Reply To: God and Abstract Objects


osgood401, Hi thanks for your reply. No I’m not assuming you’re being an asshole. In fact I pondered if in fact I was coming of that way myself even though I have no intentions of being that way so I totally understand. No worries ok?

I don’t really have time to go point by point but I’ll address the main things I see real fast and that should maybe help us kick the intellectual ball a little further down the road towards some kind of conclusion. So I apologize in advance if any of this is hasty.

I think Rand would say hallucinations exist only in the mind

Yes I agree and that’s how I should have worded my statement.

Is someone who has never had the sense of sight less conscious?

Keep in mind that it is the “awareness” of consciousness that is what I’m talking about. So I’d have to say yes. You would be less aware if you were blind. If i could see through walls or maybe further up or down the light spectrum I think it would be fair to say I was more aware at that point. When I take my contacts out before bed I am no longer aware of what the clock on my night stand says.

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.

I’m lost on what you are referring to as her second axiom. In objectivism the axioms are axioms because knowledge of them cannot be reduced down to constituent parts. They are implicit in all knowledge. The axiom of existence, consciousness, and identity. I guess you could call it her philosophical trinity. Starting in reverse order if we do away with identity then everything would be the same. say everything is the color red. How could one identify the color red without any other color to contrast it to? The axiom of consciousness is taken away then what is there to identify any objects are things? Take away existence and well then there’s certainly no consciousness or anything. Now I know you said later that there’s no such thing as nothing. I agree! That’s simply the PoE stated in another way. I simply had to make that assumption so I could try and illustrate the point that there must be something existing ( how it exist or what it’s made of is a question for science not philosophy so it doesn’t matter) to be conscious of.

So if i understand your special pleading claim about the PoE correctly I think it is settled by understanding that consciousness is axiomatic according to Objectivism.

If you never learned a language would your thoughts be unintelligible to you?

I don’t know that’s a great question to ponder. I think you would probably come up with your own simplistic “language” automatically in your mind.

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.

I believe that it is impossible for nothing to exist. In fact I randomly picked a copy of Michael Shermer’s Skeptic magazine to download and read this weekend and there was an article exactly about “nothing”. In short it concluded that “nothing” is impossible with what we know of quantum physics. The article is titled “What rocks dream about” in volume 17 number 3 2012 issue if you’re interested.

but matter can’t be reduced infinitely or it would have never began to exist in the first place.

It seems you’re conflating “matter” with existence. Matter as we know it became to exist at a certain time just like my car came into existence at a certain time. But I’m not following your reasoning here on matter can’t needing matter to exist. if that’s what you’re saying? It seems you’re diverging from philosophy into science here and that question may be unanswered at this time.

Are you conflating the senses with consciousness?

If to be conscious is to be aware then doesn’t awareness presuppose sensing and thus sensing presuppose something “out there” to sense? One can imagine an existence with no consciousness existing. But it’s really a mangle to try and imagine nothingness with a consciousness existing. Quite contradictory.

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.

There can be no explanation of existence. Existence ( consciousness and identity) is necessary for explanation to begin with. What’s north of the north pole? follows that same error in reasoning.

It’s like asking. “What caused existence”. Causality is the law of identity in motion. If something caused existence then that cause already existed to begin with negating that claim that existence was caused. What caused matter to exist is a different question and I know it seem like splitting hairs but isn’t that the fun of philosophy to begin with? lol.. have a good one!