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Post 200

Saturday, September 3, 2005 - 10:44pmSanction this postReply
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Daniel,

Come on - MSK will always find something.  Of course, Jon showed that MSK's view of consciousness wasn't different from yours in any significant way (since he hasn't specified how free will arises from the consciousness spawned by the neurons he speaks of so enthusiastically).  However, he considers your view of consciousness mysterious and subjectivist!

Now, we are back to another misreading of the claim that the "concept of Existence is theory laden".  When I read post 198, all I can think is:

"EEEYYYYY!!!! MACARENA!"




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Post 201

Saturday, September 3, 2005 - 11:49pmSanction this postReply
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Laj writes:

>EEEEEEYYYYYYYY.....MACARENA!

Aiee!

Let's hear a little One-Note Samba too...

"This is just a little samba
Built upon a single note
Other notes are bound to follow
But the root is still that note...

...There's so many people who can
talk and talk and talk
And just say nothing
Or nearly nothing
He has used up all the scale he knows
And at the end he's come to nothing..."

;-)

- Daniel

(with apologies to Jobim)





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Post 202

Sunday, September 4, 2005 - 7:35pmSanction this postReply
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I have been busy a bit, but now I can wite something. This little tidbit was pointed out to me regarding the apologist of that dandy old bootlegger of primacy of consciousness (who else? Mr. Popper, of course) heroically proving truth through falsehood.

But I digress - mmmmmmmmmphh - because my sides are splitting....
Fortunately I believe with the help of Karl Popper and his Critical Rationalism we have the tools to do this. With this, and a bit of original thinking on my part, I am doing some fundamental epistemological work that will hopefully correct the errors of most other philosophical systems.
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Dayaamm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stop it. Puhleeze!!! Stoooooooop! I can't stand the pain. Hoo hoo hoo hee hee hee ha ha ha hoo hee hoo hee hoo hee ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL...

(tears gushing nonstop)

I wanna write but I can't... LOLOLOLOLOLOL... Oh my God... Oh the pain... LOLOLOLOLOLOL...

(turning computer off so I can breathe...)

Michael





Post 203

Sunday, September 4, 2005 - 7:49pmSanction this postReply
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I wrote:
>>Fortunately I believe with the help of Karl Popper and his Critical Rationalism we have the tools to do this. With this, and a bit of original thinking on my part, I am doing some fundamental epistemological work that will hopefully correct the errors of most other philosophical systems...

MSK replied:
>This little tidbit was pointed out to me regarding the apologist of that dandy old bootlegger of primacy of consciousness (who else? Mr. Popper, of course) heroically proving truth through falsehood....I wanna write but I can't... LOLOLOLOLOLOL... Oh my God... Oh the pain... LOLOLOLOLOLOL...

MSK, once you recover, could you be a little more specific about the falsehoods Popper and I are perpetrating in that passage ?

- Daniel



Post 204

Sunday, September 4, 2005 - 9:57pmSanction this postReply
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MSK
>LOLOLOLOLOLOL...

It should be obvious that I find epistemological horseshit rather funny too. What's more interesting, however, is the uncritical way people have generally accepted it.

- Daniel



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Post 205

Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 8:23amSanction this postReply
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Stephen,
IN post #10 you wrote,

"Professor Seddon's proposed argument for the axiomatic status of the concept space (location) is unsound. He writes that if one were to claim "there is no space," one would be contradicting the act of one's assertion since one would be making the statement from some location.

To be an axiomatic concept in Rand's sense, the concept would have to be implicit in any claim of existence that one might make, not only in claims about the class of things coming under the concept being taken as axiomatic. In other words, to be an axiomatic concept in Rand's sense of an axiom, the concept space would have to be implicit in any assertion one might make, whatever the topic of the assertion."

I think it is implicit. In order for an embodied intellect to make any assertion he must make it from somewhere. We are not Aquinas' angels. Therefore, I take it that space is implicit in every, and I mean every, assertion we make.

Fred



Post 206

Monday, September 19, 2005 - 10:14pmSanction this postReply
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Roger,
In post #19 you wrote,

==================
However, consciousness is an axiom, anyway, because Objectivism is not talking about the universe or reality as the arena of axioms. The axioms are axioms of experience or awareness. Within any state of awareness of reality, existence, identity, and consciousness are the irreducible, basic elements.
 
Hope this helps.
==================

Yes, Roger, yes it does.

Ed
Part-time Jester, Full-time Value-seeker



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Post 207

Sunday, September 25, 2005 - 1:56amSanction this postReply
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Fred,                                                                                                                  [Re: #205]

Rand takes it as axiomatic that, for every existent, to exist is to be something with a specific nature. This is Rand's thesis that existence is identity. A year ago, in an incomplete study, I succeeded in constructing proofs that some refined propositions intended to be covered by this thesis are indeed axiomatic. The propositions at issue in the present exchange are otherwise.

The propositions (i) to exist is to exist somewhere and (ii) to be conscious of existents is to stand in spatial relations truly state parts of the specific natures of concrete particular existents. If there are demonstrations of the axiomatic character of these two truths, I have not yet seen them. I have not found a way to show that (-i) it is not the case that to exist is to exist somewhere leads to a self-contradiction. Likewise for (-ii).

If we restrict (-i) to particular existents, it reads (-i)' it is not the case that to exist as a particular is to exist somewhere. But surely there are conditions of particularity sufficient for designation of a particular without its spatial standing. An example would be: five minutes ago. If we further restrict    (-i)' to existents that are concrete particulars, it reads (-i)'' it is not the case that to exist as a concrete particular is to exist somewhere. This is a rigged contradiction, which is worthless.

Nicolaus of Autrecourt maintains that the certainty of our immediate apprehensions rests on the indubitable first principle, which in his view is the law of non-contradiction. Though immediate apprehensions are not propositional, their certitude is that of an identity, which is to say, the certitude of the principle of non-contradiction.

All of our immediate apprehensions---I say in step with you---are located in space, and features of space are always part of those apprehensions. All of our conscious acts are also sensed as in space, for the simple reason that they are in space. Nicolaus would say that an act of true awareness and the object of that act are not truly distinct; they are identical. That is why, in his view, such non-propositional cognitions have the certitude of an identity. Rand invokes something like this sort of identity when she says that consciousness is fundamentally identification of some of the identities of existents. But trueness of consciousness to its objects in Rand's view does not rest on a total identity of consciousness and those objects. If her philosophy would be developed such that a principle of non-propositional non-contradiction governs its axiomatic dynamic, then the principle of identity coordinate with such a principle is yet to be brought into full light.

Stephen




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Post 208

Sunday, September 25, 2005 - 10:34pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Ed. I'm glad someone picked up on what I said so many posts ago. To repeat, and then comment on the alleged axiomicity of space:

"Objectivism is not talking about the universe or reality as the arena of axioms. The axioms are axioms of experience or awareness. Within any state of awareness of reality, existence, identity, and consciousness are the irreducible, basic elements."

This means that any time anyone is aware of something, the three inescapable elements ~of that awareness~ are something that exists, that something having an identity, and one's being aware of that something and its identity.

I think it is a fundamental error to treat space (or time) as axiomatic in the above sense. It is true that no one can be aware without being aware someplace of something that exists someplace (or at some time). But time and space are ~necessary conditions~ of awareness. They are not ~elements within~ awareness. I can easily project a state of awareness in which I am not aware of time or space, but am nonetheless inescapably aware of existence, identity, and consciousness.

REB





Post 209

Monday, September 26, 2005 - 5:58amSanction this postReply
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Roger,

==============
I can easily project a state of awareness in which I am not aware of time or space, but am nonetheless inescapably aware of existence, identity, and consciousness.
==============

Ditto. In fact, I often drift off while driving on the freeway (into "highway hypnosis"). I'm safe though, because I am always, fundamentally, aware of the existence and identity of the other cars, guardrails, and steep embankments! What I am not always fundamentally aware of is: time.

Mihaly Czechsentmihayi (or something like that!) wrote about peak experiences and called it "Flow." It happens whenever you are engrossed in something totally -- as a master chess player does, for example, who has no concept of time while engrossed in the game.

A recent example of Flow was shared on SOLO: Adam Reed remarks of reading Anthem, cover-to-cover, IN THE BOOKSTORE (just after picking it up)! He must've stood there for hours; unaware of the people scurrying around him, or any other engagements he had planned for that day!

Time doesn't seem fundamentally inherent in awarenesses.

Ed



Post 210

Monday, September 26, 2005 - 6:06amSanction this postReply
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Because time is a measurement of duration - and if you're not measuring it, you're not aware of it...



Post 211

Monday, September 26, 2005 - 8:54amSanction this postReply
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Csikszentmihalyi. And I heartily recommend Flow as a practical guide to gauging and obtaining peak experience.

Jim




Post 212

Monday, September 26, 2005 - 2:01pmSanction this postReply
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Ed wrote:
>Mihaly Czechsentmihayi (or something like that!) wrote about peak experiences and called it "Flow." It happens whenever you are engrossed in something totally -- as a master chess player does, for example, who has no concept of time while engrossed in the game.

Abraham Maslow coined the term "peak experiences" and wrote considerably about it. The novelist/philosopher Colin Wilson has also written a great deal on the subject under Maslow's influence.

Another famous example of a "transcendent" peak experience is Arthur Koestler, who, under threat of execution in the Spanish Civil war, became engrossed in a mathematics problem in his cell. During this experience, he realised that the mathematics transcended him in space and time, and suddenly his personal execution the next day seemed trivial and unimportant. (He called this an experience of "oceanic" consciousness, and novelised it in 'Darkness At Noon').

- Daniel



Post 213

Monday, September 26, 2005 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks Daniel, I had actually known of the link between Maslow and ... Mihaly (darn, I still can't get that last name down!). Koestler's experience is indeed profound (and THAT, I was unaware of) -- thanks for adding that to this. And thanks for keeping me honest -- in the realm of ideas.

Ed



Post 214

Monday, September 26, 2005 - 8:48pmSanction this postReply
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Ed:
>And thanks for keeping me honest -- in the realm of ideas.

Your honesty has never been in doubt!

;-)

- daniel



Post 215

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 4:39amSanction this postReply
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Roger, (re: post 208)

Although it was probably a slip of the pen (keyboard), notice that you wrote “any TIME anyone is aware of something” as leading to your conclusion that time is not axiomatic. I would say any time you are aware presupposes time and makes time at least as fundamental as awareness or consciousness. You even admit “that time and space are ~necessary conditions~ of awareness” but doesn’t that make time and space even more fundamental than awareness?? Oxygen is a necessary condition for fire and that implies that you can have oxygen even when you don’t have fire. Likewise with time vis-à-vis consciousness. This would make consciousness non-axiomatic, or at least, less axiomatic than consciousness—a very unRand like conclusion.


"Objectivism is not talking about the universe or reality as the arena of axioms. The axioms are axioms of experience or awareness.”

If Objectivism is not talking about reality, what is it talking about. When Rand states that “Existence is identity” surely she means extra-mental existence. If existence is identity only in our experience, doesn’t that make Objectivism into some kind of subjectivism, or at least, a phenomenology. Maybe what you meant to say is the axioms are axioms of experience because they are axioms of reality.

“It is true that no one can be aware without being aware someplace [sic.] of something that exists someplace (or at some time).”

But if you cannot escape space and time, doesn’t that make them axiomatic?

Fred




Post 216

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 4:46amSanction this postReply
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Robert, (Post 210)

"time is a measurement of duration"

Informational question. Did you mean to write "motion" instead of "duration."
Since in some contexts "time" and "duration" mean the same thing, I was confused by your statement. I'm sure you didn't mean "time is a measurement of time."

Fred



Post 217

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 4:54amSanction this postReply
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Stephen,

I can't see how you post 207 impacts the statement I made in my 205. I wrote

"In order for an embodied intellect to make any assertion he must make it from somewhere. . . Therefore, I take it that space is implicit in every, and I mean every, assertion we make."

Especially since "assertion" is meant literally as involving mouth and tongue etc. all of which must be in space.

By the way, what happen to your "incomplete study." Sounds interesting. Do you plan to finish it?

Fred



Post 218

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 6:19amSanction this postReply
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Fred,

I had to stop that work big work expanding Rand's metaphysics last January, but it looks like I will be able to return to it this coming January. I hope to complete it during 2006, to begin its publication in 2007. Thanks for asking about it.

Stephen




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Post 219

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 9:59pmSanction this postReply
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Fred, you wrote:

"Although it was probably a slip of the pen (keyboard), notice that you wrote “any TIME anyone is aware of something” as leading to your conclusion that time is not axiomatic. I would say any time you are aware presupposes time and makes time at least as fundamental as awareness or consciousness. You even admit “that time and space are necessary conditions of awareness” but doesn’t that make time and space even more fundamental than awareness?? Oxygen is a necessary condition for fire and that implies that you can have oxygen even when you don’t have fire. Likewise with time vis-à-vis consciousness. This would make consciousness non-axiomatic, or at least, less axiomatic than consciousness—a very unRand like conclusion."

I meant exactly what I said. "Time and space are necessary conditions of awareness." In other words, time and space are more fundamental than awareness existentially or causally. Temporal duration and spatial extension exist in the universe, even when consciousness does not exist. But they are specific attributes of entities, and are thus not fundamental in relation to entities. As both Aristotle and Rand affirm, entities/substances are ontologically primary.

Taken together, entities, attributes (including spatiality and temporality), actions, and relations (including spatial and temporal relations) are all types of existents -- and these types of existence are what we may call Rand's ontological categories, in contrast with Aristotle's Categories (for instance), which included substance (entity), quality, quantity, time, place, action, passion (and I forget the rest). And note that Rand does not give consciousness pride of place among her categories (consciousness being an attribute of certain living beings -- though some would say it is a relation between certain living beings and some aspect of reality).

This alone is enough to make it clear that Rand's ontological Categories are not the same as her Objectivist axioms: Existence, Identity, and Consciousness -- and that we should be very careful in how we go about making assertions about the fundamentality of either consciousness or time or space. We must, above all, identify the context in which one or the other is fundamental. In the context of Rand's ontological categories, time and space (place) are clearly more general (and thus more fundamental) than consciousness (which is but one kind of attribute and/or relation) -- though even there, time and space are less fundamental or primary than entities. However, in the context of Rand's axioms, you cannot get more fundamental than existence, identity, and consciousness.

Go back and check Peikoff's lectures from the 1970s on history of philosophy and Objectivism (carefully monitored by Rand, so presumed to be her views, too), as well as OPAR, in which he takes great care to lay out the inductive source of the axioms. He always starts within some state of awareness, in which he says we always find three fundamental elements: Existence, Identity, and Consciousness.

Peikoff also clearly states that Existence and Identity are eternal, while Consciousness is not. This alone brings into question any claim that these three are axioms of metaphysics. Instead, it is clear that they are axioms of experience, i.e., of awareness of reality -- not axioms of reality or existence. This is why I previously wrote: "Objectivism is not talking about the universe or reality as the arena of axioms. The axioms are axioms of experience or awareness.”

Fred: "If Objectivism is not talking about reality, what is it talking about. When Rand states that “Existence is identity” surely she means extra-mental existence. If existence is identity only in our experience, doesn’t that make Objectivism into some kind of subjectivism, or at least, a phenomenology. Maybe what you meant to say is the axioms are axioms of experience because they are axioms of reality."

When Objectivism says that the irreducible, inescapable facts of every state of awareness are that (1) the things that exist do exist, (2) the things that exist are what they are, and (3) awareness is awareness that things exist and are what they are, it is making basic claims about experience. Call this "phenomenology", if you like, though I'm leery of using terminology derived from philosophical traditions about which I know very little. But it certainly isn't "subjectivism." Subjectivism is the doctrine that awareness creates reality, in contrast to objectivism, which is the doctrine that awareness is aware of reality. The preferred terminology, though, is that "consciousness is metaphysically passive," which is another way of stating the Primacy of Existence -- as against "consciousness is metaphysically active," which is the Primacy of Consciousness. (This frees up "subjective" and "objective" for other purposes Rand et al find more important, such as the trichotomy.)

Now, you have probably seen Rand's journals, in which she said that metaphysics was basically the Law of Identity and its implications. She very deliberately did not include consciousness as part of metaphysics (which means that attempts to make Validity of the Senses or Volitional Consciousness part of the Objectivist metaphysics are misguided; they are axioms of epistemology). But she did not include space and time in metaphysics either. It is only in her scanty discussion of the ontological categories that she touched on more specific things than existence and identity -- and even there, she did not mention categories as specific as space and time. And when she and Peikoff later discussed consciousness in the context of metaphysics, it was not to make consciousness into something of great metaphysical significance, but in order to affirm the Primacy of Existence by underscoring the nature of consciousness as metaphysically passive.

Also, when Rand said "Existence is Identity," she was talking about "extra-mental existence," but she was also talking about mental existence. Everything that exists, is what it is -- and that includes consciousness. She underscores this latter point by stating that "consciousness is conscious of reality." However, this statement about consciousness is not an axiom of extra-mental existence

Quoting me again, “It is true that no one can be aware without being aware someplace [sic.] of something that exists someplace (or at some time),” Fred asks: "But if you cannot escape space and time, doesn’t that make them axiomatic?"

Fred, you have a "sic" sense of humor. :-)  I cannot escape the fact that I am the biological product of two human beings, but that doesn't make them axiomatic. I cannot escape the fact that I need oxygen in order to survive, but that doesn't make oxygen axiomatic. Being the son of two human beings and needing to breathe oxygen are necessary conditions of my being aware of anything, but that doesn't make them axioms. Just because I cannot "escape" something doesn't make it an axiom. Again, you have to identify the context of the "escape."

But let me try to clarify what I previously said: while every state of awareness I have must be awareness of something that exists at some place and time, it is not true that it must be awareness of that thing as existing at some place and time. This is in contrast to the fact that: not only must every state of awareness I have be awareness of something of a specific nature, but also it must be awareness of that thing as existing, as being what it is, and as being something I am aware of.

This is why existence, identity, and consciousness are axioms of experience, while time and space are not. I cannot escape time and space as causal conditions of my experience, but I can and do sometimes escape them as elements within my experience. The latter is what Rand means by the inescapability of axioms.

Roger Bissell, Post-Randian musician/writer




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