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Critique of Ayn Rand’s metaphysics.

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Herb Torres 

I think we can think of it like this.. 

Imagine a world where human memory recall is only meant to produce survival reflexes, not a worldview. In that world, every time one would go to recall our axioms, there would be no reason to suspect that memory had not duped us, so to speak. In this way, it might be the case that our evolved psychology requires thought in terms of axioms even though those axioms are mere survival conducive categories, not justified beliefs about the world.

Another example. Suppose the world is just empty, something like Nargarjuna's universe, where everything is evanescent, without a core essence. Consciousness and identity are trivial in that world because nothing possesses a mind as we Westerners think of it. It could be granted, for the sake of skepticism, that we cannot help but *think* in those categories (conceptual necessity), but that by itself is not enough to say that said categories count as knowledge about the world.

Now consider this point of view and those questions from a Christian perspective. Of course we agree to play that game. But for us, those questions about the world - universality, exclusivity, knowledge, and so forth - are answerable because our argument does not stop at the conceptual level. We both agree you can't deny those so-called axioms. The difference is that the randians “you” only reason for doing so is an appeal to his own psychology. Which is where we depart.

Last point, in terms of skepticism.. the question is not that we don’t have knowledge. I take us both to knowledge. The question is for example, I’m describing a square like it has four sides, it can’t be a triangle, but you’re saying no a square can be a triangle. Can you explain what it would mean to say I have a reason to believe this but that doesn’t entail that it’s not not impossible for me to have a reason to believe it. Warrant is the question. 

Sorry for the length.. hard to shorten these convos lol.

A few questions to clarify,

In your first paragraph you mention a wold were memory recall is only meant for survival. This is to some degree the world we live in for most species who act instinctually or simply by memory  (sensory and or perceptual level). But, then you speak of “us” who are able to operate on a conceptual level. Axioms are not just categories that we have evolved to think of for survival. Axioms fundmental to existence whether we think of them or not.

 Can you clarify a world world that is “Empty” and where there is no consciousness? I can imagine a world with no consciousness but not a world with no “identity”. To exist is to have identity. Also can you clarify what you mean by we could “think” in a world where there is no consciousness? 

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