Guyau

Theory of Truth

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References

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Truth of Geometry

. . I. Aristotle
. . II. Locke and Leibniz
. . III. Kant, Precritical
. . IV. Kant, Critical (forthcoming)

Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

. . I. Quine
. . II. White and Rand-Peikoff
. . III. Objective Analyticity

. . IV. Aristotole to Abelard (forthcoming)

Objectivist Theory of Truth

Between Metaphysics and Science – Kant and Rand

Perception and Truth – Kant and Rand

. . I. Sense and Mind – Rand

. . II. Empirical Realism – Kant

. . . . . .A (K – appearance, space, geometry / R+B – observations, axioms)

. . . . . .B (K – space, Euclid, infinity, schemata / R+B – space, time, axioms)

. . . . . .C (K – experience, concepts, objects / R+B – empiricism, observations)

. . . . . .D (K – unity, objects, I think, integration / R+B – observations, percepts)

. . . . . .E (K – objects, schemata, concepts / R+B – percepts, know-how; observations, know-that)

. . III. Empirical Judgment – Kant and Rand

. . . . . .A (K – subject forms, objective time order, cause-concept rule / R+B – world forms, norms, life-clock)

. . . . . .B (K – concept rules of object, affinity of manifold, apperception / R+B – autonomy of perception wrt conception)

. . . . . .C (K – judgments of perception, of experience / R+B – autonomy of percept wrt observation)

. . . . . .D (K – judgments of p, of e; non-remedial subjectivity; schematized concepts / R+B – judgments of percept, of observation; object in percept; conceptualized schemata)

. . . . . .E (K – hypothetical, problematic judgments of p; objectivity and universal assent; subjective/objective validity; reflective/constitutive mentality; systematic unity of nature / R+B – categories of subjective and objective; objectivity without discursivity)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a paragraph of “Between Metaphysics and Science – Kant and Rand” (2010) I should like to supplement.

In the second edition of the first Critique, Kant withdraws some first-edition stress on the ideality of outer experience (A367­–76) and adds stress to what I call his “primacy of outer intuition.” On the latter, consider his additions Refutation of Idealism (B774–79; see further Westfall 2004) and General Comment on the System of Principles (B288–94). From the latter:

In order to understand the possibility of things as consequent upon the categories, and hence in order to establish the categories’ objective reality, we need not merely intuitions but indeed always outer intuitions. If we take, e.g., the pure concepts of relation {the categories inherence (and substance), causality, and community}, we find: (1) In order to give, as corresponding to the concept of substance, something permanent in intuition (and thereby establish this concept’s objective reality), we need an intuition in space (an intuition of matter {1786, 4:469–72}); for space alone is determined as permanent, whereas time, and hence whatever is in inner sense, constantly flows. (2) In order to exhibit change, as the intuition corresponding to the concept of causality, we must take as our example motion, as change in space {1786, 4:476–77}; indeed, only thereby can changes, whose possibility no pure understanding can comprehend, be made intuitive. . . . And this intuition is that of the motion of a point in space; solely the point’s existence in different locations . . . is what first makes change intuitive. For in order thereafter to make even internal changes thinkable, we must make time, as the form of inner sense, comprehensible figuratively through a line (i.e., through motion), and hence we must make the successive existence of ourselves in different states comprehensible through outer intuition. (B291–92)

In all that sensibleness, Kant is not retreating one inch from his characterization of space as form supplied from the side of the subject, form ideal and without which no outer experience is possible, form that does not exist without the perceiving subject (A26–28 B42–44, A42–43 B59–60, A85–89 B118–22, B148, A492 B520). Kant’s primacy of outer intuition is not Rand’s primacy of existence.

To the latter paragraph I should add that not only does Kant’s doctrine of space in the Aesthetic of the first Critique dampen the primacy of outer intuition underscored in the second edition, Kant’s doctrine of the transcendental object also dampens that primacy. According to Kant, no objects could be presented in experience, no human experience worth the name would be possible, were it not for its formal aspects contributed by human mind. The formal aspects of experience are objectifying, in concert with sensory intuitions, though it remains that there is—beyond all objects in appearance—a transcendental, utterly opaque object underlying registration of objects as experienced (A46 B63, A50 B74, A92 B125, A102–10, B137–38, B154–55, A247–48 B304, A249–53, A277–78 B333–34, A288–89 B344–45, A358–59, A379–80, A391, A393, A494–95 B522–23, A538–39 B566–67).

Inasmuch as the understanding warns sensibility not to claim to deal with things in themselves but solely with appearances, it does think an object in itself. But the understanding thinks it only as a transcendental object. This object is the cause {ground?} of appearance (hence not itself appearance) and can be thought neither as magnitude . . . nor as substance, etc. (because these concepts always require sensible forms wherein they determine an object). Hence concerning this object we are completely ignorant as to whether it is to be found in us—or for that matter, outside us . . . . (A288 B344; emphasis added)

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On November 2, 2015 at 11:00 AM, Guyau said:

On Logic, Aristotle and Rand

. . .

[11] See also Aristotle, Metaph. 1006b26–27, 1007a26–27. Let EI designate Rand’s “Existence is Identity.”Aristotle, Avicenna, Henry of Ghent, John Duns Scotus, Francis Suárez, Spinoza, Leibniz, Baumgarten, Kant, and Bolzano also reached principles close to (EI), though not the Randian rank of (EI) or near-(EI) among other metaphysical principles. A Thomist text Rand read had included: “What exists is that which it is” (Gilson 1937, 253). That is a neighbor of Rand’s “Existence is identity.” Neighbor Baumgarten: “Whatever is entirely undetermined does not exist” (1757, §53).

. . .

Baumgarten, A. 1757 [1739]. Metaphysics. 4th ed. C. D. Fugate and J. Hymers, translators (2013). Bloomsbury.

© Stephen C. Boydstun 2015

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Logic, Aristotle and Rand

Normativity of Logic – Kant v. Rand

Normativity of Logic – Robert Hanna

Between False, Invalid, and Meaningless

Meaningless Tautology

Analytic-Synthetic Distinction
Part 1 – Quine
Part 2 – White and Rand-Peikoff
Part 3 – Objective Analyticity

 

On November 13, 2013 at 10:14 PM, Guyau said:

Perception and Truth – Kant and Rand

. . .

In Prolegomena Kant had observed “there would be no reason why other judgments necessarily would have to agree with mine, if there were not the unity of the object—an object to which they all refer, with which they all agree, and, for that reason, also must harmonize among themselves” (1783, 298; see also A820–23 B848–51; 1786a, 144–46). In Critique of Practical Reason, Kant reiterates “universality of assent does not prove the objective validity of a judgment (i.e. its validity as cognition) but only that, even if universal assent should happen to be correct, it could still not yield a proof of agreement with the object; on the contrary, only objective validity constitutes the ground of a necessary universal agreement” (1788, 13). (The external criterion or touchstone of truth, concurrence from others, is evidently taken up by Kant from G. F. Meier’s logic text from which Kant lectured; c. 1770, 45–46, 81, 93, 150, 178–79, 187–88, 234; c. 1780, 806, 853, 873–74; 1792, 706, 721, 740, 746; 1800, 36–37, 48, 57, 80.) In those statements, Kant gets right the order—trueness in reason to object, concurrence of other minds in their reason concerning the object—even if he massively errs by the constitutive role he gives to forms of sensory intuition and fundamental a priori concepts in the presentation of objects (see also Allison 2004, 88–89).

. . .

The 2013 issue in English of the Baumgarten text in metaphysics from which Kant lectured has proven enormously useful to me. I am thrilled to learn that this past January there issued an English translation of the Meier text in logic (and more) from which Kant lectured: Excerpt from the Doctrine of Reason.

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.

I quoted in the preceding post (4/13/16) my citations and quotations (11/13/13) from Kant that contradict the Randian representation of Kant as one trying to put social agreement in place of objectivity. My conjecture that Kant’s mention of the social-concurrence help in attaining truth was from the Meier text from which Kant lectured for decades was due to the various logic notes of his students, which I had at hand in the Cambridge translations. A number of these mention that social merit under the same heading in their notes: “Logical Egoism.” So I bet myself that in Meier’s text, I’d find that notion treated.

We do indeed find the phrase in Meier, but it means something much less elaborate than what Kant developed under the same heading. The occurrence in Meier is in his list of “logical prejudices,” which today our logic texts would call informal logical fallacies. “Logical egoism (egoismus logicus), when someone holds something to be logically perfect for the reason that he himself is the originator of it.” Other prejudices on Meier’s list are more familiar from lists of informal fallacies in our modern texts. These include adducing antiquity or improper authority as support for a proposition. No one I know of would disagree with Meier that “logical egoism” is a fallacy. Rand too concurred that such is a fallacy; that was in her essay “Selfishness without a Self.” (Likewise, in Branden’s “Counterfeit Individualism.”)

In the Bloomberg logic notes, we find Kant raising the heading within a defense of the right and value of people to freely exchange ideas and property. These notes continue:

“Everyone who has the principium of conceit, that the judgments of others are for him utterly dispensable in the use of his own reason and for the cognition of truth, thinks in a very bad and blameworthy way.

“This is actually logical egoism, however, which of course could not and would not require that one communicate his own judgments to others, too. This so-called logical egoism consists, then, in nothing but the presumed but often false self-sufficiency of our understanding, existing for itself, and, so to say, isolated, where one believes he knows enough by himself, and believes he is infallibly correct and incorrigible in all his judgments. And we easily see that this conceited mode of thought is not only completely ridiculous but is even most contrary to real humanity.”

Further,

“It is true, of course, that in matters of the understanding the judgment of others judges nothing. But it is still not on this account superfluous, nor yet dispensable. By instinct, man’s understanding is communicatio. If it is communicative, then, it must really be sympathetic, too, and it must be concerned with what others judge of it.”

From the Vienna logic notes:

“There are sciences in which we actually often have to rely on our own reason, and without needing this external criterium, [yet] without committing the mistake of egoism. E.g. In mathematics the evidence is so great that no one can resist it, if only he follows the proofs set forth. Otherwise, though, this historical criterium of the agreement of others cannot be completely dispensed with. For although it is not a sole criterium, it is a joint criterium.

. . .

“If it does not happen that we lay our thoughts before universal human reason, then we have cause to call into question the validity of our judgments, because we do not wish to follow nature’s wise precept that we test our truth on the judgments of others. It is wrong, accordingly, for the state to forbid men to write books and to judge, e.g., about matters of religion. For then they are deprived of the only means that nature has given them, namely, testing their judgment on the reason of others. The freedom to think in silence is given by the people who tyrannize so despotically. But that is only because they cannot prevent anyone from doing it. I can always think what I will. But as for what concerns logical egoism, it has to be conceded that since human nature depends on using this external criterium, I also have a right to expound my thoughts publicly.”

There are substantial differences between Kant’s and Rand’s conception of human nature and the social ingredients in the attainment of knowledge. But they are not the difference she thought was there and paraded. Miss Rand’s representation (and more recently Dr. Binswanger's representation) of Kant on this was, as I showed earlier, vastly at odds with the body of Kant's own published works. On their actual differences in this area of human nature and knowledge, Kant’s view is closer to the correct view, which is to imply, closer to my own. Rand’s express views on the value of society to the individual, on the nature of language and languaged thought, as well as on the communicative nature of art are ever stilted to fundamental individual as if alone rather like God.

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4 hours ago, Guyau said:

.... fundamental individual as if alone rather like God.

 

Stephen,

My first reaction was "If only!". (Nevermore: control of others and brutal violence). My next was, "Why not?" 

If only: all mankind comported themselves individually as "a god" among other gods, in reality, humans, the highest beings whom we know to exist, each a creator and productive spirit, each responsible and self-responsible for the use of his great powers, and while seeking and needing the company and abilities of other 'gods', never to intervene on another 'god's' freedoms ... I see only good.

 

 

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Hi Tony,

The aloneness of God in its fundamental nature is absolute. That is likewise the most basic nature Rand is giving to individual human. At the most basic level, he is alone with nature devoid of other men. His basic nature is to make his life in nature regardless of the existence of other men and the uses they may afford for him. This view of human nature is the proclamation of Rand’s text, and it is false. Rand did not concur in her compositions with your description and norm of individuals needing other people; there is no such fact nor right norm in most fundamental human nature declared in Rand’s text. I’m including her text and Branden’s concerning visibility in my assertion. The visibility benefit is dispensable for successful life of the individual on a deserted island, in her express picture of human nature. Reason, purpose, and self-esteem do not require the existence of others in her picture, and that is a false picture of most fundamental human being. (I provide the systematic corrective and alternative philosophy in my book in progress.) Back in society, careers always rightly trump romantic relationships in Rand’s view. Further, all full- and right-sighted enjoyment and productive elevation from the existence of others is seen as appendage of the most fundamental joy and productivity of self alone.

Your picture is out of step with Rand’s in the profundity you give to the existence of others, and yours is a truer and better picture.

When I capitalize god, I’m singling out the particular personage that is shared by Jew, Christian, and Muslim, the basic character God they share insofar as they heed their theologians and philosophers. Following the Chicago Manuel of Style, I capitalize mentions of this god, for God is its name, a proper noun. There is only one god and its name is God, in this view. The singularity of God receives three proofs in Summa Theologica, and the most fundamental proof rests on Thomas’ prior proof of God’s simplicity. Avicenna, who predates Thomas, proves the singularity of God relying on his prior proof of the character of God’s existence as necessary existence (not contingent). Maimonides’ commentary on the Mishna lists as a tenet of Judaism the oneness of God. Beyond the commonality God in these three faiths are further doctrines about God particular to the particular faith. Including these, God is further named Hashem, Jehovah, and Allah. Just say no to polytheism in these three religions.

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Humans are neonatal.  In order to survive  a human infant/youngster must be closely cared for for a larger portion of its life than any other mammal.  That is why humans are eusocial.  We cannot survive alone.  We can't even learn to think all by ourselves.  If we are not taught language by our care givers in a certain critical interval of time in our youths will we be unable to think properly.  The notion of humans as atomic  beings is totally at odd with our biological nature.  Humans, in order to survive,  MUST be social.  There may be Lone Wolves but there are no truly alone humans.  NB:  there are rare (very rare cases) of feral humans, but even they are cared for and fed  by non-human animals.  In every such case, the feral human is unable to operate in the full range of human thought. 

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Ba’al wrote: . . . . We cannot survive alone.  We can't even learn to think all by ourselves.  If we are not taught language by our care givers in a certain critical interval of time in our youths will we be unable to think properly.  The notion of humans as atomic beings is totally at odd with our biological nature.  Humans, in order to survive, MUST be social. end quote 

Deep, random thoughts, but very good. Is atomic the right word? Glow in the dark people wouldn’t last too long. I really enjoyed the movie, “Castaway,” with Tom Hanks. The thought of exile or being on Devil’s Island is horrible too.

George H. Smith wrote more deep thoughts about Kant: I think that Rand's emphasis on "evil philosophies" -- which she took to the absurd length of calling Immanuel Kant the most evil man in the history of Western Civilization -- is an excellent case study in the pitfalls of this approach. Was Kant more evil than Hitler or Stalin? Yes, according to Rand's perspective -- but no, according to mine. Even if Kant was wrong about everything he said or advocated (which is far from true), to brand him as more evil than mass murderers is to debase our moral coinage. Well, I've gone and done it now. Let the games begin. end quote 

Altering history, hmmm? One more quote from George I have always liked.

George H. Smith wrote: On a different but related issue -- I had a similar reaction to the fact that Ayn Rand deleted Nathaniel Branden from her dedication in later (post-split) printings of *Atlas Shrugged.* I faced a similar situation with my first book, *Atheism: The Case Against God,* which was dedicated, "To Diane, for the tender moments." By the time the book went to press, however, Diane and I had undergone a bitter split and were barely on speaking terms. Thus, in one of my less-than-tender moments, I considered omitting this dedication altogether, since it seemed so incongruous at the time. But I decided to let it stand, reasoning that the dedication reflected a past relationship and that to delete it would have been to falsify history, in effect. This was the right thing to do, and I have never regretted that decision. end quote 

George is wise.

Peter

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45 minutes ago, Peter said:

George H. Smith wrote: On a different but related issue -- I had a similar reaction to the fact that Ayn Rand deleted Nathaniel Branden from her dedication in later (post-split) printings of *Atlas Shrugged.* I faced a similar situation with my first book, *Atheism: The Case Against God,* which was dedicated, "To Diane, for the tender moments."

I see one small difference.  Ayn Rand's dedication, if I remember correctly, was to her "intellectual heir" - an heir inherits and that is in the future.  Ayn changed her will.  :-)

George Smith may have come to feel bitter about Diane, but those "tender moments" were in the past and held firm by history. 

I suspect that a dedication is, and should be, an emotional thing.  I understand him leaving the dedication, I'd also have understood changing it to read, "To Diane, who I loved once but no more"  or to someone or something else - something that filled him with emotion at the time of the new edition.

George H. Smith and Peter are both wise.

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On 2016/07/11 at 2:46 PM, Guyau said:

Hi Tony,

The aloneness of God in its fundamental nature is absolute. That is likewise the most basic nature Rand is giving to individual human. At the most basic level, he is alone with nature devoid of other men. His basic nature is to make his life in nature regardless of the existence of other men and the uses they may afford for him. This view of human nature is the proclamation of Rand’s text, and it is false. Rand did not concur in her compositions with your description and norm of individuals needing other people; there is no such fact nor right norm in most fundamental human nature declared in Rand’s text. I’m including her text and Branden’s concerning visibility in my assertion. The visibility benefit is dispensable for successful life of the individual on a deserted island, in her express picture of human nature. Reason, purpose, and self-esteem do not require the existence of others in her picture, and that is a false picture of most fundamental human being. (I provide the systematic corrective and alternative philosophy in my book in progress.) Back in society, careers always rightly trump romantic relationships in Rand’s view. Further, all full- and right-sighted enjoyment and productive elevation from the existence of others is seen as appendage of the most fundamental joy and productivity of self alone.

Your picture is out of step with Rand’s in the profundity you give to the existence of others, and yours is a truer and better picture.

When I capitalize god, I’m singling out the particular personage that is shared by Jew, Christian, and Muslim, the basic character God they share insofar as they heed their theologians and philosophers. Following the Chicago Manuel of Style, I capitalize mentions of this god, for God is its name, a proper noun. There is only one god and its name is God, in this view. The singularity of God receives three proofs in Summa Theologica, and the most fundamental proof rests on Thomas’ prior proof of God’s simplicity. Avicenna, who predates Thomas, proves the singularity of God relying on his prior proof of the character of God’s existence as necessary existence (not contingent). Maimonides’ commentary on the Mishna lists as a tenet of Judaism the oneness of God. Beyond the commonality God in these three faiths are further doctrines about God particular to the particular faith. Including these, God is further named Hashem, Jehovah, and Allah. Just say no to polytheism in these three religions.

Concerning truth, I’ve a doctrine, a sweet one, suggested to me by Thomas. “To grasp what is truth, one must already have some truth.” –SB

Stephen, I have finely adjusted my philosophy (still very recognisably Objectivist) to what I've found in living and humanity and I'm not worried if "out of step" (>: with Rand. (I appreciate your agreement). Still, I wonder, is man's human-ness not always present, but implicit, in Rand's writing? Maybe I take too many things to be self-obvious or am being over-charitable, but basically I tend to believe she *assumed* on his humanity as the given prerequisite of a rational egoist. (There are those human cameos in her novels between protagonist and minor character. Also, in an off the cuff answer once, I read somewhere, she replied to some question: "Yes, indeed; If one IS a human being". Roughly). Clues and inferences. But I'm not looking to justify her. You will know her body of work much better than me. How much though can a philosopher minutely detail and specify? Thank god we are left the freedom to "work it out" in our own lives. Even AR, who perhaps went overboard in these attempts to lay it all out, and made some glaring errors as a result!

In the end I'm sure, one learns humanity by being human with humans - less from philosophy.

Importantly, it's the very "human" individual who begins young life, honest, balanced, independent, fair and sensitive towards other people, but unguided, who most can be manipulated and used to others' ends, or just simply caters continually and helpfully to less independent others' 'needs' - and who most badly needs to find conviction in the rightness of living for his/her self. Without that, would be a certain loss of his virtue and some values, leading him to disillusion in humanity, and confusion, and probably to his eventual despair - a cynicism and abandonment of his good, basic principles. Hard to recover from, if ever, and that comes from experience and observation. Isn't it this very human person, who most responds to the radical idea of a rational selfishness, which properly practised will defend his values from being surrendered?

In short, I believe it's the decent folk who most need and want that morality. Rand's 'imperative' of oneself being -always- the beneficiary of one's actions, does not bother me now as it once did...

(I took this from an essay of yours, on VOS): "The rational man...recognizes the fact that his own life is the *source*, not only of all his values, but of *his capacity to value*. Therefore, the value he grants to others is only a consequence, an extension, a secondary projection of the primary value which is himself".

"Only" a consequence... (Hmm). Well, okay: With man's life and only with life, are all values possible; therefore for a specific individual's life - his supreme value - is to be his one source of, and his capacity to, value.

And, to be also OF value -and need - to an other (i.e 'valuable' to others, in himself) - I'd be so bold as to add. But I'm considering, is it so wrong for one to be of "only" secondary value, to one who's primary value is so high? Also that productiveness is the "central purpose" and "central value" that holds all other values together, including very much (I'd think) the hierarchical values of the one, and the several and many other people? (And always the obvious: life is a once-off and not too long to enjoy).

Which takes it back to men as "gods", and expanding and elevating man's full range, while staying always human.

You know this by Walt Whitman?: "I never yet knew how it felt to think I stood in the presence of my superior. If the presence of God were made visible immediately before me, I could not abase myself".

For good measure, Thoreau: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them".

And yes, we - individually - build a little or a lot upon they who went before, or are now present, and that is great.

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21 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Humans are neonatal.  In order to survive  a human infant/youngster must be closely cared for for a larger portion of its life than any other mammal.  That is why humans are eusocial.  We cannot survive alone.  We can't even learn to think all by ourselves.  If we are not taught language by our care givers in a certain critical interval of time in our youths will we be unable to think properly.  The notion of humans as atomic  beings is totally at odd with our biological nature.  Humans, in order to survive,  MUST be social.  There may be Lone Wolves but there are no truly alone humans.  NB:  there are rare (very rare cases) of feral humans, but even they are cared for and fed  by non-human animals.  In every such case, the feral human is unable to operate in the full range of human thought. 

The simplest biological argument, which could as well apply to sheep. An ant hill. "Atomic", refers to the consciousness in which each is alone.

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

The simplest biological argument, which could as well apply to sheep. An ant hill. "Atomic", refers to the consciousness in which each is alone.

Ants are alive and respond to their environment.  They do possess a kind of consciousness.  So to one celled organisms.  Matter and Energy can manifest a kind of consciousness.  I have a hard time  believing that bacteria can do abstraction, however. 

But the living things of the Earth are meat machines,  are they not.  And their operation is bound and governed under the laws of thermodynamics.

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5 hours ago, anthony said:

...consciousness in which each is alone

I was struck by the somewhat mundane thought that, yes, we are each alone, in that we are each the only occupant of our consciousness.  But that same consciousness is the only means by which we can share our experiences and times with another.  We may be islands, but consciousness is a potential bridge - the only one. 

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47 minutes ago, SteveWolfer said:

I was struck by the somewhat mundane thought that, yes, we are each alone, in that we are each the only occupant of our consciousness.  But that same consciousness is the only means by which we can share our experiences and times with another.  We may be islands, but consciousness is a potential bridge - the only one. 

The bridge is sight and sound both of which require the transport of physical energy from Here to There. Ultimately it is all done with photons.....

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Ba'al? Are you pulling our legs?

 

The Twilight Zone.

[Opening narration (season 1)] Narrator: There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

 

[Opening narration - season 2] Narrator: You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!

 

[Opening narration - season 4 & 5] Narrator: You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

 

[Opening narration - season 7] The bridge is sight and sound both of which require the transport of physical energy from Here to There. Ultimately it is all done with photons.....

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28 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

The bridge is sight and sound

Sight and sound are like a bridge's steel or electrical wires carrying signals...  But that's just material.  Their design is something else, and so is what travels across.  Sight and sound alone will never make much of a bridge between you and a parrot... well, between me and a parrot - I'll speak for myself (and I like parrots).

Where in sight and sound do you locate truth or meaning?

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56 minutes ago, Peter said:

Ba'al? Are you pulling our legs?

 

I once accused Bob of having a little fun with us, he indignantly replied he is always serious. Comes a time, I have to take him at his word, believe he's sincere, and say speak for yourself, buster. ;)

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Helen Keller had the sense of touch which operates by Coulomb Repulsion.  Photons are still exchanged.  Touch is a crude very low resolution cousin to sight. Vision is produced by the action of light photons on the rhodopsin components of the rods and cones of the retina.  Touch is produced because an object exerts and repulsive electromagnetic force on the nerves just beneath the skin.  Coulomb repulsion (produced by electron in the object, repelling electrons in the skin) activates certain nerves.  Of our pressure sensing nerves were as densely packed as the rods and cones in the retina  we could  "see"  with our skin.  

The skin has a very limited response to electromagnetic radiation.  We can feel infra red with our skin,  so in a sense, our skin "sees" infra red radiation.

Helen Keller had enough sense connection with the world to feed her brain information which it needs to function. 

Sight, sound, touch.  It is all done with photons. 

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Previously

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His Own Truth

In all of Rand’s novels, a natural human wholeness is prescribed, a way of human life that had been broken up by overblown conceptions of human social nature. Rand was not denying there is an important social goodness naturally in the life of an individual. That affirmation is an understatement, in my own view, which will be set out in my book in progress. Nonetheless Rand was right to contest the overly social conceptions of human being wrecking lives around the world. In this note, I’ll pull together some bits from my writings, which pertain to Rand’s binding of truth to individual agent and binding of beneficiary egoism to agency egoism.*

Comrade Sonia says to Andrei Taganov: “I know—we know—what you think. But what I’d like you to answer is why you happen to think that you are entitled to your own thoughts? Against those of the majority of your Collective? Or is the majority’s will sufficient for you, Comrade Taganov? Or is Comrade Taganov turning individualistic?” (1936, 378).

Early in the story, when he is courting Kira, the future love of his life, we are given the following picture of Andrei’s seamless character. Kira leads:

“I thought that Communists never did anything except what they had to do . . . .”

“That’s strange,” he smiled, “I must be a very poor Communist. I’ve always done only what I wanted to do.”

“Your revolutionary duty?”

“There is no such thing as duty. If you know a thing is right, you want to do it. If you don’t want to do it—it isn’t right. If it’s right and you don’t want to do it—you don’t know what right is—and you’re not a man.”

“Haven’t you ever wanted a thing for no reason of right or wrong, for no reason at all, save one: that you wanted it?”

“Certainly. That’s always been my only reason. I’ve never wanted things unless they could help my cause. For, you see, it is my cause.”

“And your cause is to deny yourself for the sake of millions?”

“No. To bring the millions up to where I want them—for my sake.” (92)

Late in the novel, Andrei envisions (what is in the author’s view) an even greater seamlessness of character by setting his newly reached beneficiary egoism squarely in his life-long agency egoism. Addressing his Comrades:

“You see, there are things in men, in the best of us, which are above all states and all collectives, things too precious, too sacred, things which no outside hand should dare touch. Look into yourself, honestly and fearlessly. Look and don’t tell me, don’t tell anyone, just tell yourself: what are you living for? Aren’t you living for yourself and only for yourself? For a higher truth which is your own? Call it your aim, your love, your cause—isn’t it still your cause? Give your life, die for your ideal—isn’t it still your ideal? Every honest man lives for himself. Every man worth calling a man lives for himself. The one who doesn’t—doesn’t live at all. You cannot change it. You cannot change it because that’s the way man is born, alone, complete, an end in himself.” (501) [1]

Rand’s Prometheus declares, “I shall live my own truth” (1938, 140). Rand gives him also these lines: “All things come to my judgment, and I weigh all things, and I seal upon them my ‘Yes’ or my ‘No’. Thus is truth born. Such is the root of all Truth and the leaf, such is the fount of all Truth and the ocean, such is the base of all Truth and the summit. I am the beginning of all Truth. I am its end” (128).

There is echo here of the alpha and omega said of God in Revelations. However, Rand’s beginning and end of all truth in Anthem is no maker of all truth and value, as in the extreme voluntarist traditions of theology wherein God freely thinks and what he thinks becomes fact, there being no eternal truths, or any truths, independent of God’s choice. For Rand’s Prometheus, there is all the existence of the earth independent of his verdicts, and his is to find the earth and how to cultivate it. There is fact independent of mind, though there is no truth independent of mind.

Rand is also affirming in that Anthem passage that all judgment of truth is individual and that all truth we render from the world is for our own final value. Those lines are preceded by these: “It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world” (A 128). Something is seen, and with the subject, it is rendered beautiful. Something is heard, and with the subject, it is rendered song of existence. Something is given, and with its recognition, it is rendered truth.

Howard Roark says that a building’s integrity—its esthetic integrity, integral with its site, function, and physical integrity—“is to follow its own truth” (F PK I, 18). The architect Cameron, is said to have, through a succession of works, at last given shape “to the truth he had sought” (PK III, 41). In Fountainhead Rand works with an analogy between character of a building and character of a soul. A right building design has an individual truth and integrity; a right person has an individual truth and integrity. Furthermore, truth of the creator enters into truth of the creation, and responders to the latter truth hold it in ways unique to the unique constitution of their own souls.

The concept Rand is forging with her building/soul analogy is integrity. One broad thesis of Fountainhead is that there is a type of egoistic individualism that is good and just; altruistic collectivism is evil and unjust. The argument focuses not so much on what is just as on what is good, purely of humans, purely of earth. Such are independence, reliance on reason (one’s own), honesty, creative achievement, love of one’s work, and courage. A concept of justice will make human life and happiness impossible if the concept ignores the uniqueness of individuals and the unity and self-sufficiency required by the preceding virtues. Integrity is the overarching virtue pronouncing this unity and self-sufficiency.

Rand joins one’s integrity to one’s truth. “A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose” (F PK I, 18). One’s truth in Fountainhead is the constitution of one’s self in the living and making of one’s self. In a creation, the creator had a truth for which he struggled. “His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way” (HR XVIII, 737). His creation was from and, in a fundamental sense, for his self. He lived for himself, for his own truth, for his own work.

In Atlas Rand again connects integrity to truth, and both to agency egoism. Integrity entails unity “between body and mind, between acting and thought, between his life and his convictions” (1957, 1019). Integrity entails courage “of being true to existence, of being true to truth,” whatever public opinion and pressure might be. Integrity entails confidence “of being true to one’s consciousness.” Talk of one’s own truth is dropped. Devotion to existence and rationality and end-in-itself life, available alike to all, is the salvation of individual and society.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[1] Rand’s contention that commitment to agency egoism—thinking for oneself—commits one, by some sort of consistency, to ethical beneficiary egoism continues through all her writings. This early attempt, in 1936, in which agency egoism together with psychological beneficiary egoism and the accepted virtues of honesty and courage yields ethical beneficiary egoism, is replaced by 1957 with denial of psychological beneficiary egoism, but with a constitution of human life set within an alleged basic character of any life, and from this situation Rand tries to pull a norm of ethical beneficiary egoism seamless with the life-goodness of agency egoism.

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