Let us first get Presuppositionalism out of the way. I think we are in accord on this matter. I hold to no religion. This does not prevent me from concluding that there is a god but I’m not presupposing it. If you can imagine my situation, I am not well received by the religious or the atheists. When I reference god, do not presume that I am referring to something in western culture that exalts one type of Caucasian over all others. Not that you are, just in case.
Maybe I am missing something here but, it seems to me, the first two axioms do not work together.
“hallucinations for example so that would definitely not exist independent of consciousness.”
I think Rand would say hallucinations exist only in the mind, if not, hallucinations do not exist. Now, is consciousness created by the mind? If yes, then consciousness only exists in the mind or consciousness does not exist. You tell me “consciousness does exist” , now tell me if I’m missing an option but I think we are left with two possibilities: consciousness exists independent of consciousness (I know this seems ludicrous but that is the problem) or for her second axiom to work, it is a case of special pleading. So, if everything that exists exists independent of any consciousness then the axiom of existence is either incorrect or, inexplicably, she is allowing some special type of existence.
” perhaps there is another type of consciousness out there that doesn’t have these limitations”
Are you conflating the senses with consciousness? Per your examples you have introduced different types of consciousness. Is someone who has never had the sense of sight less conscious? A dog has the same five senses as we do, in fact, its sense of smell and hearing are superior to ours and, I believe, its other three senses are similar, if not the same, to ours. Yet, do we consider the dog as being more conscious than us? If our thoughts come from our senses then does the dog have superior thoughts? Do we learn to think? If you never learned a language would your thoughts be unintelligible to you?
“Imagine a child is born having no senses whatsoever”
This probably precludes the child from having thoughts about the physical world, the world that is perceived by the senses. Now, you say the child can’t think until one of its senses are turned on. Does sight create thought?
” Imagine a vacuum of nothingness”
I am sorry but I can not do this. If I imagine a state of non existence then I would imagine nothing to be something. Nothing would then not need to exist for me to have a comparative.
“consciousness that had nothing to be conscious of is contradictory.”
Yes, yes, Absolutely yes. But consciousness exists. I know I exist because I am conscious, I am conscious of my consciousness, I am self aware, I didn’t need to perceive a spoon or a cosmological teacup to come to that conclusion. I did, however, need to be conscious to perceive physical objects.
I am conscious
I agree that physical objects exist. Every physical object is made of something, cells, atoms, sub atomic particles, super strings(?), but matter can’t be reduced infinitely or it would have never began to exist in the first place. So I grant that there must be some physical element that is not made of another physical element. Is this element made of nothing or something which is not physical? It is impossible for nothing to exist. So, physical objects are made of something that is not physical. Metaphysical objects are reducible in the same way, the unmoved mover, the first cause sort of thing. I find the notion of the Logos or word of god to be both consistent and necessary to explain existence. That certainly does not lead me to the same conclusions that theologians have had about divine attributes but none of my arguments would begin with the claim, god does not exist. My view on these matters is not intractable but I have yet to hear anything from anybody that is more plausible.
I am sure, to you, I have already stepped in it, so I will go one more. The statement; I am conscious doesn’t just mean I’m awake or aware, it means I am conscious – that is my I-ness my being. I am that I am.
Jerry, I am frequently told by my friends that I am a good person and an asshole, usually in the same sentence. Please don’t take any of this as being flippant or disrespectful, just a conversation between two fellers.
I am dearly sorry if all of this constitutes “highjacking your thread”. Please send Professor Casey an email, making him aware of your question.