Man Qua Woman

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Fri, 2012-01-06 02:21

In a recent podcast, Objectivist legend Leonard Peikoff was asked:

"I am a member of my school’s student government at a Christian university. One student appealed for our support of a lesbian, gay and transgendered group. Currently, I am thinking of voting no, because transsexualism is immoral. What would be the moral vote?"

Dr Peikoff's answer was that "no" would indeed be the moral vote, since transgenderism is a "metaphysical assault on reality" and a "thorough corruption" with whose practitioners he would never voluntarily associate.

Objectivists have had to be dragged (pun intended) kicking and screaming into allowing that homosexuality is not, as Ayn Rand notoriously and ludicrously alleged, the result of "pychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises ... immoral ... disgusting"; now it seems the process has to be repeated on the matter of transsexuality.

Transsexuality arises from a conflict between one's anatomical and psychological genders. A transsexual may be a man who would rather be a woman or a woman who would rather be a man. (Personally I regard the former as deplorable and the latter as commendable, of course, since women are highly peculiar creatures and one should never aspire to be one or acquiesce without a struggle to already being one. But I digress.) The lengths to which people go to change their gender vary from cross-dressing to hormone treatment to what is called Gender Reassignment Surgery, reverently known as “cut-and-tuck” in the case of the male-to-female procedure. The causes of this conflict are unknown, but as best science and psychology can ascertain currently, if they are not innate or prenatal they might just as well be. Transsexuality is not a matter of choice, in other words—and since morality pertains only to that which is a matter of choice, to pronounce moral judgment on it is pointless and fatuous. One might as well denounce redheads for their unusual hair colour. (Howard Roark—metaphysical affront!)

I am not sure if New Zealand's most famous drag queen, Carmen, had the cut-and-tuck—I did not know her that intimately—but it's certain that she transformed attitudes for the better and made the country freer. When she died recently at the age of 75, her obituary noted that of her many businesses,

the most famous was Carmen's International Coffee Lounge, a "flamboyant space" festooned with avant-garde European art, mirrors, and tropical fish, according to Te Ara, the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Although homosexuality was illegal, various types of sexual liaison were available. Patrons arranged their coffee cups in particular ways to indicate whether they were after a heterosexual, gay, transsexual, or drag queen encounter.

Should a police raid occur, an elaborate system of doors and stairways provided discreet escape routes.

"We had a secret door so you'd never know who was going up there," she said in a 2001 interview.

"We had plenty of famous people but I'm terrible with names - although I always remember sizes."

When she ran for mayor in 1977, Carmen campaigned for hotel bars to be open till midnight or even 2am; the drinking age to be lowered to 18; prostitution to be made legal; abortion to be decriminalised; homosexual acts to be decriminalised; sex education in schools for 14-year-olds; and nudity on some beaches -  all of which are now legal.

Now, it's clear that Leonard Peikoff would never be seen dead with such a metaphysical assault and thorough corruption as Carmen, but I'm proud to say I frequented her "flamboyant space" in those audacious days (I decline to disclose how I arranged my coffee cup) when one never knew when the next boorish police intrusion on consenting adults gathered in private might be. New Zealand was never officially a theocracy but there were certainly respects in which it resembled one, thanks to the institutionalisation of Goblian attitudes indistinguishable from Peikoff's.

Neither, presumably, would Peikoff ever shake the hand, even if he could reach it, of basketball star Lindsey Walker, previously known as Greg, who's been living as a woman for two years. According to the Daily Mail:

A 7ft tall butch basketball star is undergoing a sex change - and will become the world's tallest transsexual.

Lofty American Greg Walker, now 25, grew up sports-mad with beautiful cheerleaders on his arm, but said he 'always felt different'.

Strapping teenager Greg - who has size 16 feet and weighs around 20 stone - regularly lifted weights and would ride motorbikes to mask his true feelings.

He had dozens of girls chasing him but shunned their advances, preferring to become friends instead and discuss fashion and 'girly' things.
 
In his early 20s, Greg - now Lindsey - was unable to continue the 'charade' and began wearing women's clothes.  

He then sought medical advice and began taking oestrogen to become more feminine and now boasts a curvy woman's body - and a 38B bra size. 

Now legally recognised as female after living as a woman for two years, Lindsey said: 'I was one of the popular kids in high school.
 
'I was smart and always had girlfriends and loads of girls chasing me. But it somehow didn't feel right, almost like it was a charade.
 
'I started to feel really isolated as thought here was something wrong with me and at 18 I started doing research secretly into why I was feeling so different from everyone else.

'Although I hid my feelings well I lived my life always knowing there was something different.By 21 I had hit my rock bottom and I started having emotional problems and turned to drink.

'Then one day it just clicked and I knew what I had to do. I started wearing women's clothes and later turned to female hormones to suppress the testosterone in my body.'

Lindsey, of Ohio, grew up as Greg and experienced a 'normal boyish' childhood as a keen sportsman and gifted basketball player.

He was offered a basketball scholarship to study economics and marketing at Central Michigan College, but dropped out aged 21.

He became increasingly isolated and changed his name from Greg to Lindsey. Lindsey then poured her heart out in a letter to her supportive parents explaining she had always felt and wanted to be a woman.  

The acceptance gave Lindsey the confidence to start wearing women's clothes and undergo a course of female hormones to become more 'womanly'.

She now proudly boasts a B-cup bra size and buys her fashionable clothes and high-heeled shoes to fit her size 16 feet from specialist websites online.

Lindsey is legally classified as a woman and is now saving up for full gender reassignment surgery, which she hopes to have by the end of the year or early 2013.
 
Her supportive parents have accepted her decision although Lindsey is estranged from her younger brother. She has also contacted the Guinness Book of Records in the hope she will be officially recognised as the world's tallest transsexual.

Do we now await Peikoff's denunciation of Walker's freakish feet as a metaphysical assault, a thorough corruption, the immoral and disgusting result of flawed premises? If not, why not? Lindsey is as responsible for her foot-size as her sexuality, after all.

An Objectivist should repair to reality first and foremost in all things. His first question should always be, “What is the reality here?” not “What does Objectivism say?” If being an Objectivist requires one to spout such prudish nonsense as Peikoff's on transsexuality then an Objectivist I ain't. I appreciate that Peikoff would have the grace to acknowledge that his views on this subject are not part of Objectivism, and that even if they were they shouldn't be enforceable by law. But what harm is done to Objectivism when its leading exponent—of whom I use the term “legend” advisedly and with the sincerest respect—offers such ignorant and bigoted advice to inquiring and impressionable youngsters I shudder to contemplate.

As Carmen and Lindsey demonstrate, the lives of men qua women can be heroic too.


Ross

ding_an_sich's picture

"...the premise is that existence exists.

That we are here is a conclusion from existence. That we need a philosophy to live is a conclusion from that we are here.

Mr Kite? You'll have to explain that one."

You said, "For the benefit...", and Mr. Goode thought of a song by the Beatles called Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.

Also, the premise "Existence Exists" means that at least one thing exists. Depending on how we construe the domain. We may infer from the axiom "Existence Exists", if one the domain includes all human beings presently existing, that:

1) Ellis has the property of existence and Ellis has the property of existence.

or

1*) Ellis is predicated by existence and Ellis is predicated by existence.

We would need more premises in conjunction with the axiom "Existence Exists" in order to prove that we are in need of a philosophy to live by; so,

2) (Existence Exists & (P1 &...& Pn)) -> Humans need a philosophy to live by

So, mutatis mutandis, you cannot conclude from only the axiom "Existence Exists" that humans need a philosophy to live by. It is only with additional premises that you can do such a thing.

[ That's my favourite Jack

Mark Hubbard's picture

[ That's my favourite Jack Nicholson movie. And probably in my top 15 overall. ]

Janet

Olivia's picture

I consistently get mistaken for a man. I guess by the way I write.

Nope. Do you remember the movie As Good as it Gets, starring Jack Nicholson playing Mr. Udal the writer?

There is that moment of hilarity when an adoring female fan asks him how he manages to write women so well. Mr. Udal replies, "I think of a man and then take away reason and accountability."

You definitely write like a woman. Eye

There's just something about a Petty Girl

darren's picture

I always preferred Petty Girls.

Petty Girl or Varga

seymourblogger's picture

I always preferred Petty Girls.

darren you are just too funny

seymourblogger's picture

The kind of guy that brought the PC Feminists into existence.

Hmmmmm. Wonder if there's a personal injury lawsuit against this site over this Darren? Maybe you want to reconsider doing photoshopping like this in the future. Don't worry about erasing it as I have already saved it on my hard drive. I wonder what my IT boyfriend will have to say about this. You do know about IT people, don't you?

goblins favorite son?

Jules Troy's picture

darren aspires to visit the goblinaries of tibet so as to be closer to goblin...

And thanks for making me feel

darren's picture

And thanks for making me feel so good when I had walking pneumonia for my pic shot. You sure know how to make a gal feel good.

Sure. And this is what you used to look like on a good day:

Don't mention it! (You're

darren's picture

Don't mention it!

(You're gaaaawwwwjis...)

darren - even on sights with no pic

seymourblogger's picture

And thanks for making me feel so good when I had walking pneumonia for my pic shot. You sure know how to make a gal feel good.

Got news for ya', seymourblogger . . .

darren's picture

I consistently get mistaken for a man. I guess by the way I write.


Well, actually, no. It has more to do with the fact that you really do sort of look like a man.

Reply to myself

seymourblogger's picture

I consistently get mistaken for a man. I guess by the way I write.

Lindsay Actually gender is a socially constructed construct

seymourblogger's picture

See Judith Butler's Gender Trouble and the rest of her writing. Lacan would say '"How do you know Ayn Rand is a woman?" My post on gender ambiguity: http://focusfree.blogspot.com/...

wiig - fascism is political

seymourblogger's picture

Authoritarianism is the psychological mentality, mind-set, manifestation. You pick.

And I agree that it cannot be destroyed but it can be subverted. Nietzsche subverted it in his writing by the aphoristic style putting the burden of meaning on the reader, not the author telling in the authorial voice.

Capitalism. Hmmmmmm. Can we say free enterprise instead? Or is the important fact the accumulation of capital? I myself very much like shoestring hippie capitalism, but not corporate. That too, is a problem for me as some corporate functioning seems necessary to me but I don't know if that's just because I live in its world. Anyway I think it is impossible to function like that without becoming enmeshed in a web you never wanted to be stuck in.

Why I like blogging. It feels free. No one edits what I say. Of course there's no money in it, and I don't care. But what if I did?What if I wanted to eaarn my living doing it? What would I do then?

No, Richard...

Ross Elliot's picture

...the premise is that existence exists.

That we are here is a conclusion from existence. That we need a philosophy to live is a conclusion from that we are here.

Mr Kite? You'll have to explain that one.

Mr. Kite

Richard Goode's picture

...that's one premise and two conclusions.

So, let me get this straight. You have two arguments, as follows.

(P1) Existence exists.
Therefore, (C) We are here and we need to live.

and

(P2) Existence exists
Therefore, (C) We need to have a philosophy that allows us to live.

?

Nope...

Ross Elliot's picture

"For the benefit of those listening in, that's three premises."

...that's one premise and two conclusions. You really have to discern a colon from a semicolon.

You're welcome, Mabel

Jmaurone's picture

Smiling

Thanks Jim

seymourblogger's picture

I don't know whether spell check helps me or hinders me.

Yeh. Merrill. This is the one book - quoted by Sciabarra - that gives an extensive quote of the 2 editions of WTL. Merrill reads her changes as backtracking on Nietzsche. All she did was invert the sentence, a technique Nietzsche uses all the time, playfully, and a technique post modern thinkers employ: say perfectly marvelous, marvelously perfect. Not so superficial as my example but you get the idea. Nietzsche was very veery out of favor after Hitler and a long time afterwards. Foucault himself, with all his prestige and academic clout, did not acknowledge his great debt to Nietzsche until very late in his intellectual career. In an interview he said he regretted not acknowledging him earlier. Baudrillard studied him in German very young and well, here is what he said in an interview: http://intellectualterrorism2....

Ron Merrill

Jmaurone's picture

What's his name? Ron Merrill. And the other guy was Chris Sciabarra...NOT Sciaberra.

"But he was not a Nietzsche scholar. Nor am I."

Thanks for clarifying.

leonid Symbolic Exchange and Death

seymourblogger's picture

by Jean Baudrillard for starters.

jmaurone I know she said that

seymourblogger's picture

She said a lot of things. FTNI was non-fiction. I do not deal at all with her non-fiction, only with her fiction. she repudiated Nietzsche yes. But you cannot clean out the influence of someone who is in your entire being. All her fiction testifies to her long love affair with Nietzsche. Ron what's his name now, is the only one who comes close with his analysis of the two editions of We the Living. It's unfortunate that he did not go far enough because he was so very close. But he was not a Nietzsche scholar. Nor am I. But I do know one when I read one and that is Jean Baudrillard. Reading Rand through Nietzsche through Baudrillard will get you there. It is a long journey but is its own reward. Rand spends her time disavowing Nietzsche which is rationalizing and projecting. Peikoff scrubbed him out of her journal and letters as much as he could without obliterating him completely. But Nietzsche owns Rand. And it was so deep she could deny it. She denied the poison of smoking. She denied the fact of passionate love for an old woman by a young man. And Frank? But I'm not going to go there.

Rand on Nietzsche

Jmaurone's picture

To Libby Parker, a Fan August 24, 1963

You are wrong when you see any parallel between my philosophy and Nietzsche's. Nietzsche was an arch-advocate of irrationalism (see his The Birth of Tragedy.) If you want a brief indication of my views on all the leading schools of modern philosophy, I suggest that you read and study the title essay of my book, For the New Intellectual.

(From Letters of Ayn Rand, pg. 613-614)

I understand that your Order

Leonid's picture

I understand that your Order of Seduction doesn't require any substantiation and you free to claim or say whatever you feel or want without to bother about such a boring matter as an evidence, reason and logic which apparently belong to the Order of Production. That why you feel free to post any kind of any hodgepodge without any responsibility of proof or sense.

leonid here is where and why we differ

seymourblogger's picture

I do not pay any attention to what Rand says in her non-fiction.

Rand's fiction is in The Order of Seduction: reversibility; risk; stakes; destiny; passion; Event; Consequences; etc

Rand's non-fiction - with the Brandens - is in The Order of Production: irreversibility; survival; accumulation; linear, progressive, historical time; Cause and Effect; etc

We constantly butt heads, no pun intended, because you come from the Order of Production and I come from the Order of Seduction. They are two different orders of being, of thinking, perceiving, etc. Nietzsche's writings are in the Order of Seduction. He did not develop a formal philosophy. Rand was trying to and it is a mess. Rand's fiction is all in The Order of Seduction. She was a philosopher with her fiction, anticipating a time that would come after her time. She is responsible for much that has happened from her fiction. Her non-fiction is a drop in the ocean. Fountainhead was written under the sign of Nietzsche and originally each chapter was to have had a quote from Nietzsche and a dedication quote. Nietzsche was purged out as Hitler had openly avowed him and the Western World was in the middle of WWII. She wisely let him go (Foucault did the same) but he remained in her veins, as he did with Baudrillard, until she died. Those are the only two major influences I know of that were Nietzsche's heirs, other than Foucault who embraced Nietzsche consciously, but not so thoroughly as Baudrillard, who studied him in German when very young. Rand did in Russian probably and then in learning English. This is the way Burroughs suggests learning a language BTW. So Rand had him embedded in her bones also. No escape from his deep influence. She squirmed, repudiated him as a mystic, which label she gave everyone who disagreed with her, but to no avail.

So now that I have cleared up that we are simply arguing in different orders, I won't bother you any longer. You are in a Discourse that is already dead. Our arguments indicate that no one can ever resolve anything while in it.

Rand is Nietzsche's daughter and Baudrillard is his son. Major accomplishments.

You are making too many

Leonid's picture

You are making too many assumption. From what you said I can see you have learned very little about Nietzsche and even less about Rand. I did read genealogy and I did read " Thus spake Zarathustra" . This is true that Zarathustra's speech , in which he rejects man's, virtues, justice, happiness and reason based on the Judo-Christian morality sounds like Galt's speech. In the " We Philologists' he explicitly proclaims that "It is the duty of the free man to live for his own sake, and not for others"

However on the question by what man has to live Rand and Nietzsche take completely opposite positions. For Rand reason, mind is the man's only tool of survival. For Nietzsche " "`Reason' is the cause of our falsification of the evidence of the senses" (`Reason in Philosophy', § 2, Twilight, 75), in other words reason is detrimental to the man's life. He suggest that man will restore his reason by instinct, the will to power. In other words Nietzsche advocates the primacy of passion. That is-passion, wish , whim is man's primary drive. In short, Nietzsche's overman is a subjective egoist and as such he's very different from Ayn Rand's hero-a rational individualist.

This is how Ayn Rand described Nietzsche in her own words " Philosophically , Nietzsche is a mystic and irrationalist...his epistemology subordinates reason to "will", or feeling or instinct or blood or innate virtues of character. But, as a poet, he projects at times...a magnificent feling for man's greatness, expressed in emotional, not intellectual, terms"

shit again leonid

seymourblogger's picture

The Overman is man as he is intended to be. Man that will become without all the hypocrisy, animal consciousness, etc. Roark is Rand's concept of Nietzsche's Overman, and Galt is her finished product if you will. Your wiki understanding of Nietzsche is showing. The Genealogy of Morals is non-fiction, not the fragmentary form and style of Zarathustra. If you actually read Nietzsche himself you would see what I mean. The Gay Science is wonderful, but it is not his final statement on this, on God. You will have to read his Genealogy to get that.

And since I doubt you will slough through the original German, let Baudrillard do it for you. Only you will have to read all of Baudrillard to feel the blood of Nietzsche through his writing as he rarely if ever, refers to Nietzsche in any literal way. Here is what Baudrillard directly says about Nietzsche in an interview with Sylvere Lotringer: http://intellectualterrorism2....

Darren

Leonid's picture

"A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition.
So, according to Objectivist epistemology, I can't have a concept of the Universe, because there's only one of it!"

Yes, you can. 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. What you cannot have is your idea of co-existence. Awareness is a faculty or quality if you wish. Your statement has no more meaning than ,say, a postulate that red color co-exists with ripe tomato and a speed of 120 km/h co-exists with your car.

...or Jesus with the sword

Leonid's picture

...or Jesus with the sword in his mouth vs. infidels.

Randroid vs. Pomo

Richard Goode's picture

It's ugly. And nowhere near as entertaining as Alien vs. Predator.

"No Nietzsche did not lament

Leonid's picture

"No Nietzsche did not lament the death of god"

Did I quoted "Gay Science" for you to ignore it? Or you want to call it an irony? You have very bizarre sense of humor. In GM Nietzsche fights Altruism, criticizes specifically Christian religion and Jesus Christ as a moral ideal, but nowhere he denies God.

"Rand uses the Overman for Roark and Galt."

This is factually wrong. In AS Galt described as a normal person, not as a super or overman. If anybody amongst Rand's characters fits description of overman, that this is Wynand.

Oh shit leonid

seymourblogger's picture

Get it? Nietzsche wasn't an atheist. He was lamenting the death of God in the hearts of the rational people, people who substituted God by mind, as Ayn Rand did. But he also suggested the way out-if we killed God, let become Gods ourselves, the ubermensch, or overman.

No Nietzsche did not lament the death of god. Yes he was an atheist. Read the Genealogy of Morals. Gay Science was written earlier than his genealogy. His Genealogy was not too long before his death.

Rand uses the Overman for Roark and Galt. She despises the masses who fawn over The Banner's propaganda, just as Dominique despises Wynand and decides to marry him because he is "worse" than Keating. She finds out she was wrong, that he has integrity, that he does not believe what he appears to advocate in the pages of the Banner, that he despises what he prints for the masses, and intends to keep doing it for the money and power it gets him.

You obviously cannot read IRONY when it smacks you in the face. A good example for you oh one of the masses was the choice of Colbert to give the after dinner speech at the White House Correspndents Dinner for Bush in 06 I think it was. Here's a link to it for a summary of sorts: http://guerrillablog2.blogspot...

Whoever chose him for that speech had their head handed to them. They must have watched Colbert any number of times to choose him and never saw the IRONY in his entire program. Irony is wasted on you as you take it literally. OMG! Let me outta here.

seymourblogger

Leonid's picture

"Not that God doesn't exist, but that he is dead. Very different...The Randroids do not understand Rand and they do not understand Nietzsche."

And you do? If you were, you'd understand the difference between metaphor and philosophical statement, between philosophy and German romanticism. Besides, you misquote-"God is dead appears not in the "Genealogy of Morals but in "Gay Science" Besides, God is not just dead, he has been killed.

In this essay the phrase is related to the mad man.

"Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him...How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us - for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto."

Get it? Nietzsche wasn't an atheist. He was lamenting the death of God in the hearts of the rational people, people who substituted God by mind, as Ayn Rand did. But he also suggested the way out-if we killed God, let become Gods ourselves, the ubermensch, or overman.

" "I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment..." (Thus spoke Zarathustra)

If you have any knowledge of Ayn Rand or Nietzsche writing, how can you honestly say that Objectivism or even Rand fiction does have anything in common with Nietzsche? Ayn Rand saw in man a heroic being not a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. Although Nietzsche also prized man's creativity, for him the source of creativity wasn't mind-he considered it too weak-but the Will to Power.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles)

Richard Goode's picture

...for the benefit of those listening in, Objectivism starts from one premise: that existence exists; that we are here and that we need to live; that we need to have a philosophy that allows us to live.

For the benefit of those listening in, that's three premises.

...

(P1) You get what you need. (The Rolling Stones)
(P2) Death is certain. (Iggy Pop)
Therefore, (C) You don't need to live.

Darren

Leonid's picture

I don't know whether or nor you understand Ayn Rand, but it's clear that you don't understand the very basic, rudimentary principles of Objectivism, even as much as to be able to criticize it properly

Further....

Ross Elliot's picture

...for the benefit of those listening in, Objectivism starts from one premise: that existence exists; that we are here and that we need to live; that we need to have a philosophy that allows us to live.

God Boy...

Ross Elliot's picture

...is being perfectly honest here.

He denies Rand because Rand denies his belief in God. There is no common ground. The entire philosophical import of Objectivism is opposed to God Boy's faith.

He believes in consciousness prior to existence. He believes that pure consciousness brought existence into being. He believes that nothing could exist before God. He believes in something from nothing. Wow, what a trick.

No, I understand Rand

darren's picture

No, I understand Rand perfectly. I disagree with her. Get the difference between "understanding" and "agreement"? They're two different things.

And the reason I disagree with her is that she's wrong.

Yeah, Darren, I do make an

Richard Wiig's picture

Yeah, Darren, I do make an effort to understand Rand correctly. It's clear to me, given the lack of comprehension of some very fundamental things, and the lack of any concern to correct it, that both you and Richard do not.

Perhaps it is because you do

darren's picture

Perhaps it is because you do not try.

Now I understand how your mind works. You try and you try and you try, and you keep on trying until you agree with Ayn Rand. If at any point in these trials you discover that you disagree with her, then that's evidence, ipso facto, that you haven't tried hard enough.

You call that "being an Objectivist." The rest of the free world calls it "cult behavior."

Just thought you might be interested.

goode this entire thread

seymourblogger's picture

exists because Rand's philosophy was a trashy mess. Her non-fiction I hasten to add. She was trying to not accept Nietzschean premises and she did not have the great mind that he had to challenge him effectively. Since he wrote in aphorisms and fragments he did not present a cohesive coherent formal philosophy. So he cannot be defeated or challenged. Won't work. He is out of the dialectic. Gone. No linear time, no progressive time, no continuity. Just Events. No cause and effect either because they exist in Hegelian time. Just consequences, not experimental proof of variables causing effects. Just consequences.

Goode there is no truth

seymourblogger's picture

Truth is just a ready-made word. Like Hope and Change. Remember those two? O got a lot of mileage out of both of them.

wiig I should shut up

seymourblogger's picture

So, according to Objectivist epistemology, I can't have a concept of the Universe, because there's only one of it!

Here is an example of Baudrillard's Impossible Exchange. If there is only one of something it cannot be exchanged. The World, the universe, certainly our planet Earth. Earth cannot be exchanged, but it can be stolen, piece by piece without our knowing. Just as our reality can be stolen from us in homeopathic doses so we don't even notice.

The universe is only one. We are in that universe, we are integrated with it. We cannot think outside of it. Our mind just won't wrap around it.

This is what Vija Kinski says in Cosmopolis: The demonstrators are part of the system they are demonstrating against. They only make the system stronger as the system needs its own opposition. They are inside. There is no outside. This is Nietzschean and hence his despair at Eternal Return.

Deleuze hypothesizes the escape from it with Difference and Repetition.

It only looks as if I'm

Richard Wiig's picture

It only looks as if I'm changing my mind. Just as Richard Goode doesn't comprehend the concept "Universe" in relation to Rand's theory of concepts, you do not comprehend some basic fundamentals either. Perhaps it is because you do not try.

Looks as if you're changing your mind now.

The study of cause and effect

darren's picture

The study of cause and effect and consequence in relation to human life, which is not the same as you put it.

In your previous post you admitted that epistemology REDUCES to physics, and physics is the study of matter and energy. Looks as if you're changing your mind now.

Matter and energy in the form of human behaviour/action

"I intend to be an astronaut when I grow up." "I intend to be a fireman when I grow up." Those are two very different kinds of human intentions, an "intention" being a kind of human action. I claim that the the study of matter and energy have nothing to do with studying how or why a child might have those intentions, and that therefore, physics is useless in this regard. Obviously, you disagree.

You are removing the proper context entirely. Why?

I provided the context given by Ayn Rand: ethics rests atop epistemology. If the latter is really just a form of physics as you admitted in your last post, then so is the former.

Sorry, but it cannot be aware of itself until it is first aware of something other than itself. 

Sorry, but consciousness cannot experence itself as a "SELF" by awareness of other, or not-self. That position is unintelligible. In fact, you can't even use the word "itself" when speaking of a consciousness aware only of other things, because it's a pure stolen concept. A "self" IS a self by virtue of self-awareness, not by virtue of other-awareness. You're simply regurgitating Rand instead of rethinking this through on your own.

It doesn't semantically depend on "other". To be conscious is to be aware of something. 

If your definition of consciousness is "awareness of something OTHER than itself", then your notion of consciousness semantically depends on your notion of "other."

If there is nothing around to be aware of then no awareness is possible.

But if your notion of existence includes "consciousness" itself, then even in a so-called void, there is something for consciousness to be aware of: itself. That's by your own definition.

Must be a full moon

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The Goblian nutters are howling, albeit not in unison. Goode job the world is more civilised than when Goblians ruled, or they'd be burning each other at the stake.

Quick things:

1) "Existence" does indeed mean everything that exists. It's not a weasel word and there's no hidden agenda with it. If matter and energy were all that existed, then that would be that—but that's not what "existence exists" means. It means "everything that exists exists." That would include Gobby, if he/she/it existed. Problem is, the Goblians have proffered no evidence for such an entity (much less defined it), and Baade (and many of his way-more-illustrious predecessors) has made a point and virtue of agreeing that there's no evidence and it's a matter of faith. Baade has lately offered a variation of this premise: Gobby exists because many people believe he/she/it does. He made a quick leap from Kant to Hegel. Wotta surprise; this has never happened before!

Darren apparently believes both Gobby and that which he/she/it created were here all along, in which case Gobby didn't create anything and is not the Grand Designer Darren has been touting after all.

It's all rubbish, of course—and, of course, "existence exists" is a bulwark against it.

The saade thing is how quickly, in Baade's case, the virus of goblinism (Deism) progressed to full-blown Goblianity (Christianity). And to think that these days there are so many things one can take for it!

2) Baade claims Objectivists misrepresent Goblianity. This Objectivist would be curious to know: in what respect?

3) Anyone who uses the airhead terminology "epic fail" is an epic cretin.

No, God Boy

Ross Elliot's picture

For those listening in, Darren is suggesting that consciousness can exist prior to existence. This is typical of those who believe in a God.

Those of us who live in the real world understand that nothing can be perceived unless it exists.

Further, he confuses epistemology with metaphysics. He confuses what is with how we determine what is.

"Move along. There's nothing to see here."

Not gobbledygook

Richard Wiig's picture


No, it doesn't. 'Existence' is an Objectivist weasel word.

It's the broadest abstraction that can be made. Nothing weasel about that. It's an observation, and there's nothing gobbledygook about it. It's very clear cut.

I do. Objectivism is crazy stuff. Rand said

A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition.

So, according to Objectivist epistemology, I can't have a concept of the Universe, because there's only one of it!

You haven't understood what Rand was saying then. Universe is an integration of two or more units, just as furniture, or automobiles, or music is an integration of two or more units. The units are integrated into the concept. You are looking at it back to front.

Darren

Richard Goode's picture

Throws out the window any possibility that something which is true for you can be true for me by virtue of its truth not being a function of any substrate. According to the physicalist:

To each, his own substrate. From each, his own truth.

Too cryptic, even for me. Care to elaborate?

"Yes" is the operative word

Richard Wiig's picture

"Yes" is the operative word in your reply. Therefore, you admit that according to Objectivism, epistemology is really just physics: the study of matter and energy.

The study of cause and effect and consequence in relation to human life, which is not the same as you put it.

Naturally, other disciplines relating to consciousness must also, at root, be physics; psychology, for instance, must also ultimately just be the study of matter and energy.

Matter and energy in the form of human behaviour/action.


So, if you are willing to admit that epistemology is really just physics, then you're willing to admit that ethics must be physics, too.

Right?

You are removing the proper context entirely. Why?

How can it be conscious of itself when it has nothing to relate itself to?

There's no contradiction in that assumption. Consciousness relates to "other" after it relates to self.

Sorry, but it cannot be aware of itself until it is first aware of something other than itself. Imagine a disembodied consciousness suspended in a void with nothing to focus on. It wouldn't even be aware that it existed. In fact, it wouldn't exist. There would be no consciousness.

Rand's dictum that "a consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms" is simply false. And you apparently never thought of this one:

How can consciousness relate to "self" at all, when your very definition of consciousness semantically depends on "other"?

It doesn't semantically depend on "other". To be conscious is to be aware of something. If there is nothing around to be aware of then no awareness is possible. That isn't semantics.

If taken literally, your definition doesn't allow for self-consciousness at all.

Dualism is EPIC FAIL Only on

darren's picture

Dualism is EPIC FAIL

Only on your substrate, not on mine. So much for physicalism, weak or strong. Throws out the window any possibility that something which is true for you can be true for me by virtue of its truth not being a function of any substrate. According to the physicalist:

To each, his own substrate. From each, his own truth.

Turtles all the way down

Richard Goode's picture

And on even closer inspection, those tiny houses would be composed of yet smaller bricks, etc. Sounds like an infinite regress to me.

It is.

Would that be a problem in your scheme of things?

It's not a bug, it's a feature.

Goode

darren's picture

On close inspection, it might turn out that the bricks are made of lots of little tiny houses.

And on even closer inspection, those tiny houses would be composed of yet smaller bricks, etc. Sounds like an infinite regress to me. Would that be a problem in your scheme of things?

Have you ever been sold on the idea of existence?

With the exception of certain parts of New Jersey that I just can't believe exist, I suppose I am sold on the idea.

Existence seems to me a catch-all. (Of course, it doesn't seem that way to Randroids. According to Randroids, that existence exists implies that God does not.)

Of course it's a catch-all. And to be sold on it doesn't mean that I find it a useful concept with which to argue or debate. Randroids harp on it constantly but only to stifle debate with outsiders.

What is your philosophy of mind? I'm a physicalist.

I'm an interactionist. I generally accept Popper's construct of a "3 World System" for describing the relation between mind and body: World 1, World 2, and World 3, which are all qualitatively very different aspects of the same reality, but which interact with one another in many ways. World 1 comprises the world of matter and energy; World 2 comprises the world of mental states and psychological dispositions; World 3 comprises the products of mind: stories, myths, tools, scientific theories, scientific problems, social institutions, works of art, etc.

Darren

Richard Goode's picture

Psychological properties supervene on physical properties.

Substrate independence (functionalism) is a weakly reductive physicalist philosophy of mind, as opposed to, e.g., identity theory, which is strongly reductive.

My own view, as an interactionist, is that matter and consciousness are two irreducible phenomena

You're a dualist, in other words. Dualism is EPIC FAIL.

Having said that, dualism is far more impressive than anything Objectivism has to offer in the philosophy of mind. (I.e., it's better than nothing.)

Commander

Richard Goode's picture

I'm not a Randroid. In fact, I don't even consider myself to be an objectivist.

I know that. It's been nearly a year since I mistook you for an Objectivist, and I gave you my apology.

What's with all the complicating of things? You don't like it when people misrepresent Christianity

It's the Objectivists who complicate things. They misrepresent Christianity, yes, but even worse than that, they misrepresent Objectivism! They send straw men to attack straw men!

That "existence has primacy over consciousness" means that God - if a god exists - cannot have created the Universe.

No, it doesn't. 'Existence' is an Objectivist weasel word. Sometimes Objectivists use the word 'existence' to mean everything, or all that exists. Other times they use the word 'existence' to mean matter and energy. Which then enables them to declare that all that exists is matter and energy. The fallacy they deploy is called equivocation. ("Matter has primacy over consciousness" implies that God cannot have created the Universe. "Existence has primacy over consciousness" is Objectivist gobbledygook.)

Why don't you give Objectivism the same kind of honesty in critique that you want given to Christianity?

I do. Objectivism is crazy stuff. Rand said

A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition.

So, according to Objectivist epistemology, I can't have a concept of the Universe, because there's only one of it!

"mind reduces to matter and

darren's picture

"mind reduces to matter and the laws of physics, and so would epistemology."

"Yes."

"Yes" is the operative word in your reply. Therefore, you admit that according to Objectivism, epistemology is really just physics: the study of matter and energy.

Naturally, other disciplines relating to consciousness must also, at root, be physics; psychology, for instance, must also ultimately just be the study of matter and energy.

Several things follow from this that you seem not to be aware of. Rand proposed a hierarchy of philosophical inquiry: the base is metaphysics; on top of that rests epistemology; on top of epistemology rests ethics; and on top of ethics rests politics.

So, if you are willing to admit that epistemology is really just physics, then you're willing to admit that ethics must be physics, too.

Right?

How can it be conscious of itself when it has nothing to relate itself to?

There's no contradiction in that assumption. Consciousness relates to "other" after it relates to self. Rand's dictum that "a consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms" is simply false. And you apparently never thought of this one:

How can consciousness relate to "self" at all, when your very definition of consciousness semantically depends on "other"? If taken literally, your definition doesn't allow for self-consciousness at all.  

If the universe first

Richard Wiig's picture

If the universe first consisted of nothing but matter, and consciousness appeared only later, it's obvious it would have only appeared from what already existed . . . which was matter only. Ergo, on this model, consciousness is one of the many combinations of which matter is capable. If this is the case, then mind reduces to matter and the laws of physics, and so would epistemology.

Yes. Epistemology of this world, as opposed to crystal balls, tarot cards, the casting of goats entrails, speaking with the dead, etc.

I've already explained but you were busy flirting with Moeller at the time. If consciousness appeared first, then it could have begun as self-consciousness.

How can it be conscious of itself when it has nothing to relate itself to? In order to be aware of self, you have to first be aware of something other than self, otherwise there's no possible way to make a distinction.

darren didn't we a long time ago

seymourblogger's picture

go into Julien Jaynes The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind? This is still searching for origins, hermeneutics.

Instead the word"consciousness" is outlined by Nietzsche in Genealogy of Morals and taken up by Foucault in his 1974 College de Paris Lectures on Abnormal. Obviously as you trash what I write, you also forget it.

Torture inscribes consciousness on the body and mind: The Inscription of the Body - also detailed in DeLillo's Cosmopolis.

And what else does Roark do to Dominique after he "rapes her by invitation", but inscribe her body.

Maestro Perigo

darren's picture

The question of when and how consciousness came to be is a scientific one,


Did you say "WHEN and how"? That's unusually open-minded of you. And if scientific inquiry concludes that consciousness appeared first in the universe, and matter only later, will your philosphy be able to accept it?



 I don't know what part of that is so hard to comprehend.


I comprehend it just fine. I also reject it. To comprehend something doesn't necessarily mean to accept it as true.



You continue to equivocate between metaphysics and epistemology.


No equivocation. Just a working out of the absurd consequences of Rand's system.


If the universe first consisted of nothing but matter, and consciousness appeared only later, it's obvious it would have only appeared from what already existed . . . which was matter only. Ergo, on this model, consciousness is one of the many combinations of which matter is capable. If this is the case, then mind reduces to matter and the laws of physics, and so would epistemology.



I note that you also continue to decline to explain how consciousness is possible without something to be conscious of,


I've already explained but you were busy flirting with Moeller at the time. If consciousness appeared first, then it could have begun as self-consciousness. Rand & Company are incorrect when they arbitrarily assert that consciousness -- by definition -- must first not be self-conscious, but instead must first be other-conscious, and then, through some unexplained process breezily assumed by Rand, this other-consciousness gradually turned "inward", toward the experiencing self, and — voilà — suddenly there is self-consciousness! Does Rand offer any proof of this? No. Alternatively, I also see nothing wrong with the idea that consciousness began as "the unconscious" and gradually "woke up". Why would the unconscious require pre-existing material objects to be conscious of? Rand has no answer to this because she doesn't even raise the question.


My own view, as an interactionist, is that matter and consciousness are two irreducible phenomena, and have always co-existed. In this model, the concept of "Existence" would include both matter and consciousness as metaphysical primaries

leonid why are you still discussing Marx?

seymourblogger's picture

Marx dialectical materialism is finished because Hegelian dialectics are finished. Marx rests on the Hegelian structure. Without it Marx implodes without anyone firing a shot.

darren your answer to leonid is

seymourblogger's picture

that the Foundation of the Dominating Hegelian Discourse subsumes opposites. Opposites are needed, required for the Discourse. They can never be resolved. If they were they would disappear and then the Discourse would disappear.

darren it's not going to get you anywhere

seymourblogger's picture

how many more fucking years do Randians want to argue about this? It can't be concluded satisfactorily because the founding of a Discourse takes the opposites into its structure and embraces both. Vija Kinski in Cosmopolis quoting Foucault and Baudrillard.

Goode your assumption is the argument rests on origins

seymourblogger's picture

If you can prove the origin then you win. It is a useless regression. Hermeneutics has been deconstructed and trashed by Foucault. and by Susan Sontag in her essay Against Interpretation.

Lindsay your problem here is

seymourblogger's picture

that you are regressing to origins, still enmeshed in hermeneutics. Still in the dialectic.

Nietzsche - Genealogy of Morals. It's all there and not in the dialectic.

wiig Rand got her atheism from Nietzsche's

seymourblogger's picture

Genealogy of Morals. If you read that essay you will understand why she remained convinced for life of the non existence of god. Nietzsche is saying that "God is dead" thereby challenging God to appear not dead. Not that God doesn't exist, but that he is dead. Very different.

No. That "existence has primacy over consciousness" means that God - if a god exists - cannot have created the Universe. Why don't you give Objectivism the same kind of honesty in critique that you want given to Christianity? Your statement lies within the dialectic and can be argued until doomsday. Nietzsche isn't arguing. He is just saying that God is dead. Appear then if you aren't dead, God. Go ahead. I dare you.

This is what convinced Rand. The Randroids do not understand Rand and they do not understand Nietzsche.

(Of course, it doesn't seem

Richard Wiig's picture

(Of course, it doesn't seem that way to Randroids.

I'm not a Randroid. In fact, I don't even consider myself to be an objectivist. Existence is a starting point. An axiom, and that's surely easy to understand. What's with all the complicating of things? You don't like it when people misrepresent Christianity, such as when Leonid presents the sayings of Jesus as evidence of militancy, a militancy that doesn't exist.

According to Randroids, that existence exists implies that God does not.)

No. That "existence has primacy over consciousness" means that God - if a god exists - cannot have created the Universe. Why don't you give Objectivism the same kind of honesty in critique that you want given to Christianity?

Instructive snapshot!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Leonid said:

Primacy of existence is not a matter of chronology. It simply means that nothing, including consciousness can exist outside of existence.

Darren replied:

If that's all the statement means, then it's not very interesting. It's nothing more than an obvious truism.

Leonid's riposte was quite correct: it's not supposed to be "interesting," and any requirement that it be so is the kind of scattiness one would expect from birdbath-shallow pomowankers like Stanley Fish. Axioms are boringly constant, inescapable and prosaic.

As for "obvious truism"—duh, Darren! It's clearly not obvious to reality-challenged mystics, who need to be reminded of it ad tedium.

The question of when and how consciousness came to be is a scientific one, Darren; philosophically speaking, as a base of knowledge, consciousness is axiomatic. I don't know what part of that is so hard to comprehend. You continue to equivocate between metaphysics and epistemology.

I note that you also continue to decline to explain how consciousness is possible without something to be conscious of, just as you continue to withhold the incontrovertible evidence in your possession that your lonely goblin got tired of having nothing to be conscious of and proceeded to make stuff.

Darren

Richard Goode's picture

If consciousness is simply a certain configuration of matter, then the stuff comprising that configuration is more fundamental than the configuration itself.

Not necessarily.

A brick house is a specific configuration of bricks, but the bricks existed prior to their configuration of a house.

On close inspection, it might turn out that the bricks are made of lots of little tiny houses.

But I've really never been sold on the emergent property idea because it seems to me a catch-all

Have you ever been sold on the idea of existence? Existence seems to me a catch-all. (Of course, it doesn't seem that way to Randroids. According to Randroids, that existence exists implies that God does not.)

What is your philosophy of mind? I'm a physicalist.

It suppose to refute a claim

darren's picture

It suppose to refute a claim that existence can be created

So if consciousness is part of existence, then consciousness cannot be created.

Poetry, (a product of

darren's picture

Poetry, (a product of consciousness)
idea, (a product of consciousness)
love, (a product of consciousness)
gravitation, (a product of matter)
light waves, (a product of matter)
fiction, (a product of consciousness)
overdraft (a product of not balancing your checkbook)

all these are part of existence.

But only as products of matter or consciousness.

"Therefore, Existence =

Leonid's picture

"Therefore, Existence = matter + consciousness"

No, there is much more than that ( see below). Poetry, idea, love, gravitation, light waves, fiction, overdraft-all these are part of existence. Moreover, entities, which we have no knowledge whatsoever about and may only discover in the future or not to discover at all are part of existence.

"Primacy of existence is not a matter of chronology. It simply means that nothing, including consciousness can exist outside of existence."
If that's all the statement means, then it's not very interesting

It not suppose to be interested. It suppose to refute a claim that existence can be created, that it appears, as you mentioned before, that there is some supernatural reality which transcend existence, that consciousness can exist before existence or separately co-exist with it. It also means that time is part of existence, not other way around and therefore a question what appeared first consciousness or existence is meaningless.

"By the term "existence,"

Leonid's picture

"By the term "existence," Rand meant "matter." Is that correct?"

No, that is incorrect.

" The concept of "existence" is the widest of all concepts. It subsumes everything-every entity, action, attribute, relationship (including every state of consciousness)-everything which is, was, or will be. The concept does not specify that physical world exists." (IOP, Appendix pp 245-9)

Existence includes

darren's picture

Existence includes consciousness.

Therefore, Existence = matter + consciousness. And "Primacy of Existence" = Primacy of (matter + consciousness). According to Objectivism, then, both matter and consciousness have been around forever. Consciousness, therefore, did not arise as a result of material combinations.

Primacy of existence is not a matter of chronology. It simply means that nothing, including consciousness can exist outside of existence.

If that's all the statement means, then it's not very interesting. It's nothing more than an obvious truism.

You'll have to just tell me

darren's picture

You'll have to just tell me why you disagree with Rand that existence has primacy over consciousness.

By the term "existence," Rand meant "matter." Is that correct?

Shalom ubracha

Leonid's picture

"I see. So, then, "Existence" in that statement includes both matter and consciousness. Neither is prior to the other chronologically. Is that correct?"

Existence includes consciousness. Primacy of existence is not a matter of chronology. It simply means that nothing, including consciousness can exist outside of existence. Existence, identity” (which is a corollary of “existence”) and consciousness are primary axiomatic concepts. Does it make sense?

" In other words, according to Objectivism, "matter" IS "consciousness" and "consciousness" IS "matter." Is that correct? "

No. Consciousness is a certain faculty of certain entities which allow them to be aware of existence. As far as we know only living organisms possess such a faculty. One cannot separate faculty from entity, but it doesn't mean that faculty is identical with the entity.

"Crystal clear. In other words, matter appeared first, then consciousness appeared later, becoming conscious of what already was in existence, i.e., pre-existing matter."

No. Objectivism doesn't recognize the Marxist-reductionist dichotomy of matter-versus consciousness. This is no matter of chronology. There is nothing antecedent to existence, nothing apart from it—and no alternative to it. Without existence the notion of time, a chronology, is meaningless. Existence, therefore cannot appear ( appear from what?), it simply is. By definition existence exists necessarily. Consciousness from the other hand is not, it's contingent. Consciousness is a faculty of certain entities, and we know for a fact that some entities are conscious and some not. Therefore the notion that consciousness exists necessarily together with existence is false, unless you accept the theory of panpsychism and claim that rocks, stars and rivers are conscious. I think that such a notion evades the nature of consciousness. One cannot discuss consciousness meaningfully without first to answer a question: consciousness of whom and for what? First-consciousness doesn't exist without somebody who is conscious as form cannot metaphysically exist without substance. Second, as I mentioned before, not all entities possess consciousness, but only those who face the alternative of life and death. Consciousness is a faculty which facilitates the interaction of an organism with its environment and so promotes life.
To talk about consciousness as divorced from life would be contradiction in terms. Consciousness is not created by matter as you put it, but represents the evolution of the very basic biological faculty which is responsiveness. Therefore consciousness doesn't have anything to do with the matter qua matter, but everything with the life qua life, that is: self-initiated self-sustained goal orientated process of interaction with environment when the goal is continuation and bettering of life itself.

A prerequisite of consciousness is sensory input. This is another reason why consciousness cannot be antecedent to existence . Imagine a person who since his birth is living in the state of the absolute sensory deprivation, that is-state of zero input. Consider now what would be the state of his consciousness.

"I understand that you will soon be undergoing gender reassignment surgery and that you've chosen to become a man. It's about time."

It sounds to me like gender chauvinism, but I wouldn't argue. I'm a man , you are a woman.

I don't understand your

Richard Wiig's picture

I don't understand your accusatory tone. You'll have to just tell me why you disagree with Rand that existence has primacy over consciousness. If it doesn't, it's not something I will evade.

It may do. Who knows what did

darren's picture

It may do. Who knows what did and didn't exist in its entirety at any particular point in time.

Ah, much, much clearer! So zillions of years go, there was (possibly) ONLY matter floating around space, and this matter, under the influence of forces such as gravity, heat, electricity, magnetism, perhaps others, combined and recombined and recombined again, until one of those combinations was consciousness.

Is that about right? Or in your opinion, did consciousness arise without the use of matter entirely?

Goode

darren's picture

I believe that's so. Regardless of whether matter is prior to consciousness or vice versa.

If consciousness is simply a certain configuration of matter, then the stuff comprising that configuration is more fundamental than the configuration itself. A brick house is a specific configuration of bricks, but the bricks existed prior to their configuration of a house.

Regarding substrate independence:

This appears to be an application of the "emergent property" idea; i.e., that when certain material substrates — not limited to biological matter — are architecturally, or (perhaps better) hierarchically configured, a spontaneous qualitative change occurs "globally" (i.e., over the entire configuration); in this scenario, the qualitative change being the sudden appearance of "awareness of something that is NOT itself" (i.e., awareness of an outside world), and awareness of an inner world of experience (i.e., awareness of a "self").

Maybe. But I've really never been sold on the emergent property idea because it seems to me a catch-all, a bit like the concept of "instinct" used to be in the late 19th to mid 20th centuries. In any case, however, it does make empirically testable claims, and I don't think any empirical evidence has ever appeared.

Oh wiig

seymourblogger's picture

Don't throw them any more food or crumbs.

If there is only one world then it cannot be exchanged. Baudrillard's Impossible Exchange, so all this becomes absurd. and this is what Rand got herself into with all her non-fiction for the sake of Branden. Her fiction is clear. Nietzsche is clear on this. It's when Rand started to explain it within the dialectic that the mumbo jumbo and sound bites started.

And so of course, NBI was required for us to pay to understand it all as Branden straightened it out for us in formal, programmatic prose.

Like teaching babies to swim. They will do it naturally if you put them in a graduated swimming environment that starts out with an inch or so and gets gradually deeper. (Except for those adventurous ones who prefer to jump in the deep part immediately. I've seen some.) But no, Bonnie Pruden made a small career and book sales forming classes teaching babies to swim and mothers to relax with a program to teach their children how to learn.

I have a mathematical friend who said once," If children were taught how to talk, one half of them would never learn."

OK you guys

seymourblogger's picture

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Darren

Richard Wiig's picture

But you said that "Existence" includes "everything that exists." "Everything that exists" includes consciousness.

It may do. Who knows what did and didn't exist in its entirety at any particular point in time. A zillion years ago was there consciousness in the universe? Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. Do you? At this particular point in time, do you know all that exists? I certainly don't. Maybe you do.

I think what you mean by "existence" — but are not willing to admit —

What's with this "not willing to admit"? Why do you say that?

is material existence, i.e., matter. Now, at least, your thought is intelligible (even if incorrect):

It's not about what I mean, it's about what Rand means. I'm hoping that I've understood her correctly. I may not have, in which case I'm fully open to being corrected. As I understand it, it simply means existence exists. Nothing more, nothing less, and makes no claims about what exists.

1. Primacy of Existence means: matter came first.

It means that consciousness is dependent on matter. So yes, matter came first.


2. Matter combined in various ways under completely natural forces, giving rise to lots of "second-order" phenomena, all composed of combinations of matter. Eventually, matter combined to form an interesting "second-order" phenomenon we call:

Now you're talking something that only science can answer.


3. Consciousness. Since matter was pre-existing by the time consciousness was formed, consciousness conveniently had something that it could be conscious of.

And the Universe doesn't do convenient things of course unless there is a Goblin to make it be convenient. So at heart you think the Universe is a malevolent disordered place?

That's the general picture, right? Matter first, consciousness (composed of some combination of matter) later?

Consciousness is dependent on matter, absolutely. If you disagree, then you explain to me how consciousness has primacy over existence?

Ross

Richard Goode's picture

Is a rock aware of itself?

Rocks are atheists. Go figure.

Darren

Richard Goode's picture

consciousness is just one of the many combinations that matter is capable of taking.

I believe that's so. Regardless of whether matter is prior to consciousness or vice versa.

What's your view on substrate independence? (I've asked the question before, but the darkness has not understood it.)

Oh...

Ross Elliot's picture

"If matter preceded consciousness, then consciousness is just one of the many combinations that matter is capable of taking."

Like a rock or a feather?

No, consciousness is an awareness of self. Is a rock aware of itself?

No...

Ross Elliot's picture

...reality means if you smite your own eye it'll hurt, God Boy.

...primacy of existence is a

darren's picture

...primacy of existence is a philosophical term. It means that reality is the basis upon which we build morality.

And "reality", I assume, is also a philosophical term, which includes "matter" and "consciousness." Right? Or is consciousness not considered part of reality in Objectivism?

The 9 orders of angels will sing your praises, RE

darren's picture

Of course matter precedes consciousness.

An intellectually honest Objectivist! Well, thank you, RE, for admitting the above assertion! Getting your co-religionists to admit what your Master's philosophy teaches is like pulling teeth. 

Now we can actually proceed.

If matter preceded consciousness, then consciousness is just one of the many combinations that matter is capable of taking.

No, you dweeb....

Ross Elliot's picture

"Primacy of Existence means: matter came first."

...primacy of existence is a philosophical term. It means that reality is the basis upon which we build morality.

It's clear that existence

darren's picture

It's clear that existence precedes consciousness . . .

But you said that "Existence" includes "everything that exists." "Everything that exists" includes consciousness.

I think what you mean by "existence" — but are not willing to admit — is material existence, i.e., matter. Now, at least, your thought is intelligible (even if incorrect):

1. Primacy of Existence means: matter came first.
2. Matter combined in various ways under completely natural forces, giving rise to lots of "second-order" phenomena, all composed of combinations of matter. Eventually, matter combined to form an interesting "second-order" phenomenon we call:
3. Consciousness. Since matter was pre-existing by the time consciousness was formed, consciousness conveniently had something that it could be conscious of.

That's the general picture, right? Matter first, consciousness (composed of some combination of matter) later?

leonid you don't go to wiki to find out about Foucault

seymourblogger's picture

Foucault is always writing about a power/knowledge relation. He is writing about the power/knowledge grid, the net, that gets ever finer and tighter. For Foucault the state, the govt is itself enmeshed in that grid as it references the power/knowledge relation.

Politically he says, "Where there is power, there is always resistance." And he urges reistance, individual resistance from each and every one of us to the extent we can do so, however much we can. The state from the geographic has now entered surveillance, surveillance of all of us, the model of the Panopticon. Surveillance controls crime where prison exacerbates it, and the prison itself is part of the power/knowledge/capital/surveillance grid.

As Rand clearly saw reading through Nietzsche, everything is related. Foucault has carried on with this also. Knowledge is not separate from power, power is not separate from knowledge.

Foucault did not develop the concept of governmentality. Starting with the method of genealogy he discovered what was there, what can be seen, but is hidden in the Discourse. You are not supposed to see it.

An object does not exist until and unless it is observed. William Burroughs

Hubbard resists when he writes about people condemned to leave their homes because of what natural disaster could happen to them, and those who refused to leave. This is the resistance Foucault talks and writes about. These people are being forced by the govt grid of power/knowledge to leave their homes because of what might happen to them. They are resisting by refusing to go. They may not win, but that isn't the point. The point is that they are resisting.

Roark resists power/knowledge/capital. Wynand resists by using The Banner to try to save Roark. It doesn't work, but that's not the point. Roark tells him it won't work but that he should continue to do it even if he loses everything he has. Why? For the integrity of resisting. Foucault resisted in many different ways. He used his vast influence to arouse actions of reisistance wherever power/knowledge/capital was forcing people against their will. Lest you think Foucault or I am denouncing capital, we all know that capital is enmeshed in a grid with government. Each uses the other. They are in a relation, they are in bed together, which is why many libertarians want the state to wither away one way or another.

And he exposed the futile practice of arguing ideals within the Dominating Discourse of politics. Foucault demanded that the greatest danger be confronted first. The greatest danger now is confinement and endless surveillance. I hope you can feel it and if you have lived enough years, you can feel the change. The time of your childhood, that world, is no more.

It is absurd and stupid to go after Foucault with the sword of wiki in your hand.

Baudrillard has already done it for you. Read Forget Foucault.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.