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59 minutes ago, NameYourAxioms said:

You don't "identify" A and B as 5 feet apart. Being 5 feet apart is not part of either object's identity any more than you standing next to a fire hydrant is part of your identity. Your identity doesn't change when you walk away from the fire hydrant.

While I agree the measurement is infinitely divisible, and that a measurement is epistemic, it doesn't mean that the measurement itself is not OF a fact of reality (I believe SL is just claiming a distance relationship is a fact of reality for an entity).

We could argue that a relationship is not an aspect of an individual entity (I'd say it is), but it's still a metaphysical fact that a relationship of some sort will exists. Furthermore, distance would exist regardless of your mind (unlike something like 5.10402 cm, which is entirely epistemic). I said this to SL as well, but to point out that nothing metaphysical about reality is infinite - especially a metaphysical fact. That is, one aspect of my identity as a person is that I bear some sort of relation to all objects, and that this aspect can change over time. The difference here is between the WHAT you identify, and the WAY you identify.

The word metaphysical makes it a bit confusing in an informal discussion. Objective measurements are OF facts of reality, yet the measurement is not a fact of reality literally speaking. After all, a measurement is man-made. Framed that way, it's easier to talk about.

 

Edited by Eiuol
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Oh, well, I meant to bring up Zeno earlier, but before I could write my post it was necessary to write half a post. But before I could do that, I had to write a quarter of a post, and before that an e

Assuming you are an adult, the distance between your eyes has changed since you were a child.  Generally speaking in most people it grows between 20 to 30% so for example 2 inches when you were a chil

All true. I believe that you've mistaken what "identity" means and entails. Allow me to elaborate. Regarding identity (from "Galt's Speech," FTNI): This is identity -- a thing is it

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The word metaphysical makes it a bit confusing in an informal discussion. Objective measurements are OF facts of reality, yet the measurement is not a fact of reality literally speaking. After all, a measurement is man-made. Framed that way, it's easier to talk about.

And I'd add that a discussion about Speed = Distance/Time is pretty much the main point of departure between Newtonian Mechanics, Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.   Each Mechanics has an entirely different conception of the three variables.  To discuss these outside of the framework of any of the three well defined systems is not scientific.

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13 hours ago, NameYourAxioms said:
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Yes, the distance between my eyes is part of my identity.

The measurement of the distance between them is what's infinitely divisible. Division is a mental action.

Assuming you are an adult, the distance between your eyes has changed since you were a child.  Generally speaking in most people it grows between 20 to 30% so for example 2 inches when you were a child and 2.5 inches now as an adult. 

Given all of our lengthy exchanges we can make the following statements:

1.  The distance between your eyes has metaphysical identity, it is what it is.

2.  The distance between your eyes has always had metaphysical identity, and was what it was in the past.

3.  The distance between your eyes has changed over time.

Let's makes a few assumptions:

4.  Existence/identity is continuous:  there are no instants at which you, your eyes, or the distance between your eyes cease to be or cease to have identity (which mean the same thing).

5.  Let us assume that the change was continuous, not that it necessarily always increased, but that there were no discontinuities, where it literally skipped distances...  i.e. assume there is no distance between 2 inches and 2.5 inches such that your eyes were never at that distance between childhood and adulthood. [As an aside, one of the reasons a typical Objectivist tends to dismiss QM is because it holds that particles can go from point A to B without traversing all of the distance between them... I think that starts to indulge in armchair physics... but that is tangential to this discussion]

 

The point is that a continuous change in metaphysical reality means a continuously varying identity.  It IS at all times continuously different from what it WAS in SOME respect, i.e. in respect of the changes. 

We know change is not a problem, change does not imply things are going out of existence to be replaced with different things coming into existence, we accept that things change... in reality.  Continuous change IN reality implies continuous change in identity: there is nothing in reality other than metaphysical identity, existence IS identity.  To accept change occurs continuously IS to accept identity changes continuously.  Identity is not like a coat of paint that you attach to a house, a house possessing identity is simply a restatement that the house IS.  If a house (or some aspect of it) changes continuously, what the house IS (or what the some aspect of that house IS) changes continuously.

Continuously changing reality implies that in the past there are differences, actual differences in reality which cannot be counted.  The "number" of different (actually different in reality not just in measurement) distances between your eyes from the time you were a child to the present is not countable precisely because it changed continuously in reality.

The act of counting or measuring is not central to what I am referring. That there are three oranges on the ground under the orange tree and not any other number of oranges has nothing to do with math.  The fact that I have counted them or that I can count, or that any person or consciousness ever came into existence has no bearing whatever on the facts of reality.  In reality there simply ARE three oranges on the ground or NOT.  We can identify number, change, differences, in respect of reality but WHAT we identify, those are FACTS of reality independent of our identification of them.

Our measurement is immaterial to the facts of reality which in this case are continuously different and continuously changing whether we identify them or not.  In these cases of continuous change, whether we try to count them or not, there were not only a finite number of ACTUAL differences in reality which occurred.

Either there were a finite number of different distances between your eyes over time between childhood and adulthood or NOT, and this is completely independent of whether anyone exists to attempt to count them.

 

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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According to the Law of Causality, a thing can only act in accordance with its nature.  Since man is not born full grown, it is in his nature to grow. The distance between my eyes has grown as expected since growth is part of man's identity. My appearance has changed since infancy yet my identity has NOT changed.

The distance between my eyes is part of MY identity. It is absurd to say that the distance between my eyes has its OWN identity. Attributes are inseparable from entities. 

Your statement "The distance between your eyes has metaphysical identity" is invalid because it reifies an attribute of MY identity.

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1 hour ago, NameYourAxioms said:

My appearance has changed since infancy yet my identity has NOT changed.

False.

Perception is valid.  We perceive reality not mere appearances.

You have changed. Existence is identity therefore your identity has changed, in many respects.  That does not imply you are not you, it only means you are continuously changing.

 

1 hour ago, NameYourAxioms said:

It is absurd to say that the distance between my eyes has its OWN identity.

False.

It would be absurd to say that distance exists apart from the existence of your eyes, but distance is a fact of reality, that it is part of your identity does not negate that it has identity - it is what it is.  To say A has identity does not mean that it has separate identity... like a second coat of paint on a subpart of a house...

 

1 hour ago, NameYourAxioms said:

Attributes are inseparable from entities. 

True.

 

1 hour ago, NameYourAxioms said:

Your statement "The distance between your eyes has metaphysical identity" is invalid because it reifies an attribute of MY identity.

Reification means the error of holding the unreal as real.  Attributes of entities ARE real NOT epistemological.  They are characteristics which we perceive and perception is valid.  Moreover attributes and properties are causative in reality.

To claim attributes and properties are unreal is tantamount to claiming nothing is real.  In a sense entities ARE their attributes and properties.  Something has mass, shape, size, charge, momentum, etc. not as a possession but as what they are.  Entities are not naked "identities" to which attach unreal attributes and properties, for the sake of "appearance". If you abstract away all the attributes and properties of an entity you have nothing.  As such attributes are a real part of existence - of identity.

 

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3 hours ago, NameYourAxioms said:

According to the Law of Causality, a thing can only act in accordance with its nature.  Since man is not born full grown, it is in his nature to grow. The distance between my eyes has grown as expected since growth is part of man's identity. My appearance has changed since infancy yet my identity has NOT changed.

It is the nature of a grape, when left in the sun, to become a raisin. Yet would you say of a raisin that its identity (as a grape) remains unchanged, that only its "appearance" has changed?

1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

To claim attributes and properties are unreal is tantamount to claiming nothing is real.  In a sense entities ARE their attributes and properties.  Something has mass, shape, size, charge, momentum, etc. not as a possession but as what they are.  Entities are not naked "identities" to which attach unreal attributes and properties, for the sake of "appearance". If you abstract away all the attributes and properties of an entity you have nothing.  As such attributes are a real part of existence - of identity.

The forum only allows me to "like" a certain number of posts per day, but I wanted to tell you that I think your contributions to this thread have been stellar -- and especially this paragraph. Many thanks.

Edited by DonAthos
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3 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

False.

Perception is valid.  We perceive reality not mere appearances.

You have changed. Existence is identity therefore your identity has changed, in many respects.  That does not imply you are not you, it only means you are continuously changing.

 

False.

It would be absurd to say that distance exists apart from the existence of your eyes, but distance is a fact of reality, that it is part of your identity does not negate that it has identity - it is what it is.  To say A has identity does not mean that it has separate identity... like a second coat of paint on a subpart of a house...

 

True.

 

Reification means the error of holding the unreal as real.  Attributes of entities ARE real NOT epistemological.  They are characteristics which we perceive and perception is valid.  Moreover attributes and properties are causative in reality.

To claim attributes and properties are unreal is tantamount to claiming nothing is real.  In a sense entities ARE their attributes and properties.  Something has mass, shape, size, charge, momentum, etc. not as a possession but as what they are.  Entities are not naked "identities" to which attach unreal attributes and properties, for the sake of "appearance". If you abstract away all the attributes and properties of an entity you have nothing.  As such attributes are a real part of existence - of identity.

 

As I stated previously, reification is the fallacy of taking a (real) aspect of a (real) thing, grasped by mental analysis, as if were an entity capable of a separate existence.

Your definition of reification as the error of "holding up the unreal as real" is a straw man where you misstate what was said then waste everyone's time refuting your own mis-statement.

What do you allege was said to be "unreal"?

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4 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

It would be absurd to say that distance exists apart from the existence of your eyes, but distance is a fact of reality, that it is part of your identity does not negate that it has identity - it is what it is. 

I already posted about this, my previous post was describing a fact of reality versus measurements OF facts of reality.

The real disagreement looks to be over if continuity of change is reason to there say are are an INFINITE number of states an entity can be in, thus physical infinity is metaphysically real. Is that what you're trying to say?

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According to the Law of Causality, the actions of an entity are an expression of its identity. What an entity can do is determined by what it is.

Tadpoles do not "turn into" frogs and caterpillars do not "turn into" butterflies. The Law of Causality permits no miracles. A thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.

The larval stage of a frog is known as a tadpole. The larval stage of a toad is also known as a tadpole.  

A frog tadpole cannot "turn into" a toad and a toad tadpole cannot "turn into" frog. It was either a frog all along or a toad all along.

A butterfly caterpillar cannot "turn into" a moth and a moth caterpillar cannot "turn into" a butterfly. It was either a butterfly all along or a moth all along.

Acting according to its identity, a frog will progress from its egg stage to its larval stage (tadpole) to its adult stage. It was ALWAYS a frog.

We refer to humans at various ages as infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors because it serves an epistemological need. Metaphysically, an infant is a man and so are toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. The identity of man doesn't change. The infant was a man all along.

Don't believe me? Exactly when does an adolescent "turn into" an adult?

Edited by NameYourAxioms
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7 hours ago, NameYourAxioms said:

The distance between my eyes is part of MY identity. It is absurd to say that the distance between my eyes has its OWN identity. Attributes are inseparable from entities.

The Ayn Rand Letter
Vol. II, No. 12  March 12, 1973
The Metaphysical Versus The Man-Made

[M]an exists and his mind exists. Both are part of nature, both possess a specific identity.

Your mind is part of your identity. Your consciousness is part of your identity. Is it reification to apply the process of identification to these inseparable attributes?

Edited by dream_weaver
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1 hour ago, NameYourAxioms said:

According to the Law of Causality, the actions of an entity are an expression of its identity. What an entity can do is determined by what it is.

All true.

1 hour ago, NameYourAxioms said:

Tadpoles do not "turn into" frogs and caterpillars do not "turn into" butterflies. The Law of Causality permits no miracles. A thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.

I believe that you've mistaken what "identity" means and entails. Allow me to elaborate.

Regarding identity (from "Galt's Speech," FTNI):

Quote

A is A. A thing is itself.

[...]

Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A. Or, if you wish it stated in simpler language: You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

This is identity -- a thing is itself (and it is not what it is not). Our recognition of this fact does not speak to the content of what exists, what it is capable of doing, or what we choose to call it. Is a tadpole a baby frog, or a frog an overgrown tadpole? Those considerations are fundamentally epistemological, not metaphysical. A tadpole is what it is (and can do what it can do, per its nature), a frog is what it is, and each specific instance of either is what it is. Yet, metaphysically speaking ("the study of existence as such"), a tadpole is not a frog (or an adult frog, at least, which is the implied meaning when one speaks of a tadpole "turning into a frog") and a frog is not a tadpole: a tadpole is something which may one day be a frog, and a frog is something which was, once, a tadpole.

So, of course tadpoles become frogs and caterpillars become butterflies -- this is neither "miracle" nor "contradiction." It is the nature of a caterpillar to become a butterfly, just as (depending on context) a grape may become a raisin. It was also the nature of life on Earth to evolve (changes which operated just as your "adolescent into adult" example: minute and possibly unobservable in a typical human timeframe), yet we would not say that Homo sapiens is really just a ape (or however we would refer to our common ancestor), or that an ape is a man. A man is a man, an ape is an ape, a raisin is a raisin, a grape is a grape.

To take this out to the furthest extent I can imagine, Carl Sagan wrote, "The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff." This is true (and poetic), yet we are not stars, and neither were stars proto-humans. Everything acted according to its nature; everything had identity; there were no miracles involved; and yet one thing does become another, in reality.

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I believe my submissions on the subject are clear.  The logical implications necessarily flowing therefrom, can (in theory) be determined by anyone with careful enough analysis.  Anyone who wishes to arrive at conclusions which do not necessarily flow logically from what I have said will be solely to responsible for those... their own conclusions... I now disavowing any part of any thing not necessarily flowing from what I said.

Cheers.

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I believe my submissions on the subject are clear.  The logical implications necessarily flowing therefrom, can (in theory) be determined by anyone with careful enough analysis. 

Would you respond to my question directed at you? I don't think all your points are perfectly clear, hence my question to figure out what you mean. 

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4 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

The Ayn Rand Letter
Vol. II, No. 12  March 12, 1973
The Metaphysical Versus The Man-Made

[M]an exists and his mind exists. Both are part of nature, both possess a specific identity.

Your mind is part of your identity. Your consciousness is part of your identity. Is it reification to apply the process of identification to these inseparable attributes?

Consciousness is not an attribute any more than identity is an attribute.  Consciousness is one of the 3 axioms: Existence, consciousness, and identity.

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2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

All true.

I believe that you've mistaken what "identity" means and entails. Allow me to elaborate.

Regarding identity (from "Galt's Speech," FTNI):

This is identity -- a thing is itself (and it is not what it is not). Our recognition of this fact does not speak to the content of what exists, what it is capable of doing, or what we choose to call it. Is a tadpole a baby frog, or a frog an overgrown tadpole? Those considerations are fundamentally epistemological, not metaphysical. A tadpole is what it is (and can do what it can do, per its nature), a frog is what it is, and each specific instance of either is what it is. Yet, metaphysically speaking ("the study of existence as such"), a tadpole is not a frog (or an adult frog, at least, which is the implied meaning when one speaks of a tadpole "turning into a frog") and a frog is not a tadpole: a tadpole is something which may one day be a frog, and a frog is something which was, once, a tadpole.

So, of course tadpoles become frogs and caterpillars become butterflies -- this is neither "miracle" nor "contradiction." It is the nature of a caterpillar to become a butterfly, just as (depending on context) a grape may become a raisin. It was also the nature of life on Earth to evolve (changes which operated just as your "adolescent into adult" example: minute and possibly unobservable in a typical human timeframe), yet we would not say that Homo sapiens is really just a ape (or however we would refer to our common ancestor), or that an ape is a man. A man is a man, an ape is an ape, a raisin is a raisin, a grape is a grape.

To take this out to the furthest extent I can imagine, Carl Sagan wrote, "The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff." This is true (and poetic), yet we are not stars, and neither were stars proto-humans. Everything acted according to its nature; everything had identity; there were no miracles involved; and yet one thing does become another, in reality.

Of course, tadpoles become frogs?   How do you explain the tadpoles that become toads? 

Of course, caterpillars become butterflies?  How do you explain the caterpillars that become moths?

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1 hour ago, NameYourAxioms said:

Consciousness is not an attribute any more than identity is an attribute.  Consciousness is one of the 3 axioms: Existence, consciousness, and identity.

Some folk cast their nets wide, often taking in more than the net can handle. In this case, you are using attribute so restrictively, and bolstering it with the implicit equivocation on identity not being an attribute of existence in order to substantiate it here.

You asked earlier:

On 8/16/2016 at 1:00 AM, NameYourAxioms said:

Has anyone in this forum actually read anything that Ayn Rand wrote?

Consider one of nearly a dozen passages that I found where Miss Rand wrote describing consciousness as an attribute. This one is not as straightforward as some of the others:

[ S ]uch a thing as a state of consciousness is obviously a derivative concept—derivative qua attribute. — Pg. 252 of the second edition of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.

Whether you use 'consciousness' or 'state of consciousness' as the derivative concept, the path to get there still needs to go down attribute lane in order to arrive at its destination.

An attribute is more widely used as a quality or characteristic inherent in or ascribed to someone or something. — The Free Dictionary

As I understand the guidelines of this forum at this time, reading what Ayn Rand wrote is not a prerequisite of joining. Please temper your responses with this in mind.

Edited by dream_weaver
eliminate unexpected strike-through from [S].
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1 hour ago, NameYourAxioms said:

How do you account for this quote from Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology?

Aristotle regarded essences as metaphysical; Objectivists regard essences as epistemological.

As I stated in a previous post, the term Metaphysics has been used, and abused, by many different philosophers in many different ways.

Aristotle's use of the term Metaphysics was entirely different from Rand's.  And even Rand used the term in conflicting ways.

Aristotle believed in a type of dualism, as did Plato. To Aristotle, there exists both the Physical Realm and - parallel to that  - a Metaphysical realm.  He ascribed Causation and Essence to the realm of Metaphysics.    But, unlike Plato, he did not believe our knowledge of Causation and Essence to be innate (a given, prior to birth).  Aristotle posited that our apprehension of this other "realm" came directly through the senses.

Objectivism rejects Dualism of any sort.  Objectivism gives an entirely naturalistic and/or psychological/physiological account of how we acquire knowledge.  This post has just been abusing the hell out of the term "metaphysics".  It's setting back Science by 700 years.  Even Aquinas would be embarrassed.

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20 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

As I stated in a previous post, the term Metaphysics has been used, and abused, by many different philosophers in many different ways.

Aristotle's use of the term Metaphysics was entirely different from Rand's.  And even Rand used the term in conflicting ways.

Aristotle believed in a type of dualism, as did Plato. To Aristotle, there exists both the Physical Realm and - parallel to that  - a Metaphysical realm.  He ascribed Causation and Essence to the realm of Metaphysics.    But, unlike Plato, he did not believe our knowledge of Causation and Essence to be innate (a given, prior to birth).  Aristotle posited that our apprehension of this other "realm" came directly through the senses.

Objectivism rejects Dualism of any sort.  Objectivism gives an entirely naturalistic and/or psychological/physiological account of how we acquire knowledge.  This post has just been abusing the hell out of the term "metaphysics".  It's setting back Science by 700 years.  Even Aquinas would be embarrassed.

How do you account for "Objectivists regard essences as epistemological" in Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology?

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34 minutes ago, NameYourAxioms said:

How do you account for "Objectivists regard essences as epistemological" in Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology?

 I'm not even sure that I understand your question.  The ITOE gives an entirely naturalistic and/or psychological/physiological account of how we acquire knowledge.

Entities have many characteristics. Which characteristic is to be regarded as "essential" is contextual to any given situation/use.

"All ways of conceiving a concrete fact, if they are true ways at all, are equally true ways. There is no property ABSOLUTELY essential to any one thing . The same property which figures as the essence of a thing on one occasion becomes a very inessential feature upon another. Now that I am writing, it is essential that I conceive my paper as a surface for inscription. If I failed to do that, I should have to stop my work. But if I wished to light a, fire, and no other materials were by, the essential way of conceiving the paper would be as combustible material; and I need then have no thought of any of its other destinations. It is really all that it is: a combustible, a writing surface, a thin thing, a hydrocarbonaceous thing, a thing eight inches one way and ten another, a thing just one furlong east of a certain stone in my neighbor's field, an American thing, etc., etc., ad infinitum . Whichever one of these aspects of its being I temporarily class it under, makes me unjust to the other aspects. But I always am classing it under one aspect or another, I am always unjust, always partial, always exclusive. My excuse is necessity -- the necessity which my finite and practical nature lays upon me. My thinking is first and last and always for the sake of my doing, and I can only do one thing at a time. A God, who is supposed to drive the whole universe abreast, may also be supposed, without detriment to his activity, to see all parts of it at once and without emphasis. But were our human attention so to disperse itself we should simply stare vacantly at things at large and forfeit our opportunity of doing any particular act." - William James, The Principles of Psychology, Chapter 22. 

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12 hours ago, NameYourAxioms said:

Of course, tadpoles become frogs?   How do you explain the tadpoles that become toads? 

Of course, caterpillars become butterflies?  How do you explain the caterpillars that become moths?

I'm heartened to see you exploring the "quote" function; I think it will improve things for you, here.

You've asked me direct questions, and it's my belief that (typically) one should seek to answer direct questions in a discussion such as this. (I say this in the hopes that, in the future, should I present you with direct questions during some philosophical argument, you might consider answering them.)

Some tadpoles become frogs and other tadpoles become toads -- how do I explain this? Every tadpole (as every existent) has identity -- a specific identity. That "identity" includes every aspect of its existence: it isn't reducible to a single term, or etc. When we speak of the identity of some tadpole or other, we do not just mean that "it is a tadpole" -- we mean everything about that particular tadpole. The identity of a tadpole which becomes a frog is to become a frog; the identity of a tadpole which becomes a toad is to become a toad. Beyond that, the explanation belongs to the special sciences (meaning: DNA and so forth).

I hope that answers your question. (I was unsure about the rhetorical thrust of your question, so I recognize that my answer may not address the point you'd hoped to make.)

Since you did not respond to any of the other content of my post, apart from asking me these questions, I don't know whether you agree or disagree with anything that I've said -- or whether you've understood what I've tried to communicate, or so forth. I don't know whether any of my efforts have been successful. Since I'm composing another post, here, I'd like to provide a little more material to (hopefully) assist in that effort of communication:

I am DonAthos. I am an adult. Many years ago, I was an adolescent, and before that, a child. Did my identity "change" over time? Did I "become" (or "turn into") something else? I am DonAthos now and I was DonAthos then. My identification as DonAthos has not changed during that interval, though there was a time before DonAthos existed, qua entity (the material which comprises my body already existed, and always has: starstuff), and there will be a time to come where DonAthos no longer will.

Yet my identity has changed even so, during my lifetime, because I have changed. Once I was a baby DonAthos, and then a toddler DonAthos, and so forth. These were not mere changes of "appearance": they were meaningful changes, and yes, changes to my identity and my "nature," which is not some static, fixed thing, but the sum of all that which is true of me, in reality, at any given moment in time. When I became (or "turned into") an adolescent, my identity was thus an adolescent DonAthos. That identity included the capacity (per my nature, and the Law of Causality) to become an adult, as I have subsequently borne out, just as the child became the adolescent, the toddler became the child, the baby became the toddler, the fetus became the baby, the embryo became the fetus, the zygote became the embryo, the sperm and egg became the zygote. As StrictlyLogical described it: "continuous change."

What I am, as DonAthos, as male, as human, has not changed over the course of my lifetime, but these are not all that my "identity" contains or refers to. Consider Peikoff (from "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy," emphasis added):

Quote

A characteristic is an aspect of an existent. It is not a disembodied, Platonic universal. Just as a concept cannot mean existents apart from their identity, so it cannot mean identities apart from that which exists.

All that which exists has identity. An entity's identity is bound in all of its myriad of characteristics, and when those characteristics change, so, too, does its identity to that extent. The question of when we consider a growing child an "adolescent" or a growing adolescent an "adult" is epistemological, but it is based upon the fact that we recognize that a child and an adolescent and an adult are different, "metaphysically" or in reality. (They are so different from one another as to deserve their own conceptualizations.)

We are not speaking to changes in mere "appearance" or "measurement," but to identity and reality.

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Rand spent a great deal of time on Identity (A is A).  It helpful to understand the times in which she lived.

The Soviets/Marxist/Materialists believed (and many college professors still do) that Man's mind is infinitely malleable, infinitely plastic.  That right and wrong are a matter of Class and conditioning.  The dominate school of Psychology was the Behaviorism Watson, Skinner and Pavlov.  Lysenkoism ruled Soviet genetics/biology, because it supported the belief that crop seed could be "conditioned" to withstand cold winters or hot summers.  To Behaviorist and Marxist, ideas and concepts are "phantoms of the mind", purely subjective and/or formed by Class.  Thoughts don't determine action, action determines thought.

Rand said no.  The human mind has a specific identity.  It is what it is, independent of conditioning.  Knowledge of the difference between right and wrong is what perpetuates life.  And to perpetuate life, knowledge of the world can be obtained by objective means because the senses have objective identity.

Edited by New Buddha
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On August 15, 2016 at 8:49 PM, New Buddha said:

The term "Metaphysics" in Objectivism is rarely used, and it is use in an entirely different way than traditional philosophy.  And, in fact, traditional philosophy doesn't even use the term in a consistent way.  The Metaphysics of Plato are not those of Aristotle.  

 

There are 5 branches of philosophy. Metaphysics is the study of existence. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Ethics is the study of action. Politics is the study of force.  Esthetics is the study of art.  Of the 5 branches of philosophy, metaphysics is the trunk of the tree.

The whole purpose of Ayn Rand's West Point speech was to drive home the utter importance of metaphysics. Her spacecraft metaphor laid it out: Where am I? (metaphysics) How do I know it? (epistemology) What should I do? (ethics). You cannot answer the last 2 questions unless you know where you are (metaphysics).

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14 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Aristotle's use of the term Metaphysics was entirely different from Rand's.  And even Rand used the term in conflicting ways.

Aristotle believed in a type of dualism, as did Plato. To Aristotle, there exists both the Physical Realm and - parallel to that  - a Metaphysical realm.  He ascribed Causation and Essence to the realm of Metaphysics.    

Wrong. Aristotle rejected Plato's metaphysics and completely denied Plato's World of Forms. Aristotle maintained that there is only 1 reality, the world of concrete entities that we perceive.

 

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