One is Not one's own "Standard of Value"


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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

Most eyewitness testimony is poor and over-rated.

--Brant

Copernicus? Galileo? Kepler? Your own account of experiences in SE Asia? or with Branden?

Personally, I like documents and instrumentation, stuff that makes flying an aircraft or driving a car less haphazard.

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10 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Intersubjective witness.  a group of people can exchange information about what each saw  and an observer independent composite can be constructed.   That would be the view of no one.  This works most of the time.  But if you consult the story  Rashomon,  sometimes it does not work.  The way we operate is to give credence to what other's say if it tallies with one's own experience and is corroborated by others.  That is why multiple witness testimony has standing in court.  Corroboration by consulting independent witness helps us distinguish accurate seeing from  incidental error.

Bob,

Do you know what word I didn't see once in this paragraph?

Objective.

:)

Michael

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8 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

Copernicus? Galileo? Kepler? Your own account of experiences in SE Asia? or with Branden?

Personally, I like documents and instrumentation, stuff that makes flying an aircraft or driving a car less haphazard.

I made a generalization. I was particularly thinking about testimony in a court of law. As for those scientists you mentioned, they operated in a sea of professional and ideological sewage and the sewagers were all giving "testimony" too.

--Brant

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11 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Bob,

Do you know what word I didn't see once in this paragraph?

Objective.

:)

Michael

Noted. Let's also revisit the Monkey Business Illusion that Baal posted. Suppose the experiment is done with two observers (subjects). O#1 focuses on how many times the players wearing white pass the ball. O#2 doesn't worry about counting passes at all and watches for other changes. Afterward O#1 correctly answers 16. O#2 correctly notes the gorilla, a player in black leaving, and the curtain change colors. Isn't O#1's answer objective? Isn't O#2's answer objective? Combined, the only thing clearly "subjective" is that there are two subjects. :) 

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A "standard" is a fixed, constant *referent* by which to measure some entity, and applicable to all men. In the case of ethics, it's our measurement of values/disvalues - i.e. evaluation;  and man's survival qua man, is the undeniable, objective "referent" of evaluation. Sure, for without man's existence, "value" is inconceivable  (no consciousness, with its capacity to perceive value, have value nor create value--therefore, no value in oneself).  

I'm thinking the life-value-abstraction (AR's principle) is the only -moral authority- to which an individual rational egoist is subordinate: derivative from and in the identical manner that he recognizes the Primacy of Existence, reality, as his absolute and only authority. Mangling F. Bacon, once the principle is "obeyed" ( identified, and integrated) the *good* of his own real life may be "commanded" (realized). 

Can anyone see another outcome? To acknowledge primacy of existence plus man's consciousness possessing a specific identity, must inevitably have rational selfishness as its consequence.

To be contrasted with primacy of consciousness, which will logically and consistently (too) be followed by - subjective egotism - and/or by - an ethics of duty. ('Others' are the standard of value).

An aside, a snip by Tara Smith I recently found in my notes: "As long as egoism is portrayed as materialistic, hedonistic, emotion-driven or predatory, we can readily sympathize with those looking elsewhere for guidance". Heh, my sympathies also.

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12 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Bob,

Do you know what word I didn't see once in this paragraph?

Objective.

:)

Michael

When several independent witness coincide in their subjective testimony  one can infer with high probability and objective state of the world.  Not hundred percent,  but close enough. The world out there which goes its way independent of what humans thing or hope is objective.  However humans can only get a glimpse through the subjective means of their perception.  Perception is not one hundred percent reliable as is evidenced by the many optical illusions that are known to distort things and mislead us.   We never get of one hundred percent  objective look at what is objective.  That is why we have to corroborate what we claim is the case by additional witness or  by recording devices.  But recall even recording devices can be fiddled or can run defectively,  so it all comes down to multiple witnessing.

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4 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

When several independent witness coincide in their subjective testimony  one can infer with high probability and objective state of the world.  Not hundred percent,  but close enough. The world out there which goes its way independent of what humans thing or hope is objective.  However humans can only get a glimpse through the subjective means of their perception.  Perception is not one hundred percent reliable as is evidenced by the many optical illusions that are known to distort things and mislead us.   We never get of one hundred percent  objective look at what is objective.  That is why we have to corroborate what we claim is the case by additional witness or  by recording devices.  But recall even recording devices can be fiddled or can run defectively,  so it all comes down to multiple witnessing.

Bob,

In other words, objective to you means subjective inference by multiple witnessing?

Guessing by crowd control?

:)

That sounds awfully subjective to me.

:)

Michael

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7 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Bob,

In other words, objective to you means subjective inference by multiple witnessing?

Guessing by crowd control?

:)

That sounds awfully subjective to me.

:)

Michael

No.  Just sanity checking.  Lone witness is not 100 percent guaranteed to be correct.  And your objective experiences  take place in your brain.  Brains do not always work correctly.  So you cannot be 100 percent sure of the things you say you have perceived objectively.   The is nothing wrong with corroboration.  Sometimes it reveals errors.

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53 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

No.  Just sanity checking.  Lone witness is not 100 percent guaranteed to be correct.  And your objective experiences  take place in your brain.  Brains do not always work correctly.  So you cannot be 100 percent sure of the things you say you have perceived objectively.   The is nothing wrong with corroboration.  Sometimes it reveals errors.

You are 1 of 100 people observing the sky. You observe that the sky is blue. The other 99 observe that the sky is green. (because someone told them to say that) Do you trust your eyes? Or do you trust what everybody else says?

 

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2 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

So you cannot be 100 percent sure of the things you say you have perceived objectively.   The is nothing wrong with corroboration.  Sometimes it reveals errors.

Bob,

This is conflating two different things.

1. If neither you nor anyone can be 100% sure of perceiving something objectively, who perceives anything objectively and how do they know it? So far you have told me how they know it--it's by vote (multiple witnessing) and by guessing (subjective inference). But neither process is objective. So what is objective to you? So far, you seem to be saying it doesn't really exist.

2. Whoever said anything is wrong with corroboration? We are not discussing the merits of corroboration. We are discussing what you mean when you say objective as opposed to subjective. Does "objective" even exist for you? If so, what is it? Everything you have said so far either leads back to subjective or sidesteps the question with things like pretending others find fault with corroboration.

If you don't have an answer, that's OK.

Michael

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1 hour ago, jts said:

You are 1 of 100 people observing the sky. You observe that the sky is blue. The other 99 observe that the sky is green. (because someone told them to say that) Do you trust your eyes? Or do you trust what everybody else says?

Whatever everybody else says--as I quietly head to the door to watch TV.

--Brant

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8 hours ago, anthony said:

man's survival qua man, is the undeniable, objective "referent" of evaluation. Sure, for without man's existence, "value" is inconceivable

Some are inept survivors. Thinking of the incomparable literary talent of Scott Fitzgerald, suffered miserably, dead age at age 44.

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2 minutes ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

Some are inept survivors. Thinking of the incomparable literary talent of Scott Fitzgerald, suffered miserably, dead age at age 44.

For one who hasn't read Fitzgerald, what book would you recommend?

--Brant

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3 hours ago, jts said:

You are 1 of 100 people observing the sky. You observe that the sky is blue. The other 99 observe that the sky is green. (because someone told them to say that) Do you trust your eyes? Or do you trust what everybody else says?

 

I would want to hear from people who say what they see,  not what they are told.  

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11 hours ago, anthony said:

A "standard" is a fixed, constant *referent* by which to measure some entity, and applicable to all men. In the case of ethics, it's our measurement of values/disvalues - i.e. evaluation;  and man's survival qua man, is the undeniable, objective "referent" of evaluation. Sure, for without man's existence, "value" is inconceivable  (no consciousness, with its capacity to perceive value, have value nor create value--therefore, no value in oneself).  

I'm thinking the life-value-abstraction (AR's principle) is the only -moral authority- to which an individual rational egoist is subordinate: derivative from and in the identical manner that he recognizes the Primacy of Existence, reality, as his absolute and only authority. Mangling F. Bacon, once the principle is "obeyed" ( identified, and integrated) the *good* of his own real life may be "commanded" (realized). 

Can anyone see another outcome? To acknowledge primacy of existence plus man's consciousness possessing a specific identity, must inevitably have rational selfishness as its consequence.

To be contrasted with primacy of consciousness, which will logically and consistently (too) be followed by - subjective egotism - and/or by - an ethics of duty. ('Others' are the standard of value).

An aside, a snip by Tara Smith I recently found in my notes: "As long as egoism is portrayed as materialistic, hedonistic, emotion-driven or predatory, we can readily sympathize with those looking elsewhere for guidance". Heh, my sympathies also.

I don't know if I would say the life-value-abstraction is authority.  A man chooses his virtues, values, and standards; all normative.  It's by his own volition he chooses them and by his own volition that he can achieve them.  It's  a metaphysical fact that man is a volitional being (in Objectivism), so the life-value-abstraction as authority doesn't seem correct, man is a volitional being to begin with.  The morality is an extension of that, but it's still all about choice.  So he doesn't subordinate to it, he chooses it.

I'd say yes to the other points, and to the OP.

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4 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

I would want to hear from people who say what they see,  not what they are told.  

But you don't know that they are told to say the sky is green. That is a secret kept from you. All you know is the sky looks blue to you and they say it's green.

Why would you want to hear from people who say what they see? Do you not trust your own eyes? If you don't trust your own eyes (in some way, allowing for illusions and hallucinations), then you are in bad shape epistemologically. How can you know anything if you don't start with your senses?

 

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5 hours ago, jts said:

Why would you want to hear from people who say what they see? Do you not trust your own eyes? If you don't trust your own eyes (in some way, allowing for illusions and hallucinations), then you are in bad shape epistemologically. How can you know anything if you don't start with your senses?

One must start with the senses, but Baal would need to rely on more than his senses if he were a juror in the scenario I drew earlier in this thread (link). 

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6 hours ago, jts said:

But you don't know that they are told to say the sky is green. That is a secret kept from you. All you know is the sky looks blue to you and they say it's green.

Why would you want to hear from people who say what they see? Do you not trust your own eyes? If you don't trust your own eyes (in some way, allowing for illusions and hallucinations), then you are in bad shape epistemologically. How can you know anything if you don't start with your senses?

 

You present an unlikely hypothesis  so  I will ignore.

Here are the facts: Our senses are not 100 percent reliable.  Our memory and recall is not 100 percent reliable.  Therefore in certain critical  situations  it makes sense to use collateral witness.  The probability that two collateral witnesses will make the same error   is less that  the probability of the primary  observer making that error.  To  see the mathematics of this  refer to a paper by John von Neuman "Probablistic Logics and the Synthesis of Reliable Organisms from Unreliable Components"  In this paper  who shows majority logic circuits are more reliable than any of their unreliable constituents.    Please see:  http://fab.cba.mit.edu/classes/862.16/notes/computation/vonNeumann-1956.pdf

But we don't need fancy science. In commercial flights the pilot and co-pilot must concur on the completion of the checklist and the readings of  the fuel gauges and altimeter offsets.  If the pilot introspect and was convinced he did everything right  he would still need the concurrence of his co-pilot. Aboard a nuclear submarine  The Captain and the two high ranking officers  must concur on the authenticity of an EAM message.  If human senses were totally reliable (they aren't)  this would not be necessary.   Not only are senses not totally reliable  but memory and recall are even less reliable.

Ponder the words of Oliver Cromwell  "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken."  

Please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromwell's_rule

One has a greater probability of being in error  sometimes than being right all the time. 

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17 hours ago, jts said:

You are 1 of 100 people observing the sky. You observe that the sky is blue. The other 99 observe that the sky is green. (because someone told them to say that) Do you trust your eyes? Or do you trust what everybody else says?

 

You'll need to continue increasing the number of observers. (In the doubter's view). 99 on up - and maybe somewhere in the 1000's, this fellow ~might~ have validated an objective fact - the colour of the sky. Skepticism can't avoid the trap of collectivism, I've mentioned. 'Truth' by the consensus of great numbers. 

Unmentioned, is often that groups, numbered in the millions of people have been simultaneously, terribly wrong. Historical fact. You'd not want to be the single dissenting voice among them, and when all corroborate one another it could prove fatal.

(The "subject" has no option but to be "subjective", in the trivial view of objectivity).

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2 hours ago, anthony said:

You'll need to continue increasing the number of observers. (In the doubter's view). 99 on up - and maybe somewhere in the 1000's, this fellow ~might~ have validated an objective fact - the colour of the sky. Skepticism can't avoid the trap of collectivism, I've mentioned. 'Truth' by the consensus of great numbers. 

Unmentioned, is often that groups, numbered in the millions of people have been simultaneously, terribly wrong. Historical fact. You'd not want to be the single dissenting voice among them, and when all corroborate one another it could prove fatal.

(The "subject" has no option but to be "subjective", in the trivial view of objectivity).

O.K.  I have renounced skepticism.  Now every observation  and every judgement I make,  I take to correct, perfect and error free.  Being no longer a skeptic,  I can now believe I am perfect. 

 

Riiiiiight....

“......I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”–Oliver Cromwell, letter to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland (3 August 1650)

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

(The "subject" has no option but to be "subjective", in the trivial view of objectivity).

Tony,

I don't know what you mean by trivial, but I do see people making this epistemological error all the time, even highly intelligent people.

They assume that the limitations of the functioning of human sense organs and human error in general mean that objective knowledge can never be 100% attainable. They forget that we are part of reality, which means we are made of the same stuff as the rest of reality. So 100% objective knowledge is not just within the subject. It is made up of both subject and object. 

Science-oriented people like Bob try to abstract knowledge out from agency and call that objective. Then when agency is added, they call it subjective. But it's an error to presume human knowledge can exist without humans. :) 

Granted, there is a limitation in that our perceptions evolved to keep us alive and reproducing, in other words, to reflect relevant parts of reality to those ends. This means our perceptions did not evolve to reflect all of reality. (Just on size alone, this is obvious.)

But so what? We perceive enough of reality to perceive axioms. And objective knowledge starts with axioms.

The hallmark of an axiom is that the agent must presuppose its validity to make a valid proposition, or even a silly one about it. For instance, the existence of free will is axiomatic. You can't prove that free will exists because an agent must exercise free will in order to make a proposition about free will. Free will itself is the underlying standard of free will and that is more than a tautology because you need a human body with a human mind exercising free will to even entertain it. So this is not a proposition that can be proven or disproved nor need it be.

This stuff can get funny, too. An agent must exist before he can even say some stupid-ass thing like existence doesn't exist. :) (But some science-minded people entertain this seriously every day.)

There's no way to get rid of the agent and no way to get rid of the rest of reality when talking about knowledge, but blanking out one or the other is what people try to do all the time. That's why they get caught in the "all is subjective" trap.

When both the mind of an agent (a human) and an object are included in the formulation, objective knowledge is possible. Just because mistakes are possible, that does not mean mistakes are there all the time and it is impossible to not have a mistake. Notice the implication here, how the existence of objectivity itself is axiomatic. To claim--as objective fact--that no one can be 100% objective because mistakes can happen means the agent has to be 100% objective in order to make that claim. He has to use the axiom to deny it. :) 

Also, when anything else is added, objectivity goes away and subjectivity enters. On the inside, this means feelings, intuitions, prejudices, sensory malfunctions, etc. Only rational thought in a healthy brain works for correct identification. On the outside, this means ghosts and miracles. :) Only reality can be used in objective knowledge.

Michael

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

O.K.  I have renounced skepticism.  Now every observation  and every judgement I make,  I take to correct, perfect and error free.  Being no longer a skeptic,  I can now believe I am perfect. 

 

Riiiiiight....

“......I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”–Oliver Cromwell, letter to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland (3 August 1650)

Skeptic - or- (mystical) intrinsicist. You said it. "Being no longer a skeptic, I can now believe I am perfect". Who assured you those are the only alternatives?

"I beseech you", reconsider.

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

I don't know what you mean by trivial, but I do see people making this epistemological error all the time, even highly intelligent people.

They assume that the limitations of the functioning of human sense organs and human error in general mean that objective knowledge can never be 100% attainable. They forget that we are part of reality, which means we are made of the same stuff as the rest of reality. So 100% objective knowledge is not just within the subject. It is made up of both subject and object. 

Science-oriented people like Bob try to abstract knowledge out from agency and call that objective. Then when agency is added, they call it subjective. But it's an error to presume human knowledge can exist without humans. :) 

Michael

4

"It is time to grant to man's consciousness the same respect one grants to his body--i.e., the same *objectivity*". AR

I had to throw in a word from our sponsor, only for back-up to your comments. Nicely put. Yes, this type of thinking roughly goes - that it is not enough that reality is independent of the subject's consciousness ... but... that the consciousness is independent of reality! There is still some God-wish left in many secularists, I notice.

 

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18 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

I don't know if I would say the life-value-abstraction is authority.  A man chooses his virtues, values, and standards; all normative.  It's by his own volition he chooses them and by his own volition that he can achieve them.  It's  a metaphysical fact that man is a volitional being (in Objectivism), so the life-value-abstraction as authority doesn't seem correct, man is a volitional being to begin with.  The morality is an extension of that, but it's still all about choice.  So he doesn't subordinate to it, he chooses it.

I'd say yes to the other points, and to the OP.

I think I get you. Agreed, that man is a volitional being, with and without Objectivist principles. It is a metaphysical fact. Only - *which* virtues, values, etc. does a man choose? A person well might - volitionally- select these by unfitting standards, and finish up with say, humility as his singular virtue - or say, destructive, hedonistic 'values'(-disvalues).  I'm aiming to get ahold of Rand's metaphysical base of rational egoism, which clearly places the ethics in a totally different league to any other egoist ethics. Man's life the standard of value, answers this when one deduces all its parts. Because a man still has to make the fundamental choice to live properly as "man". This informs every choice he makes thereafter, as I see it. Probably "subordinate" to a principle is poorly put, this is a work in progress.;)

I can't say we really disagree, though you might still.

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