|Yes, the concept "existents" also refers to conscious existents. But it is not the case that a metaphysical claim (i.e., a claim pertaining to metaphysics) necessarily includes an espistemic claim (i.e., a claim pertaining to epistemology). For example, when I talk about whether monads exist (a metaphysical claim), that need not include when I talk about how I learn to count to ten (an epistemic claim). |
Your argument implies that the concept Existence doesn’t always mean “existence”, that is “all existing things”. Sometimes, it means only “some existing things”, that is, existents lacking consciousness.
I have no idea how you drew that implication. I think I've said this before, but the concept of existence is like any other concept. The concept "red," for example, includes every and each instance of red that ever was, is, and will be. Similarly, the concept "existence" includes every and each instance of existence that was, is, or will be. Does consciousness include an instance of existence? Yes, if consciousness exists - just as apples can include an instance of redness if the apples are red.
I don't see why you're having such trouble with this. Can existence exist without consciousness? Rand says yes. Just as redness can be red without apples. Can consciousness exist without existence? Rand says no. Just as apples can't be red without redness. What's the problem?
Maybe we can get at the problem this way. "Red" can mean (1) the category red, which includes all instances of red, or it can mean (2) the term used to refer to that particular thing which belongs in the category red, or it can mean (3) the particular thing itself which belongs in the category red. Similarly, "existence" can mean (1) the category existence, (2) the term used to refer to particular instances of existence, or (3) particular instances of existence themselves. This is how "existence" can "mean" all instances of existing, and also "mean" some particular instance of existing. Just gotta get the context right.