.

It works to an extent but is nowhere near satisfactory; that is why I began this thread.

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