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Has Any Objectivist Intellectual Discussed This Topic in Depth?

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Arguably, the most important point upon which Objectivism rests is the fact that consciousness presupposes the thing that you are conscious of. No thing to be aware of = no awareness. Quoting Galt in Atlas Shrugged:

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If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something.

It always surprised me how little Rand talked about this subject (beyond Galt's terse statement), considering the rich history of philosophical discussion on this subject. So much of Objectivism relies on it, and yet its often treated like a passing remark to throw in once in a while before going into meatier topics.

What got me thinking about it again is my daily practice of NSR (the inexpensive version of Transcendental Meditation). TM is a famous (and infamous) form of meditation for which there are some available medical studies that describe the physiological and psychological markers of the meditative state.

I can only speak from my own experience, but during meditation there are periods when I am unconscious. Except, it's not the unconsciousness of sleep, where upon waking up you rely on the clock to know how many hours have passed since you've been unconscious. Instead, after meditating I look back at the preceding 15 minutes and realize that I was completely awake throughout the whole thing - I never once actually fell asleep. So, instead of having been  unconscious, I was in fact simply cut off from the senses and from thought processes, an experience akin to unconsciousness but somehow missing the part where you "pass out".

Under this model, the argument that 'consciousness is consciousness of something' still holds true. Implicit in the 'conscious sleep' I mentioned is a simple sense of I am - just, not grasped through sensory experience or intellectual processes. The problem with Galt's argument is in the second part of the quote, where he uses the initial premise to deduce that 'a consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms'. This can't be deduced logically but needs to be verified medically using data about the human brain and nervous system. 

Regardless of whether you can be awake and aware without sensory experience or not, Galt's conclusion is not actually necessary if one wants to make a point for the primacy of existence. The axioms of existence and identity are used in every proof.

Of course, the concept of identity applies not only to objects, but to every aspect of reality, including fundamental forces such as gravity. One key question of 19th century philosophy was whether there is a sort of 'force', a specific instance of identity, whose characteristic is that it dynamically generates things. After all, things are often the result of a process, of small steps working in concert to bring it into existence. Remove the process, and the thing evaporates as well.

Wanting to account for the intelligent aspect of existence, such as biological life and freedom, the German Romantics proposed the following: at the very root, existence is neither mechanical nor intelligent. Rather: existence appears either mechanical OR intelligent depending on what the human subject looks at when studying it. 

To clarify this, it's possible for a human to think of a shape divorced from the actual object that is of that shape; however, a 'floating' shape is not possible in real life, only in your head. Similarly, you can consider intelligent productiveness and blind static existence as two distinct things, but they might not be possible without each other, the same way a shapeless object is not possible in reality.

For F.W.J. Schelling, this is impossible to grasp intellectually, because ''blind mechanism" and 'intelligence' appear to be antonyms, kind of like left and right, cold and hot. His proposed solution in his 1800 System was not Yoga (which was probably unknown to him), but works of Art.

If free productive intelligence and its opposite, dead mechanism, are perspectives on the same one thing, Schelling argues that you require some method to show this in experience. Philosophy will not satisfy you, because discursive explanations rely on concepts, and the concept "freedom" is partly defined by what it is not (i.e. not unfreedom). So how are we to grasp that freedom and unfreedom are actually the same one thing? Not through philosophy, that's for sure.

Schelling proposes, instead, an extra-philosophic solution: it should be possible for humans to produce something using one's fully conscious and intelligent intention, but end up with a product whose characteristics are unrecognizable and not reducible to that conscious process. More clearly, a consciously planned activity that leads to a foreign, unrecognizable result. For Schelling, this is precisely the distinguishing characteristic of artworks produced by genius (natural talent). The way talented artists achieve certain feats with no conscious knowledge of how they did it is simply a sharper, clearer-than-normal example of the non-difference between freedom and unfreedom, conscious and unconscious aspects of existence. In the end, humans can come to grasp this unity through 'aesthetic intuition'.

When Galt says that 'a consciousness conscious only if itself' is impossible, he is in agreement Kant's assesment that direct knowledge of one's existence is impossible without sense experience and concepts (or only to a god, maybe). However, not only does Indian philosophy have a notion of direct self-knowledge, it also has a method to experience it for oneself: Yoga. In meditation, you remain fully conscious as your body and intellect go into a profound state of sleep and diminished activity. This allows you to experience the quiet and minimally-active state at the root of the subsequent analytical stirrings of the intellect (more on this later).
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Kant's succesor, Johann Fichte, came up with a criticism of the conventional idea that you can explain consciousness by analizing it. For example, you use your mind to reflect back on the actions of your mind. Then, you look at how you used your mind to look at how you used your mind to look at the actions of your mind. This can go on ad infinitum.
 
Fichte argues that you can't 'catch' yourself in the act of thinking; you can only catch yourself BY thinking, i.e. through first doing the deed. Thus, the move from unconsciousness to consciousness can only be deduced intellectually as a necessary assumption, but it can never experienced directly or studied philosophically.

According to Vedic philosophy, the structure of the perceived universe is based precisely on looking back at the first, most rudimentary conscious experience (see beginning of this thread). Awareness looks back at itself, then looks back at how it looked back at itself etc, analizes the differences and similarities between those acts, and thus comes to entertain multiple perspectives on its own powers; but those multiple perspectives are still the actions of that one single stream of awareness, which (as was the case with Fichte) can never grasp itself directly. The act of consciousness is beyond all possible means of cognizing it (Para Brahman).

In this model, Existence's repertoire of self-perspectives range from ~wakefulness empty of content~ (the simplest perspective, experienced in Yoga) all the way to the narrowest possible perspectives that can be generated by analizing it. Diversity and multiplicity are literally in the Universe's 'head', and all things and beings are somehow one. This ties back to Kant's succesors, who had a similar task of showing how the categories that make up conscious experience (causality etc.) are simply the manner in which awareness comes to grasp itself in some form. For the Schelling of 1800, the goal of full self-knowledge is reached in art, for Hegel in philosophy, and for Indians, it seems, in a direct physiological experience called Turiya (the fourth state of consciousness after Waking, Dreaming and Sleeping).

I wonder if any prominent Objectivist intellectual has explored this topic in more detail somewhere... let me know if you have any leads.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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The primacy of existence is a corollary to the axioms of existence , identity and awareness. I've always understood POE and it's treatment in O'ist 'literature' as a refutation of theology in the main. Not that the POE importance lies in the refutation aspect , just that as subject the topic seems to be referred to as a 'proof' of atheism.

I'm not sure if examples of Yoga or Verdic frames of consciousness are examinations of the identity of awareness as kinds or more a distinction of degree , similarly with dichotomies of conscious and unconscious or sub-conscious.

An interesting thought about 'objectless' shape , as much as O'ism would have to say about Platonic-form like true triangles existing aside from the abstraction of triangle. What do we make of the use of triangulation of in the hunting techniques of pack animals? Wolves and the like have been observed to hunt prey by a 'convergence' method of splitting into flanks and driving prey to a convergence point, is that an example of nonawareness of a nonobjectless triangle ?  or proof that triangles exist independent of knowledge?

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6 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

The problem with Galt's argument is in the second part of the quote, where he uses the initial premise to deduce that 'a consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms'. This can't be deduced logically but needs to be verified medically using data about the human brain and nervous system. 

If you consider consciousness as meaning "conscious of", emphasizing the fact that it is not the definition relevant to psychological states of consciousness, it would make sense. I think when there is a conflating the two definitions we end up with that question. I've had the same problem until I realized that there seems to be a non psychological (maybe philosophical vs. psychological) perspective on consciousness in Objectivism.

In that way: a "conscious of-ness" that is not "conscious of anything" is conscious of nothing, meaning a consciousness that is unconscious. A consciousness that is conscious of something, implies existence of that something, which implies existence.

Another issue is that we are never aware of nothing, yet we use the word and in a sense we are aware of it. But only conceptually, it is a placeholder. That which could be that is not. Like the variable X. So are we aware of X, yes. Does X exist, it has to be resolved. But what if it is not resolved, or what is its status while it is not resolved.

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

If you consider consciousness as meaning "conscious of", emphasizing the fact that it is not the definition relevant to psychological states of consciousness, it would make sense.

Being aware of your own existence is definitely awareness of something, even if you are cut off from other kinds of perception. My point is that Galt dimisses the possibility of such an awareness (only of oneself) in a context where this kind of self-only awareness is widely practiced for millenia in Eastern countries. Its characteristics can be studied using EEG and what not.

3 hours ago, tadmjones said:

What do we make of the use of triangulation of in the hunting techniques of pack animals?

Certainly there are patterns of movement, such as straight or zigzag. No movement = no shape of movement. 

You're right that the primacy of existence is used in O'ist circles to underline the 'passive' nature of consciousness, as in: wishing doesn't make it so, consciousness must conform to what is. Also, definite claims about the nature of consciousness (apart from the fact that it is of a certain identity) are wisely delegated to the special sciences. 

What strikes me is that the claims of Idealist philosophers aren't usually a claim that consciousness has no nature; instead, they are speculations about what that nature is (I gave examples in the OP). Sometimes, O'ist intellectuals invoke the fact that 'consciousness has identity' as if the cause of idealism was a denial that consciousness has identity (which is not the case).

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34 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:
1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

If you consider consciousness as meaning "conscious of", emphasizing the fact that it is not the definition relevant to psychological states of consciousness, it would make sense.

Being aware of your own existence is definitely awareness of something, even if you are cut off from other kinds of perception. My point is that Galt dimisses the possibility of such an awareness (only of oneself) in a context where this kind of self-only awareness is widely practiced for millenia in Eastern countries. Its characteristics can be studied using EGG and what not.

Yes, that kind of awareness and pursuit is ignored by Ayn Rand. Possibly as part of her disdain for mysticism. In the area of "states of awareness", I have found little even in Branden's work.

I have done biofeedback for many years and I am aware of "me" through artifacts of my biology. I could be aware of it and only it. I am also aware in real time, how I can and do lie to myself because of the objective measure. Nevertheless, exploration of sensation or that which I am aware of can be a sensation in itself or a conceptual view point of what is happening. Either way, it is an awareness of only myself by ignoring everything else that exists. Only myself does not mean devoid of existence.

Branden would say that she would say I know anything about psychology. It was probably rhetorical, but in the area you bring up, it would fit. I have seen this with many Objectivists I know. The other issue I have seen is regarding the idea of multiplicities, i.e. the different selves in one self that many Objectivists will negate by saying "no, there is only one self". As in, a part of you thinks you sacrificed but on the whole you think you did what needed to be done.

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The act of isolating one's own consciousness to be the object of what one is conscious of, differs from the notion of a consciousness being conscious of itself and itself, the consciousness, being the sum total of all that there is. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

The act of isolating one's own consciousness to be the object of what one is conscious of, differs from the notion of a consciousness being conscious of itself and itself, the consciousness, being the sum total of all that there is. 

Granted, defining each term will make my inquiry clearer:

1. A focus exclusively on one topic, namely yourself, in isolation from all other topics -> consciousness only of oneself. This can be sensory, conceptual, Yogic etc.
2. You are aware of something, then you notice moments later that you are aware of that something -> consciousness of being conscious.
3. Being aware that you are conscious, without first being conscious -> a contradiction, akin to not eating but being aware that you're eating.

It seems that Galt is talking about the third example. There are various moments in Galt's speech where he criticizes popular philosophic views; if that's the case here as well, then he is denouncing a claim that almost nobody in philosophy has ever made.

Most professional philosophers know that the claim Galt dismisses is silly; noticing this doesn't even require philosophical chops. When Idealist thinkers talk about consciousness being conscious of itself, they mean something different, and they argue for it in a very careful and thorough manner.

One popular theme is that 'identity' is not synonymous with 'static'. A watefall, marathon or music concert represent a definite identity, which can, of course, be referred to as static. What isn't static is how the warerfall, as a whole, is brought into being through multiple steps. Same with the marathon and music concert.

Another key question for idealism is whether a distinction between a 'static' or 'dynamic' thing is meaningful at all. Nobody denies that a waterfall is a waterfall, A is A, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a waterfall that is not a dynamic process.

Rand points out that an action is something a thing does. If there's no thing to do stuff = no action is being performed. Idealists are well aware of this as well. Rather than claiming that actions-without-entities exist, they make this hypothesis: seeing a generative action, or an entity, is akin to seeing a waterfall as a process, or as a thing. Regard those two as separate identities and you go astray.

O'ism is critical about being concerned with what a thing should be like, to the point of ignoring obvious evidence to the contrary. Rand called the Marxists 'mystics of muscle' because they deny the existence of consciousness on the grounds that it contradicts their views on matter.

Idealists opt for a model in which consciousness (a specific idenity) has power over itself: it's somehow a self-regulating and self-shaping phenomena akin to living organisms, which work on themselves like a diamond that chisels itself. There is no talk about which comes first - the generative process or the entity - because they're not two distinct things, Nature and Intelligence are identical.

Under the model above, self-consciousness means this: retrospective awareness, i.e. looking back at one's own acts and objectifying them. As an example, I wrote this post in steps but I can mentally regard the writing of it as one single unit.

The task of most idealist systems is to show how this retrospective look requires more than just one little step. To allude to the famous beginning of Hegel's 'logic', saying that I exist with no specific details as to what/when/how is not satisfacatory, since the claim which I'm opposing (that I don't exist) is equaly devoid of that what/when/how. These things must be overcome, for the self-conception to be adequate.

My point is that neither existence, consciousness nor identity are incongruent with those examples, and that Galt's dismissal of idealism consists in denouncing a claim that's virtually non-existent in serious philosophy. This is not enough - I wish some professional Objectivists will talk about topics like this in the future, as this area is severely lacking...

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On 8/25/2022 at 8:20 AM, KyaryPamyu said:

It seems that Galt is talking about the third example. There are various moments in Galt's speech where he criticizes popular philosophic views; if that's the case here as well, then he is denouncing a claim that almost nobody in philosophy has ever made.

From a religious standpoint (my rearing), the notion of God is portrayed as an omniscient super-spirit of the universe. Between this and the paragraph addressing Original Sin, provide insight that might not otherwise be encountered as articulately as Miss Rand put it. Granted, religion may be only a primitive form of philosophy, but the Prager's and Petterson'sof the world still maintain modern variations of it.

 

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On 8/25/2022 at 5:20 AM, KyaryPamyu said:

Under the model above, self-consciousness means this: retrospective awareness, i.e. looking back at one's own acts and objectifying them.

The Objectivist emphasis has been an attack on authoritarianism.

If we separate existence from consciousness, making consiousness primary it would be the only thing that would exist. Objectivists see the obvious contradiction in that position: "I am" would include "things have to exist" because "I exist" requires existence to exist... but the primacy of existence will be ignored by proponents of primacy of conciousness for the following belief: "consciousness creates existence".

Which means all there is ... is consciousness.
Meaning existence is simply what we agree on.
Things are not what they are.
Only the collective reflects the truth.
If we don't agree that "it" exists, it does not exist.
Which leads to:
Don't believe what you observe or conclude. It can change, based on "agreement" meaning: Things are not as they are, but it depends on who you are around at any moment.
Nothing is real unless we agree on it.
So don't bother thinking, don't trust your self, it's all fluid.
Knowledge of reality will come from your group.
Ultimately, the conclusion is that society is the arbiter of truth, not your puny little mind.

There is also the issue of entering a room where everyone except you believes in God or the necessity to redistribute wealth. They say, we agree, that is why it is true.

In these ways, primacy of existence has major political implications.

But from a personal psychological and healing perspective, especially in phenomenology, the world revovles around you. You are prime, you are the center, you are the cause of everying i.e. your experience of existence. This area is not Rand's exploration at all. It's ignored because of her higher priority was in attacking altruism, collectivism, mainly in the political sphere.


 

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I've had very little experience with meditation, but what experience I do have makes me think as follows:

There is an aspect of consciousness called focus. You can choose what to focus on. You can focus on things around you now, or you can focus on your own body, or memories, or ideas, or hypothetical situations, etc.

Peikoff writes about the fact that focus is a choice, and you can choose to drop out of focus entirely, and he compares being out of focus to being drunk. But if you choose to be in focus, you have a choice of what to be in focus on (and you can also focus on that choice, itself).

It seems to me that focus is directly linked to consciousness, to the point that, if and to the extent that you drop out of focus, you are not really conscious at that time. And on the other hand, if you are conscious, you have to focus on something.

Meditation encourages you to limit your focus, but without giving up control over it. So I don't think it is like being drunk or asleep. It encourages you to remove one thing after another from your mind, and maybe the point is to see what's left after you take away all the objects of focus, or maybe the point is to learn how to control what you focus on.

Being able to control what you are in focus on could be a valuable skill. When I try to be creative I often find myself distracted by the slightest things, but later when I get into it, the house could catch fire and I'd be working too intently to notice.

On the other hand I have never fully been able to banish all objects of focus from my mind. Instead I flail about trying to find other things to focus on. I'm terrible at meditating.

Napoleon said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that his mind was like a chest of drawers, that each open drawer was something he was thinking about, and that if he closed all the drawers, he fell asleep.

(As for the "consciousness conscious only of itself," if I recall, that was Aristotle's definition of the Prime Mover which supposedly caused all the world's motion, and Christian philosophers later would say that was God. So I think the intent in Galt's speech was to refute that point, but he couldn't go into depth about it there.)

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Objectivists see the obvious contradiction in that position: "I am" would include "things have to exist" because "I exist" requires existence to exist...

Yes. For Rand, it's about deciding which is first, consciousness or existence, with the vote going to Existence. The logic being that awareness of something presupposes the existence of that something.

As early as a century and a half before Rand, philosophers already advanced beyond the chicken and egg problem and expanded the inquiry to other possibilities, such as whether Existence appears as intelligence if looked from one side, and as non-intelligent blind nature when looked from another side. This topic is too rich to even begin scratching here, I give some indications in my previous posts.

2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Meaning existence is simply what we agree on.
Things are not what they are.
Only the collective reflects the truth.
If we don't agree that "it" exists, it does not exist.
Which leads to...

Regardless of Peikoff's assertions, in most such systems it's not about social consensus or wishes over reality. It's actually an analysis and explanation of nature's ironclad laws and why the master is not your wish, but the nature of understanding. If you've read Rand's ITOE, you know what I'm talking about: to grasp something conceptually, you need differentiation and integration, knowledge is contextual etc.; these requirements of the mind, when applied to the task of self-conceptualization, ironically lead idealist philosophers exactly to where Rand also ends up: 'you can't eat the cake and have it too'.

1 hour ago, necrovore said:

Meditation encourages you to limit your focus, but without giving up control over it.

There are many approaches to meditation but the goal is mostly the same for all techniques. The meditation I practice is not based on focus, since focus is like caffeine or weight-lifting for the body and mind. This prevents what you're after. Instead, you let go of any effort and manipulation, which gradually lowers you metabolism. Your breathing stops ocassionaly, you might also blank-out (since you're conditioned to fall asleep everytime you pass a certain treshold of relaxation and inactivity). With repeated experience, your nervous system adjusts itself and stops blanking out at those theta and alpha states. It remains highly alert, as alert as during normal daily activity.

1 hour ago, necrovore said:

(As for the "consciousness conscious only of itself," if I recall, that was Aristotle's definition of the Prime Mover which supposedly caused all the world's motion, and Christian philosophers later would say that was God. So I think the intent in Galt's speech was to refute that point, but he couldn't go into depth about it there.)

Yes, likely. Although the activity of Aristotle's Prime Mover has nothing contradictory about it.

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20 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

Yes. For Rand, it's about deciding which is first, consciousness or existence, with the vote going to Existence. The logic being that awareness of something presupposes the existence of that something.

As early as a century and a half before Rand, philosophers already advanced beyond the chicken and egg problem and expanded the inquiry to other possibilities, such as whether Existence appears as intelligence if looked from one side, and as non-intelligent blind nature when looked from another side.

To think of existence in terms of intelligence assumes teliological nature which is simply arbitrary. Here one would have to make the case either that it is not arbitrary or there is some psychological benefit to hold existence that way. But epistemologically speaking existence does not come before, it comes "with" conciousness. I wonder why the chicken or the egg issue is so important. 

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

To think of existence in terms of intelligence assumes teliological nature

Actually, it's the idea of teleology that is based on the earlier, more fundamental issue of whether existence is intelligent. Not the reverse, as you state.

On 8/28/2022 at 12:26 AM, Easy Truth said:

The Objectivist emphasis has been an attack on authoritarianism.

Ditto, politics is higher in the knowledge chain and is based on earlier, more fundamental issues such as metaphysics. Rand and Peikoff never made claims about consciousness or existence with some pre-established agenda of attacking altruism, collectivism, or warning about the destructive effects of authoritarianism. Those things might naturally follow from certain conclusions in the more fundamental areas.

2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

or there is some psychological benefit to hold existence that way

Not relevant. To benefit you in any way, your appraisal of reality must be accurate. Then other considerations follow.

2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Here one would have to make the case either that it is not arbitrary

Arbitrary, in this case, means deciding beforehand what consciousness is like. Specifically, based on empty logical deductions, such as:

"Awareness is awareness of something, therefore that particular something must precede the being-aware of it".

An impressive feat of logic, but it ommits an important fact: consciousness is also something. It's as much a something as a fruit smoothie or a music CD.

In its glorious something-ness, consciousness is not barred from the benefits of fellow somethings. If you make the case that a fruit smoothie can still exist even if all consciousness suddenly perishes, you can make the reverse claim as well: consciousness might still exist if the universe perishes.

You can't make the second claim if you've already decided on a framework where consciousness must be a by-product of blind, non-conscious stuff.

But what exactly is that confident "must" based on? On deducing from a definition of consciousness that is already in accord with the 'by-product' theory. Oops. Somehow we missed the step where that has to be first proved rather than uncritically accepted from the get-go.

2 hours ago, tadmjones said:

In Objectivism existence is primary , it that context 'it' does come before consciousness.

Ditto.

----

So, how do we prove either alternative? Is non-intelligent nature here first and consciousness develops later, with no prior examples of intelligence in Nature? Or is nature a by-product of understanding onself in conceptual terms, i.e. of needing to differentiate 'self-hood' from what it is not (blind mechanism)?

The problem is, until you disprove the second hypothesis, all the scientific experiments that you can perceive (courtesy of consciousness) could be an example of how having a determinate conception of oneself is exactly that: determinate, meaning: not some other conception -> limitation and lawfulness are inherent in the enterprise.

O'ism is a fantastic philosophy that can benefit human life tremendously, but something needs to be done ASAP about the handwaving of those fundamental issues, and the relative lack of critical analysis of them by O'ists.

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3 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:
On 8/27/2022 at 2:26 PM, Easy Truth said:

The Objectivist emphasis has been an attack on authoritarianism.

Ditto, politics is higher in the knowledge chain and is based on earlier, more fundamental issues such as metaphysics. Rand and Peikoff never made claims about consciousness or existence with some pre-established agenda of attacking altruism, collectivism, or warning about the destructive effects of authoritarianism. Those things might naturally follow from certain conclusions in the more fundamental areas.

5 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

or there is some psychological benefit to hold existence that way

Not relevant. To benefit you in any way, your appraisal of reality must be accurate. Then other considerations follow.

If you can declare I am interested in the subject matter because xyz, the xyz will determine what you will focus on and what will be un-important. It will show what you will ignore. It will not show you're accuracy or correctness, but the direction of your gaze.

I would agree that there is no adgenda on the part of Rand on changing the facts to suit her needs, I am saying she is not interested in certain things and left them alone for others to ponder.

As far as psychological benefit goes, I do agree that understanding of reality should not be about the benefits, but a way of looking at things may have a perspective that is psychologically beneficial. For instance, there is only one reality. But when a couple are having trouble a third part may say "you each have a different reality" and let us work through it. That statement is incorrect, but beneficial in it's healing purpose. So I was trying to confirm that (healing) attempt is not being made in this discussion.

3 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:
5 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

To think of existence in terms of intelligence assumes teliological nature

Actually, it's the idea of teleology that is based on the earlier, more fundamental issue of whether existence is intelligent. Not the reverse, as you state.

If existence has been intelligently concieved, i.e. created by conciousness for a purpose, although poetic, it would be arbitrary. That is what I was getting at.

3 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

In its glorious something-ness, consciousness is not barred from the benefits of fellow somethings. If you make the case that a fruit smoothie can still exist even if all consciousness suddenly perishes, you can make the reverse claim as well: consciousness might still exist if the universe perishes.

Well, yes, you could make that claim. But how would you know? How would one be conscious of this existence that perished (which includes the perishing of the consciousness that is supposed to know about the non existence etc etc.

I suspect you are talking about an existent that has perished but I'm not sure.

3 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

You can't make the second claim if you've already decided on a framework where consciousness must be a by-product of blind, non-conscious stuff.

But again, I ask, why is one the product of the other??? Why not see it as they come together. Almost like one being the shadow of the other.

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14 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

----

So, how do we prove either alternative? Is non-intelligent nature here first and consciousness develops later, with no prior examples of intelligence in Nature? Or is nature a by-product of understanding onself in conceptual terms, i.e. of needing to differentiate 'self-hood' from what it is not (blind mechanism)?

The problem is, until you disprove the second hypothesis, all the scientific experiments that you can perceive (courtesy of consciousness) could be an example of how having a determinate conception of oneself is exactly that: determinate, meaning: not some other conception -> limitation and lawfulness are inherent in the enterprise.

O'ism is a fantastic philosophy that can benefit human life tremendously, but something needs to be done ASAP about the handwaving of those fundamental issues, and the relative lack of critical analysis of them by O'ists.

I'm not sure what you mean by alternatives, existence vs non existence ?

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1 hour ago, tadmjones said:

I'm not sure what you mean by alternatives, existence vs non existence ?

Not sure how to make this clearer:

15 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

consciousness is also something. It's as much a something as a fruit smoothie or a music CD.

and:

On 8/28/2022 at 1:58 AM, KyaryPamyu said:

a century and a half before Rand, philosophers . . .  expanded the inquiry to other possibilities, such as whether Existence appears as intelligence if looked from one side, and as non-intelligent blind nature when looked from another side.

Where exactly do you see the slightest hint of "non-existence"? Does consciousness not exist to you?

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2 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

Not sure how to make this clearer:

and:

Where exactly do you see the slightest hint of "non-existence"? Does consciousness not exist to you?

So then you are trying to make a statement about the axiomatic-ness(?) in a weighted fashion that tips the scales  toward consciousness ?

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, tadmjones said:

So then you are trying to make a statement about the axiomatic-ness(?) in a weighted fashion that tips the scales  toward consciousness ?

Nope, this is way past general statements about consciousness or the world, such as the fact that they exist or that they are what they are (identity). I want to find out actual, specific information about the nature/identity of consciousness, which means axioms are as relevant here as they'd be for inquiring into the best way to cook chicken.

For example, I'm asking whether nature and conscious intelligence are two things, like a banana and an orange; or, whether 'nature' and 'intelligence' are two perspectives on one thing, just as 'round' and 'sweet' are perspectives on one orange.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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39 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

Nope, this is way past general statements about consciousness or the world, such as the fact that they exist or that they are what they are (identity). I want to find out actual, specific information about the nature/identity of consciousness, which means axioms are as relevant here as they'd be for inquiring into the best way to cook chicken.

For example, I'm asking whether nature and conscious intelligence are two things, like a banana and an orange; or, whether 'nature' and 'intelligence' are two perspectives on one thing, just as 'round' and 'sweet' are perspectives on one orange.

I think in order to disambiguate all of the relevant 'data' and then incorporate the new concepts into a hierarchical epistemologic frame you would need to 'design' a new context. Or perhaps reinvigorate Platonic universality , as your quest doesn't , I think, go well with the fruit and characteristic analogy. It doesn't feel as if abstraction qua abstraction is being followed completely in your phrasings. But as is obvious to the casual observer here and mentioned quite frequently , I may not be the sweetest banana in the shed.

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, tadmjones said:

Or perhaps reinvigorate Platonic universality

Absolutely nothing to do with Plato. This is not about empty logical gymnastics, but about the living, breathing process we're all acquainted with.

To translate the banana/orange analogy:

When you think, you think about a specific topic - a determinate object of inquiry. But you achieve this 'fixation' by means of an ongoing buzzing activity, the lively process of thinking.

When you look back at your actions, you turn your previous dynamic activity into a static object of inquiry.

If you remove either the activity, or the resulting experience of determinate objects, you destroy both intelligence and nature.

(Nature here is used to mean: that which does not appear to be intelligent, dynamic or alive).

Under this view, the identity of consciousness is a 'self-sustaing and self-generated process', to paraphrase Rand's definition of life.

By the way, those ideas are borrowed from 19th century philisophy and are not my personal theories or endorsements. It'll probably be a long time until I reach a personal position on this matter.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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2 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

By the way, those ideas are borrowed from 19th century philisophy and are not my personal theories or endorsements. It'll probably be a long time until I reach a personal position on this matter.

Sounds like you're lying to your self. You obviously have a preferred understanding/explanation of it and it is probably far more firm and developed than you wish to admit. The depth of your inquiry shows it.

2 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

(Nature here is used to mean: that which does not appear to be intelligent, dynamic or alive).

What is the definition of intelligence that is being used here? As in conscious intelligence.

And why simply "appears to be" in the statement above? As in why not say "is alive".

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