< Ammunition needed: this is an argument against Objectivism that I found elsewhere. Can the following be refuted, and if so, where are the errors, specifically? >
The basics of randian error.
This is simply redundant and quite meaningless, unless one takes into account Rand's intent. What she is really trying to say is 'Existense exists objectively'
Ok, so what?
This is something she can't prove, so she called it an axiom. Its simply an assumption she won't tolerate anyone questioning.
The truth is, reality is made of experiences which we can and do categorize in different ways. A dream, a memory, a thought, an 'everyday' experience.
At this point, randians will disagree. I dare compare 'real' (objective) stuff with dreams. They will accuse me of saying a dream is the same as 'real' experience. Of course I would say no such thing, they are decidedly different experiences (my experiences, hint: the 'my' part is important). But how are they different? I am conscious of both, both exist within my conscious mind, they are observed. That is the only way I know them. I can certainly compare them, but I can only speculate on their origin, because I do not know the origin of consciousness or very much at all about its nature.
*Even if* one assumes objective reality, one runs into problems, like Heisenberg's uncertainty principle (UP). This is where randian's start whining about stolen concepts. The argument goes, first you must accept objective reality before you can use the UP to disprove objective reality.
You can't use P (or UP in this example) to disprove A because A comes first in the hierarchy of knowledge.
Of course I never said UP disproves anything, let alone A, or objective reality. What UP does is collapse the certainty of knowing A. Even if one assumes objective reality, UP is where that assumption totally implodes. In other words, that assumption far from disproving itself simply leads to a dead end.
"A is A"
Rand has attributed this to Aristotle... so it must be true... but she is really oversimplifying (at best), and misrepresenting (at worst) what he actually said.
What he said was this:
"Thus it is plain that every affirmation has an opposite denial, and similarly every denial an opposite affirmation.
We will call such a pair of propositions a pair of contradictories. Those positive and negative propositions are said to be contradictory which have the same subject and predicate. The identity of subject and of predicate must not be 'equivocal'." Organon by Aristotle.
What he seems to be saying is one can affirm or deny anything and indeed this property is part of everything... its only when you have a particular subject and predicate (object) together that you can't affirm and deny, you must do one or the other. A specific (identified) subject/object pair must be either affirmed or denied or its a contradiction.
Rand's 'A is A' comes from interpreting the last sentence, out of context, to mean 'subject is object'.
Certainly an interesting proposition, but not really what Aristotle said. Its also not something that a (subjective) experience can lead to knowledge of, even if it seems quite likely.
"Consciousness is Conscious (of something objective)."
Again, she leaves off the word objective and this relates back to her interpretation of Aristotle. Her claim is that subject 'implies' object, or, I suppose it would be better to say: Subject demands object.
However, consciousness, as can be observed, can be of itself as well as of things not normally though of as objects, again memories, dreams, etc...
In truth, consciousness is one's ability to observe and reflect on observation and the self.
Lastly, just because one feels something is implied, doesn't make it true. Its still just a belief, based on available evidence which could be incomplete and/or erroneous. And the latter can be observed of reality quite clearly *especially* if one assumes objective reality. (No stolen concepts necessary)
< Jake Dohn >
(Edited by Joseph Rowlands on 1/28, 2:16pm)