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A is A and the Law of Causality: Basic Metaphysics

Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 10 months ago to Philosophy
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A is A and the Law of Causality: Basic Metaphysics

A is A is Aristotle's Law of Identity. Rand adopted this as a basic axiom. It is one of the cornerstones of Objectivism. The law states that everything that exists has a specific, particular nature. Every thing one perceives has characteristics that are inherent in its nature. These characteristics are apprehended and can be described. An entity may be described as smooth, blue, round, etc. A person may be tall, slim, and intelligent. These traits give an entity its identity. The particular traits or characteristics are not important. The number of traits is not important. The fact that every entity has traits is what matters.

An entity without form, without traits, is a non-entity. It does not exist. It would be nothing. To exist is to have identity. Identity is the concept of the aspects of existence. Existence requires something to exist as a particular something, with a particular identity. It can not have multiple identities. It is what it is and can be nothing else. A horse is not a camel and a house is not an automobile. Every characteristic of a specific entity is part of its identity.

There can be no contradictions. Entities can not be one thing and another simultaneously. Explicit in the concept of identity is the corollary that reality has a specific nature. Having a definite nature and an identity means it is knowable. Existing according to its nature and identity is without contradictions.

Man has fallible perceptions and can perceive an entity rightly or wrongly, but the entity itself is not subject to one's perceptions or whims. It is what it is. The characteristics of its existence are not subject to the will of man. If a color blind man cannot perceive properly, the color of an entity, it does not change the true nature or color of the entity. A magician and an observer see the same event, but only the magician has the better perspective and understanding. Either way, knowledge of the characteristics of an entity is independent of its nature; its nature is what it is, whether someone or no one knows it.

The Law of Causality is also a fundamental law essential to Objectivism. It is related to the Law of Identity. It is the result of the interactions of entities, or the action of a single entity, having identity, applied over time. Actions, identified are the result of the Law of Causality. No action can occur without an entity. Action, presupposes existence of an entity for an action to occur or exist.

Actions themselves have a particular nature and depend upon the entity or entities' individual identity and characteristics. Action is the change of a particular characteristic of an entity. If a moon changes location while it orbits its planet, it has changed, but it is bound to the nature of its characteristics and those of the other objects involved. The gravity, mass, speed, etc., are factors and characteristics of the entities involved which the actions are dependent upon. Actions change the nature of an entity, but only within the confines of the nature of the entity or entities involved in the action. They cannot produce an action contrary to their nature. Change is dependent upon and determined by the properties of the entities involved whether the action is momentary or continual. For example: A body such as a moon may impact another body and stop or it may bounce off and continue on a new path, continuously changing characteristic of location or speed. For something to change it must be acted upon by some prior action. This is a cause- thus the term Causality.

A change is an effect of a cause or action. A cause is the result of a prior cause or causes, and each cause is the result of and dependent upon the specific nature of the agents and their identities that affect the change. Newton's laws of motion are a good example.

The Law of Identity and the Law of Causality are interrelated. According to objectivist metaphysics all existents in existence are subject to these laws. The law of Identity declares that all existents are real, with identifiable attributes, but not subject to one's apprehension. Existence exists and the Law of Causality explains the means by which that which exists operates. These laws are the essential foundation for a philosophy congruent with logic.

Objectivism: More of the Basics
Introducing Objectivism - Rand's own words in less than ten minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VSBG...
"Reality exists as an objective absolute. Facts are facts." Ayn Rand (Time frame 2:24)

Respectfully,
O.A.

Addendum: A is A (though commonly referred to as Aristotle's law of identity) has been claimed by some to be more properly attributed to Gottfried Lebnitz, while the law of non-contradiction is that of Aristotle.
Regardless, together they are essential elements of the law of identity.


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  • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 10 months ago
    Hume and the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics both deny causality and the law of Identity.
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    • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
      Hello dbhalling,
      Hume was wrong and in my opinion is undeserving of the title of empiricist. He twisted and distorted empiricism. His example that generalizations based on inductive reasoning are false stands only because he is willing to draw generalizations. A generalization is always subject to error. He argued that if a person observes many white swans, but no black ones, they might conclude that all swans are white, but that would be an assumption. That is a bridge too far. He argued that no matter how many times one observes something the next time it may turn out differently, but again that is irrelevant, because it just means he has not yet observed all instances or collected all data, thus proving only that generalizations can be faulty. All the while despite one's personal observations such as the white swan example, the black swan exists independent of observation.

      As for the quantum physics question, one might consider it an anomaly, or the exception that proves the rule, but I still maintain that though at the atomic level entities demonstrate changing states that apparently defy classical physics, they still operate according to their nature and can not do otherwise, even if we do not fully understand what that nature is. Like the question of whether light is a particle or a wave... there is duality... In any case since I live in the macro world; any exception to these classical physics on the atomic level should not affect my course of action, or understanding of the macro world I operate in. Thus, my philosophy serves me well. :)
      Is this a satisfactory answer?
      Regards,
      O.A.
      https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm...
      https://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/l...
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      • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 10 months ago
        HI OA,

        I was not asking a question, but enjoyed your input. As for the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, the physicists responsible purposed interpreted the experiments to get these result. Wiener Heisenberg admits this in his book Philosophy and Physics. The CIQM is leading to more and more nonsense - dark matter, dark energy, black holes all around us, etc.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
        Have you read The Logical Leap by David Harriman (with Leonard Peikoff)? He explains from the fundamentals of Objectivism how generalizations are properly formed. One example can be enough for a generalization. (I have some criticisms of Harriman http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/20... but it is still a good book for a student of Objectivism.)

        When black swans were discovered, they were called just that: black swans, not something else. They were properly integrated into their class.

        BTW: The exception does not prove the rule. That is a common misstatement only more sophisticated than "irregardless" and "Valentimes Day." Everyone says it, but they do not know what they are saying. The word prove in older English only meant "to test" similar to our word "probe" whence "problem" and "probation." Logically, an exception to a rule does not validate the rule.
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        • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
          I believe you have a point regarding the exception to the rule logic. In such a circumstance it is more logical to ascribe the perception of contradictions to the limits of our present knowledge of the nature of the existent. There is more than one connotation for the word perception. One is related to the sensory input and another pertains to the minds apprehension, understanding - mental impression of sensory input. Mental image- Concept. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dicti...
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          • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
            In Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Ayn Rand explains clearly that sensations are not perceptions. In common speech we use the words imprecisely, like "freedom" and "democracy" or ""power" and "energy" and "work" for instance. Relying on a popular dictionary is not helpful in this case. Dictionaries only tell you what most people mean by a word.
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            • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 10 months ago
              A good dictionary will include less common or even obscure definitions as well as the more popular meanings.
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              • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
                Hello CBJ,
                Thank you. I know the reference/link I provided does have the proper meaning listed among the others. I am not in the habit of underestimating and insulting the intelligence of our members... I trust they can gather proper meaning without a philosophy dictionary.
                Regards,
                O.A.
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            • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
              That is some pretty thin gruel... particularly since the meaning needed was listed in the link I provided and commonly found in popular dictionaries. Everyone else was able to gather proper meaning from the context...

              I'll tell you what Mike, I am feeling particularly magnanimous today and since you are such a stickler for detail... I will make an addendum to my original post and provide more satisfactory attribution for A is A and the law of non-contradiction. Now, if you would just stop the ad hominem and pedantry, I, along with others, would be most appreciative when we are not being insulted with your erroneous estimation of our mental inferiority.
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      • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 10 months ago
        Re: “ . . . at the atomic level entities demonstrate changing states that apparently defy classical physics, they still operate according to their nature and can not do otherwise, even if we do not fully understand what that nature is.” This appears to be extending a principle derived from our macro observations and experience to the extremely micro level, where an individual quantum entity’s behavior can be predicted and understood only in terms of statistical probability. The “nature” of a quantum entity may be to behave in a probabilistic manner, one which can lead to any one of an infinite number of possible outcomes. Quantum entities may be the “black swan” within reality, or as you put it “the exception that proves the rule.”
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        • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
          Hello CBJ,
          Indeed. Serious food for thought. I'm afraid as much as it interests me, I only have a basic understanding of the fundamentals. I must defer to those more knowledgeable about such matters. From what I can gather, there is still much debate among them and theories yet to be proven definitively. Perhaps statistical probability is all we can hope for within our present capacity/instrumentality. Tomorrow is another day.
          Respectfully,
          O.A.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
        Objectivist David Harriman denies the duality of light in his book The Logical Leap. He does not solve the problem, but he does state the common explanation is wrong.

        You can find students of Objectivism with degrees in physics and related fields who accept or deny some or all of quantum mechanics. The field is open for discovery. I will point out that "Schrödinger's Cat" is often misunderstood as a statement of Heisenberg indeterminancy, but Schrödinger was with Einstein on that and suggested the Cat only as a reductio ad absurdum of Heisenberg indeterminancy.

        Among the arguments that you can have with Objectivist physicists is whether or not GPS actually depends on Einstein's special relativity. (I have no dog in that hunt.)
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  • Posted by chad 4 years, 10 months ago
    When one man's perception is altered by another's belief and not by observing what has really changed then it is easy for others to control that man, immorally take his possessions and time without compensation the man with the incorrect perception believes he is free while he is but a slave. Discovering reality and accepting it is key to then being able to make decisions on how to live ones life and let others live theirs.
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  • Posted by cksawyer 4 years, 10 months ago
    Thank you for this, OA. It is good to periodically to a bit of foundation checking and resecuring.

    I have one nuanced variation on your recap that I might add; and I am currently pondering this, have encountered it recently in a nice little book on applied epistemology for the non-philosopher entitled "The Whys Way to Success and Happiness by Betsy Speicher, a fellow Objectivist. (I found the book to be over-pedantic for me, but containing a few nice, nuggets, clarifications and applications, btw)

    She proposes that a cause of anything is not and action or an entity; rather, causes are always particular characteristics of entities or actions. Through various examples, she presents a worthwhile case and at least show the value of that distinction in the methods of determining causes.
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  • Posted by rbroberg 4 years, 10 months ago
    This is good. It is important because so much is built on the acceptance and use of this axiom.

    "Entities can not be one thing and another simultaneously. Explicit in the concept of identity is the corollary that reality has a specific nature."

    Indeed. This is critical. Take politics as one example.

    Much of the new left derives from a kind of amalgamation of the old left. Rand describes the differences well, as I recall. The new left does not posit class struggle not from an economic perspective (i.e. capitalist vs. proletariat), but from an racial, ethnic, linguistic, gender, gender preference, environmental, or other perspective. Yet the new left continues to be based in the old left's method. The method, specifically, is a dialectic process. In this process, a "social construct" (here lacking a better phrase) is negated. This negation is then supported with certain examples and negated vocabularies.

    "Animal rights", "environmental justice", "economic justice", and "working class solidarity" are common phrases. But, as we agree, A is A. Rights are properties of conceptual beings. Animals do not have rights. Justice is achieved within a court system. A court system is a political entity. The environment itself has no political status. There is no environmental justice beyond the protection of property rights. Solidarity is unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group. Yet individuals who have multiple characteristics belongs to multiple groups. Not every person who works belongs to the "working class"? An analogous question: Not every verifiable scientific claim belongs to "science", but is perhaps "Jewish science"?

    The point here is that A is A, the law of identity, means that a thing is what it is and is not what it is not. But it also means that reason, logic, and definitions unlock the correct method of identification. Without it, we are left to a chaos where the ethical treatment of animals, environmental science, civil courts, and manual laborers receive not proper philosophy, but the very disintegration the new left intends.
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    • Posted by rbroberg 4 years, 10 months ago
      I would like to add that if a group of individuals cannot conclude whether an entity is A or non-A (as is the case in right or left), then one possible outcome (other than chaos) is cyclical dynamics. The leftists cannot conceive of this. President Obama still has no idea how during his presidency the Democratic Party lost over 1,000 seats! Watch the pendulum swing!

      "It can not have multiple identities." Agreed. Even bipolar people have a particular, albeit unfortunate, set of characteristics defined by the term "bipolar". (The phrase "manic depressive" is not per se a contradiction in terms in that mania is not necessarily elation and depression is not necessarily sadness.)
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    • Posted by mgarbizo1 4 years, 10 months ago
      Novice here, so please excuse my abuse of the terms you all have provided, but I would like to further my education in this subject matter by proposing some of my thoughts as I have read some through some of your ideas:
      Social Construct: Animal rights as a non-example (lack of a better word) regarding rights are properties of conceptual beings. I am a conceptual being, therefore, I have rights, and I know that I have rights, rights given to me by my very existence as a conceptual being. Animals are unable to conceptualize what rights are, but does this leave them without rights as animals? In essence, if my morality dictates that Animals' rights are real, then I will acknowledge as such. Statement of my morality: Entities that exist and are perceived as living have an inherent right to life due to their very own nature to live. That right does not need to be protected or enforced by myself or others, but nevertheless it ought to be acknowledged as such.
      Now, help me understand the fallacies in my argument, so that I may have a better understanding moving forward with these concepts.
      Thanks in advance,
      Mike
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      • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
        Hello mgarbizo,

        Although you have addressed rbroberg, I shall endeavor to help you.

        "The climax (to date) of the campaign against "rights" is the detachment of the concept from the human species altogether, i.e., the claim that animals have rights.

        Rights are moral rules enjoining persuasion as against coercion, and there is no way of applying morality to the amoral or persuasion to the nonconceptual. An animal needs no validation of its behavior; it does not act by right or by permission; it perceives objects, then simply reacts as it must. In dealing with such organisms, there is no applicable law but the law of the jungle, the law of force against force.

        An animal (by nature) is concerned only with its survival; man (by choice) must be concerned only with his-- which requires that he establish dominance over the lower species. Some of these are threats to his life and must be exterminated; others serve as sources of food or clothing, as subjects of medical research, even as objects of recreation or surrogate friendship (pets). By its nature and throughout the animal kingdom, life survives by feeding on life. To demand that man defer to the "rights" of other species is to deprive man himself of the right to life. This is "other-ism," i.e., altruism, gone mad.

        A man must respect the freedom of human beings for a selfish reason; he stands to benefit enormously from their rational actions. But a man gains nothing from respecting the "freedom" of animals; on the contrary, such a policy would seriously jeopardize his survival. How can man morally inflict pain on other species or treat them as means to his own ends? He can do it. Objectivism replies, when such treatment is necessary or advisable as judged by the standard of morality; he can do it because man's needs are the root of the concept "moral." The source of rights, as of virtues, is not the sensory perceptual level of consciousness, but the conceptual level. The source is not the capacity to feel pain, but the capacity to think.

        There are no rights to the labor of other men, and no right of groups, parts, or nonhumans. There are only the rights of man, his right to pursue on his own a certain course of action." Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, pg. 358

        More: http://aynrandlexicon.com/searchresul...

        Respectfully,
        O.A.
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  • Posted by lrshultis 4 years, 10 months ago
    "For something to change it must be acted upon by some prior action. This is a cause- thus the term Causality."

    Is that necessarily true? Does the fission of element 235U require the action with a neutron to fission into two other elements (many possible results) and go out of existence or can the act of fission happen without being acted upon. There are many things which change with time without needing to be acted upon by a previous action, e.g., an oscillating clock reaction where a fluid will periodically change to four different colors over and over until the chemicals in solution are fully used. Nothing other than the composition of the solution was necessary to cause the action no prior action, unless the mixing of the solution can be considered the prior action.
    The main thing is that 'A is A' is static at a particular time while 'identity' is not static in that it can change within ranges for each property depending upon the action. Concepts are define without specifying, other than generally, the ranges of values of relationships in their definitions. Causality basically says that nature is consistent but not that there cannot be any actions that cannot be in a cause and effect relation.
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    • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
      Hello irshultis,
      In each of your examples is it not the internal components working upon each other according to their nature? Change simply being measured in time? Many things change over time... Things decay... The fact that they are changing proves that some action has occurred which you are able to perceive in time.
      Respectfully,
      O.A.
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      • Posted by lrshultis 4 years, 10 months ago
        The act of changing does not prove that that act began by being caused, only that that action was a cause of the change (the effect). The effect of that action, of course, was caused but the original change action may not have been an effect of another cause. Nature cannot be proven to be deterministic at all levels, only that macroscopically it acts deterministically to a high degree with regard to measurement but not necessarily having a first cause in every instance of action. To almost everything in nature it would be hard to find a cause. The belief in a universal law of causality is the way many try to keep their sanity to the extent of postulating the existence of a god to cause every action.
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        • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
          "Nature cannot be proven to be deterministic at all levels." I see another option that could explain this perception. There is a random element to interactions in nature, just as there are a multitude of possibilites on a pool table; the universe is an infinitly larger table... I do not postulate either a first cause or God. I posit that existence exists. That based on unasailable evidence there is only an ongoing expansion of our universe with an infinite number of random interactions occuring and resulting in unpredictable combinations, producing unimaginable creations and results...that we do not know if the big bang was a singular event, or if the universe will collapse and start anew, etc. We do not know why subatomic particles act as they do. No, there is much we do not know. That is also congruent with these laws.

          We have theories and probabilities. What is lacking is certainty. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/cer...

          Evidence, incontrovertible, empirical, proof. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/pro...
          Proof that can be corroborated by our senses. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/per...
          We are now drifting well into epistemology... "[Man’s] senses do not provide him with automatic knowledge in separate snatches independent of context, but only with the material of knowledge, which his mind must learn to integrate. . . . His senses cannot deceive him, . . . physical objects cannot act without causes, . . . his organs of perception are physical and have no volition, no power to invent or to distort . . . the evidence they give him is an absolute, but his mind must learn to understand it, his mind must discover the nature, the causes, the full context of his sensory material, his mind must identify the things that he perceives."_ Galt's speech. To suggest there is no reason, or cause for an event may only mean we have yet to discover it. It may only be a product of our limited capacity/knowledge. Proving there is no cause is not incumbent upon me and sounds like a greater challenge. Either way, these laws are a sound foundation for a philosophy that directs one's life in the macro level and just as useful as Newtonian physics.
          Right or wrong, that is what I believe.
          Respectfully,
          O.A.
          P.S. I had to edit and repost this reply. I originally mistakenly typed something that was imprecise and contrary to what I meant to express.
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          • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 10 months ago
            "Nature cannot be proven to be deterministic at all levels." This actually has to be the case. Man is part of nature, and if nature is totally deterministic man cannot have free will. It’s either-or.
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            • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
              Yes. Very good. It would seem deterministic should only apply to entities without free will, non- sentient... Still, I think it fair to say that even man is limited to choices/actions dictated by his nature.
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              • Posted by $ CBJ 4 years, 10 months ago
                “Man is limited to choices/actions dictated by his nature.” And the material part of his nature is subject to the laws of physics. In order for man to be able to act in a non-deterministic matter, matter and/or energy must include one or more non-deterministic attributes. At the quantum level, this appears to be the case – and even if it’s not, there must be some more basic level that is non-deterministic. A being that possesses free will, but whose physical makeup is 100% deterministic, would not be possible. Even the choice to think or not to think entails a self-directed physical process in the brain, which can only occur if the matter and energy making up the brain have one or more attributes that are not deterministic.
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        • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
          No, it is more than an arbitrary attempt to keep our sanity. It is the way things work. They have to be this way. You wrote: "To almost everything in nature it would be hard to find a cause." That contradicts several basic tenets of Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology. In point of fact almost everything in nature easily reveals a cause when properly inspected and understood. Thus, we have material progress from the hand-axe to the computer.
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
      The solution to your problem is that you are using a concept without naming it. The element U235 was caused. The four-color liquid was caused. I suggest that a clockwork is caused. When we come upon it after causation, we find it running "internally" as you would say and seemingly without outside influence. But that only circumscribes the apparatus in time and place, ignoring the act of its creation.
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      • Posted by lrshultis 4 years, 10 months ago
        You really narrowed down causation to just an initial cause and seem to leave out the cause of all the internal actions, that perhaps every action is the result of a previous effect. That would rule out human free choice and make one's actions completely determined, though from extremely complex causes. For uranium, is there an internal cause for its decay or does it just randomly decay with no process causing the decay, just a decay action with no prior action causing that decay other than becoming unstable, though I suspect that you might say that an unstable state of existence can be causal, i.e., be the cause of the fission of U235 or the decay of U238.
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  • Posted by $ Dobrien 4 years, 10 months ago
    Hi ObjectiveAnalyst,
    Thanks for your bright, concise analysis of these fundamental principles. Your post is wonderful for me as a student of the objectivist philosophy. The video provided in Ayn's own words will now become a part of my daily mental exercise .I will listen to it with a feeling of joy , having the basis of my existence to be my own self interest.
    I have a question if you would be so kind. There are many things that I feel good and happy about , such as personal freedom, accomplishment, working towards a goal ,discovery , comprehension, learning ,athletics , family ,social interactions with like minded folks , but I also find joy in mentoring and sharing my experience and knowledge hopefully assisting other people on my own terms. I don't think that I am unique in that type of charity. In fact it is a unique and wonderful feeling, very satisfying that a person who assists someone else gets. I think that behavior is totally compatible with the premise of self-interest .
    Critics see ethical self-interest as just greed.
    The question is.
    Why don't the critics understand that objectivist's can be Generous and charitable and are just as interested in the people's well-being?
    Is it because they ignore the ethical part?
    With respect,
    DOB
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    • Posted by $ Snezzy 4 years, 10 months ago
      OA has presented the metaphysics. Your "why don't" question is covered in the Objectivist views of epistemology, ethics, and politics.

      Epistemology: How do we know? Which is primary, existence or consciousness?

      Ethics: If consciousness is to be primary, then whose consciousness is to rule, yours, or mine? (Or perhaps I have a whole gang, making up a "group" consciousness. Or a Higher Power consciousness that rules over us from Above.) If--on the other hand-- existence is primary, then what methods should we be using to live our lives? How can we know? (Back to epistemology for the answer.)

      Politics: How are we to interact with each other? Should there be individual liberty, or not? In the creation of some system of government, which we can call "the state," does it exist to serve the individual, or does the individual exist to serve the state? (Another way of stating this dichotomy is the witticism, "If you cannot OWN property, then you ARE property.")

      It is particularly enlightening for Objectivists to read not only the words of Rand, but the books by Aristotle. His answers to the questions of ethics and politics do not match those of Objectivism, but cover the same issues in a way that can seem modern to us, especially when compared to most of the more mystical tracts, both ancient and modern.

      To me, Aristotle appears to be working on correcting the errors of Plato.

      Aristotle's "Ethics" is very accessible to the modern mind, and interestingly answers the question of slavery by suggesting the requirements for ending it--"when the looms weave themselves and the mines dig themselves" in one translation. James Watt's practical steam engine thus freed the slaves.
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      • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
        Hello Snezzy,
        I quite agree. Some of Aristotle's work can be quite challenging, but gathering what you can is definitely a worthy endeavor. I agree on Aristotle's "Ethics" it is one of the more accessible, especially if provided one of the better translations.
        Respectfully,
        O.A.
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  • Posted by minorwork 4 years, 10 months ago
    "Man has fallible perceptions and can perceive an entity rightly or wrongly, but the entity itself is not subject to one's perceptions or whims. It is what it is."

    Who says? There is a metaphysical axiom whose truth is dependent on the unknowable noumena, the source of perceptions. Unknowable, so the axiom escapes verification and is dependent on perception.

    "A Spoon is Like a Headache. This is a dangerous idea in sheep's clothing. It consumes decrepit ontology, preserves methodological naturalism, and inspires exploration for a new ontology, a vehicle sufficiently robust to sustain the next leg of our search for a theory of everything." ~ https://www.edge.org/response-detail/...

    http://www.theatlantic.com/science/ar...
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
      You seem not to have accepted the axioms of metaphysics presented here. Ultimately, your 'unknowable noumena" leads to all of the ethical and political evils that we suffer in the wider world.
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      • Posted by minorwork 4 years, 10 months ago
        Enough to treat Objectivism as a religion in that religion functions for its followers to give them comfort and self-assurance in their innate superiority, but science (when properly understood) can only make one uncomfortable and doubtful about knowing anything for certain.

        Is their objective certainty in metaphysical axioms that is NEVER invalidated by observations?
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        • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
          Opinion: Or Objectivism is nothing like a religion and it is in fact the most logical and rational philosophy yet devised, thus self-assurance of its proponents is justified. :)
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          • Posted by minorwork 4 years, 10 months ago
            Maybe, if supported by results/facts. People live quite comfortably and have never heard of Objectivism. How is that possible? ;-)
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            • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
              Good question. Most people I know have never picked up a book on philosophy and many live quite comfortably practicing a mix of philosophies without ever formally examining them. Common sense, logic and objectivity will go a long way. Objectivism is vilified, and dismissed by many, because they have a vested interest in the altruistic, statist, collectivism that permeates our society. Many will go out of their way to keep others from investigating this philosophy in depth out of intentional malice, or they have not fully investigated it and accept/spread the erroneous talking points of the detractors. :)
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              • Posted by minorwork 4 years, 10 months ago
                Evolution has passed on the basics of objectivity in the macro-world that promotes survival to reproductive age, and a few years later the toll of that process leaves us on our own individually.

                Point being that existence depends on a rapid and veridical response to perceptions in a dog eat dog world until the time binding aspects of information in language and writing enable information to be passed between generations and centuries.

                Reasoned thought (Bayes Theorem) and scientific process in theory, experimental, and engineering branches example movement beyond the strictly genetic inheritance of survival to breeding which evolution alone gives its "blessing."

                Objectivism functions to give thoughtful species reproductive advantage in the macro-world and quantum theory with Bayes in the areas of incomplete knowledge that promotes a timely learning that enables survival until genetics can "lock" an environmental adaptation. Baldwin Effect http://satirist.org/learn-game/inspir...
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    • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
      Hello minorwork,

      "Who says?" Every philosopher since the beginning of time that is categorized as a realist (ascribes to realism).

      Two philosophers, a realist and an idealist are walking down the sidewalk talking and the idealist says there is no evidence that things exist outside of the mind- that there is no evidence that his dining room table exists at all until he is in the room and observes it; then again, it is only in his mind. The realist, hearing this, slows a half step and promptly thumps the idealist on the back of the head with his cane. The idealist protests and asks why the realist struck him with his cane. The Realist replies, but you did not see the cane strike your head, so it must be all in your mind... :)

      I read this story in one of my philosophy books and had to share it. I have undoubtedly paraphrased it since I do not recall exactly where and in which book I read it.

      I'm afraid I do not put much stock in the philosophy of idealists. It appears to me as navel gazing sophistry.

      http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Philoso...
      You may find one side or the other persuasive; I know where I stand and where objectivist metaphysics lead me.

      Respectfully,
      O.A.
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      • Posted by minorwork 4 years, 10 months ago
        When incomplete knowledge on the very small scale is considered that determines the human scale experience, probability performs better at forecasting for control. Quantum Theory prevails over hard determinism. The use of Quantum Mechanics is hardly an idealistic endeavor. Do I need to provide real examples?
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        • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
          Hello minorwork,
          No need for examples. I understand the extraordinary actions of things on the atomic level do not appear to adhere to classical physics and probability is better, or the best we can currently accomplish in predicting their actions. Please refer to the above commentary between myself, dbhalling and CBJ. I believe we have addressed this issue sufficiently. The utility and validity of these rules in the macro world in which we operate have not been proven false. In other words, what I find of import is that we live in the macro world and these laws serve us well in that world. A new understanding or perhaps exceptions to the rules may be required for things in the micro world, but that is something for others beyond my capacity to determine.
          I quite agree that "The use of Quantum Mechanics is hardly an idealistic endeavor."
          Respectfully,
          O.A.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
    You just repeated what Ayn Rand said. (The analogy to the magician was your own.) Also, "A is A" is not "Aristotle's Law of Identity." You are just repeating what you read without doing your own research. A is A was Leibniz's statement of the law of identity. Aristotle's statement was non-contradiction. He said that a thing cannot both be and not be the same in the same at the same time. (Pretty close to the original Greek.)
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    • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
      Wrong! Ayn said the same things as other philosophers on this matter too... So what?
      I did my own research. Like a good student, I did not plagiarize and use their exact wording, but translated the material into my own different wording that would convey the same messages. I have studied Aristotle and I know of the link to Leibniz and the differing opinions. They are immaterial to the lessons. Before writing this article I did review/consult entries on both of these laws from Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand- Peikoff, The Ayn Rand Lexicon, imoportanceofphilosophy.com, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online, and informationphilosopher.com. I don't know what you call research, but in my world that is.

      As for A is A, you might be interested in this link, http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com...
      I am not unique in recognizing the pre-existing foundation of Leibniz's claim. In fact according to some sources, in some form it was recognized and recorded as early as Plato's dialogue Theaetetus (185a).
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
        I see that you have a lot of well-wishers here on this. I agree with most of what you wrote. Allow to suggest some immediate problems.

        (1) "Ayn said the same things as other philosophers on this matter too... So what?" Actually, while you can find similar ideas all along the route to the present - the works of Willem Quine, for instance; the Catholic scholasticism of Cadinal Désiré-Félicien-François-Joseph Mercier, also - Ayn Rand pretty much figured this all out for herself. Her journals have been published and she was a voracious reader. She did not work in a vacuum. However, Ayn Rand did not just take bits and pieces from a lot of other people and glue them into a philosophy.

        (2) Ayn Rand did not like Leibniz because his rationalism (which as bad enough) tended to idealism (which is fatal). She disliked him so much that she never mentioned him. But "A is A" was Leibniz's formulation, not Aristotle's; and that's a fact.

        (3) Man has fallible perceptions and can perceive an entity rightly or wrongly... It is arguable that any misperceptions happen in the brain or the mind, not in the sensory organs themselves. Our amusing so-called "optical illusions" seem to be culturally learned and not inherent in human perception. Ten teams of anthropologists took these and other experiences from our culture out to other cultures including nominally isolated tribes and found that so-called "primitive" are not misled.

        It is an axiom of Objectivist epistemology that we perceive reality as it is. Errors are the result of percept formation or concept formation, not of perception, which is always immediate. Your innocent claim of our fallible senses was easily accepted by everyone else here. That indicates an emotional, non-judgmental conformance of opinion: groupthink.
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        • Posted by $ 4 years, 10 months ago
          I never said Rand worked in a vacuum or that she pasted together a philosophy from pieces of predecessors work. She most certainly integrated the work of others with her own knowledge to form her conclusions and philosophy.
          2. I will accede to the fact that Leibniz first coined the term A is A and published his formulation. However the concept preceded him and is a necessary precurser and is implicit in Aristotle's non-contradiction. Without identity there can be no contradiction. There is nothing. Attribution is immaterial to the lesson, but if it pleases fine. Sleep well Leibniz.
          3. Yes. This is all spelled out in Introduction to Objectivist Epitemology. Again, the word perception has more than one connotation. One is related to the apprehension of the mind... a mental image: concept. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dicti...
          Your last paragraph: Again see 3. above (ref. perception). Also, re-read the beginning of my fourth paragraph. I wrote "Man has fallible perceptions" not fallible senses. Do not besmirch the intelligence of "everyone else here." If I wrote what you said I did somewhere else (though I can't seem to find it) it was in error. Generally I find your criticisms in this case to be akin to the logical fallacy of nit-picking. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/t...
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    • Posted by khalling 4 years, 10 months ago
      GHBs!
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
        What are you trying to say?

        GHB: Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (C4H8O3) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is commonly referred to as a “club drug” or “date rape” drug.???

        GHB: Bug Out Bag vs. Get Home Bag. A lot of people are talking about bug out bags these days. People want to be prepared for disaster when it strikes ... ?

        GHB: George Herbert Bush ???
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