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Consciousness = Immaterial?

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How are Objectivists so sure that consciousness is in fact immaterial when even science understands so little about consciousness?  I've listened to Peikoff and Binswanger speak on the matter, but I've never quite fully understood....probably because I'm insufficiently integrated....that's probably why I have shit taste in music too :twisted:

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13 hours ago, Plasmatic said:

Where did you get the idea that Oism claims consciousness is "immaterial"? Can you supply quotes?

I've heard Peikoff say, "Objectivists are not Materialists." as well as, "There is matter and there is the faculty which perceives it."  Both of these seem to be implying that consciousness is immaterial.  I seem to recall it being explicitly stated as well, but I can't recall where.

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The only kind of "materialism" that is ever mentioned in objective literature is the kind that refers to the denial of consciousness as such. That is the scope of Ms. Rand's meaning of saying that Objectivism is not materialist. 

Dr. Peikoff in fact, says the opposite of what you claim in the 1976 lectures question period. He basically answered a question about the nature of consciousness along the lines of "how do we know there's anything more to know other than that when you have a brain and certain minimum amount of material conditions you get consciousness". I may have that particular spot noted somewhere, I'll look.

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Perhaps a clearer definition of what you mean by "material" or what you mean by "immaterial" would be helpful.

Certainly, as you know, Objectivism rejects the supernatural, hence, whatever "immaterial" you are speaking of, it must be natural, possess identity and behave according to causality etc.

You also know that Rand speaks of "life" going out of existence.  Literally disappearing when a living organism dies, whereas the matter remains.

These may be clues to what you could consider material versus "something else".

If you take a person and squish him with a car crusher, you do not have consciousness, nor life, but you do have material.  If you consider there not to have been any loss of "material" by virtue of the squishing, i.e. the material that remains is the same material (at least in terms of amount - no more and no less) that was there before, then something other than mere amount of material was operative/present.

This leads to the question whether or not you take arrangement, processes, function, etc. of material, to be "immaterial" i.e. are the properties, relationships, attributes, functioning which arise from the collective arrangement of a complex collection of material "immaterial" or are they aspects of the collective material which disappear when the arrangements are destroyed.

A car also in a real sense is different in form, arrangement, capacity to function, after it is squished, but its material (in terms of quantity) remains the same, albeit rearranged.


Rand held that matter changes forms but does not go out of existence, as does life when a living thing dies.  The same obviously goes for consciousness.

Although I am unsure that she ever stated this explicitly, the idea that somehow life and equally consciousness are due to the form of the matter is implicit in (or at least consistent with if not logically necessitated by) her claim that death is at once an example of matter merely changing form, and of life going out of existence.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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