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An Objectivist Riddle (ontology)

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Material existence is comprised entirely of existents. Or is it?

The view that all of existence consists of all the existents there are is technically called an "entity ontology" in contrast to the opposite view called a "matter ontology." The entity ontology is implied in some philosophies (Locke, for example) and explicitly in others (Rand, for example). Rand said that only entities exist. In that view, "matter," is simply, "all the material entities."

Based on the explicit entity ontology, Objectivism holds an entity view of cause. According to that view, it is an entity's nature and attributes that determine or "cause" its behavior. That is also the basis for the Objectivist argument for volition. They dismiss the "determinism" argument against volition (everything has a cause therefore everything is determined, by simply saying, for volitional beings, volition is the cause of their behavior.)

The entity ontology is contradicted by another Objectivist assertion, however, "matter can be neither created or destroyed." But if matter is only entities, that could not be. Entities are created and destroyed all the time. If we try to get around the problem by saying matter can change its form we have adopted a matter ontology, because entities do not change from one kind of entity into another by some kind of transmutation. Some entities simply cease to be. Other entities come into existence that never were before; for example, every human being.

If something can be neither created or destroyed, we must always have the same amount of it. When one thing changes into another, or ceases to be, or a new thing comes into existence, what is it we still have the same amount of? When the lamb becomes lamb stew, what is the thing, of which, there is still the same quantity? It certainly isn't lambs?

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9 minutes ago, regi said:

Material existence is comprised entirely of existents. Or is it?

The view that all of existence consists of all the existents there are is technically called an "entity ontology" in contrast to the opposite view called a "matter ontology." The entity ontology is implied in some philosophies (Locke, for example) and explicitly in others (Rand, for example). Rand said that only entities exist. In that view, "matter," is simply, "all the material entities."

Based on the explicit entity ontology, Objectivism holds an entity view of cause. According to that view, it is an entity's nature and attributes that determine or "cause" its behavior. That is also the basis for the Objectivist argument for volition. They dismiss the "determinism" argument against volition (everything has a cause therefore everything is determined, by simply saying, for volitional beings, volition is the cause of their behavior.)

The entity ontology is contradicted by another Objectivist assertion, however, "matter can be neither created or destroyed." But if matter is only entities, that could not be. Entities are created and destroyed all the time. If we try to get around the problem by saying matter can change its form we have adopted a matter ontology, because entities do not change from one kind of entity into another by some kind of transmutation. Some entities simply cease to be. Other entities come into existence that never were before; for example, every human being.

If something can be neither created or destroyed, we must always have the same amount of it. When one thing changes into another, or ceases to be, or a new thing comes into existence, what is it we still have the same amount of? When the lamb becomes lamb stew, what is the thing, of which, there is still the same quantity? It certainly isn't lambs?

There is Objectivism and there is Objectivism that is full of debatable conclusions. Rand thoroughly mixed them up obviating the former.

That's why in the 1960s, as I recall, there were only two (sanctioned) Objectivists: Rand and Branden. That's why Peikoff took decades to get on top of the philosophy to his satisfaction. It practically came down to if Rand said it it was Objectivism. I call that the philosophy of Ayn Rand, at best, not Objectivism.

Rand once said "the deck of an American warship" was "American soil." Not true. Factual propositions are always questionable. They don't constitute a philosophy.

--Brant

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39 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

.

Rand once said "the deck of an American warship" was "American soil." Not true. Factual propositions are always questionable. They don't constitute a philosophy.

--Brant

Better to say the deck of an American warship is American territory.  Territory not only includes land,  but it includes other definable locations. 

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52 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Better to say the deck of an American warship is American territory.  Territory not only includes land,  but it includes other definable locations. 

A fancy metaphor "soil",  but "territory" is the truth of it, and how can that be anything else, conceptually, morally and legally?

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5 hours ago, regi said:

Material existence is comprised entirely of existents. Or is it?

The view that all of existence consists of all the existents there are is technically called an "entity ontology" in contrast to the opposite view called a "matter ontology." The entity ontology is implied in some philosophies (Locke, for example) and explicitly in others (Rand, for example). Rand said that only entities exist. In that view, "matter," is simply, "all the material entities."

Based on the explicit entity ontology, Objectivism holds an entity view of cause. According to that view, it is an entity's nature and attributes that determine or "cause" its behavior. That is also the basis for the Objectivist argument for volition. They dismiss the "determinism" argument against volition (everything has a cause therefore everything is determined, by simply saying, for volitional beings, volition is the cause of their behavior.)

The entity ontology is contradicted by another Objectivist assertion, however, "matter can be neither created or destroyed." But if matter is only entities, that could not be. Entities are created and destroyed all the time. If we try to get around the problem by saying matter can change its form we have adopted a matter ontology, because entities do not change from one kind of entity into another by some kind of transmutation. Some entities simply cease to be. Other entities come into existence that never were before; for example, every human being.

If something can be neither created or destroyed, we must always have the same amount of it. When one thing changes into another, or ceases to be, or a new thing comes into existence, what is it we still have the same amount of? When the lamb becomes lamb stew, what is the thing, of which, there is still the same quantity? It certainly isn't lambs?

I'm going to say something that probably would get me kicked out of Objectivism Online or Harry Binswanger's List for not having a cultish attitude about Ayn Rand. Maybe Ayn Rand was simply a poor ontologist.

 

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So in short, ontology is a sub-field of metaphysics. Ontology is the study of being, and is a little more specific and narrow than metaphysics in general which is the study of the general nature of reality, and this includes other questions more broad and fundamental than those of ontology alone. [philosophy.stackexchange]

(Or she thought it was redundant/superfluous?)

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57 minutes ago, jts said:

I'm going to say something that probably would get me kicked out of Objectivism Online or Harry Binswanger's List for not having a cultish attitude about Ayn Rand. Maybe Ayn Rand was simply a poor ontologist.

 

Ayn Rand was a playwright and a novelist.  She no doubt thought herself to be a  deep and profound philosopher. 

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6 hours ago, jts said:

I'm going to say something that probably would get me kicked out of Objectivism Online or Harry Binswanger's List for not having a cultish attitude about Ayn Rand. Maybe Ayn Rand was simply a poor ontologist.

 

There is, in fact, no ontology in Objectivism. There are fleeting references to it but no, "ITOO" [Introduction To Objectivist Ontology] as there is for epistemology [ITOE], and there is precious little metaphysics as well. So your view is correct if by poor ontologist you mean no ontologist.

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6 hours ago, anthony said:

So in short, ontology is a sub-field of metaphysics. Ontology is the study of being, and is a little more specific and narrow than metaphysics in general which is the study of the general nature of reality, and this includes other questions more broad and fundamental than those of ontology alone.

That's exactly right. Metaphysics is the study of the nature of existence and the meaning of reality. Ontology is the study of the ultimate nature of material existence as defined by metaphysics.

Ayn Rand did not dismiss metaphysics and stated that it was the foundational branch of philosophy. She just never developed that branch.

Randy

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15 hours ago, regi said:

If something can be neither created or destroyed, we must always have the same amount of it. When one thing changes into another, or ceases to be, or a new thing comes into existence, what is it we still have the same amount of? When the lamb becomes lamb stew, what is the thing, of which, there is still the same quantity? It certainly isn't lambs?

When the lamb becomes lamb stew, we have the same number of carbon atoms, hydrogen atoms, oxygen atoms, nitrogen atoms, etc minus whatever went off in steam and plus whatever was added to it. So we are talking chemistry and physics and we don't need ontology. Do we need ontology when we have chemistry and physics?

Do we need metaphysics? Maybe the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) will tell us more about the nature of reality than philosophers will.

Maybe it is the nature of knowledge that it must go thru stages.

Stage 1:  Religion.  This is based on faith in authority.

Stage 2:  Philosophy.  This is based on reason instead of faith.

Stage 3:  Science.  This is based on the scientific method, an improvement over armchair reasoning.

What we now call 'physics' was 'natural philosophy' before Newton.

Psychology and sociology might be described as stage 2.5, half way between philosophy and science, a philosophy trying to become a science, and might in a hundred years become a science.

Maybe philosophy should not be totally despised because maybe it is a necessary stage a field of knowledge must go thru to become a science. But after it becomes a science then we don't need the philosophy.

 

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32 minutes ago, jts said:

When the lamb becomes lamb stew, we have the same number of carbon atoms, hydrogen atoms, oxygen atoms, nitrogen atoms, etc minus whatever went off in steam and plus whatever was added to it. So we are talking chemistry and physics and we don't need ontology. Do we need ontology when we have chemistry and physics?

Do we need metaphysics? Maybe the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) will tell us more about the nature of reality than philosophers will.

Maybe it is the nature of knowledge that it must go thru stages.

Stage 1:  Religion.  This is based on faith in authority.

Stage 2:  Philosophy.  This is based on reason instead of faith.

Stage 3:  Science.  This is based on the scientific method, an improvement over armchair reasoning.

What we now call 'physics' was 'natural philosophy' before Newton.

Psychology and sociology might be described as stage 2.5, half way between philosophy and science, a philosophy trying to become a science, and might in a hundred years become a science.

Maybe philosophy should not be totally despised because maybe it is a necessary stage a field of knowledge must go thru to become a science. But after it becomes a science then we don't need the philosophy.

Wrongo!

When psychology becomes a "science" science becomes psychology.

--Brant

ain't gonna happen

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15 hours ago, regi said:

Based on the explicit entity ontology, Objectivism holds an entity view of cause. According to that view, it is an entity's nature and attributes that determine or "cause" its behavior. That is also the basis for the Objectivist argument for volition. They dismiss the "determinism" argument against volition (everything has a cause therefore everything is determined, by simply saying, for volitional beings, volition is the cause of their behavior.)

Causes can be complexicated.

A man walks home at night and trips over a tricycle and breaks a leg. What was the cause of the breaking of the leg?

The tricycle? That was a factor. But ordinarily a leg does not break so easily. And why did he not see where he was going?

He was deficient in vitamin D or something, causing his bones to be easily broken. Why deficient in vitamin D?

Why did he not see where he was going? The yard light was not turned on. Why? Maybe he had vitamin A deficiency, causing night blindness. Why vitamin A deficiency?

Maybe he had a fight with his boss and his mind was not on where he was going. What caused the fight with his boss?

Why did he not get out in the sun and get vitamin D?

Why did he not eat his veggies?

Maybe he was stoned on drugs. Maybe he was too stoned to notice where he was going. Why was he on drugs?

Maybe the reason why he tripped on the tricycle was he was drunk. Why was he drunk?

Maybe the fight with his boss had something to do with his drinking.

Maybe in addition to vitamin D deficiency he had other nutritional problems that contributed to causing weak bones and poor vision.

His drugs can contribute to nutritional problems, which can contribute to more problems.

Causes can go on and on and are more complexicated than what is dreamed in Objectivism.

 

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47 minutes ago, jts said:

Maybe philosophy should not be totally despised because maybe it is a necessary stage a field of knowledge must go thru to become a science. But after it becomes a science then we don't need the philosophy.

Try doing science without a realist metaphysics and a rational epistemology and see what you get.  There are plenty of examples of the results available today.

Ellen

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6 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Try doing science without a realist metaphysics and a rational epistemology and see what you get.  There are plenty of examples of the results available today.

Ellen

That predates Rand. Everything predates her of philosophical significance, but she correctly integrated seemingly disparate parts from the countless parts available and put forth a vertically integrated package centered on morality and ethics based on what science is based on.

--Brant

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23 hours ago, regi said:

Material existence is comprised entirely of existents. Or is it?

The view that all of existence consists of all the existents there are is technically called an "entity ontology" in contrast to the opposite view called a "matter ontology." The entity ontology is implied in some philosophies (Locke, for example) and explicitly in others (Rand, for example). Rand said that only entities exist. In that view, "matter," is simply, "all the material entities."

Based on the explicit entity ontology, Objectivism holds an entity view of cause. According to that view, it is an entity's nature and attributes that determine or "cause" its behavior. That is also the basis for the Objectivist argument for volition. They dismiss the "determinism" argument against volition (everything has a cause therefore everything is determined, by simply saying, for volitional beings, volition is the cause of their behavior.)

The entity ontology is contradicted by another Objectivist assertion, however, "matter can be neither created or destroyed." But :evil:if matter is only entities, that could not be. Entities are created and destroyed all the time. If we try to get around the problem by saying matter can change its form we have adopted a matter ontology, because entities do not change from one kind of entity into another by some kind of transmutation. Some entities simply cease to be. Other entities come into existence that never were before; for example, every human being.

If something can be neither created or destroyed, we must always have the same amount of it. When one thing changes into another, or ceases to be, or a new thing comes into existence, what is it we still have the same amount of? When the lamb becomes lamb stew, what is the thing, of which, there is still the same quantity? It certainly isn't lambs?

Take reality and reason and draw a base line underneath. I suggest your musings dip below that base line out of practicality. I also think Rand mostly did too with her ITOE.

--Brant

if it doesn't help science what does it help?

the crying of the lambs?:evil:

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7 hours ago, jts said:

When the lamb becomes lamb stew, we have the same number of carbon atoms, hydrogen atoms, oxygen atoms, nitrogen atoms, etc minus whatever went off in steam and plus whatever was added to it. So we are talking chemistry and physics and we don't need ontology. Do we need ontology when we have chemistry and physics?

That's right. The mistake Rand made was doing exactly what she said should never be done. She attempted to answer a scientific question philosophically. When she said, "matter can neither be created or destroyed," she was letting science inform her philosophy which she herself considered a bad mistake. There is no way philosophy alone could derive the conservation of matter concept.

Nevertheless both metaphysics and ontology are required as the foundation of science and all other intellectual inquiry. All of science is based on an assumed metaphysics, that all of reality exists and has the nature it has independently of anyone's knowledge or awareness of it, (metaphysics)  and that every existent must have some attributes that are that existent's nature, and that every existent is different because its attributes are different from all other existents, and that all existents must share some attribute with all other existents (ontology).

Neither metaphysics or ontology can identify the attributes that make the existents of reality what they are, only the physical sciences can do that.

Randy

 

 

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7 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Try doing science without a realist metaphysics and a rational epistemology and see what you get.  There are plenty of examples of the results available today.

Exactly!

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7 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Try doing science without a realist metaphysics and a rational epistemology and see what you get.  There are plenty of examples of the results available today.

Ellen

An island of sanity in all the obfuscating cynicism, bless you, Ellen. 

A cynic: one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. O.Wilde. (Another "playwright" who understood that an individual may have all the "facts" in hand, but be entirely IRRational if he won't or can't place value in each one).

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37 minutes ago, anthony said:

An island of sanity in all the obfuscating cynicism, bless you, Ellen.

Yes!

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8 hours ago, jts said:

Causes can be complexicated.

 

 

Maybe..

 

 

1

Maybe he should look where he's going. Reality is the thing that's still there when you open your eyes. That must be the reason metaphysics is the smallest field of Objectivism ("A" tricycle IS "A" tricycle) and yet its the most crucially fundamental to what follows. Any attempt to refute the metaphysics must call upon - what else? - but the metaphysics.

Oh and maybe he "intuited" that there was nothing there?

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On 10/8/2017 at 9:24 AM, regi said:

The entity ontology is contradicted by another Objectivist assertion, however, "matter can be neither created or destroyed." But if matter is only entities, that could not be. Entities are created and destroyed all the time. If we try to get around the problem by saying matter can change its form we have adopted a matter ontology, because entities do not change from one kind of entity into another by some kind of transmutation. Some entities simply cease to be. Other entities come into existence that never were before; for example, every human being.

 

 

It has been a while since I read ITOE but let me give this a shot.

 

Here's my reference:

 

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/entity.html

 

Entities emerge from our perception of them, they exist between themselves and our senses.  They are made of matter but slight changes in that matter can transform them into other entities.

 

 

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On 10/8/2017 at 9:24 AM, regi said:

Material existence is comprised entirely of existents. Or is it?

The view that all of existence consists of all the existents there are is technically called an "entity ontology" in contrast to the opposite view called a "matter ontology." The entity ontology is implied in some philosophies (Locke, for example) and explicitly in others (Rand, for example). Rand said that only entities exist. In that view, "matter," is simply, "all the material entities."

Based on the explicit entity ontology, Objectivism holds an entity view of cause. According to that view, it is an entity's nature and attributes that determine or "cause" its behavior. That is also the basis for the Objectivist argument for volition. They dismiss the "determinism" argument against volition (everything has a cause therefore everything is determined, by simply saying, for volitional beings, volition is the cause of their behavior.)

The entity ontology is contradicted by another Objectivist assertion, however, "matter can be neither created or destroyed." But if matter is only entities, that could not be. Entities are created and destroyed all the time. If we try to get around the problem by saying matter can change its form we have adopted a matter ontology, because entities do not change from one kind of entity into another by some kind of transmutation. Some entities simply cease to be. Other entities come into existence that never were before; for example, every human being.

If something can be neither created or destroyed, we must always have the same amount of it. When one thing changes into another, or ceases to be, or a new thing comes into existence, what is it we still have the same amount of? When the lamb becomes lamb stew, what is the thing, of which, there is still the same quantity? It certainly isn't lambs?

All that exists is matter and energy in space and time.  There is nothing else.

 

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

All that exists is matter and energy in space and time.  There is nothing else.

All that exists is reductionism (to the max)?

--Brant

does reductionism exist?

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