Forum Replies Created
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!
I dunno why the link function is not working so i will just say google “Incinerating Presuppositionalism ”
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 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.
Hi osgood401 thanks for the reply.
I believe what you have explained above is what is commonly referred to as the “Primacy of existence metaphysics (PoE)” verses “The primacy of consciousness metaphysics (PoC)”. If the former is the case I can see no rational inconsistencies. It also requires fewer assumptions. If the latter is the case then more questions need to be answered. For example you said…
[quote]What should be immediately obvious about this is that consciousness would not only be the creator of existence but also the sustainer.[/quote]
The first question that comes to my mind here is that if you hold the PoC consistent then what accounts for the “supreme consciousness”? (for lack for a better term) “It was aware of itself” seems to be too convenient and easy of an answer. An answer that itself raises more questions. Such as, how can a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of identify itself as conscious to begin with? If running is the action of legs then consciousness is the action of a mind. It seems to me to speak of a consciousness with no substance or existence not only needs a myriad of more assumptions but is in fact contradictory.
Hi John D I hope you don’t mind me chiming in. I find it odd that WLC rejects Platonism since theism to my understanding is rooted in Platonism. But no, abstractions do not exist “out there” they only exist in the mind. Such as numbers, the government, transportation, and the boggieman, etc. Some of these abstractions are valid and some are not. For example one can argue that numbers are a valid abstraction (or concept) because they refer directly to particulars in reality. The same cannot be said of the boogieman and in my opinion gods or governments. I think you might find Ayn Rands book “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology” of great insight on the topic of abstract concepts. Though I’m not an Objectivist this book really changed how I think about things.
Freedom of speech means to be free from government reprisal for speaking. It doesn’t mean you are free to say whatever you want whenever you want and it certainly doesn’t mean you are free from other private entities taking action based on your speech. ( see Duck Dynasty).
What the person that you quote says is true how things stand now. It’s clear that they don’t understand what Constitutional protects means or how it even relates. IOW’s , to use his example. If I decide that there’s no speech on my property on Tuesday as things stand now that is not against the law or a violation of anyone’s “freedom of speech. If there is no government, nothing changes in that regard. Except that there’s not a government to go back on its word of not sanctioning you for speaking out against it.
There’s a great blog called, “Incinerating Presuppositionalism”, in case anyone is interested.
Mikefly, if you don’t mind me throwing my two cents in here in regard to your last question?
First, a corporation would not technically exist in an an-cap situation because corporations are businesses with special government protections, and as I’m sure you are well aware, they get granted favors at the expense of tax payers and their competition in many cases.
However that doesn’t mean that here wouldn’t be large and successful businesses. So what would stop them from arming up and taking over their competition? The cost of doing war is expensive. Would you voluntarily support a company that took up arms? What would happen to their overhead and thus the price of their goods or services? Wouldn’t this cause customers to take their business elsewhere? How many of their employees would risk their lives for such a thing? When a state wages war it’s citizens have no choice but to fund it’s war efforts and in many cases no choice but to fight.
So a company starting a war would certainly lose employees, public support, and have increased overhead.
Admittedly such a thing is still technically possible despite the draw backs I mentioned. But let me ask you this. Is the risk of getting cancer in the future an excuse to not rid yourself of the cancer you have now?
Does one benefit themself by being known or viewed by others as dishonest, a liar, or immoral in other ways verses someone who consistently attempts to be honorable?
Very good analysis by your friend. It echos many of the thoughts I’ve had about the differences between the two.
The thing for me is this. If for example you take the idea of a worker run factory that ancoms like to talk about, then what would they do in the case of someone coming along and trying to take their property or destroy it? Would they use force to remove the threat? If yes then how is this different than what they complain about ancaps? If no then it’s easy to see the failure in that type of system.
It seems to me ancoms have not thought their system through in effect. It’s as if they have never worked for any length of time in their life.
Pick your battles. If you do it in a room with a bunch of people who are probably all against you like in a class room you will just be shouted over and you can’t possible defend against hundreds of remarks at once. Try it out in smaller groups when you’re chatting with friends.
And be prepared to have the feeling afterwards of, ” I shoulda said this and I shoulda mentioned that”. It’s all normal but you get better in time.
Another way to interject in a classroom (which is sort of dishonest but I’ve done it before) is phrase your disapproval of what they are saying as a question. Something like.. ” A friend of mine once told me such and such about economies (or whatever) and I didn’t know how to answer him.”
Then sit back and listen to what they say. Load that reply into you mind and go do research on it and find out whats wrong with it either factually or logically.
That is assuming it is indeed wrong. One must always be willing to question even their deepest of convictions and honest enough to admit when something is right.
Excellent video it clears up so much. thank you.
I suppose the Objectivist would distinguish between what’s implicit in ones actions verses what’s implicit in his statements since ethics is about the choices (actions) one makes.
I have made it to the “syllogisms” section and was doing the examples you gave to do. I did get all but two correct. It seems my weakness in both cases being wrong was to incorrectly assign the copula in translation so that’s something I’m working on before I allow myself to move further.
thank you very much Dr Casey
To me it all boils down to force. I’m ok with people deciding to form an anarcho communist community so long as they don’t want to force me or others to be involved. Anarcho capitalism does not say people can’t form into whatever system that they want to. All it says is that IF one does not chose it, you should not force them.
Even though anarcho communist sometimes don’t say they are socialist it seems to me that what they are advocating is Karl Marx’s final phase of socialism. That is where the state withers away and you are left with communism.