Reply To: God and Abstract Objects


osgood401, Thanks for your interesting reply,

Let me jump right into you argument which I take as a reductio ad absurdum attacking the PoE.

Consciousness exists.

Consciousness does indeed exist yes. If one were to utter the phrase , “I am not conscious”, they would in fact be contradicting them self since one must first be conscious in order to make that claim.

Something that exists exists independent of consciousness.

One could have hallucinations for example so that would definitely not exist independent of consciousness. The Objectivist statement would be that existence exist independent on consciousness.

Therefore consciousness exists independent of consciousness.

I’m not sure what this means. It seems to be treating consciousness as a singular ( like we’re the borg from Star Trek or something! lol.) My consciousness exist independently from your consciousness but not from my own.

Consciousness cannot exist independent of consciousness.

Again I’m not sure how to take this statement. If I stop being conscious will you stop being conscious?

Therefore consciousness does not exist.

Stolen fallacy. But I’m sure you agree since after all you are attempting to show the fallacy of the PoE by way of reductio ad absurdum.

Let’s do a thought experiment so that way perhaps I can get us on the same wave length.

Imagine a child is born having no senses whatsoever. He can’t see, feel, smell, hear,or taste anything. He also can’t even feel hunger pains or the gravity of the earth pulling on his body. Not even in the womb did he have senses. Because of this he can have no thoughts, emotions, feelings or dreams. We know that people who are born blind , for example, have only auditory dreams. So the child I’m sure you agree is unconscious. Now suppose the necessary set of neurons necessary for sight in the child’s brain begin to fire. He opens his eyes and sees people, walls, and medical equipment being used to feed him and keep him alive. Now he is conscious. But why, what changed? He observed an external world outside of himself. His consciousness could not identify itself as a consciousness until he first sensed something.

Now lets take our “senseless” child to another thought experiment. One more closely resembling Plato’s cave allegory. Imagine a vacuum of nothingness that the child is floating in. His body is fixed in a way that if he were to see he would not be able to see that he has a body. The necessary neurons in his brain connect and now he can see. But what does he see? There’s nothing to see or sense. He’s in a void of nothing. With nothing external for him to sense he is still effectively unconscious. There is no difference between the way he is now with connected sight neurons floating in a vacuum and him with no connected sight neurons laying in a hospital bed. In both cases he is unconscious.

Now this is all fine and dandy one might say but perhaps there is another type of consciousness out there that doesn’t have these limitations. But what arguments are there that can vindicate the idea of a consciousness that existed before anything existed for it to be aware of other than to say ” well perhaps it’s a magical consciousness of some sort we don’t understand..”? Maybe there is a square out there that exhibits the properties of a circle as well. But I don’t have to go and kick over every rock in existence looking for such a square because the idea is contradictory. And in the same way a consciousness that had nothing to be conscious of is contradictory.

All of your thoughts, emotions, feelings, knowledge and language are reducible back to what you have sensed. Your consciousness your entire life has conformed to and learned about reality. Every argument, statement or feeling you have assumes the PoE. Even if one argues against the PoE they can’t do it without assuming its truth and arguing from that standpoint.

The PoC is the exact opposite of this. Consciousness creates and dictates reality. wishing makes it so. But where is the evidence for any of this? Contrast that to the evidence of how we know consciousness works. Which one requires more assumptions?

There’s more I can say on this but I’ll stop here for now. I’ll leave a link to a blog by a guy that is much more verbose and detailed on this subject than I am.