The knee jerk reaction to my ideas is to assume that when I appeal to the SELF–the individual human being–as the metaphysical irreducible and thus the only rational moral and epistemological absolute Standard (“epistemological” in this context meaning, how we know that what we know is in fact true), that I’m making the contention that my SELF is the only salient Self.
Several attempts have been made by people whose intellect I admire to link my ideas to Kantian Subjectivism in this manner…the thought being that since I deny a Standard of Truth and Morality outside of Self, that “reality”–as they call it, “external reality” (an illogical definition entirely) must necessarily be based upon whatever whim I, alone, devise.
Now, it isn’t that I don’t understand why some people believe this, it’s just that I think it is simply because they have been functioning according to the “this or that” dualism of Aristotle vs. Plato for so long that they aren’t able to integrate any truly new ideas. Indeed, even averring that I am presenting “new” ideas would likely be taken as a grand apostasy.
But it is a logical fallacy to believe that just because I declare that I am ME and YOU are YOU, and absolutely so, that this must mean that I am the only one who actually exists; which is precisely what I am accused of asserting. The loose logic is that since all knowledge is a function of the senses (it isn’t; its a function of the ability to sense, which is a function of the ability to conceptualize SELF as “he who senses”) which observe “objective reality outside you”then we must assume that “objective reality” is a function of the “cause and effect” of (invisible) physical laws which “govern”. In short, any appeal to a Standard of Truth except that which the senses first observe is labeled subjectivism.
As ostensibly rational as this argument is, its fatal weakness is that it doesn’t come close to answering the question: What is man? And as I have submitted on numerous occasions, if you cannot rationally answer that question then the rest of what you believe about anything is immaterial. If there is no definition of man–and a definition of man cannot be: an absolute function of a reality OUTSIDE himself because that is a rank contradiction, and makes man a direct function of that which is “outside of him”…or said another way, of that which is NOT him–…yes, if there is no definition of man then there can be no relevance to what he believes. Because “he” must be declared something, and even more, something capable of being aware of his own relevance to the existential equation. And this awareness cannot be a function of that which is outside of him, because that makes his awareness not his own, in fact, but whatever “caused” him. However I submit that awareness must be an innate function of man’s ability to be himself; anything else removes man from his own consciousness, which makes all appeals to man’s existence a lie. For a man who is fundamentally unable to be aware, and this awareness of himself, cannot be said to know anything.
Man’s ability to be himself IS his ability to KNOW himself, and his ability to KNOW himself is his ability to conceptualize himself as juxtaposed to the conceptualization of what is NOT himself. Both the SELF of man and the Environment of man are predicated upon man’s ability to know–to conceptualize–them both. There is no thing, “inside” or “outside” of man, which is not conceptualized in order to be understood, made relevant and efficacious, and applied to the promotion of man’s identity. And there is nothing conceptualized which is not a function of man’s inherent ability to conceptualize.
From this I argue that reason is simply the internal rational consistency of the “conceptual paradigm” as I call it (I’m not a linguist by trade; they probably have an “official” name for that to which I am referring). Meaning, man’s ability to take the concepts he uses to organize and reconcile himself to his environment, and thereby create his own specific identity, cannot contradict one another.
In other words, man’s relationship to his environment cannot be paradoxical (as in “contradictory”), and the only way to assure that this is not the case is to reject descriptions of reality which are, within the conceptual framework–which is man’s only means by which to reconcile himSELF to his Environment (the basis for “existence)–mutually exclusive.
For example, if we believe that John Immel (of spiritualtyranny.com, and a friend, a philosophical critic of mine, and a brilliant thinker and deft writer) is both determined by God and yet also has free will, we have violated conceptual consistency, since “determined” and “free-willed” cannot both have the same absolute reference. John Immel cannot be given the characteristics of abstract concept X and Y when X and Y are conceptual opposites. And this means that the assertion must be false. John Immel cannot be both determined and have free will, because it defies reason (conceptual consistency) and thus cannot be a valid explication of “reality”, since “reality” is, in fact, its own concept. And if reality is a concept then its definition must be non-paradoxical; that is, it cannot be defined by conceptual characteristics which are antipodal. If we attempt to explain “truth” by appealing to conceptual opposites as its fundamental basis we have violated reason; and since reason is the only way to arrive at truth, we cannot violate reason and still claim truth.
Further, if truth is the means by which man’s SELF, man’s identity, is affirmed, a violation of truth is in fact a violation of morality, since man is the root conceptualizing agent and thus all truth rests with him as reference. If he is denied, nothing can be called good (or evil), because “good” can no longer be defined, since the means to apprehend truth, man’s ability to conceptualize SELF, is invalidated. Truth and morality are corollaries, I submit, and both are a function of reason.
Therefore to concede conceptual paradox as the basis for “reality” is both false AND evil, is my point. Man’s existence is affirmed by truth; and since man is he who possesses the ability to conceptualize, he is the one whom truth serves. And for truth not to serve him is evil. Put simply: insofar as truth and morality are corollaries, so are evil and lie.
That which is said to be true cannot be predicated upon conceptual opposites. Concepts are used by man to promote the primary concept of SELF upon the Environment, and this is not possible if those concepts used to promote the SELF are found to contradict on their way to concluding with the SELF as the metaphysical absolute. This is the philosophical equivalent of doing a maze puzzle and claiming you arrived at the “END” by drawing a straight line from “START”. You cannot blow through all the dead ends and say you’ve correctly arrived at the logical conclusion. It just doesn’t work that way.
According to all of the above rationale, in order to condemn me as a subjectivist means that one must show how I can proclaim conceptual consistency as reason, and reason as truth, and truth as goodness, while at the same time denying that other human beings can be conceptualized any other way except as full-fledged metaphysical singularities. In other words, as THEMSELVES, or OTHER SELVES.
But here’s the problem with doing that: Since they can recognize ME as not THEM, and consistently and empirically use and apply the concept of I, and ME, and MYSELF, just as I do, it is impossible to define them except as SELVES without violating the conceptual paradigm and thus violating reason and truth and morality. Therefore, in the interest of maintaining conceptual consistency, according to my philosophy, I must assume that I am NOT the only SELF in existence. It would be a violation of the conceptual paradigm to call ME the only true SELF, and then relegate all other human beings to the status of mere objects. Rationally, this simply does not work. A chair, a car, a tree, a breeze do not use the pronoun “I” or “me”; nor do they refer to me as “YOU”. Not even Artificial Intelligence (which is a completely false threat, and is based on the assumption that human awareness is a function of unconscious particles coming together as a function of the “causal” laws of physics which “govern”…which, um…yeah, unconscious cannot by defintion = conscious)…yes, not even Artificial Intelligence can refer to its own “style”, its hopes and dreams, placing itself at the very center of a conceptual paradigm by which it is understood by the very structure of what comprises it, that Truth is meant to serve it, and not the other way around. A talking computer cannot pontificate upon or exegete its feelings or dreams or make itself as the subject of a “future” or “past”. Only the human being can do that.
And even if the computer could do this it would not invalidate my argument; for we define a sentient being not by its body or its “objective” material form, but its ability to recognize itself as its own existential constant; its own metaphysical absolute. “I” means not the body, it means the root by which all that is defined as existing, as an IS, has any relevance or meaning or purpose or truth or goodness at all. In other words “I” is a metaphysical concept, not a physical one.
But what my critics argue is that somehow my philosophy demands that I observe humanity as a thing, not as a SELF; which I declare is impossible according to my rational plumb line: reason. Which I define as conceptual consistency.
On the contrary, it is not my, but their objectivist, empiricist philosophy which demands human beings must be things, not metaphysical singularities; not sentient agents; not thinking SELVES. They are the ones who demagogue “objective reality” as being a function of the “laws of physics”, which are unseen, unknowable apart from “material reality”, and unable to effect or affect anything at all absent material reality first, and man’s ability to conceptually organize reality before that.
It is their philosophy, not mine, which must deny any that another human being outside of oneself has any intrinsic character. Their philosophy must proclaim consciousness an illusion and assume that all references to one’s own awareness are either illusory or madness.
It is their philosophy, not mine, which must deny any real efficacy of the senses, and ignore another person’s appeals to “self” and “me”, and to reference “you” and “us”, and dismiss them as merely the predetermined ramblings of programmed organic robots who have no actual understanding of such concepts because such thinking agents simply cannot rationally exist in the “real world” of the “objective” causal universe. Outside of oneself of course. After all, someone must be privy to the “truth”.
It is their philosophy, not mine, which must deny human conceptual consistency as that which is reasonable, fundamentally destroying and rendering inert both truth and morality. It is their philosophy, not mine, which must observe human beings as external objects which can have nothing to do with those concepts which affect the “objective, observing self”, because “self” in this paradigm can only be defined exclusively as the one who can observe his own consciousness–“me, and no one else”–and thus the only one who can claim to properly observe and thus parse reality “objectively”.
They, not me, must assume that “future”, “past”, “love”, “want”, “need”, “hope”, etc. can have nothing to do with others they observe, because they do not concede that a rational conceptual definition of “other person” has anything to do with reality. Other human beings are not products of their own ability to conceptualize SELF, thereby referring to themselves in the first person singular and placing themselves at the center of the conceptual paradigm, just as they do.
It is their philosophy, not mine, which subordinates all humanity to the subjective whims of the only one who can, by their rationale, be “real”.
And who is that?
It is he who calls himself: the observer.
But I do not preach the reality of the observer. I preach the reality of the SELF, who must, in order to rationally define SELF, must define OTHER as his metaphysical equal. Equally aware and equally valuable and equally entitled to the sum and substance of their own lives.