Logical Structure of Objectivism


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It is an issue of denotation vs. connotation. While term "puppy" denotes "young dog", it can connotatively be applied to refer to e. g. an emotionally immature person.

At least according to here the denotation of a word or phrase is the literal meaning or "dictionary definition". According to this dictionary the 2nd meaning of "puppy" is "an insolent, conceited, or silly young man." This implies (suggests?) the 2nd meaning is denotative, not connotative. Maybe many years ago the 2nd meaning wasn't in dictionaries and thus connotative, but not now.

The second meaning is connotative.

Good basic info on connotation here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connotation

Dictionaries can list connotative meanings too; often there is (fig) added ('figurative speech'), or (slang).

Example: dictionary entry for the term 'nut':

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?app=forums&module=post&section=post&do=reply_post&f=37&t=4499&qpid=84005

Edited by Xray
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What Rand demands of others she never did herself with basic terms like "objective" and "reason".

Check your premises. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/objectivity.html

In one form "objective" is the adjective form of "objectivity." Your criticism is as petty as criticizing this dictionary for not having a separate definition for "egoistically."

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

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What Rand demands of others she never did herself with basic terms like "objective" and "reason".

Check your premises. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/objectivity.html

In one form "objective" is the adjective form of "objectivity."

Your criticism is as petty as criticizing this dictionary for not having a separate definition for "egoistically."

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

No, you have got it backwards: "Objectivity" is the noun form of "objective". And Rand failed to define that basic term.

As for egoistic/egotistic, I did not criticize any dictionary. You can clearly see in the dictionary entry that they can be used interchangeably. This was exactly my point.

Edited by Xray
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What Rand demands of others she never did herself with basic terms like "objective" and "reason".

Check your premises. http://aynrandlexico...bjectivity.html

In one form "objective" is the adjective form of "objectivity."

Your criticism is as petty as criticizing this dictionary for not having a separate definition for "egoistically."

http://aynrandlexico...con/reason.html

No, you have got it backwards: "Objectivity" is the noun form of "objective". And Rand failed to define that basic term.

As for egoistic/egotistic, I did not criticize any dictionary. You can clearly see in the dictionary entry that they can be used interchangeably. This was exactly my point.

Ms. Xray:

"The objective theory holds that the good is neither an attribute of “things in themselves” nor of man’s emotional states, but an evaluation of the facts of reality by man’s consciousness according to a rational standard of value."

By derivative argumentation, can you make this step with me ...therefore, objective would have been defined by Ayn as that state of existence which is "...neither an attribute of 'things in themselves'[, sic] nor of man’s emotional states, but an evaluation of the facts of reality by man’s consciousness according to a rational standard of value."

cheers.gif

Adam

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Dictionaries can list connotative meanings too; often there is (fig) added ('figurative speech'), or (slang).

Example: dictionary entry for the term 'nut':

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?app=forums&module=post&section=post&do=reply_post&f=37&t=4499&qpid=84005

What's up, Xray? I clicked on your link and an OL error page appeared. Did you try to make your own (faulty) device because the Acme Corporation wouldn't extend you any more credit? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wile_E._Coyote#The_Acme_Corporation :D

_21477BP~Looney-Tunes-Wile-E-Coyote-Posters2.jpg

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GS,

There's an erroneous presumption in your question. It has been mentioned before (not just with you), but for some reason it keeps coming back.

The presumption is that, in Objectivism, once a definition is formulated, it is set in stone and ignores facts that are discovered later.

If you read Objectivist literature, you will discover very clear statements explaining that concepts are open-ended to be able to include new discoveries about the same existents they reference. Obviously, if a fact discovered later contradicts a portion of a definition, you change the definition to accommodate the new information.

I am curious (and my intention is not hostile). Why is understanding this, or accepting it if it is understood, so difficult?

Michael

I am trying to understand how a definition can be considered true/false or correct/incorrect. If you change your definition of a banana upon discovering an orange one does that mean that the original definition was false or incorrect? It seems as if you are using 'true' to mean "temporarily true" in that case which is a whole different ball of wax.

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I am trying to understand how a definition can be considered true/false or correct/incorrect.

Of course. And all those who believe Rand is correct should simply show us how it is done - how disputes over "true" or "false" definitions are resolved - rather than fiddle-faddle around as they are doing here.

And of course they must do so without resort to "mere conventions", which Rand disparaged.

Waiting....

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I am trying to understand how a definition can be considered true/false or correct/incorrect.

Of course. And all those who believe Rand is correct should simply show us how it is done - how disputes over "true" or "false" definitions are resolved - rather than fiddle-faddle around as they are doing here.

And of course they must do so without resort to "mere conventions", which Rand disparaged.

Waiting....

Does this fit your standards gentlemen. It is true. It is even correct.

If I define gravitational force as the attraction between all masses in the universe; especially the attraction of the earth's mass for bodies near its surface; "the more remote the body the less the gravity"; "the gravitation between two bodies is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them";

Now Ole Al Einstein opined that "gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love".

Adam

And then there is dueling to the death which is always an option

Edited by Selene
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What Rand demands of others she never did herself, failing to define basic terms like "objective" and "reason".

This is kind of a booby trap set throughout much of philosophy, particularly that under the influence of Aristotle such as Objectivism.

The trap is to assign prime importance to the meanings of words, thus diverting debates into arguments over the meaning of words.

It is a trap because such arguments are not resolvable into "true" or "false". Aristotle, whose theory of knowledge is the prime mover behind this ancient practice, knew that one cannot attempt to prove the truth of all statements as this would lead to an infinite regress. Hence he tried to make definitions the "first premises" from which knowledge could then be built. (This approach is where Rand gets her "check your premises" catechism from, and her emphasis on the supreme importance of definitions).

But Aristotle overlooked one slight problem: definitions are a form of statement. Whoops. So trying to prove the truth of your definitions also leads to an infinite regress. (Perhaps this is why Aristotle held that first premises could only be grasped by "intuition". And we can see from my example above that the resort to ostensive definition doesn't help either.)

Hence the endless, timewasting arguments over "true" definitions that, due to Aristotle's influence, dog philosophy in general and Objectivism in particular. We should simply agree over the meanings of words, and focus our energies on propositions, which can be tested both logically and empirically.

And of course, saying that words are of prime importance because propositions consist of them is like saying letters are of prime importance because words consist of them - so let's debate spelling!...;-)

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Of course. And all those who believe Rand is correct should simply show us how it is done - how disputes over "true" or "false" definitions are resolved - rather than fiddle-faddle around as they are doing here.

And of course they must do so without resort to "mere conventions", which Rand disparaged.

Waiting....

Daniel,

If course, what?

Since you sever the connection between observation and logic, it can't be done using your "abstract only" system of thinking. (EDIT: Oops. I need to clarify that since it is not 100% correct. I will in a later post. The rest of my post is correct.)

Like I said, you pretend the Objectivist view doesn't exist, even as you question it. But it is easily learnable to anyone who wants to learn it and it is consistent.

Observation is the starting point of logic in Objectivism (which is abstracted at the root with the fundamental axioms, induction-style--incidentally that's how it's done). If you deny that despite it being clearly stated all over the place in Objectivist literature, then demand that one must demonstrate what you refuse to see, sorry, but I call that fiddle-faddle.

So why bother? You don't seem truly interested in the answer and I have no doubt you realize you only sing to your own choir when you criticize Objectivist thought in that manner, i.e., I haven't seen you convince anyone of anything yet... But you do get high-fives from your own choir when you make a clever turn of phrase.

(I'm not trying to be hostile, just curious. I can't figure out what you gain doing this since the practical results are practically nonexistent, except for singing to the choir. Is that it? Singing to the choir? That's what you are after? I can't accept that. I hold you in higher esteem than that, so I truly am curious.)

Michael

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What Rand demands of others she never did herself, failing to define basic terms like "objective" and "reason".

This is kind of a booby trap set throughout much of philosophy, particularly that under the influence of Aristotle such as Objectivism.

The trap is to assign prime importance to the meanings of words, thus diverting debates into arguments over the meaning of words.

It is a trap because such arguments are not resolvable into "true" or "false". Aristotle, whose theory of knowledge is the prime mover behind this ancient practice, knew that one cannot attempt to prove the truth of all statements as this would lead to an infinite regress. Hence he tried to make definitions the "first premises" from which knowledge could then be built. (This approach is where Rand gets her "check your premises" catechism from, and her emphasis on the supreme importance of definitions).

But Aristotle overlooked one slight problem: definitions are a form of statement. Whoops. So trying to prove the truth of your definitions also leads to an infinite regress. (Perhaps this is why Aristotle held that first premises could only be grasped by "intuition". And we can see from my example above that the resort to ostensive definition doesn't help either.)

Hence the endless, timewasting arguments over "true" definitions that, due to Aristotle's influence, dog philosophy in general and Objectivism in particular. We should simply agree over the meanings of words, and focus our energies on propositions, which can be tested both logically and empirically.

And of course, saying that words are of prime importance because propositions consist of them is like saying letters are of prime importance because words consist of them - so let's debate spelling!...;-)

Danny Boy:

Would ya be kind enough to be given us a definition of:

debate

and

argumentation

We will get to your interpolations of Aristotle down the thread a piece.

Thanks

Adam

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...I define gravitational force as the attraction between all masses in the universe;

But Adam, I define "gravitational force" as the attraction between two people who are in love!

I say you and Einstein are slaves to "mere convention", and have mindlessly, second-handedly absorbed your false definition from others. Whereas I, using my unique combination of introspection and strict adherence to observational reality - I have felt love, and seen it! - know that it is truly what is meant by "gravitational force."

Prove me wrong- without appeal to convention.

The point is, Adam, that this is precisely the situation Rand sets up when she claims that she has discovered the "true" definition of, say, "selfishness" and that everyone else's conventional idea is "false".

And then there is dueling to the death which is always an option

It may well be preferable to enduring an infinite Scholastic debate....;-)

Edited by Daniel Barnes
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So why bother?

The consequences of the Aristotlean theory of knowledge are a great deal of rubbish lying around on the thoroughfare of human debate.

While I can't be janitor for the whole world, when I walk down the street and see litter, I do try to pick it up and chuck it in the garbage can. Someone has to!...;-)

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Daniel,

Spoken like a true Popperian.

But...

What do you mean by picking up garbage and throwing it in the trash can? Something real, or something that is only in your head?

Like I said, out here in reality, I have yet to see you convince anyone who disagrees with you of any of your ideas.

On the contrary, I see people who disagree with you treating your ideas as if they were garbage.

Michael

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Since you sever the connection between observation and logic, it can't be done using your "abstract only" system of thinking. (EDIT: Oops. I need to clarify that since it is not 100% correct. I will in a later post. The rest of my post is correct.)

You are correct that you are incorrect. The "puppy" example I give is ostensive, thus generously including that ground-breaking Objectivist epistemological practice of...pointing at things!

Waiting....

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Like I said, out here in reality, I have yet to see you convince anyone who disagrees with you of any of your ideas.

Why don't you stop with the fiddle-faddle about personalities, motives etc, and get on with showing us all how this Randian doctrine you endorse actually works.

The example is right there.

Waiting...

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Daniel,

By denying induction as one of the manners humans create usable abstractions and from whence logic arises (and I mean abstracting observations as the root of logic, not the silly induction versus deduction thingie both Popperians and Peikovians do), you actually do sever the connection.

btw - Whether pointing is groundbreaking in epistemology or not, it does provide the basis for truth. Without being able to observe a result in one form or another, there is no way to discover if an idea corresponds to reality.

If you want to see the severing, it is right here. True in Objectivism means corresponding to reality BEFORE satisfying some word games. In other words, if an idea does not correspond to reality, it ultimately cannot be true. Both reality and the word game must work.

Those who hold that logic is (pure) word games BEFORE corresponding to reality place greater value on the word games than they do on the correct identification of real things. So much so that reality actually is optional. They hold that something can be true even though it does not correspond to reality. The word game is enough for truth and reality is not needed. Reality can be along for the ride, but truth ultimately can do without it.

Severed!!!

(Whoosh.. The Ninja blade falls with deadly precision...)

Michael

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By denying induction..(etc)

When, oh when, are you going to demonstrate how the Randian doctrine actually works? Y'know, with some actual examples?

You don't have to use mine.

Use one or more of your own.

Does it actually work, Michael? Can you actually do what Rand says is so vitally important?

Waiting....

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Since you sever the connection between observation and logic, it can't be done using your "abstract only" system of thinking. (EDIT: Oops. I need to clarify that since it is not 100% correct. I will in a later post. The rest of my post is correct.)

You are correct that you are incorrect. The "puppy" example I give is ostensive, thus generously including that ground-breaking Objectivist epistemological practice of...pointing at things!

Waiting....

Well Danny boy, if I see Godot walking around with a trash bag, I will send him your way.

We have no common semantic to work with.

Have a good whatever you wish to call whatever it is that you will experience wherever it is that you are and are not in the great...o well aalkjtpiuoqhkspuelk!!

Adam

enjoy your wait

99funny-pictures93.jpg

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Piaget, one of the great developmental psychologists and a fantastic scientist, might offer some insight into this discussion. Try to wrap your mind about his words here:

Philosophy has for its aim the whole of the real - of external reality, of the mind, and of the relations between the two. Because it embraces everything, reflective analysis is the only method it has available. Since no aspect of reality can be omitted, the systems that philosophers construct necessarily involve evaluation alongside investigation. For that reason, philosophical systems sooner or later manifest irreducible oppositions traceable to the diversity of values presented to human consciousness. Whence the heterogeneity of the broad philosophical traditions that periodically reappear in the history of metaphysics...

By contrast, a science delimits its aim and begins to gain acceptance as a scientific discipline only when that delimitation succeeds. Moreover, in pursuing answers to particular questions, it constructs methods that allow it to bring new facts together and to coordinate their interpretation within a circumscribed domain. The upshot of all off this is that philosophers often disagree because of the inevitable differences of values that separate conceptions bearing simultaneously on the universe and the internal life, while scientists achieve a relative accord of minds. But science does so only insofar as it solicits agreement for solutions of restricted problems using equally restricted research methods...

... Finally, Piaget believed: (1) evaluation in terms of subjective criteria is a method of philosophy, that is, reflective analysis preliminary to all knowledge construction; (2) evaluation, although preliminary to all knowledge construction, can neither lead to nor modify knowledge in any way.

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Why Daniel, I can point and correctly identify what I am pointing at.

So do both people in my example.

The point is that they both point at different things and each claims their definition is the "true" one, and the other's is false.

This is basically what Rand does with her definitions vs conventional meanings.

But she can't actually demonstrate the truth or falsity of said meanings, despite the fact that she claims that all our knowledge depends on this!!

It seems neither can you. Nor Adam. Nor anyone else.

Do you think it might just ever so possibly be because Rand's claim is false?

Demonstrated.

Clearly not.

Waiting...

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By contrast, a science delimits its aim and begins to gain acceptance as a scientific discipline only when that delimitation succeeds. Moreover, in pursuing answers to particular questions, it constructs methods that allow it to bring new facts together and to coordinate their interpretation within a circumscribed domain. The upshot of all off this is that philosophers often disagree because of the inevitable differences of values that separate conceptions bearing simultaneously on the universe and the internal life, while scientists achieve a relative accord of minds. But science does so only insofar as it solicits agreement for solutions of restricted problems using equally restricted research methods...

The physical sciences succeed because they are rooted in the real (physical) world and the method is grounded empirically. Philosophy has been in a muddle since it was invented by the Greeks about 1500 b.c.e. The same questions are being asked and the same non-answers are being produced.

Physical science was thrice blessed when it parted company from philosophy.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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