Daniel Barnes Posted June 4, 2007 Share Posted June 4, 2007 (edited) Mike:>Imagine that I am seeking knowledge to build a thinking system and not just a word game as I ask again: What is your view of the nature of concepts (or ideas)?Mike, what you don't realise is that this kind of question is itself an invitation to a word game. That is the fundamental problem with "what is the true nature of...?" questions, and is a fundamental problem that is widespread in philosophy in general, and Objectivism in particular. This style of thinking is called "essentialism", and is the is the whole target of Popper's critical essay, "Two Kinds of Definition." You need to absorb this point - it is an important one. Read the essay again if necessary. I simply do not think this is a productive type of question, regardless of the common assumption that it is intellectually important. I disagree, for the reasons you will hopefully have read twice by now.Now, you will find that my criticisms of Rand's epistemology focusses on concrete issues and avoids any discussion of the "true nature" concepts. Here's some typical points you will recognise.1) Her theory includes a violation of the Law of Identity at its first step2) Where it does not violate the LOI it merely restates it, adding nothing original except some verbiage3) Her theory of universals begs the question4) Her theory fails to recognise that words are fundamentally not the same as numbers or algebraic symbols, thus cannot achieve anything like the same precision5) Her claim that it takes two or more existents to form a concept I believe may be empirically testable; and I believe will almost certainly fail such a test.6) Her theory relies on fundamentally self-contradictory statements for support ie: her oxymorons like "contextual absolute."And so on and so forth. While all these points have fuller arguments behind them, you will note they are either logical or (potentially) empirical criticisms, and none of them rely on vague my-true-nature-of-concepts vs your-true-nature-of-concepts type waffle. You can get to a true-or-false with them. Which you cannot do with concepts, or their non-mind-reading equivalent, definitions. Edited June 4, 2007 by Daniel Barnes Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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