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Logical truth vs. Factual truth

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So now my philosophy mid-term is coming up within days and I'm trying to warp my head around this whole supposedly false modern dichotomy of Priori vs Posteriori, Logic Truth vs Factual Truth..etc. I can gave good enough answers for the marks but I want to understand this dichotomy in relation to Objectivism.

 

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

 

The Objectivism explanation here makes sense for me so far. The raw materials (experience gathered from sensory organs) is processed by logic to produce conclusions (concepts). The quality of the conclusions produced depends on:

 

1. The quality and quantity of sensory data gathered

2. The flawlessness of the logic used to process said data

 

-Bad observations lead to flawed conclusions, no matter how flawless the logic (garbage in garbage out)

-People working with quality observations are still prone to logic error and thus producing flawed conclusions if not careful

-Since it's physically impossible to observe every facet of reality (assuming existence is infinite), no conclusion is eternally perfect, and must be improved or discarded when new relevant facts are observed

 

So onto the dichotomy. Factual Truth/Posteriori seems simple enough to imagine, more or less what you observe without applying any logics to process the percepts (if that is actually possible, but the concept here is imaginable even if it turns out to be wrong)

 

Logic Truth/Priori is where it really gets me. Now technically according to the Objectivism model if you apply logic on nothing you will get..nothing. So I was pretty interested to see what are the examples for Logic Truth/Priori. The textbook gives out statements such as "All bachelors are unmarried", "All squares have four sides"...etc.

 

So now I'm having trouble understanding, exactly how do these statements fit into the Objectivism Epistemology model?

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In some ways logical "truth" is unconnected from reality.  But that does not mean evaluating logical truth is useless.  In the Objectivist framework evaluating logical truth is something which can be used to police/confirm consistency amongst concepts. 

 

Evaluating logical truth is useful in the same way good housekeeping is useful, and this is to be contrasted from the actual creation and validation of knowledge which in Objectivism includes integration and perception and linking concepts with existents.

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I see now.

 

Concepts are units of percepts sharing a common characteristic (definition). Bachelors by definition are men who are unmarried. Using the analogue of a PC, where folders are concepts and file percepts, the Bacheor Concept folder would contain numerous Men Concept folder that share the same characteristic/definition/property that they are unmarried.

 

So the Logical Truth, at least the Logical Truth you are trying to say in your post, is whether or not the definition actually applies to the term in question according to the dictionary or some other language standard used. If it does, then a Logical Truth statement such as "Bachelors are unmarried" is true, if not then false.

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Wait a minute, then what's an example of a concept that is formed directly from percept?

 

It seems all concepts are formed from other..concepts..

 

Edit: Hmm, it seems all sub-concepts that makes up new concepts gets larger and more abstract each level you go down. I suppose the most broad concept, and also a concept that comes directly from percept, is a "thing", something outside of the mind is detected/sensed instead of nothing.

Edited by VECT
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So now my philosophy mid-term is coming up within days and I'm trying to warp my head around this whole supposedly false modern dichotomy of Priori vs Posteriori, Logic Truth vs Factual Truth..etc. I can gave good enough answers for the marks but I want to understand this dichotomy in relation to Objectivism.

 

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

 

The Objectivism explanation here makes sense for me so far. The raw materials (experience gathered from sensory organs) is processed by logic to produce conclusions (concepts). The quality of the conclusions produced depends on:

 

1. The quality and quantity of sensory data gathered

2. The flawlessness of the logic used to process said data

 

-Bad observations lead to flawed conclusions, no matter how flawless the logic (garbage in garbage out)

-People working with quality observations are still prone to logic error and thus producing flawed conclusions if not careful

-Since it's physically impossible to observe every facet of reality (assuming existence is infinite), no conclusion is eternally perfect, and must be improved or discarded when new relevant facts are observed

 

So onto the dichotomy. Factual Truth/Posteriori seems simple enough to imagine, more or less what you observe without applying any logics to process the percepts (if that is actually possible, but the concept here is imaginable even if it turns out to be wrong)

 

Logic Truth/Priori is where it really gets me. Now technically according to the Objectivism model if you apply logic on nothing you will get..nothing. So I was pretty interested to see what are the examples for Logic Truth/Priori. The textbook gives out statements such as "All bachelors are unmarried", "All squares have four sides"...etc.

 

So now I'm having trouble understanding, exactly how do these statements fit into the Objectivism Epistemology model?

 

 

So now my philosophy mid-term is coming up within days and I'm trying to warp my head around this whole supposedly false modern dichotomy of Priori vs Posteriori, Logic Truth vs Factual Truth..etc. I can gave good enough answers for the marks but I want to understand this dichotomy in relation to Objectivism.

 

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

 

The Objectivism explanation here makes sense for me so far. The raw materials (experience gathered from sensory organs) is processed by logic to produce conclusions (concepts). The quality of the conclusions produced depends on:

 

1. The quality and quantity of sensory data gathered

2. The flawlessness of the logic used to process said data

 

-Bad observations lead to flawed conclusions, no matter how flawless the logic (garbage in garbage out)

-People working with quality observations are still prone to logic error and thus producing flawed conclusions if not careful

-Since it's physically impossible to observe every facet of reality (assuming existence is infinite), no conclusion is eternally perfect, and must be improved or discarded when new relevant facts are observed

 

So onto the dichotomy. Factual Truth/Posteriori seems simple enough to imagine, more or less what you observe without applying any logics to process the percepts (if that is actually possible, but the concept here is imaginable even if it turns out to be wrong)

 

Logic Truth/Priori is where it really gets me. Now technically according to the Objectivism model if you apply logic on nothing you will get..nothing. So I was pretty interested to see what are the examples for Logic Truth/Priori. The textbook gives out statements such as "All bachelors are unmarried", "All squares have four sides"...etc.

 

So now I'm having trouble understanding, exactly how do these statements fit into the Objectivism Epistemology model?

I think your answer would be to define & defend your allegation that the a priori /a posteriori discinction is invalid.

 

I assume, moreover that Rand has an answer for this?

 

Kant wrote 'Dare to know' because he thought that the faculty of reason wiil always be there for us to aid in clarification. This, of course, is the 'given', or a priori. The variable is what we factually know or what he called 'the understanding'.

Edited by frank harley
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Wait a minute, then what's an example of a concept that is formed directly from percept?

Concepts formed that identify perceptual concretes. Examples include such things as table, chair, cat, dog, bird, tree, car, truck, etc. are considered first level concepts.

It seems all concepts are formed from other..concepts..

 

Edit: Hmm, it seems all sub-concepts that makes up new concepts gets larger and more abstract each level you go down. I suppose the most broad concept, and also a concept that comes directly from percept, is a "thing", something outside of the mind is detected/sensed instead of nothing.

In ITOE opening the chapter on Abstractions from Abstractions, the terms intensive and extensive are used to describe how concepts formed from concepts can increase in complexity.

 

Male and female identify generically the sexes in the animal kingdom. In bovine, there is the cow and bull; of geese, the goose and gander; pigs, the sow and stag.

Male and female are more extensive terms that can be applied to the varying species. Man and Woman would be more intensive terms among human beings. Boy and girl are even more intensive by implying an age range. Grandmother and Grandfather include the age range along with the familial characteristic.

 

Her opening paragraph:

Starting from the base of conceptual development—from the concepts that identify perceptual concretes—the process of cognition moves in two interacting directions: toward more extensive and more intensive knowledge, toward wider integrations and more precise differentiations. Following the process and in accordance with cognitive evidence, earlier-formed concepts are integrated into wider ones or subdivided into narrower ones.

 

On the a priori/posteriori side of your question, there is some further discussion on thread titled: apriori knowledge.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Concepts formed that identify perceptual concretes. Examples include such things as table, chair, cat, dog, bird, tree, car, truck, etc. are considered first level concepts.

 

I've thought over examples like these, and here's the thing:

 

All definitions seems able to be able to be simplified down to this format:

 

Subject is a (pre-concept) that is (defining characteristic)

 

So for examples such as table, it would be:

 

Table is a (furniture) that is (used by people to place items upon so that they can be used at convenience)

 

If you go on making a similar definition for furniture, it would then have it's own pre-concept..etc. But that spot is always filled with another concept. Each pre-concept will get broader and broader, until it stops at a "thing".

 

I'll check out Rand's other writings that you posted. Also your apirori knowledge link seems to be a typo; it's just the url for this thread.

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VECT,

 

Using a genus and differentia approach, following the genus will lead to "thing" or "entity" or "existent". Identification of the genus moves toward the more extensive, while identification of the differential leads to more intensive.

 

Consider a chicken. It is a type of bird, which is a type of animal, which is a type of living organism, which is a type of entity.

Or a rock, which is a type of natural object, or entity.  

 

Since man is a conceptual being, he uses concepts to identify the objects around him. He creates other concepts to describe relationships, attributes, etc.

 

Definitions provide concepts with identity,

 

While a definition of table is useful, many simple point to an instance of a table as a referent to indicate what they mean. It is in this sense that first-level concepts can usually be identified.

 

I don't know if this addresses or helps clarify "pre-concept" for you.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think I get where I was having trouble now.

 

I was under the impression that definition produces the concept. Under that view therefore it was hard for me the imagine a concept coming directly from precept.

 

After reading:

http://www.proctors.com.au/mrhomepage.nsf/985f14ab922be306482577d5003a2040/4864f5fe3809763a4825789c000dc50a/$FILE/The%20Analytic%20Synthetic%20Dichotomy.pdf

 

the idea seems to be that definition is just the unique universal characteristic chosen from all of the known characteristics of the concept to best distinguish it from other known concepts. If more new facts are observed that makes the said characteristic no longer universal to all the existent of the concept, or new concept created that makes the said characteristic no longer unique, then new characteristic would have to be chosen as the definition to better serve the identity tag job.

 

If table is defined as a surface with legs, newly designed table without legs (characteristic no longer universal) or newly created items that have surface with legs but are not table (characteristic no longer unique), would necessitate a change to the table's current definition.

 

So it's the concept that produces the definition, not the other way around. Now I can see how concepts such as table can come directly from percepts.

 

And as for logical truth then, it isn't so much as whether or not the definition of a concept adheres to the dictionary, but whether or the definition does its job well as the identity tag for the concept in a given context of knowledge.

Edited by VECT
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the idea seems to be that definition is just the unique universal characteristic chosen from all of the known characteristics of the concept to best distinguish it from other known concepts.

 

I would like to add that "universal characteristic"  is contextual and not universal.  In some context, man is an animal with an opposable thumb.  In other contexts, he's bipedal, or rational, or a mammal, or a vertebrate animal, etc., etc., etc.

 

No one characteristic has anymore "metaphysical" value than any other other.  The "essential" characteristic is contextual to the proposition under consideration.  Objectivism uses the term "universal" very rarely, and in a manner completely different from other philosophies.

Edited by New Buddha
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I meant "universal" in the sense that the characteristics chosen for the definition have to apply to all the existent of the concept. If the definition of a table is consists of "surface with legs" and new table emerges without legs, the leg characteristic is no longer universal to all the existent of this concept and therefore a new definition is needed for table.

Edited by VECT
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  • 2 weeks later...

In some ways logical "truth" is unconnected from reality.  But that does not mean evaluating logical truth is useless.  In the Objectivist framework evaluating logical truth is something which can be used to police/confirm consistency amongst concepts. 

 

Evaluating logical truth is useful in the same way good housekeeping is useful, and this is to be contrasted from the actual creation and validation of knowledge which in Objectivism includes integration and perception and linking concepts with existents.

Logically validated claims cannot be rejected unless an logical error if found in the derivation. A scientific claim, on the other hand, must also be confirmed by empirical data; logical consistency with accepted axioms and alreadu accepted theories is not enough, in my opinion.

 

Ludwik

===========================

 

 truth is based 

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