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Post 100

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 5:51amSanction this postReply
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MSK quotes Rand:
Existence exists - and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.
MSK, I believe that reservations have been expressed about this over and over and over, but you don't seem to get it. So maybe it could be revised to ease/remove those reservations and offer you another explanation.

Existence exists. Consciousness exists. The act of grasping those two statements implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.




Post 101

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 5:57amSanction this postReply
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Merlin,

What on earth did you say in essence that is any different that what she said? And how does that bear the fact that all three fundamental axiomatic concepts are interrelated, which is what we were discussing?

I don't understand the point of your post.

Michael




Post 102

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 6:28amSanction this postReply
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Hey MSK,

So far as I can tell, you're using "interrelated" or "intertwined" to say that axioms imply each other. If so, then okay.

Jordan




Post 103

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 6:50amSanction this postReply
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Jordan,

Yup. And not only that, need each other to exist.

Michael




Post 104

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 8:11amSanction this postReply
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MSK,

Hmm, but does the axiom of existence need the axiom of consciousness to exist? Maybe it depends on whether we think of axioms as epistemic or metaphysical.

Jordan




Post 105

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 9:22amSanction this postReply
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Jordan, regarding "whether we think of axioms as epistemic" -- Rand said (IOE 261):

===========
The axioms underscore first that these concepts are what they are at any time, independent of any perceptual or existential experience. If you say "existence exists" or "consciousness is conscious," that would be so at any time, that's immutable. That's point one. And point two is that you have to hold them in mind at all times. And that's why I mentioned their function as epistemological guidelines: during any cognitive process, you check your knowledge against those axioms. And if you come out with something that exists and doesn't exist at the same time, you know that you have made a mistake somewhere.
===========

Axiom: a (epistemologically) grasped metaphysical fact that serves a rational purpose for rational agents -- by being used as an epistemological guideline -- in all their subsequent epistemological ventures.

Ed



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Post 106

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 11:12amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

Rand's bit is helpful here. Apply Rand's bit to MSK's assertion that each axiom depends on each other axiom to exist. His assertion won't make sense if we take axioms as metaphysical, as Rand did. Metaphysically, consciousness depends on identity, which depends on existence, which means consciousness depends on existence. But that hierarchy doesn't work in reverse. Metaphysicaly, existence doesn't depend on identity; identity doesn't depend on consciousness; and existence doesn't depend on consciousness. In short, it is not the case that each axiom depends on each other, if axioms are metaphysical.

But MSK's assertion makes more sense if he's talking about the concepts of axioms, which is what I was getting at by wondering whether he was treating axioms epistemically or metaphysically. The concept of existence or identity or consciousness depends on the metaphysical existence of existence and identity and conciousness.

Actually, any (valid) concept implies and depends on all three axioms. Having the concept "potato" implies that something is, is something something, and that we're aware of it. In this sense, the axioms are all epistemologically intertwined. I think this is what MSK might be trying to say.

Jordan




Post 107

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 4:21pmSanction this postReply
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Jordan: “First, (a) is making an epistemic claim. (b) is making a metaphysical claim. When we talk concepts we're usually focusing on epistemology. When we talk existents, we're usually focusing on metaphysics. So the contexts are different.”

And that’s the problem. “Existents” also includes conscious existents, so Objectivist “metaphysical” claims by necessity also include epistemic claims. The only way to separate the two is to divorce one’s concepts from their referents, as you do above.

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.

That’s the crux of the problem with the term “existence”. Rand equivocates over its meaning, as she must do, because as I mentioned to Ed, there is no primary axiom that refers exclusively to the world of existents excluding consciousness, or more succinctly, matter. This is a rather surprising omission from a woman who insisted on the primacy of the material world.

The axioms conflate mind and matter. In other words, they make no clear distinction between concepts and their referents. That’s why you, Michael and Ed are having such difficulty in seperating out the the metaphysical and epistemological aspects of the axioms.

Brendan




Post 108

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 4:23pmSanction this postReply
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Michael: “The concept of existence depends on the concept of consciousness…Existence (fact) depends on consciousness (fact) is a false statement.”

So in order to resolve the fact that the axioms tell us one thing, and reality another, you have had to divorce the axiomatic concepts from their referents. 

Brendan




Post 109

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 9:51pmSanction this postReply
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Jordan,

Bonk.

You got it right. The fundamental axiomatic concepts depend on each other. The facts on which they are based do not depend on each other. They just are.

Ontology as a fact observes a hierarchy instead - wherein we are not Numero Uno. ("We" meaning a bunch of consciousnesses.) Reality is. We are under reality. Not it under us.


Brendan,

You still confuse fact (referent) with concept. How can an axiom "tell" you one thing and reality "tell" you another if it is not a concept? "Tell" is a conceptual activity.

Reality is one thing. The concept of it is another. Reality is outside of us and includes us. The concept of reality is a thing inside our head.

Reality does not depend on the concept. The concept depends on reality, since it perceives it and integrates it by eliminating the measurements.

The measurements, in this case, are all quantities of types of things, all quantities of all things, all quantities of all time, all quantities of all space.

That is not a divorce because there never was a marriage in the first place.

The grandeur of man's conceptual faculty is that it can conceive of what is larger than itself and conceive of it as a unit with a singular nature (existence).

Wow! Is this ever getting boring. I'm getting tired of repeating myself.

Michael

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 8/27, 9:53pm)

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 8/27, 10:00pm)




Post 110

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 10:28pmSanction this postReply
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Michael: “Reality is outside of us and includes us. The concept of reality is a thing inside our head.”

OK. Here is a simple question: when you say “existence exists”, are you referring to something outside of your head, or are you referring to something inside of your head?

Brendan




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Post 111

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 10:38pmSanction this postReply
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Brendan,

Both.

Michael




Post 112

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 7:45amSanction this postReply
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MSK wrote:

What on earth did you say in essence that is any different that what she said? And how does that bear the fact that all three fundamental axiomatic concepts are interrelated, which is what we were discussing?
Obviously nothing in essence to you, but there is something in essence to me, and that is the nature of axiomatic systems. First comes postulates and definitions. Then other things, like theorems and corollaries, follow by derivation from that which has already been postulated or derived. Rand's formulation postulates existence, then implies more using "consciousness" w/o having introduced it as a postulate or deriving it, and also has "the act of grasping", i.e. consciousness, implying consciousness.

You may think consciousness is implicit in existence or existence implies consciousness. I don't.

Also, my revised wording fits with the point I made in post #93, which pertains to how these things are interrelated.





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Post 113

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 8:59amSanction this postReply
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IOE 249 (caps replace italics):

=============
Prof A: Does "existence exists" implicitly include consciousness as part of existence?

AR: Here I was very careful in my formulation in ATLAS SHRUGGED: "THE ACT OF GRASPING that statement" implies consciousness. Existence exists whether there is any consciousness or not. But since you are making that claim, in the act of grasping it you are introducing the axiom of consciousness.
=============

Now don't be sore about this, Brendan -- I had warned you about focusing your mind on a comparison and a contrast between thought and things, and you didn't listen (so, you had this one coming to you).

Ed



Post 114

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 10:33amSanction this postReply
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To add further, there is a personal versus impersonal perspective involved here - yes existance exist without consciousness, for others you have seen die, etc[it continues beyond their existing] - but for yourself, existance is seen thru your own consciousness, which you must possess to be able to grasp that existance exists.



Post 115

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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Brendan,

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.

 

Jordan






Post 116

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 12:39pmSanction this postReply
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Merlin,

Have you read my posts so far? Probably not, since you state:
You may think consciousness is implicit in existence or existence implies consciousness. I don't.
I do not think so and have stated differently very explicitly, that is if you are referring to the facts and not the concepts of such facts.

Please see the posts above concerning facts and concepts.

A consciousness is needed for a concept - any concept. It is not needed for a fact that is independent of it.

Michael



Post 117

Monday, August 29, 2005 - 12:12amSanction this postReply
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Michael: “Both.”

Perhaps it might help to clarify this. It’s my understanding that the phrase “existence exists” refers to the axiomatic concept of Existence, which is a “mental entity”, and that this concept in turn refers to all existents, including all lower level concepts. Is that also your understanding?

Brendan




Post 118

Monday, August 29, 2005 - 12:20amSanction this postReply
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Ed: “Now don't be sore about this, Brendan -- I had warned you about focusing your mind on a comparison and a contrast between thought and things, and you didn't listen (so, you had this one coming to you).”

Not quite sure what you’re getting at here, Ed, but thanks for the quote -- "THE ACT OF GRASPING that statement" implies consciousness.”

This precisely confirms my argument way back in post 13, my first post on this thread: “The premises of Rand’s argument are a statement and a mental act, which are both aspects of consciousness. In that case, the “something” of the conclusion “something exists” must also be consciousness.”

Ain’t that something? Great minds etc.

Brendan

By the way, have you had a think about that missing axiom, the one that could refer exclusively to material things? I’m sure it could help resolve all this confusion about the relationship between thoughts and things.




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Post 119

Monday, August 29, 2005 - 8:26amSanction this postReply
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Brendan,

The statement, "existence exists," itself is a concept (in the form of a proposition). It cannot be treated is if it were something other than one, the possibility of which is what you seem to imply.

It refers to both the concept (especially since it is one) and the referent.

I understand its components as:
1. "To exist" (fact external to awareness that is perceived through sense organs and conceptually integrated by a living organism with a conceptual consciousness),
2. The concept of "to exist" (mental unit inside a brain),
3. "Existence" (fact external to awareness that is perceived through sense organs and conceptually integrated by a living organism with a conceptual consciousness), and
4. The concept of existence (mental unit inside a brain).

As I said, both. (Actually four - I just included the verb because it is used in the proposition.)

Notice that you cannot divorce consciousness from any concept. But you can eliminate a consciousness by death or organically incapacitating it.

Your previous "challenge" to directly perceive all of existence in order to validate it excluded the capacity of conceptual integration.

Existence (fact) is not merely a context we think about. It is the context that we belong to, including our capacity to think about it (i.e. perceive it and integrate those perceptions of it).

We belong to it. It does not belong to us. Being able to conceive of it is what leads to the primacy of consciousness error (ignoring the fact that we belong to it) and the postulation of other existences.

Anyway, all primacy of consciousness errors go away when the consciousness that postulates it dies and such fact ends up making it not so primal. Existence continues. This is perceived by 100% of all living conscious organisms who grasp that their consciousness capacity is also borne by others who live and die. That usually scares the holy bejeezus out of people when they first understand that this is factual reality, not the conceived one.

Michael



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