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Roger (#20), it looks to me that the questioner made the error (like Mr. Ryan) of simply not knowing the more general sense of perceives or forgetting about it, and then getting himself (his Rand) tangled up in Rand’s ’57 definition of reason. When perceives is taken in the sense appropriate to its context in the definition of reason in GS, it does not imply or insinuate that we perceive only our sense data; the question was conceptually myopic. Besides eliminating that possible tangle, Rand’s later definition also removes the redundancy of perception in the general sense with identification, which is Rand’s distinctive, sufficient insight for consciousness, by percept or reason.

(#24)~~~~

On Rand’s history with “differentiation and identification,” you might like to look at my compilation here.

Rand’s full sense of identity and of identification is on page 1016 and on page 1037 (1st hb). In the former, she shows that she intends identity to include not only species or kind, but composition (and implicitly origin – made of/consists of), and part-whole relations. She includes all that in answer to “What is it?” In the latter, she shows that she includes causal powers (efficient) also as part of her full sense of identity.

You wrote: “I don’t think she explicitly realized and/or acknowledged that we identify things on the perceptual level.” In her ’57 that is corroborated by the statement following her definition of reason: “The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind” (1016). She does not use the term percept in AS. Perhaps it was part of her picture by then, but was sufficiently technical as to be inappropriate to use (without a distracting load of explanation) in AS. Be that as it may, she uses the term and idea percept in OE (1961):

A “perception” is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism, which gives it the ability to be aware, not of single stimuli, but of entities, of things. An animal [high enough animal] is guided, not merely by immediate sensations, but by percepts. Its actions are not single, discrete responses to single, separate stimuli, but are directed by an integrated awareness of the perceptual reality confronting it. (19)

In The Psychology of Self-Esteem Branden takes on board additionally Adler’s notion of “perceptual abstractions” for higher animals, which is below the level of conceptual consciousness. Rand’s picture could fit with that.

Another place in Aristotle for the two senses of perceiving: “So it is evident that it is impossible by perceiving to understand anything demonstrable—unless someone calls this perceiving: having understanding through demonstration” (Post. An. 88a9–11).

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Stephen (#25) - you said you thought the questioner I referred to in #20 had problems with Rand's '57 definition of "reason," because he failed to consider that "perceives" might be legitimately meant there in the more general sense of "is aware of," and not just in the sense of sensory-perception. This may be so, but I doubt it. By the early 1960s, the Inner Circle (certainly Branden and Peikoff) were, with Rand, quite concerned to avoid having their view of perception confused with that of the Representationalists. Contra the latter, we certainly do *not* sensorily perceive our sense data, but instead perceive reality *by means of* that data.

Thus, it is not literally true, as per Rand's '57 definition, that reason is the faculty of sensorily perceiving the material provided by man's senses. Further, it is not even true that reason is the faculty of *generally* being aware of that material. What we are aware of, whether most generally or most specifically (via perception), is reality - and our sensory data ("the material provided by man's senses") is *how* we are aware of reality perceptually.

So, I think that Rand was entirely correct in revising her '57 definition - not just to avoid the possible ambiguity between the most general and most specific senses of "perceive," but to avoid the very real implication of Representationalism in speaking of reason as "the faculty that perceives...the material provided by man's senses."

You also wrote: "Besides eliminating that possible tangle, Rand’s later definition also removes the redundancy of perception in the general sense with identification, which is Rand’s distinctive, sufficient insight for consciousness, by percept or reason."

I don't think that she had the explicit insight about consciousness fundamentally involving both integration and differentiation until ITOE (in other words, around 1966). And although she also did say "consciousness is identification," I don't recall seeing anywhere that she explicitly stated that *identification* is integration and differentiation. This would be the missing premise to make her 1966 connection follow from her earlier "consciousness is identification." The only person I've ever seen state "identification is integration and differentiation" (or anything like that) as a distinct principle is Gregory Salmieri in the 2013 Gotthelf-Lennox volume. He didn't attribute it to anyone else either, so it would appear that he, at least, thinks it is original with himself. (I do too. I always appreciate a good, unexpected filling out of an enthymeme. :-)

You also wrote: "On Rand’s history with “differentiation and identification,” you might like to look at my compilation here."

Yes, very good job. But I think you meant to say: "On Rand's history with 'differentiation and INTEGRATION'," correct?

Thanks for the stimulating interaction. You make philosophical discussion a real pleasure!

REB

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. . .

You also wrote: "On Rand’s history with “differentiation and identification,” you might like to look at my compilation here."

Yes, very good job. But I think you meant to say: "On Rand's history with 'differentiation and INTEGRATION'," correct?

. . .

Correct.

I notice that Aristotle and Leibniz and even Descartes did not think of intellectual perception as implying any sort of veil of consciousness in such intellectual acts. They take our intellectual apprehensions to be of things as they are, not of some sort of intermediary intellectual appearances of things as they are. Intellectual apprehensions are perception falling within the old-as-Aristotle broad sense of perception. I say “even Descartes” because he conceived (as others of his time and since) of perception as under what now we call “veil of perception.” I think it is only with Kant that we get the veil writ large to include intellectual apprehension.

That differentiation and integration are necessary and important to any identification seems right. I’d be wary of a further step taking them to be sufficient. I gather you and Greg do not take that step. I doubt apprehension of existence by consciousness comes to only differentiation and integration. Affirmation (or what Rand had called recognition or acknowledgement) of reality would also be an element, and that seems like something beyond differentiation and integration. I imagine that compulsion to affirmation in ordinary perception is not only by differentiations and integrations, but by some additional element(s) in the waking-brain processing of certain inputs. I should not say “Consciousness is differentiation and integration” with the same sense of the copula as in “Consciousness is identification” or in “Existence is identity.”

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