LOST IN TRANSLATION

seddon's picture
Submitted by seddon on Fri, 2011-10-07 00:49

Anyone who has read my book on Rand, knows that I’m not one of those who read Plato as a two-world metaphysician. But I am sympathetic to those who think he was but don’t read Greek. What am I driving at? Well, a bad translation can make it look as if Plato did endorse a two-world view and I would like to give an example of this from the Hamilton-Cairns volume of the Complete Works of Plato. The following is taken from the PARMENIDES. Parmenides is talking about the Forms with Socrates and he says:
“I imagine that you or anyone else who asserts that each of [the Forms] has a real being ‘just by itself,’ would admit, to begin with, that no such real being exists in OUR WORLD.” (133c)
The translator then uses the same phrase “OUR WORLD” an additional nine times to 134b (that’s 10 times in one page) to show that the Forms are not in “our world.”
This gave me pause, so I decided to take a look at the original Greek. I found that the Greek word HEMIN, which is rendered by the phrase “our world” occurs ten times in Greek text. But what does HEMIN mean? It is the plural form of EGO, i.e., it means “us.”
So, the last phrase above from 133c should read, “that no such real being exists in us.” Fowler in his Loeb translation has this: “none of these [the Forms] exists in us.”
This is a big difference. The HC translation makes it seem as if the forms, since there are not in our world, exist in another world. My translation (and Fowler’s) only states that the Forms are not in us.
I conclude that these pages from the PARMENIDES do not give evidence of Plato as a two-world metaphysician.

Fred


( categories: )

I can, but time not. There is

Leonid's picture

I can, but quantification of time not. There is no correlation whatsoever between number of Earth's rounds and my aging process. Each and every individual has his own rate of aging, personal time, so to speak.

It

Brant Gaede's picture

It's not "it;" it's "I."

You could have said something about the the advance of the process of your aging. You just didn't.

--Brant

sEDDON

Leonid's picture

" Yet in your last post you wrote, "time is generated by this process," If time is just another word for process, then surely process can’t generate time, since they’re the same."

Well, maybe a better description would be : time is a quantification of process. Time has no other meaning. When I say " I'm 60 years old" it only means that since I've born, the earth went around sun 60 times. It doesn't say anything about advance of the process of my aging.

Leonid

seddon's picture

“As far as I understand Aristotle viewed time inseparably from the process of motion or change.”

Here is what he says in the PHYSICS: “For time is just this—number of motion in respect of 'before' and 'after'.” (PHYSICS 219b1) He seems more tentative in the METAPHYSICS, as I indicated in my last post.

“I understand time simply as an another word for process.”

Yet in your last post you wrote, "time is generated by this process," If time is just another word for process, then surely process can’t generate time, since they’re the same.

“as like as time is some independent entity,”

I agree with you. For Newton it is an independent entity, but not for Leibniz.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

As far as I understand Aristotle viewed time inseparably from the process of motion or change. For him time is an attribute of motion. From the Objectivist point of view time is measure of change.
There is a plethora of philosophical and physical approaches to the question of time and space and I don't think we would be able to explore all of them even briefly. I understand time simply as an another word for process. Process is a chain of cause-effect interactions between different entities and its outcome defined not by time but by identities of all things which are involved in such a process. If nothing changes, the notion of time becomes meaningless. What exists is a given reality. We can retain in the memory how reality was before it changed-we call it past. We can predict with the some degree of certainty how reality may change-we call it future. We even can project our goals into the future and act to achieve them. But what actually exists is only present. Perception is a process in which we ourselves are changing. Such a process could be measured, that is-expressed in terms of time. But that doesn't mean that perception is happening in time, as like as time is some independent entity, like ether of physicists 100 years ago. So there is no expansion or contraction of time, time cannot go forward or backward , time cannot freeze like water etc...

P.S. Thought you may be interested to read this:http://www.reasonsdomain.com/blogs/metapop/?p=47

Leonid

seddon's picture

"time is generated by this process,"

But a process takes time, so you seem to be saying that 'time is generated by time.' I will admit that time has been an issue for many great philosophers. Aristotle deals with time in Book IV, chs. 10-14 but in the METAPHYSICS he seems unsure. He writes, "time is either the same as or some attribute of motion." Heidegger writes a lot about time, not to mention Kant and Augustine. Maybe time is still an issue to be wreatled with rather than a done deal.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Yes it does."-can you explain how it would change the process of perception?

Unfortunately, I don't have " THE EVIDENCE OF SENSES", so I won't be able to comment. But I have David Kelley's CD on perception. As I understand it, perception is retained and automatically integrated sensations by the brain of the living organism. Sensation is a result of interaction of the object or medium of transfer ( light, sound) with the sensory organ. What happens before such an interaction doesn't change the act of perception per se. I agree that time doesn't consist of mathematical instances, there is no such a thing as an atom of time. Time is measurement of change, and perception without any doubt represents change. But such a change is a result of the process of perception, time is generated by this process, it's not a precondition of perception

Leonid

seddon's picture

Does it matter that light from the star Vega has to travel 27 years before it hits your eye?

Yes it does. The only O-ist to address this issue is David Kelley and he addresses this issue on pp. 131-2 of his book THE EVIDENCE OF THE SENSES. He seems to disagree with you idea that “The act of perception is an act when light hits the retina.” He writes, “time does not consist of mathematical instants” like Aristotle in the PHYSICS. Perception is an awareness of objects and cannot be reduced to the last moment in a long causal chain. But he does admit that the object of perception need not be exactly like our perception of it nor must the object actually exist when we perceive it. His example is the a “the star itself has exploded.” (131)

BTW, does you have Kelley's book and what do you think of it?

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

But all this is happening before perception. The act of perception is an act when light hits the retina. Does it matter that light from the star Vega has to travel 27 years before it hits your eye? The moment you look on Vega you see it. If light of say some distant newborn star hasn't reach your eye, than there is no perception.

Leonid

seddon's picture

"For myself I cannot see why space and time have to be a prerequisite of perception."

Let's just look at time. First the light has to travel to the object and hit it, then it has to travel into the eyeball etc. All of this can only take place (no pun intended) in time.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

I thought that the page was translated. I said that it is my guess why people think that perception has to be in time and space. I don't know for sure. Maybe there are some other reasons. I don't even knew they think so before you told me. For myself I cannot see why space and time have to be a prerequisite of perception.

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

... according to this view Universe exists IN space and time

That is not Einstein's view.

Leonid

seddon's picture

Alas I don't read Russian. But I not sure that Newton-Einstein's physics affect their view of perception, if they even had one. Einstein seems to accept an empiricist view of perception (but this is far short of having a theory of perception), although he is a "rationalist" in his physics.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"I'm not sure I know of any thinker who thinks that perception doesn't require space and time. Can you think of anyone?"

No, I never researched this particular problem. I only can guess that most of the thinkers adopted the Newton-Einstein's view on space as a physical entity and time as a 4th dimension of space.
In such a case, since according to this view Universe exists IN space and time, perception also exists in space and time. You know, however, that Objectivist position is different and not only Objectivist. See " Essence of time and relativity " by Nikolay Popov.
http://magentabook.com/books/s...

Lenid

seddon's picture

"so it's not Objectivist premise."

I'm not sure I know of any thinker who thinks that perception doesn't require space and time. Can you think of anyone?

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"I didn’t mean that as specifically an O-ist premise"-so it's not Objectivist premise.

"No, the medium, in this case, is air."-Yes, you're right.

Thank you for enjoyable conversation.

Leonid

seddon's picture

But how it supports your claim that your premise " perception is in space and time" is Objectivist premise?

I didn’t mean that as specifically an O-ist premise, just the one about space and time being in the universe.

“Yes, I agree, except it is three, since light is intervening medium.”

No, the medium, in this case, is air. But light can also travel through water, a vacuum etc.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"It doesn’t, but remember I was trying to answer your question about where to find that in the O-ist literature"

But how it supports your claim that your premise " perception is in space and time" is Objectivist premise?

"Actually, perception (and let’s do vision) requires at minimum four items; object, subject, light source, and intervening medium. Neither is sufficient and all are necessary. Agree?"

Yes, I agree, except it is three, since light is intervening medium. How it means that perception in time and space?

Leonid

seddon's picture

“I have no problem with that. But how does it mean that space and time are preconditions of perception?”

It doesn’t, but remember I was trying to answer your question about where to find that in the O-ist literature.

I wrote, "And there would be no perception either."
You wrote, “That is true, but not because lack of space, rather lack of perceiver.”

Actually, perception (and let’s do vision) requires at minimum four items; object, subject, light source, and intervening medium. Neither is sufficient and all are necessary. Agree?

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

Re: the OBJECTIVIST NEWSLETTER, May 1962, p. 19

I have no problem with that. But how does it mean that space and time are preconditions of perception? As far as I understand it means exactly the opposite.

" Maybe that’s a sneaky kind of innate knowledge."-I don't think so. Existence is implied in perception, that is-external, not innate input of data. "Implicit" means that when you open your eyes you know that this is something which exists out there. As long as you trust the validity of your senses, there is no reason to be wary.

"And there would be no perception either."

That is true, but not because lack of space, rather lack of perceiver.

Leonid

seddon's picture

“Tell me where in Objectivism you found such a premise and I will take it up with them.”

See the OBJECTIVIST NEWSLETTER, May 1962, p. 19. In case you don’t have this, let me quote a few passages.

On time: “Time is a measure of motion. Motion presupposes entities that move. If nothing existed, there could be no time. Time is ‘in’ the universe; the universe is not ‘in’ time.”

On space: “If you are tempted to ask: ‘What’s outside the universe?’ recognize that you are asking ‘What’s outside of existence and that the idea of ‘something outside of existence is a contradiction in terms; NOTHING is outside of existence, and ‘nothing’ is not another kind of ‘something’—it is NOTHING. Existence exists; you cannot go outside it, you cannot get under it, on top of it or behind it.”

““Space,” like “time,” is a relational concept. It does not designate an entity, but a relationship, which exists only within the universe. The universe is not in space any more than it is in time.” (Peikoff, THE PHILOSOPHY OF OBJECTIVISM, Lecture 2. This is available on line for free at the

“Axioms are not innate knowledge”

But they are implicit knowledge. Maybe that’s a sneaky kind of innate knowledge. I hope not. But for some reason I’ve always been a little wary of the “implicit” in this context.

“But if there were no any other entity in the whole universe except tree, then there would be no space.”

And there would be no perception either.

Fred

"Not my premise—a part of

Leonid's picture

"Not my premise—a part of O-ism. Take it up with them."

Tell me where in Objectivism you found such a premise and I will take it up with them.

"You start with the axioms, you don’t move toward them."

Yes, methodologically, when you present Objectivism as a philosophical system, you start with axioms. But to build up such a system you have to arrive first to the concept of axioms by means of cognitive integration. Axioms are not innate knowledge ( not in Objectivism anyway).

"When you perceive the tree, are you telling me your not in space, the tree is not is space???"

Yes, exactly so. The tree is not in space. It could be space between you and tree or between tree and some other entity. But if there were no any other entity in the whole universe except tree, then there would be no space. Space is not some kind of physical milieu in which tree or you exist, it is a concept which designates relationships between entities, the fact that entities have identity, boundaries, limits. So, space cannot be bended, wrapped, extended, occupied etc...

Leonid

seddon's picture

“I objected to your premise that time and space are precondition of perception. I think that the process of perception is a process”

Not my premise—a part of O-ism. Take it up with them. I’m just the messenger. And what do you mean by a “process” that doesn’t take time??

“But so all abstractions and abstractions from abstractions all the way to axioms.”

I think you are going in the wrong direction, esp. when presenting O-ism as a system. You start with the axioms, you don’t move toward them. That is what she says, they are “irreducible primaries.” Primaries are where you start, not where to go toward.

“Well, that exactly what I did when I showed that perception is not in space.”

When you perceive the tree, are you telling me your not in space, the tree is not is space???

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Notice that you dropped my context. I was talking about “trees” and you substitute “existence” "

No, I did not. Trees are part of existence. Epistemologically what is applicable to trees applicable to observable universe which was the topic of this part of discussion. Existence as a concept is not observable, but not for the reasons that "the universe is not in time and space; rather time and space are in the universe." I objected to your premise that time and space are precondition of perception. I think that the process of perception is a process which depends on annihilation of space between object and sensory organ and qua process " generates" time.

"And here is where Rand makes, if not a mistake, at least an equivocation on the word “abstraction.”

"But the point I was making is that we get existence directly in perception and not by abstraction. "

Rand also made the same point. She said that existence is implied in perception which is true. But so all abstractions and abstractions from abstractions all the way to axioms. An equivocation of the concept with entity would mean that we can directly perceive furniture or capitalism.

"That is a scientific proposition in that we can specify the conditions that would falsify it. "

Well, that exactly what I did when I showed that perception is not in space.

Leonid

seddon's picture

I wrote, "Do you mean you see trees but at no time."
You replied, But I said epistemologically, not metaphysically. Seeing is a process, a change. You can measure this process by using as a standard of measurement another process. That doesn't mean that Existence or Universe exists in time like fish in water.

Notice that you dropped my context. I was talking about “trees” and you substitute “existence” or “universe.” This is particularly bad since I’m maintain that the universe (as a whole) cannot be perceived; trees can be perceived.

“You presented it as like time exists outside of Existence and Existence is submerged in time, which is obvious contradiction.”

No I didn’t. I said the opposite. So, once more. I presented the O-ist position, to wit: the universe is not in time and space; rather time and space are in the universe.

I agree with your paragraph on the referent existence, since it has been my position from the start.

“But from the implicit knowledge that something exists to the explicit concept of existence which includes all objects which exist, existed and will exist and all ideas and concepts is very long way of conceptual integration.”

I think you are right about this. But the point I was making is that we get existence directly in perception and not by abstraction. The conceptual identification of this is of course something that comes much later. And here is where Rand makes, if not a mistake, at least an equivocation on the word “abstraction.” Maybe we could pursue that.

On Popper’s philosophy of science: He doesn’t require that we falsify a given universal proposition, but merely to specify the conditions under which we would consider it falsifiable. So take your sentence “All unicorns are blue.” That is a scientific proposition in that we can specify the conditions that would falsify it. To wit, A unicorn that is not blue.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Nothing, then, is gained even if we suppose eternal substances, as the believers in the Forms do, unless there is to be in them some principle which can cause change"

So what is the principle in the Form which can cause change? How they can cause change without to change themselves? Education is an active process, educated man is different from uneducated , he has changed. Suppose, there is a Form of education. which doesn't have hulle, energia or dunamic. How it can cause change?

Leonid

seddon's picture

“UM is not a Form, it is a mover. Forms cannot cause any movement , no change and no physical objects,”

Leonid, we’ve already covered this. The UM is not an efficient cause, because all efficient causes moves something else by moving itself. Obviously the UM cannot be an efficient mover. It is a form that moves by being an object of desire.

“Replaced how? Isn't the process of replacement represents change?”

Let’s use Aristotle’s example. When an uneducated man become educated, the material substrate is the man, the forms are educated/uneducated. To become educated is to have the form uneducated replaced by the form educated. See (PHYSICS, I, 7.)

The point Aristotle is making in 1071b14-19 is that the Being of the UM cannot be potency, since “that which is potentially may possibly not be.” So the UM is an eternal form, but that is not enough. In addition to being an eternal form the UM is a being that in its essence is being-at-work (ενεργεια), it has no potentiality (δυναμις).

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"The “All” indicates universality in Aristotle’s logic. This is pretty basic freshman stuff."

But your "ALL" is wrong. You invoked Karl Popper and the philosophy of science. In the philosophy of science a universal proposition is the one which is supported by the large body of empirical knowledge. Otherwise I can make an Universal Proposition like " All unicorns are blue" and ask you to falsify it. According to Karl Popper Universal propositions cannot be proved, only falsified by means of an empirical evidence to the contrary.

"Do you mean you see trees but at no time."

But I said epistemologically, not metaphysically. Seeing is a process, a change. You can measure this process by using as a standard of measurement another process. That doesn't mean that Existence or Universe exists in time like fish in water. Existence is a source of all processes. You presented is as like time exists outside of Existence and Existence is submerged in time, which is obvious contradiction

"But in the remainder of the paragraph you seem confused between concepts and their referents."

I don't think so. In the quoted paragraph it's not clear whether the direct perception refers to concept-Existence, or to its referent-identification. If the latter is true, then Rand is right-Identification of existence requires direct perception. if the former is true- Rand is wrong-concepts, even axiomatic concepts cannot be directly perceived. Implicit knowledge of identification that something is out there and explicit concept of existence are not the same.

"Peikoff directly contradicts this in his lectures on Aquinas"

I don't have this lecture, so I cannot comment. Peikoff is right that observation implies existence. But from the implicit knowledge that something exists to the explicit concept of existence which includes all objects which exist, existed and will exist and all ideas and concepts is very long way of conceptual integration.

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"THE UM IS A FORMAL CAUSE WITH NO MATERIAL"

UM is not a Form, it is a mover. Forms cannot cause any movement , no change and no physical objects,

"Nothing, then, is gained even if we suppose eternal substances, as the believers in the Forms do, unless there is to be in them some principle which can cause change; nay, even this is not enough, nor is another substance besides the Forms enough; for if it is not to act, there will be no movement. Further even if it acts, this will not be enough, if its essence is potency; for there will not be eternal movement, since that which is potentially may possibly not be. (Metaphysics 12.6; 1071b 14-19)"

"THE FORMAL CAUSE IS REPLACED BY ITS OPPOSITE. "

Replaced how? Isn't the process of replacement represents change?

Leonid

seddon's picture

“But your proposition is not universal.”

Huh?? My proposition, i.e., the major premise of my syllogism was “All perception takes place in space and time.” The “All” indicates universality in Aristotle’s logic. This is pretty basic freshman stuff.

“Universal proposition is supported by the large body of empirical observation”

But I said, “prove.” I did not say “supported.” As an empiricist, all you can say is, “Within the context of my knowledge, all metals expand when heated but we may encounter a metal tomorrow that does not expand when heated.” The universe is a strange place.

“Epistemologically there is no evidence that perception referred to time or space. One can say: " I see tree" without to refer to its position or to the time.“

Do you mean you see trees but at no time. If at no time you saw a tree, that means you never (at no time) saw a tree. I bet you did see a tree, and if you did, you saw it at some time. Or maybe you’re an eternal being who sees trees in eternity, but not in time. Whose the mystic now?

“Again you equivocate universe as observable reality and universe as concept. Physical reality perceived, concepts-not.”

No I’m not. I mean the universe, not the concept of the universe. And I’m just following the logic of Rand’s position.

“Here I disagree with Rand.”

I think you must. I was addressing the problem to an Objectivist, so to speak. If you disagree with Rand, then we need to rethink the whole thing. But in the remainder of the paragraph you seem confused between concepts and their referents. Rand is much clearer than you.

“I'm quite certain that I'm right-conceptually existence is a result of integration of the concepts " existents". If one perceives A, B.C...he perceives that they exist and forms concept of "existent".”

Peikoff directly contradicts this in his lectures on Aquinas. You position is closer to Aristotle’s in the POSTERIOR ANALYTICS, II, 19. Peikoff claims that Rand follows Thomas on this point—that being (or existence) is the first thing we apprehend in sense perception. It is not got by induction (or integration) since they both presuppose existence. You cannot integrate what does not exist.

Fred

Leonid

seddon's picture

Unlike Plato, Aristotle considered formal cause as always existing in union with material cause. WRONG, THE UM IS A FORMAL CAUSE WITH NO MATERIAL. Such a form could be unchangeable.( diamond is a form of carbon). However per Plato formal and material causes are separated. WRONG; SEE THE PHILIBUS. The process of union of form with material cause represents change of both. WRONG, ACCORDING TO ARISTOTLE, THE FORMAL CAUSE NEVER CHANGES. CHANGE PRESUPPOSES A MATERIAL SUBSTRATE THAT DOESN’T CHANGE, THE FORMAL CAUSE IS REPLACED BY ITS OPPOSITE. Diamond in the low world is not a form of diamond in the high world. ACCORDING TO THE PHILEBUS, DIAMOND IN OUR WORLD IS A MIXTURE OF THE LIMITED AND THE UNLIMITED (OR IF SAYER IS RIGHT, A MIXTURE OF THE FORM AND THE UNLIMITED. (Plato's terms)

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

Unlike Plato, Aristotle considered formal cause as always existing in union with material cause . Such a form could be unchangeable.( diamond is a form of carbon). However per Plato formal and material causes are separated. The process of union of form with material cause represents change of both. Diamond in the low world is not a form of diamond in the high world. (Plato's terms)

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Let me go with Popper and say you can’t prove a universal proposition"-

But your proposition is not universal. Universal proposition is supported by the large body of empirical observation-for example " '‘All metals expand when heated". On which observation your proposition is based? Besides, I did give you a counter-example, I showed that perception metaphysically requires zero space, that is-direct contact of the object with the sensory organs. Epistemologically there is no evidence that perception referred to time or space. One can say: " I see tree" without to refer to its position or to the time.

"that the universe cannot be perceived. But on you statement that the real is perceivable, you make the universe unreal."

Again you equivocate universe as observable reality and universe as concept. Physical reality perceived, concepts-not.

"Existence is not the result of an integration—it is directly perceived." ( ITOE 55)

"The first and primary axiomatic concepts are “existence,” “identity” (which is a corollary of “existence”) and “consciousness...An axomatic concept is the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts. It is implicit in all facts and in all knowledge. It is the fundamentally given and directly perceived or experienced, which requires no proof or explanation, but on which all proofs and explanations rest..."

Here I disagree with Rand. She contradicts herself-concepts cannot be directly perceived by senses. Besides, concept of existence includes many other concepts-like capitalism, egoism and legislature which cannot be perceived by senses, only by introspection. It is possible that Rand's statement " It is the fundamentally given and directly perceived " refers to identification, not to axiomatic concept , but I'm not sure. I'll take this issue to Peikoff-see what he'll say about it. I'm quite certain that I'm right-conceptually existence is a result of integration of the concepts " existents". If one perceives A, B.C...he perceives that they exist and forms concept of "existent". From the concept " existent" one can build concept " existence". Such a concept cannot be proven by deduction but can be reduced to percepts in which existence is implicit. In other word such a concept could be proven ostensibly.

Leonid

seddon's picture

“Platonic Forms have no material or energy-as you said. Therefore they cannot function. Besides, if they function, they change and they suppose to be unchangeable.”

Jusgt a PS to my previous answer. You keep forgetting that the forms are forms and hence formal causes, not efficient causes. It’s like criticizing the stomach for not seeing. Forms are what they are and efficient causes are what they are. You should like that, it’s the law of identity. Stop bashing forms for being what they’re not.

Fred

Leonid

seddon's picture

“First: (1) is not an axiom. You still have to prove it.”

Let me go with Popper and say you can’t prove a universal proposition, but can you give me one counter example. You can’t, so I will hold on to the premise until you give me a reason to reject it.

“Universe as a whole or existence is an axiomatic concept, therefore it cannot be perceived by sensory organs, regardless your premise”

We certainly agree on the conclusion, to wit; that the universe cannot be perceived. But on you statement that the real is perceivable, you make the universe unreal. I think you still have a problem and it’s due to you bad premise.

“Hierarchically existence is a highest abstraction, an abstraction from abstractions,”

No its not. It can’t be the foundation concept and by the highest of abstractions. Read p. 57 of ITOE. Existence is perceived DIRECTLY. It is not got by abstraction. You are contradicting Our Blessed Lady again.

“Only objects could be directly perceived by sensory organs and Universe or existence is an axiomatic concept.”

Again you contradict Rand. Existence is not the result of an integration—it is directly perceived. (ITOE 55)

“but I think that Universe is rather a cosmological, not metaphysical term.”

Well Rand disagrees. She thinks of the universe in metaphysical terms.

“What it has to do with
Heidegger?”

Heidegger sometimes talks about the nothing.

Fred

"I mean militant atheists

Leonid's picture

"I mean militant atheists like Mad. O'Hair"

I see. I also don't like militant atheists.

I mean

Brant Gaede's picture

I mean militant atheists like Mad. O'Hair. Atheist organizations trolling for contributions. The theology has to be implicit because of the actual meaning of the word.

--Brant

"My post is a way of getting

Leonid's picture

"My post is a way of getting away from those atheists who have made atheism into its own religion."

How do you mean?

Leonid

Brant Gaede's picture

My post is a way of getting away from those atheists who have made atheism into its own religion. It is also my feeble attempt--I'm only one person--to eviscerate religion while honoring the underlying legitimate needs of religion to put out a point of existential reference to objectify one's self and properly honor reality. I am not explicating here on Rand and her philosophy.

--Brant

Brant

Leonid's picture

" God, however, is not a Supreme Being."

I wonder why everybody knows what God is not, but nobody what he is? Besides, if God is not Supreme Being, who needs him?

Leonid

Brant Gaede's picture

Reality is God and God is reality. God, however, is not a Supreme Being. No such thing. I respect but do not worship reality.

--Brant
for the record, pantheism is atheism, except metaphorically speaking

Brant

Leonid's picture

"axiomatic reasoning is the God of Objectivism, metaphorically speaking. "

Not even metaphorically.

An axiomatic concept is the identification of a primary fact of reality

The concept of God is not identifiable since it is an arbitrary concept.

Fred

Brant Gaede's picture

It doesn't apply to God for axiomatic reasoning is tautological and God reasoning is empirical. The first has to be that way, but off that foundation it's fallacious. However, axiomatic reasoning is the God of Objectivism, metaphorically speaking. Epistemological constructs don't have to be out-there real, but reality has to be or we're all Willie Coyote not looking down.

--Brant

Seddon

Leonid's picture

I think that this discussion diverted far away from the your original syllogism on which you claim is based:

"(1).All perception takes place in space and time,

( 2).The Universe is not in space and time,

( 3).Therefore, the universe cannot be perceived."

I have two objections:

Fist: (1) is not an axiom. You still have to prove it.

Second: Universe as a whole or existence is an axiomatic concept, therefore it cannot be perceived by sensory organs, regardless your premise (1). Furniture, love, general theory of relativity, and capitalism also cannot be directly perceived .

"Not according to Rand. Besides, if existence required the integration of two or more existents, then those concepts would be more fundamental than existence and existence would not be axiomatic. An axiomatic concept is presupposed in every concept and in all knowledge, including the two existents you want to integrate into the axiomatic concept existence."

Existence is not an innate idea and has to be formed by means of mental integration of the directly observable units . The mere fact of their perception is a proof that they exist." The building-block of man’s knowledge is the concept of an “existent”—of something that exists, be it a thing, an attribute or an action". ( IOE, 5-6). Hierarchically existence is a highest abstraction, an abstraction from abstractions, that-is-existents. Integration of two or more of such a units by their common denominator-the fact that they exist-creates the concept of existence or universe, if you wish. Axioms cannot be proved by means of logical deduction, but only ostensively, and epistemologically the sensory data is more fundamental than any other concept-all knowledge is based on it. Nothing of what I said contradicts Ayn Rand.

"An axiomatic concept is the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts...Since axiomatic concepts are identifications of irreducible primaries, the only way to define one is by means of an ostensive definition" (IOP, pg 55;41)

To summarize: A. Your conclusion (3) represents an equivocation of concept and object ( that is: concept-object) which is pure Platonism. Only objects could be directly perceived by sensory organs and Universe or existence is an axiomatic concept.

B: Your premise (1) has to be proved.

C: The concept of Existence as all other concepts is formed as result of integration of sensory data. In Ayn Rand words: "axiomatic concepts refer to facts of reality and are not a matter of “faith” or of man’s arbitrary choice" ( IOP, 59-60)

"Shakespeare and his poetry are part of the universe "

I wouldn't argue about linguistic, but I think that Universe is rather a cosmological, not metaphysical term.

"But since the universe = everything, then existence must apply to nothing. Are you sure you haven’t been reading Heidegger?"

This is very obscure statement. For Rand and apparently for you universe and existence are synonyms. I also could accept this two words as such, if you insists. What it has to do with
Heidegger?

"In that sense, form is not a substance, it’s an attribute. "

I cannot see where is a problem? Form is a certain way of organization of substance which provides identity. For example substance carbon could be presented in the form of coal, graphite or diamond ( there are other different forms possible). But atom of carbon also has a form, an identity which provided by the certain organization of its electrons and nucleus and so on. But there is no such a thing in metaphysical reality as a form of diamond which exists without carbon. It could, however, exist as a mental content. Also there is no such a thing as substance without form, even as a mental content-and for a proof try to imagine a substance of diamond or atom of carbon without their forms, or identity. That why Ayn Rand said : "existence is identity."

"They function as part of the composite of form and material."

Platonic Forms have no material or energy-as you said. Therefore they cannot function. Besides, if they function, they change and they suppose to be unchangeable.

"What could have caused you to ask this question, since in my post I wrote, “the house in Pennsylvania."

No, you actually described two houses-one as a mental content in the architect's mind, another which is actually exists in Pennsylvania.

"Wright had the form of Fallingwater in mind and caused it to be instantiated in the bricks, glass, etc of the house in Pennsylvania."

I wanted to know to which one you refer when you asked ""Is Fallingwater perceivable or detectable."

"You pull the “mystic” charge like a nervous cowboy pulls his gun. "

A nervous or rather acutely aware cowboy has better chance to survive. And I don't malign Plato-we never met. I simply point out to the fact that by placing unperceivable concepts as Forms outside of human mind and by claiming that such Forms represent metaphysical reality, he'd laid very solid foundation of mysticism.

Brant

seddon's picture

“if we say it doesn't exist that's acceptance through denial.”

Does this apply to God? If I deny God exists, does that mean I accept his existence through denial? Clarify please.

Fred

Leonid

seddon's picture

“Please clarify: do you mean universe as a whole, an existence which is a concept or entities which constitute existence?”

Of course I mean the universe as a whole. And I don’t mean a concept, nor does Rand.

“Existence however is implied in every perception”

So what. Perception isn’t implication. My claim is that the universe as whole cannot be perceived and if you were right and only what is perceived is real, then the universe would not be real. It is a reductio of your claim.

I found your quotation from “Cognition and Measurement” to be irreverent to our topic.

“The process of integration of two or more existents creates the axiomatic concept of existence.”

Not according to Rand. Besides, if existence required the integration of two or more existents, then those concepts would be more fundamental than existence and existence would not be axiomatic. An axiomatic concept is presupposed in every concept and in all knowledge, including the two existents you want to integrate into the axiomatic concept existence.

“nobody would claim that poetry is a part of universe.”

I would. Shakespeare and his poetry are part of the universe since the universe is the totality of all that exists. You seem to be falling prey to the virus of positivism.

“Existence is much more broad concept than universe, or even universe as a whole.”

But since the universe = everything, then existence must apply to nothing. Are you sure you haven’t been reading Heidegger?

“There is no such a thing in metaphysical reality as a form without substance or substance without form.”

I didn’t say that. I was just referring to the fact that there are categories other than substance. In Aristotle’s philosophy, for example, substance, in the sense of individual things like horse and man, are composed of two attributes, material and form. In that sense, form is not a substance, it’s an attribute. Now you are right to notice that for him (with the exception of the Unmoved Mover) there is no form without substance, but that doesn’t make form = substance. Neither is material (HULE).

“But Forms have no hulle and therefore have no potential to be at work. How they function?”

They function as part of the composite of form and material.

“Which one-that in the mind or that which is the house in Pennsylvania?”

What could have caused you to ask this question, since in my post I wrote, “the house in Pennsylvania.”??? And then you bring out your mysticism charge. Careless reading causes unwarranted accusations. You pull the “mystic” charge like a nervous cowboy pulls his gun. And then, of course, you malign Plato again.

Fred

If

Brant Gaede's picture

If that's Rand's understanding of "universe" then mine is different. But this seems semantical. I did posit they might be one and the same, and have no way of knowing they aren't unless evidence is adduced that they are not. Absent that evidence, I'd guess she was comfortable with her formulation. I'm only leaving the door open.

"Reality exists" is axiomatic for it's not reducible to anything else--I reduce universe to reality--and if we say it doesn't exist that's acceptance through denial. The real question is whether there is any practical problem using her axiomatic concepts as the proper basis of scientific investigations and reasoning? If not, then why should the Liberal Arts, sans science, have to flounder around trying to make nonsense out of sense? Reality exists--deal with it, either by bumping into it or thinking of ways not to bump into but use it.

--Brant

Brant

seddon's picture

“’Reality exists’ is the totality of all reality yet identified or not and while not perceivable, except in parts, an axiomatic concept for there is no room outside,”

But that hardly establishes that “reality exists” is an axiomatic concept. Remember for Rand as for Aristotle, what makes a concept axiomatic is that one has to accept it in order to deny it. “there is no room outside” hardly serves to establish a concept as axiomatic.

“the universe is a sub-category to reality.”

Does this mean you differ from Rand on the meaning of the world “universe.;” for her the universe is the totality of that which exists and hence cannot be a sub-category.

Fred

"And since the universe is

Leonid's picture

"And since the universe is NOT directly perceived, it cannot be an axiomatic concept. QED."

Please clarify: do you mean universe as a whole, an existence which is a concept or entities which constitute existence?

The former is a concept and therefore not directly perceived. The latter is perceived but it is not a concept. You cannot mix these two in the one package deal. Existence however is implied in every perception-when you see tree you know it exists.

In Ayn Rand's words:

"The building-block of man’s knowledge is the concept of an “existent”—of something that exists, be it a thing, an attribute or an action. Since it is a concept, man cannot grasp it explicitly until he has reached the conceptual stage. But it is implicit in every percept (to perceive a thing is to perceive that it exists) and man grasps it implicitly on the perceptual level—i.e., he grasps the constituents of the concept “existent,” the data which are later to be integrated by that concept"

“Cognition and Measurement,”
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 5–6

The process of integration of two or more existents creates the axiomatic concept of existence.

"Rand has about 4 or 5 different meanings to the concept “existence”

If you object to interchangeable use of " existence" and " universe" I'd tend to agree. One can say that stars and poetry are part of existence, but nobody would claim that poetry is a part of universe.
Existence is much more broad concept than universe, or even universe as a whole. But now, are we dealing here with linguistic or metaphysical problem?

"They are neither. They are forms, not substances, either spiritual or material."

There is no such a thing in metaphysical reality as a form without substance or substance without form. You cannot separate them-that would a violation of identity law. If one were accepting you premise, then the obvious question would be-form of what? Form without substance could exist only as concept, that is-content of consciousness. But in such a case they are not eternal, nor they unchangeable.

"In Aristotle, it means the potential for being at work."-in other words energy. But Forms have no hulle and therefore have no potential to be at work. How they function?

"An efficient cause with that form causes it to have being in the appropriate HULE"

But you said form have no hulle

"Is Fallingwater perceivable or detectable."

Which one-that in the mind or that which is the house in in Pennsylvania? One cannot treat mental content as an object and vice versa. Such a treatment is a source of mysticism and that exactly what Plato did.

We perceive the universe as we perceive a horse

Brant Gaede's picture

Reality is a conglomeration of things. Too many and too many obscured to be perceived as such. The universe may or may not be a thing perceivable in the way we perceive a horse knowing there is much more to a horse than what we are looking at--perceiving. That is to say, the universe is a sub-category to reality. In so far as we know they could be one and the same, but it leaves the door open to, say, parallel universes or just go ahead and imagine it, for maybe imagination will someday break the way to real, additional knowledge by suggesting different paths of possible investigation--or where to point the metaphorical telescopes.

"Reality exists" is the totality of all reality yet identified or not and while not perceivable, except in parts, an axiomatic concept for there is no room outside, real or theoretical. Whatever is ever discovered will be part of reality, but possibly not of this universe. Let's say two universes, one of them ours, collided over 15 billion years ago and an astronomer tomorrow sees the first direct evidence of this. Let's say the collision speed is 1/1000 the speed of light. That would mean the actual collision, absent light and radiation and any other harbinger except solar heat, would get to where we are, for gross simplicity's sake, in 15,000 billion years. We can theoretically get our brains around the totality of the universe by making certain assumptions based on observations and analyses, that's what our ancestors did with horses, such as the binding power of gravity, but not reality except purely conceptually. So, the universe is directly perceived, but not reality, but the universe has nothing to do with the axiom beyond representing a part. Reality is not directly perceived albeit parts are, such as the universe or you and I. Reality is not a thing. In so far as we know, the universe is.

--Brant

Leonid

seddon's picture

"An axomatic concept is. . . fundamentally given and directly perceived”

And since the universe is NOT directly perceived, it cannot be an axiomatic concept. QED.

“Besides, there is no problem of integration of two or more units into the concept of existence. Trees exist, stars exist, people exist...existence exists.”

The problem is one of equivocation. Rand has about 4 or 5 different meanings to the concept “existence” and you have to be sure you’re using the same meaning throughout. For example, sometime existence means the universe, but in the example in your list it surely can’t mean that. Trees universe, stars universe, people universe simply doesn’t make any sense. So your integration solution simply will not work.

“as long as by alternative Universe he doesn't mean alternative existence which would be a violation of axiom of existence.”

Again watch out for equivocation. If you’re using existence to mean the universe then there is no violation of the axiom, since in that case existence = universe.

“I'd need to know little bit more about them.”

I agree. For info on them Kenneth Sayer’s book, PLATO’S LATE ONTOLOGY, pp. 174 ff. He claims to get this from PHILEBUS, esp. pp. 23c-27c. I personally don’t find the forms in the PHILEBUS at all—so I feel funny recommended his book to you. If I’m right, then the PHILEBUS has Plato giving up the “theory” altogether, which should please you very much. My reading of that dialogue puts Plato very close to Aristotle four cause theory. “You pays your money you takes your choice.” (I don’t know if you have that expression in South Africa.)

“Are they spiritual or material?”

They are neither. They are forms, not substances, either spiritual or material.

“Do they exist as part of the objective reality or as mental contents?”

Part of objective reality. Remember, we’ve covered this often.

“What exactly hule means?”

In Aristotle, it means the potential for being at work.

“What is the alleged process of replication of Forms into the material objects?”

An efficient cause with that form causes it to have being in the appropriate HULE. E.g., Wright had the form of Fallingwater in mind and caused it to be instantiated in the bricks, glass, etc of the house in Pennsylvania.

“Are they perceivable or detectable?”

Is Fallingwater perceivable or detectable.

“If not, how do we know they exist?”

You can see the bricks and glass in a certain Form.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"argument with separateness."

But I think I already answered that. Perception requires zero separateness When you taste hot dog there is no space between it and your tongue, otherwise you won't be able to taste it.

"For abstraction, you need TWO OR MORE units and alas there is only one universe"

This is true, but Universe as a whole, or existence is an axiomatic concept which is quite different from all other concepts.

"An axomatic concept is the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts. It is implicit in all facts and in all knowledge. It is the fundamentally given and directly perceived or experienced, which requires no proof or explanation, but on which all proofs and explanations rest."

“Axiomatic Concepts,” Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 55

Besides, there is no problem of integration of two or more units into the concept of existence. Trees exist, stars exist, people exist...existence exists. You omit the measurement, objects themselves and integrate by the common denominator of existence. No matter how different all these entities are, they all exist. Your claim is amount to the claim that one cannot have a concept of furniture because there is only one concept of furniture.

“shred” is very little evidence. I’m sure he has a shred"

If he does, he is not a mystic, as long as by alternative Universe he doesn't mean alternative existence which would be a violation of axiom of existence.

"what would you then say about those forms, forms that are neither eternal nor unchangeable."

I'd need to know little bit more about them. Are they spiritual or material? Do they exist as part of the objective reality or as mental contents? What else could you tell about them except that they are neither eternal nor unchangeable? What exactly hulle means? Do for example radio waves have hulle? What is the alleged process of replication of Forms into the material objects? Are they perceivable or detectable? If not, how do we know they exist?

Leonid

seddon's picture

“The distance between them is a measure of separateness.”

Then I can run the same argument with separateness. If you need to be separate from the object of perception (since you and the object have boundaries – law of identity) and you can’t be separate from the universe, then the universe, although real is not perceivable.

“If you don't like "mental construct", I'll simply say that universe as a whole is an abstraction, belongs to the realm of mind and cannot be perceived by senses, but objects it designates could and would.”

It’s not me but Objectivist who dislikes “mental constructs.” Your fight is with them. And you can’t be serious about it being an abstraction. Not if by abstraction you mean what Rand means. For abstraction, you need TWO OR MORE units and alas there is only one universe. Then you tell us hat the universe is in the mind but objects in the universe do not. Come on.

“This is an axiomatic irreducible concept which is inferred from the simple observation”

“If he doesn't have any shred of evidence”

“shred” is very little evidence. I’m sure he has a shred. But I feel like I should let you call him a Mystic since it would prove my case against you that you use that term in a very, very broad sense.

“ground that such Forms couldn't be eternal and unchangeable.”

Correct. They are changeable and are generated from more primitive metaphysics items, e.g., the limit and the unlimited. Cf. Sayer on the PHILIBUS. Given that, what would you then say about those forms, forms that are neither eternal nor unchangeable.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Take the distance between the sun and Mars. That distance is space and the earth exists in that space, as does New York. All perception then presupposes space (and time) and I return to the point that the universe is not in space, hence not perceptible."

This statement is based on two premises: 1. Space is a physical milieu. 2. Perception presupposes space. Both have to be proved.
From my point of view Earth doesn't exist in the space between sun and Mars. Earth simply exists. The distance between them is a measure of separateness. Separateness is not a space in the physical sense. The fact that objects have identity and therefore boundaries is axiomatic ( law of identity) and separateness is a result of this law.

There is no basis, physical or philosophical to postulate that space is a precondition of perception. If anything, space, a distance is a hindrance of perception. All perceptions require direct contact of the sense organ with the carrier of perceptual information-waves of light or sound in the case of hearing and vision, or with the object of perception itself-in the case of smell, taste and touch. Perception in facts requires zero space. That why you don't see or hear very far, and cannot taste a hot dog at the distance of 5 centimeters from your mouth.

If you don't like "mental construct", I'll simply say that universe as a whole is an abstraction, belongs to the realm of mind and cannot be perceived by senses, but objects it designates could and would.

"And you cannot have a concept of universe given Rand’s theory of concept formation."

This is an axiomatic irreducible concept which is inferred from the simple observation that things exist, or, as Ayn Rand put it, existence exists.

"So does this apply to physicists, like Kaku, who talk about parallel universes. Is he a mystic?"

If he doesn't have any shred of evidence which pertains to the observable reality to substantiate his claim, I'd say-yes.

"But what about dialogues wherein they are not described as separate?"

As far as I remember, such a claim has been refuted on the ground that such Forms couldn't be eternal and unchangeable.

Leonid

seddon's picture

“"NYC would be impossible without space, it exists in space,"-not according to the Objectivist view on space as relation between objects.”

Take the distance between the sun and Mars. That distance is space and the earth exists in that space, as does New York. All perception then presupposes space (and time) and I return to the point that the universe is not in space, hence not perceptible. And given your definition of the real, not real. Also be careful with “constructs” jargon. Objectivism doesn’t buy into constructs. And you cannot have a concept of universe given Rand’s theory of concept formation.

“The claim for the existence of " another dimension" is a metaphysical mysticism”

So does this apply to physicists, like Kaku, who talk about parallel universes. Is he a mystic?

BTW, I take it that one of your main complaints against the Forms is that they are separate from sensible things. But what about dialogues wherein they are not described as separate?

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

" ζώοv λόγος έχον = the animal with speech."

This is not so different from Rand's definition. "Reason integrates man’s perceptions by means of forming abstractions or conceptions, thus raising man’s knowledge from the perceptual level, which he shares with animals, to the conceptual level, which he alone can reach"

Philosophy: Who Needs It, 62

Words designate concepts. Without reason there is no speech.

" I show that the universe (as a whole) "

Oh, but Universe as a whole makes a whole difference. Universe as a whole is a mental construct, a high abstraction. and could be perceived only by introspection. By definition it is everything which existed, exists and will exist. It includes all physical entities, all mental constructs and contents and all things which we not yet discovered and maybe will never discover. This is self-evident that an abstraction cannot be perceived by senses, the position on time and space notwithstanding, since it belongs to the realm of mind. However, such a concept designates a lot of real entities ( trees, rocks, stars, planets, black holes, people etc...etc...etc...) which can be perceived in spite they are not in space and time, but their relations and interactions are the source of space and time. Furniture also cannot be perceived but chairs, beds, tables could. Your University also cannot be perceived, only different buildings, lecture halls, laboratories, etc...

"NYC would be impossible without space, it exists in space,"-not according to the Objectivist view on space as relation between objects. One may say that NYC's space defined by degree of separateness between its two most remote points within its boundaries. In other words NYC as an entity creates space, but not exists in space as, for example fish exists in water. Space is not a physical milieu.

" Egoism and altruism are topics in ethics, not metaphysics or epistemology."

There is no argument about this. My claim, however is that the nature of branches is hierarchically interdependent. For example metaphysical idealism leads to mysticism in epistemology and altruism in ethics, the mystic-altruist-collectivist axis. Although it is true that Ayn Rand mainly referred to mysticism as epistemic tool, she also implied mystical metaphysics.

"They claim that they perceive a mode of being superior to your existence on this earth. The mystics of spirit call it “another dimension,” which consists of denying dimensions." (GS)

The claim for the existence of " another dimension" is a metaphysical mysticism

Leonid

seddon's picture

Rational being is not a definition of Objectivist but of man.

Yeah, but the meaning of “rational being” changes from thinker to thinker. In fact, Rand changed the differentia of the definition in the early 60s. The definition is supposed to go back to Aristotle, but “rational” comes from the Latin “ratio,” and I now prefer the original Greek, to wit ζώοv λόγος έχον = the animal with speech.

I agree with all of your talk about space and time. But you missed the bottom line. Since the universe is NOT in space and time, it cannot be perceived. Don’t forget what we are debating here. You claim that the real is perceivable and then I show that the universe (as a whole) is not perceivable and thus is not real. Since you cannot accept that you have to give up your idea that if x is real, x is perceivable.

“New York city is not space but place, that is- an entity.”

Not if you agree with Peikoff’s characterization of “entity” as a moderate level thing, like table, man, tree etc. But let’s not quibble. NYC would be impossible without space, it exists in space, it is a spatial being. It is a place in a colloquial sense, of course.

“She also maintained that all branch of philosophy are connected.”

Yes, but they are separate so that epistemology does not do the job, say, of ethics. Metaphysics is not politics. Egoism and altruism are topics in ethics, not metaphysics or epistemology.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"if you don’t live like an Objectivist, you can’t succeed living as an Objectivist."

Rational being is not a definition of Objectivist but of man.

"Are you now claiming we can perceive at no time and in no space. "

No. The perception itself is a process from which the concepts of time and space arrived. I claim that Universe is not IN time and space but time and space exist in Universe, I never claimed that they don't exist. They are features which represent relations between objects or change of objects. The Universe as whole is a concept which includes every entity which exists, existed or will exist. Universe as whole therefore cannot have spatial or temporal relations. Space designates separateness between entities. If Universe exist in space, then there is another Universe from which it separated, which would be a contradiction in terms. Universe as whole cannot change, that is-it cannot become something which doesn't includes every entity which exists, existed or will ever exist. Therefore concepts of space and time are not applicable to the universe as whole.

"“I saw Ayn Rand in New York City in “I saw Ayn Rand in New York City in February, 1968, take notice of the reference to time and space. take notice of the reference to time and space."

New York city is not space but place, that is- an entity. If you were said: " I saw Ayn Rand 10 meters from me" you would refer to space-10 meters. By referring to ““ I saw Ayn Rand in New York City in February, ," you simply take notice on the position of the Sun in regard to Earth and arbitrary connect this with your experience. This is not time but its measure. Time would be in the process of experience itself. In other words, concepts of time and space are inferred from perception, not a precondition of it. That is-we have these concepts because we perceive, not other way around.

"Can we agree on Rand’s definition from PWNI, to wit: that branch of philosophy that studies Being qua Being—which she tells us she got from Aristotle?"

This is a definition of metaphysics as a genus. I'm talking about certain species of metaphysics which are based on arbitrary premises-for example on arbitrary mental constructs which don't pertain to reality-metaphysics of God, Goblin, or metaphysics which deny reality at all-like solipsism.

"She is the one who defined mysticism as a “means to knowledge.” "-She also maintained that all branch of philosophy are connected. So one cannot be metaphysically an Objectivist just because he feels like that.
"Yes, atheists (like the communists) also resort to force"-and religionists not?

Leonid

seddon's picture

“one can live by mixed premises but will not succeed as a fully rational being.”

But now you’re approaching tautology—and a not very interesting one at that. I agree with you that if you don’t live like an Objectivist, you can’t succeed living as an Objectivist.

“Your proof is begging a question. My claim is that you have to prove first that "All perception takes place in space and time,”

I took that to be your position. Are you now claiming we can perceive at no time and in no space. Please let me know. When I truly state that “I saw Ayn Rand in New York City in February, 1968, take notice of the reference to time and space.

“All perception takes place in space and time.
Space and time are features of Universe
The Universe can be perceived.”

I specified “the universe as a whole” which means if you are going to perceive “the universe as a whole” you have to take a position (i.e., a space – that makes the contradiction obvious) outside of the universe, which is impossible since the universe is the totality of that which exists. Therefore, the contradiction you made is still there.

“How you would define such a metaphysics?”

Can we agree on Rand’s definition from PWNI, to wit: that branch of philosophy that studies Being qua Being—which she tells us she got from Aristotle?

“You object to my definition of metaphysics based on arbitrary premises as mystical.”

Perhaps you could tell me one such metaphysics?

“You think that this word is exclusively belongs to epistemology and reject the connection between such a metaphysics and mysticism.”

Yes, but I am following Rand here. She is the one who defined mysticism as a “means to knowledge.” That means mysticism belongs to epistemology, the study of how man gains knowledge.

"I like to keep “faith” and “force” separate."
You maybe do. But most of the adepts of faith don't-as history shows. Do you think it's a co-incident?

Yes, atheists (like the communists) also resort to force and they are not mystics in the traditional sense.

Fred

Leonid

seddon's picture

“one can live by mixed premises but will not succeed as a fully rational being.”

But now you’re approaching tautology—and a not very interesting one at that. I agree with you that if you don’t live like an Objectivist, you can’t succeed living as an Objectivist.

“Your proof is begging a question. My claim is that you have to prove first that "All perception takes place in space and time,”

I took that to be your position. Are you now claiming we can perceive at no time and in no space. Please let me know. When I truly state that “I saw Ayn Rand in New York City in February, 1968, take notice of the reference to time and space.

“All perception takes place in space and time.
Space and time are features of Universe
The Universe can be perceived.”

I specified “the universe as a whole” which means if you are going to perceive “the universe as a whole” you have to take a position (i.e., a space – that makes the contradiction obvious) outside of the universe, which is impossible since the universe is the totality of that which exists. Therefore, the contradiction you made is still there.

“How you would define such a metaphysics?”

Can we agree on Rand’s definition from PWNI, to wit: that branch of philosophy that studies Being qua Being—which she tells us she got from Aristotle?

“You object to my definition of metaphysics based on arbitrary premises as mystical.”

Perhaps you could tell me one such metaphysics?

“You think that this word is exclusively belongs to epistemology and reject the connection between such a metaphysics and mysticism.”

Yes, but I am following Rand here. She is the one who defined mysticism as a “means to knowledge.” That means mysticism belongs to epistemology, the study of how man gains knowledge.

"I like to keep “faith” and “force” separate."
You maybe do. But most of the adepts of faith don't-as history shows. Do you think it's a co-incident?

Yes, atheists (like the communists) also resort to force and they are not mystics in the traditional sense.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

" You claimed that you couldn’t live with mixed premises"-No, I never claimed that. You simply misunderstood me. I claimed "It doesn't mean that one cannot try and live by mixed premises ( like Plato or Aquinas), but in the end of the day he cannot succeed"-meaning :one can live by mixed premises but will not succeed as a fully rational being. His life is a misery, always a struggle between mind and faith, between reason and mysticism.

"I already did. Here it is again in syllogistic form.
All perception takes place in space and time,
The Universe is not in space and time,
Therefore, the universe cannot be perceived."

Your proof is begging a question. My claim is that you have to prove first that "All perception takes place in space and time,"

Besides, if you accept the Objectivist position, you will see that contradiction disappears.

All perception takes place in space and time.

Space and time are features of Universe

The Universe can be perceived.

". A paradigm, e.g., the standard meter in Paris,"

This is not a definition or description, but a tautology. It is like to say: the standard meter defined by the feature of been standard meter. The Form of triangle defined by the virtue to be a form of triangle.

"But if he does, then he is a mystic in his epistemology. You do see that this is MY point, don’t you."

Yes, I see you point, but you don't see mine. You object to my definition of metaphysics based on arbitrary premises as mystical. You think that this word is exclusively belongs to epistemology and reject the connection between such a metaphysics and mysticism. Very well. How you would define such a metaphysics? Can you give me an example of arbitrary metaphysics which leads to the rational reality-orientated epistemology?

"I like to keep “faith” and “force” separate."

You maybe do. But most of the adepts of faith don't-as history shows. Do you think it's a co-incident?

Leonid

seddon's picture

“"At the end of the day, we’re all dead—theists and Objectivists."-This is strange. I'm talking about living by mixed premises and you are invoking an argument from death. What it has to do with my post? However, lives of Castro, Kim, Mao, Stalin weren't happy ones.”

What has this to do with your post. You claimed that you couldn’t live with mixed premises. I gave several counterexamples. Sensing I am right, you then change the context and mentioned “happy” lives. Stick to what you claimed, and then you can see it is wrong.

“but I claim that this is a wrong premise according to Objectivist view on the nature of space and time. Can you prove otherwise?”

I already did. Here it is again in syllogistic form.

All perception takes place in space and time,
The Universe is not in space and time,
Therefore, the universe cannot be perceived.

Now, since you claim the real must be perceivable, then the universe is not real according to your principle “the real must be perceivable.”

“Not always.”

True. But are you now claiming that there are no descriptive definitions in Plato’s dialogues. He certainly seems to give descriptions of the Forms.

“can you show where I'm wrong and explain what a characteristic of paradigm defines or describes?”

Sure. A paradigm, e.g., the standard meter in Paris, describes a procedure for determining if your stick is a meter long. You can lay it on the standard meter, or a substitute, and then look. Now take the form triangle. You can look at a drawing on the board and see if it accords with the Form or paradigm or standard. Does it have 3 straight sides, three angles, does it enclosed a space etc.

“mystics of muscles,”

I think this is an equivocation on the word mystic. I like to keep “faith” and “force” separate.

“if materialist's metaphysics pertains to observable reality, he doesn't need to invoke mystical epistemology.”

If he doesn’t then he is not a mystic in his metaphysics. But if he does, then he is a mystic in his epistemology. You do see that this is MY point, don’t you.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Let say one is a materialist in one’s metaphysics."-Depends which materialist. Some materialists of Marx's persuasion are mystics of muscles, as Ayn Rand put it. However, if materialist's metaphysics pertains to observable reality, he doesn't need to invoke mystical epistemology. If it isn't-then this is a mystical metaphysics. To use once more an example of the herd of invisible elephants in the room-if materialist claims that they are material objects but completely inperceivable by human senses, then the obvious next question to him would be-how do you know that? I maintain that arbitrary premises always lead to arbitrary epistemology. Both are mystical.

"At the end of the day, we’re all dead—theists and Objectivists."-This is strange. I'm talking about living by mixed premises and you are invoking an argument from death. What it has to do with my post? However, lives of Castro, Kim, Mao, Stalin weren't happy ones and didn't live by mixed premises.

"It’s what Branden said."-Branden's statement is based on Objectivist position of time and space and therefore not contradictional. For him as for Peikoff time and space exist as a part of Universe, not outside of it. Actually, nothing is.

" you can’t perceive the universe since it is not in space and time."-but I claim that this is a wrong premise according to Objectivist view on the nature of space and time. Can you prove otherwise?

" And that is what we do in defining—we define a class by genus and differentia."-Not always. There are descriptive definitions as well, usualy of the secon kind. Red rose, grey cat, green grass etc...

" I suspect you got it wrong."-can you show where I'm wrong and explain what a characteristic of paradigm defines or describes??

"Let say one is a materialist

Leonid's picture

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Leonid

seddon's picture

On Metaphysics and Epistemology:

“a breach between them would be a contradiction in terms.”

No it would not. Here’s another example. Let say one is a materialist in one’s metaphysics. Now is this person a mystic? You cannot know from the information given. You have to know how he got to that position. By reason or by faith.

“It doesn't mean that one cannot try and live by mixed premises . . . but in the end of the day he cannot succeed.”

Ambiguous formulation. At the end of the day, we’re all dead—theists and Objectivists. Ayn Rand is dead—does that mean “at the end of the day” she failed. Or you could mean one can’t live a long time with mixed premises, but you have the counterexamples of Castro, Kim, Mao, Stalin etc. They lived long on mixed premises. But perhaps you mean “life qua rational being” but then you saying nothing more than you can only live an Objectivist life by being an Objectivist.

“One should discuss Objectivist position from the point of view of Objectivist premises, otherwise one arrives to the blatant contradictions as you did.”

It’s what Branden said. It doesn’t lead to a blatant contradiction unless one adopts your premise that the real must be perceivable. Once we drop you wrong premise, then no contradiction.

"’Space,’ like ‘time,’ is a relational concept. It does not designate an entity, but a relationship, which exists only within the universe. "
Leonard Peikoff, The Philosophy of Objectivism lecture series, Lecture 2”

You’ve making my point but now with Peikoff instead of Branden. If space and time exists only within the universe, then you can’t perceive the universe since it is not in space and time. QED

On definition:

Aristotle tells us in the METAPHYSICS that Socrates busied himself with definition. A strange thing to say if you are right. Aristotle who wrote the seminal work on definitions (on Logic for that matter) probably got this right and so I suspect you got it wrong.

“Plato uses characteristics of the 3rd type [non-definition] which don't define anything, essential or otherwise.”

But non-definition (as well as definition) is not a characteristic of a class. And that is what we do in defining—we define a class by genus and differentia.

Sorry for the delayed response but was having computer trouble in various hotels out West.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"ON metaphysics and epistemology. No, I’m identifying what Rand said when she characterized mysticism as a “means to knowledge.”

This is true that Rand always referred to the mystical epistemology. It is also true that metaphysics and epistemology have different contents. However from the context of Objectivism one may infer that all branches of philosophy are ontologically connected.
Therefore one cannot hold rational, reality-orientated metaphysics and mystical epistemology or vice versa. Nor such a person could be a rational egoist in ethics. Metaphysics is a basis of epistemology, therefore a breach between them would be a contradiction in terms. ( By breach I mean not the difference of content, but a difference between rational and irrational philosophy.). Epistemic mystic therefore is necessary a metaphysical mystic whose philosophy is based on arbitrary premises (gods, Forms etc...). And that is fully applicable to Plato. His mystical metaphysics leads to the ultimate mystical tool of knowledge-reunion of the immortal soul with Forms, his great reward. It doesn't mean that one cannot try and live by mixed premises ( like Plato or Aquinas), but in the end of the day he cannot succeed. Contradictions don't exist.

"From the Objectivist Newsletter. Branden tells us that the universe in not in space or time. But everything we perceive is in space and time, therefore we don’t perceive the universe. QED"

One should discuss Objectivist position from the point of view of Objectivist premises, otherwise one arrives to the blatant contradictions as you did. In Objectivism time and space are not absolutes like in Newtonian physics but rather relations between entities. It is not that Universe exists IN time and space, but time and space exist because Universe exists.

"“Space,” like “time,” is a relational concept. It does not designate an entity, but a relationship, which exists only within the universe. "

Leonard Peikoff, The Philosophy of Objectivism lecture series, Lecture 2

Also consider the axiom " Existence exists" which means that nothing can exist outside of existence, nothing can transcend it. Therefore universe cannot exist in time and space, as like as they are extra-existential media. Time and space are exist only because there are different entities in Universe which are changing. Contrary to what you said, perception of things which exist leads to the concepts of time and space.

"Not everything could be a paradigm. Newtonian mechanics was a paradigm for two hundred years and thus excluded other possibilities"

And they still a paradigm for the non-relativistic physics. More then that relativistic physics easily accommodate this paradigm, doesn't deny or contradict it.

"But that was my point. You can characterize a thing and thus identify it without specifying its essence, as long as it differentiates it from other member of the genus"

And this my point as well. There are three different kinds of characteristics which provide

1. essential definition

2 non-essential definition

3. non-definition.

Plato uses characteristics of the 3rd type which don't define anything, essential or otherwise.

"The sun outside the cave, in accordance with the Sun image from Book VI is the Form of the Good."

At least we can agree that there is one Form in the allegory of cave.

BTW, here is some good words which Rand said about Plato:

" The grandeur, the reverence, the exalted purity, the austere dedication to the pursuit of truth, which are commonly associated with religion, should properly belong to the field of philosophy. Aristotle lived up to it and, in part, so did Plato, Aquinas, Spinoza..."

Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, 45

Ouray

Brant Gaede's picture

I believe Rand revisited the place about 1966 or 67 based on a postcard she sent back to NYC to who was minding her cats which was sold at auction several years ago.

--Brant

Leonid

seddon's picture

[Before I post my comments, I just thought I'd tell you I'm driving to Ouray, CO (Galt's Gulch). It's about 1750 miles from my home in Pittsburgh. So I'm without my library, just so you know.]

““follow reason” -means exactly that-follow reason, not some arbitrary statements with not a shred of any relation to known reality.”

Then that caricature certainly doesn’t apply to the reasoning we see in the dialogues.

ON metaphysics and epistemology. No, I’m identifying what Rand said when she characterized mysticism as a “means to knowledge.” The is topic irrevelant. It says, in effect, that the answer to the question “How do you know” is, say, “Oh, I just feel it.” Then that’s is mysticism, a very bad epistemology. Not metaphysics. Perhaps an actually historical example will help. In Aquinas we find two kinds of theology, sacred (or dogmatic) vs natural theology. And Peikoff and Rand point out that these two are distinguised by Aquinas. He distinguishes between what we know on faith (e.g., the Trinity) and what we know by natural reason (e.g., God). They are two different epistemologies; faith and reason. As for Objectivism, in PWNI, she makes a clear distinction (you call it a “breach”) between metaphysics, which studies “being qua being” and epistemology which asks and answer the question How do we know. What are the means to knowledge. They have different contents, different subject matters.

“Where did you get that from? (that the universe is not perceivable as a whole – don’t dropped the last three words please.)”

From the Objectivist Newsletter. Branden tells us that the universe in not in space or time. But everything we perceive is in space and time, therefore we don’t perceive the universe. QED

Paradigm from Greek "παράδειγμα" (paradeigma), "pattern, example, and sample" is not a characteristic at all. It doesn't describe any quality of any specific entity. Everything could be an example.

Not everything could be a paradigm. Newtonian mechanics was a paradigm for two hundred years and thus excluded other possibilities.

“That's true, but there is a difference between non-essential definition and non-defining characteristics. The ability to oppose a thumb is defining characteristic of man, although non-essential.”

But that was my point. You can characterize a thing and thus identify it without specifying its essence, as long as it differentiates it from other member of the genus.

“What, then is a ""the lord of light in this visible world...” and why the sun outside the cave is "universal author of all things beautiful and right,"?”

The fire inside the cave is either (a) literal fire partly responsible for the shadows or (b) figurative sun. The sun outside the cave, in accordance with the Sun image from Book VI is the Form of the Good.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Rand’s principle “follow reason” -means exactly that-follow reason, not some arbitrary statements with not a shred of any relation to known reality.

"“mystical epistemology therefore requires mystical metaphysics”-No, it doesn’t. If you say 2 + 2 = 4, that may be a metaphysical position but it is hardly mystical. But if you defend it by claiming God told you 2 + 2 = 4 in a dream, that’s a mystical epistemology.”

The second part of this statement refutes the first. If one claims a mystical knowledge about 2 + 2 = 4, then he denies any connection of this statement with reality and doesn't really understate what it means.
In fact you claim a breach between metaphysics and epistemology. Probably such a position would be quite acceptable by today's philosopher who doesn't care about comprehensive systematic and hierarchical view on existence. Such a philosopher for example could claim that he's an Objectivist because Ayn Rand appeared in his dream and revealed to him the whole Objectivist philosophy while standing on the one leg. He wouldn't even suspect the obvious contradiction between his epistemology and metaphysics. But Ayn Rand would and so would Plato.

"The universe as a whole is not perceivable according to Objectivism"

Where did you get that from? What is the Universe as a whole? Universe is a collection of existents, some of them directly or indirectly perceivable, some detectable. Those alleged existents which are not perceivable and not detectable and arbitrary mental constructs (Forms, gods’ unicorns or aliens from outer space) do not exist as far as human knowledge is concerned. That why Objectivism posits that all knowledge is contextual as an opposite to omniscient.

"“Of value to whom and for what?"

Value is a quality which promotes life. If I say “the red wine is good to your health, but white wine is not" I refer to the quality of wine which I valuate by using certain yardstick-promotion of your life. The value of quality is defined by the standard of value but it itself is not a relation between entities (like friendship).

"To define entity by non-defining characteristics is a method of metaphysical mysticism. The only purpose of this method is to defeat the Law of identity.”

“Hardly”-Not hardly. E.g., if one defines man as an animal who can oppose his thumb to every other digit is non- essential but hardly mystical"

That's true, but there is a difference between non-essential definitions and non-defining characteristics. The ability to oppose a thumb is defining characteristic of man, although non-essential. Paradigm from Greek "παράδειγμα" (paradeigma), "pattern, example, and sample" is a not-defining characteristic-like a red color. It doesn't describe quality of any specific entity. Everything could be an example.
.
"NO. I really did mean JUST 514a-c, inside the cave. The Form of the good is symbolized by the sun outside the cave."

What in your view is " outside the cave"? What, then is a ""the lord of light in this visible world...” and why the sun outside the cave is "universal author of all things beautiful and right,"?

"Both the Line and the Cave image can be read that way."-in other words you posit that they co-exist?

Leonid

seddon's picture

“You are just too soft on me.”

Rand’s principle “follow reason” demands that you give every claim a chance to defend itself. It’s too easy to reject things out of hand—it saves oneself from thinking.

“mystical epistemology therefore requires mystical metaphysics”

No, it doesn’t. If you say 2 + 2 = 4, that may be a metaphysical position but it is hardly mystical. But if you defend it by claiming God told you 2 + 2 = 4 in a dream, that’s is a mystical epistemology. In Rand’s metaphysics, facts are facts. If God (or angels etc.) exists, so be it. Mysticism is an epistemology, NOT a metaphysics.

“mystical metaphysics which is an arbitrary claim on some existence which transcends the perceivable reality.”

The universe as a whole is not perceivable according to Objectivism. Is Objectivism mystical?

“Be fair to me as well. I didn't say what mysticism isn't, but what it is-a claim to some non-sensory, non-rational, non-definable, non-identifiable means of knowledge”

All of those “nons” seem to tell me what mysticism isn’t.

“Why you say that in Objectivism good is relation?”

This refers to Rand’s statement that the good or a value is not a quality, but rather a relation. She puts it this way when she asks the question, “Of value to whom and for what?” All values are values in RELATION to a valuer, a being who is alive. Hence the good (or the valuable) is a relation, not a quality of the object.

“What reason you can give to support the axiom of existence or identity, except to say:" just look around".”

Actually Rand gives Aristotle’s “accept in order to deny” defense of her axioms. Aristotle on the other hand, after stating that one cannot give a proof of the axioms, does say, however, one can provide a proof by refutation. See METAPHYSICS, Book IV, chs. 3-4 (NB I out of town on business and vacation until Jan. 8 so this is from memory—although I pretty sure of this one since I wrote a book on it. My first.)

“Time, space, gravity, however are not axioms”

True of Newton’s metaphysics—he was Christian; but false of his physics.

“To define entity by non-defining characteristics is a method of metaphysical mysticism. The only purpose of this method is to defeat the Law of identity.”

Not hardly. E.g., if one defines man as an animal who can oppose his thumb to every other digit is non- essential but hardly mystical—in fact it enables one to pick out humans from every other animal species.

“But you won't be able to tell me what "X" is because standard, paradigm, unity, insensible, perfect, eternal are non-defining characteristics which can fit "X" but also "A", "B", "C" etc...”

Prove it. Name three items in the dialogues besides the Forms that are “standard, paradigm, unity, insensible, perfect, eternal”

“undefined unperceivable Forms”

You can’t have it both ways. Either forms are undefinable or they are defined as “standard, paradigm, unity, insensible, perfect, eternal.” Which is it?

“Re: 514a-c previously you said that "No Forms here." Now after careful examination we found at least one Form-"GOOD".”

NO. I really did mean JUST 514a-c, inside the cave. The Form of the good is symbolized by the sun outside the cave. I was trying to show you that the fire inside the can is not the FORMS—remember you even wrongly used the plural.

“Do you imply that Forms co-exist with perceivable objects in our low world as a herd of unperceivable elephants in the room? In such a case why to divide existence into upper and low levels? Why soul has to ascend?”

Both the Line and the Cave image can be read that way. The Line ascends in DEGREES of clarity, we are told. And the Cave is inside the earth and when you get out out the cave you’re still on this earth. Plato doesn’t have the prisoner go to the heavens, which he will could have done. But why divide them? There are differences, after all. The upper portion of the divided line deals with thing that are eternal, the bottom portion with things that change. This is preserved in Aristotle as the difference between θεωρία and πρακτική.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

Before I would dismiss your claim “as a mystical arbitrary nonsense”
I would need to hear your reasons."

You are just too soft on me. I'd reject such a claim on the spot. And suppose I give logical explanation of my claim using leading questions and Socrates' dialectics. Would it make my claim less mystical? Ayn Rand also used metaphysical definition of mysticism. She wrote:

"They claim that they perceive a mode of being superior to your existence on this earth. The mystics of spirit call it “another dimension {or upper world-Leonid}”"
(For the New Intellectual, 148). This is a metaphysical claim.

Since epistemology ontologically depends on metaphysics, mystical epistemology therefore requires mystical metaphysics (the notion of some unperceivable another dimension, upper world, parallel Universe etc...)

So mysticism is part of epistemology based on mystical metaphysics which is an arbitrary claim on some existence which transcends the perceivable reality.

"“It's not enough to say what mysticism isn't"

Be fair to me as well. I didn't say what mysticism isn't, but what it is-a claim to some non-sensory, non-rational, non-definable, non-identifiable means of knowledge and I'd add-existence.

"You have to show where the passage says “absolute qualities."

I don't quite understand you. Why you say that in Objectivism good is relation? It's not intrinsic and defined by the standard of good which is life, but it is a quality nevertheless. Absolute good is absolute quality.

"Then we would have sided with Berkeley. You must give reasons for your claim; otherwise we can dismiss them out of hand. This is pure Rand."

I disagree. What reason you can give to support the axiom of existence or identity, except to say:" just look around". Time, space, gravity, however are not axioms, they are not irreducible primaries and their refutation doesn't require their usage. I can easily claim that there is no such things as space without to create any irresolvable contradictions.

I : " “If I’ll tell you that "X" is a standard, paradigm, unity, insensible, perfect, eternal would you know what in fact "X" is?”

You: “Of course"

But you won't be able to tell me what "X" is because standard, paradigm, unity, insensible, perfect, eternal are non-defining characteristics which can fit "X" but also "A", "B", "C" etc...

To define entity by non-defining characteristics is a method of metaphysical mysticism. The only purpose of this method is to defeat the Law of identity.

"Non sequitur. As we see with the Line, shadows, plants, mathematical and Forms all exist. Just because there are forms doesn’t imply that they are the only things that exist."

Then Socrates is two world mystical metaphysician. He postulates world of sight in which perceivable defined entities exist and the upper world in which undefined unperceivable Forms exist. You, however deny his dualism. Do you imply that Forms co-exist with perceivable objects in our low world as a herd of unperceivable elephants in the room? In such a case why to divide existence into upper and low levels? Why soul has to ascend?

Re: 514a- c previously you said that "No Forms here." Now after careful examination we found at least one Form-"GOOD". This is the proof that Socrates' observation " in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort;" is true. Now observe that Socrates distinguishes between “parent of light" and "the lord of light in this visible world... “I take it as the latter is a sun but the former is Form of light. Besides what Socrates means when he says "{GOOD}, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right,”? My understanding is that GOOD is a primary Form from which all other Forms derived.

Seddon

Leonid's picture

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Seddon

Leonid's picture

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Seddon

Leonid's picture

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Leonid

seddon's picture

“I think this is self-explanatory.”

Are you joking? Why have we been going round and round on this post if it is elf-explanatory?

“First, Plato postulates two worlds”

And yet the very quotation contains the expression “his eye is turned towards more real existence,” which suggests a difference in degree rather than two kinds of existence. Compare this also to the divided line, where as you move up the line things increase in reality.

“And you claim that there are no Forms in 514 a-c.”

I reference 514a-c to show that the fire inside the cave is not a Form! And you used the plural “Forms” here which is surely wrong. Remember, the 3 famous images of Sun, Line and Cave are to provide Glaucon, not with the form of the good, but with an image of the form of the good. At 506e he talks about the “offspring of the good” and Glaucon makes him promise to discuss the “father” (i.e., the form of the good) on another occasion. No other forms are discussed here, although “beauty in itself” is mention in passing at 507b. The SOPHIST and the PARMENIDES discuss more than one form.

“For Socrates the Forms constitute unperceivable reality; and if he's one world metaphysician as you claim, then this is the only reality which exists.”

Non sequitur. As we see with the Line, shadows, plants, mathematicals and Forms all exist. Just because there are forms doesn’t imply that they are the only things that exist.

“If i'll tell you that "X" is a standard, paradigm, unity, insensible, perfect, eternal would you know what in fact "X" is?”

Of course. Every determination qualifies the object and helps us to know it better. As for God, when Rand discusses God, she talks about a particular God. If she didn’t she couldn’t complain about his negative characteristics. Even a bad description is a description and may serve an epistemological purpose.

Me--No, it depends on how the thinker defends his axioms."
You—“I cannot see how it could make any difference.”

Consider Berkeley’ complain against Newton’s occult qualities. We now side with Newton because of the way he and succeeding Newtonians defended the notions of absolute space, time, gravity etc. But imagine if Newton had said, “Well, dammit I just feel there right because I know the mind of god.” Then we would have sided with Berkeley. You must give reasons for your claim, otherwise we can dismiss them out of hand. This is pure Rand.

“It's not enough to say what consciousness isn't.”

True, but it may be an important step in the dialectic. And remember, the dialogues are surely dialectical.

"Me--See. It doesn’t say “absolute qualities”,
You--Good is a quality, doesn't it?”

Look. I said that passage “doesn’t say ‘absolute qualities’” It’s no rebuttal to say that is says something else. You have to show where the passage says “absolute qualities.” And what if good turn out to be a relation, as in Objectivism?

"Mysticism is the claim to some non-sensory, non-rational, non-definable, non-identifiable means of knowledge” Paraphrasing you, “It's not enough to say what mysticism isn't.” If you’re going to bash Socrates for using negations to define something, you’re going to have to do the same this to our Blessed Lady. Fair is fair.

“Socrates is a mystic by the virtue of proclaiming the existence of non-sensory, non-definable realm of Forms unknowable to the mortals and fully revealed to the soul only after death.”

Don’t get carried away with your misinterpretation of the PHAEDO. Socrates, Parmenides, the Stranger all discuss various notions of the forms right here on earth. Read the dialogues. Scholars even talk about an early theory, a middle theory and late theory of the forms—which they couldn’t do if you were right. BTW, I disagree with breaking up Plato into an early, middle and late phase, but that is a discussion for an other day. If interested, you might look at Kenneth M. Sayer’s PLATO’S LATE ONTOLOGY. (I only disagree with “late” and “Plato.” Tee hee.)

On the Hosper’s claim. Before I would dismiss your claim “as a mystical arbitrary nonsense”
I would need to hear your reasons. You give the metaphysics and think it’s mysticism, but in the definition from Rand that you quoted she called mysticism “a means of knowledge.” This is epistemology. When Sammelweis claimed that there were tiny, tiny things that caused fever, no one know if that was science or mysticism. We had to know his reasons for making that claim. So remember, metaphysics isn’t epistemology. Mysticism is part of epistemology, not metaphysics.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

Re: Phaedo

From your response it's not clear whether or not you think that in Phaedo Socrates presented the explicit theory of recollection? Can you clarify?

"Please re-read 512 (a-c)"

"To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images...and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence...He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world...This entire allegory, I said, you may now append, dear Glaucon, to the previous argument; the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world... my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world... Moreover, I said, you must not wonder that those who attain to this beatific vision are unwilling to descend to human affairs; for their souls are ever hastening into the upper world where they desire to dwell; which desire of theirs is very natural, if our allegory may be trusted." (Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

I think this is self-explanatory. First, Plato postulates two worlds-world of sight in which images are illusions, shadows, and the upper world, world of Ideas in which Good is the " Lord of light in the visible world and a source of all good things. And you claim that there are no Forms in 514 a-c. Goodness gracious!

"I referenced “no unperceivable reality” and you refer to the Forms not being perceivable."

"Electrons are unperceivable but do not exist in some other unperceivable reality."

For Socrates the Forms constitute unperceivable reality; and if he's one world metaphysician as you claim, then this is the only reality which exists.

Electrons are not directly perceivable by human senses but they are detectable. Maybe one day we'll create such a microscope which'll allow us to see electrons. ( Today we already can see atoms).Forms are imperceivable in principle.

" Forms are standards, paradigms, unities, insensible, perfect, eternal etc."

All these things have been said about God. Does it help to understand his nature? If i'll tell you that "X" is a standard, paradigm, unity, insensible, perfect, eternal would you know what in fact "X" is?

"No, it depends on how the thinker defends his axioms."

I cannot see how it could make any difference. " An axiom is a statement that identifies the base of knowledge and of any further statement pertaining to that knowledge, a statement necessarily contained in all others," (GS)

Their denial leads to the denial of any rational way of inquiry.

"consciousness is non-material it doesn’t have weight
You are giving part of its identity"

No. The negation of quality is not a definition. It's not enough to say what consciousness isn't. To identify it you have to say what it is.

"See. It doesn’t say “absolute qualities”,

Good is a quality, doesn't it?

"No, universal fire is the sun."

Suppose you are right. What about universal body and universal soul, universal mind and wisdom? That sounds like Forms to me.

"the mind is not a passive blank tablet, but makes a contribution to our experiences and knowledges. "

I was talking about resolving of fundamental philosophical problems, not correction of the mistake of the very weak philosopher.

"Finally, you’ve got Socrates right. He is not a mystic. He never recommends or uses any of those mystical methods."

True, he never did. But mysticism includes much more then just flagellation and prayers.

"Mysticism is the claim to some non-sensory, non-rational, non-definable, non-identifiable means of knowledge (PWNI, 62) . "Mysticism requires the notion of the unknowable, which is revealed to some and withheld from others; " (The Objectivist, March 1971, 1)

Socrates is a mystic by the virtue of proclaiming the existence of non-sensory, non-definable realm of Forms unknowable to the mortals and fully revealed to the soul only after death.

I'd call this metaphysical mysticism based on arbitrary premises. If I'll tell you that the John Hospers' herd of non-perceivable elephants participate in our conversation while receiving tips from the sapient lizards of Sirius B, you probably wouldn't inquire me by what means I know that ( prayer, flagellation or Socratic dialectics), but dismiss my claim as a mystical arbitrary nonsense.

Leonid

seddon's picture

“You refer to PHAEDO but discuss MENO. . . This is an explicit position, not a myth.”

But this reference to MENO is in the PHAEDO itself. For example, Cebes says the following (which directly refers to the MENO). “There’s one argument . . .a beautiful one. When human being are questioned, if somebody questions them well, they themselves tell everything as it is, although if knowledge and a right account doesn’t happen to be in them, they wouldn’t have been able to do this. Further, you get the surest indication that this is so when you direct them to MATHEMATICAL DIAGRAMS or something else of that source.” (73a emphasis mine) For me, this makes it legitimate to consult the MENO. In fact, if one doesn’t know the MENO, it makes the allusion to math diagrams a bit more opaque than it need be.

Me -- “Notice, no unperceivable reality as you say.”
You --Times and again Socrates says elsewhere that Forms are not perceivable.”

Notice how you dropped my context. I referenced “no unperceivable reality” and you refer to the Forms not being perceivable. Electrons are unperceivable but do not exist in some other unperceivable reality. They exist in this reality but are too small to be perceived.

“Fire or light by itself doesn’t cast shadows, objects do. In this metaphor Forms illuminated by fire cast shadows which are perceivable by other shadows, that is-human beings. However even this perception is not an autonomous faculty of man, but simply a recollection. You are able to see a horse only because you recollect it.”

Let me attempt to correct just the major mistakes.

(1) The fire is the only source of light for the chained human beings and the shadows are cast by the fire illuminating “all sorts of articles” that are being carried by humans walking on “the little wall.” No Forms here. Please re-read 514a-c.

(2) Shadows do not perceive. Period.

(3) No recollection is mentioned in the Cave. The prisoner gets educated by being dragged out of the Cave and onto the surface of the earth.

(4) If you are a prisoner and you see a horse, you are really seeing the shadow of a horse being carried by humans on the wall which is located between the prisoners and the fire.

“For a non-mystical thinker they all have to be based on introspection and perception.”

According to your psychology, not Socrates’.

“In fact, Socrates never elaborates what Forms are except that they are patterns.” (Grammar corrections mine)

Huh? Have you read the dialogues? In various dialogues we are told that Forms are standards, paradigms, unities, insensible, perfect, eternal etc. And that’s just off the top of my head. BTW, patterns is mentioned by Socrates in the PARMENIDES but is IMMEDIATELY shot down by Parmenides and yet you think of it as his position everywhere.

“True and such a position is inevitably mystical.”

No, it depends on how the thinker defends his axioms. Did he get them recollection; by innate ideas implanted by God etc. Aristotle gives a rational justification of his axioms—there are others. This is bigger topic than you imagine.

“By rejection of axioms one rejects natural tools of knowledge.”

Not so. One can be a non-foundationalist without rejecting the natural tools of knowledge.

“Socrates describes it? In fact he only says what they are not-not material, not perceivable, but he never says what they are, except that they are patterns. This is not an identity.”

If some ignorant person asks how much does consciousness weight and you tell him that since consciousness is non-material it doesn’t have weight
You are giving part of its identity.

Me--On PHILEBUS 27b “The passage doesn’t even mention “absolute qualities,”
You--Doesn’t it?
‘Socrates; for pleasure would not be absolute good if it were not infinite in number and degree.’ (27e)

See. It doesn’t say “absolute qualities”, just as I claimed. And notice you switch from 27b to 27e. Hm.

“Many mystics are very good thinkers and logicians.”

But Socrates is warning not to give up on reason—there is no talk here about mystical premises. He doesn’t say, start with faith and then use reasoning.

“the fire of the universe nourished, originated, and ruled by the fire within us, or, on the contrary, do my fire, and yours, and that of all living beings derive nourishment and all that from the universal fire?” Universal fire . . . is the Form.

No, universal fire is the sun.

“Can you give at least one example of any fundamental philosophical problem which has been resolved by any non-Aristotelian philosopher,”

Sure. Kant showed, contra Locke, that the mind is not a passive blank tablet, but makes a contribution to our experiences and knowledges. Our mind is an active process. Later, Rand would agree, our mind is active. “Awareness is not a passive state but an active process.” (ITOE 29)

“However if you define a mystic as an unthinking moron who spend his time on flagellation, mortification of flesh, prayers, etc...then Socrates is definitely not a mystic.”

Finally, you’ve got Socrates right. He is not a mystic. He never recommends or uses any of those mystical methods.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

On PHAEDO 75b-c. Here I a bit lost you. You refer to Phaedo but discuss Meno. In Phaedo Socrates definitely postulates recollection. He doesn't use leading questions and he's not kidding

“But, I suppose, if we acquired knowledge before we were born and lost it at birth, but afterwards by the use of our senses regained the knowledge which we had previously possessed, would not the process which we call learning really be recovering knowledge which is our own? And should we be right in calling this recollection?”

“Assuredly.”

So that, as I said, one of two things is true, either we are all born knowing these things and know them all our lives, or afterwards, those who are said to learn merely remember, and learning would then be recollection.”
“That is certainly true, Socrates.” (75e-76b)

This is an explicit position, not a myth.

"What Peikoff calls them are “hypothetical concepts” "

Hypothetical concepts are not arbitrary; they are based on certain observations. If confirmed by experiment they become scientific facts, if not-rejected. I don't think that today anybody would refer to atoms as an hypothetical concept.

“Here is what he says, “forms stand in NATURE as patterns.” Notice, no unperceivable reality as you say.”

Times and again Socrates says elsewhere that Forms are not perceivable. (See numerous quotes below). Patterns don’t change this. Besides, what exactly this statement means? If I will tell to you " X stand in Nature as pattern, what could you learn from this statement about the nature of X? Not much. Would it indicates whether or not X is perceivable? I think-not.

“The shadows on the wall are cast by the fire, not the Forms.”

Fire or light by itself doesn’t cast shadows, objects do. In this metaphor Forms illuminated by fire cast shadows which are perceivable by other shadows, that is-human beings. However even this perception is not an autonomous faculty of man, but simply a recollection. You are able to see a horse only because you recollect it.

“And thus we shouldn’t take this a Plato’s position.”

Why, then you refer me to PARMENIDES to prove that Socrates does know about Forms. In facts Socrates never elaborates what Forms are except that they are pattern.

“You commit the fallacy of false alternative. In addition to introspection and perception Socrates has recourse to διανοια, νοεσισ, επιστημη”

For a non-mystical thinker they all have to be based on introspection and perception. However Forms qua Ideas cannot be perceived and qua objects which exist outside of the realm of cognition cannot be introspected. Therefore they are unknowable for mortals.

“But the rejection of axioms is an epistemological position.”

True and such a position is inevitably mystical. By rejection of axioms one rejects natural tools of knowledge.

“Since an Objectivist rejects the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, he would reject the axiom etc.”

This statement requires elaboration.

“No he doesn’t. They have identity.”

What is this identity and where Socrates describes it? In fact he only says what they are not-not material, not perceivable, but he never says what they are, except that they are patterns. This is not an identity.

“What religion do you have in mind?”

Religion in the broad sense of the word. A faith in the arbitrary without any evidence of senses
.
“As a professional I know you are wrong.”

Can you give at least one example of any fundamental philosophical problem which has been resolved by any non-Aristotelian philosopher, such as Heidegger? As for Rand, she did write excellent actual philosophy, she just didn’t use much of philosophical jargon.

On PHILEBUS 27b “The passage doesn’t even mention “absolute qualities,”

Doesn’t it?

Socrates; for pleasure would not be absolute good if it were not infinite in number and degree. (27e)

Well, is the fire of the universe nourished, originated, and ruled by the fire within us, or, on the contrary, do my fire, and yours, and that of all living beings derive nourishment and all that from the universal fire?

Protarchus

that question does not even deserve an answer.

True; and you will, I fancy, say the same of the earth which is in us living creatures and that which is in the universe, and concerning all the other elements about which I asked a moment ago your answer will be the same.

Protarchus

Yes. Who could answer otherwise without being called a lunatic?

Socrates

Nobody, I fancy. Now follow the next step. When we see that all the aforesaid elements are gathered together into a unit, do we not call them a body?

Protarchus

Of course.

Does our body derive, obtain, and possess from that body, or that body from ours, nourishment and everything else that we mentioned just now?

Protarchus

That, Socrates, is another question not worth asking.

Socrates

Shall we not say that our body has a soul?

Protarchus

Clearly we shall.

Socrates

Where did it get it, Protarchus, unless the body of the universe had a soul, since that body has the same elements as ours, only in every way superior?

Protarchus

Clearly it could get it from no other source.

Socrates

No; for we surely do not believe, Protarchus, that of those four elements, the finite, the infinite, the combination, and the element of cause which exists in all things, this last, which gives to our bodies souls and the art of physical exercise and medical treatment when the body is ill, and which is in general a composing and healing power, is called the sum of all wisdom, and yet, while these same elements exist in the entire heaven and in great parts thereof, and area moreover, fair and pure, there is no means of including among them that nature which is the fairest and most precious of all.”

This rather lengthy quotation proves that contrary to what you said, not only Socrates moves away from the idea of Forms, but reiterates it (universal fire, universal body, universal soul are the Form). More than that, he posits an existence of universal soul which is a source of all souls, the mother of all Forms, so to speak.

Speaking of mysticism. What do you make of the passage in the PHAEDO (89d) where Socrates warns Phaedo not to become a misologic, a hater of logic, or reason or argument. Pretty mystical, huh.”

Many mystics are very good thinkers and logicians. The problem is that their reasoning based on the wrong, that is- mystical premises. However if you define a mystic as an unthinking moron who spend his time on flagellation, mortification of flesh, prayers, etc...then Socrates is definitely not a mystic.

“What is the Form that they all share? Notice in both cases Socrates begins with the observation of qualities that are observable. Sounds pretty damn mystical to me.”

The mystical part is that Socrates thinks that the common source of all these observable qualities is the Forms. In other words he doesn’t derive concept from observations but observations from concept.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I think this is all I have to say about this topic. It seems that we have to agree to disagree

Leonid

seddon's picture

“Observe that Socrates doesn't create concept of Forms from the observation of qualities-like beauty or size.”

Let’s see. Check two dialogues, the EUTHYPHRO and the MENO. In the former, when he asks Euthyphro for a definition of what piety is, Euthyphro gives an example (prosecuting the wrong doer) instead of a definition. He points this out to Euthyphro by telling him that there are many other things that Euthyphro would call pious. And Euthyphro agrees. Notice they interlocutors agree that there are many pious things. Then Socrates asks what all of these things have in common that makes them pious.
Now the MENO. Socrates asks Meno what is virtue? Meno, instead of giving a definition, gives examples, the virtue of a father, a mother, a child. Socrates then asks for the “common character which makes them virtues.” (72c) What is the Form that they all share?
Notice in both cases Socrates begins with the observation of qualities that are observable. Sounds pretty damn mystical to me.

Fred

Leonid

seddon's picture

“Socrates doesn't know what Forms are, in spite you claim that he does and explains it in Parmenides.”

I think we have an equivocation on the word “know.” You claim that he doesn’t KNOW the forms since there aren’t any forms whereas I’m claiming that in the PARMENIDES we have a very young Socrates who is trying to defend a position he hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking about (simply because he is so young) against a vastly superior opponent. And thus we shouldn’t take this a Plato’s position.

“This is also confirms my point-by placing ideas in nature Socrates creates concepts-objects which imperceivable both by introspection (been objects) and by perception (been ideas). This leaves him only the supernatural epistemic tools.”

You commit the fallacy of false alternative. In addition to introspection and perception Socrates has recourse to διανοια, νοεσισ, επιστημη, διαλεκτικη, (thinking, insight, knowledge and dialectic respectively). Nowhere is faith (in Rand’s sense) ever used by Plato. I can find faith in Augustine, Bonaventure, Eckhart, Luther and even Aquinas, but not in Plato. If a mystic is what a mystic does, then Plato is no mystic.
BTW what are “been objects” and “been ideas”?

“There is a mystical metaphysics-that which are based on the rejection of axioms.”

But the rejection of axioms is an epistemological position. And everything depends how you reject the axioms. For example, if you tell me, as Gilson does, that the existence of God is an axiom and I ask why and he refers to his faith, then I reject that axiom as mysticism. Or if you ask for a defense of the axioms and, instead of Aristotle’s “you must accept them to even reject them” you give some other defense, say, analyticity, then since an Objectivist rejects the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, he would reject the axiom etc.

“Socrates postulates existence of Forms without identity”

No he doesn’t. They have identity. Just because he is wrong about their identity doesn’t mean he thinks they don’t have identity. Show me the passage where he says they have no identity.

“he became the father of philosophy by the virtue of secularizing religion and mysticism.”

What religion do you have in mind? Orphism? You’re going to have to have a lot of horses to pull that particular wagon. I dare say you have no evidence for such a wild claim. If you do, present it.

“except Aristotle and Rand,no philosopher contributed positively to the body of human knowledge, no one ever answered any question about existence , knowledge, mind or ethics without to create an avalanche of contradictions. As a professional you know that.”

As a professional I know you are wrong. You have confessed on this blog that you don’t know anything about Heidegger, and I would add the name of much lesser known thinkers yet you make this claim. You make this claim from a position of ignorance. As for Rand, she has written much too little actual philosophy to be placed with the productive giants of philosophy. And as for Aristotle, he is a Platonist. Sure there are differences, but at the end of the day he stands WITH Plato against their common enemies, viz., the Sophists, the Skeptics and the Materialists.

“In PHILEBUS 27b Socrates argues that absolute qualities must be infinite . This is another name for Forms.”

No it is not. You read a few words and then pontificate.
The passage doesn’t even mention “absolute qualities,” and it is not even an argument but a summary of the four kinds of things. And earlier in the dialogue, leading up to this summary, he explains what he mean by the unlimited (απειρον, some translate this as “infinite” ). The unlimited is anything that admits of the “more or the less.” His first example is of the hotter and colder (24a) Any quality that does not admit of measurement, but could be more or less is unlimited. It’s hot today, but it could be hotter. It’s cold today, but it could be colder. He then contrasts them with the second kind of being, things that are numbered or measured (arithmetic and geometry). His examples are “equality” and the double. 2 + 2 aren’t more or less 4, but exactly 4. No mention of forms anywhere.
If you had read the dialogue, you would realize that he and Protarchus are trying to determine what is more important for human happiness; pleasure (Protarchus’ position) or knowledge (or reason—Socrates’ position). For you, that probably means MYSTICISM!

Speaking of mysticism. What do you make of the passage in the PHAEDO (89d) where Socrates warns Phaedo not to become a misologic, a hater of logic, or reason or argument. Pretty mystical, huh.

Fred

Leonid

seddon's picture

“Socrates doesn't explicitly say that there are two worlds, but he postulates that ideas are not in us or among us-in other words they belong to some other imperceivable reality.”

I agree with you first clause, but in the last you make an unwarranted leap. Here is what he says, “forms stand in NATURE as patterns.” Notice, no unperceivable reality as you say. You are tooooooo quick to make Socrates a mystic and you ignore the text here. They are in nature. The Greek has φυσει. here. So stop trying to foist an “other unperceivable reality.” There is only one reality, this one, and it contains many things including Forms.

“In Republic Plato postulates that such a reality is the only existence, perceivable reality is only the shadow of Forms and doesn't exist on its own.”

You’re taking the Cave image too literally. Besides, as I have already pointed out, the shadows on the wall are cast by the fire, not the Forms.

“and denier of the observable world.”

In the image of the divided line, he does not deny the observable world and that is a bad way of putting things. He characterizes it as changeable, (animals move, trees grow etc.), visible (you can see plants and animals as well as their shadows. He contrasts that with that part of the world which is unchangeable and invisible, e.g., mathematics. 2 + 2 eternally equals 4 and you get math knowledge, not by looking, but by thinking.

“Plato denies the possibility of knowledge by natural means.”

Again no. He tells us that we gain math knowledge by διανοισ, not by faith, prayer, fasting etc. No mysticism here.

Fred

Leonid

seddon's picture

On PHAEDO 75b-c. First, if we look at the supposed demonstration of the myth of recollection that Socrates does with the slave boy in the MENO, no one, not even my freshman students believe he has demonstrated the myth. When I ask them what they think Socrates is doing, they tell me he’s feeding him the answers by asking what lawyers call “leading questions.” Second, if we look at what he says later he tells us that the only thing he would claim as true from the myth as stated is that we never give up our search for the truth and that we ignore the paradox of inquiry that Meno suggests at 80d.

“Peikoff called atoms free creations of the human mind? I will not believe this unless you can provide verifiable quotation.”

Perhaps it was my bad grammar. Here is what I wrote:
"If we believe Peikoff and Einstein, who calls them, “free creations of the human mind,” and I meant the free creation stuff to only apply to Einstein. What Peikoff calls them are “hypothetical concepts” and he tells us that these concepts are NOT got be abstraction from experience for the very simple reason that we have NO experience of atoms. Sorry for the confusion.

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

Other ialogues in vol.9 are Philebus, Symposium, Phaedrus

Leonid

seddon's picture

What other dialogues are included in your vol. 9?

Fred

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"So Socrates doesn’t know what he is talking about. But if that is true, it is unfair for you to claim that he does. "

But I don't. This is exactly my point-Socrates doesn't know what Forms are, in spite you claim that he does and explains it in Parmenides.

" Socrates suggests that the forms are in nature, i.e., metaphysical, rather than subjective and merely thoughts in our head. Parmenides doesn’t bash that idea—only the “pattern” part."

This is also confirms my point-by placing ideas in nature Socrates creates concepts-objects which imperceivable both by introspection ( been objects) and by perception ( been ideas). This leaves him only the supernatural epistemic tools.

There is a mystical metaphysics-that which are based on the rejection of axioms. If somebody claims for example that there is no existence or identity, I'd reject such a claim as mystical without any further investigation since such a claim inevitable leads to the mystical epistemology.That also pertains to the arbitrary premise of God whose attributes defy axioms, logic and common sense. Socrates postulates existence of Forms without identity ( they are not spiritual, not material, nothing in particular ( patterns are not identity). As such they are not perceivable by natural means. That makes Plato a mystic on both metaphysical and epistemological accounts. Yes, he became the father of philosophy by the virtue of secularizing religion and mysticism. That why philosophy in such a dire state today-except Aristotle and Rand, no philosopher contributed positively to the body of human knowledge, no one ever answered any question about existence , knowledge, mind or ethics without to create an avalanche of contradictions. As a professional you know that.

PS. In PHILEBUS 27b Socrates argues that absolute qualities must be infinite . This is another name for Forms.

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Are you sure PARMENIDES is in Vol. 9 of your 12 vol. set?"

Yes

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"I’m a little confused by your post for Wed. 2011-12-21 18:02"

You are right about the translation of " ἡμῖν" " emin"-us. Socrates doesn't explicitly say that there are two worlds, but he postulates that ideas are not in us or among us-in other words they belong to some other imperceivable reality. In Republic Plato postulates that such a reality is the only existence, perceivable reality is only the shadow of Forms and doesn't exist on its own. That makes him one world metaphisician and denier of the observable world. Since the only real world is imperceivable, Plato denies the possibility of knowledge by natural means. That makes him a mystic which is much worse than two world metaphysician who at least accepts that world presented by senses is real.

Seddon

Leonid's picture

"Does he? He tells us that he will “put down as an hypothesis whatever account (λογοσ) I judge to be mightiest.” I read “mightiest” to mean “deductively fertile.”

Socrates evidently not blind. He does see things, but the things he sees he considers to be only shadows of the real world, the Forms. Them he cannot see, and in fact for him senses are detrimental to the process of learning of real knowledge. Observe that Socrates doesn't create concept of Forms from the observation of qualities-like beauty or size. He proposes the exactly opposite process-postulates Forms and from them derives observable qualities. In regard to your notion that Socrates treats Forms as axioms-axioms cannot be validated by means of logics, they are irreducible primaries, but they could be proven ostensibly, that is-by means of direct perception. Exactly this Socrates denies in regard to Forms. His premise therefore is arbitrary. From what does he deduct his Forms? His only source is innate knowledge( see below)

Seddon

Leonid's picture

Re: Recollection :

"Then before we began to see or hear or use the other senses we must somewhere have gained a knowledge of abstract or absolute equality, if we were to compare with it the equals which we perceive by the senses, and see that all such things yearn to be like abstract equality but fall short of it.”

“That follows necessarily from what we have said before, Socrates.”

“And we saw and heard and had the other senses as soon as we were born?”

Certainly.”
“But, we say, we must have acquired a knowledge of equality before we had these senses?”

“Yes.

“Then it appears that we must have acquired it before we were born.”

“It does.” (Phaedo 75b-c)

Is this a joke or explicit claim for innate knowledge?

"If we believe Peikoff and Einstein, who calls them, “free creations of the human mind,”

Peikoff called atoms free creations of the human mind? I will not believe this unless you can provide verifiable quotation.

Leonid

seddon's picture

“So you say that Socrates knows what Forms are because he calls them patterns? How does he know that?”

Look. You just can’t keep dropping the context this way or you’ll get nowhere. The “pattern” suggestion comes from Socrates immediately after Parmenides refutes his suggestion that the Forms are thoughts in our soul (ψυχη). But then Parmenides quickly dispatches this suggestion with the 3rd man objection. So Socrates doesn’t know what he is talking about. But if that is true, it is unfair for you to claim that he does. What I wanted to say is that after the “forms are thoughts” idea, Socrates suggests that the forms are in nature, i.e., metaphysical, rather than subjective and merely thoughts in our head. Parmenides doesn’t bash that idea—only the “pattern” part. See my outline of this whole section in a previous post.

“That's true, and Socrates epistemology is mystic. He has no way to know what his Forms are, except to die and allow his soul to reunite with them. The difference, however, between him and Rand is that his metaphysics are mystical, based on arbitrary premises.”

This paragraph needs some unraveling. In the first sentence you agree with me that objects don’t make a position mystical, rather it’s one’s epistemology that makes one mystical. But then in sentence three, you say his metaphysics is mystical, thereby seeming to contradict yourself. Consider this example. Someone claims there is a God. So far you’ve only got a bit of his metaphysics on the table and you don’t have enough to convict him of mysticism. So you ask him How he knows there is a God. (Now we’re doing epistemology) Let’s us look at two possible replies. (1) He says, “Oh, I just feel it.” According to Rand, he is a mystic. (2) He says, “I have this proof” and begins to outline his proof based on reason and the senses. (Think of the opening to the first of Aquinas' five ways, I'm paraphrasing, "It is obvious to the senses that some things are in motion.") According to Rand, he is a non-mystic. None of Aquinas’ five ways depend on “feeling” or “faith.” Sticking just with those, one could say Aquinas is a non-mystic.

“Rand could discuss angels as much as she pleased, well knowing that there is no such a thing. Socrates took his Forms for real.”

One could claim that Socrates (or Plato) made a mistake; not that he was necessarily mystical. In fact, he came to realize this toward the end and that is why, in the PHILEBUS, just where you would expect Socrates to mention the Forms, he doesn’t. The Forms are replaced in that dialogue by a four fold metaphysics of the Unlimited, Limit, Mixture and Cause (a kissing cousin of Aristotle’s four causes) which according to one scholar indicates perhaps some input from Aristotle in this particular dialogue of Plato. See PHILEBUS 27b. According to Rand, you are to "make every allowance for errors of knowledge"--cut Plato some slack, after all he is the father of philosophy (not mysticism.)

Fred

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